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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Gangsters’ netted en masse in Battambang

Alleged “gangsters” stand in rows after being arrested in a crackdown by Battambang police officials yesterday. Photo supplied.
Alleged “gangsters” stand in rows after being arrested in a crackdown by Battambang police officials yesterday. Photo supplied.

‘Gangsters’ netted en masse in Battambang

Nearly 60 so-called gangsters allegedly creating a disturbance in public gardens in Battambang town were detained early yesterday morning and Sunday night as part of the ongoing nationwide anti-drug campaign, with 22 offenders testing positive for drugs, officials said yesterday.

Cheit Vanny, deputy police chief in Battambang province, said the operation began at 10:30pm on Sunday and lasted until 4am yesterday, and was prompted by several complaints from residents over late-night disturbances.

“We worked overnight until dawn to crack down on the gangsters who hang out at night and beat each other up on the streets and public gardens,” he said.

A total of 56 of the suspects, aged 18 to 30, were detained, some in possession of weapons. Sorn Kosal, deputy police chief in Battambang town, said all those detained underwent a urine test at the provincial police station. “As a result, 22 of them have [tested] positive for drug use,” he said.

Vanny said those who were found to be using drugs were sent to a voluntary drug treatment centre in Battambang. The rest were released to their parents after thumbprinting a document indicating they would not commit such activity again.

Sok Sam Oeun, a legal expert, said the summary drug tests were legal, likening the situation to administering an alcohol test during a traffic stop, adding that the suspects’ suspicious behaviour effectively amounted to probable cause.

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