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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Heavy hitters divvy up anti-drug committees

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Sar Kheng at the National Workshop on the Campaign of Drug Law at the National Education Institute in Phnom Penh Heng Chivoan

Heavy hitters divvy up anti-drug committees

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng yesterday announced the creation of five committees to fight drug use and trafficking, with each to be chaired by high-ranking officials.

The committees will be responsible for education, combating drugs, rehabilitation, international cooperation and administration, respectively.

Notably, Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana will be head of the drug-combating committee, which will consist of sub-committees responsible for three areas: the postal system, managing the Cambodia-Laos border, and monitoring other border crossings, airports and ports. The education committee will be chaired by Ke Kim Yan, current chair of the National Authority for Combating Drugs.

On December 22, Kheng presented a new large-scale anti-drug campaign. On the first day of the six-month push, nearly 100 people were arrested. All provinces are now obliged to send daily, weekly and monthly reports to the Ministry of Interior, an order that authorities acknowledge has not yet been fully implemented.

“Since [the start of the campaign], we received drug reports only from . . . 11 provinces,” National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said yesterday.

Kheng also endorsed a prime ministerial directive to separate drug-addicted prisoners from the general population. “Drug-addicted prisoners have to be separated from other prisoners. Otherwise, the others will also become drug-addicted. But drug traffickers can stay with other prisoners,” he said.

In mid-December, during Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Cambodia, both countries agreed to exchange information, skills and strategies to combat drugs.

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