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Heroin trade protected by graft, say cops

ten years ago.jpg
ten years ago.jpg

Heroin trade protected by graft, say cops

Sacked National Police deputy Noun Soeur 2says that 600 kilograms of heroin is trafficked

through Phnom Penh from Myanmar and Laos each week.

Soeur, formerly head of the national anti-drug squad, said he "knew about this,

but couldn't do anything about it" - sentiments shared by the Phnom Penh anti-drug

chief, General Heng Peo.

"It is right, I agree with what Noun Soeur says, that 600 kilograms of heroin

is being trafficked weekly through Cambodia," General Heng Peo said.

Comments by both men implicitly linked high-ranking police and government officials

being bought off by smugglers with access to millions of dollars.

Heng Peo said some of the smugglers held high official rank themselves.

Neither Soeur nor Heng Peo had been able to go after the smugglers. Soeur said he

knew the identities of the key figures involved but said: "I can't tell you

that or I will die."

Suicide MP sought unity

Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party MP Meas Chan Leap - a strong, silent yet key member

of the fractured party - walked alone into the National Assembly's mail room early

Tuesday morning and shot himself dead through the temple.

Stung by BLDP's internal rift - and by severe and repeated criticism from colleagues

and local press for the behind-the-scenes part he played - Chan Leap apparently wanted

his death to reunite the party for which he had supported for 16 years.

That wish appears unlikely to be realized.

Members from both factions have already blamed each other for driving Chan Leap to


Tonle Sap under threat

A plan to dam the neck of Cambodia's great lake, the Tonle Sap, and massive dam development

along the length of the Mekong river could destroy one of the world's natural wonders

-- the reversing of the Tonle Sap river, warns one Cambodian ecologist.

In the rainy season the Mekong floods, inundating the Tonle Sap river so that it

reverses its seaward flow back to the lake.

The lake - whose fisheries and other natural resources are crucial to the survival

of millions of people - expands its capacity from three to as much as six times that

of its dry season levels.

Rainsy laying low

Sam Rainsy has publicly ruled out starting a new political party - largely because

he fears dangerous repercussions.

The former MP, expelled from the National Assembly in June in disputed legal circumstances,

said last week he would tone down his political activities and concentrate on "social


He said he feared provoking intimidation or violence against himself or his supporters

if he took "too strong" a political line.

"First of all, I have to be able to stay in Cambodia," he said, speaking

on a brief return trip to Cambodia, his first since going abroad after his expulsion.

"I think it is essential for me to be able to live in the country and work with

people in the social field [in a way] that people who work with me don't face any


Referring to his private bodyguards -- who were detained and allegedly beaten by

soldiers last month -- he said: "I don't want those people to be harassed, to

be jailed, to be beaten, to be tortured."

"It is not only by bodyguards but people who would support me if I formed a

political party.

"Those who came to ask for membership cards, those who gave their houses to

open [party] offices in the provinces, I think they would face a lot of stress and

terrible problems."

Villagers turn to KR rather than face official


Chhouk District, Kampot--Villagers in Tuol village have left their homes--some reportedly

having gone to Khmer Rouge-held "havens"--to escape from persecution and

extortion by local military and police forces, say rights organizations.

UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia, Justice Michael Kirby, visited

the province on August 6 and was briefed on local human rights abuses, most apparently

carried out by police and military.

In addition to villagers who had relatives with the KR electing to move to KR areas,

the Post learned that Kirby heard of four cases of unsolved murders, and other abuses.

When asked about the situation, Kirby did not comment other than to say" "You

can not look at human rights issues from the Cambodiana [hotel], you have to go out

to provinces. That's what I'm doing in Cambodia."

Running from war, creeping back home

Rattanak Mondol - Phan Phon cannot remember how many times war has interrupted his

life, forcing him and his family to flee their home and land.

"You know, in one year I left three or four times. In total, though, I don't

know--maybe 20 or 30 times since I started living there in 1982.

"Before, we would leave for a month or two, then we could go back. Now it's

diferent--we stay away for a long time. There is no way for us to be safe there."

Phan Phon, his wife and seven children are veteran IDPs--Internally Displaced People

in the sterile official term--regularly made homeless by war.

Their home--when they can live there--is Treng commune, at the heart of one of the

main frontlines of Cambodia's war with the Khmer Rouge.

Treng, about 40km from Battambang city, has fallen into KR hands three times in the

past 15 months.



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