Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday instructed parents to “control” their children and treat their drug addictions at home, a day after the son of a provincial prison deputy director was nabbed for allegedly supplying illicit substances within the prison walls.
But the premier stressed Cambodia’s own “war on drugs” – a six-month operation that has seen 2,500 people arrested in the first month alone – would not follow in the fatal footsteps of the crackdown in the Philippines.
“I am controlling 15 million people, how hard is it, while you can’t even control just two children. Don’t blame the government for everything while you don’t control and educate your children,” he said.
“In the Philippines and some other countries, they kill them at the scene,” he said, saying the slaughter had claimed up to 7,000 lives. “They just shot them dead. But Cambodia will not allow that to happen.”
The criticism of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody approach came during the inauguration of a new temple in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district, two months after the firebrand’s diplomatic visit to Cambodia.
Meanwhile, the son of Kampong Thom deputy prison chief Phin Sam Ol was arrested on Tuesday for trafficking drugs into the prison, provincial anti-drug police Kim Hort said yesterday.
“We found out that the drug seller [Phin Angkeara] was a food seller in the canteen in the prison and the son of a prison official. Then we arrested a prisoner who is his partner,” Hort said.
Angkeara will be sent to court today. His father could not be reached for comment.
Independent drug expert David Harding yesterday said merely telling parents to control their children failed to address socio-economic issues, lack of options for youth, and family troubles that could contribute to drug addiction.
“That’s way too simplistic; it doesn’t address the reasons why the children would begin using drugs in the first place,” he said.
National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said his forces were currently separating drug users from other detainees in Prey Sar prison, a practice that will extend to all the Kingdom’s prisons and its 10,000 inmates. “After this, we will do urine tests on drivers of companies,” he said.
Authorities too are being tested, with Pailin police due to wrap up their three-day testing period today. Of 400 police officers, four or five tested positive for drugs, said chief of provincial police Chea Chandin. “We let them cure themselves and get administrative discipline,” he said, in stark contrast to the thousands of people arrested and sent to involuntary rehabilitation over the past month.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ERIN HANDLEY