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Breaking: Synthetic drugs most profitable crime in SE Asia

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A drug was seized by the authorities in Phnom Penh early this month. Police

Breaking: Synthetic drugs most profitable crime in SE Asia

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released a report on Thursday detailing new patterns of organised crime in Southeast Asia.

The Transnational Organised Crime in Southeast Asia: Evolution, Growth and Impact 2019 report released by UNODC on Thursday said synthetic drugs have become the most profitable illicit business in region as organised crime groups have innovated their business models and expanded their methamphetamine markets.

The report said human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants had also increased due to demand and the supply of cheap labour in the region.

Southeast Asia was also a hub for counterfeit goods and medicines.

The study found that recent crackdowns in some parts of Southeast Asia and neighbouring regions have changed trafficking patterns, while large criminal groups have at the same time scaled-up and moved operations to locations with weak governance, particularly in border areas.