A four-person drug ring was busted in Phnom Penh, with police uncovering almost three kilograms of drugs, though one anti-drug official expressed scepticism that a recently promised $10,000 reward on large-scale busts would be forthcoming.
In Song, chief of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Drug department, yesterday named the four suspects as Cambodian Nuth Keorachna, Vietnamese national Phan Vankhim and Chinese nationals Wu Hua Zen and Su Jimy. Song identified Vankhim and Jimy as the ringleaders.
The arrests, which took place between March 29 and April 1, turned up a combined 2.7 kilograms of drugs worth an estimated $100,000, as well as a pistol. Authorities confiscated 1.76 kilograms of heroin, and smaller amounts of meth, ecstasy and marijuana.
“The drugs came from Golden Triangle, from the Laos border,” Song said.
Cambodian police are currently in the middle of a nationwide “war on drugs”, and last week, Interior Minister Sar Keng announced that officers who made busts of over one kilogram of drugs would be rewarded with $10,000, claiming that payouts had already been made. But Song yesterday said this hasn’t been put into practice.
“I hope we will get it, but what was announced has not yet become standard. Our superiors are thinking about it, they don’t know what part of the budget to use for rewards,” Song said.
Independent drug expert David Harding, meanwhile, said Sar Kheng’s reward offer was a “sideshow”.
“It’s distracting from the real issues like stopping trafficking and improving treatment,” Harding said.