At a Wednesday meeting of the signatories to the Mekong Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control, National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) secretary-general Meas Virith requested participating countries and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to seek a solution for the region’s burgeoning drug problem.

The meeting was attended by Cambodia, China, Burma, Lao, Thailand, Vietnam and the UNODC.

Virith said during the Covid-19 crisis, international criminals involved with drug trafficking have increased their collusion with domestic criminals, which has resulted in more crime.

He said Cambodia had actively joined the sub-regional countries and the world in making efforts to prevent and stop crimes.

“Due to the Covid-19 problem, we have yet to implement the action plan to control drugs in the 11th sub-region with the assistance of the UNODC. We request that our meeting discuss finding a proper solution to this problem,” Virith said.

He said during the Covid-19 pandemic, regional and global collaborations have been diluted. [This decline] makes international drug criminals of organised crime increase collusion with domestic drug criminals to commit illegal offences more actively.

“Such activities have been posing an obstacle to implementing the sub-regional plan prepared by the UNODC,” he said.

Last year, Cambodia reported 10,000 cases of drug offences. It held more than 20,000 suspects and seized 740kg of drugs.

The NACD said that on May 26, the authorities reported 21 drug-related cases and detained 39 suspects.

From January 1 to May 26 it reported more than 4,000 drug-related cases and held nearly 9,000 suspects from seven countries. During that time, 257kg of drugs was seized.