Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cops handcuffed by seizure rules, sentencing: chief

Cops handcuffed by seizure rules, sentencing: chief

A woman sits at a Phnom Penh police station earlier this year after she was arrested for drug trafficking. National Police
A woman sits at a Phnom Penh police station earlier this year after she was arrested for drug trafficking. National Police

Cops handcuffed by seizure rules, sentencing: chief

Police officials yesterday called for tougher sentencing of drug dealers and for the government to make it “easier and faster [for police] to seize their property”, as the Interior Ministry’s annual drugs conference wrapped in the capital.

Following a Monday session in which National Authority for Combating Drugs chief Ke Kim Yan ran down a litany of troubling areas, including trafficking within prisons and drug-rife Phnom Penh neighbourhoods, National Police chief Neth Savoeun yesterday suggested the force was being handcuffed by red tape.

“The law states, but we cannot implement, the seizure of the property from drug trafficking . . . We can’t implement it because of the complicated procedures,” he said. “I request to amend [the law], if possible, to shorten the procedure for seizing [dealers’] property.”

He added that seized property could then be used in the fight against drugs.

Kim Yan expressed support for such an amendment, describing the “filing of appeals back and forth” as “our weakness”, and lamenting that at the conclusion of most cases, “all property or land is gone and everything is legitimate”.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said that while current legislation does allow police to seize the assets of criminals if they are the proceeds of or have been used in crimes, any property seized can only be passed to the state after the owner had been convicted, adding, “[that] judgement must be based on the law”.

Ousted Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Ang Maltey is currently awaiting a verdict in a case in which he is charged with taking a drug dealer’s car and then giving it to his son as a present.

The capital’s top cop also called for harsher sentencing, saying that “other countries hang or [give the] death sentence; but for us, between 20 years to life in prison”.

Kim Yan added that the Kingdom’s sentencing lacked consistency, with too many put away for drug charges only jailed for “a short time”.

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, who was in attendance, said the government would study whether changes to sentencing laws were feasible.

But how lengthened sentences would affect Cambodia’s already overcrowded penal system, which swelled by nearly a fifth last year, went unaddressed yesterday.

Prisons department spokesman Nut Savanea has previously stated that 30 per cent of inmates have been convicted of drug offenses.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this