The number of people arrested for drug trafficking during the first six months of this year has increased by 159 per cent, police officials announced on Friday.
During a meeting, the National Police released a report saying that 1,959 people were arrested in relation to 998 drug dealing cases between January and June 2015.
Deputy National Police Chief General Mok Chito said that in the same period in 2014, police arrested 755 people.
The 159 per cent increase, he added, was “very surprising”.
“We have only cracked down and made arrests for six months this year, but the amount that we have arrested has already passed what we had for the whole year last year,” Chito said.
According to Pin Sokhom, a drug specialist at NGO Mith Samlanh, the spike could possibly be attributed to the rising demand for drugs among young and more affluent individuals.
“We’ve been noticing that a lot of high school students and people from the middle class are buying and using drugs, and because of this [drugs are] also becoming easier to get ahold of and cheaper,” Sokhom said.
“The police have been clamping down on drug dealers but it’s still definitely out there, just moving around.
Some users have even started selling it because it’s easy money.”
Sokhom said that if the drug issue isn’t curbed, then it will “certainly be big trouble”, but Chito maintained Friday that police in all provinces are continuing their crackdown.
National Authourity for Combating Drugs Secretary General Meas Vyrith said that National Police seized a total of 70 kilograms of drugs in the first six months of the year.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SARAH TAGUIAM