In the first quarter of 2022, police forces from the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Drug Department detained 3,710 suspects for 1,694 drug offences. Although this indicated a drop of more than 20 per cent compared to the same period of 2021, the amount of drugs seized increased by almost 20 times.
In Song, deputy director of the department, revealed the figures at a March 29 meeting to review the department’s results for 2021 and to plan its work direction for 2022.
He told the 80 senior officials and officers who attended the meeting that in the first quarter of this year, drug offences were down by 436 cases over the previous year, when 2,130 cases were recorded. The number of suspects detained for drug offences in the same period was also down – by 962, as compared to the 4,672 who were arrested in the first quarter of 2021.
“Although the figures of drug busts and arrests were down by more than 20 per cent, compared to the same period last year, drug seizures in the first quarter of 2022 increased by more than 3,405kg, or more than 19 times, compared to the first quarter of 2021 when just 174kg were confiscated,” he said.
Song added that the seizures consisted of more than 630kg of methamphetamine, in excess of 370g of heroin, more than 2.83 tonnes of ketamine, over 10kg of nimetazepam; and 19kg of cathinone.
In addition, more than 25 tonnes of chemical precursors, 55.9kg of dried marijuana and 6,952 fresh marijuana plants were seized. Police also seized 37 cars, 387 motorcycles, more than 17.20 million riel and $3,210 in cash, 75 sets of scales, three handguns and a large number of drug manufacturing machines.
Mok Chito, deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drugs crime, urged all police forces to cooperate with their international counterparts to investigate and apprehend offenders who processed or trafficked drugs in the Kingdom.
“As law enforcement officers, we need to make sure we are acquainted with international drug trends and global and regional conditions, as well as the unique Cambodian situation,” he said.
He added that as the world and Cambodia face the crisis of Covid-19, a large number of economic activities are suspended. In contrast, the production and circulation and trafficking of illegal drugs has continued to grow steadily.
Chito urged police to pay particular attention to controlling border crossings and the transportation of all kinds of goods, including by mail, to prevent illegal drug imports.