A joint delegation comprising Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the UN recently undertook a five-day visit to the Thai-Lao-Cambodian border. Their objective was to assess the situation of drug trafficking and chemicals originating from the transboundary Golden Triangle which affect countries in the region. The Golden Triangle shares borders with Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

Commencing on May 22 and concluding on May 26, the visit covered the border areas of Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani, Laos’ Champasak and Cambodia’s Stung Treng. Led by Jeremy Douglas – the regional representative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Southeast Asia and the Pacific – the delegation consisted of representatives from the four countries, as well as UNODC officials, totalling 23 members. Nak Yuthea, deputy secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), headed the Cambodian delegation.

During their visit to the Thai border, the delegation engaged with Thailand’s three regional drug control offices located in Ubon Ratchathani. The purpose was to gain insight into the drug trafficking situation and the illegal transportation of chemicals across the border.

The NACD shared on social media that the delegation also interacted with the Chong Mak border gate customs unit, Ubon Ratchathani, the Lao border gate control unit, and Cambodia’s Trapaing Kreal international border crossing. These interactions aimed to enhance cooperation in controlling, preventing and cracking down on drug trafficking and illegal chemicals crossing the border.

Additionally, the delegation visited the International Border Liaison Offices (BLO) between Thailand-Cambodia, Thailand-Laos, and Cambodia-Laos. These visits were crucial to understanding the challenges faced in preventing and combating illegal cross-border drug trafficking. Furthermore, the delegation met with Svay Sam Eang – the provincial governor of Stung Treng and chairman of the provincial drug control committee – to gather information on drug trafficking and illegal chemicals which cross the Cambodia-Laos border.

On May 26, the delegation convened in Phnom Penh to review and evaluate the outcomes of their visit. However, NACD secretary-general Meas Virith could not be reached for comment on May 28.

UNODC’s Douglas noted in a tweet that there are informal border crossings starting in Laos and ending in Cambodia, highlighting the ongoing efforts of periodic patrols by Border Liaison Offices staff to intercept drug and wildlife traffickers, as well as smugglers. He expressed gratitude to authorities on both sides for their briefings.