Approximately 2 tonnes of drugs and illicit goods, including some 12 million tablets of methamphetamines seized in recent years, were incinerated yesterday by Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities.
Local economic police, military police and court prosecutors, including a senior official from the Ministry of Justice, presided over the destruction of the drugs in Sisophon town’s Preah Ponlea commune, said Um Reatrey, Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor and spokesman for the province.
“The illicit drugs and substances were kept as evidence for three or four years, and after the perpetrators were completely sentenced, we have to take legal procedure in destroying [them],” Reatrey said.
“We have taken measures to combat illicit drug trafficking, but the root of drug trafficking has remained a concerning issue because of the complicated geography for illicit drug trafficking across the border with Thailand,” Reatrey said.
A UN report released late last month said that Cambodia had become a transit hub for the region’s drug trade, with one UN Office on Drugs and Crime official also attributing the problem’s scale to Cambodia’s geographic location between two wealthier countries with a high demand for drugs.
In addition to the drugs, authorities also destroyed other confiscated goods, such as a load of Korean noodles, coffee and a haul of the medicinal root ginseng.
In a separate case in Siem Reap town, nearly 800 tablets of expired pharmaceuticals are also slated for incineration after being seized from a local pharmacy.
The raid at the Saravoin pharmacy in Sala Kamroeuk commune on Sunday involved members of the economic police division and health department officials, according to Soeun Sem, chief of the Siem Reap economic police.
“We received the information from a customer who bought medicine from the pharmacy, and then they reported it to us when they found out that the pharmacy sold the expired medicine to them. After that, we started our investigation” he said.
“In Siem Reap province, there were many crackdowns on expired medicines. We raid more than 10 medical pharmacies that sell expired medicines every year,” he said.
The pharmacy owner was fined 7 million riel, about $1,750.