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Lao, Chinese nationals arrested for drug crimes in Stung Treng, Phnom Penh

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A Lao farmer was arrested for possession of 3kg of narcotics on Wednesday. Photo supplied

Lao, Chinese nationals arrested for drug crimes in Stung Treng, Phnom Penh

Two foreign nationals were detained in Phnom Penh and Stung Treng province on Wednesday in separate cases involving a total of more than 40kg of drugs.

The Ministry of Interior’s National Authority for Combating Drugs secretary-general Meas Virith said a 51-year-old Chinese national was arrested on Wednesday with 39 packages of narcotics at his condo in Tonle Bassac commune in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district.

He said each of the packages contained 1kg of narcotics which authorities are working to identify.

“Police are questioning the suspect to find other accomplices because he cannot commit such a big crime alone,” Virith said.

Anti-Drug Department head of drug education Dosvanna Vatanak told The Post on Thursday that officials arrested a Lao farmer in possession of 3kg of narcotics on Wednesday evening.

Vatanak said the suspect, 35, was a farmer from Laksao village in Bolikhamsai province’s Khamkeut district in Laos.

“After detaining the suspect, we confiscated approximately 3kg of crystal methamphetamine in three large packages and two mobile phones. We also saw other accomplices during the operation but they escaped.

“We are now questioning the suspect at the Stung Treng provincial police command. This suspect brought the drugs [to Cambodia] for trafficking,” Stung Treng Provincial Anti-Drug Office Chief Chem Phanith said.

The two arrests come amid a drug-related crackdown by Cambodian authorities.

Official figures from the Ministry of Interior report that over 341kg of narcotics were seized in the first quarter of 2019 – more than twice the 145kg of drugs recovered by authorities last year.

At a drug burning event to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse in June, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said that drug traffickers viewed Cambodia as a transit point to move drugs between countries.

“Some nefarious persons continue to traffick drugs, using all means and tricks, to make Cambodian people suffer by becoming drug users, distributors and dealers,” he told an audience in Koh Pich Theatre.

Authorities have cracked down on 4,175 drug crimes in the first quarter of this year – an increase of 337 Cases from last year.

Among the 8,911 suspects – 8,724, including 624 women were Cambodian nationals. Some 187 suspects, including 40 women were foreign nationals.

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