The National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) said in a draft report that more than 15,000 suspects were arrested in connection with drug offenses in 2022, with nearly 15 tonnes of drugs and 504 tonnes of chemical compounds used for manufacturing drugs seized.

Meas Vyrith, secretary-general of the NACD, told The Post that the draft report was presented at a meeting of the NACD on February 14, with the attendance and participation of relevant inter-ministerial working groups.

He said that the figure indicated an increase in the amount of drug compared to 2021 when just 4.5 tonnes were seized.

According to the NACD, more than 6,000 cases were reported in 2021 and more than 13,000 suspects were arrested. There were 362 foreigners of 13 nationalities involved in drug trafficking, storage, processing and production activities.

“This is a draft report. The number of arrests increased by seven per cent while the number of drugs seized increased by almost five times compared to 2021,” Vyrith explained.

He stated that after the report is drafted, it will then be sent to the Ministry of Interior for approval before being submitted to the National Assembly in early March, 2023.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, said that based on the number of arrests being made by the authorities, the drug problem in Cambodia remains a concern.

“Drugs are seriously destroying our human resources and our society and now we see drugs flowing into more remote areas. Therefore, the authorities must implement the policy of safe villages and communes effectively, especially the policy for the border provinces as drug-free areas,” he said.