Police officers torched a massive heap of more than 1,000 kilograms of illegal narcotics as well as multiple pieces of drug-producing equipment seized in Phnom Penh so far this year at an empty lot in the capital’s Niroth commune in Meanchey district yesterday.
According to deputy municipal prosecutor Sok Roeun, more than 96,000 pills of methamphetamine, over nine kilograms of crystal meth, nearly three kilograms of cocaine and more than eight kilograms of marijuana went up in smoke yesterday, along with a substantial amount of precursor chemicals used in the production of amphetamines.
“This is the seventh big drug incineration done by the municipal prosecution at Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” he said. “The police and the local authorities … will not be tolerant to anyone found in connection with producing and trafficking drugs and offering a place to illegally use drugs.”
Kep Chuktema, Phnom Penh’s municipal governor, said that within a month, the municipal police had made 17 busts and imprisoned 49 people, calling the presence of drugs in the capital a “dangerous situation”.
“This quantity of drugs could destroy all of Phnom Penh and half of Cambodia.”
Referring to last week’s arrest of Major General Chan Rithydy on trafficking charges, Chuktema urged village and commune officials to do their part, and report even high ranking officials to the authorities.
“Drug criminals are in your location. Perhaps the commune chief dared not to be near the house of the two-star general. If you dare not arrest (him), at least you can report,” he said, adding that recent large-scale busts seem to indicate that Cambodia is becoming a hub for drug production.
Kao Khondara, deputy head of the National Authority for Combating Drugs at the Ministry of Interior, echoed those fears, but added that a crackdown is under way, and asked police not to ignore other minor crimes that cause “social disorder and insecurity”.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]