Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has requested that all ministries, institutions and municipal-provincial administrations implement the government’s 6th plan in their campaign to combat illegal drugs, which has been launched to tackle ongoing problems with drug-related crime.
In a letter dated March 9, Sar Kheng also recommended that the implementation of this campaign be done with strict adherence to the “three protections and three don’ts” amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“Please disseminate [this plan] as much as possible within your jurisdictions and to begin its actual implementation.”
According to Sar Kheng, the secretariat of this campaign will provide a report summarising the results of the implementation of the fifth campaign as a foundation for beginning the sixth.
Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 19 laid out the 6th campaign plan to combat illegal drugs, set to take place from January 1 to December 31, after observing that there was no decline in drug offences following the last campaign.
Hun Sen said the use of drugs did not show any signs of declining, rather there seemed to be an increase in synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines, MDMA and ketamine which are all produced in clandestine laboratories and have a wide market today.
“Drug traffickers have also taken the opportunity to smuggle drugs through Cambodia to other countries as well as selling them in the country,” he said.
According to the prime minister, during the implementation of the 5th campaign plan in 2020, authorities had investigated 10,461 cases of drug offences, arrested 21,566 suspects and seized 3875.90kg of various kinds of drugs, along with 4,425 kg of chemical compounds used to make drugs. Among the 10,461 cases, 77 involved large-scale drug trafficking activities.
Through the 6th plan to combat illegal drugs, Hun Sen urged the authorities to increase their intelligence gathering, investigation and preventive activities to help suppress the import, transit, trafficking and use of drugs.
Cheap Sotheary, the Preah Sihanouk provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the level of criminal activities related to illegal drugs in his province remains very high, even though the authorities have cracked down on many cases.
“In Preah Sihanouk province, authorities are arresting people and prosecuting them for drug offenses continuously. Most of the inmates in the prisons are drug offenders, including Cambodians and Chinese,” she said.
She noted that recently Chinese criminals were caught smuggling drugs to people at quarantine centres in the province too. She urged the authorities to find the ringleaders in charge of the drug trafficking and prosecute them.