K OH KONG - Local authorities here have destroyed 17 hectares of marijuana so far
this month in a crack-down on a crop that is proving increasingly popular for locals
Policemen are being sent to off-shore islands to slash the plantations.
Pall San, Koh Kong's deputy governor, said that the marijuana was being exported
to Thailand and other Asian countries.
Pall San reckoned there was at least another 50 hectares of marijuana that he knew
about around the province.
However, he added that destroying the illegal plantations had a negative affect on
the farming families who were growing it.
Many families had borrowed money to set up their investment crop, he said.
But he had to destroy it because he wanted to reduce social problems in Cambodian
and other countries, he said.
"None of our people use marijuana or heroin", but he said his people were
dealing with such drugs as their business and livelihoods.
Pall San said that the marijuana crop started booming this year because of a big
black market demand.
Villagers were "forced" to grow the crop because the return was better
than any other, he said.
Villagers were getting about $30 a "bale" for the drug, and it sold in
Thailand for around $100 "wholesale", he said.
Pall San said local police had also confiscated about a thousand kilograms of marijuana
last week, along with a machine used for packing the dried plants ready for export.