Authorities detained 16,139 people in 7,979 drug trafficking and abuse cases between January 1 and December 29 this year, a report published by the anti-drug campaign’s Third Committee, chaired by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, said.
The detainees, the report said, included 1,339 women and 310 foreigners from 24 different nationalities.
Selling, storing, processing, distributing, and cultivation offences accounted for 5,033 cases, while 4,946 involved drug use.
The report said in one instance, the authorities detained 239 people and confiscated 533kg of methamphetamine, 74kg of dried marijuana and 164,925 marijuana plants.
In addition, 94 cars, 2,230 motorbikes, 5,924 phones, 376 scales, 26 handguns, 13 rifles and several properties were also seized.
National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) secretary-general Meas Vyrith told The Post on Sunday that the number of drug crimes decreased because of ongoing efforts, including the public coming forward to inform authorities of drug offences, and successful nationwide drug rehabilitation programmes.
“This year, the number of drug-related crimes were lower than last year, when we began implementing drug combating strategies with many drug crackdowns."
“The government has also tried to combat drugs through public awareness and informing drug users who were in hiding to obtain medical support. We need to work together to combat and eliminate drugs,” he said.
In early December Sar Kheng said slow judicial procedures and an ongoing police crackdown on drugs were causing an increase of inmates in Cambodian prisons, resulting in serious concerns over prisoner welfare.
Twenty-eight prisons across Cambodia house more than 30,000 inmates, while Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar currently holds 7,000 prisoners although designed to hold only 2,000. In addition, there are 20,000 inmates in Cambodian prisons awaiting judicial procedures.
In November, the Ministry of Interior established a task force to speed up court procedures and verdicts to ease prisoner overcrowding.