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Prime Minister vows to get tough on illegal drug trade

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Four Chinese nationals arrested for drugs in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province. Anti-drug Department

Prime Minister vows to get tough on illegal drug trade

Prime Minister Hun Sen has advised the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) and the Ministry of Interior to strengthen measures to combat illegal drugs.

Hun Sen noted that drug activities are happening on a larger scale while trafficking and drug use have been spreading to rural areas in the last few years.

According to a directive signed by the prime minister on November 16, production, trafficking and transport of drugs has grown in the past few years.

The numbers continue to grow constantly as a large portion of opium production has been shifted to producing synthetic drugs. These types of drugs are easy to produce and process. The chemicals and equipment required are easy to find regardless of where the drugs are made, it said.

“This change became a factor in allowing the market for synthetic drugs to grow wider inside and outside the region. Cambodia has also been suffering from the influence of global criminal offences,” said the directive.

The government has said law enforcement and other relevant institutions are cooperating to create a national movement to combat drugs.

It said while it noted positive results from its fifth campaign targeting illegal drugs, the import and processing had continued on a larger scale while trafficking and drug use has spread to rural areas.

It has therefore advised the NACD, the interior ministry and other relevant institutions to establish action plans to address the issue.

The NACD, it said, has to conduct awareness raising campaign in all target areas including local communities, state and private institutions, as well as the armed forces.

The NACD needs to focuses its attention on preventing and stopping the import and transport of drugs, secret procession of drugs, and drug trafficking and use.

It needs to strengthen cross-border management and control of all kinds of goods transport to prevent illegal drug imports.

National police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun told The Post on November 17 that in the first nine months of this year, police investigated over 7,800 cases and arrested 15,915 people.

More than 750kg of drugs were seized – an increase of eight per cent compared to the same period last year.

“All these cases occurred. Our police built case files to be referred to court, but I don’t have a report on the outcomes of the cases over those nine months,” he said.

The NACD’s Legislation, Education and Rehabilitation Department director Lim Tong Huot said the authorities are working to ensure effectiveness in the fight against drugs.

“In the past, through the establishment of plans by the government, we increased activities to combat illegal drugs and cracked down on drugs more actively. Now, dissemination and education need to spread to the people more than before,” he said.

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