Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has renewed his called for the public to provide information related to all kinds of crimes that occur in their local communities – especially drug-related ones – to law enforcement forces so they can be dealt with immediately to maintain safe villages and communes.
Sar Kheng said drug crimes were occurring almost everywhere, not only in urban areas, but also in the remote rural parts of the country. It is a complex problem which threatens public safety, security and social order, he said.
He said that a terrible example was the April 21 raid in Tuol Pich commune’s Chantrea Thmei village of Kandal province’s Ang Snoul district, when two police officers were killed, and another wounded by a firearm wielded by a drug suspect.
“These criminals, although not a large-scale drug trafficking gang, are a group that creates insecurity at the local level, and lure some young people to become addicted to drugs,” he said.
Recalling the April 21 deadly bust, Sar Kheng said that after receiving information about a meeting of drug dealers, officers from the Tuol Pich commune police station led by its chief Chuch Sophea – one of the deceased – decided to mount a raid. When they arrived, they could not see the perpetrators.
“At first, the officers were wary, but then they concluded that the suspects had fled into the nearby bush. Then it turned out that the suspects were hiding under a blanket in the house. One of the policemen moved the blanket, and one of the suspects opened fire. He hit three policemen, two of them in the chest, killing them and wounding another,” he said.
Sar Kheng raised the issue while attending an April 23 groundbreaking ceremony for a pagoda in Prey Veng province. He expressed his condolences to the police officers who “made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of society”.
“For the safety of our villages and communes, I urge the public to provide information related to all crimes, especially drug offences, to their local police. In turn, civil servants and the armed forces must fulfill their roles and responsibilities by providing good service and protecting the security of the people,” he added.
According to a Kandal provincial police report seen by The Post, in the April 21 drug raid, Sophea and Rim Sophanna, an anti-drug officer, were shot dead, while Vorn Vuthy, a Tuol Pich police officer, was shot in the right finger.
The perpetrator, 23-year-old Them Doeun, was shot dead by police, while another suspect, 16-year-old Theng Thoeun, was arrested.
During the operation, police confiscated one firearm, three swords, two sharp knives, two axes, one motorbike, two packets of drugs, one scale and various drug-related paraphernalia.