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Shootout in Takeo as police fired upon by suspected drug dealers

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Police in Takeo province’s Bati district on Saturday. Photo supplied

Shootout in Takeo as police fired upon by suspected drug dealers

A man was arrested on Saturday while several others escaped after a gang of suspected drug dealers fired on police during a raid in Takeo province’s Bati district.

Mak Serey Vattana, the head of Takeo province police’s anti-drugs office, told The Post on Sunday that the suspect will be sent to the local court on Monday after questioning.

He said Takeo provincial police raided a location in Peaream commune suspected of being used in the distribution and use of illicit drugs on Saturday night. During the operation, the authorities came under fire.

Police shot repeatedly into the air to force the suspects to surrender. One suspect was detained, while the rest fled the scene.

“We found that the detained suspect had been using an illegal substance. During the crackdown, we found clues incriminating the others. We will send the suspect to Takeo provincial court on Monday morning,” Serey Vattana said.

He said police had spent more than three hours negotiating with the suspects. A 22-year-old from Bati district was arrested. Drugs, a Glock handgun and two swords were seized.

“Authorities and people in the area were not injured in the operation,” Serey Vattana said.

National Police chief Neth Savoeun, who ordered the crackdown, which was carried out by a special task force, told The Post on Sunday that there were positive learnings from the handling of Saturday’s raid.

“[I] would instruct specialist task forces to look at the valuable lessons from this operation. We protected both innocent people and suspects. The police were not injured in the raid. We detained a suspect who shot back at authorities. One person has been arrested and we will investigate further,” Savoeun said.

Takeo provincial police chief Sok Samnang declined to comment on Sunday.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng in March ordered officials at the provincial, district and commune levels to intensify the fight against drugs as their use had spread to rural areas.

A National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) report states that last year, authorities cracked down on 8,002 cases of drugs crime, detaining 16,216 suspects and confiscating more than a half tonne of illegal substances.

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