Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thousands more drug arrests

Thousands more drug arrests

Anti-drug officials pose for a photograph after arresting three suspects in a drug bust in September in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied
Anti-drug officials pose for a photograph after arresting three suspects in a drug bust in September in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Thousands more drug arrests

About 5,000 people have been arrested for drug use and trafficking since July in the second phase of an ongoing controversial drug crackdown, bringing the total number of arrestees this year to almost 13,700 people.

According to the Interior Ministry, 13,691 people were arrested in 6,205 cases over the past nine months – more than 7,200 of them suspected traffickers, and almost 6,500 alleged users. More than 8,000 people were arrested in the first half of the year. The Anti-Drug Department also confiscated 68 cars, 1,624 motorbikes, 16 guns and more than 153kg of drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Rhona Smith, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, last Wednesday warned of overcrowding in the Kingdom’s already-packed prisons. “This year the situation has deteriorated to dangerous levels,” she said.

However, Meas Vyrith, director of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, maintained the rehabilitation centres to which users were sent weren’t overcrowded, because some people were already released.

“The police will continue to hunt [drug offenders] down via the information provided by citizens. This is because some users are hiding . . . In the meantime, we’ll push them to get voluntary treatment,” he said.

Duch Piseth, Advocacy Director at the Cambodian Center for Human rights, said in an email that a holistic approach was needed to curb drug trafficking, rather than simply thousands of arrests.

“What the government should [do] is probably to take an educational and rehabilitation approach . . . However, it is legally imperative that those who [are] charge[d] with drug trafficking have access to legal representation, fair treatment in prison and fair trial rights.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon