Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US aids bid to stem drug traffic



US aids bid to stem drug traffic

US aids bid to stem drug traffic

A

US anti-narcotics expert has given Cambodian customs officers a three-week

course on drug detection techniques in the hope of slowing a growing trend for

heroin to be shipped through Cambodia.

Edward Schach, the US Customs

Inspector whose coordinating the program, said: "We suspect Cambodia is the new

vulnerable region for the international shipment of heroin to the United States

and Europe. At this point we have to stop the problem before it gets very

large."

Schach said he is worried about Cambodia being used as a

transport hub for the international distribution of drugs grown in large

quantities in neighboring countries.

He said: "Many people here do not

show much concern about drugs, and they lack the experience to operate detection

systems which stop the free flow of drugs into and out of

Cambodia."

"They do not understand what the problem is or are aware of

the dangers of heroin."

Schach trained 28 Cambodian officers, selected

from the Customs House Department of the Ministries of Defense and Interior, in

basic anti-drug enforcement techniques.

The Minister of Economics and

Finance, Sam Rainsy visited the training seminar. He said: "Because of

Cambodia's economic problems, poor education and inadequate laws drug

trafficking could become a very big problem here.

"Our people are very

poorly educated and don't even know there is any drug problem. There is no legal

framework for government administration to deal with the problem. Customs

officers don't even know what heroin looks like."

He said heroin

trafficking and drug use and addiction where increasing in the country and

appealed to the US to further strengthen ties to help stamp out the problem.

A government customs officer who requested anonymity said: "We have no

reason to look for heroin because we have no knowledge or awareness about what

it is, and no equipment to test substances to find out what they

are.

"Last year we arrested a trafficker carrying seven kg of heroin from

Thailand into Cambodia through a remote point along the northern border.

"He told us the trafficking routes are arranged from Bangkok to Poipet,

Poipet to Phnom Penh and Phnom Penh to Vietnam and then onto the United States,

or European countries."

"Most of the drug smuggling in Cambodia is

organized by foreign traders, but Cambodians are often hired to provide

transport.

"We are have poor security in this country and there are many

entrances along the Thai and Laos borders where drugs can be brought in."

He said: "Cambodian border officers do not care much about what is legal

or illegal trading.

"They prefer to be paid bribes to allow weapons or

drugs through than to make an effort to protect the country from these things."

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and