Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Thursday that an arrest warrant has been issued for a police officer involved in the distribution of nearly 50kg of drugs at the capital’s Rock Entertainment Centre.
He did not reveal the officer’s name but urged him to turn himself in to the authorities so that his inevitable punishment by the courts might be reduced.
Sar Kheng also warned other policemen that if they were involved with drugs, they had nowhere to run.
The minister’s warning came at a conference at the ministry outlining the 2018 achievements of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) and the setting of its targets for this year.
“Right now we have identified a police officer. [He] is being hunted for with a court warrant for his arrest. You cannot escape, so it would be better for you if you hand yourself in."
“Maybe the court can reduce your punishment . . . I don’t know. But you cannot escape. We know your identity,” he said.
‘The police do not dare’
Sar Kheng on Tuesday revealed that police officers were involved in a drugs ring at Phnom Penh’s Rock nightclub, which led to the arrest of its owner, prominent businessman Kith Theang, and its closure after a raid last month.
He also ordered police to investigate other locations that might involve powerful people in the trafficking of drugs.
“There are many other locations where, if backed by [powerful] officials, the police do not dare to do anything. Therefore, many places where drug crimes are committed are not being cracked down upon. We need to look at our authorities first,” he said.
On Wednesday, National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun told The Post that the officer issued with the arrest warrant may have been involved in the selling, distribution or use of drugs in the Rock case.
He said that as he was a policeman, any punishment he received should be doubled and that all those involved in drug crimes had to be punished without exception.
Sar Kheng urged the police to carry out their duties properly and not engage with drugs. They needed to combat drugs crimes in places outside Phnom Penh, like in casinos, nightclubs and hotels in areas along the border, such as Svay Rieng province’s Bavet city and Beantey Meanchey’s Poipet town.
He said there would likely be plenty of drug-related crimes in those areas.
Ke Kim Yan, president of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), raised a number of concerns related to tackling drug-related crimes. For example, police never arrested people when they carry out drug busts, only the narcotics were confiscated.
Kim Yan’s comments came a day before the same concerns were voiced by Sar Kheng. Kim Yan said drug crackdowns must follow five points to lead to the arrest of perpetrators.
“[Police] need to know where the drugs come from, whether they were manufactured locally or imported from abroad. Where were drugs coming in and where were they intended for. Who was keeping the drugs, and where were the distribution centres. Where were the drugs to be used? We need to preserve the clues to identify the users,” he said.