Deputy Prime Minister and co-Minister of Interior Sar Kheng urged Phnom Penh municipal authorities to build a drug rehabilitation center in an address Friday in which he also urged a crackdown on gang activity and illegal gambling.
“Drugs are a serious issue facing Cambodian youth presently,” he told local officials at the meeting, where he set out his goals for the city for 2005.
“If we do not take strict measures, it will affect our social development as a nation,” he said.
Sar Kheng said that the municipality does “not have to wait for foreigners’ aid,” to build a drug rehabilitation center.
Currently the capital does not have a state-run drug rehabilitation center, although a clinic does exist in Banteay Meanchey province.
On Sunday, Mam Bun Neang, Phnom Penh first deputy governor, said a center may be established in the near future.
“We have decided to have a drug rehabilitation center in Phnom Penh co-operated by the social department,” he said. “We will discuss it in March.”
Sar Kheng’s address also stressed the closure of illegal gambling parlors.
“We will shut down illegal gambling and any place that does not follow the rules and allows Cambodian people to bet,” Mam Bun Neang said, referring to the fact that while foreigners can gamble in casinos, it is illegal for Cambodians to do so.
Cambo Six is the only place for Cambodian nationals to legally bet on sports in the country.
Deputy municipal police Chief Reach Sokhon said Sunday that police have been requesting a rehabilitation center from City Hall, and that they have been continually cracking down on illegal gambling.
He added that gang activities have declined recently “because rich people and powerful officials understand the prime minister’s appeal and have educated their children to stop their activities.”