Deputy PM Urges City To Build Drug Center

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.”


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