Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng called on authorities Wednesday to be tougher on drug traffickers and users, lamenting that Cambodia had no death penalty to deter perpetrators.
“Cambodia does not have a death sentence for drug dealers,” he said at a ceremony in Pursat province. “We can only issue life sentences, so criminals are sometimes not scared of authorities.”
Sar Kheng identified the children of rich and powerful officials as the primary target group of drug pushers.
He added that all authorities—the police, military police and RCAF—needed to work together to crack down on drugs, which he said contributed to “banditry and robbery.”
In neighboring Banteay Meanchey province, drug smuggling and use have spiraled, and provincial military police have resorted to implementing their own drug treatment regime, according to a recently completed report.
Banteay Meanchey military police Chief Rath Srieng said 304 addicts have been treated at the center since 2002, with 70 addicts currently being held.
“We do not use medicines to treat [addicts], but we encourage [them] to release as much sweat as possible to help rid their bodies of drugs,” Rath Srieng said, adding that hard labor and HIV education were included in the treatment.