Flow of Drugs Through Cambodia on the Rise

The relaxing of trade restrictions in Southeast Asian countries has also increased the flow of illegal drugs into the region, according to a report released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime on Thursday.

The report, “Protecting Peace and Prosperity in Southeast Asia: Synchronizing Economic and Se­curity Agendas,” says that an in­crease in cross-border commerce spurred by regional integration has also made drug trafficking more prevalent due to an easing of border controls and regulations.

“ASEAN is working with international financial institutions to develop regional infrastructure and capacities to facilitate trade,” the report says. “These trends are ac­celerating economic integration and boosting inter-regional trade of goods and services, for example by encouraging companies to expand production to places like Viet Nam, Cambodia and Indonesia.”

“However, cross-border flows of il­legal goods and substances be­tween India and China and the Southeast Asia region are increasing.”

The Cambodian-Vietnamese border is a ”trafficking hotspot” for heroin, and the amount of methamphetamine entering the country from Burma is high and still rising, the report says.

It also notes that Cambodia has become “a transhipment hub of growing importance, and a source of heroin shipped to Australia.”

Earlier this month, a Vietnam­ese woman and her Nigerian husband were tried for allegedly mail­ing 10 backpacks lined with heroin from Phnom Penh to Australia. And in January, three people were handed hefty jail sentences for participating in a scheme to smuggle heroin to Australia inside a chocolate bar wrapper.

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