Gov’t Steps Up Measures Against Drug Trade

The Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug squad has arrested 30 people on suspicion of drug trafficking or drug use in 16 cases since the beginning of the year.

Teng Savong, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, said police have seized nearly 46,000 am­pheta­mine pills in raids in Kom­pong Cham, Koh Kong, Sihan­oukville, Banteay Mean­chey and Battambang provinces.

He said police had destroyed 124,906 young marijuana plants and 4,905 mature marijuana bushes in those provinces, as well as in Siem Reap and Kratie.

Deputy National Police Chief Teng Savong was selected to head the anti-drug squad last October. Former chief Em Sam An was fired after his personal assistant was arrested on drug-dealing charges.

Teng Savong provided the latest statistics at a ministry anti-drug meeting attended by about 100 representatives from 24 pro­vinces and 10 ministries.

Rath Sreng, the military police chief in Banteay Meanchey pro­vince, said his police had arrested seven people, confiscated 6.9 kg of opiates and cocaine, and seized 52,795 amphetamine pills since 1999.

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng told the audience that earlier this year, police in New Zea­land seized a kilo of heroin which had been mailed from the Phnom Penh post office.

“I am concerned that drug use is increasing in Cambodia,” he said. “We have no capacity to treat the drug addicts, but if we can get rid of the drug trafficking we can reduce crime, robbery and kidnapping.”

The UN Office for Drug Con­trol and Crime Prevention will begin a survey of drug abuse among secondary schoolchildren next week. Some 2,000 students aged 14 to 17 will be asked to com­plete a questionnaire regarding their drug use and socioeconomic background.

The survey data, which will remain anonymous, will be used to design effective counter-measures and assess the need for future drug treatment and rehabilitation services.

According to a UN news re­lease, the survey will be the first of a series this year to determine if amphetamine use is spreading. Other groups to be questioned include entertainers, laborers, truck and taxi drivers, garment workers, soldiers and fishermen.


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