Hazardous Drug Lab Chemicals Neutralized

phnom sruoch district, Kom­pong Speu province – Approx­imately 3 tons of the most hazardous chemical found by police at a Kompong Speu province drug production lab have been neutralized and disposed of, officials said during a ceremony Thursday.

“I am relieved that the first phase of the cleanup has been completed,” Lars Pedersen, officer in charge of project office for the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, said while speaking at a ceremony.

According to a statement issued Wednesday by the UNODC, 25 tons of reagent chemicals and 15 tons of water were used to neutralize 3.2 tons of thionyl chloride, a highly corrosive chemical that could explode if it comes into contact with water.

In the second phase of the chemical cleanup, 550 kg of acetone and 1.4 tons of other chemicals will be disposed of through incineration, the statement said.

The chemicals, said to be precursors for the production of amphetamines, were discovered during a police raid in April and are being disposed of by the UNODC and the National Authority for Com­bating Drugs.

During the event, NACD Per­manent Vice Chairman Teng Sa­vong and Provincial Governor Kang Heang gave speeches before ceremonially setting fire to five oil drums containing acetone to mark the completion of the first phase.

Jennifer Spande, economic and labor officer for the US Embassy, who also spoke at the ceremony, praised the Interior Ministry and the NACD for locating the drug production site and the subsequent arrests that were made.

“We look forward to fair trials of those accused of drug production,” she said.

Among those arrested following the April 1 raid on the illicit drug production lab were 14 Treng Trayoeng commune men who, according to their families, had only been at the site for one hour before police arrested them during the raid.

Ouk Savuth, chief prosecutor for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said after the ceremony that the 14 men were granted bail on Monday.

“The 14 men will be out of prison soon,” he said before declining to comment further.

After the ceremony, Chap Thel, 43, mother of Try Theara, one of the arrested men, said she did not know that her son had been granted bail and was surprised by the news.

“My son has not yet been released,” she said.


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