Hun Sen Orders Drug Smuggling Crackdown

Taking a lead from Thailand’s controversial crackdown on drug trafficking, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned his Cabinet on Fri­day that Cambodia must also increase security measures to tackle drug smuggling.

Speaking at the weekly Council of Ministers’ meeting, Hun Sen said Cambodian authorities must also strengthen their efforts to wipe out drug trafficking.

“Neighbors are hunting drug dealers, and the Prime Minister suggested we have to look to this thoroughly,” Penn Thol, spokes­man for the weekly Cabinet meeting, told reporters.

Cambodian anti-narcotics officials have reported a decrease in drug smuggling and use in northwestern towns, apparently as a result of the recent Thai border closure and Thailand’s “war on drugs” that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of suspects.

However, Cambodia’s drug drought may lead to increased drug trafficking through alternative routes in northeastern Stung Treng province, anti-narcotics officials said last week.

Speaking later on Friday at the closing ceremony of the Ministry of Health’s annual conference, Hun Sen said the impending war with Iraq and North Korea’s nuclear weapons controversy had diverted the attention of the recent Non-Aligned Movement summit in Kuala Lumpur from the important issue of global health and welfare. “Regrettably, Iraq and the Korean crisis made the world marginalize health [issues],” Hun Sen told the conference.

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