NACD: Training Needed for Violent Drug Arrests

The National Authority for Combating Drugs said Wednesday Cambodian authorities plan to offer additional training to police who face the risk of violence in suppressing the drug trade.

During his April 22 arrest on suspicion of drug trafficking, anti-human trafficking police Officer Kep Samon, 37, allegedly shot dead two Phnom Penh municipal anti-drug police and wounded three others. Officials say two other suspects remain at large in the case.

At an annual meeting at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday, NACD Secretary-General Lour Ramin said the event had been a painful lesson.

“It is a great sorrow for our police to learn from this experience,” he said. “Drug crime is dangerous work.”

The government is seeking donor technical assistance to help police in facing this threat, he said.

“Police need to have high capabilities,” he said.

Following the meeting, Lour Ramin said by telephone that the Australian Federal Police had agreed to offer training courses in August to anti-drug and military police as well as customs officers.

However, Phil Hunter, senior police liaison at the Australian embassy, said Thursday he could not confirm that such an offer had been extended.

“We don’t make it a policy of commenting in relation to training we provide to Cambodia,” he said.

Lars Pedersen, head of the Cambodia office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said Wed­nesday that he supported additional training.

“The skill level in Cambodia is extremely limited,” he said. “Anti-narcotics enforcement can easily be a dangerous thing.”

Municipal Police Chief Touch Naruth said Wednesday that two men suspected of colluding with Kep Samon in the drug trade, identified only as Ly, 35, and Thy, 27, remain at large.

“We are hunting them,” he said.

         (Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)

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