Phnom Penh Police Nab 73 in Meth Crackdown

A total of 73 people were arrested in another crackdown on crystal methamphetamine use and trafficking in Phnom Penh over the weekend, police said Sunday, with 62 nabbed in a raid on the notorious Trapaing Chhouk slum.

Deputy municipal police chief Born Sam Ath said at a press conference at the Sen Sok district police station that officers arrested 62 people in a sweep of Trapaing Chhuok village on Saturday and another 11 suspects across the city Sunday.

“We cracked down on the right target, making the people in Phnom Penh feel happy—especially the parents of the 62 suspects,” Mr. Sam Ath said. “I am also happy about this crackdown. It is my duty, and I try hard with the authorities of all 12 districts, not only Sen Sok district.”

Mr. Sam Ath said Phnom Penh was a “complicated” part of the country, being home to more drug use and trafficking than any of the 24 provinces, and that police arrested more than 1,000 people for drug crimes in the city over the past month.

Yet he added that most areas of Phnom Penh simply did not see the rampant and open drug use of Trapaing Chhuok, which was the target of a separate sweep on August 21 in which 88 people were arrested for drug use and dealing.

“I have determination…and I promised Phnom Penh municipal governor Pa Socheatvong…to change this [Trapaing] Chhouk area to be like the other areas,” Mr. Sam Ath said.

District police chief Mak Hong said his officers cooperated with municipal drug police on the Trapaing Chhuok raid and seized drug paraphernalia from the suspects, many of whom threw their drugs into canals before being arrested.

“On Saturday, we arrested 62 people during the raid and 56 were found to have drugs in their system after being tested,” Mr. Hong said. “We are questioning them and we will wait for orders from the court to arrest some other suspects.”

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