Police arrested 49 young people suspected of drug use across Phnom Penh during a 24-hour crackdown from Saturday night to Sunday night, police said at a news conference at Municipal Police headquarters Monday.
The suspects, which included four women, were arrested on streets and in guest houses in Chamkar Mon, Daun Penh and Tuol Kok districts, said Reach Sokhon, judicial municipal police chief.
The suspects are the children of ordinary people rather than of high-ranking officials, Reach Sokhon said.
“It is our concern that their parents have no ability to educate their children,” he said.
Eighteen of those arrested are suspected of committing theft and robberies, as lock breaking equipment and other evidence were found in their possession, Reach Sokhon said. One suspect had a wallet that appeared to belong to a foreigner, he added.
Police confiscated 60 methamphetamine pills, two two-way radios, six mobile phones, 100,000 riel (approximately $25) and drug paraphernalia during the operation, Reach Sokhon said.
Police suspect that those who were arrested in guest houses were planning to commit crimes while taking drugs, he said.
After questioning, all the suspects will be sent to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday to face the possibility of being charged, Reach Sokhon said.
Based on information gained through interviews, police planned to arrest drug dealers and members of criminal gangs in seven districts across the capital during an additional 24-hour crackdown beginning 6 pm Monday, he said.
The operation is being carried out in cooperation with municipal military police, he added.
Drug dealers and users in the capital “need to be swept up step by step” under orders given by National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy at the annual Municipal Police meeting Jan 5, Reach Sokhon said.