Police Given One-Month Deadline to Make Commune Drug-Free

Police have been ordered to clear a notorious Phnom Penh slum of drug users and dealers by the end of the month or a special task force will step in and do it for them, authorities said on Tuesday.

Trapaing Chhouk village, a known hotbed for criminal activity in Sen Sok district’s Toek Thla commune, has been chosen for particular attention as part of a wider sweep to clean up the capital’s drug problem.

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Interior Minister Sar Kheng, center, presides over a meeting formally announcing the government’s new anti-drug campaign in Phnom Penh last year. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

All 12 districts of the capital were tasked with looking at drug trafficking following a meeting on Monday with city governor Pa Socheatvong. But Trapaing Chhouk has been singled out as a place where police can set an example by ridding the village of drug abuse within the one-month deadline and restoring the area’s reputation, according to City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey.

Where regular district and commune police forces fail, the city’s special Capital Security Task Force team would step in to get the job done, he added.

“The Capital Security Task Force will take over if the authorities cannot crack down on drug issues,” Mr. Measpheakdey said.

At the meeting, Mr. Socheatvong gave three instructions for authorities combating drug crime: Determine the location of drug traffickers and users; determine the identity of traffickers and users; and close down rented rooms that are operating illegally.

“After the authorities are able to determine the drug traffickers and users, the authorities will be able to easily crack down” on drugs, Mr. Measpheakdey said.

Yim Sarann, Pur Senchey district police chief, said he welcomed the governor’s instructions, but believed the list of methods for fighting drug crime was incomplete.

“The City Hall’s three mechanisms issued to crack down on drugs are good, but they are still not enough to eliminate drugs,” he said. “Authorities should educate people to understand the dangers of drugs.”

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