Three Kampot Police Officers Test Positive for Meth Use

Three police officers have been demoted after testing positive for methamphetamine as Kampot province began drug-testing officers on Thursday, with other provinces saying they had already started testing their police officers or have plans to do so.

It follows the launch of the government’s six-month anti-drug campaign on January 1. In the first month alone, 2,428 people were arrested for drug-related offenses, including 1,243 suspected users, according to government figures.

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Ke Kim Yan, chairman of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, speaks last month during a meeting of senior officials about the government’s anti-drug campaign at the Interior Ministry in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“We received information that officers in our police force were involved with drugs. We called them to test their urine, which tested positive for drugs,” said Major General Mao Chanmathurith, Kampot’s police chief.

The three officers—Sar Sambath, 25, Oeng Pheareak, 25, and Teng Bora, 22—have been employed for about a month. Maj. Gen. Chanmathurith said he had asked National Police and Interior Ministry officials to fire them.

“If there are police who have drugs in their bodies, we will take legal measures, and if they are involved in drug trafficking, we will send them to court,” he said.

National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith said there was no national plan to drug-test police, “but we are not preventing any provinces from testing police officers for drugs.”

In Pailin province, police chief Brigadier General Chea Chandin said drug testing for officers began earlier this week.

“We are law enforcement officials who cannot be involved with drugs,” he said. “We have to clean ourselves first, then clean others.”

Any officers caught using would be fired from their jobs and sent for rehabilitation, he added.

Testing of officers in Preah Sihanouk province started six months ago, said Major General Chuon Narin, the provincial police chief.

Battambang provincial police said they also intended to start drug testing, and Defense Ministry spokesman General Chhum Socheat said the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces was also considering a plan to test soldiers.

Drug testing of military police officers is already underway.

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