Drug cases rise, volume drops

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Drug cases increased during the first five months of this year. Police

The number of drug cases in the country jumped by more than 1,100 cases in the first five months of the year while the number of people facing charges increased by more than 1,700. However, the volume of drugs involved had decreased, said the authorities.

Data from Committee 3 said anti-drug police investigated 4,490 drug cases and arrested 8,864 people across the country. The number included 114 foreigners from seven nationalities.

The total amount of various drugs seized during this period was 260kg, including 225kg of dried marijuana and 180,490 marijuana plants.

“Confiscated assets included 29 cars, 882 motorcycles, 2,673 mobile phones, 174 weighing scales, four handguns and 16 rifles,” the report said.

It said the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) also requested to freeze a house and three bank accounts totalling $20,000.

In the first five months of last year, police investigated 3,335 drug cases, arrested 7,097 people and confiscated 310kg of drugs. Of these, 2,039 cases involved 3,873 people who trafficked in drugs, while 1,276 cases involved 3,220 persons who were drug users.

The figures indicate an increase of 1,165 cases and 1,767 arrests. But the amount of drugs confiscated dropped from 310kg to 260kg.

Mok Chito, the deputy national police chief in charge of combating drugs told The Post on Tuesday that the increase in cases and people arrested had two meanings.

On one hand, he said, the increase reflected the participation of the public, civil society and authorities of all levels in the anti-drug campaign. On the other, it indicated that drug crimes had not slowed due to the measures taken against the spread of Covid-19.

While countries around the world are facing Covid-19, he said drug trafficking had increased, especially drug transportation via airmail and across land borders.

Chito said there was a case of trying to transport drugs from Cambodia to South Korea. The latest case, he said, happened last week when a Vietnamese man tried to traffic nearly 21kg of illegal drugs from Cambodia to Vietnam across the Svay Rieng border.

He said after cooperating with its Vietnamese counterparts, Cambodian police last week arrested two other men in Phnom Penh and confiscated more than 3kg of drugs, including heroin. Police also found a rifle and a Glock pistol.

“We sent the two men to court on Monday. To be honest, these two are transporters. Their ringleader is a Chinese national who is on the run. We are already cooperating with others to arrest him,” Chito said.

The operation also confiscated two cars and three motorcycles in Preak Leap commune, Chroy Changvar district, he said.