Interior Minister Sar Kheng said on Wednesday that he was concerned his countrywide drug crackdown would fail if his officers remained among those trafficking drugs.
Speaking at Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich to mark International Day Against Drugs Abuse, Kheng said he was still targeting the elimination of all drug problems by the end of the year.
However, the campaign would fail if officers were among the perpetrators, he said.
“If anti-drug enforcement officers are involved, our experts are involved, it would make the drug crackdown have no effect. It won’t be successful,” Kheng said.
“Even if they are not directly involved, but only acting as support for drug dealers, it will cause the fight against drugs to fail, and such cases have already been seen.”
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey agreed that the government must eliminate corruption in order to tackle the growing problem of drug abuse, and urged authorities to arrest the top ringleaders, who he claimed were powerful government officials.
“The only way to make bad and corrupt officials scared is to take action against officials involved in or easing the distribution, use and dealing of drugs with corruption charges, the confiscation of assets and serious jail terms,” Chey said.
The Interior Ministry says it has arrested more than 7,000 people for drug-related crimes in the first five months of the year, including 12 ringleaders and 52 associates.
(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)