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Former PM’s Request on Drug Crackdown Sees Follow-Through

PHNOM PENH: During one of his last meetings before leaving office on August 22, former Prime Minister Hun Sen requested that his son’s new administration double down on addressing the country’s drug crisis. He asked that the new government crackdown on drug trafficking, which he cited as the root of the problem. The last few weeks have seen government initiative in removing drug users from the ranks of civil and military duties, with multiple officials being accused of connections to illegal drugs.

On September 20, a police officer died after falling from a high-rise apartment complex in Phnom Penh while he was being pursued for drug-related activities.

On September 27, the Ministry of Interior announced random drug testing of prison officials to build public trust and increase the quality of its officers. Two days later, Defense Minister Tea Seiha removed a teacher from the military academy related to drug use.

On October 3, two military officers, one of whom was a deputy chief, were removed from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces following charges of illicit drug use.

According to a report by the Ministry of Interior, during the first eight months of the year, the police cracked down on more than 5,000 drug-related cases and arrested more than 12,300 suspects related to drug trafficking in Cambodia. With the latest string of firings, the government is cleaning out its own ranks while hoping to lower drug trafficking rates across the country.

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