PHNOM PENH —
Weapons and other paraphernalia recovered from the site of a shootout between alleged drug dealers and military police in Phnom Penh show the strong ties drug traffickers hold in Cambodia.
On Saturday, a crackdown on drug dealers in Phnom Penh led to a shootout and the deaths of at least one alleged drug dealer.
The alleged drug dealers drove cars bearing police number plates.
According to Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak, the car in question was sold to the drug dealers by the wife of a police official.
“The Ministry of Interior is investigating the issue and is still waiting for the report from the police.”
Sopheak said the Interior Ministry is still investigating if Ros Oussa, who was implicated in the raid, was involved with drug dealing.
“The vehicle was carrying police plates belonging to the government, belonging to the ministry and registered in the inventory of government and the owner cannot sell it.”
In a speech last Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen cautioned the country’s youth to avoid drug usage, which he said was a major problem.
“Drug abuse is a serious issue in our country and it requires a continuous crackdown. It is not an isolated issue in Cambodia. Cambodia doesn’t have the ability to produce drugs. But it flows from other countries.”
Drug arrests have been on the rise in Cambodia since 2015, according to a government report released last year, the Ministry of Interior said in February.