Cambodia burns illegal drugs worth nearly $70 million
  • | AFP | June 15, 2024 07:13 AM
Cambodia on Friday burned more than four tonnes of illegal drugs, worth nearly $70 million, as it intensifies a crackdown on narcotic trafficking.

Officials burn seized drugs during a destruction ceremony to mark the UN's "International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking" in Phnom Penh on June 14, 2024.

Cambodian authorities burned the drugs, including ketamine, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and chemical substances, at a brick kiln under the guard of dozens of armed forces.

Meas Virith, secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), told reporters the street value of the 4.1 tonnes of drugs was around $67 million.

"If the authorities failed to seize these drugs, millions of people would have been victimised," he said, adding the Cambodian government has ramped up efforts to combat drug trafficking.

Cambodia has become a major transit country for drug trafficking, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Most of the illegal drugs seized in Cambodia were from the so-called Golden Triangle where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet, Meas Virith said.

Cambodia has recorded spikes in drug arrests and seizures of narcotics in recent months after Prime Minister Hun Manet, who took office in August last year, ordered authorities to intensify efforts to crack down on illicit drugs.

Around 10,000 drug-related suspects were arrested and 4.7 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized during the first five months of this year, according to Cambodian authorities.

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