VN-Laos-Cambodia join hands to fight drug trafficking

Vietnam will further co-operate with its neighbours and the international community to tackle drug trafficking in an attempt to make the ASEAN bloc drug-free, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said yesterday at a ministerial conference with Laos and Cambodia.

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Kou Chansina, chairman of the National Committee for Drug Control of Laos, and Kao Khondara, vice chairman of Cambodia's National Committee for Drug Control, attended the conference.

Speaking at the 15th Tripartite and Bipartite Ministerial Conference between Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos on Drug Control Co-operation, Dam said the meeting would continue focusing on cracking down on synthetic drugs and eradicating opium poppy plants.

Dam, who is also chairman of the National Committee for AIDS, Prostitution and Drug Prevention, said Viet Nam attached great importance to international co-operation in fighting drugs, especially strengthening co-operation with its neighbouring countries Laos and Cambodia.

Dam said drugs were a threat all over the world, especially in the ASEAN community, and could cause social disorder and serious diseases such as HIV if no action was taken.

Dam added that the three countries were greatly affected by the Golden Triangle, the world's largest opium producing area, where traffickers and smugglers take advantage of the tough terrain to hide their activities.

He said closer co-operation between the countries would be the most important factor in stopping the spread of drugs.

Also, the increasing number of opium poppy plants and the emergence of a new breed of modern criminal required close co-operation between border provincial authorities.

Representatives of the three countries said that in recent years, the national committees for drug control have organised conferences and seminars at different levels and put forth initiatives and measures to resolve the problem.

The countries have raised the effectiveness of their anti-drug efforts. The public's awareness of problems caused by drug-related crimes has been significantly enhanced in each country.

Participants also discussed limitations in anti-drug co-operation among law enforcement forces and border provinces of the three countries.

They asked that national drug control agencies continue border co-operation against drug trafficking and that border provinces join drug enforcement agencies in exchanging information about drug offences.

The three countries should also work closely together to eradicate poppy fields in border and remote areas, they said.

Participants agreed on the need to establish offices for anti-drug information exchange in neighbouring provinces.

The conference provided an important forum to exchange information and knowledge in fighting drug trafficking.

Viet Nam pledged to give more training to anti-drug law enforcement forces of Laos and Cambodia, and be ready to share experience and information with colleagues in those countries, according to Dam.

Since the end of last year, anti-drug trafficking forces of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia have together discovered 1,813 drug cases in which more than 455 kilos of heroin and 226,975 ecstasy pills were seized. More than 2,500 traffickers were arrested.

Today, senior officials from the three countries will sign a joint statement on anti-crime, which will focus on effective coordination in combating organised crime, especially drug trafficking.


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