Lao Prime Minister Tells Police: Get Tough On Drugs

Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has called on police officers to work harder to dramatically decrease crime and social ills including the illegal trade in drugs and goods.

The premier made the comment on Friday as he addressed the 2016 annual public security meeting held at the Ministry of Public Security.

The police were asked to focus on tackling issues such as road accidents, drug dealing and abuse, as well as illegal trade along borders and in towns.

The prime minister’s advice comes amid an upsurge in smuggling and illicit drugs in Laos.

Cases involving the illegal trade in drugs, notably amphetamines, have been reported almost every day by the media, triggering major concern over the danger they pose to young people who are vulnerable to falling victim to drug dealers.

In 2016, some 2,508 drug-related cases were recorded with 3,740 people detained and prosecuted, an increase of 250 cases compared to the year before, according to a report presented at the meeting.

More than 9,000kg of various drugs were seized. Some 97 vehicles used for drug dealing, 135 motorbikes, 58 guns, 22 grenades and seven sets of amphetamine-producing equipment were also impounded.

The illegal trade in goods is another concern. For instance, 5,639 cars were illegally imported into Laos during the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to the Customs Department under the Ministry of Finance. Contaminated food has also been reportedly imported into Laos time after time.

More than 3,000 major crimes were also reported to have occurred nationally over the past year.

The crimes involved murder, robbery, and other forms of theft. Almost 3,000 criminals were detained, a drop of 70 compared to the year before.

Some 5,076 road accidents occurred across the country, an increase of 727 compared to the year before, which resulted in 981 people being killed and 8,098 injured.

There were 140 accidental fires throughout the country, a drop of 30 compared to the year before, which caused more than 102 billion kip in losses.

At Friday’s meeting, Mr Thongloun told the police to carry out their work professionally in a timely and just manner so as to offer the best possible service to the public.

He praised public security personnel for their achievements over the past year. He also awarded labour medals and government certificates of praise to some police officers in recognition of their contribution to Laos’ hosting of the recent 28th and 29th Asean Summits in Vientiane.