National Assembly Deputy Speaker Warns of ‘Extreme Volumes’ of Meth Production in Asia

National Assembly First Vice President H.E. Dr. Cheam Yeap warned Friday that synthetic drug production was continuing to grow in Asia.

“Synthetic drug trade continues to expand in East and Southeast Asia, with production and trafficking hitting record levels in 2021,” he told the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Advisory Council on Dangerous Drugs.

“Extreme volumes of methamphetamine are being produced, trafficked, and used in the region,” he said in his opening remarks, referring to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last month.

“The synthetic drug trade continues to diversify,” he added.

The Deputy Speaker recalled that the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters chaired by Cambodia last year noted “changing trends and patterns in illicit drug activities” in the region — including record seizures of synthetic drugs and the smuggling of non-controlled chemicals used as precursors.

“Other challenges include the increasing trend of foreign drug syndicates connecting with local criminals and online drug trafficking in the ASEAN Member States,” he said.

Mr. Sim Inshik, from the UNODC Regional Office in Bangkok, told the meeting that a “spillover” of methamphetamine from Myanmar was “hitting the region” with crystal meth or “ice” selling for only US$5,000 a kilogramme in Thailand last year — down from more than US$10,000 a kilogramne in 2019.

Despite reported increases in demand, “data is limited and not prioritised,” the UNODC official said. To keep abreast of the region’s evolving synthetic drug market, Mr. Sim Inshik stressed the importance of forensics and early-warning systems.

The one-day meeting of ASEAN members of parliament was chaired by H.E. Ty Sokun, Secretary of the National Assembly Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Information and Media.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Press