Seventeen people have been arrested for drug offences and over 200,000 pills were seized in Karen State’s Kya-in Seikgyi Township so far this year, according to the local police chief.
Major Win Naing said ten men and seven women were arrested in connection with 13 drug cases in Kya-in Seikkyi township alone between January and October this year, while 204,224 methamphetamine pills and 28.75 grams of crystal methamphetamine (also known as ice) have been seized, in addition to 70,590 baht, K396,900, one vehicle and three motorcycles.
“We have taken action on 13 drug cases. The arrests are made based on [public] reports,” he said. “There are some difficulties in travelling to areas controlled by [ethnic armed] organizations. Drug education talks have been given in schools and wards. There aren’t many young people who use drugs. We are always monitoring them together with the community elders,” he added.
Maj Win Naing emphasized that police forces would not arrest drug users who had registered with monitoring authorities to undergo rehabilitation at Insein hospital in Yangon.
The authorities said they sent more than 10 local youth to a drug rehabilitation center, and lodged charges in 20 drugs cases that included suicide attempts, homicides, or violent assaults in the township last year.
But residents of Kya-in Seikgyi’s Win Yaw ward were critical of the efforts of law enforcement and ethnic armed groups to tackle drug crime.
“Some families sell drugs due to lack of job opportunities. Some people may sniff ‘horse drug’ [meth] when they are free because they feel unhappy with being unemployed,” said Saw Naing Naing, a Win Yaw resident.
“The [situation regarding] drug use and sales is the same as always. It will only be eradicated when armed [organizations] cooperate [with law enforcement], since there is no rule of law here. No [anti-drug] campaign has been carried out for the youth,” he added.