CAMBODIA'S reputation as "Asia's new narco-state", highlighted in a cover article last November of the Far Eastern Economic Review and in US President Bill Clinton's recent singling out of the country as having a "severe" problem with heroin trafficking, seems well founded, though details and firm statistics are few and far between.
"It's amazing how little statistical information there is," says a western diplomat based in Cambodia. "The largest amount of money that comes into and goes out of Cambodia is narco-related," asserts another. "That's a fact."
The national police deputy chief, Noun Soeur, after a politically-motivated dismissal last August, claimed that 600 kg of heroin was shipped through Phnom Penh each week. And also in August last year, Cambodian customs officials seized 71 kg of heroin hidden in a speedboat in the coastal province of Koh Kong.
Since Thai and US Drug...