Thursday, 6 March 2008

Cambodia to end trade in key ecstasy ingredient

PHNOM PENH, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia is seeking ways to include the illicit trade in oil from the rare M'reah Prov tree into its anti-drug legislation, local media reported Thursday.

"Introducing legislation is crucial to stopping all forms of trade in M'reah Prov oil and would enable us to impose heavy punishments on traffickers," Lou Ramin, general secretary of the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), was quoted by the Mekong Times as saying.

He said that Vietnam has reported many hundreds of tons of the oil being smuggled into its country from 2003 to 2006, while Thailand reported that it seized 50 tons of M'reah Prov oil smuggled from Cambodia in 2007.

The Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture's forestry administration said that the country's M'reah Prov trees are mostly found in the provinces of Pursat, Battambang and Koh Kong.

Wong Hoy Yuen, a project coordinator from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that M'reah Prov oil is up to 90 percent rich in Safrole oil, which is used as the main precursor in the clandestine manufacture of MDMA, a drug popularly known as "ecstasy".

M'reah Prov resin is often illegally tapped from trees in Cambodia's densely forested northwestern regions, the newspaper said.

The species is seriously under threat because the slow-growing trees are cut down so the stump and roots of the trees can be boiled to extract the oil, it added.

Editor: An Lu

No comments: