Senior government figures yesterday noted major flaws in an ongoing drug crackdown, among them a lack of rehabilitation for incarcerated users, during a day-long review of the campaign yesterday.

The government also proposed establishing five ill-defined “white villages” – or drug-free locations – on the border with Laos and Vietnam, as well as selling off confiscated motorbikes from detainees awaiting trial.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday said “alternatives” to overcrowded prisons had to be found and suggested that detainees’ motorbikes should be sold off to both free up storage space and create revenue.

“We want to sell them at a low price and take the money to the bank and take the interest,” he said, adding that if the accused were deemed innocent, they would be paid back, and if not, the seized money would be used to build more rehabilitation centres.

Sar Kheng also grappled with the issue of severe overcrowding in prisons.

“It is possible we only arrest the dangerous masterminds, and the less-dangerous, we educate and send back to do community service,” he said, but quickly added that such a strategy was “impossible” because the community would “beat them to death if they hear that one is a thief”.