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Sri Lankan police personnel prepare seized cocaine to be destroyed under judicial supervision in Katunayake on Jan. 15, 2018.
Lakruwan Wanniarachchi— AFP/Getty Images

Sri Lanka has launched a recruitment drive for two executioners of “strong moral character” as the South Asian island nation ratchets up its crackdown on the illicit drug trade.

The BBC reports that the state-run Daily News paper ran a job advertisement seeking men between the ages of 18 and 45 who possess “mental strength” to serve as hangmen.

The country’s last executioner reportedly quit five years ago after he went into shock at the sight of the gallows. According to the BBC, a replacement was hired but he never showed up to assume the job.

President Maithripala Sirisena pledged earlier this month to end the country’s four-decade moratorium on capital punishment as concern has grown over drug-related crime.

Rape, drug trafficking and murder are all considered capital crimes in Si Lanka, though no executions have occurred since 1976.

Last July, Sirisena said Sri Lanka would begin hanging drug offenders, hoping to “replicate the success” of the bloody war on drugs that has left thousands of people dead.

During a visit to the Philippines just last month, Sirisena praised the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte for the crackdown, which he referred to as “an example to the world.”

Drug-related crimes have prompted public calls to restart executions in Sri Lanka, with cannabis and heroin the most widely used. Nearly 1,300 people in Sri Lanka are currently on death row, 48 for drug-related offenses, according to the BBC.

Elsewhere in Asia, Bangladesh has also cracked down on drugs. Authorities launched anti-narcotics raids in May that reportedly led to more than 50 people being fatally shot.

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