Four Chinese arrested as Cambodian raids net 70 tonnes of fake cosmetics

It was a major haul that included imitations of South Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and US brands

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 May, 2017, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 May, 2017, 12:06pm

Cambodian authorities have confiscated nearly 70 tonnes of fake cosmetic products that purported to be made in countries like Japan and South Korea, an official said, calling it the country’s largest bust of counterfeit make-up.

The cosmetics included bottles of hair dye, skin-whitening creams and shampoo worth “millions of dollars”, said Meach Sophana, the head of government’s counterfeit committee.

The goods were produced locally but labelled as products made in countries like Japan, South Korea, China, the US, Germany and Thailand, said Meach Sophana.

Some of the cosmetics had fake branding from the luxury Japanese skin care firm Shiseido, he added.

“This is a huge quantity in the history of counterfeit crackdowns in our country,” the official told reporters.

He said that raids in March and April in Phnom Penh and adjoining Kandal province found where the counterfeit items were produced and resulted in the arrests of six people — four Chinese, a Vietnamese-Cambodian dual national and a Cambodian — for illegal production of cosmetics. He said three were detained and the others were ordered not to leave the country pending further investigation.

Cambodian authorities would now investigate health hazards linked to the fake products, said Meach Sophana.

“We often see news on Facebook or in newspapers that some (women) who used skin-whitening lotion suffered side effects and died, or had their skin damaged,” he said.

Skin whitening creams are popular in Cambodia, where many believe a lighter complexion reflects a higher status.

That image is fuelled by the popularity of light-skinned models and actors on billboards and television.

Additional reporting by Associated Press