Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Authorities impound 80 tonnes of fake sanitiser

Authorities impound 80 tonnes of fake sanitiser

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Ministry of Commerce’s General Department of Consumer Protection,Competition and Fraud Repression shows off the seized sanitiser. CCF

Authorities impound 80 tonnes of fake sanitiser

Over the past month, authorities from the Ministry of Commerce’s Consumer Protection and Fraud Repression Department seized more than 80 tonnes of hand sanitiser made with methanol from markets across the country.

A ministry announcement on Friday said the seized sanitiser contained methanol, a substance banned by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The sanitiser was mostly confiscated in the capital, but quantities were also seized in provinces throughout the Kingdom.

“Methanol is a non-toxic, colourless, odourless alcohol that is very similar to normal alcohol [ethyl alcohol], and is mainly used as a solvent,” the statement said.

Methanol is generally marketed as methyl alcohol, methyl hydrate, methyl hydroxide, methylol, wood naphtha or wood spirit, among other names. It is completely water-soluble and highly flammable.

WHO guidelines state that methanol is not allowed to be used as an active ingredient in the production of hand sanitisers as it can adversely affect the health of consumers.

Short-term effects include skin burning, eye irritation, headaches, drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, disrupted digestion and dullness of vision, according to the guidelines.

Long-term effects can be far more serious.

“If mixed with alcoholic drinks or other beverages, it can be detrimental to the body’s nervous system, cause visual impairment and even complete blindness.”

On Sunday, ministry spokesman Seang Thay called on sellers, businessmen, companies, enterprises and individuals who are conducting business with products containing methanol to stop the sale and distribution of them for the common good of the whole population.

If they do not stop their illegal business practices, the ministry would take legal action, Thay said.

Offenders will be fined or have their business licence revoked and a complaint will be filed with the court depending on the number of products seized.

General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention director-general Phan Oun, said on Sunday the ministry is currently taking legal action against two foreigners who illegally imported handwashing alcohol containing methanol into the Cambodian market.

“Methanol affects not only consumer economics but also consumer health, so we need to build a case in court according to legal procedures,” he said.

Oun confirmed more than 80 tonnes of methanol-based alcohol hand sanitiser has been seized by the ministry.

In the past month, 75 tonnes of the illegally produced sanitiser was found in the capital, he said, and the ministry decided to burn it.

Illegally produced sanitiser seized in the provinces is being stored where it was found while authorities wait for an expert committee to decide when it will be burned.


  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there