Two beauty shops in Phnom Penh were on Tuesday raided by anti-economic crime police for selling a skin-whitening product known as “Tabita” that contains high amounts of mercury and the banned carcinogenic bleach hydroquinone, and five more shops will be raided in the coming days, officials said yesterday.
Tabita was banned by the Health Ministry in 2015 after Singapore sent a notice that it contained harmful chemicals including hydroquinone, as well as mercury and tretinoin, according to a May 19 letter from ministry Secretary of State Choun Yinsim to lawyers for Sokun Vattanak Trading Co, which owns the shops.
The two beauty shops were properly licensed to operate by the Ministry of Commerce but were raided for selling the banned products, which were confiscated, and court proceedings could now follow, said Long Sreng, the deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s Anti-Economic Crimes Police Department.
“The ingredients of products were not accepted by the Ministry of Health,” Sreng said, explaining that the confiscated skin-whitening products had been sent to the Health Ministry.
“We will send the case to court in the next three days, and we also will confiscate from five [other] shops who have sold this brands.”