In the first eight months of this year, investigating officials from the General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression (CCF) have seized nearly 120 tonnes of unlicensed and counterfeit alcohol (usually methanol) that was distributed and sold illegally in the capital.
Phnom Penh CCF branch manager Heng Maly told The Post on August 31 that the confiscated products had either been destroyed or kept as evidence against perpetrators in court.
He said an investigation is ongoing in search of people behind the importation and distribution of counterfeit sanitisers.
“In the first seven months of 2021, more than 90 tonnes of counterfeit alcohol was seized. If the amount in August is included, a total of 120 tonnes of the product was confiscated,” he said.
Maly said several big cases have been referred to court for prosecution.
He said the counterfeit sanitiser does not help in the fight against Covid-19 as it cannot kill the virus. On the contrary, it is toxic substance that can cause deaths or severely affect public health.
In the latest case on August 30, CCF officers inspected the quality of sanitiser that was put up for sale in many establishments including pharmacies along Russian Federation Blvd in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district. They found that 1,186.50 litres of products were counterfeit sanitiser.
The officials continued the search for suppliers and the locations of a warehouse and distribution centre in Toul Kork district’s Teuk La’ak III commune.
After identifying the locations, CCF officers in cooperation with relevant authorities and in coordination with the municipal court deputy prosecutor inspected the properties and found 756 jerry cans and 791 boxes of counterfeit sanitiser, weighing more than 28 tonnes.
According to Maly, officials have temporarily closed the properties, pending legal procedures.
“We have stored the methanol at the original location as evidence, pending a solution. We will call in the property owners for questioning.
“If they are involved in the offence, we will continue our investigation to find out the distribution sources and determine if the property owners are also behind it,” he said.