Police on March 3 detained 10 people at two separate beauty centres in Phnom Penh after they were alleged to have secretly performed transgender surgeries. Illegally imported medicines were also found at the location following a search.
The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee (CCC) and officials of the Ministry of Health carried out raids on two transgender surgery locations on March 3.
The first location raided was the Dr Kang Beauty Centre located in Boeung Kak II commune in Tuol Kork district, Phnom Penh, and the second raid took place at the Gangnam Beauty Centre & Clinic near the Chinese embassy in Tumnop Teuk commune of Boeung Keng Kang district.
Tan Sokvichea, the head of the secretariat of the CCC, told The Post on March 4 that “the police raided both these locations and detained 10 people. The ringleaders are two Vietnamese. The police seized equipment used for [gender reassignment] surgery and some banned medicines. They also found [severed] penises stored in 49 bottles.”
He further said that the locations were raided following an investigation focused on their secret importation of large quantities of banned medicines from abroad.
A probe into the medicines led police to discover what the medicines were being used for – the performance of illegal transgender surgeries on a large scale.
Sokvichea added that the police are building case files on all of the subjects who have been detained for referral to court for prosecution on criminal charges.
Tuol Kork deputy district governor Teav Sam Oeurn said that after raiding the first location, police officers had seized some items as evidence and had soon identified a second location connected to it in Tuol Kork.
“All of the ministries and departments involved worked in cooperation with the police and the interior ministry’s CCC to get the job done. The first raid tipped us off to the location of a second clinic and we raided it right away – Dr Kang Beauty Centre in Tuol Kork.
“We seized more evidence from there and sealed it temporarily. Now we are questioning some of the suspects and their employees,” he said.
Cambodian E-commerce Federation president Ley Sopheap supported these law enforcement operations because underground or unlicensed clinics performing illegal surgeries are dangerous.
“I support this crackdown for the safety of our citizenry. I don’t support these transgender surgeries because these clinics are not licensed according to the law,” he said.
He also called on Cambodians to be very careful about having their genders changed at beauty centres.