Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said he would ensure justice was done on behalf
of an expatriate who was sold fake sapphires and rubies at a jeweler in Phnom Penh
and said it would be a lesson to all jewelers not to sell fake products.
American citizen and Phnom Penh resident Nancy K. Taddiken spent $1,600 on what she
thought were rubies and sapphires from Pailin at the Sun Sun Jewelry and Souvenir
Shop in mid June. Upon realizing she had been sold glass, Taddiken tried to return
"When I found out they were fake I felt terrible; just numb," Taddiken
said. "We went back and the [shop owner's] mother said: 'Those wouldn't be real
Pailin sapphires and rubies. You should have known better. You can go to the police.
I don't care'".
Governor Sophara said he would investigate and ask the cabinet to clarify the situation.
"This is the first complaint [of this kind], but can be used to teach people
to do a good job and not to cheat people. This will affect the tourist environment,"
he said. "I will try my best."
Heng Peo, deputy commissioner of Phnom Penh's Municipal Police, said he was gathering
evidence and would push for the case to be settled as soon as possible. Peo said
he had asked Sun Sun shop owner Em Sophea to a meeting on July 5, and would obtain
an arrest warrant from the municipal court if she refused to attend.
"I have information [Sophea] has cheated foreigners many times," Peo said.
"The American lady will get her money back. In addition [Sophea] must be arrested.
Because this is a misdemeanor case, she will be charged with deception. But the punishment
is up to the court."
A Sun Sun spokesman who refused to give his name said the company would attend the
meeting, but would not pay back the money because the shop had a 'no returns' policy.
He suggested Taddiken had not asked whether the gemstones were real.
"If you want to get married, you ask the mother whether the daughter is a virgin
or not, but she [Taddiken] did not ask, she just got married," he said.
Taddiken paid just $32 per carat for 12 rubies each weighing two carats, and $22
per carat for 16 sapphires. Gem enthusiast David Mead said that a first rate Pailin
ruby weighing two carats would cost $800-1,000 per carat and even the lowest grade
ruby was worth $200 per carat.
Mead said prices should be determined by the color of the stone, any defects, the
smoothness of the cut and how deep the stone was.
"There are many, many fakes. They are all over the place, [and] you'll get taken
by most people," he warned. "I think it happens to tourists on tour buses.
They are the best targets as they never come back."
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