Government officials yesterday destroyed more than 80 tonnes of counterfeit chemical products, chief among them hazardous skin-whitening creams and knock-off Viagra pills.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng sat tall at the wheel of an excavator, crushing around 81 tonnes of fakes that had been seized by the government’s Counter Counterfeit Committee.
Committee head Mech Sophana said the products had been tested and found to contain chemicals that could pose health risks.
“This is a huge destruction that has never happened in the history of our crackdowns on fake products in Cambodia,” he said.
Sar Kheng said there was still too little cooperation between ministries to identify and confiscate counterfeits, and urged authorities to prioritise fake medications.
“Some medicines are expired, but they can remove the ‘out of date’ stamp and place a new one on it, therefore the medicine becomes ‘new’,” he said, adding other pills were manufactured from cassava powder rather than actual medicine.
He also said special attention should be paid to consumables like alcohol and food that could contain ingredients that “endanger our life and health”.
By way of example, he said an unnamed ambassador had recently sent him a bottle of Chivas Regal whiskey as a gift.
“It was clearly fake, and this is not the mistake of the ambassador, it was mistake of the seller who sold the fake,” he said.