Police in Phnom Penh raided a factory on Monday, collecting thousands of items of evidence linked to an alleged counterfeiting scheme producing soft drinks illegally marked with the logo of a popular regional brand.
The raid saw 4,000 boxes stamped with the buffalo skull logo of energy drink Carabao, two boxes of labels and thousands of stamped and unstamped bottles seized by police.
According to Top Chhun Long, the deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime unit, the owner of the 4Stars factory in Meanchey district’s Boeung Tompun commune denied having violated copyright laws.
“He said it’s a cow’s head, not a buffalo’s head,” said Chhun Long.
The factory owner, named as 35-year-old Seng Sopheak, is currently being detained by police pending a court appearance.
The raid was launched following a complaint filed by Taing Seanghout, the company that officially produces the Thai brand in Cambodia.
“[Sopheak] confessed in the report that he admitted he had made the product without a licence,” said Eng Sakhorn, the assistant deputy director of the anti-economic crimes unit. “If the sales went well, he was going to apply for a licence in accordance with the laws governing new businesses.”
According to Sakhorn, Sopheak established the company in November 2013 but only recently began producing the fake labels, in an apparent attempt to cash in ahead of Cambodia’s Khmer New Year celebrations in mid-April.
A request for comment from the company that produces Carabao in Thailand went unanswered yesterday.