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Sentence awaits cream seller

Sentence awaits cream seller

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A selection of skin-whitening creams displayed at Central Market in Phnom Penh last year.

Kampong Speu Provincial Court yesterday heard charges of intentional murder against a 19-year-old wedding store owner who sold a banned skin-whitening cream that ultimately killed one of her customers in September, court officials said.

The closed-door hearing lasted only one day and the verdict in the case will be announced on March 16, provincial deputy prosecutor Ty Munin said yesterday.

“The judge will consider whether we have to change the charge from intentional murder to unintentional murder because, while the suspect sold the cream to the victim, the suspect first bought the cream from someone else at the market,” Ty Munin said.

“There was someone else selling the cream in the first place.”

In September, bride-to-be Mam Seak, 21, and her 19-year-old sister Mam Srey Oun began using the skin-whitening cream at about 1pm on a Thursday.

Six hours later, they began having difficulty breathing and hearing.

By Friday morning, Mam Seak was dead.

The suspect, Lor Lyhour, who owns a wedding store in Oral district’s Trapaing Chhor commune, was arrested the same day Mam Seak died, was charged with intentional murder and detained in the provincial prison until her case was called for hearing yesterday.

Mam Seak became the second bride to die after using the Vietnamese product – branded Kim Lot Lanh Thom Cao Cap.

The product has been banned in both Cambodia and Thailand after another bride-to-be died in March 2010.

In March 2010, a 23-year-old woman in Banteay Meanchey province died after using the same brand of skin-whitening cream before her wedding.

Her family had sent her for treatment at a hospital in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, where doctors said she had suffered an allergic reaction to the cream and that they could do nothing for her.

The health ministry banned the import and sale of the Vietnamese brand one month later.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also ordered the ministry to strictly monitor the use of beauty products containing toxic chemicals, noting that they could cause health problems and lead to diseases such as cancer.

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