Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said on Sunday that police are investigating a counterfeit cigarette ring run by a Chinese national. Several suspects have been arrested for questioning.

The Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Counterfeit Products Department raided a fake cigarette production location on June 11 in Chek village in Phnom Sruoch District’s Ou commune and seized 1,000 cigarette packets, two cigarette producing machines and other equipment.

Samnang told The Post on Sunday that having raided the location the suspects were sent immediately to the ministry for questioning.

He said police inquired about the ringleaders but he could not provide further details due to the ongoing investigation.

“We are searching for [the ringleaders] to send the case to the court. There could be two to three people who are behind this operation,” he said.

The governor said the cigarettes were manufactured to be exported to China. They were not distributed in Cambodia.

Kampong Speu provincial police chief Sam Samoun told The Post on Sunday that seven people were involved in the case and summoned to be questioned. He declined to comment further.

“This crackdown was led by ministry officials while the provincial police assisted. For exhibits, they are taking those cigarette samples to Phnom Penh to identify other substances in them,” he said.

Adhoc spokesman Soeng Sen Karuna said: “Cambodia can be lax in applying the law or inspecting all the locations where fake cigarettes are produced.

“It can also be that when there are bribes or corrupt practices involved, it presents an opportunity to start such illegal operations.”