Siem Reap police officials on Wednesday seized 18 tonnes of suspected counterfeit seasoning, detained a suspect and are on the hunt for the operation’s ringleader.
The operation is part of an ongoing crackdown that may be connected to a previous case in the capital that saw three people detained earlier this month.
Siem Reap provincial police chief Mork Theara told The Post on Thursday that authorities detained three people, including the distribution location owner, after the provincial court prosecutor inspected the site in the province’s Chreav commune.
Theara said: “We detained the owner temporarily so that she may provide some details that help us find the source [of the fake seasoning].
“She said she brought the seasoning [to Siem Reap] from Phnom Penh. We must question her further, conduct more searches and execute legal action.
“We have not confirmed that the seasoning is counterfeit as we have not tested it yet, but the firm which holds exclusive rights to import it and the owner confirmed it is.”
On December 10, Ministry of Interior police officials detained three people and seized more than four tonnes of suspected counterfeit seasoning during a raid on a separate location in Phnom Penh.
Theara said the two cases may be related since both crackdowns yielded seasoning under the same trademark.
“We won’t know if the cases are connected until the suspect provides further clarification,” he stressed.
Touch Yuthea, the Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee deputy secretary, also told The Post that the two cases may be connected, but declined to provide additional details as the matter is under investigation.
Yuthea said the authorities were relying on the detained suspects to uncover additional storehouses and offenders, adding that a total of 19 to 20 tonnes were seized during the overnight raid in Siem Reap province.
“Sometimes, judicial police officials keep suspects so that they will cooperate with specialists in their investigation.
“We cannot speculate on [who will be] sent to court or charged because [the police] can use this information to uncover more locations, Yuthea said.