Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Counterfeiters and price gougers may dampen the holiday spirit for some

Counterfeiters and price gougers may dampen the holiday spirit for some

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CCF officers inspect goods in Rattanakiri​ market on September 12, 2022. CCF

Counterfeiters and price gougers may dampen the holiday spirit for some

The Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF) are stepping up inspections at markets and business locations across the country to ensure food safety during the 15-day Pchum Ben Observance, following a series of crackdown that resulted in more than 3,000 tonnes of illegal goods confiscated over the past eight months.

According to a CCF report seen by The Post on September 13, in this eight-month period, investigating officers seized more than 19 tonnes of defective, unlabelled or non-compliant goods containing expired or banned chemicals.

Officials encountered 116 cases of trademark infringement and temporarily seized about 3,272 tonnes of goods for further processing, while the offences related to counterfeit goods have resulted in fines in accordance with the laws, though no cases have been referred to court yet.

"Counterfeit goods are still circulating in the markets in Cambodia due to legal factors, and law enforcement has only just begun in this area for a short time compared with other countries in the world.

"Understanding of authorised goods and the benefits that consumers get from them is still limited. The people have a poor standard of living and are easily deceived by rogue traders," the report continued.

In order to reduce the amount of counterfeit goods in circulation and the infringement of intellectual property rights, CCF has introduced an action plan with increased inspections and investigation activities in markets, warehouses and other locations.

CCF has also implemented the strictest legal measures possible against offenders. At the same time, they will carry out the work of raising public awareness about the law with consumers, producers and traders by any available means.

CCF director-general Phan Oun told The Post on September 13 that his officials throughout the country have increased inspections of all kinds of goods sold in the markets and at other food business locations at the different targets.

The increase in inspections is to protect consumer rights and safety by ensuring the prevention of the sale of non-compliant, defective and outdated goods that endanger their health.

"We are stepping up inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and food stalls as well as foods or material kits intended for monks [over Pchum Ben]. We check this to ensure that they do not take advantage of the Pchum Ben festival to sell things that are defective or of poor quality or out of date as offerings to the monks because it can have bad consequences," he said.

Oun hopes that businesspeople will not do so during the holiday, though he called on people to be careful when buying things and if they have any doubts they can file a complaint to CCF.

This year's holiday season has also seen the Ministry of Tourism issue instructions on the management of tourists and improving the quality of tourism products during the Pchum Ben public holiday from September 24-26.

The ministry instructed the capital and provincial tourism departments to continue to promote the implementation of health measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to enforce tourism safety rules and regulations and standard operating procedures (SOP) based on the new normal.

The ministry also advised officials to cooperate with traders and tourism-related businesses to improve the quality of tourism products, maintain a clean environment and appropriate pricing for their products and services.

Owners of boats, speed boats and water transport service providers that carry tourists across the sea, rivers, streams and lakes have also been advised not to overload their craft and to have them equipped with the necessary emergency equipment.

"All accommodations, food and other services must be clearly posted to inform guests in advance so they are aware of any excessively high prices. In cases of non-compliance with the requirement to post the prices for goods and services, the business owner will be held accountable before the law," the ministry stated.

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