Anti-economic crime department police officers raided a warehouse in Nirouth commune of Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district and confiscated five tonnes of unauthorised cosmetics and medical materials.

Matt Youssou, head of the department’s Anti-Intellectual Property Rights Crime Bureau, told The Post on January 27 that the raid was carried out on January 25 in cooperation with a Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor, the Ministry of Health, the General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention as well as local authorities.

The confiscated goods included 124 cartons of soap (around 2,790kg); 55 cartons of nail polish removers (around 1,575kg); 1,800 boxes of medical face masks (around 950kg) ; and 1,000 IV cannulas.

“We aren’t completely sure whether all of these goods are counterfeit or not. But what we have found is that a lot of these goods are not registered or recognised by the health ministry. And neither the owner of the goods nor the warehouse has showed up yet to resolve this matter,” he said.

Youssou added that the seized goods were being held temporarily at the warehouse behind a new set of locks and now they were waiting for the owner to come settle the case.

He declined to reveal the owner’s identity.

One day after the raid, police also surrounded a home belonging to Ean Sivemey, who holds the honorific title oknha and is well-known as a wholesaler of lotions.

The house is located in the Borey Moon Town gated community in Chaom Chao I commune’s Kouk Chambak village of the capital’s Por Sen Chey district.

According to an official involved in the operation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Sievmey had apparently escaped just before the raid.

“I don’t know if she gets involved in the import of unauthorised cosmetics and medical materials in Chbar Ampov district or not, but she’s had some legal troubles. She’s been accused of defamation by two powerful Chum Teavs,” he said, using an honorific title for women.

“There are two complaints filed with the interior ministry against her,” the official said.

The official declined to provide the identities of the two Chum Teavs.

Phan Oun, director-general of the General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention, told The Post that the raid on the warehouse is part of an ongoing investigation and he cannot comment on it in detail.

“The police would not confiscate products that were imported legally and recognised by the health ministry,” he said.

He also called on all merchants, wholesalers and retailers of cosmetics and medical materials in Cambodia, and especially online vendors, to cease the deceptive practice of falsifying the sources of their goods because they were having a detrimental effect on people’s health just for their own personal profits

“In order to become good merchants, businesspeople and citizens, they have to identify the sources of their goods. They must not falsify the source of their goods or violate the intellectual property rights of others. Counterfeits are illegal and they will have to face the law,” he said.

Oun added that imports of beauty products, vitamins or dietary supplements and medical materials all require registration with the health ministry.

He warned consumers they must not believe the propaganda and lies of unauthorised online vendors. Any product they come across that has no clear source or registration with the ministry could be dangerous to their health and a waste of money.