Kandal Provincial Court prosecutor Ek Sun Reaksmey has charged two coffee roasters with illegally producing coffee with illicit substances.

On July 2, the Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee inspected and closed a coffee roaster business which was mixing its coffee beans with soybeans in Kraing Mkak commune, Trapeang Khtoem village, in Ang Snuol district, Kandal province.

The provincial court’s warrant dated July 16 said Sun Reaksmey charged Thun Nath, 33, and Luot Leang, 24, with creating counterfeit products. Nath owned the roasting company while Leang was the mastermind behind the concoction.

The warrant said the accuseds’ confessions were enough to justify skipping an investigation and sending the case directly to trial.

Sun Reaksmey said Nath and Leang had committed a breach of the law in producing coffee mixed with chemicals without standards.

The coffee was produced without permission from the relevant ministries, did not comply with legal standards and posed a high risk to consumers’ health and safety.

“They were charged with misdemeanours under Article 63, which are punishable by a one-month to one-year imprisonment and a fine of five million ($1,222) to 10 million riel.

“They broke the law governing the quality and safety management of products and services. Therefore, it should be sent to be tried directly according to the Code of Criminal Procedure.”

According to the defendants, the coffee roaster opened in 2018 and Nath and Leang learned the recipe from other people. They bought one tonne of coffee beans a month from Orussey Market at 15,000 riel per kg.

They use five 120kg-capacity ovens to roast the beans. The mix uses butter, caramel syrup, artificial substances, food colouring, sugar, salt, fish sauce, rice wine, MSG, milk and soybeans.

The confession said the defendants didn’t have a brand name because their business was family-run. It also said they admitted that the production and distribution of their coffee was not permitted.

According to a Counter Counterfeit Committee report, police found 60 sacks of soybeans, six sacks of first-grade coffee beans, 10 sacks of second-grade coffee beans and six sacks of roasted coffee beans.

They also found a butter mixing machine, a sugar mixing machine and artificial substances used to give products a coffee scent.

Undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and Counter Counterfeit Committee vice-president Kem Cheat told The Post on Sunday that the committee’s standpoint was to focus on the health of the people.

“We will continue to investigate and crack down on all crimes. We will impose aggravating circumstances and ask the judiciary to punish them under the law,” he said.