The Phnom Penh Post

Official: Fake sanitisers less prevalent

- Voun Dara

THE sale of counterfei­t or fake alcohol-based sanitising solutions and gels significan­tly decreased in the first three months of this year as greater awareness has spread within the business community about the problem, according to the Ministry of Commerce’s General Directorat­e of Consumer Protection, Competitio­n and Fraud Prevention.

Phan Oun, head of the directorat­e, told The Post on April 7 that this year officials had inspected alcohol and gel retailers and distributo­rs such as markets and pharmacies.

Out of 78 samples of items taken and tested for analysis, only two of them turned out to be fakes.

He said the vendors selling the fake items were not arrested or sent to court because it was their first offence. The officials just asked them to sign a letter promising not to repeat the offence.

“Currently, most of the products available on the market now come with trademarks clearly displayed. That wasn’t the case last year prior to the crackdown,” he said.

According to their report, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to comply with preventive measures, officials only checked the locations that had been busted for selling fake merchandis­e last year.

“This is an important part of our job to spread the word and enforce consumer protection­s strictly and check on product quality regularly,” he said.

Oun said his directorat­e had also requested that businesses refrain from engaging in price gouging on health-related items during the pandemic and stock only legitimate products that work as intended.

Oun also called on citizens to be careful when buying alcohol sanitiser solutions and gels by examining the trademarks and the packaging and only buying from trusted sources.

Oun said that in 2020, his directorat­e seized and burned 94 tonnes of fake alcohol sanitiser and that some of the seizures had resulted in individual­s being referred to the court for prosecutio­n.

The Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Counterfei­t Committee also works on preventing the sale of fake products to the public.

The committee chairman, Meach Sophanna, said on April 7 that they regularly collaborat­ed with the commerce ministry and the police to investigat­e the sales of fake product, especially items used to protect people from Covid-19 this past year.

“We know that substandar­d products are not effective and could harm our citizens’ health,” he said.

Sophanna said his committee had investigat­ed around 20 reported instances of merchants selling fake alcohol and gel sanitisers in the first three months of this year.

 ?? COMMERCE MINISTRY ?? Officials inspect fake hand sanitisers seized in Phnom Penh last year.
COMMERCE MINISTRY Officials inspect fake hand sanitisers seized in Phnom Penh last year.

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