Beer Company Gets Special OK Amid Ministry’s Ad Prize Ban

On the first day of a government ban on alcohol advertisements that promote their products with the chance of winning prizes, the recently launched Cambodia Beer said yesterday that it did not have to comply with the ban.

Last month, the Ministry of In­formation ordered all newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations to ban, starting yesterday, all advertisements that offer prizes for purchasing alcohol, saying that the lure of prizes can lead to young people binge-drinking and increased traffic accidents.

The order also said that all alcohol advertisements must include a warning advising against drunk driving.

However, Leang Meng, president of the Chip Mong Group—which produces Cambodia Beer—said that the company received a special license from Information Minister Khieu Kanharith allowing its newly launched Cambodia Beer to ignore the ban.

“I know [about the ban], but I requested the Information Mini­ster already to have the license,” said Mr. Meng.

“It is a license from Excellency Khieu Kanharith.”

However, Mao Ayuth, secretary of state at the ministry, said this is the first he has heard of such a license and that as far as he knows, the ban applies to everyone. “I am unaware of the license,” he said.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment. Mean Sam Ol, de­puty marketing manager for Cambodia Brewery—which distributes beer brands Anchor, Tiger and ABC Stout—said his company had discontinued advertisements offering prizes and that he was unaware of a special li­cense to bypass the ban.

“For us, we did not hear anything about it,” he said.

Chan Im, brand manager for wine producer Randonal, said that his company had also stopped promoting prizes in its advertising and disagreed with other companies being allowed to continue doing so.

“It’s not fair to the other companies,” said Mr. Im.

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