Officials incinerated a mountain of Vietnamese-branded consumer goods at the Choeung Ek landfill in Phnom Penh on Thursday during a ceremony officials said was aimed at informing citizens about the risks of consuming counterfeit and expired products.
Excavators pushed thousands of bags and boxes of fake and out-of-date coffee, fish sauce, soy sauce and other illicit Vietnamese products into a giant pit before workers set them alight as officials from the ministries of interior, health and commerce looked on.
The goods were confiscated during a March 21 raid on a 23-year-old Vietnamese man’s apartment in Phnom Penh and nearby markets, said Chan Vanthoeun, director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime department.
“According to the police investigation, these products were transported to Cambodia via corridors connecting Cambodia and Vietnam,” Mr. Vanthoeun said.
Police found an invoice in Vin Yeaklin’s Dangkao district apartment indicating that some of the man’s stock had already been sold to markets, he said.
“Police found all of these products at the markets in Phnom Penh, such as Phsar Chas, Phsar Kandal and Phsar Thmei,” Mr. Vanthoeun said, noting that not everything could be traced back to Mr. Yeaklin.
He said Mr. Yeaklin had been sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to face charges, but that he did not know the outcome of the case.
Loeung Ratha, deputy director of Camcontrol, the Commerce Ministry’s import-export inspection unit, said Cambodians needed to know about the health risks of consuming banned products. He said the agency would also soon have a mobile lab capable of testing potentially tainted food in the provinces, saving a trip to the capital.