Phnom Penh municipal police confiscated more than 700 counterfeit Johnnie Walker whiskey bottles during a raid in the capital’s Russei Keo district, adding the empty bottles were ready to be filled with fake booze and sold as the genuine product, officials said yesterday.
Plang Sophal, deputy prosecutor at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said police entered a house in Tuol Sangke commune yesterday and found empty bottles with the brand’s telltale shape and labels, along with bottling equipment.
No arrests have been made, he said.
“We confiscated more than 700 empty bottles and boxes of whiskey and some items for producing fake whiskey, but we are continuing the investigation to find the suspects,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Long Sreng of the Ministry of Interior’s economic police said his officers had been investigating the operation for more than two months when the municipality’s economic police department conducted the raid without consulting his officers.
Lt Col Sreng stopped short of expressing his disappointment over the lack of coordination between the police units, adding only, “we had wanted to wait until they filled the bottles before making a raid.”
Lim Sok, director of Attwood Import and Export Company, which has the exclusive import rights for Johnnie Walker, said his company frequently encountered counterfeit Scotch whisky in Cambodia, adding this “economic offense” undermined the brand’s reputation.
The company’s lawyer, Koun Saroeun, said the firm planned to start advertisements that will show how to distinguish counterfeit whiskey from genuine Johnnie Walker, adding, “It’s a way to build confidence with the consumer.”