Fake Coke, Fanta factory shut down after raid

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - A Kampong Thom town mineral water production facility has been shut down after it was found to be also producing fake bottles and cans of major soft drink brands including Coca-Cola, Fanta, 7-Up, and energy drink Samurai, among others, for nationwide distribution.

A Kampong Thom town mineral water production facility has been shut
down after it was found to be also producing fake bottles and cans of
major soft drink brands including Coca-Cola, Fanta, 7-Up, and energy
drink Samurai, among others, for nationwide distribution.

The factory was owned by the vice-chairman of the Kampong Thom and
Preah Vihear Chamber of Commerce, Lim Phorn, who has allegedly gone into
hiding.

The "Lim Phorn" brand mineral water it was producing also failed to meet the quality standards of its licence.

Phorn allegedly fled after the facility in Kampong Thom town's Achar
Leak commune was raided on Wednesday in an operation led by provincial
court prosecutor Ith Sothea and deputy chief of the Anti-Counterfeiting
Secretariat Kan Vathana.

Kampong Thom police chief Ouk Kosal told The Post on Thursday that Phorn's arrest has been ordered in accordance with legal procedure.

Evidence seized

Kosal said all the evidence, including counterfeit bottles and cans,
and materials used in their production were impounded by the authorities
for examination and the factory closed pending further investigation.

While he didn’t provide details of how many fake soft drinks were
seized in the raid, photographs suggested the facility contained
thousands of bottles.

Kampong Thom provincial court prosecutor Sothea told The Post that while the evidence had been seized and the facility shut down temporarily, no one had been arrested in the raid.

“The authorities are investigating further so we cannot provide any
more details, but we have defined the offence committed,” Sothea said.

Achar Leak commune chief Yean Sun Hoeung said the Lim Phorn facility
was in his jurisdiction and had been producing mineral water for some
time.

“He opened the factory well before I became commune chief. He had a
licence from the Ministry of Commerce to open a mineral water facility.
He did not contact the local authorities as he claimed to have
permission from senior leadership,” Sun Hoeurn said.

A former Kampong Thom and Preah Vihear Chamber of Commerce member, who asked not to be named, told The Post that while Phorn was its vice-chairman, he resided in Phnom Penh.

“I have long stepped down [as a member] and I don't know him well,
but I know Phorn lives in Phnom Penh despite having a house in Kampong
Thom,” they said.

Authorities said the fake soft drinks were produced by adding
flavourings, colourings and other ingredients to tap water. They were
then placed in authentic-looking counterfeit bottles to be sold as the
real thing.

Photos