BANGKOK — Nearly 70 tons of beauty products — including shampoos, skin-whitening creams and hair dye — were confiscated during two raids in March and April by the Cambodian authorities.

According to a report from the Cambodia Daily, the Interior Ministry displayed the cosmetics on Monday during a press conference in Phnom Penh, explaining that the products were all counterfeits made in Cambodia. The containers and shampoo satchels bore well-known brand names like Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Schwarzkopf.

The nearly 70-ton haul came from raids carried out over the past two months. The first, on March 31 in Kandal province, netted 30 tons and led to the arrest of three Chinese nationals; another 38 tons were found on April 28 during a second raid within the capital, which resulted in the arrest of a Chinese woman and a Cambodian man.

Calling it “a historic bust of fake products,” Meach Sophana, the president of the ministry’s Counter Counterfeit Committee, said a sample of Shiseido-labeled products had been sent to Japan to verify their authenticity.

Despite this apparent crackdown, fake beauty products can be commonly found throughout Cambodia’s local markets, from local grocery stores to the popular O’Russei Market. Located just 10 minutes from the Ministry of Interior, O’Russei Market is famed for hawking thousands of counterfeit products ranging from makeup to hair products on its ground level.

Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the government plans to take the issue of counterfeit products in Cambodia more seriously as they are plaguing the country on multiple fronts, from liquor brands to pharmaceutical drugs.

“I’ll give you an example: During the Cambodian New Year an ambassador to Cambodia gave a gift to my boss,” Sopheak said. “But he had bought the liquor in Cambodia, and when my boss opened it, it was a fake product.” 

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