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Foreigner charged over fake medicine production

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
An officer escorts the accused outside the municipal court yesterday. KT/Pann Rachana

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday placed an Indian national in pre-trial detention on charges of producing medicine without authorisation and producing counterfeit medicine.

Judge Than Leng identified the accused as Indian national Royal Batique, 24, owner of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, a factory located in Kamboul district’s Kamboul commune in Phnom Penh.

Judge Leng said Mr Batique was charged with producing medicines without authorisation and producing counterfeit medicine under the Cambodian Law on Management of Pharmaceutics. He noted that Mr Batique was arrested on Thursday.

“The court has decided to detain him in prison pending a trial on October 22,” he added.

Major Choun Bunsong, a police officer working with the Police Intelligence Department at the Ministry of Interior, said yesterday that Mr Batique was arrested at about 10am on Thursday.

He noted the court prosecutor and Ministry of Health officials accompanied police during the arrest.

Maj Bunsong said the group raided the rental house of the accused in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune before making the arrest.

Maj Bunsong noted that Ministry of Health officials seized counterfeit medicine, which were produced by the accused and sold in markets in the city.

“He was arrested after police discovered that he had produced medicine without authorisation from the Ministry of Health, and also produced fake medicine,” Maj Bunsong said. “Between January to October this year, Mr Royal Batique had been producing many kinds of medicine, such as for arthritis of the hands and feet, hypertension and diabetes, and distributed them to local pharmacies.”

Maj Bunsong said that after Mr Batique’s arrest, police brought him to inspect his Pharmaceutical Manufacturers factory.

He said that after inspecting the factory, police seized about 300 kilograms of counterfeit medicine, along with machines for making medicine, medicine samples and other related materials.

He added that during the raid, police also arrested three Indian nationals and dozens of Cambodian staff working with Mr Batique; all were later freed by the prosecutor because they were not aware they were involved in criminal activity.

During his yesterday’s pre-trial, Mr Batique told the court that he did not produce any counterfeit medicine as accused.

“The medicine produced were based on samples and the standard of medicine that I received from my company’s partner in India,” Mr Batique said. “They were not counterfeit.”

Mr Batique also said that before opening his factory, he notified and asked for permission from the Ministry of Health in January, although he noted he never received a reply.

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