The Ministry of Industry is going to investigate facilities making fake palm sugar in Takeo province’s Baty district where 43 of them were shut down by authorities earlier this month and have allegedly reopened.
Oum Sotha, spokesman for the ministry, said that the ministry is far from the facilities, so he wants to see local authorities take action, and local residents inform authorities of possible factories that have reopened.
“I would like to say that though this work falls to the ministry, we need concrete evidence to investigate,” he said. “So, local authorities and even local villagers need to help us by making reports to the district or provincial governors about this.”
“They should send us evidence, like pictures of facilities that are again operating,” he added.
“As the directive to cease operations was already issued, any action going against this has to be cracked down on.”
Local media has reported that some of the facilities have reopened, and users on social media have also made the same accusations.
On December 7, authorities in Baty district shut down 43 facilities making fake palm sugar after they found out that those facilities were using white sugar to make palm sugar.
Several days later, the industry minister ordered provincial departments to pay more attention to the facilities secretly making fake palm sugar because such products could harm the current Geographical Indication status of Cambodian palm sugar.
Por Leangkong, chief of the provincial Camcontrol department, said that his department shut down the facilities and now it is up to the Industry Ministry to ensure they do not reopen.
“We shut them down once, and now there is information about their continued operation, so the next step is the job of the Department of Industry and Handicraft to keep an eye on them,” he said.
District police chief Ngan Sary said that his unit was not aware of the reopening of the facilities. Ket Prong, director of provincial industry department, could not be reached for comment. However, he told local media that he had assigned officers to conduct an investigation.