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Up in smoke

Illicit tobacco trade in Vietnam and Cambodia, with brands owned by Cambodian tycoons at its heart, is costing producers millions.

  • Published: | Viewed: 2,238 | Comments: 0
  • Newspaper section: Asia focus
  • Writer: Philip Heijmans
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Two cigarette brands distributed by two of Cambodia’s most prominent and connected tycoons are being smuggled from Cambodia to Vietnam at an estimated rate of more than 300 million packs a year. The practice is contributing to tobacco manufacturers’ losses of nearly US$200 million annually, according to trade documents and industry experts. 

Hero cigarettes are distributed by a firm controlled by Ly Yong Phat, the “King of Koh Kong”, who made his fortune in sugar.

Hero and Jet, distributed respectively by Senator Ly Yong Phat’s Hero King Co Ltd and Theng Bunma’s Thai Boon Roong Co Ltd, comprise a significant portion of the billions of cigarettes illegally moved across the border each year, according to estimates from the Vietnam Tobacco Association.

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