The investigative team secured evidence from the four locations that were estimated to have an economic value of over Rp30bn ($2.1m)
Illegal business brings in 200m a month
The Indonesia Food and Drug Monitoring Agency’s Civil Servant Investigator Team (BPOM PPNS) suspected the four locations to be the site production and distribution of cosmetics illegally.
The factories were located the Taman Surya housing complex, a Daan Mogot Baru shophouse, Citra Business Park and the Surya Molek Park complex. The individual who owned all four factories has since been detained.
Raw materials for cosmetics, packaging materials, finished cosmetics products, production equipment, vehicles and as well as documents, were among the confiscated materials.
According to the Jakarta Post, the BPOM confiscated over 600,000 cosmetic products such as soaps, lipsticks, powders, whitening creams and hair growth serums.
In a press statement, Head of BPOM Penny Kusumastuti Lukito said that the businesses have been in operation since the beginning of 2018.
During this period, the alleged suspect acquired locally made soaps that already had BPOM distribution approval and repacked them as well-known, imported brands. The alleged perpetrators also manufactured cosmetics products illegally.
Lukito estimated that the sales of these cosmetics brought the illegal operation a turnover of Rp200m ($14,300) a month
The Jarkata Post reported that the suspect will be charged under the 2009 Health Law on illegal facilities and products.
Under the law, he could face 15 years’ imprisonment or Rp1.5bn ($108,000) in fines. Additionally, under the 1999 Consumer Protection Law, he could face five years’ imprisonment or Rp2bn ($143,000) in fines.
Education vital to curbing illegal cosmetics
In 2018 alone, BPOM confiscated a total of $128bn ($92m) rupiah worth of illegal cosmetics. The prevalence of fake cosmetics in Indonesia, said BPOM, stems from the high consumer demand for cosmetics and personal care products.
Lukito said BPOM it will continue to vigilantly carry out similar operations to stop the distribution of illegal cosmetics.
She added that educating the public on the dangers of adulterated personal care products was equally important.
"BPOM continues to carry out various operations to suppress the circulation of illegal cosmetics without forgetting the important thing, namely education to the community, especially the millennial generation."
Lukito said that BPOM will continue to raise awareness with the help of educational campaigns targeted at millennials. She added that such campaigns complement the agency’s operations to stamp out the scourge of illegal cosmetics.
Additionally, she advised the public to be vigilant when purchasing cosmetics and cautioned them to be wary of product advertising and promotion.
People, especially women, must be careful in choosing cosmetics and not be easily tempted by excessive promotional claims such as whitening, rejuvenating," she cautioned.
A stern warning to businesses
Speaking to businesses, Lukita stressed that the BPOM will not hesitate to take action against companies that do not comply with the country’s cosmetics regulation.
"We don't hesitate to take action against anyone who doesn't follow the rules as public health is threatened if the business sector is not obedient," said Lukito.
Buisness owners that flout the law can be charged under Article 197 of Law No. 36/2009 on health that carries a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, and Law No. 8/1999 on consumer protection, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.