Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday warned women to beware of dubious standards in the country's booming cosmetic surgery industry, in which doctors often practise without licences.
Despite a sluggish economy in Cambodia from the global financial crisis, health experts say the business of cosmetic surgery, including nose jobs and breast enlargements, has doubled or even tripled in recent years.
However Hun Sen said health officials needed to more stringently monitor lax standards in the industry and urged women to be careful or they might "go into a coffin" rather than obtain beauty.
"The problem is whether or not (we) understand clearly the materials or chemical substances that are used for beauty surgery," Hun Sen said, citing the recent case of a Cambodian woman who died after receiving an injection.
Many Cambodian women are aiming for the what they perceive as the more delicate looks of popular Korean and Chinese film stars.
But even as operations become popular among the emerging middle class, Cambodia remains a country where laws are loosely enforced and many people calling themselves doctors have little training.
Although cosmetic surgeons are required to register with the health ministry and have proper qualifications, officials say many operate freely and illegally without licences.
Hun Sen went on to urge Cambodian women to embrace their natural beauty.
"I would like to appeal to all women -- not only single women, but also married women -- that it is good to keep natural beauty," Hun Sen said.