Video Credit: AsiaWire
This video allegedly shows tens of thousands of fake surgical masks being produced in a sweatshop as Chinese authorities crack down on unscrupulous merchants attempting to capitalised on panic surrounding the Wuhan virus.
The novel coronavirus has killed 132 and infected nearly 6,000 in mainland China, where surgical masks and N95 variants have been repeatedly out of stock.
Authorities in the city of Yiwu, in East China’s Zhejiang Province, arrested at least five people suspected of selling fake or inferior face masks.
They raided a sweatshop and seized more than 50,000 products in 11 boxes following a tip-off on 25th January, which had claimed some 7 million fake 3M masks were being produced, the police added.
Video reportedly shows staff at the mask factory producing some of the unlawful goods. They can be seen hammering filters into masks in a matter of seconds before moving on to the next one. According to the police, none of these masks actually work.
Investigators said they were still searching for other suspects involved in the manufacturing of the fake masks, which could potentially endanger members of the public desperate to protect themselves against the respiratory virus.
According to local media, more than 80 online shops are suspected of peddling fake 3M-branded surgical masks on e-commerce platform Taobao.
Alibaba, which owns the online marketplace, said it had evaluated and removed vendors flagged by customers as being suspect, while it is now also sending users “risk alert” warning of potentially unreliable products.
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