4 arrested in face mask case

July 2, 2020

Customs announced today that it is investigating a case in which surgical masks with suspected false trade descriptions were being supplied to the Government Logistics Department (GLD). Four people were arrested.


Customs Head of Trade Controls Mak Yuk-kam explained in a press conference that Customs launched an investigation immediately after it received a crime report alleging that a purveyor had supplied the GLD with surgical masks bearing false trade descriptions.


"Investigations revealed that the masks in question were imported from the Mainland by local trader A and eventually supplied to the GLD through another trader B. It was found that (on) each box of masks in question there (was the) information of a Mainland mask manufacturer including their name and address on here.


"Upon examination of the mask in question, the representative of this Mainland manufacturer confirmed that the masks in question were not manufactured by them."


Having confirmed that the trade descriptions regarding the manufacturer printed on the box of masks was a false claim, Customs mounted an operation on June 24 and raided the two companies in Kwun Tong and Hung Hom involved in the case, Mr Mak added.


“During the operation, Customs seized a batch of documents, arresting two males and two females, including the sole director of Company A as well as the sole director and two staff of company B.”


The arrestees, aged between 36 and 44, were released on bail pending further investigation.


Customs noted samples of the masks were sent to a laboratory for a bacterial count test. The results confirmed that the samples are in compliance with the relevant standard.


For the sake of safety and because the source remains unknown, Customs appealed to the public to stop using the surgical masks.


According to the information provided by the GLD, 3.59 million of the masks concerned have been kept in stock and 3.12 million were allocated to 11 government departments. The department has informed those departments to stop using the masks and arranged to return them.

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