A gang in China has been arrested by local authorities for manufacturing and selling fake condoms.
According to state media, the condoms were sold to hotels, supermarkets, and vending machine operators in central and eastern China under the label of international brands such as Durex and Okamoto.
The police, who warned that counterfeit condoms pose a threat to public health, raided the manufacturing plants in Henan and Hubei provinces and the packaging plant in Cangnan county, Zhejiang province.
The operation resulted in the arrest of 17 individuals who were apprehended at the different plants, South China Morning Post reports.
“We found the workshops where the suspects made those condoms in rural areas in Henan and Hebei. They were very simple and crude,” Zheng Xidan, an officer from Cangnan police, was quoted as saying. “The hygienic conditions in those villages were very bad. We saw the condoms they were making – they blended the condoms with silicone oil in a bucket. It was totally below official manufacturing standards.”
Condoms, which have become one of the most widely counterfeited products in China, usually cost around 20 to 150 yuan per pack ($3-$22).
Meanwhile, the fakes were reportedly being sold to retailers at the wholesale price of just one yuan.
Chen He, product manager of local condom brand Daxiang, warned against using the poor quality condoms due to the health risk posed by their excessive level of bacteria and fungi. “Normally the making of condoms, categorized as a medical device that has direct contact with the human body, involves sterilization and electronic tests for holes and thin spots,” Chen told SCMP.
“But in those illegal workshops, which are often very dirty, it’s unlikely they have the right methods to control the bacteria and fungi level or test for holes. The machines are quite expensive and I don’t think they would bother to buy them. Some of those cheap condoms are even recycled from used ones.”
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