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Customs seize tainted face masks, four arrested

2020-03-14 HKT 16:15
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  • Customs seize tainted face masks, four arrested
Customs on Saturday arrested four people in charge of four pharmacies in Causeway Bay and Wan Chai in connection to the sale of contaminated face masks.

In view of a surge in the demand for face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak, officers had bought the protective products from different shops and sent 24 different brands to laboratories for tests.

The officers said the tests revealed the amount of bacteria in four brands of face masks had exceeded the permitted level. One of the products has contaminants more than ten times the acceptable limit, they said.

The head of Customs Consumer Protection Bureau, Li Man-kai, said the arrested people might have violated the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance.

The boxes of 50 face masks were priced between HK$200 and HK$499.

The customs officers said two of the products were said to be made in Nepal and Turkey, while the origins of the other two were not specified. Officers believe they came from Southeast Asian countries.

Li said the contaminated face masks might cause problems to the skin of people who wear them, while the elderly, children and people with a low immunity might have their airways infected if they inhaled the bacteria.

“We advise the public to check if the boxes of the face masks have been damaged before buying them. Also, if the face masks are dirty or have a strange smell, people should stop using them,” he said.

He also advised people to buy face masks from reputable shops.