Agents seize 100K counterfeit masks in Hong Kong

Agents seize 100K counterfeit masks in Hong Kong
© getty

Hong Kong customs agents seized 100,000 counterfeit face masks valued at nearly $400,000 in one of the largest raids of its kind on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

Agents located the personal protective equipment in a storehouse after they received a tip, which led to a 71-year-old trading company manager being arrested as the result of a further raid.

“Initial investigations revealed that unscrupulous merchants intended to transship the batch of masks overseas for sale and profit. Customs is looking into the source of the face masks involved in the case,” the government’s Information Services Department said in a news release, according to The Associated Press.


Customs agents launched operation "Guardian" in January, which led to spot checks of protective equipment including masks. Nearly 80 arrests have been made and almost 6 million face masks have been seized as a result of the operation, according to the AP.

China has been a source of a large amount of personal protective equipment such as masks, some of which has been found to be counterfeit or of poor quality.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States and more students return to schools, the need for personal protective equipment and masks increased. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ended its funding for face coverings and masks within U.S. schools in September of this year.

"Supporting schools and other functions — courthouses and other related functions — are not a direct emergency protective measures and therefore they're not eligible for [federal funding]," FEMA offical Keith Turi said at the time.