Police seized thousands of counterfeit coronavirus vaccines in South Africa and China

Police have seized thousands of counterfeit coronavirus vaccines in South Africa and China and have made more than 80 arrests after a criminal network selling fake jabs was uncovered, Interpol said on Wednesday.

In South Africa, police officers found 400 ampoules of fake vaccines, equivalent to around 2,400 doses, at a warehouse just outside Johannesburg. A large quantity of fake 3M masks was also found and police arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national.

In China, police successfully identified a network selling counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines, raided the manufacturing premises, resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects, and seized more than 3,000 fake vaccines on the scene.

The investigation was supported and coordinated by Interpol’s Illicit Goods and Global Health (IGGH) Programme.

Interpol’s secretary-general J├╝rgen Stock warned that the discovery of the network was “only the tip of the iceberg” of coronavirus vaccine-related crime.

Interpol warned in December of a risk that gangs would capitalise on the global demand for vaccines by stealing real doses or selling fake ones.

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