Fake COVID jabs found in China, South Africa: report

TEHRAN, Mar. 05 (MNA) –Thousands of fake doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been apprehended by police authorities in China and South Africa, with Interpol warning that this is no more than the “tip of the iceberg”, Russian Sputnik has reported.

According to Sputnik, the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) had earlier issued an alert regarding a potential upsurge in vaccine-related criminal activity.

​Approximately 400 ampoules - equivalent to around 2,400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were discovered at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng.

As police officers also seized fake 3M masks, they took into custody three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national. A network raking in profits from selling fake coronavirus vaccines had been identified in China by local police authorities.

In the wake of an investigation supported and facilitated by Interpol’s Illicit Goods and Global Health (IGGH) Programme, the uncovered manufacturing premises were raided to seize more than 3,000 fake vaccines. Around 80 suspects were apprehended, the Russian Sputnik news agency added.

Earlier in the year, Interpol had issued an Orange Notice warning to global law enforcement, alerting authorities worldwide to the fact that organised crime networks would be targeting COVID-19 vaccines aimed at stopping the coronavirus pandemic.

The secretary-general of the Lyon-based global policing agency had also anticipated more cases of graft related to vaccines.

To facilitate efforts to apprehend the unlawful activity, the alert offered details and images of genuine vaccines and authorized shipping methods provided by pharmaceutical companies, states the official Interpol site.

It again underlined the unique role played by Interpol in ensuring law enforcement across its 194 member countries are updated on crime trends and can swiftly and securely exchange information.

Brigadier Vish Naidoo, the national spokesman for the South African Police, also weighed in on the issue, underscoring that since COVID-19 had started to spread across South Africa, the government had taken an integrated, multi-disciplinary law enforcement effort to tackle impending challenges.

According to Spunik, investigations into the illegal activity are continuing, as besides arrests in China and South Africa, Interpol is acting upon reports of both fake vaccine distribution and efforts to scam health facilities such as nursing homes.

KI/SPUTNIK

News Code 170702

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