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Home The News News Customs seizes thousands of falsely labeled masks

Customs seizes thousands of falsely labeled masks

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Central Epidemic Command Center supply division head Tsai Shou-chuan, left, speaks as Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang listens at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: CNA

The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday confirmed that more than 830,000 nonmedical-grade masks were seized at customs for being falsely labeled as being made in Taiwan.

Tsai Shou-chuan (蔡壽洤), head of the center’s supply division, said that customs conducted batch-by-batch inspections on imported masks from Aug. 10 to Friday, and 577 batches of nonmedical-grade masks — a total of about 838,320 masks — were seized for false labeling.

The Bureau of Foreign Trade would fine those responsible, while prosecutors would investigate and decide whether the masks should be returned or destroyed, he said.

The seizure comes after the owner of New Taipei City-based mask supplier Carry Hi-tech Co (加利科技) was last week accused of importing more than 3 million nonmedical-grade masks from China and selling them through the government’s mask rationing system as medical masks made in Taiwan.

Asked if importers of the seized masks included local mask suppliers of medical masks for the government’s mask rationing system, Tsai said they did, and that an investigation report would be released in two weeks.

However, the center later said that his response was “a slip of the tongue,” and that the center has not yet confirmed whether suppliers for the government’s mask rationing system were involved.

As for people who bought masks with the “Carry mask” logo imprinted on them, the case is being investigated by the Shilin District Prosecutors’ Office.

The center had announced that people who had bought Carry Hi-tech masks through the rationing system could exchange them at pharmacies from Friday.

Tsai yesterday said that more than 530,000 Carry Hi-tech masks were exchanged on Friday and another 743,202 were exchanged on Saturday, bringing the total number of recalled Carry Hi-tech masks to 1,279,177 in the first two days.

More than 1.19 million Carry Hi-tech masks, or 90 percent, were recalled in New Taipei City, he added.

Meanwhile, the center yesterday reported an imported case of COVID-19 — a Taiwanese man who had returned from the Philippines.

The man, who is in his 40s, works and lives in the Philippines, and returned to Taiwan alone on Thursday, center spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

The man began experiencing a fever, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and sore muscles on Tuesday last week, but did not seek medical attention, he said.

Chuang said the man reported that a Filipino friend who lives with him had tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The man had informed the airline personnel about his condition before boarding the plane, and wore a mask and protective clothing throughout the flight, he said, adding that his first test result taken at the airport came back negative.

As the man continued to experience shortness of breath and chest tightness during his stay at a centralized quarantine facility, he was tested again and the test came back positive yesterday, making him the nation’s 493rd confirmed case, Chuang said.

Source: Taipei Times - 2020/09/07

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Protesters, including members of the Youth Alliance Against Media Monsters and other civic groups, demonstrate outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday against the Next Media Group buyout deal.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

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