South Africa

Four arrested after fake Covid-19 vaccines seized at Gauteng warehouse

Cape Town – Hundreds of fake Covid-19 vaccines have been seized at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, leading to the arrest of three people.

International policing authority Interpol reported on Wednesday that this follows a global alert it had issued warning that vaccines would be a prime target for criminal networks.

’’Some 400 ampoules – equivalent to around 2 400 doses –containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng, where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national,’’ Interpol said in a statement.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo was quoted as saying: ’’Since Covid-19 reached the shores of South Africa, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach.

’’This, together with our association with counterparts from all Interpol member countries, is proving to be very effective as we have seen in the arrests for foreign nationals attempting to peddle fake vaccines to unsuspecting people within South Africa.’’

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, Interpol said.

’’The arrests came just weeks after Interpol issued an Orange Notice warning law enforcement to prepare for organized crime networks targeting Covid-19 vaccines, both physically and online.

’’The alert also included details and images of genuine vaccines and authorised shipping methods provided by pharmaceutical companies to assist in the identification of fake vials…

“Whilst we welcome this result, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine related crime,” said Interpol secretary-general Jürgen Stock.


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