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Chinese Gangs Are Selling Fake Durex Recycled From Used Condoms

Sara Martinez

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  • Chinese gangs netted more than $7 million by recycling used and repackaged condoms.
  • The condoms were distributed in hotels, supermarkets and vending machines.
  • The incident sparks fears of a surge in the spread of infectious diseases such as STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

Sometime in 2018, Chinese authorities discovered a counterfeit-condom ring that is both shocking and disgusting. The gang is recycling used condoms and sell them to motels, supermarkets, and vending machines at a much lower cost. They made $7 million out of this.

Police have arrested 17 people and seized more than 500,000 boxes of counterfeit condoms in a crackdown in Eastern and Central China. The fake rubbers are packed in boxes printed with major brand names like Durex and Okamoto.

Police said the counterfeits posed a threat to public health because of their high levels of heavy metals. Also sparking fears of a surge in the spread of infectious diseases such as STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

Zheng Xidan, from Cangnan police, said:

“We found the workshops where the suspects made those condoms in rural areas in Henan and Hebei. They were very simple and crude. The hygienic conditions in those villages were very bad. We saw the condoms they were making – they blended the condoms with silicone oil in a bucket. It was totally below official manufacturing standards.”

These fake condoms are being sold for 14 cents per pack. So even though they are very unhygienic, and were even found to have fungi in them, the price is too tempting to say no. Real and new condoms are sold for $22 per pack.

Chinese condom maker Chen He said:

“Normally the making of condoms, categorized as a medical device that has direct contact with the human body, involves sterilization and electronic tests for holes and thin spots. But in those illegal workshops, which are often very dirty, it’s unlikely they have the right methods to control the bacteria and fungi level or test for holes.”

Condoms are one of the most falsified goods throughout China. And condom counterfeiting is pretty much a big business. In fact, this incident is certainly not the first one. More than ten cases similar to this have been submitted to Henan courts since 2014 and those found guilty have been sentenced to up to four years in prison.

Around 40,000 fake condoms imported from China were confiscated over a period of five days in the US, which led the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an alert to warn people of the knock-offs and the safety risks.

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