South Africa seizes hundreds of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines

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Johannesburg – JOHANNESBURG The Interpol Global Policing Coordinating Agency said that the South African police have confiscated hundreds of fake vaccines for COVID-19 and arrested four suspects in connection with the haul.

This comes after Interpol, based in France, issued an alert to law enforcement in its 194 member states in December to prepare for the establishment of organised crime networks aimed both physically and online at COVID-19 vaccines.

The Agence reported on Wednesday on its website that there were 400 ampoules – equivalent to approximately 2,400 doses – containing the fake vaccine in a warehouse in Germiston, east Johannesburg, where officers also recuperated a large quantity of fake, 3M masks.

Three Chinese nationals were arrested, along with one Zambian national.

In China, police identified and raided a network in which COVID-19 vaccines were sold, resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects. Interpol added that more than 3,000 fake vaccines have been seized in the scene.

“While we welcome this outcome, it is only an iceberg tip in relation to the vaccine related crime COVID-19,” said Interpol General Secretary Jürgen Stock.

Obtaining arrests in South Africa and China was not immediately clear. Interpol did not answer questions immediately, whereas the national spokesman for the South African police was not immediately available to comment.

Interpol said the investigations are continuing and further reports of false distribution of vaccines and attempts to scam health institutions such as nursing homes are also being received.

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