Three suspects found with fake COVID-19 vaccines, masks to appear in court

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Three foreign nationals are expected to appear in the Germiston Magistrate’s Court, east of Johannesburg. They are charged with contravening the Counterfeit Goods Act after being found with fake COVID-19 vaccines and masks.

The three were arrested in November last year during a raid at a Germiston warehouse where authorities seized hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines and recovered a large quantity of fake masks valued at R6 million.

It is alleged that 400 containers – equivalent to about 2 400 doses – containing the fake vaccine were found at the warehouse.

Interpol issued an Orange Notice, warning law enforcement to prepare for organised crime networks targetting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online.

The alert included details and images of genuine vaccines and authorized shipping methods provided by pharmaceutical companies to assist in the identification of fake containers.

The suspects are also charged with contravention of the Customs and Excise Act (for false declaration of goods) as well as contravention of the Medicines and Related Substances Act.

Police seize hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines in Germiston: