TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Approximately 830,000 masks falsely labeled as products of Taiwan have been impounded by the nation's customs authorities since Aug. 10 as part of a ratcheted-up crackdown on masks of dubious origin.
The confiscated masks were even imported by several companies on the “national mask team,” according to Tsai Shou-chuan (蔡壽洤), health official and head of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) division responsible for materials and supplies.
The official declined to name the companies while investigators are still gathering evidence. The authorities are expected to brief the public on the case in two weeks, reported CNA.
The development follows the shocking revelation that the certified mask-maker “Carry Mask” (加利科技) had imported over 3.3 million masks from China since August and mislabeled them as Taiwanese.
The company was ordered to shut its doors, and its owner Lin Ming-chin (林明進) was arrested. He was released on bail on Saturday (Sept. 5).
Around 1.3 million counterfeits have been recalled as of Sunday, reported UDN. The CECC is mulling additional measures to better manage medical mask standards and accessibility.
The scam has left a dent in the reputation of the national mask team, a group of Taiwanese mask manufacturers that answered the government’s call to make quality protective gear in surging quantities when COVID-19 broke out. A majority of the masks being produced continue to be requisitioned for the country's real-name mask purchase system.
This system, which will end at the close of the year, was implemented to ensure that members of the public have access to certified masks at affordable prices.