TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid its campaign to crack down on the counterfeit masks pouring in from China, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has caught a Taiwanese company selling 4 million fake "Made in Taiwan" masks.
On Sept. 4, “Carry Mask” (加利科技) was ordered to cease operations after it was found to have imported over 3 million non-medical grade masks from China in August and repurposed them for Taiwan's government real-name mask rationing system. Investigators have since found that several companies from the "National Face Mask Team" have been cutting corners by importing masks from China and the MOEA has begun to widen its search for other violators.
When reviewing customs data on imports, the MOEA found that Haw Ping Co., Ltd. (豪品國際實業股份有限公司) had imported 7.18 million masks from China in August, reported SET News. After launching an investigation, the MOEA found that the company had 3 million masks in storage, while it had already sold more than 4 million to Taiwanese consumers.
The head of Haw Ping admitted to prosecutors that his company and was released on bail on Wednesday evening (Sept. 9). Based on a preliminary investigation, Haw Ping imported 3D non-medical masks from China, then added the company's logo.
Chinese-made masks being advertised on Haw Ping website. (haw-ping.com.tw screenshot)
They then packaged them in boxes that were falsely labeled as "Made in Taiwan" and for "medical use." Both adult and children's sizes were made available for sale.
According to a post on the MOEA's Facebook page, Haw Ping did not join the National Face Mask Team until a later stage of the government real-name mask rationing program and was only tasked with producing a daily quota of 10,000 masks. According to a preliminary audit, the masks set aside by Haw Ping for the mask rationing program appear to be different from the products imported from China, because the company does not have the machinery to make 3D masks.
Nevertheless, all masks produced by Haw Ping in August will be kept in storage until the investigation has been completed. It was in August that Carry Mask imported more than 3.37 million masks from China and mixed them in with medical-grade, Taiwanese-made masks and shipped them to pharmacies as part of the real-name rationed masks.
In the future, the government will require that all domestically-produced, medical-grade masks must be labeled as "Made in Taiwan" and for "medical use." The MOEA will also soon announce specifications for the labeling of imported masks to distinguish them from Taiwanese products.