Taipei, The owner of a company in Changhua County has been detained for allegedly supplying pharmacies with surgical masks from unknown sources, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The company is accused of procuring 610,000 non-medical grade masks from an unknown source, falsely labeling them to look as if they had been made by Hung Wei Medical Consumable Co. of Taiwan, and supplying them to pharmacies in Nantou County, according to prosecutors.
Hung Wei Medical is one of the manufacturers on the National Face Mask Team that produce Taiwan-made masks for the domestic market and for export.
The owner of the supply company that allegedly falsely labeled the masks to look like Hung Wei Medical products was summoned by Nantou prosecutors Monday for questioning, along with three other suspects, and a Nantou court on Tuesday granted a request for him to be held in detention.
The investigation was launched after a consumer reported on Aug. 2 that the masks purchased at a Nantou pharmacy appeared to be counterfeit, according to the Nantou District Prosecutors Office.
Prosecutors said the company, owned by the suspect surnamed Liu (劉), had deliberately branded the masks with a name that was very similar in Chinese to Hung Wei Medical, which would lead buyers to think the masks were produced by the National Face Mask Team.
On Aug. 20, authorities seized about 400 counterfeit masks at two pharmacies in Nantou, and another 11,600 at the home of one of the pharmacy owners, according to prosecutors.
Investigators later traced the products to Liu’s company and seized 203,800 masks at four separate locations operated by the company, prosecutors said, adding that they have not yet been able to determine the origin of the masks.
Liu is being held incommunicado to prevent him from colluding with accomplices and destroying evidence, prosecutors said. He could face charges of fraud, document forgery and violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, they said.
Meanwhile, the Central Epidemic Command Center said Tuesday that masks made by the companies on the National Face Mask Team will be imprinted with the letters MD alongside the Made in Taiwan mark, starting the third week of September.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel