Head of Chinese pharmacy firm jailed for fake 3M mask scam

The chairman of Chinese pharmacy chain Beijing Jinghai Kangbaixin Medicine Co has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling counterfeit 3M face masks.

Li Dong and two associates – named as Li Yuzhang and Luo Hanyi – were found guilty of conspiring in the sale of more than 580,000 fake N95 masks that were falsely advertised as being genuine 3M products, reports the South China Morning Post.

The scam came to light after customers complained about the quality of the masks, prompting an official investigation that results in the arrest if Li and his associates in February. The defendants have all denied the charges and said they will appeal.

China updated its legislation in the same month to dramatically increase the penalties faced by people who carry out coronavirus-related crimes, including corruption involving intended to fight the epidemic.

Kangbaixin reportedly made more than $600,000 from the sale of the masks, but has since offered to reimburse anyone who purchased them at three times their bought value.

Earlier this year, the pharmacy chain was fined 100,000 yuan (around $14,000) after pleading guilty to profiteering from the sale of PM2.5 masks at a 260 per cent mark-up over pre-pandemic prices.

3M filed a lawsuit earlier this month against a China-based organisations linked to an Amazon seller named Mao Yu for selling counterfeit N95 masks at inflated prices, netting at least $350,000.

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