Image credit: @smurfmatic.
The owners of a Fujian workshop producing fake name-brand condoms and selling them on Taobao have been detained after a raid on March 29.
China Daily reports:
Police confiscated more than 2 million bogus condoms labeled Jissbon*, Durex and Contex in the factory and its warehouse. While a knock-off prophylactic is priced at 1 yuan (16 cents), it costs less than 0.2 yuan to produce.
In February, police noticed that prices of brand-name condoms sold at a store on taobao.com, the country’s biggest e-commerce marketplace, were unreasonably low, and they bought some products to check, according to a police officer surnamed Xu with the bureau’s economic investigation team, which handled the case. After the products were proven to be fake, police took action.
If, like me, you prefer to buy your prophylactics (hell, everything) on Taobao, this news might have come as something of a nasty shock. However, I would hope that you would have the sense to be at least a little bit suspicious of condoms going for one yuan a pop. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the reassuringly priced condoms you (and by you I mean me) bought on Taobao were still fake and you got doubly screwed, but nuh uh shut up.
I was curious about what risks exactly are posed by fake condoms, so I reached out to Dr Richard Saint Cyr. Richard blogs about health issues in China at My Health Beijing, and is a health columnist for the Chinese edition of the New York Times.
“Low quality condoms are always a bad idea. As with anything in China, you get what you pay for. Even if they don’t obviously break or slip off, which they often do, they could be filled with tiny holes you can’t see but still are large enough for viruses and bacteria to leak through.” Richard said via email.
He also warns that counterfeit producers “don’t sterilize the plastics well so they already might be contaminated with viruses. The lubricants and spermicides also would likely be fake and ineffective, and possibly cause bad rashes and irritation.”
Dr Saint Cyr recommends buying condoms from large, brand name stores like Watsons, Carrefour, or Tesco, which are less likely to stock knock off goods.
According to Xu, the production of the fake condoms was so simple that the 50-square-meter workshop could produce 20,000 counterfeits a day.
The raid by the Jinjiang police on March 29 was part of a joint operation. On the same day, police in Henan and Zhejiang provinces broke up underground workshops.
Thirty-seven suspects were arrested, and more than 4.65 million fake condoms with an estimated value of 47.7 million yuan were seized in the joint operation.
Finally, for all those judging people for buying condoms on Taobao:
The condoms were mainly sold to small supermarkets, adult shops, pharmacies and vendors.
This isn’t the first time Chinese-made fake condoms have caused problems. In April we reported on faulty, fake BeSafe condoms that were flooding the Ghanaian market.
*I feel like not enough people talk about what a ridiculous and hilarious name Jissbon is for a condom brand.