Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )
Interpol warned that this may well be 'tip of the iceberg'
Global police organisation Interpol said on Wednesday that police in China and South Africa had seized thousands of fake COVID vaccines. Interpol warned that this may well be 'tip of the iceberg'.
The Lyon-based Interpol said 400 vials -- equivalent to around 2,400 doses -- containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston outside Johannesburg in South Africa, where officers also recovered fake masks and arrested three Chinese and a Zambian national.
"Whilst we welcome this result, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Covid-19 vaccine-related crime," said Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock.
In China, police identified a network selling fake vaccines. The investigation was supported by Interpol.
The police raided manufacturing premises, arrested around 80 suspects and seized more than 3000 fake vaccines
Interpol said that in addition to the arrests in South Africa and China it was also receiving additional reports of fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies such as nursing homes.
It warned that no approved vaccines are currently available for sale online.
"Any vaccine being advertised on websites or the dark web will not be legitimate, will not have been tested and may be dangerous."
Stock had warned in December in an interview with German weekly WirtschaftsWoche of a sharp rise in crime due to the vaccine rollout, with thefts and warehouse break-ins and attacks on vaccine shipments.
(With AFP inputs)