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Thursday December 11, 2008

Customers sold China-made products ‘refilled’ into branded bottles

GEORGE TOWN: A beauty centre with branches in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah is being investigated by the Health Ministry for selling fake Swiss skincare products that originate from China.

The ministry’s pharmacy enforcement division yesterday seized products worth at least RM5.5mil from a storeroom in Jalan Kelawei and a packing centre in Lebuhraya Maktab.

The division’s deputy director Wan Hamid Wan Ibrahim said they found 105,000 ampoules of Vitamin B and Vitamin C, and ewe-placenta essence during the raids at 11.30am.

“We were acting on complaints from five customers who were unhappy with the results of their treatment by the beauty centre which has five branches.

Elaborate ruse: Health Ministry officer Mohd Faizal Ahmat Zainuri showing the tubes of fake Swiss beauty products seized in the raid at the packing centre in George Town yesterday.

“We thought that the company was exporting the cosmetic products without a permit but after checking the premises, we discovered that the products such as moisturisers and whitening cream were from China and refilled into the bottles of a famous Swiss brand.

“There were more than 20 huge drums containing various types of face cream that had been smuggled into the country. The vitamin injection ampoules, which were also from China, cost between RM2 and RM3 each but were sold to customers for RM50,” he said.

Wan Hamid said each tube of cream was sold for RM200 and above but the cost price was only a few ringgit.

He added that the company had been in business for 10 years and believed the centre went into the fake cosmetic product business three years ago.

He said the packing, which was conducted under unhygienic conditions and in front of a toilet, was only done at night by Indonesian workers.

“The beauty centre workers were also prescribing antibiotics and painkillers to customers without being properly trained. We will question the directors and workers to determine the extent of the fraud.

“The directors are likely to be charged under the Poisons Act and Sales of Drugs Act which carries a jail term with a possible fine of up to RM50,000,” he said.

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