He made £2 million by selling water as a vaccine against COVID-19

An employee inspects COVID-19 vaccine syringes produced by SinoVac in a Beijing plant in September 2020.

COVID vaccines
© Unsplash
COVID vaccines

China has arrested the leader of a gang who made nearly £2 million by selling water doses disguised as vaccines against COVID-19, according to Chinese public news outlets.

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58,000 syringes with fake vaccine

According to the Supreme People's Procuratorate, China’s main prosecuting agency, relayed by the Xinhua news outlet, Kong Mou and his associates filled 58,000 syringes with saline solution and sold them throughout China.

Kong Mou, who was arrested on December 25th 2020, had boasted to his customers that he had obtained the vaccines from the manufacturers through ‘internal channels,’ theGlobal Times reported. The group reportedly earned 18 million yuan (£1.9 million) through this system. Last November, Kong Mou sold 2,000 doses of the fake vaccine to another alleged criminal named Li for 1.04 million yuan (£114,469).

Li, who shipped 600 of those doses abroad via Hong Kong on November 12th, made a profit of £99,000, the newspaper reported.

Kong Mou's arrest was first announced on February 2nd, when about 80 people were arrested for vaccination fraud, according to China's Ministry of Public Security.

Crackdown against the manufacture of fake vaccines will increase in the country

On Monday, the Supreme People's Procuratorate warned that it would step up its crackdown on the manufacture of fake vaccines, the Global Times reported, adding that there were more than 21 cases of major vaccine fraud in China.

The BBC reports that some counterfeit vaccines had been sold to hospitals in China at inflated prices and that some criminals were hiring ‘village doctors’ to administer fake vaccines to people in their cars.

China recently approved two of its own vaccines for public use. A vaccine manufactured by Sinovac was approved for general use on February 6th, following the approval of a vaccine manufactured by Sinopharm on December 31st. Both vaccines had received emergency use approval last summer.

As of February 9th, about 40 million people have received their first injection of the vaccine in China, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing figures from China's National Health Commission. This figure represents less than half of the 100 million doses that China hoped to administer by the Lunar New Year on February 12th.

Watch the video above to find out the 6 most common side effects of COVID vaccines.

Police issue warning over COVID-19 vaccine scams Police issue warning over COVID-19 vaccine scams