Online sellers of COVID rapid test kits busted; yield P4M worth of kits

Published May 13, 2021, 1:00 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Three people engaged in the illegal online selling of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) rapid test kits have been nabbed in an entrapment operation staged by Philippine National Police-Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) members, reports said Thursday, May 13.

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Arrested during the sting were Ace Dimapilis, Charisse Purino, and Aldin Bacaran, said a report prepared by CIDG Director, PMGen Albert Ignatius Ferro for PNP Chief, Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar.

Recovered during the operation were unauthorized rapid test kits worth an estimated P4 million, Ferro said.

A magazine for a .40 firearm loaded with 10 live bullets, 500 live ammunition for the same caliber, and gun reloading paraphernalia were also seized by the police.

The entrapment operation was conducted last Tuesday, May 11 in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City. An undercover cop had posed as a buyer and ordered from the suspects online 250 boxes of Wondfo Antigen Rapid Test Kits worth P1.2 million. Each box contained 20 rapid test kits.

Before this, CIDG had received reports that unauthorized companies had been selling online illegally marketed medical devices such as the Wondfo test kits for COVID-19. Advertisements for the items were also seen on an “illegal online selling website”.

The suspects failed to show to the CIDG operatives their license to operate or special permit to sell and distribute the test kits as per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Circular No. 2020-016.

They also didn’t have authority to possess the live ammunition and gun reloader.

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Eleazar said further investigation revealed that the arrested suspects were sub-leaders of a Chinese group involved in the illegal online selling of unauthorized COVID-19 rapid test kits. The trio was taken to the Quezon City police for the proper filing of charges.

“This would be a clear message to all companies and other online sellers that selling of all types of FDA-certified COVID-19 test kits is strictly prohibited through online and anyone caught doing this may face criminal charges,” Eleazar added.

 
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