Thai police hunt suspects over fake NHS medical gloves scam

Image copyright EPA Image caption Thai authorities have issued arrest warrants for 42 suspects

Thai authorities have issued arrest warrants for 42 people including a travel agent and nurse accused of complicity in a medical gloves scam which allegedly defrauded 4,000 people.

The NHS-recommended products were replaced with the equivalent of the fake cotton wool from a factory in China.

After the CNN investigation, more than 2,200 cases have been recorded, with hundreds of people having paid up to £700 (US$800) each for the bogus implants.

Some of the suspects have since apologised.

State prosecutors on Sunday issued arrest warrants for the 42 suspects who failed to respond to an earlier summons.

Those named as suspects include travel agents and a nurse, whose name was not given, who sold the fake medical products to patients.

Panu Chartaee, general manager of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport tour agency, was also listed.

Thailand’s health ministry has banned anyone flying on international flights after 6 July.

And the four-month inquiry was suspended temporarily last week to allow the public to support any police action.

Police are still investigating 42 suspects, with the next hearing to take place on 14 July.

In a Facebook post last week, the nurse apologised for her part in the scam.

“I apologise on behalf of myself and my organisation for not notifying the people [that] it is sold in Thailand,” she wrote.

The Ministry of Public Health released details on Friday of 1,353 people who have paid for the bogus medical materials in the last four months.

The vaccines, which were meant to treat patients’ bladder and vocal cord problems, were sold out of the UK, Australia, India, Thailand and Thailand’s archipelago group of 17 islands.

The entire investigation has been accompanied by Thai television news network TRT Thailand.

Such ethical scandals are rare in Thailand, which has been traditionally untainted by scams.

A vast majority of Thais are foreign-born and some 90% of Thailand’s population speaks English.

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