Clothes from Morgues Illegally Shipped and Sold in China

Clothes from Morgues Illegally Shipped and Sold in China
Photo Credit: Gebchak Gonpa flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

What you need to know

Authorities in China say they have uncovered a clothing import operation with items taken from overseas morgues and trash dumps.

The China Coast Guard in Shenzhen on Aug. 11 announced it had uncovered a 549-tonne clothes smuggling case worth more than RMB 11 million (US$1.7 million).

Authorities say the clothes are believed to be have come from morgues and trash dumps outside of China. Dealers would clean or repair the clothes and sell items at low prices – from around RMB 10 to 100 in Shenzhen. There were bloodstains on some of the clothes. Initial reports did not specify which country the clothes came from.

Wei Fang (魏方), a doctor at the Disinfection and Vector Control Division at the Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says that the clothes could carry germs and viruses.

Six suspects were apprehended on the border of Shenzhen, four are Taiwanese and one a Chinese national from Fujian. All are currently in detention.

According to Sina, the six suspects were allegedly responsible for shipping the items. Their partners in Fujian are still being tracked down. Shenzhen customs officials are filing criminal lawsuits against the suspects for violating regulations regarding the import of solid waste.

Liu Sinlin (劉新林), director of the Kwai Chung border station of the Shenzhen border guards, says the clothes were being transported to Putian, Fujian Province. However, some of the suspects have reportedly said some clothes will also be shipped to Taiwan.

Liu says the clothes can be sold for RMB 1,000 per ton.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White