Police in Vietnam have confiscated an estimated 345,000 used condoms which had been cleaned and resold as new, state media reported.
Footage broadcast by state-owned Vietnam Television (VTV) this week showed dozens of large bags containing the used contraceptives scattered across the floor of a warehouse in the southern province of Binh Duong.
Police said the bags weighed over 360 kilograms (794 lbs), equivalent to 345,000 condoms, according to VTV.
Following a tip from a local resident, Binh Duong provincial market inspectors over the weekend raided a factory near Ho Chi Minh City where they found used condoms being repacked for sale at the market, the state-owned Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.
The owner of the warehouse said they had received a “monthly input of used condoms from an unknown person,” state newspaper Tuoi Tre reported.
A woman detained during the bust told police that the used prophylactics were first boiled in water then dried and reshaped on a wooden phallus before being repackaged and resold. It is still unclear how many such reused condoms have been resold in the market.
VTV said it was not clear how many of the recycled condoms had already been sold. The detained woman said she had received $0.17 for every kilogramme of recycled condoms she produced.
Neither she nor the owner of the warehouse were available for comment.
While reused condoms were being sold in Vietnam, the initial phases of the pandemic showed otherwise. A shortage of condoms had been reported in March 2020, as per data by one of the world's largest producers. Malaysia's Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. However, during the 10 day lockdown imposed by the Malaysian government, not one of the companies three factories were able to manufacture condoms.
(With inputs from agencies)