Police in Vietnam said they busted an operation that had close to 345,000 used condoms which had been washed and prepared to be resold as new to unsuspecting customers.
As CNN reported, authorities confiscated the condoms in a warehouse in the province of Binh Duong, located in the southern part of the country. Video of the operation had been shown on the state-owned Vietnam Television (VTV), showing police with large bags scattered around the warehouse floor. The report noted that the bags weighed close to 800 pounds, leading to the estimate of 345,000 condoms inside.
A woman who was detained by authorities said that the used condoms were brought to them by an unknown person, with the gang receiving monthly shipments and paying 17 cents per kilogram for the recycled condoms. The woman said they boiled them in water and used a wooden phallus to reshape the condoms as they dried.
They were then allegedly repackaged and sold again to customers who did not know that they had been used. Authorities did not say how long the accused criminal enterprise had been pulling off the scheme, or how many may have already been sold.
The bust and the unusual circumstances of the scheme attracted some international interest, with many news outlets reporting on the alleged used condom ring and others sharing the stories on social media.
This is not the first time that an alleged used condom ring has been busted in an Asian country. As the Express reported, a similar one was uncovered in China by officials who said a gang had made more than $6 million by recycling used condoms, which were sold in hotels and stores.
“Officials arrested 17 people on suspicion of making the love gloves and confiscated more than 50,000 boxes, which were produced primarily in the Henan and Hubei provinces,” the report noted. “The condoms were distributed in hotels, supermarkets and vending machines across the country and packaged as Durex or Okamoto.”
Chen He, a Chinese condom-maker, said the operation was dangerous because a lack of testing and cleaning left the unsuspecting buyers susceptible to contracting infections.
“In those illegal workshops, which are often very dirty, it’s unlikely they have the right methods to control the bacteria and fungi level or test for holes,” he said.
“The machines are quite expensive and I don’t think they would bother to buy them.”
It was not clear if the alleged condom-selling gang in Vietnam had any connection to the one busted in China, as officials in Vietnam have not given further details.