Panel probes used gloves case
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Panel probes used gloves case

A panel has been formed to look into an incident in which about 80 million used medical gloves were shipped to the US from Thailand in a suspected case of fraud.

The government-appointed panel is due to meet today to formally launch its investigation.

Headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, the investigation has been ordered by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha following a report by CNN about the case.

Although no specific deadline has been set for the probe, Mr Jurin said he expected its findings to be released soon provided there were no unforeseen complications.

"At this point, all I can say is that exporting medical supplies without permission, including medical gloves, runs contrary to Thai law," he said.

It is imperative that the investigation disclose its findings quickly and clearly to improve the image of products exported from Thailand, he said.

The case of fraudulently sold rubber gloves cited in the CNN report was already investigated by Thai authorities last December, said Pol Col Neti Wongkulap, commissioner of the Consumer Protection Police Division's (CPPD) Sub-Division 4. He said the work was undertaken by a combined team from the CPPD, Crime Suppression Division and Food and Drug Administration.

A small company was implicated while its executives, including the majority Chinese shareholder, faced criminal charges for producing medical gloves and other medical supplies without permission and unlawfully copying the trademarks of other companies, he said.

The Chinese executive and some Thai individuals were arrested and charged in January and the case has been forwarded to public prosecutors, he added.

The company is believed to have shipped the used gloves to the US early this year, Mr Jurin said. They could have arrived in the US between March and April before they were discovered and caught the attention of the media sometime around July, he noted.

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