The Border Detachment of Shenzhen's Public Security Bureau recently seized a ship transporting 549 tons of used clothing from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. Six suspects have been arrested. The smuggled goods are worth about $1.65 million, according to police.
The majority of the clothing come from overseas morgues, garbage dumps and scrap yards. For that reason, the acquisition cost of the load was almost zero. After getting washed and repaired, the clothing would have been sold to consumers for several dollars per item.
According to Wei Fang, a doctor with the Center for Disease Control in Shenzhen, the smuggled clothing potentially contains a number of disease pathogens that could enter the body through the skin, mouth and other organs. Some of the items were bloodstained, which means that buyers of the secondhand clothing could have been exposed to severe liver disease or AIDS. This is an especially tragic scenario given that children's clothing was also included in the seized load.
Wei added that the clothing items had been tied tightly together prior to their transportation, and that chemicals inside the packaging could cause irritation to human skin.