Shocking footage shows how workers were IRONING used face masks before selling them again in Thailand.
Police raided the factory in Saraburi province, 65 miles north of Bangkok, on Monday (March 2) after complaints about the dodgy masks being sold to locals desperate for protection against the deadly coronavirus.
The group were allegedly collecting dirty and discarded surgical masks, putting them through a washing machine and dryer, ironing them, repackaging them before selling them again as new.
Surgical masks are in short supply due to claims they can protect against the deadly coronavirus covid-19 currently sweeping across the world.
Officers arrived in the afternoon and found the house recycling the face masks was connected to a local junk yard and rubbish dump, where they collected them from.
Inside the property they found thousands of white surgical masks and six male teenagers busy cleaning, ironing and re-packaging them.
One of the teenagers, Kunanon Dermsunteer, 17, who was overseeing the process blamed his mother Chintana Namwichai for instructing him to do it.
He said: "All my mother told me was that we received the masks from a factory and we have to wash and iron them before putting them into the box.
"We were all paid 1 THB (2.5 pence) for finishing one mask and usually do 300 to 400 a day."
Officers at the scene rang Chintana to ask about her operation. Footage shows how she told the police over the phone that she just hired the boy to remove metal pieces from the masks and sell them.
District sheriff Somsak Kaewsena said they would interrogate the woman further and immediately shut down the operation.
He said: "The evidence and the process of her operation suggested that they were recycling the used surgical masks and selling them on, deceiving customers that they were new.
"This behaviour is a fraudulent and is harming the people who are desperately in need of the masks during the contagious of the COVID-19."
Police Colonel Pairoj Treesopon said they believe the operation was illegal but they will have to collect more evidence before they start legal action.
He said: "We will to close the business but we have to investigate more to collect all of the the evidence and then we will decide on the charges."
Thailand's health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Monday people should make their own reusable cloth masks instead of relying solely on disposable surgical masks.
He said 600,000 of the 1.3 million pieces produced nationwide per day are being allocated to the government for distribution to hospitals and big retailers.