Man arrested for alleged €850,000 corona mask scam

There are 100 years' worth of surgical masks sitting in warehouses. Photo:
Criminals have been exploiting the high demand for masks. Photo:

Border police have arrested a man accused of selling two million medical face masks to China that were never delivered.

The 49-year-old man from Purmerend agreed to sell €8 million of masks to ConectID and TKL Health DD, both based in Wuhan, in February. ConectID is owned by a British businessman and TKL Health by a Chinese Australian entrepeneur.

The two companies paid €850,000 in advance to secure the delivery, but when the executives travelled to Amsterdam to view the goods nobody appeared to meet them. They were later directed to a business premises in Rotterdam that also proved to be empty.

The owner of ConectID reported the fraud to police at Schiphol. Shortly afterwards he received an email from Purmerend asking him to withdraw his complaint and pay the outstanding amount in bitcoins.

Police seached homes and business premises in the town on Wednesday morning and took away documents and materials for further analysis.

‘This has high priority, especially at the moment,’ Dutch military police spokesman Robert van Kapel told NOS. ‘A person came to the Netherlands with good intentions to buy face masks in order to help people and prevent things becoming worse. Instead he was conned out of a huge sum. That is regrettable.’

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