Opinion: Rubber glove scandal a national embarrassment in the making

A recent CNN report has outlined a criminal plot by a group of Thais who have exported second-hand and used gloves to the United States for money.

The government has denied any involvement but the national embarrassment is done.

It was not the government but it was a bunch of crooks, the commerce minister said on Monday.

“Since there is a high demand of rubber gloves from the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a group of crooks that illegally imported and exported them,” said Jurin Laksanawisit after the cabinet meeting.

We’re not talking about a couple of thousand gloves either. Tens of millions of counterfeit and second-hand rubber gloves were sent from Thailand to the United States

The CNN report on Sunday said that the discover was just “the tip of the iceberg” and that more illegal transactions were likely completed.

CNN said the smuggling of rubber gloves was made easier by the US FDA’s suspension of import regulations and the Thai FDA’s struggles “to keep up with the fraudulent trade”.

Jurin said the ministry is working with related agencies to investigate the case. He said if the investigation lead to a misunderstanding between the Thai and US governments then it must be clarified.

“If there were illegal activities on our side, we will not let it slide and we will prosecute the wrongdoers based on the law because this is not a policy nor the disposition of the government for someone to be involved with this,” he said.

All lovely language sure, but the damage is done. Our lax and laissez faire attitude towards policing these kind of scams has tarnished our reputation. Instead of just prosecuting these criminals, one would like the government to put in place safeguards and tools so that we no longer have to hide our face in shame on the world’s stage.

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