Saline solution disguised as ‘effective medicine’, Chinese elderly often fall prey to health product scams

There are many scammers in China who skillfully and specifically target the wallets of older people. For example, a saline solution mixed with growth medium used for bacterial culture that costs 100 yuan (about $14.50) to manufacture has been sold for tens of thousands of yuan (about $1,450), and camellia seed oil has been touted as able to cure everything. diseases.

Chinese state media reported on August 23 that Beijing police had arrested a group of fraudsters specializing in organizing community gatherings for the elderly, posing as experts to give them medical exams and tests. consultations, then selling “effective medicines” which “can cure all diseases”. at high prices.

The group admitted that when they read on the internet that the medical field was looking for multi-purpose drugs for the treatment of many chronic diseases, they spotted a “business opportunity” and started a company to promote the concept of “miraculously effective medicine”. . “They mixed normal saline with culture fluid and sold it to the elderly at very inflated prices.

Previously, Shanghai also reported fraud cases in which camellia seed oil was promoted as a “cure-all” health product that can be applied to the skin or taken orally to address a wide range of health issues. , including insomnia, hair loss and headaches. . Hundreds of seniors have fallen victim to the scam.

A Shanghai woman, Ms. Qian, shared her mother’s story with Chinese media.

Qian’s mother added a seller as a friend on WeChat. The person often chatted with her using text messages or voice calls. After the elderly woman got a good impression, the person frequently recommended that she use a certain brand of camellia seed oil.

On June 23, the salesman picked up Qian’s mother from her home and took her to a seminar at a biotechnology company in Shanghai. After intense brainwashing, Qian’s mother spent 13,000 yuan (about $1,900) on the spot and bought 38 pounds of camellia seed oil. The price she paid was much higher than the market price.

Various factors

Health product fraud in China that targets the elderly has been repeatedly banned. So why do such scams happen again and again? Reached for comment, a staff member from the Haidian District Public Security Bureau in Beijing told The Epoch Times that the elderly attach great importance to treating illnesses and keeping fit, but they do not know very well how to tell good products from bad ones, or real ones from bad ones. fake. Fraudsters take advantage of this characteristic attitude of seniors, and create various methods to promote their fake products.

“The fraudster’s usual practice is to change the packaging of ordinary products and sell them at inflated prices. There are also cases where counterfeit products have been sold as medicine, such as in the case of normal saline solution being sold as a health product,” he said.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long history of chaotic management of its medical and health care system,” Chong Sheng (a pseudonym), a commentator living in Guangzhou, China, told The Epoch Times. “With one group identified and arrested, the other groups move to a different location and continue to commit the same crimes using different tactics.”

Chong pointed out that the CCP has made great efforts to monitor and block the Internet and suppress dissidents, and that CCP officials do not care about the losses of ordinary Chinese citizens.

Ge Hui (pseudonym) from Yantai City, Shandong Province, told The Epoch Times that before the COVID-19 pandemic, he had seen mini-buses picking up elderly people from community gates and taking them to seminars. All attendees receive a souvenir, which is an effective sales trick to attract seniors, as they love free gifts.

Sometimes free packed lunches are provided at the seminar, sometimes vendors take seniors to tourist places like Penglai Town and Weihai Town for free, and promote their “health products” during the trip. The elderly thought they had taken advantage of a free trip, but in fact the vendors were after their money, Ge said.

Ge has seen how scammers brag about their products at seminars.

“Ordinary products are presented as magic drugs. At each seminar, they make the public feel that their products are unique and can cure all diseases. Each time, some people bought their products, but some time later found that they had little effect. Everything is fake and misleading, and the price is very high,” Ge said.