Chinese businessman with expired visa charged for selling fake alcohol

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A Chinese man was arrested in Bloemfontein for selling illicit alcohol.
A Chinese man was arrested in Bloemfontein for selling illicit alcohol.
Yuki Shintani / Getty


The Free State health department has warned that drinking fake alcohol is detrimental to one's health, as it could lead to anything, from nausea to blindness and even death.

This comes after a Chinese national was charged with contravening the Consumer Protection Act, number 68 of 2008, after he was found with illicit alcohol.

Provincial health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said counterfeit alcohol mostly contained a highly poisonous substance called methanol, which was a non-drinking alcohol substance that was used for industrial purposes only.

Methanol can be found in products such as anti-freeze and paint remover and it can cause confusion, loss of coordination, vomiting, irregular or slow breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature, and it is also corrosive to internal organs and may easily and quickly result in liver sclerosis or cirrhosis.

Meanwhile, the Free State department of small business development, tourism and environmental affairs (DESTEA) consumer protection unit, together with the SA Police Service crime intelligence and SA Revenue Service, received a tipoff that the illicit trade of alcohol was thriving in the east end business park in Bloemfontein. The joint operation swiftly responded by raiding the area on Friday.

Free State DESTEA MEC Thabo Meeko expressed deep concern towards safety risks associated with the consumption of illicit alcohol.

READ: Illicit alcohol trade claims R20bn of the market

“Clearly, if we bring all expertise to work together as a collective, we can achieve more, as this is a promising journey proving that we can reclaim our economy, reconstruct and restore it to the people of the Free State. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” he said.

DESTEA spokesperson Mojalefa Mphapang added the operation task team found a Chinese male suspect in possession of boxes and bottle caps that were tampered with which was in contravention of the Consumer Protection Act. 

The business address of the suspect reflected as Botshabelo but it operated in Bloemfontein. He had a working permit and his visa had expired.

 Mphapang said the joint task team confiscated boxes of illicit alcohol and the suspect was charged with contravention of the Consumer Protection Act, number 68 of 2008, Counterfeit Good Act number 37 of 1997, as well as non-compliance with the Business Act 71 of 1991.

Mphapang explained in terms of counterfeit products contravention, the fine may be up to a maximum amount of R1 million or imprisonment.

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