SINGAPORE – A local company was on Friday fined $25,000 after it was found to have manufactured face masks without a valid licence and in unhygienic conditions.
Kinetics Empire, previously known as Vision Empire International, pleaded guilty to three charges, including falsely advertising the degree of protection offered by its masks. Another seven charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that the firm made 105,660 pieces of disposable face masks between July 2020 and April 2021.
Its former director, Mr Tay Suan Choon, did not apply for a licence with the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) before producing the masks despite knowing that he was required to do so.
HSA senior prosecuting counsel Debra Ann Tan said Mr Tay had sent an e-mail to HSA in March 2020 asking about licence requirements to manufacture medical masks in Singapore.
HSA replied him between March and April 2020, but Mr Tay did not follow up with applying for a licence, she added.
In April 2021, HSA received information from the Ministry of Manpower that Kinetics Empire was manufacturing masks in an unclean environment.
When HSA officers inspected the premises in Ubi Crescent in May that year, they found that the areas where masks were produced were dusty and poorly ventilated. The masks were placed in boxes that were left out in the open.
Two of the company’s employees also admitted to not wearing gloves while producing masks.
Additionally, HSA investigations found that Kinetics Empire had made false claims in advertisements about the degree of protection offered by its masks.
The company claimed its masks had undergone testing by a third-party auditor and were certified to be 95 per cent effective in preventing droplets containing bacteria from reaching the wearer.
But HSA found that the company did not submit mask samples to the auditor. Mr Tay later admitted that he had bought a fake certificate from a Chinese supplier.
The offence of manufacturing a health product without a valid licence carries a maximum fine of $50,000 and a jail term of up to two years.
For falsely advertising a health product, an offender can be fined up to $20,000 and jailed for up to a year.
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