Silicone strips seized stopping safety-sacrificing surgeries

PHOTO: Fake silicone strips for surgery were seized in a police raid. (via Nation)

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) teamed up with police on a raid of several plastic surgery clinics and a manufacturer’s warehouse to confiscate a large number of counterfeit silicone pieces. The joint operation was announced on Monday by the FDA Secretary-General and the Deputy Chief of the Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD).

Previous raids had been carried out on Tuesday, December 20 and Thursday, 22. The latest raid took place last Thursday, January 12. During the raid, it was revealed that fake silicone pieces were used in 1,621 surgeries at the Korawin Clinic’s five branches last year. These surgeries included 1,436 nose jobs, 154 chin implants, and 31 surgeries for both the nose and chin.

On January 12, officers from the FDA searched a warehouse in Nonthaburi as well as several of the clinic’s branches. Clinics in Ngam Wong Wan in Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Pathom, Rayong, and Udon Thani were searched.

Investigators found 2,748 fake silicone pieces for forehead implants and 1,107 fake silicone chins. They also seized 474 pieces of illegal medication and nearly 1,000 pieces of bootleg medical equipment.

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The silicone pieces cost just 60-80 baht each to produce but could then be used in surgeries costing between 4,900 and 50,000 baht.

More arrest warrants will be sought after the latest raid, but the officials did not go into detail about their targets. The FDA previously conducted raids after enlisting the CPPD to investigate the Korawin brand suspected of using fake silicone pieces at their clinics.

With the help of a court warrant, the FDA and CPPD first searched a deserted rice mill in the Sri Prachan district of Suphan Buri on December 20. They discovered it was being used as a factory to make nose and forehead silicone pieces. In the raid, they seized counterfeit equipment, 68 moulds, and 1,098 silicone pieces – a haul worth about 3.5 million baht.

One person was arrested for manufacturing medical equipment and silicone without a license. She is reported to have run the business for two years and named her biggest buyer. K Medical Thailand Co reportedly placed orders for Korawin Clinic’s Khon Kaen branch and its Ngam Wong Wan branch in Bangkok.

The fake silicone was distributed across Thailand to the clinic’s 30 other branches. Documents were uncovered showing over 2 million baht of fake silicone purchases by Korawin Clinic.

The December 22 raid took place in the Ngam Wong Wan branch and seized 12,282 pieces for nose jobs, 27 pieces for forehead implants, and 3,855 pieces for the chin, all made in the same rice mill converted into a factory.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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