81 boxes of Goree whitening cream seized by HK Customs in Central

The Hong Kong Customs urged members of the public to stop using two types of whitening cream products containing excessive mercury announced on 20 January.

This was after the Customs conducted an enforcement operation and seized 81 boxes of the two whitening cream products from a retailer in Central.

A 52-year-old female director was arrested and has been released on bail pending further investigation.

Customs said that they had received information alleging that two suspected unsafe whitening cream products were being supplied in the market.

Test results likewise revealed that the levels of mercury in these two products were as high as 22000 parts per million and 21000 parts per million respectively.

According to the relevant hygienic standard of the cosmetic, the mercury content of the whitening creams exceeded the maximum permitted limit by 22000 and 21000 times respectively.

This is suspected to be in contravention of the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance (CGSO).

Customs also found that the packages of two whitening cream products only bore warnings or cautions in English, without any Chinese warnings or cautions, in contravention of the Consumer Goods Safety Regulation (CGSR), a subsidiary legislation of the CGSO.

An investigation is ongoing and further arrests are not ruled out. A prohibition notice was served on the retailer connected with the case, prohibiting the continued sale of the two whitening cream products.

Customs officers also conducted spot checks and inspections in various districts and have found no sales of the two products concerned so far.

According to medical advice, chronic exposure to mercury can cause damage to the nervous system and kidneys.

Symptoms may include tremors, irritability, insomnia, memory deterioration, concentration difficulty, impaired hearing and vision, and a change in the taste function. In severe cases, renal failure may occur.

Customs reminds members of the public to observe the following tips when purchasing and using beauty products:

  • Do not buy or use beauty products of unknown composition or from doubtful sources;
  • Stop using the beauty products and seek medical attention immediately if feeling unwell after use; and
  • Purchase beauty products at reputable retail shops.