Australian police say they have arrested 6 members of an “expansive” criminal gang which has been stealing baby formula for illegal sale in China.
Police said, Stolen formula valued at more than A$1m (£550,000; $720,000) had been sold in the last one year. But they said the syndicate had been operating for many years.
In China, Australian formula has been nicknamed as “white gold” because it is considered to be safer and of better quality than locally produced products.
New South Wales Police said at Sydney International Airport on Saturday a man, 31, was arrested after stepping off a flight from China.
In recent months, another 3 men and two women were arrested. 5 of the 6 arrested had been charged.
Over several years, Detective Supt Danny Doherty said the “lucrative” operation had sent thousands of shipments to China.
He told reporters on Monday, “this was quite an expansive criminal group that was exploiting an overseas market at the disadvantage of the Australian public.
Police also seized other stolen items, including vitamins, and more than A$215,000 in cash.
In recent years, Australian parents have complained about a shortage of formula. Last year, one Australian supermarket chain decided to sell baby formula from behind a counter to protect customers with a “genuine need” for it.
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