A core member of opposition party Demosisto has been arrested on suspicion of breaking trade descriptions laws by failing to provide proof that the specifications and country of origin of the masks they were selling were as labelled, including the declaration they were “Not made in China”. In a customs operation triggered by complaints about the surgical masks sold via local restaurants, officers bought the products and sent them to laboratories to test for bacteria levels. While the samples passed those standards, a Customs and Excise Department’s spokesman said the trader had failed to offer authentication that the masks complied with what was stated on the label. As mask shortages bite, how should Carrie Lam fix Hong Kong’s supply crisis? Officers raided the party’s registered address in San Po Kong in Wong Tai Sin on Friday, seizing 935 boxes containing a total of 32,725 masks with an estimated market value of about HK$93,500 (US$12,000). The party’s standing committee member Tobias Leung Yin-fung, 24, who customs said was the representative of the trader, was subsequently arrested for violating the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. He has been released on bail. Demosisto on Friday night slammed the operation as political suppression, saying customs had told them the “Not made in China” claim, which was printed in prominent positions on the packaging, could not be asserted if the products were manufactured in Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China or Taiwan. “The party has not announced the production origin, and printed only ‘Not made in China’ on the box,” the party’s statement said. “Customs confirmed the masks’ bacterial level met the standard, but it exercised political censorship by using the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.” But the statement did not elaborate on the other allegations made by customs. The localist party, co-founded by Joshua Wong Chi-fung, revealed they managed to procure 100,000 masks from the United States in February when many people in the city struggled to buy them to guard against the spread of the coronavirus. The sale of the masks was launched last month when the party said they had sourced more than one million of them. Its first batch of 350,000 were sold at the cost price of HK$100 for a box of 35 to “yellow” businesses, supporters of which advocate spending money in stores that publicly support the protests that erupted last June, while shunning those that do not. Customs’ spokesman said as the investigation was ongoing, further arrests were possible. He urged the public to stop using their surgical masks for now. The operation was part of the “Guardian” operation which had been running for about four months to target masks on the market that did not meet the required standards. More than 4,700 customs officers have been mobilised to conduct over 31,000 inspections at retail spots, manufacturers and online traders. Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, any person who supplies goods with a false trade description in the course of trade or business, or is in possession of any goods for sale with a false trade description, commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of HK$500,000 and imprisonment for five years. Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.