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Giant R22 – a target for counterfeiters

CHINA: A leading Chinese manufacturer is offering a reward for help in stopping sales of counterfeit refrigerants, including dangerous methyl chloride cocktails.

Counterfeiting in China is not restricted to Western brands. Zhejiang Juhua Co, an established Chinese producer of Giant brand refrigerants and a supplier of blend component R125 to Honeywell, is also under attack from fakers.

Worryingly, the counterfeiters are said to be passing off potentially fatal cocktails of refrigerants containing methyl chloride as R22. In 2011, cocktails of R12 and methyl chloride (R40), sold as R134a, were thought to be responsible for a number of explosions and deaths in the refrigerated container industry. The methyl chloride reacts with aluminium, corroding the internal components in the system and creating trimethyl aluminium, a volatile by-product that burns on contact with air.

Now it appears the counterfeiters are turning their attention to producing fake versions of R22, a refrigerant which will become more scarce and costly as worldwide phase-outs of the ozone depleting refrigerant take hold.

Zhejiang Juhua maintains the “Giant” counterfeiters are selling dangerous cocktails as R22. The fake R22 is said to contain between 15% and 30% of added methyl chloride. The company warns that using this refrigerant will cause severe corrosion and failure of the compressor.

The company has complained that fake Giant refrigerant is disrupting the market, damaging the reputation of its brand and putting consumers’ lives and property at risk. Other instances of counterfeiting extend to Giant brand packaging, under-filled cylinders and contaminated out-of-specification product.

Zhejiang Juhua says it will crackdown on counterfeiting and will co-operate with authorities to pursue those responsible through the courts.

The company is soliciting help from industry and the public and is offering rewards of up to CYN100,000 (around €15,000) for information.

This is not the first time that Zhejiang Juhua and its Giant brand have been the target of counterfeiters. At the end of 2013 Chinese police broke up an operation producing fake Giant brand refrigerant for car air conditioners and confiscated equipment thought to be worth over CNY50m (€7.4m). Eighteen people were arrested from four criminal gangs across a number of Chinese provinces. Police uncovered an operation involving five illegal production facilities, 11 storage warehouses and two sales offices.

In all, 28,000 aerosol cans of fake Giant brand R134a and other refrigerant brands were confiscated along with thousands of empty counterfeit refrigerant cans, filling machines, fake packaging, packaging machines and other counterfeiting equipment and more than 20 tons of raw materials.

Related stories:

Chinese smash R134a counterfeiting ring February 5, 2014
CHINA: Honeywell and DuPont have been victims of counterfeiters but it seems the Chinese are also quite prepared to fake their own. Read more…