Fake sanitary napkin crime ring caught.

Making counterfeit money and jewels and designer handbags at least makes a certain kind of sense, because those things are worth a lot of money. But apparently it’s not just high-ticket luxury goods that can be knocked off for a profit, because police in China busted up a “major criminal network” this week for producing, of all things, fake sanitary napkins.

Forty-three people were arrested across six provinces for producing and distributing knock-offs of brand name feminine hygiene products. The Ministry of Public Security said police uncovered 43 different production and distribution dens and shut down 20 production lines in the bust. They found 19.6 million counterfeit sanitary napkins and seized 100 tons of counterfeit raw materials for producing more.

The fake sanitary napkin project was apparently worth up to $24.4 million. At that point wouldn’t it just be easier to become a producer of actual, legal maxi pads? They basically had to set up a whole production company to make the fakes, and running a huge, illegal crime ring seems a lot more risky than just, you know, making some maxi pads.

Police were made aware of the counterfeit pad problem back in February, when several women reported having become sick after using certain name-brand pads. Though it’s unclear what specifically was making the women sick, counterfeiters generally don’t bother sterilizing their plastics or machines, so the products are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria or viruses.

And because one gross counterfeiting story is never enough, Shanghaiist reminds us of a particularly horrifying old case where a group of counterfeiters were arrested for actually turning used condoms into hair bands and ponytail holders. Recycling is great and all, but given the way so many people hold their ponytail holders in their mouths while styling their hair, that one was both completely disgusting and a public health risk.

Via Shanghaiist/Photo: Shutterstock