Japanese “Virus Shut Out” necklace that has faced bans around the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic is to remain on the shelves in Hong Kong after a Customs investigation.

A 7-Eleven store in Central. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

A full year after Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department said it was looking into Toamit’s “anti-viral” product, a spokesperson told HKFP on Monday that no fault had been detected: “[An] investigation into the case under the direction of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance has already been concluded. No offence is found under the Ordinance.”

Retailers have defended selling the necklace, which the manufacturer claims is “experimentally proven to effectively block airborne particles and bacteria, as well as various epidemic viruses… reducing the chance of being infected or infecting others.”

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The device has been banned by eBay and Facebook and by several US territories, whilst both Vietnamese and Thai authorities have confiscated them. The US Environmental Protection Agency identified the necklaces as “illegal health products,” according to USA Today whilst Australian experts warn they may be harmful to children.

The product contains chlorine dioxide, but Dr Ariane Davison – a virologist and immunologist – told HKFP last year that the necklace is a “complete scam,” adding that it “will do nothing to protect you by inactivating respiratory viruses.”

The product has been spotted at Hong Kong’s Bonjour stores, SASA, at 7-Eleven convenience stores, on HKTV mall and at Watsons pharmacies, for under HK$100.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.