A viral claim suggesting that over 7,200 human penises were seized from a Nigerian cargo ship by the Chinese authorities is a hoax. The fake claim also carries a picture of Chinese authorities scanning the cargo.
The viral claim was widely circulated on social media with many expressing shock over the same.
Dismembered Human Penises of African Origin
The hoax originated after World News Daily posted a satire piece related to the recovery of 7,221 human penises from a cargo ship. The website, bearing the motto "Where facts don't matter," headlined the article "Chinese Authorities Seize Over 7,200 Human Penises On a Cargo Ship From Nigeria."
"Chinese customs officers have made the world's biggest seizure of human organs in history this morning, a total of 7221 penises of African origin hidden in a refrigerated freight container," read the article.
The website also claimed that following a tipoff from an anonymous informer, Chinese authorities found the organs in 36 boxes labelled as plantains (cooking bananas) inside a refrigerated container on a ship harbored in the Shanghai Port.
To make its claim appear authentic, the outlet quoted Chinese General Administration of Customs spokesman, Li Wu, saying that organ trafficking is being undertaken by armed groups in Africa to raise money for themselves. "These organs are common commodities now, but they were certainly harvested in unsanitary conditions or contaminated at some point, so we can't let them out on the Chinese market," Li was quoted by the outlet.
Image Used Is During Seizure of Organs of Endangered Species
Debunking the claim, Lead Stories stated that it was not true. The outlet also claimed that the photograph used in the article is related to authorities seizing parts of endangered pangolin. "On March 9, 2020 customs agents in Nanning, China, busted a smuggling gang, seizing almost 1,808 pounds of scales from the endangered pangolin. Known as the "world's most trafficked mammal," its scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine," the outlet stated.
It also claimed that during a Bing search, the image was found in four different Chinese language articles from 2020.The fact checker website also included an official statement on the Chinese government website of the General Administration of Customs.
"In the early morning of March 9, the General Administration of Customs uniformly commanded Nanning and Hefei Customs Anti-smuggling Bureau to jointly launch the "Guard 2020" special operation against the smuggling of wild animals and their products. Nanning, Chongzuo, Guangxi, Bozhou, Anhui, and other places successfully destroyed a criminal gang of smuggling pangolin scales, arrested 9 suspects in one fell swoop, and seized 820 kilograms of smuggled pangolin scales at the scene," stated the release.