Damaged goods found in department store in Malaysia in 2020, not in Shanghai in 2022

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As Shanghai emerged from a two-month lockdown, social media posts shared photos of moldy shoes and bags they said show products at a department store in the Chinese megacity. However, the photos were taken in Malaysia in 2020 at a store which was about to reopen following a Covid-related closure.

” Leather goods in Shanghai Parkson have become moldy,” read a tweet in Chinese posted on May 25, 2022.

Photos show shoes and bags covered in white mold on the shelves of a store.

“Parkson is getting ready to reopen; when they opened the door, the products on the counters looked like this,” it reads superimposed above the photos.

Parkson is a Malaysian chain of department stores, which has two branches in Shanghai.

Screenshot of a tweet sharing the false claim, taken May 27, 2022.

Shanghai eased a series of Covid-19 restrictions on June 1 and began allowing residents of areas deemed low risk to move freely around the megacity.

The mall of 25 million people was shuttered in sections from late March, when the Omicron virus variant fueled China’s worst outbreak since Covid first took hold in 2020.

PPictures of moldy produce, from vegetables to cars, have surfaced online during the two-month lockdown that has hit China’s economy.

Photos of damaged bags and shoes at a department store circulated in several posts, including on Twitter here and here and Gettr here and here, which claimed to have been taken during Shanghai’s lockdown.

Some people seemed to believe the photos were taken in Shanghai.

“Was it caused by a disinfectant spray? a comment read, referring to a coronavirus control method hailed by Shanghai authorities.

Another wrote: “It’s humid in Shanghai, it’s normal [for products] become moldy. And that means they’re real leather!”

Mall in Malaysia

However, the claim is false. Jhe photos of moldy shoes and bags were taken in Malaysia in 2020.

Search by keywords on Google found the photos in a report by the Malaysian news site SAYS from May 12, 2020.

The report is titled: “Department store items develop mold after being left untouched for 2 months”.

“On Sunday, May 10, photos went viral showing branded items covered in mold at Metrojaya Suria Sabah Mall,” SAYS reported.

“Twitter user @ikhbalsheikhali shared images of shoes, bags, wallets and belts that were untouched due to the pandemic.”

The Metrojaya Suriah Sabah department store is located in Kota Kinabalu, in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo.

Screenshot of SAYS article on products found in a department store in Malaysia, taken June 1, 2022

@ikhbalsheikhali’s tweet, dated May 10, 2020, shares various photos of moldy produce, with a Malaysian-language caption that reads: The result of not opening the shop too long during the PKP duration.”

PKP refers to Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (movement control order), which was a series of containment measures related to Covid-19 put in place in Malaysia from March 18, 2020.

Reacting to the posts, Metrojaya said the photos were taken as the store prepared to reopen after being closed in accordance with the PKP.

“There are various reasons why the goods ended up in this condition, and we are still investigating them,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook on May 11, 2020.

He said the photos were taken “for internal use only”.

Metrojaya also posted videos staff disposing of moldy products and disinfecting the store.

Various Malaysian media reported on the damaged goods found in the store, including Harian Metro and Coconuts KL.