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Chinese trader adds to profits by selling boxes of apples by weight – with concrete in cardboard lining

A Chinese man paid for a 12.5kg box of apples only to find that more than a quarter of its weight was made up by the box itself, which had concrete between its two layers of cardboard, mainland media reports.

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The man from Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, identified only by his surname Li, felt the cardboard box was “unusually heavy” after removing all the apples he had bought from a local shop, the Chutian Metropolis Daily reported.

Li discovered concrete sandwiched between the box’s cardboard layers after tearing off the outside skin of the box on Friday.

The box itself weighed more than 3.5kg.

The week before, Li had paid 88 yuan (HK$102) for the apples at a wholesale market, where fruit is priced by weight, the report said.

The fruit shop owner told reporters she did not remember selling anything to Li, but claimed that it was a common practice to pack fruit in concrete-lined boxes.

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She said apples in the heaviest boxes were sold at 2 mao (or 0.2 yuan) per 0.5kg cheaper than those in boxes that carried less concrete.

The concrete was used not only to trick the customers, but also protect the fruit and the boxes from being crushed during transportation, another shop owner told reporters.

Local authorities said they would look into the issue after receiving a report from the newspaper.