The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Police seized 350 boxes of face masks during a raid on the residence of a suspected hoarder in Tanjung Duren, Grogol Petamburan, West Jakarta in the wake of panic buying that hit the capital city on Monday following the announcement of the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“The Tanjung Duren Police have confiscated 350 boxes of face masks from various brands at an apartment in Grogol,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.
Separately, West Jakarta Police’s general crimes unit head, Comr. Teuku Arsya, confirmed the raid had taken place. However, he was still tight-lipped about the number of suspects apprehended.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s announcement of the country’s first confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases on Monday rattled many Jakartans, some of whom reacted to the news by frantically flocking to stores across the city to stock up on medical supplies and other essentials, including face masks and hand sanitizer.
Panic buying has prompted a price surge for such items both online and offline in the last two days, with a box of face masks now selling for an average of Rp 300,000 (US$ 21) – a whopping 1,500 percent increase from the original average of Rp 20,000 per box.
In response to the phenomenon, the National Police have announced that it will bring those known to have hoarded masks and hand sanitizer to justice.
“We are carrying out an investigation to sniff out any illegal stockpiling,” said National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Argo Yuwono. (rfa)