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Jakarta Post

Ambulance driver in Riau arrested for allegedly stealing masks for health center

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Sun, April 5, 2020   /   05:48 pm
Ambulance driver in Riau arrested for allegedly stealing masks for health center An ambulance is parked at the isolation ward of the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital in North Jakarta on March 5. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

An ambulance driver has been arrested in Tenayan Raya district, Pekanbaru, Riau, for allegedly selling masks that were meant for the Tenayan Raya community health center (Puskesmas).

Police said the driver, identified as N, had picked up a box of 1,000 masks from the Pekanbaru Health Agency on March 17. Instead of delivering them to the Puskesmas, N allegedly took the masks home and sold them online as mask prices soar amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Puskesmas staff said the masks were to be distributed to medical staff and patients.

"All the masks were sold for a total of Rp 5 million [US$305],” Tenayan Raya Police chief Comr. Hanafi Tanjung told reporters on Sunday.

The money gained from the sale, one mobile phone and a motorcycle driven by the suspect to transport the box were collected as evidence. 

"He was charged under Article 363 of the Criminal Code [on theft] and faces seven years imprisonment," Hanafi said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a massive strain on Indonesia’s healthcare system, with reports of inadequate medical supplies and the deaths of hospital workers as patient numbers continue to surge. (trn)