HomeChinaHong Kong police hunt armed gang who stole toilet rolls amid panic-buying frenzy

Hong Kong police hunt armed gang who stole toilet rolls amid panic-buying frenzy

Hong Kong Police Hunt Armed Gang Who Stole Toilet Rolls Amid Panic Buying Frenzy 5e4a5ae3a6d7b.jpeg

HONG KONG – Armed robbers who stole hundreds of toilet rolls were being hunted by Hong Kong police on Monday (Feb 17), in a city wracked by shortages caused by coronavirus panic buying.

Toilet rolls have become hot property in the densely packed business hub, despite government assurances that supplies remain unaffected by the virus outbreak.

Supermarkets have found themselves unable to restock quickly enough, leading to sometimes-lengthy queues and shelves stripped bare within moments of opening.

Alongside toilet rolls, there has been a run on staples like rice and pasta as well as hand sanitiser and other cleaning items.

Police said a truck driver was held up early on Monday by three men outside a supermarket in Mong Kok, a working class district with a history of “triad” organised crime gangs.

“A delivery man was threatened by three knife-wielding men who took toilet paper worth more than HK$1,000 (S$180),” a police spokesman told AFP.

Footage from Now TV showed police investigators standing around multiple crates of toilet rolls outside a Wellcome supermarket. One of the crates was only half stacked.

ALSO READ: Toilet paper flies off Hong Kong shelves as online rumours spark panic buying

The hysteria that has swept through Hong Kong since the coronavirus outbreak exploded on mainland China is partly fuelled by the city’s tragic recent history of confronting a deadly disease.

In 2003, 299 Hong Kongers died of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), an outbreak that began on the mainland but was initially covered up by Beijing, a decision that left a lasting legacy of distrust towards the authorities on public health issues.

This year’s coronavirus outbreak also comes at a time when the city’s pro-Beijing leadership boasts historic low approval ratings after refusing to bow to months of angry pro-democracy protests last year.

The authorities have blamed false online rumours for the panic buying and say supplies of food and household goods remain stable.

But the panic buying has itself created shortages in one of the world’s most densely populated cities where supermarkets and pharmacies have limited floor space.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong men smash car window to steal N95 masks

For the latest updates on the coronavirus virus, visit here.

Close [X]
Close [X]