The Directorate of Special Economic Criminal Acts (BARESKRIM) has found indications of people hoarding masks and hand sanitiser around the capital.
People have been scouting around to get their hands on masks and hand sanitiser following the announcement that there are two positive cases of the COVID-19 that have identified in Indonesia. This has led the stocks of both products decreasing and prices skyrocketing.
Director of Financial Crime from BARESKRIM, Brigadier General Daniel Mole Monang, stated that the raid of a factory in Tangerang led to the discovery of hundreds of face masks, which will likely be distributed when it’s feasible for consumers to use them.
Police were asked to check whether any masks being sold were overpriced because anyone caught doing is in violation of the Trade Act. In addition, perpetrators may also be going against the Consumer Protection Act or the Counterfeit Act when producing fake goods.
President Joko Widodo says he has instructed General Police Chief Idham Azis to investigate the hoarding of masks and inflated sales prices.
The concern, as yet unfounded, about a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 in Indonesia, has made the price of face masks in the market vary wildly, ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of Rupiah.
Traders have been overwhelmed with demand for masks and their prices because distributors are already seeking higher prices. The price to the distributor is already high; one mask seller in LTC Glodok, with initials GA, claimed to be selling masks 10 times higher than normal prices. “We sell for retail anyway. There are some emptier distributor messages. For now, we sell with high prices,” said GA.
A box of 50 masks costs Rp300,000 whereas, before the outbreak, it used to cost Rp20,000 per box. Another mask seller, RA, claimed to sell the 3M type N95 mask, with 50 in a box, for up to Rp1.1 million.
Corporate Communication Melati Kusumawardani asserted that the company has not raised the price of masks. “We cannot control the price that the dealer used for the product,” she said.
Image: Nusa Bali