Beijing shop fined more than US$400,000 for hiking mask prices amid Wuhan virus outbreak

Beijing shop fined more than US$400,000 for hiking mask prices amid Wuhan virus outbreak

People in Beijing wear masks to guard against Wuhan virus
 In this file photo taken on Jan 28, 2020 people wearing protective masks to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, walk on a nearly empty shopping mall in the Sanlitun area in Beijing. (Photo: AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI)

BEIJING: A drugstore in the Chinese capital will be fined 3 million yuan (US$434,530) for hiking the price of masks by almost six times the online rate amid a spreading virus outbreak, the Beijing municipal market regulator said on Wednesday (Jan 29).

The coronavirus outbreak, which started in the central city of Wuhan late last year, has killed 132 people, with nearly 6,000 infected in China.

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

READ: Number infected by Wuhan virus rises to nearly 6,000 in China; death toll at 132

An administrative penalty notice has been issued to the Beijing Jimin Kangtai Pharmacy for sharply raising the price of N95 masks, the regulator said in a statement on its website.

The store raised the price of a box of 3M brand masks to 850 yuan while the online price was just 143 yuan, state television said.

Since Thursday, the regulator has investigated 31 price violation cases, it said, as it boosted supervision of prices of protective gear and punished illegal activities, such as hoarding or fabricating information about price hikes.

In the commercial capital of Shanghai, the municipal market regulator has ordered the closure of a drug store that sold sub-standard masks, the city government said.

The regulator has asked the store to refund buyers and dispose of unsold ones, it said on its official account on the Weibo app.

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Source: Reuters/nc

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