Semarang, C Java (ANTARA) - Police arrested three suspects charged with hoarding masks and antiseptic liquids in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang.

All three suspects, identified as AK, AU and M, are residents of Semarang, Director of General Criminal Detective Unit of the Central Java Provincial Police Senior Commissioner Budi Hariyanto said here on Wednesday.

He noted that the three suspects were closely related to one another in running medical supply businesses. They have hoarded masks since February, purchasing the the masks online, he said.

They allegedly sold the masks for higher prices to reap high profits, he added.

Citing an example, he said the group sold one box of 50 masks for Rp275 thousand, compared to the market price of Rp30 to Rp40 thousand.

The police also seized 10 boxes of masks from the suspects.

If found guilty, the suspects may be sentenced in accordance with trade law No. 7/2014.

President Joko Widodo (Jonowi) has ordered Chief of the National Police General Idham Aziz to take stern measures against those stockpiling masks, after the government announced the country's first two confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

"I order the chief of the National Police to take stern measures against irresponsible parties who capitalize on a moment like this by stockpiling masks and selling them at higher prices," the President said during a press conference at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta Tuesday.

The country now has some 50 million masks in stock, he said.


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Translator: Immanuel Citra Senjaya/Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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