Hong Kong panic buying sparks run on toilet paper

  • ASEAN+
  • Friday, 07 Feb 2020

Hong Kong: Panic buyers in Hong Kong have descended on supermarkets to snap up toilet rolls as the government warned that online rumours of shortages were hampering the city’s fight against a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Videos showed long queues of frantic shoppers packing trolleys with multiple packets of toilet rolls, with some arguments breaking out.

Rice and pasta have also become a popular target for panic buying.

The footage – and photos of shelves emptied of toilet rolls –sparked a call from the government for the public to halt panic buying.

“In response to various rumours recently that there are shortages of goods such as rice and toilet papers, leading to panic buying and even chaos, a government spokesman today expresses regret over the malicious act of spreading rumours when the city is fighting against the disease, and condemns those rumour mongers with evil intentions,” the statement said.

While Hong Kong has closed most of its land borders to mainland China, where the coronavirus outbreak began, freight services have not been affected, the government said.

“There are sufficient stocks of staple food including rice and pastas. There is no need for the public to worry,” the statement said.

Harold Yip, founder of Mil Mill, a Hong Kong-based waste paper recycling company, said they received over 100 enquiries from members of the public about toilet paper on Wednesday alone.

RTHK news reported that toilet paper and rice at one supermarket in the district of Wanchai – which had been fully restocked overnight – were cleared within 30 minutes of the store opening yesterday morning.

The coronavirus has killed more than 550 people in China since spreading from the central city of Wuhan late last year. — AFP

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Hong Kong , coronavirus , outbreak , toilet paper


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