Between January 31st and June 2nd of this year, 431 people have been arrested and prosecuted over the illegal sales of face masks and alcohol gel with charges mostly based around overpricing or the concealment of pricing.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit Thailand, many sellers saw an opportunity for selling equipment and items needed by the public to protect themselves from the infection and prevent spreading it to others.
However, the government quickly laid out strict rules for sellers who were hoarding items including face masks and sanitizing gels to ensure the items would remain easily accessible for everyone.
Despite this, the Commerce Ministry has reported that hundreds of sellers attempted to take advantage of the situation by overpricing their stock.
Of the 431 people arrested over the past five months, 195 were located in Bangkok with the remainder spread across Thailand’s other provinces.
The majority of arrests related to vendors failing to openly display price tags for their products.
On Tuesday, June 2nd, four arrests were made for the illegal sales of face masks and hand gel. Three of those arrests were in Bangkok with Facebook being the preferred platform for selling the items.
The other arrest occurred in Tak province where a vendor was selling face masks that were imported from Vietnam for between 7.80 and 17.60 baht a piece.
Sellers who overcharge customers for essential items including face masks and sanitizing gel can face a fine of up to 140,000 baht and/or seven years in prison. For concealment of prices, the fine is up to 100,000 baht.