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Virus profiteers to be targeted by MoC

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Pedestrians wearing protective face masks in a Phnom Penh street. KT/Siv Chann

The Ministry of Commerce is collaborating with other government bodies to take legal action against business owners, such as shopkeepers and market traders who are pushing up prices to take advantage of the continuing COVID-19 situation.

In a statement, the MOC said that they are working with other institutions and authorities to deter opportunists from selling everyday necessities, including food, with inflated price tags. The ministry also demanded the full cooperation of “all stores, shops and business people” to work with the Kingdom and help its people in the face of the virus.

Speaking to Khmer Times, Seang Thay, spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce said that the measure is being taken to calm any potential panic or chaos in the population.

“We have asked the sellers not to increase the price of products to unreasonable levels,” he said.

He said that officers representing the Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (Cam-control) will conduct spot checks at markets, shops, malls and stores and explain to sellers why they should desist from hiking up their prices.

The move follows several stores in Siem Riep significantly ramping up the cost of products including face masks and hand-washing alcohol after a 38-year-old man in the city contracted the virus.

The statement also noted that reports of this sharp practice have been recorded around the country, as unscrupulous profiteers exploit people’s worry that supplies of items which can potentially guard against catching the virus, including protective masks, will run out.

”People should not panic because there is more than enough of these items in the country, as well as for export,” the statement read.

The Pharmacy Council of Cambodia has also called on all pharmacies to sell masks at a reasonable price. They warned that member pharmacies that are found to be in breach of this will be immediately suspended.

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