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Commerce Ministry on Alert for Face Mask Price Gouging

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit

Following reports of a rise in the price of face masks, the Ministry of Commerce has instructed officials to ensure that the retail price per mask does not exceed 2.5 baht.

Those who violate price-control regulations will be fined and may face a jail term of up to seven years.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit directed the permanent secretary for commerce to order provincial commerce and internal trade offices nationwide to oversee the sales of face masks, preventing hoarding and price gouging.

Face masks will have to be sold at less than 2.5 baht a piece, as they are on the price-control list. Vendors found overcharging, refusing to sell or distorting the market will face a seven-year jail term, a 140,000-baht fine, or both.

The director-general of the Department of Internal Trade, Wattanasak Sur-iam, said more personnel have been added to its 1569 hotline to receive public complaints. Sellers violating price-control regulations will face immediate prosecution.

The department reported that manufacturers are still producing face masks as usual. There is sufficient supply, as sales are not high. People should not be concerned about the face mask situation and do not need to stockpile them.