Monday 17 February 2020 11:14 am

Hong Kong: Armed robbers steal hundreds of toilet rolls amid coronavirus panic buying

Police in Hong Kong have caught two of three armed robbers who stole hundreds of rolls of toilet paper from a supermarket delivery man, as the city struggles with shortages of essential goods caused by coronavirus panic buying. 

Police said they recovered all of the 50 packs of toilet paper stolen by the knife-wielding robbers, which was worth around 1,700 Hong Kong dollars (£168), and are still hunting for the third thief. No further details were provided.

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Had they not been apprehended, the culprits could have cleaned up by selling on the toilet paper, which is in short supply in the financial hub as residents stockpile essentials amid panic over the coronavirus outbreak.

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Supermarkets in the densely-populated territory have found themselves unable to restock products quickly enough to meet demand.

Authorities in Hong Kong have blamed false online rumours for sparking the panic buying and have insisted that supplies would not be affected by the outbreak. 

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As well as toilet paper, there have also been shortages of food staples like rice and pasta, alongside hand santiser and other cleaning products. 

Hong Kong, which has 57 confirmed cases of coronavirus, is also facing a shortage of face masks.