January 29, 2020 at 12:30 JST
Empty shelves for face masks are seen at a beauty supply shop in Beijing on Jan. 28. (AP Photo)
BEIJING--A drug store in Beijing will be fined 3 million yuan ($434,530 or 47 million yen) for hiking the price of face masks by almost six times the online price amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Beijing municipal market regulator said on Wednesday.
The regulator has issued a notice of administrative penalty to Beijing Jimin Kangtai Pharmacy for sharply raising the price of N95 masks, it said in a statement on its website.
Jimin Kangtai raised the price of 3M brand masks to 850 yuan per box, while the price of the same type of masks sold online was 143 yuan per box, state television said.
The Beijing municipal regulator has stepped up supervision on prices of epidemic protective equipment and punished illegal activities such as hoarding or fabricating information about price hikes. It has investigated 31 cases of price violation since Jan. 23, it said.
The coronavirus outbreak, which started in the central city of Wuhan late last year, has killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 in China.
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