Armed men steal hundreds of rolls of toilet paper in Hong Kong as coronavirus fears spread

By Christopher Brito

/ CBS News

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Armed men allegedly took off with hundreds of rolls of toilet paper in Hong Kong as coronavirus fears have left the bathroom necessity in short supply. Toilet paper has have become a hot commodity since the outbreak of the virus on mainland China.

Three knife-wielding robbers stole 50 packs of toilet paper rolls — or hundreds of rolls — from a supermarket delivery man on Monday, police said, according to Reuters. The armed robbery occurred in Mong Kok, a district with a history of crime gangs, BBC News said.

Police eventually caught two of three thieves and recovered all of the toilet paper valued at $220. Authorities were still looking for the third man involved. CBS News reached out to the Hong Kong Police Force for an update, but did not immediately hear back.

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In addition to toilet paper, Chinese and residents of nearby countries have begun hoarding supplies of everything from masks and other personal protective gear to instant noodles and cooking oil.

The World Health Organization put the global death toll from the virus as of Sunday at 1,669, all but three in China, and said there were 51,857 lab-confirmed cases, all but about 700 in China. About 2% of the people who contract the coronavirus will likely die of it, according to the latest data compiled by the World Health Organization.

First published on February 17, 2020 / 12:53 PM

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