Vendors jailed for selling overpriced masks

Vendors jailed for selling overpriced masks

Immigration police display boxes of face masks seized from vendors who sold them online at inflated prices during a media conference on March 12. (File photo)
Immigration police display boxes of face masks seized from vendors who sold them online at inflated prices during a media conference on March 12. (File photo)

Five vendors have been sentenced to between six months and 18 months in jail for selling face masks at inflated prices while two others have got a suspended jail term and a fine of 25,000 baht each.

The seven vendors — one man and six women — were taken to the Criminal Court on Thursday.

Named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by public prosecutors were Ms Naparisara Khosuk, Mr Pongpan Somsud, Ms Namphon Eoisiri, Ms Umaporn Mankhong, Ms Nissara Maharuenkhwan, Ms Thasaporn Chanthanapithan and Ms Tao Srithewee.

They were charged with selling face masks, which are on the price control list, at inflated prices.

They were caught during a government crackdown on overpriced protective gear following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

All defendants confessed to the charges.

The court sentenced Ms Umaporn, who possessed 4,000 face masks for sale, to three years in jail. The jail term was commuted by half to one year and six months in jail because she confessed.

Ms Tao, who had 750 face masks, was given a two-year jail term, which was later halved because she had confessed.

Ms Namphon, who possessed 125 face masks, Mr Pongpan and and Ms Naparisara, each having 150 face masks, were sentenced to one year in prison. The court commuted the sentences by half.

The court found that the five defendants had taken advantage of people who were in dire need of face masks during the spread of Covid-19. The selling of overpriced protective gear caused trouble to many people. The jail terms were not suspended.

 The two other defendants — Ms Thasaporn, who possessed 50 face masks, and Ms Nissara with eight — were initially given one year in jail and a fine of 50,000 baht each. The court commuted the jail term to six months each and a fine of 25,000 baht.

As the number of face masks seized from them was small and they had no criminal records, their jail terms were suspended.

After the court’s ruling, the first five defendants were taken to the Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women Correctional Institute since they had not applied bail, said a source.

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