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Coronavisur, robbery of toilet paper at gunpoint in Hong Kong
BEIJING – Hong Kong toilet paper is worth gold. So much so that for some the roll is willing to risk jail. This morning a band of three people, hooded and armed with a knife, has approached to a carrier that is downloading of the benches in front of a supermarket in the district of Mong Kok. Threatening him, they grabbed and carried away several parcels, for a total of 600 rolls, and an estimated value of 200 euros, the perceived value much higher.

The panic from coronavirus, in fact, generated a race to accumulate essential goods, including toilet paper. The police then arrested two of the men, recovering part of the stolen goods, the third is still on the run. At risk for charges of armed robbery, an offence that in the former british colony can cost even a life sentence.

A sign of the level of hysteria reached in the city. In 2003, Hong Kong was hard hit by Sars, a crisis that has left wounds deep in the memory of the citizens. And although at the moment the cases of infection by the coronavirus in the city appears to be under control, 57 with a death, less than any city of mainland China, the epidemic has brought to the surface these fears. In the past few weeks, despite the assurances of the government and the same supermarkets, the rumors about a possible shortage of food and necessities they have unleashed an assault on the shops.

The lack of confidence in the governor Carrie Lam, still in place despite months of protests, has done the rest. Even in Singapore, when the authorities have elevated the level of alert, is game a race to the stocks, but the prime minister intervened and managed to restore calm, reassuring citizens with a message.

In Hong Kong instead of any word of the government seems to worsen the situation. Also because Lam and his team have failed to ensure an adequate supply of masks, the only good that actually is scarce (in Asia). Although you don't need to protect themselves, the people who have purchased packages, and now are finishing for the medical staff that he would really need. In all this, the attempts of the government to procure more of the other, directing them to the creativity of the producing them in the city, have so far been a failure.

So the virus became (also) a new chapter in the political battle going on in the city, where news, true or false, panic, and hostility toward Carrie Lam feed off each other. The Chief executive is appointed by Beijing, has been challenged not to have closed all the border with mainland China, a move that can not do without the approval of the communist authorities.

Citizens angry are opposed to the transformation of some social housing in to temporary accommodation of quarantine, fearing contagion in their own neighbourhood. While multiply the incidents of discrimination against the chinese in the continent, accentuating a component a racist already present in the protests of the last few months. Not surprisingly, in this climate, someone will steal the toilet paper at gunpoint.

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