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Man busted in Richmond, B.C., for selling black-market masks during COVID-19 crisis

B.C. man busted for selling black market medical masks in Richmond
Global cameras were at the scene of a man re-selling medical masks, when a bylaw enforcement officer showed up. Paul Johnson reports.

Bylaw officers confiscated a shipment of around 1,000 masks that they allegedly arranged to buy from a Richmond man in a sting operation on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old student was given a $1,000 ticket for running a business without a licence.

Medical mask re-sellers still in business despite government ban
Medical mask re-sellers still in business despite government ban

He told Global News he ordered the masks before rules outlawing the sale of medical supplies came into effect, and that he intended to distribute the masks at cost to his Facebook friends.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. couple donates $1K following meat-hoarding backlash, death threats

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has called black market sales that capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis “absolutely unacceptable.”

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“It’s reprehensible at a time like this that people try to take advantage of critical supplies,” he said.

Cracking down on coronavirus profiteering
Cracking down on coronavirus profiteering

The City of Richmond told Global News that Tuesday’s sting was the third alleged resale operation they’ve taken down.

While there have been examples of British Columbians re-selling medical masks and other items, there have also been many Good Samaritans who have donated supplies to health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.