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Taiwan task force cracks down on alleged price gouging by hotpot, fast food chains

Government group will also contact suppliers

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A government task force began its investigation into rising prices at hotpot and fast food restaurants. 

A government task force began its investigation into rising prices at hotpot and fast food restaurants.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As fears of inflation grip the public ahead of Lunar New Year, a recently formed special task force launched a crackdown on price-gouging by concentrating on hotpot and fast-food restaurants, reports said Saturday (Dec. 25).

The group began its investigation with six chains that previously hiked their menu prices and their suppliers, CNA reported. The Ministry of Justice said the task force was primarily working in Taipei, New Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung as well as Yunlin and Chiayi counties.

On Friday (Dec. 24) at 10 a.m., inspectors from several ministries turned their attention to the restaurants, not only their outlets but also their headquarters, demanding an explanation for price rises. The businesses have been told to provide reasons for the scale of the price hikes and explain why certain products have become more expensive while others have not.

The task force had informed the companies about the inspections one day in advance to allow them to prepare the relevant information, the ministry said. The investigators' next step will be to take a close look at the data and contact the suppliers to see whether they have been involved in price gouging and hoarding.

The businesses said they are cooperating with the government investigation but added that their recent price hikes were caused by more expensive ingredients and supplies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.