Taiwan authorities have warned operators of claw machines about big fines after some were found selling medical products, such as face mask and hand sanitizer.
This was after Taiwan officials discovered that at least 40 claw machines have been offering medical supplies as prizes, including face mask and hand sanitizer in the city of Taipei. City councilor Chen I-chun filed a complaint with the Taipei City Office of Commerce.
The councilor suspects that a number of claw machine vendors are violating fair trade laws, by hawking the products at inflated rates via the machines. This was despite strict government orders on the pricing of products such as masks, last week.
She added that they may also be hoarding the products despite them being increasingly in short supply.
In response to the complaint, the Taipei City Office of Commerce said it will increase police and Department of Health patrols in the vicinity of claw machines. It encourages people to call a hotline to report machines selling medical products as prizes.
Additionally, Taipei’s Department of Health director, Chen Yi-ting, pointed out that products placed in machines with a medical equipment licence number violate the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act. She mentioned that fines of up to two million New Taiwanese dollars can be imposed to these operators.
Currently, Taiwan has 10 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Claw machine craze
Over the last few years, the number of claw machines in Taiwan has rapidly increased as players try to win prizes that range from soft toys to electronic goods. There are currently over 10,000 claw arcades on the island.
Tainan municipal psychiatrist Chang Chun-hung warned that the the proliferation of these claw machines, upbeat music and gaudy prizes stimulate impulsive behaviors that could trigger psychiatric problems.
Their boom of the claw machines has been discussed within the government, with officials debating calls for the central bank to mint more 10 New Taiwan Dollar coins, specifically for the machines.