Hoards of angry townspeople gathered around a noodle shop in earthquake-hit Yaan earlier this week to protest what they thought was unfair price-gouging during a time of crisis, the Oriental Daily reported on Thursday.
Chinese internet users said on Tuesday that a noodle shop in Yingjing county had raised the price of its popular tata noodles, a local speciality, to 20 yuan per bowl, from five yuan.
Netizens accused the shop-owners of “immorally” capitalising on the large numbers of rescue workers but doing little to contribute to relief efforts. The workers were enroute to neighbouring Lushan county, but were held back by damaged roads and forced to stop in Yingjing.
Yingjing residents demanded an apology from the shop’s owner. But they were only angered further after the owner shut the doors and "disappeared".
Police arrived to disperse the crowd but failed to stop a tow truck from tearing down the noodle shop’s signboard.
Several snack vendors and small businesses in Yaan have been accused of hiking up their prices since the 7-magnitude earthquake hit the Sichuan city on Saturday, killing at least 196 people.
According to the report, a shop selling Chinese steamed buns had also suffered the same fate as the noodle shop – its signboard was stripped by a mob of people after reports spread online that it had been charging “sky-high prices” for buns.