In Indonesia there is an oil and gas mafia, land mafia and parking mafia, but there is one mafia group that usually strikes just around the Idul Fitri holiday — the food mafia. The term is generally applied to any groups or individuals that hoard food supplies before the holiday in order to sell them at an inflated price when demand spikes.
An annual problem, police this year have warned potential food mafiosos to not stock up ahead of this year’s holiday and threatened to take strong action against those who do.
“Do not let there be any hoarding [this year], if there is a mafia that plays at this we (will) hit them,” said National Police Chief Tito Karnavian in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by Kompas.
Tito said police have already arrested 495 people this year for their alleged involvement in the food mafia and more than 390 of them are have been named suspects. He said he hoped that would be a deterrent to other would-be grocery gangsters.
The national police chief said that reports from the ministries of trade and agriculture indicated that food stocks and prices should be stable during Lebaran and that the police’s primary focus was on distribution to make sure that markets did not experience any shortages that could cause prices to spike.