The perpetrators of an armed robbery last year of hundreds of toilet paper rolls, which Hong Kongers were hoarding in the early days of the coronavirus, were sentenced Thursday to more than three years in prison, local media reported.

The three men, who were armed with knives and stole some 600 rolls of toilet paper, were each sentenced to 40 months in prison, according to the Hong Kong Mingpao newspaper.

In February 2020, when the first cases of coronavirus In the Asian financial center, toilet paper had become a prized commodity for fear of shortages.

Hong Kongers rushed to supermarkets to stock up on necessities and food.

As the supermarkets could not restock quickly enough, long lines of customers formed in front of the stores even before they opened. As soon as the shelves were stocked, they were emptied.

On social media, residents proudly displayed the stock of toilet paper rolls from their small apartments.

All three perpetrators admitted to using a knife to threaten a delivery man outside a large supermarket in the Mongkok working-class neighborhood.

They left with 50 packages of toilet paper with a street value of HKD 1,700 (183 euros, $ 220) but were detained by the police.

According to the Mingpao newspaper, the three men, who admitted to committing the theft, apologized to the delivery man and returned the stolen scrolls.

However, the judge ruled that the crime was premeditated and should be punished with a prison sentence, according to the newspaper.

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