Police arrested 50 people in central Argentina on Wednesday for trying to loot supermarkets, authorities said.
Five of the suspects arrested in Rosario city were Chinese, Santa Fe provincial public safety official Matias Drivet said.
He said the Chinese nationals were business owners who were arrested when they tried to protect their businesses, and fired shots at would-be looters.
The government says that five percent of the population of 40 million lives in poverty but private estimates put the figure at upward of 25 percent, or up to 11 million people.
Rosario, a city of 1.2 million inhabitants, is located about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires. It is the hometown of football great Lionel Messi.