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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm

Parallel trading

The influx of parallel traders who buy their stock tax-free in Hong Kong to resell it in mainland China at a profit is causing growing unrest. Residents of Sheung Shui, a town close to China's border, say the increase in parallel importers has pushed up retail prices and causes a general nuisance. Importers argue that their trade benefits the Hong Kong economy.

CommentInsight & Opinion

A slap at our core Hong Kong values

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 March, 2013, 3:32am

Freedom of the press is one of the values that sets Hong Kong apart. We are reminded of that from time to time by the experiences of local journalists on assignment elsewhere, including the mainland, where they have faced obstruction to their work from the authorities, and even in Macau, where they have been refused entry on vague grounds of posing a threat to public order.

In both places they were trying to do no more than legitimate reporting, even if the subject matter may have been sensitive. It comes as a shock, therefore, when such antipathy for one of our core values raises its head at home.

In this case the target was South China Morning Post photographer May Tse, while she was photographing parallel traders stocking up on infant milk formula near Sheung Shui MTR station.

Police arrested two men, both Hong Kong permanent residents, after she was slapped in the face, abused and pressured to delete her pictures. Her photographs were intended to illustrate a rush on milk powder the day before a limit on the amount travellers can take across the border took effect, to ensure supplies for local mothers.

As Hong Kong Press Photographers Association chairman Tyrone Siu said, Tse was taking pictures on a controversial current issue before a change in the law about which the general public had a right to be informed. Enforcement of the new law is, after all, a major operation, involving hundreds of customs officers and X-ray machines at border crossings. Tse was also carrying out her photographic assignment in an open public space where there was no issue of privacy.

It was probably a case of overreaction from the parallel traders, but the fact that the two arrested men were Hongkongers suggests there is room for better education of local residents on the concept of the rule of law and respecting the legitimate rights of journalists. After all, the rule of law and free speech are pillars of a free society.


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This article is now closed to comments

I've always respected SCMP's neutrality and objectiveness in contrast to a majority HK media who is but a fanatic mainland-basher, fond of provoking hatred between HK and its counterpart. However, I'm pretty much disappointed and irritated by yesterday's report "SCMP photographer slapped and abused near border" where the reporter indicated several times, asserting the attackers to be mainlanders, which, ironically proved to be wrong by this following up report. In fact, for this event, it is what the 2 attackers did that matters but not the identity of them. It is rather unprofessional, irresponsible and, to my point of view, malicious to intentionally make such sensitive assertion without any concrete evidence
All physical assaults should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Where was your editorial when a Legco member assaulted our former CE?
What is your proof that the erroneous report was no doubt "intentionally" made? This is also a very serious charge that you are levelling at a respectable newspaper.
Does it matter if it is a HKer, mainlander or a foreigner that breached the HK law protecting the franchise of free speech? Is the identification of attackers all you care about but not the seriousness and the fallout of the event itself?
I suppose you did check the report, in which the "mainland accent assertion" is not quoted as narrative of May Tse, but a formal statement as if it is telling a truth. but
1. Is there actually a standard for identification of "mainland accent cantonese" for one to make sure that "this guy carries mainland accent"?
2. Even if such a standard does exist to prove the mainland accent, what is the purpose of the reporter to point that out? Do a "respectable" newspaper think the "accent" can prove anything? If you think so, please answer my first 2 questions.
I do think, a "respectable" newspaper shows us truth. Any assertions with no evidence, even if made "accidentally", shall dent the media's reputation.
If I unfortunately make you think my charge is unreasonable, though I did not do that "intentionally", I apologize. But then, SCMP does owe me one too.


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