Parallel trading

Sheung Shui protests scare off cross-border goods traders

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2012, 6:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

A second day of protests outside Sheung Shui railway station apparently scared off parallel good exporters, but a cultural observer feared the movement could evolve into yet another wave of discrimination against people from the mainland.

The protests erupted from years of cross-border traders enjoying free rein; now thousands of them carry boxes and baggage across the Lo Wu border to sell on the mainland every day.

Saturday’s demonstrations saw hundreds of people protesting outside the railway station. The rally was initiated by a Facebook campaign named “Sheung Shui Retrocession”, which aimed at bringing back “peace and order” of the railway station nearest to the Lo Wu border. Clashes later broke out.

On Sunday, the railway station looked different. The usual flood of parallel good exporters was gone. 

But some protesters returned, pointing and yelling at people who carried heavy boxes or used a trolley. They marched to a nearby warehouse building, which they claimed was the supplier of goods bought and sold by the traders. Slogans against mainlanders could be heard amid the shouting.

One teenage protester, who lives nearby, said she hoped the movement would continue. “Otherwise the situation will soon return to what it was before,” said Emily Tse.

But Chinese University sociology professor Chan Kin-man said the protests risked turning irrational.

“There’s a sign that the residents’ anger is going beyond hatred of parallel goods carriers. As a matter of fact, some of [the traders] are Hongkongers too, but protesters still chanted slogans like ‘traders go back to the mainland’,” Chan said.