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.
Shenzhen woman in cross-border raid jailed for 2 months
Stuart Lau and Lai Ying-kit
A mainland trader arrested during a high-profile crackdown in Sheung Shui last week was sentenced to two months in jail on Monday morning.
Shenzhen resident Zhang Zhuoyan, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of breaching the conditions of her stay in Hong Kong by working as a trader.
She was arrested on Wednesday in a joint operation by Immigration Department and police. They stormed the Advanced Technology Centre, a warehouse near Sheung Shui station where traders packed goods destined for the mainland.
The prosecution said Zhang was found checking goods in the Advanced Technology Centre. She admitted that she had been buying cosmetic products and daily commodities, and was planning to resell them at a profit on the mainland.
“By transporting them to Shenzhen, she could have resold them and made a profit,” the prosecution said. Zhang was visiting the city using a multiple-visit permit, the court heard.
Magistrate Merinda Chow Yin-chu, of the Sha Tin Magistrates’ Court, said the two-month term was reduced from three months because of Zhang’s guilty plea.
Besides Zhang, 130 other mainlanders were arrested in last week’s high-profile crackdown. Six of them have been convicted of the same offence and jailed for two months.
Crowds of mainland traders doing business around Sheung Shui station, near the mainland border, have sparked recent protests by Hongkongers trying to use the congested station and nearby pavements. The government vowed to crack down before last week’s raids.