• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 8:03am

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.

NewsHong Kong

Parallel traders moving to Tai Po from Sheung Shui, councillors say

Traffic at MTR stations is getting heavier, a result of a crackdown in Sheung Shui, some say

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 3:30am

The nuisance of parallel trading has spread from border towns to Tai Po, where district councillors are complaining about shortages of baby formula for sale and the authorities' failure to crack down on the phenomenon.

Dozens of traders, speaking Putonghua and non-Hong-Kong variations of Cantonese, have surfaced in recent weeks around the Tai Wo and Tai Po Market MTR stations.

They were easy to spot at Tai Wo yesterday, pushing trolleys heavily loaded with merchandise to resell at a profit across the border. Their loads included cartons of soft drinks and boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Clearly unfamiliar with Tai Wo, some asked photo-taking journalists for directions to the train station.

Councillors said the traders posed a danger to children and the elderly because of the aggressive way they pushed their heavy carts. The "nuisance-makers" appeared in Tai Po after the government cracked down on them in September in Sheung Shui and other northern towns, they said.

"As law enforcement agencies made more of an effort last year, these traders moved [here]," councillor Wong Yung-kan told a Tai Po district council meeting yesterday. But Donald Li Chi-chung, the Tai Po police division commander, said it was too early to say the clampdown had driven the problem to Tai Po.

"Whether such activities have intensified in Tai Po, we are keeping an eye on it," Li said. "They had existed even before the raids in Sheung Shui." A team of four officers would investigate the goings-on in Tai Po, he said.

Another councillor, Yam Kai-pong, said he was personally affected by the local parallel trading. His wife gave birth on December 30, and Yam is finding it difficult, as a Tai Po resident, to buy milk formula.

"I went to as many as six local pharmacies around here, but none offered the brands I wanted," he said. "Finally I found one near Sham Shui Po."

But one pharmacy owner, who asked not to be named, told the South China Morning Post that the shortage of milk powder was caused by individual mainland mothers' shopping rather than by parallel traders.

In Tai Wo, no MTR staff were seen checking luggage yesterday, despite a 32kg weight limit introduced last year to curb the transport of goods in bulk.

Meanwhile, two Hongkongers, suspected to be employers, and 35 mainlanders were arrested in Sheung Shui.

Immigration and police officers said 28 men and seven women, aged between 20 and 61, allegedly breached their conditions of stay by being involved in suspected parallel goods trading in the Advanced Technology Centre. Officers seized cartons of health food and cosmetics.

On the web, groups vowed to gear up tomorrow for another street protest against parallel traders in Sheung Shui because the problem there had remained.


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This article is now closed to comments

This doesn't have to bad for Hong Kong. We just need to do what we have always done and come up with an innovative solution. Why not set aside a couple of trains each day or for that matter late at night just for these traders. Zero tolerance for any trader suspected of carring goods at any other time and charge a small premium (maybe just an extra $10) for using the special train. Honestly if I lived in Shenzhen and had a baby I would not want to risk buying milk powder there either. Seems like a good opportunity for HK to generate some extra income.
These are not parallel traders.....they are SMUGGLERS! We should ask China to inspect and tax these people.
Being a free city encouraging tourist, we cannot deny entry to these people. However, we can and should limit their entry to HK to once a day or better once a week, (this way, we won't chase away the genuine tourists from mainland), in addition to cracking down on their warehouse. Also, make sure the HK people who hire these smugglers, and landlord/tenant for these warehouse should also be prosecuted.
Councillor Yam Kai-Pong has a 6 days old baby and problems to find milk formular ? That's is why your wife is designed by nature to breast feed. And if you believe there is too little milk produced by your wife, don't worry, that is normal. Instead of running from pharmacy to pharmacy better consult the professionals for breast feeding and no parallel trader will be in your way and your baby will thank you it with developing a healthier and better immune system.
Surely she won't breast feed and probably did not do natural delivery because all that would have detracted from her "natural beauty" and made her less desirable to Yam, forcing him to go frequent a "counselor" in Dongguan.


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