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.
Sheung Shui parallel-traders protest descends into chaos
Scuffles broke out and two parallel traders were arrested for assault during a protest at Sheung Shui MTR station yesterday.
About 20 people took part in the protest, organised by a Facebook group concerned about parallel-goods traders buying up goods in the area to resell at a profit across the border.
They blocked the ticket gates, holding banners and placards that read "No entry for parallel traders" and "Lack of police enforcement makes smuggling legal".
The police had set up a protest zone, but the protesters refused to stay in it. Traders wearing masks and hoods had to make a detour. A woman burst into tears when one of her bags was pulled off her trolley.
Scuffles broke out at a staircase. In the chaos, a 21-year-old man struck a plain-clothes policeman and was arrested. Another man, 20, was held for assaulting a protester.
The protesters said the situation had improved little since the government took action against such traders in September.
The MTR Corporation has imposed a 32kg limit for luggage to make it more difficult for traders to lug goods over the border.
Last week, Tai Po residents said parallel-goods traders were venturing beyond the border towns to their area following the crackdown in Sheung Shui.