‘Black list’ planned to stop parallel goods traders
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Immigration officers would set a “blacklist” to ban parallel-goods traders re-entering Hong Kong, security officials vowed on Saturday.
Speaking after a police passing-out parade, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said the government had been in close contact with mainland authorities to crack down on parallel-good trading, which has been annoying residents in Sheung Shui and neighbouring communities.
He said the government would establish a partnership with Guangdong’s anti-smuggling office to strengthen co-operation, and have “clearly-targeted” strategies for travellers suspected of being parallel-good traders.
“If we discover some [mainland] travellers are coming to Hong Kong frequently, especially within the same day, immigration officers will do special checks [on them],” Lai said.
Travellers will be banned from entering Hong Kong if they were found to be suspicious, or were unable to explain their frequent travel, Lai explained.
Director of Immigration Eric Chan Kwok-ki said about 500 parallel-good traders had been arrested, in various operations by immigration and police officers in recent months. Ninety were prosecuted.
Chan said those who escaped prosecution would be put on the local and mainland authorities’ watch-list. It was unlikely they would be allowed to travel to Hong Kong again, he added.
Last month, the Guangdong government said they are looking into the possibility of imposing restrictions on multiple-trip permits. This was because statistics showed traders buying goods in Hong Kong for resale in Shenzhen (without paying import taxes) make up 95 per cent of those crossing the border with permits. Only, five per cent were genuine tourists.
Local politicians have said permits holders should be banned from travelling to Hong Kong for more than two times a day, but Lai warned this could harm the city’s economy and tourism industry.
“We will continue to put them in our computer system, and ban them from entering Hong Kong, if they come again … I think the chances that they will enter Hong Kong again is very small.”
Chan said they had already banned about 1,000 people from entering Hong Kong on suspicion they were parallel traders.