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.
Arrests of mainlanders in Hong Kong up 11pc
Overall crime rate drops in 2012
Arrests of mainlanders for crimes committed in Hong Kong increased 11 per cent last year despite a slight drop in crimes year-on-year, the police announced on Tuesday morning.
Last year’s total of 75,930 reported crimes was 0.01 per cent less than in 2011, according to the new police figures. The number of people arrested increased 0.8 per cent to 38,615.
That total included 1,341 mainland visitors, an increase of 134 – or 11.1 per cent – from the previous year. They included two-way permit holders, passport holders and overstayed visitors, but not illegal immigrants. Most of them were arrested for miscellaneous thefts, shop theft and forgery. Arrests of mainlanders for illegal immigration totalled 102 last year.
The number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong shot up by 24.2 per cent year on year to 33.9 million.
Increases were recorded for homicides, rapes and indecent assaults, although the total number of violent crimes dropped last year. Homicides increased 58.8 per cent to 27, rapes were up 33 per cent to 121 cases and indecent assaults rose 5.7 per cent, to 1,495 last year from 1,415 in 2011. Assaults, arsons and robberies declined.
Serious drug offences increased 4.7 per cent, to 2,141 cases last year. Cases of deception rose from 6,134 to 6,923, a 12.9 per cent rise. E-mail scams accounted for most of the rise – an increase of 415 cases. Phone scams increased by 398 cases and internet business scams by 217.