Cross-border travellers hit by new restrictions

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 4:35pm

Some cross-border travellers were turned away at the gates of MTR stations on Monday morning, when their luggage exceeded the new weight restriction.

Station employees turned several passengers away at the entrance to Sheung Shui station when their luggage topped the 23kg limit, which was introduced on Monday. The previous limit was 32kg.

The new weight limit was among several measures the government announced last week to curb parallel trading, which has caused recent shortages of infant milk formula in Hong Kong stores.

One woman, stopped from boarding a train because her canvas bag was 5kg over the new limit, said she had not known about the rule change and it was an inconvenience.

She told local TV that she was not a parallel trader, but a Hongkonger travelling to visit relatives on the mainland for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

The MTR said it set up more scales, on Monday, for weighing passengers’ luggage at Sheung Shui, Tai Po Market and Fo Tan stations on the MTR East Rail Line.

Parallel traders buy up goods – such as cosmetics, baby milk formula, snacks and smartphones – in Hong Kong and resell them on the mainland at a profit. They have been blamed by Hongkongers for causing shortages and pushing up prices.

A shortage of infant milk formula prompted the government last week to announce new restrictions, including a 1.8kg limit of milk powder for every person leaving the city.