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.
Hong Kong is troublesome, says milk powder offender
A mainland traveller has accused Hong Kong of being "troublesome" after he was fined HK$1,000 for trying to take an extra can of milk powder over the border.
Lin Youzhu, 46, a manager who earns 140,000 yuan (HK$172,600) a year, claimed he bought the infant formula for his month-old baby.
He said his final destination was Macau but he had stopped over in Hong Kong.
After paying the fine, he accused the Hong Kong government of charging him without confirming whether the formula was for domestic use or for sale.
"It was so troublesome. It would not be fair unless you can be certain of the facts and carry out further investigations to substantiate [the charge]. It is getting so annoying," Lin said.
"The mainland has been giving Hong Kong all the resources, but Hong Kong does not even allow us to buy an additional can of milk powder."
He was among three mainlanders who have been fined HK$1,000 to HK$2,500 each for trying to take more than two cans of formula across the border.
Lin, Chen Qinlong, 49 and Zhong Haiwen, 28, each pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to export a prohibited item.
All were arrested at Lo Wu checkpoint on Friday, the first day the restriction came into force.
Travellers leaving Hong Kong cannot take more than two cans, or 1.8kg, of infant formula out of the city.
All the defendants yesterday told Sha Tin magistrate Merinda Chow that the milk powder were only for their own use.
Chen, who carried six cans of milk powder, was fined HK$2,500 and Zhong, who had four cans, was fined HK$1,000.
According to customs, another 19 people - 10 mainlanders and nine Hong Kong residents - were arrested for trying to take more than two cans of infant milk powder across the border yesterday.