Elderly people were pushed to the ground as chaos erupted in a scramble for a one-dollar deal on the first day of the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo yesterday.
With 10 bags of dried mushrooms and fish maw up for grabs for just HK$1, an advertised discount of HK$479, dozens of visitors rushed to the stall of Chinese medicine retailer Nam Pei Hong as soon as the gates to the Victoria Park expo opened.
"My chest hurts after all the scrambling," said one man who successfully navigated the pushing and shouting to get hold of a bag. "It's a good advertisement for them, but it's really dangerous."
Another woman, who said she could not breathe amid the pushing, became tearful when she realised the bags had sold out.
Nam Pei Hong admitted that arrangements could have been better. It said a few of its staff also ended up on the ground amid the chaos.
Among the thousands of visitors to the expo yesterday were Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. He and his wife Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee spent HK$4,890 on rubber duck products by Lam Leung-tim, who, in Hong Kong in 1949, made the first generation of the now-iconic rubber ducks. Their haul included 200 stationery clips and some coasters.
The Leungs also visited a stall set up by NGO the St James' Settlement and bought HK$614 worth of peanut, cashew and sesame candies, sesame spread, chilli sauce and camellia oil.
For the first time, barricades were erected to separate journalists from Leung as he browsed the stalls. Leung left without comment to reporters.
Reddy Luk, one of the volunteers manning the St James' stall, said she found Leung "friendly". She said he and his wife tasted some biscuits and snacks made with preserved ginger.
Tan Xiaochao, a 26-year-old nurse from Guangzhou, bought a few pans, soy sauce and other kitchenware at the expo. She expected to spend about HK$10,000 in all. "I actually don't keep track of how much I have spent," she said. "I buy whatever I like."
The 48th annual expo - which features some 400 companies operating about 900 stalls on a 28,000 square metre site - runs until January 6.
Organised by the Chinese Manufacturers' Association, the expo attracts more than two million visitors each year.