Security guards and fencing installed to prevent second day of chaos at HK$1 expo

Scramble for bargains on first day of expo prompts sellers to take safety precautions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 December, 2013, 3:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 4:53am

Many stalls at the Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo in Victoria Park took additional precautions yesterday to protect the elderly from the crush to get hold of HK$1 goodies, after some of them were pushed to the ground amidst chaos on Saturday.

As the expo entered its second day, and the rain fell, many people still arrived early at the Causeway Bay site and waited outside the gate. As soon as the expo opened, they raced to queue up at the stalls offering a limited amount of one-dollar deals.

After a chaotic first day with visitors fighting and scrambling for 10 bags of near-free ingredients, Chinese medicine retailer Nam Pei Hong installed metal fences around its stall and guards on its entrance and exit.

Sales manager Johnny Chui Ka-kuen said the company doubled staff numbers to 12 from six on Saturday.

"We didn't expect the situation would be so chaotic yesterday," Chui said. "We realised we needed more people to help keep our customers safe."

Pharmaceutical company Wai Yuen Tong increased the number of its staff to 20 to prevent people from being knocked over.

When early visitors rushed to the stall, staff kept shouting: "Please don't run! Take it easy!"

Other stalls such as Hung Fook Tong, which was selling Chinese herbal tea, and Thailand Bird's Nest also beefed up their team numbers.

One 76-year-old man happily displayed his trophies - a bottle of cooking oil, a pack of soup ingredients with caterpillar fungus and a piece of bird's nest all bought for HK$1 each.

The man, from Shek Kip Mei in Kowloon, said he started queuing up at the park at 9am and waited two hours for the gate to open.

He also showed the Post a newspaper clipping on the expo on which he had underlined his target stalls in red ink.

"We elderly just want some one-dollar things," he said. "I'll be off travelling tomorrow."

Rain did not dampen the shoppers' enthusiasm. One group of visitors, Chan Suk-fun, her daughter-in-law and grandson, spent almost HK$3,000 on various products, which filled their three trolleys and several shopping bags. They said they planned to spend HK$5,000.