• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 11:50am
Chinese tourists
NewsHong Kong
TOURISM

Restrict Shenzhen visitors to one trip per day, says lawmaker

Retail representative says limit of one trip per day is better for tourism in the long term as it would help put an end to recent protests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 5:17pm
 

Poll

  • Yes: 63%
  • No: 37%
12 May 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 426

The lawmaker representing the city’s retail industry has backed calls for a restriction on mainland visitors.

Vincent Fang Kang, from the pro-business Liberal Party, wants Shenzhen permanent residents banned from making more than one return trip across the border a day.

He hopes the move will alleviate residents’ discontent and put an end to recent protests that have targeted tourists.

He said his constituents backed the call, despite the government’s reservations.

Of Shenzhen’s 10.5 million people, some 2.9 million are permanent residents who are eligible to apply for multiple-entry permits, which allow them to make unlimited trips across the border every day.

“Some places in Hong Kong [have become] very crowded, so we have asked the government many times whether we can try the ‘single visit’ [model],” Fang said on TVB yesterday.

Residents in the northern New Territories have complained about mainland tourists and parallel-goods traders “overwhelming” communities and clearing the shelves of goods such as infant formula, for personal use or resale across the border.

“We initially proposed [the restriction] to the secretary for security, but he asked me, ‘Mr Fang, this will hurt your sector – have you asked their advice?” Fang said.

“But we have to strike a balance [between business and residents’ interests]. We don’t want people’s discontent to continue, and we don’t want to see people protesting every week to irritate the tourists. So, focusing on the long term, I persuaded many [representatives in my] sector, and they said: ‘OK, Mr Fang, call for the curb’.”

Recently, protests against mainland visitors have taken place in the popular shopping destinations of Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. The protests have involved activists insulting mainland visitors and telling them to shop on the mainland instead.

Fang believes these protests contributed to a drop in the number of mainland visitors during the Labour Day holidays.

Some 388,070 mainlanders visited Hong Kong from May 1 to 3 – 1.6 per cent fewer than last year, when 394,000 visited.

Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng said that changing the entry scheme for Shenzhen permanent residents could cause resentment and may dissuade some mainland travellers from visiting.

He said any proposal to change the policy should be backed up by statistics.

“We don’t know how many [Shenzhen residents] are travelling to Hong Kong more than once a day. If all you are doing is trying to stop parallel-goods trading, why don’t you deploy more manpower to enforce the law?”

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This article is now closed to comments

ton1998
And what about those Hong Kong people who cross the border in Lowu many times per day to bring milk powder and all kinds of products to China. They make the train and border very busy and the products in Hong Kong more expensive.
shouken
I will even support a One Trip per Week scheme for Shenzhen permanent residents visiting Hong Kong.
HK-Explorer
Allot 1 trip per day to cross the boarder for both mainlanders and HK residents.
To cross an additional time they have to go to a separate line and pay a HK$500 fee. The fee goes to pay for the extra boarder control to handle multi entry permit (pay for itself and thus not impact HK or China).
This would persuade parallel importers but not impact those who have legitimate business or personal reasons. Since the second time is a special line then it will not impact waiting times for legitimate crossing.
Both Mainlanders and HK residents should be OK with this policy as fair both ways.
Dao-Phooy
This is just a bandaid which doesn't get to the root of the problem. A full policy review is required to reduce the number of Mainland visitors. Why is it taking so long - maybe it isn't even on the agenda given the government's track record of doing nothing apart from putting its head in the sand!
cm_wong
Finally we got a way to push the Liberal Party. So does it mean that the anti-mainland tourist campaign has won a small victory? Next time when we want the Liberal Party to listen, just target the place where it hurts most.
mercedes2233
Just develop a satellite town close to the border specifically for their shopping purposes. Then business goes on as usual, and the rest of HK is not inconvenienced. I would not like curtailing of China visitors leading to restrictions on HK residents holidaying in China. The number of travel agencies in HK that provide these holidays shows the level of interest among HK people.
mfchung
Hong Kong would be more efficient managed if politicians were restricted to speaking one sentence a day.
Carparklee
Seems to me that Shenzhen customs is not yet exerting their best effort in combatting smuggling or import duty tax evasion. Should someone report this to the website of zhongjiwei?

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