Parallel trading

Angry scenes erupt during protest against cross-border traders

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 September, 2012, 4:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2012, 11:41am

Angry scenes erupted at Sheung Shui on Saturday afternoon after dozens of people launched a protest against cross-border traders.

The protest, initiated by netizens on Facebook earlier this week, started at 2pm with about 50 residents in the border town standing near exit C of Sheung Shui MTR station.

“Recover Sheung Shui! Protect our homes!” they chanted, from slogans written on placards. They said many parallel traders buying goods in the neighbourhood had created a disturbance.

The MTR Corporation, prepared for the protest, erected a sign at the station exit requiring passengers to carry no more than one item of luggage. The protest also drew some 300 onlookers standing around the station and on a footbridge.

It did not take long for clashes to break out after two young protesters held up high a sign reading: “Mainland people go back to China”, together with a Hong Kong flag from the colonial era. While fellow protesters asked them to put it away, some middle-aged men, offended by the slogan, rushed at them aggressively. They denounced the pair as “unpatriotic”. Officers from the Police Tactical Unit then intervened and separated them.

Some protesters said they recognised parallel traders among the crowds. But no trading activities were seen at the MTR station.

Cross-border, or parallel traders, are most active in Sheung Shui because it is only one station from Lo Wu. They take products ranging from milk powder, mobile phones and cosmetics over the border to sell in the mainland.