Cross-border traders were rushing to store up on milk formula on Friday morning, in the final hours before the government’s expected launch of new measures to curb the trade.
In Yuen Long and Wong Tai Sin, dozens of people queued outside pharmacies to buy the milk powder, local media reported.
Most of them emerged from the stores pushing trolleys piled high with cans of milk powder, TV footage showed.
A Hong Kong mother said she visited several shops in Wong Tai Sin on Friday morning but could not find a single can to buy, after all stocks sold out within hours.
The government is expected to announce a basket of restrictions, preserving supplies for Hong Kong babies, as early as Friday afternoon. Measures may include labelling infant milk formula a “reserved commodity” like rice, and limiting purchases by non-residents to a few tins.
Many local mothers have complained about the difficulty of finding milk formula in stores because of bulk purchases by mainland tourists and parallel traders.
Milk powder from Hong Kong is popular on the mainland, where people have become sceptical about local products following a spate of tainted-milk scandals in recent years.