An adult traveller will be allowed to leave the city with only two cans of milk powder per day, the government has proposed in a consultation to amend the Import and Export (General) Regulations as it fine-tunes the city's measures to tackle the problem of parallel-goods trading.
The consultation was released by the Food and Health Bureau yesterday, six days after Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man announced a basket of measures to tackle parallel-goods trading which has created shortages of certain brands of milk formula.
The bureau also proposed in the consultation paper to amend the laws to regulate exports of milk formula for infants and young children under 3 years old.
A regulated item needs an export licence which must be obtained from the director-general of Trade and Industry.
Anyone who breaks this law will be liable to a fine of up to HK$500,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years.
It also proposed that people aged 16 or above cannot leave the city with more than a total weight of 1.8kg, or two cans of formula, in their usual packaging, in any one day. The government will also propose children be banned from carrying formula over the border. Hundreds of children cross the border each day to attend school and some have been paid to smuggle goods in the past.
The government plans to submit the proposed legislative amendments to the Executive Council this month.
The bureau said: "If approved, we intend to implement the new provisions as soon as possible."
Parallel-goods trading has generated angry protests in northern districts because residents complain that it has driven up prices and created shortages of goods.
More than 200 suspected mainland parallel-goods traders were arrested on January 31 alone.
The government said earlier that 2,000 suspected parallel-goods traders from the mainland have been refused entry into Hong Kong since September.
The MTR is also enforcing a 23kg luggage limit on passengers travelling on the East Rail line to the border.
The limit was reduced from 32kg this week.