Three mainlanders were each fined between HK$1,000 and HK$2,500 in Hong Kong on Tuesday for trying to bring more baby milk formula out of the city than a new restriction allowed.
Lin Youzhu, Chen Qinlong and Zhong Haiwen were arrested at Lowu border checkpoint last Friday for trying to carry three to six cans of milk formula back to the mainland.
The three became the first to be convicted under the new restriction on the export of milk formula that went into effect last Friday.
The new restriction, imposed by the Hong Kong government, states that a person cannot carry more than two tins, or 1.8kg, of milk formula out of Hong Kong per day. It was introduced after local mothers complained of having difficulty buying the formula, which was constantly being bought up by cross-border traders for resale on the mainland where the retail price is significantly higher.
Lin, Chen and Zhong earlier pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to export prohibited articles not under and in accordance with an export licence.
They told Sha Tin Court on Tuesday they had brought the formula in Hong Kong for their children back home across the border, and they were not intending to resell it at a profit.
One of the mainlanders, Lin, told local media after Tuesday’s sentence that he would not buy milk formula in Hong Kong again.
“It is too much trouble,” he said. “The mainland gives so many resources to Hong Kong, but we are even not allowed to buy one more tin of milk formula here for our own use.”