A ban on travellers bringing duty-free cigarettes into Hong Kong after day trips should be scrapped because the rule cannot be enforced, a legislator said yesterday. The government intends to allow computerised immigration records to be shared with Customs officers to make it easier to check whether travellers have been out of Hong Kong for less than 24 hours. The plan to share records has stirred fears over privacy. In the Audit Commission's value-for-money report on the public sector last month, the Customs and Excise Department was criticised for failing to enforce the ban on day-trippers returning with duty-free goods. In a Legco Public Accounts Committee hearing to question officials, Democrat Sin Chung-kai questioned why the ban, created in 1991, should be retained. 'It is easier to check whether [travellers] carry more cigarettes than allowed than to check how long they have been away,' the legislator said. Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, of the Liberal Party, said the ban should be scrapped because it was unenforceable. The commission estimated that most of the 3.7 million cigarettes sold in duty-free shops across the border each day were brought back in breach of duty-free rules. Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Frederick Ma Si-hang admitted it was difficult to enforce the rule and that the policy needed to be reviewed. The Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Raymond Wong Hung-chiu, said computer terminals would be installed within months. But Emily Lau Wai-hing, of The Frontier, said the move threatened people's privacy. Lai Tung-kwok, the Director of Immigration, promised to consult with the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data.