They say they were treated harshly and could not find hotel accommodation More than 100 Hong Kong exhibitors have decided to withdraw from two major international jewellery trade fairs after they either received harsh treatment from organisers or had difficulties in finding accommodation. Forty exhibitors have pulled out of the JCK jewellery fair in Las Vegas later this month, while all 78 traders have decided not to attend a trade show in Vicenza, Italy, next month. The Hong Kong Jewellery Manufacturers Association last night said only 71 of 112 exhibitors had agreed to proceed with the exhibition in Las Vegas. The move came after the organiser of the largest jewellery fair in the United States informed Hong Kong exhibitors that they were barred from setting up booths at the main venue. 'Unless we agree to take up 9,000 square metres of space and secure 90 counters, the organiser will not build a temporary venue for us,' said chairman Patrick Luk. The organiser had also asked exhibitors from Sars-infected areas including Singapore and Canada to withdraw from the trade fair, he said. The 78 Hong Kong exhibitors who decided to pull out of the jewellery trade show in Vicenza next month said hotels, restaurants and transport companies there refused to provide services for travellers from Sars-infected areas. 'No hotels and transport firms accepted our bookings there because we came from a Sars-infected area,' said Catherine Chan Sin-hung, general manager of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association, a co-organiser of the event.Exhibitors from the mainland and Singapore were also restricted from taking part in the event, according to Ms Chan. To avoid repeating the treatment of Hong Kong participants at a watch and jewellery trade fair in Zurich, who were not allowed to take part unless they went into quarantine early last month, she said the association had opted to join another trade fair in Vicenza in September instead. Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology Henry Tang Ying-yen yesterday condemned the proposed special arrangements by the Las Vegas jewellery fair as 'unnecessary as well as unreasonable'. He said the World Health Organisation was satisfied that Hong Kong was not exporting any Sars patients. 'Besides, we have been co-operating with the WHO and disseminating in a totally transparent manner how we are containing and treating the virus,' he said. 'Our representative in San Francisco has gone to the exhibition venue to inspect the arrangement. 'It is up to the Hong Kong participants to decide whether they will join the event,' he said. He also said the government had not sought help from the central government in Beijing when local traders were barred from the World Jewellery and Watch Fair in Switzerland last month, and also when the Malaysian government had imposed entry restrictions on Hong Kong residents.