An unemployed construction worker hopes to earn a tidy sum by selling fish balls after he yesterday snared the cheapest leases for fast-food stalls at the Lunar New Year Fair at Victoria Park. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department auctioned off leases for three fast-food stalls and 180 stalls to sell flowers, plants and aquarium fish yesterday. The bids by Mr Cheung, who prefers to be identified only by his surname, to rent two fast-food stalls for $60,000 each went uncontested. That made them the cheapest leases since the department was established in 2000. The same spots were leased for $160,000 each last year and a record $280,000 in 2001. Fast-food stalls are usually popular with entrepreneurs hoping to cash in at the week-long fair. A Mr Shiu, who also asked to be identified by his surname only, outbid Mr Cheung for a larger food stall for $350,000. Mr Shiu sells Korean-style squid in Mongkok. Still, Mr Cheung was content with the two smaller stalls. 'I am pleasantly surprised,' he said. Mr Cheung has operated fast-food stalls at Victoria Park for the past three years. 'I thought, with the economy recovering, that it would be more expensive this year.' With a lower-than-expected rent, he plans to sell about a dozen fish balls for $10, down from $12 last year. Mr Cheung rented a larger booth last year for $340,000 and made $50,000 in profits. But entrepreneurs had to pay more than last year for the flower booths. The average bid price was $19,038, up from $16,994 last year. Yeung Siu-lung, chairman of flower wholesaler Chiba Garden, said he paid $20,000 for one of the nine stalls he was bidding for yesterday. 'The prices have gone up because people don't have jobs and are coming out to make money from this,' Mr Yeung said. The lowest bid yesterday was $9,400 and the highest was $50,000, or 9.4 times the opening price of $5,300. Lunar New Year fairs will be held at 14 locations in various districts between January 13 and 22.