A Shamshuipo street hawker was arrested yesterday for selling expired packed food, some allegedly bought from scavengers who recovered the food from refuse collection points. The arrest follows a complaint by a woman who bought two tins of soup from a hawker at Apliu Street on Tuesday. The victim, who lives in Shamshuipo, developed abdominal pain after consuming the soup. Her doctor later diagnosed gastroenteritis. The woman complained to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department after discovering the tins of soup were three years past their use-by date. As part of the investigation by police and food officers yesterday, a plain-clothes officer bought $65 worth of food, including tea leaves, chicken essence, bean-starch noodles and Japanese soy sauce, from the hawker. All were found to be expired, the soy sauce by six years. The female hawker, 47, was arrested. Her merchandise, which included jelly, potato chips and instant rice noodles, was seized. Police said the hawker had apparently bought the food for $10 a bag from scavengers who gathered most of it from refuse collection points. She then selected items to sell at knockdown prices. 'Some items seized are old household items like woks which are dumped as a result of end-of-year cleaning and thus are okay for reselling. But if it is food which can affect health, then it is a serious matter,' Chan Hoi-kong, operations support sub-unit commander of Shamshuipo police, said. Police said anyone caught selling expired food would be subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months imprisonment. Sze Lai-shan, of the Society of Community Organisations, said yesterday's seizure highlighted the worsening problem of scavenging in Hong Kong in the past two years. 'This is very tragic as Hong Kong is not a place lacking resources and wealth, but the fact that they are unequally distributed means more people are being forced to find food among rubbish or buy items which have already expired,' she said.