SOCIETY
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Parallel trading

‘Radical’ anti-parallel trade protesters hurting Hong Kong’s image and damaging business, retailers say

Union groups urge police to take firm action against demonstrators to protect tourists and hard-hit local businesses

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 March, 2015, 11:44am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 March, 2015, 5:09am

Retailers are finding it increasingly hard to make a living as “radical” anti-parallel trading protesters tarnish Hong Kong’s image as a tourist destination, union leaders said.

About 20 unionists from the pro-establishment Federation of Trade Unions petitioned outside police headquarters in Wan Chai this morning, urging the force to take resolute action against anti-parallel trade protesters in the future to ensure the safety of tourists.  

The unionists said that some retailers feared for their safety as protesters now dared to demonstrate inside shops.

They were responding to rallies against mainland-based parallel-goods traders that turned violent on Sunday. The protesters gathered in Sheung Shui first, then took their actions to Tuen Mun and Tsim Sha Tsui – three districts popular with mainland visitors.

“They have become more radical recently … They have lost their rationality,” said Tang Cheung-sing, deputy general secretary of the Hong Kong Department Stores and Commercial Staff General Union.

Mok Kin-wing, deputy general secretary of the Retail and Wholesale Trades Employees Association, said that seven retailers have sought help from his union after their income started to drop because of stagnant sales. Many retailers are paid on a commission basis so the number of products they sold to shoppers affected their income, Mok said.

READ MORE: Hong Kong anti-parallel trade protesters hit back at claims they behaved like rioters

He added that some retailers wanted to complain about the protests on the internet but feared that anti-parallel trade protesters would dig up information about them and cyberbully them.

Lam Chi-ting, general secretary of the Federation of Hong Kong Trade Unions in Tourism, echoed Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok’s comments yesterday that the protesters acted like rioters.

He said that a group of Singaporean students had decided not to visit the city for an exchange programme because recent protests appeared to show that Hong Kong does not welcome visitors. Lam said he got the information from a Hong Kong tour agency that helped arrange the trip. But Lam could not provide further details such as the purpose of the exchange programme and how many students had signed up for the trip.