MTR last year issued 8,100 warning letters to passengers for breaking luggage size rules, up 73 per cent from 2014, while the number of assaults against its staff doubled to 40. Most of the warning letters were issued at train stations near the border with mainland China, such as Lok Ma Chau and Lo Wu. In total, MTR said an average of 9,000 passengers per month were stopped from travelling on the train for carrying bulky or oversized items, and this mostly happened on the East Rail Line, which links Hung Hom with the mainland border. “For the bylaws inspection unit, most of the assault cases were due to confrontation with passengers carrying oversized objects or luggage,” said MTR operations manager Allen Ding Ka-chun after announcing crowd control measures at Sheung Shui train station ahead of Chinese New Year. “Most of the assaults involved physical clashes.” But the numbers do compare favourably with London’s Underground system. According to Transport for London, there were 2,753 assaults on Underground employees in a year from 2013 to 2014. The Tube handles up to 4 million passenger journeys per day, while MTR says it has an average of over 5.4 million passengers on weekdays. READ MORE: 7,000 jobs could be lost if Hong Kong high-speed rail link is suspended, says MTRC boss Ding did not say the rise in assault cases was specifically related to parallel trading, attributing it to an increase in passengers. In recent years, the influx of parallel traders to border towns in the New Territories had sparked unrest. The traders buy goods in Hong Kong that they can resell on the mainland. Some local residents accuse them of pushing up prices of daily necessities and causing a nuisance with their bulky luggage. Popular items include milk powder, chocolates and skin care products. Sheung Shui, in the north of the New Territories, has long been a parallel trading hub, as its train station is just one stop from the cross-border checkpoints in Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau. Under MTR rules, passengers travelling on the East Rail Line cannot carry luggage that weighs more than 23kg. Also, the total sum of length, width and height of the luggage should not exceed 170 cm and the length of any one side should not exceed 130 cm. In January last year, there were 15,149 cases on the East Rail Line in which passengers were blocked from travelling on MTR for breaching the weight or size rules. MTR currently has about 190 staff members to enforce its rules and its inspection team now plans to have a total of 16 body-worn video cameras for use on duty.