Smugglers are squeezing through cracks in Hong Kong’s milk powder ban by shipping imported formula sold in the city to Zhuhai via Macau, according to Ming Pao Daily.
The newspaper reported Monday as many as 10,000 tins were shipped to Macau’s Gongbei Port where they were distributed to individual traders who then took the tins to Zhuhai in smaller batches. Some traders said they normally took more than 10 tins to Zhuhai per day.
Hong Kong imposed new rules in March last year that limited people to taking a maximum of two tins of formula across the border at any one time. But Mainland customs are allowing people crossing at Macau to pay a tariff if they bring in more than two tins.
Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau said 4,590 metric tons of milk powder was shipped to Macau between March last year and February, a 78 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.
The amount is thought to be enough to meet the needs of all children under three in Macau for four and half years, or the needs of children in the same age bracket in Hong Kong for four months.
One industry insider said there had been a slowdown in the amount of formula heading from Hong Kong to the mainland but smugglers had switched their route to Macau where clearing customs is easier and commissions for smugglers are cheaper at about 8 patacas (US$1) per tin.
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