A last-minute change of mind by Hong Kong’s wholesalers of live chicken has put off the resumption of supply indefinitely, Metro Hong Kong reported Wednesday.
The city’s wholesale poultry market has been closed since Dec. 31 over concerns about bird flu.
Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said he received a notice at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday from the wholesalers, saying they had decided not to supply live chickens from Wednesday as scheduled.
He said at the moment there is no way to tell when a resumption of supply will be possible.
Six wholesalers were planning to supply a total of 3,150 live chickens to the market Wednesday, he said, but they changed their mind, choosing not to go through the checkpoint at Ta Kwu Ling in the northern New Territories.
Residents of Ta Kwu Ling have threatened to disrupt deliveries by wholesalers at the temporary checkpoint set up in one of the local villages. They refuse to have live chickens handled near where they live, fearing it might affect their health.
Representatives of villagers and wholesalers met at noon Tuesday to resolve the issue. They agreed that wholesalers can use the checkpoint from Jan. 7 to Jan. 21 with restrictions, only if the government promises to close the checkpoint for good after the period.
The poultry industry and the villagers said the issue was caused by the government and it should treat it seriously.
Ko said the checkpoint was only part of a contingency plan and will not be in place for the long term.
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