Hong Kong’s Lo Wu border checkpoint was overflowing with mainland shoppers and traders from Shenzhen on Sunday ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday that begins Feb. 19.
The shoppers said Hong Kong is the best place to buy necessities for the long holiday because prices here are lower and products are of better quality, Apple Daily reported Monday.
For these reasons, the wait was worth it, some were quoted as saying.
More than 20,000 mainlanders entered Hong Kong between 9 a.m. and noon on Sunday, an average of more than 6,700 an hour, up 24 percent from the peak last week, according to immigration data.
Because of the unusually heavy traffic, mainlanders were allowed to use e-channels normally reserved for Hong Kong residents, prompting complaints about long delays.
Some residents said they waited twice as long to clear the e-channels, the report said
A government spokesman said 49 e-channels and 64 immigration counters were open during Sunday’s peak hours.
Once in Hong Kong, the mainlanders wasted no time hitting up stores in Tuen Mun and Sheung Shui near the border.
Their purchases consisted mainly of chocolates, candies, melon seeds and cookies.
Some said they would come back if they did not find what they wanted.
Meanwhile, the shopping spree brought some side effects.
One resident in Tai Po told Apple Daily many ATMs in the area had run out of Hong Kong dollar bills but renminbi had been available in the past two weeks.
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