Date
17 August 2017
Leung Fuk-yuen (inset) suggests locals eat at home if they cannot afford rising prices at restaurants, blamed on an influx of visitors from the mainland, some of whom are parallel traders. Photos: HKEJ
Leung Fuk-yuen (inset) suggests locals eat at home if they cannot afford rising prices at restaurants, blamed on an influx of visitors from the mainland, some of whom are parallel traders. Photos: HKEJ

Try earning more, rural boss tells locals upset by price rises

Hongkongers who can no longer afford to eat out at their favorite restaurants because visitors from the mainland have pushed up prices should choose cheaper options, a rural leader in the northwestern New Territories said.

If that does not solve the problem, Leung Fuk-yuen, chairman of the Shap Pat Heung rural committee, said during a phone-in program on Radio Television Hong Kong, “why not buy ingredients and cook at home?”

Leung said people could ask their employers to raise their salaries or simply work harder to earn more, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.

He agreed, however, that the government could exercise more control on the number of visitors from the mainland and should also consider enhancing the city’s infrastructural facilities.

Those visitors could create jobs and benefit the local economy, Leung said.

He dismissed suggestions that Yuen Long has become crowded because of the influx of tourists from the north.

“It is only understandable that the tourists do their shopping in Yuen Long, as it is nearer to the border — and why is more business a bad thing for shop owners, given the heavy burden of the high rent they have to pay?” he said.

A woman identifying herself as Ms. Leung called in and said Leung speaks only for the merchants and not the residents of Yuen Long.

Not only has the place become more crowded, there are way too many drugstores on the main roads, limiting the range of products available to locals, she said.

Ms. Leung said the visitors are not to blame, but the Hong Kong government is responsible for looking after the needs of the grass roots.

The design of the city simply cannot handle a large number of tourists, which has unavoidably created disputes and chaos, she said.

Meanwhile, internet users have been calling for Yuen Long residents to gather at the Yuen Long West Rail Station at 3 p.m. on March 1 to protest against the large number of parallel goods traders from the mainland.

Leung Chi-cheung, chairman of the Yuen Long district council, said he does not agree with the protest, which the netizens say aims to “clear out the Chinese locust shoppers”. He urged local residents to avoid conflicts with tourists from the mainland.

– Contact us at [email protected]

EL/AC/FL

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe