Two-thirds of the people arrested for smuggling infant formula across the border from Hong Kong are from the mainland, Apple Daily reported Thursday, citing Lai Tung-kwok, head of the Security Bureau.
Over the past year, customs officers arrested about 5,000 people who tried to take out of Hong Kong infant formula above the 1.8 kg limit allowed by law, of whom 65 percent were mainlanders and nearly 30 percent were Hongkongers, Lai said.
From March last year to the end of last month, fines handed to violators ranged from HK$250 to HK$100,000, and 157 of those convicted were imprisoned for between one and 140 days, he said.
At the end of February, more than 13,500 mainlanders were on the watch list of suspected parallel traders, and the Immigration Department had refused entry to 28,000 such travellers, Lai said.
However, he said the police will never tolerate violence by protesters against the parallel traders. Authorities will increase patrols to ensure business is conducted as normal, Lai said.
Legislative councilor Lau Wong-fat, who chairs the powerful rural advisory body Heung Yee Kuk, said that while parallel traders disturbed the lives of Hongkongers, protesters pose a more serious nuisance.
Lau he called for more police to be deployed to ensure social order.
Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that one of the drugstore chains catering to visitors from the mainland, Hong Kong Health Century International Group Ltd., is part of Jintian Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. (02211.HK), chaired by Jin Dongtao.
Jin, vice-chairman of the China Medical Pharmaceutical Material Association, is a lieutenant-colonel in the People’s Liberation Army reserve, Jintian’s website shows.
Hong Kong Health Century operates four drugstores, in Yuen Long, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.
The chain promotes itself as a baby formula specialist and says it can deliver its goods across the mainland.
Its 2,000 square foot flagship store in Yuen Long is popular with parallel traders and carries all the well-known brands.
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