Date
23 July 2017
Wheelchair-bound passengers (inset) pack their goods at the Sheung Shui MTR station. Photos: Bloomberg, Headline Daily
Wheelchair-bound passengers (inset) pack their goods at the Sheung Shui MTR station. Photos: Bloomberg, Headline Daily

Wheelchair-bound passengers tapped for parallel trading

Here’s the latest technique used by parallel traders to avoid scrutiny from customs officers at the border: wheelchair-bound passengers.

Authorities have noticed a recent upsurge in the number of supposedly disabled passengers who pass through the border in Shenzhen using electric wheelchairs  — as many as 100 a day, Sing Tao Daily reported on Monday, citing various sources.

These passengers carry with them boxes of infant formula and other goods on their electric chairs, and they are allowed to pass through priority channels where customs scrutiny is less rigid than in the normal passageways.

An investigation conducted by the newspaper showed that these mainland “tourists” are actually able-bodied individuals who are hired by parallel traders to carry the smuggled goods for them past customs inspectors. 

They pick up the goods at designated spots in Hong Kong before heading to the MTR station in Sheung Shui where they take the train bound for the border checkpoint in Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau.

In case border guards doubt if they are really wheelchair-bound, they would show fake disability certificates they had bought from mainland forgers for a few hundred yuan and try to gain the sympathy of the officers.

Ronald Leung Kim-shing, spokesman for the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group, urged authorities to investigate this new form of parallel trading, noting that wheelchair riders are exempt from weighing their luggage before boarding the MTR trains.

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TL/JP/CG

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