A Chinese tourist paid HK$16,000 (US$2,064) for a catty of a Chinese herb in a Mong Kok drugstore, about 15 times the actual retail price.
The Shandong native, surnamed Qin, complained to the police, saying she had been cheated, Apple Daily reports.
Qin, 31, who was part of a tour group, said she went to the drugstore after seeing “government registered” and “duty free and authentic” on its signboard.
She said she asked for tian qi, a type of pseudo-ginseng, and was told by a sales clerk that the price was HK$80, without clarifying if it was per catty or tael.
The clerk proceeded to grind the herb into powder and asked her to pay by credit card.
Qin said she was shocked when she saw the bill for HK$16,000 and wanted to cancel the purchase.
But the clerk said the transaction could not be reversed because the credit card terminal was experiencing technical problems.
Qin was made to sign a receipt and a refund ticket only to be told the drugstore had decided to let the purchase stand, she said.
Qin was later told the price was HK$100 per mace (1/10 tael) or HK$16,000 for one catty.
Contacted by an Apple Daily reporter, the drugstore denied Qin had been tricked into signing something she did not understand.
Police investigations are continuing but no arrests have been made.
Kwan Chi-yee, chairman of the Hong Kong Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners Association, said the price tian qi can be as low as HK$100 per catty but the best quality herb will not be more than HK$1,000 per catty.
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