Strong demand for high-end seafood in mainland China as the Lunar New Year approaches is prompting smugglers to grab the opportunity to make money before the holidays.
A video clip posted on Facebook shows two women stuffing more than 100 live lobsters into a dozen suitcases on an MTR train, hk01.com reported Wednesday.
Witnesses said that once they got onto the train, the women opened their suitcases and stuffed the live lobsters in transparent plastic bags into them.
Each suitcase had around 10 big lobsters in it.
But at first, the suitcases seemed not big enough, so the pair repacked, pressed and stuffed the lobsters forcefully again and again into the suitcases so that they could zip them up.
Other passengers in the compartment were annoyed by the disturbance the two traders caused.
The smuggling of lobsters, Pacific geoducks and frozen steaks from Hong Kong to the mainland has become common over the past few years, said Leung Kam-shing, convener of the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group.
The situation gets worse before the Lunar New Year because of the increased demand for high-quality food in the mainland, he said.
Leung said the smugglers usually bring the food to Lo Wu through Sheung Shui and pass it on to their mainland partners, who then sell it to restaurants.
He said Hong Kong customs officials do not restrict people from taking such food out of Hong Kong, but transportation of these goods on the MTR occupies space on trains and creates a problem with hygiene.
It is the mainland customs officials’ responsibility to curb these smuggling activities, as they have the power to bar and forfeit these goods, Leung said.
Headline Daily quoted an MTR representative as saying that, according to MTR regulations, passengers are not allowed to bring animals or livestock onto railway premises.
Also, each passenger is allowed to bring only one piece of hand-carried luggage of a limited size onto a train.
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