Date
23 January 2017
Tsang Kai-sun (right) will close his store in Sham Shui Po next Tuesday after failing to make ends meet. Photos: Openrice
Tsang Kai-sun (right) will close his store in Sham Shui Po next Tuesday after failing to make ends meet. Photos: Openrice

Rent woes: King of Rice Rolls abdicates

Hong Kong’s King of Rice Rolls is abdicating the throne, a victim of high rent worthy of a prince’s ransom.

Tsang Kai-sun will close his shop in Sham Shui Po next Tuesday after failing to make ends meet, Metro Daily reports.

Tsang, 56, moved to the premises from the Kweilin Street Night Market where he earned his moniker selling steamed rice rolls from a stall on many a Lunar New Year holiday.

The move followed a crackdown on street hawkers by food and hygiene authorities in 1997.

Tsang reemerged in Yu Chau Street, not far from the night market, with his own store named Sun Kee: King of Rice Rolls. 

He pays HK$65,000 (US$8,350) a month in rent, supplementing his sales from the shop with occasional income from hawking rice rolls in the Kweilin Street Night Market during Lunar New Year.

But last week’s police raid on unlicensed street vendors in Mong Kok, which erupted in violence, closed that extra source of revenue.

“The government is too strict,” he said.

“They should have let us do business for a few days during the Chinese New Year. Many hawkers have suffered losses and it is not easy to make money these days.” 

Tsang, who has been in the busines for 30 years, said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department used to be lenient and hawker control teams often gave vendors a chance to make money.

However, the department has been issuing “no hawker” notices in the past two years ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

Still, Tsang and his partner remain optimistic about the future.

They are planning a move to Jordan.

“The most important thing is foot traffic,” he said.

If all roads lead back to him, Tsang might soon regain his kingdom. 

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BT/DY/RA

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