Hong Kong protesters rallied against traders who snap up goods in the city to sell in the mainland, as the governor of China’s second-most populous province sought to discourage people from going to the city to buy milk powder.
Scuffles broke out between police and protesters at the Tuen Men and Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhoods yesterday, leading to the arrest of six people, the government said. Hong Kong residents are demanding controls on traders, who cross the border to buy necessities in the city to resell in China.
The traders are exploiting concerns about safety of products such as milk powder in China, while the protests reflect anxiety that the Chinese are overwhelming Hong Kong and skewing the the cost of goods for locals. It was the fourth week in a row for rallies in areas with transportation links to the Shenzhen border.
“The massive influx of day trippers has created a lot of public outcry,” Kevin Lai, a Hong Kong-based economist at Daiwa Capital Markets, said by phone today. “In many ways the day trippers have also crowded out some of the better, higher spenders.”
An influx of Chinese visitors has prompted the city’s government to consider curbs on tourist arrivals. Instead of rich Chinese flying in, the city is seeing an increasing number of visitors with big luggages hoarding up space in its subways, on its buses and on the pavements as they buy shampoo, groceries and medicine.
Retail sales in the city fell 14.6 percent in January from a year ago, with expenditure on luxury items down 21.4 percent.
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