Sheung Shui is notable for being just one MTR stop away from Lo Wu, the busiest crossing point between Hong Kong and the rest of China. Come here almost any day and you’ll see crowds of people gathered outside the station. They are buying huge quantities of goods that are popular in the mainland, repacking them up on the street and then getting on the MTR to cross to Shenzhen where they will be able to sell the stuff at a profit. Every day it seems as if there are more and more of them. Some days it’s hard to walk down the street, hard to get to the station entrance, hard to get on the train because it’s so crowded with people and their “luggage”.
This from the SCMP:
Angry scenes erupted at Sheung Shui on Saturday afternoon after dozens of people launched a protest against cross-border traders.
The protest, initiated by netizens on Facebook earlier this week, started at 2pm with about 50 residents in the border town standing near exit C of Sheung Shui MTR station.
“Recover Sheung Shui! Protect our homes!” they chanted, from slogans written on placards. They said many parallel traders buying goods in the neighbourhood had created a disturbance.
The MTR Corporation, prepared for the protest, erected a sign at the station exit requiring passengers to carry no more than one item of luggage. The protest also drew some 300 onlookers standing around the station and on a footbridge.
It did not take long for clashes to break out after two young protesters held up high a sign reading: “Mainland people go back to China”, together with a Hong Kong flag from the colonial era. While fellow protesters asked them to put it away, some middle-aged men, offended by the slogan, rushed at them aggressively. They denounced the pair as “unpatriotic”. Officers from the Police Tactical Unit then intervened and separated them.
Some protesters said they recognised parallel traders among the crowds. But no trading activities were seen at the MTR station.
Cross-border, or parallel traders, are most active in Sheung Shui because it is only one station from Lo Wu. They take products ranging from milk powder, mobile phones and cosmetics over the border to sell in the mainland.
This reminded me of Friday, July 6th, a day when I was there with camera in hand. I was more interested in getting to Shenzhen quickly so my photos are pretty casual but I think they will at least give you a good idea of what can go on there.
It’s not like this every day and hasn’t been this bad the last two times I’ve been through there. But I can guess that certain days are probably worse than others and if I actually lived up there, I’d find the noise and the crowds and all the garbage they leave behind on the streets to be a serious inconvenience to say the least.
On the other hand, I don’t see how any of this is illegal. This is our free market economy at work. And it’s not as if these people are smuggling this crap into China – this is right out in the open so presumably China immigration is fine with it. I think the MTR’s solution of limiting people to one item of luggage at one station only as a method of containing this is ludicrous on multiple levels.