Parallel traders are causing big problems in Hong Kong. They were the target of protests in Sha Tin and Tuen Mun over the past two weeks. Police even had to use pepper spray against the protesters, while several people were injured.
Some shop owners in a Tuen Mun mall criticised the protesters, saying their actions were affecting locals' livelihoods. Many mainlanders said their visits would help to boost Hong Kong's economy. I agree. A lot of pharmacies and jewellery shops here rely on mainland visitors to boost their sales.
However, there's more to this problem than meets the eye. For example, traditional shops are being replaced by brand-name stores. If parallel traders continue to flood in, Hong Kong could lose its identity and become another "mainland city".
I think we can use other methods to improve our economy. Why don't we put more effort into promoting our music and movie industry in foreign countries? Why don't we use our wonderful heritage to attract tourists from around the world?
The government should try to tackle the problem of parallel traders without delay. In addition, they should think of new ways to increase revenue and bring more prosperity to Hong Kong.
Lo Lai-ying, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Lai-ying. You are absolutely right in all the issues you point out regarding parallel traders.
Hong Kong's identity is being eroded as we lose our own traders to big brands and become the great mall of China. But, realistically, there is not much we can do. We don't vote for our leaders, so they don't have to listen to the wishes of the people. They will look after Hong Kong's finances, even if it kills Hong Kong.