Formula Powder “Incident” – The Timeline

This is not from a news article but The Real Hong Kong News would like to provide you with a timeline of the formula powder “incident” in Hong Kong, so as to provide a clearer picture of how Hong Kong people have been dealing with and enduring it for two years, and what the government has done so far. Hong Kong people have been fighting helplessly for too long, while at the same time Chinese public in general think that Hong Kong’s economy relies solely on China and that Hong Kong people should support the needs of Chinese babies at the expense of local babies. Hong Kong government has been trying hard to please the CCP and Chinese at the expense of Hong Kong babies by doing nothing to stop the smuggling of the formula powder, and is refusing to focus on what is really important for Hong Kongers.


Contaminated milk products, particularly melamine-tainted formula milk, were found in China. This caused severe health issues in infants (some babies suffered from kidney stones, and there were around 200 cases of “big head babies” who suffered from malnutrition as the formula powder did not contain enough nutrition), Chinese parents then turned to Hong Kong for formula powder for their children


End of 2010

Chinese parents rushed to Hong Kong to purchase formula powder in a large scale, which caused local parents to suffer from the shortage of formula powder and higher retail price of formula powder


March 2011

A report reveals that 50% of the local Hong Kong mothers interviewed encountered difficulties when trying to purchase formula powder. 77% thought that the price is not reasonable. There were reports suggesting that some Hong Kong drug stores refused to sell baby milk powder to Hong Kong parents, discriminating against their compatriots speaking Cantonese (language used by Hong Kong locals) with a Hong Kong accent in favour of those speaking it with a mainland accent, or speaking mandarin (language used by PRC Chinese)


April 2011

PRC Chinese began to hire Hong Kong people to purchase formula powder for them in Hong Kong, and then bring it to the border between Hong Kong and China at Lo Wu to hand it over for re-sale. Their reward for this service: HK$20 for each purchase. Many made repeat trips on a daily basis.


July 2011

Hong Kong parents took to the street to express anger over the government’s inaction towards the formula powder shortage in the market, because Chinese have been wiping out all formula powder available in the market


January 2012

Suppliers of formula powder increased the supply to deal with the shortage, at the same time raising the retail price of the formula powder


February 2012

Chinese in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan began to purchase formula powder in bulk and send it to China through courier services, causing shortages in these counties


September 2012

  • China’s government in Peking unilaterally expanded the Individual Visit Scheme to 4.1 million non-permanent residents of Shenzhen, further worsening the problem of the shortage of formula powder
  • An event page: “Liberate Sheung Shui Station” was set up on Facebook. Netizens gathered at Sheung Shui and blockaded the main exit so that smugglers were not able to board the trains to China

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 1.50.07 AM

October 2012

  • MTR – Hong Kong’s railway operator – revised down their limit on the weight of travelers’ luggage to 32kg: They installed security guards and an inspection team to measure the weight of luggage at the station’s entrance. Travelers’ access into the station was denied if their luggage was overweight. But smugglers packed their goods separately or entered the station from the entrance with no inspector, boarding the train without any problem
  • Hong Kong Immigration Department collaborated with the Police Force and Labour Department to arrest smugglers and their employers from their goods distribution centres in Sheung Shui and Fanling, where they re-pack their goods so as to comply with the new regulation of the weight limit of MTR. Around 300 people were arrested in the first month. However, smugglers have since moved their centres to other locations along the railway so to escape arrest.13la3p05

December 2012

Smugglers continued to smuggle formula powder into China, regardless of the protest of netizens, the new MTR regulations and arrests by Hong Kong’s Immigration Department. Smugglers even hired mothers to use their baby buggies (strollers, pushchairs) to carry the goods so that they can claim that they are for personal use


January 2013

  • Food and Health Bureau announced formula powder rationing by collaborating with the retail industry to ration 3 cans of formula powder from assigned brands every 2 weeks through a “Local Moms’ Club” that requires their babies’ Hong Kong birth certificates. However nothing has been mentioned about how to monitor the purchasing and  smuggling by Chinese, because the government said that Hong Kong is a free market and should not prohibit anyone from purchasing anything here.
  • Many people supported the idea of the cancellation or revision of China’s multiple-entry permits so as to control the number of Chinese who enter Hong Kong to purchase and smuggle formula powder. However they have received no positive response from the government. Frustrated, Hong Kong people turned to seek help from the White House through a “We The People” petition. More than 20,000 signatures were collected and it has aroused the interest of international media


March 2013

  • Government implemented a “2-can limit” (no more than 1.8kg of formula powder) for travelers departing Hong Kong carrying formula powder for children under three. It fueled the rage of the Chinese, saying that Hong Kong people are heartless to ignore the basic needs of Chinese babies. The peking-government-owned Global Times also condemned this measure as “ridiculous” and “insensitive”, and said that it amounted to a trade embargo.
  • Under pressure from the Chinese government, Hong Kong’s government are discussing revising or cancelling the “2-can limit”, because Peking has stated that the measure “hurts the relationship between Hong Kong people and Chinese” – contrary to one of the communist party’s central tenets of promoting a “harmonious society”, the cover for all manner of civil rights infractions over the years.



One response to “Formula Powder “Incident” – The Timeline

  1. Pingback: Entering Shenzhen | GeoFoodie·

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