Meanwhile in reality, yesterday the government arrested at the border of China some 15 parallel traders attempting to smuggle infant formula out of Hong Kong. Those not caught were seen selling their tins in Shenzhen.
Government abolishes the land application list
To preserve a stable supply of land for the construction of new housing, the Development Bureau announced yesterday that it would abolish the land application list that has been in use for 14 years. Instead, in the 2013/2014 financial year, the government will publish quarterly land sales plans that explain in advance, based on market conditions, how land will be sold. All land will be sold via a bidding system. Sing Tao says the change in policy has reinforced the market’s impression that the government plans to play a guiding role in land sales.
John Tsang’s support rate falls as budget receives low marks from public
Hong Kong University has just released the results of a public opinion survey on the 2013-14 Budget. According to the survey, the budget has received a score of 53.4, 3.4 points lower than the last budget that Tsang announced and the second-lowest budget score of all of the budgets that Tsang has presented. As for the public’s level of satisfaction with the budget, 31 percent were unsatisfied and 30 percent were satisfied. Tsang’s support rate after he delivered his budget presentation was 48 percent, 6 percent lower than it was at the start of February. Critics had earlier suggested that the budget did not do enough to support the middle class. At a press conference following the budget presentation, Tsang claimed that he understood the middle class because he was a middle class person, despite his six-digit monthly salary. Tsang enflamed critics more yesterday by saying that being middle class was a lifestyle characterized by drinking coffee and watching French films.
Parallel traders seek to beat the deadline for new rules on baby formula
Today, the government will begin restricting cross-border travelers to carrying no more than two cans of baby formula each. In advance of the change, a private warehouse employing parallel traders shipped a large amount of baby formula in boxes across the border yesterday. Additionally, 15 parallel traders carrying baby formula and other products were arrested during an Immigration Department crackdown yesterday. The Shenzhen customs authorities also assisted, inspecting over 1,000 suspected parallel traders. Nevertheless, parallel traders that managed to get their products across the border were seen selling their goods on the Shenzhen side of the Lo Wu border crossing.