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Mon April 29, 2013
The Hottest Thing To Smuggle Out Of Hong Kong: Baby Formula
In the last two months, authorities in Hong Kong have arrested more than 800 people for trying to smuggle powdered baby formula out of the country. As Quartz points out, that's more people than Hong Kong arrested for smuggling "dangerous drugs" in all of 2012.
This is the latest wrinkle in a story we reported on last week: Many Chinese parents are eager to buy baby formula from outside mainland China, because they worry that formula sold within the country may be unsafe.
One guy we talked to in our story goes to Hong Kong every few weeks to buy formula and other supplies for his baby, rather than buy identical products at local stores on the mainland.
Demand from parents like him caused formula shortages in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, local authorities imposed a new rule that said people leaving Hong Kong could only take two cans of formula with them. And, as the official release makes clear, the new rule has real teeth:
Any person who contravenes the relevant provision shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for two years.