Government promises tourism fraud fight

Just days after customs officers arrested a woman for coercing Mainland Chinese tourists into buying goods at a shop in Hung Hom, government officials have promised to further ramp up efforts to wipe such scams out.  
Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Gregory So has promised a series of measures to strengthen regulations of Mainland tours into the territory. These include more checks by customs officials and enforcement at popular tourist areas.
Last week, the Customs & Excise Department started conducting patrols at shopping spots for tour groups in popular tourist shopping areas, such as Hung Hom, To Kwa Wan, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kwun Tong, Kowloon Bay, Tai Kok Tsui and Lai Chi Kok to detect any violations of the TDO.
Under the ordinance, offenders face a penalty as high as $500,000 and five years in prison upon conviction.
So says local tour agencies hosting Mainland tour groups will be requested to submit a full name list of tourists and guides to the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council to help identify any ‘shadow shoppers’.
The council will also have to verify the contracts local tour agencies sign with the Mainland agencies to see if they are involved in ‘zero/negative fare tour packages’.
So will travel to Beijing this week to meet with China National Tourism Administration officials to discuss tighter controls on the organised tour market in both the mainland and Hong Kong.
Last week’s arrest occurred at a shop which was the scene of a scuffle involving a Mainland tourist last month. A local man who intervened to try to calm the dispute died of a heart attack at the scene.

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