BY ALICE ZHAO
HONG KONG – The Christmas shopping season has attracted more customers to the bustling market in Taiyuan Street of Wan Chai. As a stall owner, Mr. Deng cannot cheer up because of the swamp of visitors with shopping bags, instead, he is rather upset, all because the government’s new policy on the street Pai Dong, the very traditional hawkers’ booth in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong government has just made the policy that the stall size should be limited to 3×4 inches while it used to be 4×4. The policy was triggered in a recent fire that took place in a street in Mongkok, leaving 9 dead and 34 injured.
Apart from the size, the government has also requested the roof of the sidewalk stalls to bereplaced with mental materials from plastic for fear of the possible of potential fire.
Ms. Yeung, another stall owner at the Wan Chai market, said that the limit of size will have negative influence on her business. She said that now it is the best season for her business but she has to shrink the size.
Hong Kong government has warned the neighborhood of the possible threat of fire from the hawkers’ booths while the cause of the Mongkok fire is still under investigation.
Mr. Deng said it is unfair to limit the small business while the cause of fire is yet unknown.
Apart from Wan Chai Market, protests can bee seen at other similar areas where shops crammed along narrow streets, such as Mongkok and North Point.