By Kelvin Chan
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police arrested nearly three dozen people Sunday after scuffles broke out at a protest in a border town, in the latest example of heightened tensions over the growing influx of mainland Chinese shoppers in the city.
Police officers wielded batons and used pepper spray on the crowds after the demonstration turned unruly, as demonstrators clashed with crowds of village residents opposed to the event who taunted them along the route.
Police said 33 people were arrested, including a 13-year-old boy.
Hundreds turned out for the latest protest to target the mainland shoppers, who have been blamed for voracious buying habits that distort the local economy.
The protesters marched in the suburban district of Yuen Long, near the border with mainland China, in a neighborhood where there are dozens of pharmacies selling baby formula to cater to mainland shoppers.
Numerous food safety scares in China have made baby formula a hot commodity for mainland visitors to Hong Kong, which has a reputation for authentic and high-quality goods. The protesters complain that the mainlanders’ shopping sprees drive up retail rents and force out ordinary shopkeepers. (end)