Border trading and policing of everyday life in Hong Kong

Authored by: Karen Joe Laidler , Maggy Lee

The Routledge Handbook on Crime and International Migration

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415823944
eBook ISBN: 9780203385562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135924331


 Download Chapter



The former British colony of Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China in 1997 under the binding principle of ‘one country, two systems’, whereby Hong Kong would become economically more integrated with the Pearl Delta Region in southern China while retaining its common law legal system and a degree of political autonomy guaranteed under the Basic Law for 50 years. As the local Business Council Report (Fung 2005: 17) explains: ‘The two economies should foster cooperation and compete together as one entity in world markets … [and] remove any barriers which may hinder or interrupt the efficient movement of people and goods.’ One of the manifestations of this political transition is the construction of distinct, multi-tiered border control processes between Hong Kong and mainland China. For Hong Kong citizens, unlimited travel across the border is relatively straightforward with a ‘Home Return Permit’. Mainland Chinese citizens, on the other hand, are subject to different layers of internal border control depending on their place of origin, and the purpose and the duration of their visit to Hong Kong. Paradoxically, under the gradual liberalization of internal border control and economic integration since 1997, the increasing flow of citizens across the border (in both directions) has led to the heightened visibility of border trading – a longstanding grey market – and in the process, heightened tensions of social political identities and exclusionary sentiments.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.