Itinerant hawkers selling short-weight chestnuts or sweet potatoes fined

31 Mar 2011

Six itinerant hawkers were fined from $500 to $3,000 under the Weights and Measures Ordinance after pleading guilty to selling short-weight chestnuts or sweet potatoes in the first three months of this year.

Over the past few months, officers of the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED), posing as customers, conducted test buys of chestnuts or sweet potatoes from a number of itinerant hawkers in various districts throughout the territory including Sai Wan Ho, Quarry Bay, Wan Chai, Jordan, Sham Shui Po, Cheung Sha Wan, Lai Chi Kok, Tsuen Wan, Tai Po and Sheung Shui. Investigations revealed that ten itinerant hawkers had claimed the weight of the goods heavier than their actual weight when selling them to the officers.

Subsequent examinations by the Government Laboratory found that the shortage between the net weight and the purported weight of the goods sold ranged from 6% to 18%.

A spokesman for the C&ED today (March 31) said that another four itinerant hawkers would be prosecuted shortly for committing the same offence.

"The Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement action against short-weight activities to protect consumers' interests and to uphold a fair trading environment," the spokesman added.

Under the Weights and Measures Ordinance, any person who in the course of trade supplies goods to another person by weight or measure, should supply the goods in net weight or net measure. Any shortage of quantity purporting to be supplied is an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $10,000. Moreover, any person who uses for trade or has in his possession for use for trade any weighing or measuring equipment which is false or defective commits an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $20,000.

The Customs also appeals to the public to report any cases of suspected short-weight offences to the department by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, March 31, 2011

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