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Letter to the Editor
Recently there have been several letters in the newspaper on the subject of hawkers in the street. Some of the writers say that street hawkers are a nuisance and should be banned. Do you agree? Write a letter to the newspaper expressing your point of view. Sign your letter 'Chris Wong'.

24, 7th Street
Section C
Fairview Park
Yuen Long
N.T.
21 January, 2000
The Editor
South China Morning Post
GPO Box 47
Hong Kong

Dear Sir,

I refer to Mr Paul Serfaty's letter that appeared in your paper on 6 January about street hawkers.

According to some findings done by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, more than 7000 hawkers were arrested in 1999. In addition, there are more than 20 complaints about street hawkers every month. The problem of street hawkers has been very serious.

Some people may find that goods sold by street hawkers are cheap. However, most of the goods are pirated and illegal. The quality is bad and no one is going to guarantee them. Therefore, as a consumer, it is not safe to purchase them.

Many people, especially students, like to buy snacks like fishballs and candies from food stalls in street. Nevertheless, the cleanliness and hygiene of the food are being neglected. To operate a food stall, the workload of those hawkers is quite heavy. So, washing, cooking and money collecting are done by the same pair of hands! Don't the people know that diseases can be spread rapidly in that way?

Street stalls occupy some spaces of the pedestrian pavement and block the way of the pedestrians. They may cause environmental problems as well as inconvenience.

When the hawkers escape from the pursuit of the police, people around that area will be in danger and may get hurt.

Some people may say that street hawker is one of the characteristics in Hong Kong. However, will the tourists' first impression be good if they visit such a messy place?

The government should consider street hawkers as a major matter of concern and ask the street hawkers to apply for a license to sell in the street. Moreover, police should patrol those black spots to reduce the number of hawkers and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department should enhance the environmental hygiene by training a new breed of inspectors to look into this serious problem. With the co-operation of the Government and the government officials, I have confidence that the situation will be better.