18th June 2019 – (Hong Kong) Two ‘begpackers’ were spotted soliciting travel money passerby at Admiralty area at around 7.30pm yesterday. The omnipresence of hard-up tourists holding placards asking for money in Hong Kong is becoming a nuisance to the locals again. These foreign begpackers are usually found at IFC overhead bridge, TST area or popular MTR stations. Some of them would busk or sell knick-knacks while a few of them blatantly ask for money to fund their ’round-the-world’ trips.
According to Hong Kong law, begging or busking on public streets is illegal in Hong Kong, punishable by a maximum fine of HK$500 and one year imprisonment. According to police sources, begging in public area has reduced by 40% over 2016 but recently, the number of begpackers seems to be on the rise again.
Most of these young travellers come to Hong Kong due to the city less stringent visa requirements for tourists and its affluence. In the past, the locals have been generous and some of them were able to make between HK$300-HK$400 in two hours. However, a lot of the begpackers have since been condemned in recent months by social media users as many Hong Kongers are displeasured by the widespread presence of these able-bodied foreign ‘begpackers’ who asked for money in an unashamed manner to support their wanderlust. Netizens often share their pictures in various popular local Facebook groups and warn others to shun them if they are seen on streets.
It is high time for begpackers to get up and do something nice for the local community instead of asking for free travel money.