Newspaper hawkers- the decline in number, licences no longer being issued

HF:  “Newspaper hawker licences are no longer being issued, the government confirmed Wednesday.

Amid the impending demise of dai pai dong – the practice of selling cheap food in open-air stalls – Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the government had not issued newspaper hawker licences “under normal circumstances” since 2000 and had no plans to issue more…”(1)

“The following is a question by the Hon Shiu Ka-fai and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today, November 30 2016: Question: Recently, a group of newspaper hawkers have relayed to me that their business environment has become increasingly difficult, and pointed out that the number of newspaper stalls in Hong Kong has dropped persistently from over 2 000 in the 1990s to the present level of about 380…

Reply: President, Licensed hawkers were originally allowed to sell newspapers, magazines, periodicals and books only.  In 1990, the former Municipal Council decided to relax the policy on the commodities permitted for sale by newspaper hawkers and allowed them to also sell commodities of small size to provide convenience to the public.  Under that policy, newspaper hawkers were allowed to also sell eight commodities of small size: tissues, cigarettes, cigarette lighters, chewing gums, sweets, preserved fruits, battery cells and pens.  While the permitted size of newspaper stalls remained the same, the area used for the sale of additional commodities should not exceed 25 per cent of the stall area…

…My answer to the various parts of the question is as follows. (1) Currently, there are around 420 newspaper stalls in Hong Kong.  FEHD has not issued such type of licences under normal circumstances since its establishment in 2000 and has no plan to issue new licences as such.  This is due to the fact that changes in the circumstances of society, the increase in the number of sales outlets (such as convenience stores) of newspapers and magazines, the distribution of free newspapers and fierce competition from other forms of media (in particular electronic media) have contributed to lowering the general public’s demand for the provision of newspapers and magazines by on-street newspaper hawkers.  In addition, there have been diverse views of different parties in society on the environmental hygiene problems posed by on-street hawking activities…” (2)


Newspaper stand 1960s Courtesy: Information Services Department


  1. Newspaper hawker licences dry up as Hong Kong changes its habits, government says SCMP 30th November 2016
  2. Newspaper hawkers – government press release 30th November 2016

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Decline of Street Hawkers in Hong Kong
  2. The Decline of Hawkers Markets in Hong Kong – but where were they?
  3. The demise of Yen Chow Street Hawker Bazaar, Sham Shui Po

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *