Hong Kong’s railway operator has launched a two-week period of public consultation following a string of incidents in which station staff stopped passengers carrying musical instruments from boarding trains.

The public outcry that accompanied scenes in which students with a guzheng and cello were surrounded and stopped by MTR staff has pressured MTR Corporation to announce a review of the company’s luggage policy on Tuesday.

A schoolgirl who was stopped by MTR staff. Photo: Chan Ka Lun via Facebook.

MTRC plans to publicise the results of their policy review after the consultation period. Until then, station staff will continue to enforce existing regulations, they say.

Current MTR regulations limit each passenger to one piece of luggage, the total dimensions of which must (length + width + height) not exceed 170 centimetres or have any one side longer than 130 centimetres.

‘Kong Iron’ is the Cantonese slang for MTR. Photo: Facebook/Mr & Ms HK People

Although MTRC insists that these rules apply to all passengers, many Hong Kongers have accused the company of enforcing them unevenly, turning a blind eye to parallel traders  transporting huge quantities of goods on the MTR for resale across the border.

Readers interested in sharing their opinion with MTRC can send an email to review@mtr.com.hk before October 13.

A demonstration planned for October 3, which over 3,600 Facebook users have said they will attend, will see participants bring their musical instruments in Tai Wai Station as an act of defiance against MTRC’s perceived double-standards.


Ryan Kilpatrick

Ryan Kilpatrick is a local writer, journalist and editor. Formerly National Online Editor for the That's magazine group in China, his work on the history and politics of the region has earned him the CEFC Award in Modern China Studies and has also appeared in China Economic Review, Asian Studies Review, China Green News, e-International Relations, Shanghaiist and various publications at his alma mater, the University of Hong Kong, where he is currently enrolled in the Master of Journalism programme.