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.

schoolgirl instrument
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.

MTR did not allow cello on trains by Mr & Ms HK People
‘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 Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others