Campus Health and Safety
March 2016
Purchasing Chemicals from the Mainland
It appears that more and more users are buying chemicals from the Mainland and hand-carrying them back to Hong Kong.  While it makes economic sense to purchase chemicals in Mainland for only a fraction of what it would cost for buying chemicals of comparable quality from abroad, users must be aware of the legal implications should they decide to hand-carry the chemicals via access points into Hong Kong.  There are regulations that govern the import of dangerous goods and drugs into Hong Kong.  It is users' responsibility to learn about and comply with relevant regulatory requirements such as making proper declaration to the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department when importing such goods. Violation may result in penalties of monetary fine and/or imprisonment. Furthermore, there are also regulations restricting passengers commuting on public transportation with dangerous goods.  Depending on the chemical category, dangerous goods may or may not be allowed; even if permissible, the quantity is limited. Also, an incident such as spill of dangerous goods on public transportation will generate many problems, including negative media coverage damaging to both the individual and the university.
In response to users' needs, the Center of Laboratory Supplies (CLS) has been facilitating the process of purchasing chemicals from the Mainland by liaising with departments/units to identify reputable manufacturers or traders for the desired reagents.  This effort helps to address users' needs and, at the same time, eliminate the potential risks of violating applicable regulatory requirements.  Purchasing through these channels will also offer the benefit of after-sale services including conflict settlement in case of dispute.
In addition to using already established purchasing channels, users are welcome to make request to CLS for purchase from other sources of preference if acceptable procurement arrangements can be established. For further inquiries on this matter, please feel free to contact CLS at ext. 6887.