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Chinese moms risk prison if caught smuggling infant formula, but could they stay in Hong Kong?

In the wake of the powder milk scandal in China, some have actually suggested on the Chinese version of Twitter that pregnant women should try getting arrested crossing the Hong Kong border.

Powdered milk sold in Hong Kong stores has been in hot demand on the mainland since six children died and nearly 300,000 sickened from melamine laced milk in 2008.

And last year, China’s biggest milk producer, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group recalled formula tainted with mercury, Reuters reports.

Since the scandals, formula stuffed in suitcases has been incessantly smuggled through the busy Luohu border crossing between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, according to the social media site TeaLeafNation, an e-magazine that surfs Chinese social media daily.

However, recently authorities restricted how much powdered milk may be brought across border – only 1.8 kg. If caught smuggling more than allowed, the penalty can be two years in prison or 500,000 RMB or $80,000.

On Sino Weibo, the Chinese answer to Twitter, someone suggested pregnant women should try smuggling the milk and get arrested in Hong Kong. Then, when caught and unable to pay the fine, they could be jailed in Hong Kong. In prison, moms would have access to Hong Kong powdered milk for free and their child would be born a citizen of Hong Kong, reports TeaLeafNation.

That suggestion takes planned parenting to new heights.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's Global Economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga


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Or they can just breastfeed.

That is just too sad all around.

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