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Protesters rally in Hong Kong against mainland Chinese traders

Hundreds of Hong Kong residents have marched in protest at traders from mainland China buying up goods to make a profit back home. Police fired pepper spray at the crowds.

Scuffles broke out on Sunday in Hong Kong between police and protest groups who had gathered to demonstrate against visitors from mainland China.

They were angry at so-called "parallel traders," who visit Hong Kong to stock up on lower-priced goods - including food items and electronics - to sell at a profit back across the border while dodging tariffs.

Locals say the visitors clog up public facilities and are disrupting daily life.

"We can't walk, because all their goods pile up like mountains on the streets," said 23-year-old protester King Lee. "We should not endure this silently."

It was not clear whether any protesters were injured in the clashes. One report said three people were arrested.

But the demonstrations are tapping into a current of resentment among Hong Kong residents against mainland China, months after the "Occupy Central"

pro-democracy protests

that drew hundreds of thousands of people at their peak.

Officials cleared the last of the protest camps in December, but several thousand again

took to the streets a month ago

to call for open elections.

Chinese authorities have consistently rejected activists' demands for a free selection of candidates at elections the former British colony will hold in 2017.

jr/gsw (Reuters, AFP)

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