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AI Case Study

Chinese authorities trial facial recognition technology to identify parallel traders at Hong Kong-Shenzhen border

The Chinese General Administration of Customs has announced that a facial recognition technology system is now in use at the Shenzhen Bay and Lo Wu checkpoints. It aims to streamline travellers' checking process at the border while primarily to identify parallel traders. No further details have been given as to what will happen when a traveller is flagged as a potential parallel trader based on the database which real-time footage is compared against.


Public And Social Sector


Project Overview

"Chinese authorities have introduced a new system to crack down on “parallel traders” at two border checkpoints between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, in a move that marks the beginning of facial recognition technology being used on the large-scale at the mainland’s border checkpoints with the city.

According to a message posted by the General Administration of Customs on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, the new system in place at the Shenzhen Bay and Lo Wu checkpoints will also speed up the processing time for people travelling between the two cities.
“Passengers shuttling between Shenzhen and Hong Kong can now just walk through the gates after their travel documents have been verified, as the new facial recognition system will automatically capture their faces,” the message said.

Everyone who passes through the checkpoint is then checked against a database of faces and travel information, and if there is a suspicion they are a parallel trader the system will send an alert to the customs officials, the statement said.

It did not say what would happen in the event of there being such a match.

Reported Results

Pilot; results not yet available






"Parallel traders refers to people who buy tax-free goods in the former British colony and then resell them in the mainland.

An influx of parallel traders from mainland China has caused tension in Hong Kong. While some people who live close to the border have complained that they have pushed up retail prices, others have argued they are good for the local economy."



Real time footage

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