More live poultry retailers reopened for business yesterday, two days after sales resumed under strict new regulations that require all chickens not sold by 8pm to be killed.
The government estimates that an extra 10 percent of live poultry retailers set out their stalls yesterday on top of those who did so on Wednesday, the first trading day after the ban.
Some retailers are worried the ban on keeping live chickens overnight will hurt sales.
A total of 340 - or 76 percent - of the 444 wet market and fresh provision stores that passed hygiene checks are now operating.
Some 33,600 chickens were sold yesterday, up from 25,000 on Wednesday.
The wholesale price also rose to HK$14.50 per catty from HK$14. Retail prices ranged from HK$26 to HK$28 per catty.
One vendor on Yeung Uk Road, Tsuen Wan, said he sold 200 chickens yesterday, 70 more than the previous day - enough for him to scratch out a living. "The overnight ban works for me, it's better than working as a cleaner," he said.
Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene Cheuk Wing-hing defended the overnight ban in response to a poultry worker's threat to apply for a judicial review to have the policy overturned. "The ban has a technical and legal basis," Cheuk said.
But the poultry worker, Tsang Biu, who planned to apply for legal aid, failed to show up at the Legal Aid Department yesterday.
Tsang went to the mainland instead, said Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers Association chairman Tsui Ming-tuen. But it was unclear why.
Tsang, 66, has been a part-time helper at Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry market for some 40 years and earns HK$8,000 a month. He had earlier said he intended to retire in three years, but he now fears the overnight ban policy will put him and many others out of work.