The bird flu scare is not discouraging people from Hong Kong from buying poultry from southern China. Chicken happens to be the traditional dish consumed during the ar New Year holiday. One seller at a market close to the border said Hong Kong residents would ask vendors to kill and pluck the birds to make it easier to get them through the customs.
Hong Kong health authorities have already announced that a family of three from a village in the Shataukok border area were being kept in isolation after eating a smuggled chicken that had been kept with another bird which died of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. Preliminary tests indicated that the family was not infected, but further tests were still being carried out.
After the discovery, the government called on all residents within a five square kilometer area of the location where the dead chicken was found to surrender their backyard poultry. Hong Kong has so far managed to avoid human cases of bird flu in the current outbreaks in Asia after it implemented strict regulations following a 1997 outbreak in which six people died and 12 others were infected.