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Last year, I forgot a piece of jewellery from my friends' place in HK. I will be travelling from the UK to the Philippines with a layover in HK. Can my friend have the piece of jewellery handed over to me safely while I do my layover in the international area of the airport? Is there any locker or place where we can receive deliveries in the international area of HK airport?

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    Mail or parcel seems to be an easier option. Dec 25, 2020 at 17:37
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    If you you are flying premium and/or have high status with the airline, you could potentially ask the airline to help out.
    – Hilmar
    Dec 25, 2020 at 19:59
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    You could try contacting this courier, S.F. Express, who has drop-off facilities airside and a counter outside security. It's possible they can take the item back to their drop-off area, but you'd have to ask them. Dec 26, 2020 at 4:20

3 Answers 3

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No, this is not possible. The transfer/airside area of the airport is outside Customs, and it's not possible to bring things in or out of this without going through Customs/security.

The only possibility would be if your friend happens to be boarding a flight at a similar time, so you could meet airside. In more normal times, one option would be for them to buy a fully refundable ticket, use it to enter the airside area and meet you, then refund the ticket and exit. But this seems like an awful lot of hassle, and while I'm not familiar with HKIA's current setup, with COVID restrictions in place I'm not sure it's even possible for outbound passengers to meet transiting passengers or whether they would risk quarantine if they try to exit from airside.

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    I think it is too strict to say it can't be done. I can think of a couple of ways of doing it that might work. Dec 24, 2020 at 23:04
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    @DJClayworth How might it be done without passing Customs? Dec 25, 2020 at 0:06
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    Any method that might work can also be used to smuggle things like drugs, which makes it unlikely it is going to work. Any other option involves trusting a third party with a valuable object, which might go missing somewhere in between the friend and OP. Any third party in between can just claim that it didn't receive the item and good luck trying to claim otherwise.
    – Sumurai8
    Dec 25, 2020 at 0:10
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    @DJClayworth I think the issue is that bringing something into the transit area would be moving that object from landside to airside. I suspect that won't happen unless the object has, in fact, been cleared through security. Dec 25, 2020 at 21:24
  • Of course I am assuming it would be examined by security. That doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Dec 25, 2020 at 23:54
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Your best bet is to contact the airport. The simplistic approach, where your friend just shows up at the airport and hands you the item isn't going to work, unless you have a visa that will let you exit the international area or your friend can get access to it.

However it is possible that if you ask nicely and explain then your friend can hand the item to airport customer service and you can collect it in the international area. Or there may be a special pass you can get in exceptional circumstances. I'm not saying it can be done, but it is worth asking. Airports do this occasionally for people who have left items behind during departure.

Depending on the value you might get the item couriered to a business in the international area, but that's a long shot.

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    I seriously doubt this happens post-Covid.
    – smci
    Dec 25, 2020 at 5:37
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    I also seriously doubt it works with jewelry, gold or white powder. If it were, say, your favorite cardigan I could imagine some nice personnel doing you a favor. Dec 25, 2020 at 12:11
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    The visa is a very good idea. Just get one and briefly meet your friend in the public area or even somewhere else entirely, for a coffee. A one-time visa appears to cost HK$ 230 (around US$ 30). Well worth it for a virtual guarantee of success. Dec 25, 2020 at 12:18
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    It's not illegal to export jewellery or gold from Hong Kong. The airport won't care. Dec 25, 2020 at 16:17
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    Hong Kong currently requires a three-week quarantine for everybody entering the country, so you can't just pop in to pick up the jewelry. Dec 25, 2020 at 23:01
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As others have said and implied, this would at least look like smuggling. Don't try it.

I'm not familiar with the current COVID regulations at the Hong Kong airport, but why do you have to meet someone in person? If you know where the item is, and you are dealing with an honest person who would give it to you personally, why can't you get them to deliver it to you if you pay the expense of delivery? There may be some hoops to jump through with UK customs and Hong Kong customs, but that way you can avoid any questions and the possible detainment that would cause you to miss your flight to the Philippines.

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