When A Cell Phone Just Won't Do

As if Hong Kong's 6.8 million mobile phones one for every man, woman and child weren't enough, locals are suddenly swarming to embrace the original means of talking while walking.

Fans say http://formerbullies.com/blog/2015/08/two-way-radios-useful-communication-devices/ walkie-talkies are good for chatting up friends, making plans or listening in on strangers. Some wear them like wristwatches, recalling the old "Dick Tracy" comics, in the latest incarnation of gadget-crazed Hong Kong's irresistible urge to stay continually connected.

The trend picked up early in the year, when the territory's government relaxed controls on two-way radios, letting consumers use them within 2 miles without a license.

Forty-year-old financial analyst Andrew Lam recently bought his first walkie-talkie for about $45 after his friends started using them. Lam bought it primarily for hiking trips but admits he also gets a kick out of tuning into other people's conversations.

"I was nosy and wanted to see what other people were talking about," Lam said. "They usually talk about general stuff. People would ask, `Is somebody here?' but I wouldn't respond."

Hong Kong-based walkie-talkie manufacturer Tsuen Shing Enterprises sold more than 10,000 sets in October five times as many in September, a spokeswoman said.

The trend doesn't appear to be posing any threat to Hong Kong's ubiquitous mobile phones. They still ring pretty much wherever you go.

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