UK pins sealed in HK adapter

This Momax USB travel adapter was purchased in HK. I emailed Momax tech support to ask about the UK pins being sealed (as shown in the photo) and received a response saying that it’s in accordance with HK regulations, and if I remove the seal, I’ll void the warranty. I’m wondering what is the logic behind this.

Why is this regulation in place? Why not just manufacture the adapter without the UK pins, then? Is this actually unsafe for use in the UK? And lastly— is it advisable to just try to remove the seal? I’ll probably have to unscrew the cover to do so.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_wiring_in_Hong_Kong contains this statement Mainland China three-pin plugs cannot be converted with a British standard adaptors, which are commonly sold in Hong Kong. One can replace the plug or the power cord as appropriate. This is also the case for Australian three-pin plugs. .... it is unclear why \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola Jan 11 '18 at 3:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ AU/NZ 3-pin plugs are almost identical to mainland Chinese ones (ie functionally interchangeable 99% of the time) - they are essentially the same thing \$\endgroup\$ – Taniwha Jan 11 '18 at 6:19

A couple months ago, I bought a similar one in the 7-11 at arrivals at HKIA. The "UK" side was sealed- actually some plastic covers that were molded in place.

The reason, I assume, is that UK-style plugs are used in Hong Kong and the adapter is not approved for use in Hong Kong.

This is not uncommon- they often don't get approvals for the country in which the adapter is sold, so it's not really approved for use anywhere. It's just more obvious when it's a multi-adapter.

I can't tell you what to do but I simply broke the little covers off with a pocket knife and proceeded to use it in Hong Kong. I figured this out pretty quickly- the gal was not going to sell it to me if I was going to use it in HK, even with it sealed. Quickly changed from wavering to quite sure that it would never be used in HK. This style (probably like yours) does not provide path a ground so it may be unsafe if a ground pin is necessary for safety. In my case, all the items I had were 2-wire (no ground) except a genuine Dell adapter and I was willing to take a chance on that.

This one is pretty well made by my professional estimation and I have not died from it yet. Note the lack of a functional ground pin though (it's plastic). Some of the sockets have a shutter that only opens when pushed with the ground pin. Yours looks similar- the ground pin looks to be plastic, and the printed warning confirms that, though 3-pin US/Canada style plugs will fit into it (kind of a no-no- things are expected to be idiot-proof these days).

enter image description here

I suspect the HK authorities been cracking down on this sort of thing because of poor quality adapters on the market.


Re @jsotola's comment- below is a photo of a Chinese (or US/Canada) 3-pin to 3-pin British adapter, also purchased in HK (years ago, at some shop in Apliu Street).

It has a proper ground connection that works with either a Chinese/Australian 3-pin plug or a US/Canadian 3-pin plug. Note it is clearly marked "for export only". I guess that's no longer good enough.

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is so helpful, thanks! I’ll try removing the seals on mine and update my post later. \$\endgroup\$ – Feanne Jan 11 '18 at 5:09

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