The number of mainlanders applying for a Hong Kong driving license has surged, as evidenced by the long waiting line at the Transport Department’s licensing office in Admiralty.
The situation has given rise to the mushrooming of agencies that help drivers secure licenses for a fee of HK$700 (US$90.32) each, Apple Daily reported.
According to data from the Transport Department, the number of applications by mainlanders surged to 34,900 in 2014, more than double the figure eight years ago, the newspaper said.
Overseas driving license holders can apply for a Hong Kong license without having to undergo tests as long as their license is valid, has not expired for more than three years and has been obtained by passing a driving test held in the issuing country or region, the Transport Department said on its website.
One reason for the surge in mainland applications is the fact that Beijing has not yet signed the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic while rumors are circulating that a Hong Kong driving license is recognized in most other countries around the world.
China’s Ministry of Public Security has dismissed such rumors. Hong Kong’s transport department also stipulates that a Hong Kong driving license holder must obtain a Hong Kong identification card before they can apply for an international driving permit.
But all these clarifications have not discouraged mainland drivers from applying for a Hong Kong license.
Meanwhile, some local agencies are offering to help mainland drivers obtain a license by providing them with a required certificate of mailing address in Hong Kong.
A mainland applicant has to pay HK$200 to get a mailing address, according to the price list of one such agency.
A spokesman of the Transport Department said its licensing offices have set up a special line for those applying for a test-free driving license.
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