A Legislative Council subcommittee has decided to shelve a proposal from the government to raise fines for nine parking offenses, telling it to find ways to solve the problem of insufficient parking space first.
That means drivers in Hong Kong who sometimes are forced to illegally park their cars for lack of space can avoid receiving more expensive “beef jerkey” — Cantonese slang for a traffic violation ticket — for the time being.
However, the subcommittee increased fines for five traffic offenses.
Fines for unlawfully entering a box junction; making a U turn causing obstruction; unauthorized stopping at bus stop, public light bus stand, taxi stand or public light bus stopping place; and public bus, public light bus or taxi making stops longer than necessary when picking up/setting down passengers will all be raised to HK$400 from HK$320. The fine for picking up/setting down passengers in a restricted zone will be increased to HK$560 from HK$450.
The Transport and Housing Bureau proposed earlier this year to increase fines for 15 traffic offenses by 50 percent before it lowered the penalty to 25 percent after strong objections, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Of the 15 offenses, nine are related to illegal parking under the fixed penalty (traffic contraventions) ordinance. The rest are under the fixed penalty (criminal proceedings) ordinance.
The new fines will take effect on June 1, 2018.
As for loading/unloading goods in a restricted zone, the fine will stay unchanged at HK$450.
Lawmaker Lau Kwok-fan from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said the reason the subcommittee did not make any change is it thinks the current fine is deterrent enough.
He said increasing the fine may affect drivers to a large extent since they have not seen a significant pay rise for quite some time.
Deputy Secretary for Transport and Housing (Transport) Ivy Law said the bureau accepted the subcommittee’s motion, promising to follow up on the unapproved items through further discussions with lawmakers.
She also promised that the bureau will try to adjust traffic fines more frequently so as to make each adjustment incremental.
Data from the Transport Department shows there were more than 9,800 parking meters in nearly 18,000 parking spaces in the city as of August this year, while there were about 690,000 parking spaces in commercial, residential and industrial buildings.
However, those are still not sufficient to meet demand.
A total of 830,000 “beef jerkeys” were issued in the first half of this year, up 100,000, or 13 percent, from a year earlier.
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