Police target illegal waiting blackspots
By NAOMI LEE
POLICE on Hong Kong Island have identified traffic blackspots where vehicles can be towed away without warning.
Chauffeur-driven cars and taxis waiting for customers have been singled out as the main vehicles that block traffic flow.
The blackspots are outside Prince's Building, World Wide House, Exchange Square, Harbour Centre, St George Building, Vicwood Plaza, Wu Chung Building and the Hopewell Centre.
A total of 11,190 fixed-penalty tickets have been issued since September.
However, some drivers still try their luck by staying in lay-bys, causing traffic delays in Central and Wan Chai.
Chief Inspector of Hong Kong Island traffic enforcement and control, John Cox, said police would exercise strict observation in those areas and unlawful drivers parking at lay-bys would be fined immediately.
'They will be issued with fixed-penalty tickets and that's the end of the story. There'll be no warning,' he said.
Mr Cox said drivers who failed to comply after two fixed-penalty tickets would have their cars towed away.
There are currently 450,244 licensed vehicles in Hong Kong with more than 3,000 new vehicles a year coming on to 1,635 kilometres of roads.
The fixed penalty for parking in lay-bys is $320. Drivers who ignore the fine will have to pay double and plus court costs. Police have asked the Transport Department to review the rate.
However, some people argued that penalty would not deter company car users because their fines would be treated as the company's running costs for tax deduction.
Vice-chairman of the Legislative Council transport panel, Zachary Wong Wai-yin, said the lay-by problem stemmed from a lack of parking space in Hong Kong.
He said the penalty would not scare drivers off. 'So long as there is a lack of parking space, there will be drivers who are willing to pay a high penalty.'