Car park dealers face the boot
USED car dealers may be driven out of multi-storey car parks under a plan to make more parking space available.
The Lands Department is seeking legal advice on what action it can take against car parks, owned by major developers, which may breach Crown Lease conditions.
Principal survey officer, Wilson Tsang Chi-kwan, said there had been complaints from motorists who could not park because used car dealers were using spaces to sell vehicles.
'We need to make sure there are no trading activities taking place inside the car parks, which have been built for the convenience of the public,' said Mr Tsang.
Banners, posters, leaflets and information on particular vehicles, including the prices, might be illegal.
'Any business transactions are definitely forbidden inside the premises, which is strictly for parking only,' he said.
The multi-storey car parks targeted include Kwun Tong Plaza (which was developed by Sino Land), Kowloon Panda Hotel (developed by Hopewell Holdings), and Kornhill Plaza (developed by Hang Lung Development).
Some other large-scale residential car park buildings are also on the department's hit list.
A visit by the South China Morning Post to the Kornhill Plaza's public car park discovered most of the fourth floor of the three-storey car park was being used to exhibit new and used cars, with price tags being clearly displayed.
The exhibition was jointly held by several car dealers, who had their main offices outside the district and a counter manned by salesmen.
Mr Tsang said the department had suppressed similar activities at the New World Centre, where 300 used cars remain parked on two floors of the building, although all signs of sales have been removed.
Senior manager of the New World Centre management office, Kenneth Hon Kit-kai, said a 15 per cent discount in monthly rental of $2,200 had been offered to the dealers because the car park had not been full.
But he said there would not be any more spaces for such a mass rental, with the present occupation rate.
Mr Hon insisted conditions had not been breached, because the sales office was inside the shopping mall.
One of the dealers, Ricky Lee, of Car City, said a lot of used car dealers, hit by a slump in the market, had been forced to close because of a lack of premises.
Vice-chairman of the Motor Traders Association of Hong Kong, Chow Bing-hung, suggested the dealers should move and make use of big sites in the New Territories.
'It is unfair for the general motorists to circle around congested areas trying to look for a space just because the hourly car parks have been taken up by the shows,' he said.