Large rave parties face licensing controls

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2001, 12:00am

Rave parties attended by more than 50 people will have to be licensed under a government proposal to regulate the dance phenomenon.

However, raves that are held at premises already covered by liquor licences or licensed as a public dance hall or dancing school will be exempted, according to a security paper submitted to lawmakers.

There are about 75 rave venues in Hong Kong that are currently not subject to any form of licensing control. It takes 40 to 50 days for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to issue a licence, the paper said.

Government officers would be given the authority to visit rave venues in advance to assess any potential safety risks and look at public nuisance and law and order issues.

'While providing entertainment to those who enjoy music and dancing, drug-taking behaviour, overcrowding and other related safety and security issues at dance parties have become issues of concern,' the paper said.

The report said alcohol was not a problem at raves, which can attract up to 5,000 people. Party organisers consulted on the proposed amendment to the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance last month generally supported the proposal.

Chairman of the Security Panel Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, welcomed the move but said it might not go far enough in tackling the problem of drug abuse at raves. If the amendment is passed, licensing could start before the end of the year.