Parking in Wonderland

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 September, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 September, 1993, 12:00am

WITH reference to the letter by C. J. Woods, (South China Morning Post , September 21) I too would like to know what criteria the police use when deciding whether to move drivers on or give parking tickets.

I understand (from my highway code) that all such waiting is disallowed and yet the police ignore some vehicles despite obstruction of major roads and the resulting slowing of traffic flow.

I was given a ticket for stopping in a restricted zone on a quiet piece of road for no more than 30 seconds.

Two hours later, I drove into Sai Kung town centre, a well known mecca for parking tickets, to see a taxi parked, unattended, in one lane of the road.

Having parked I was irritated to note it was still there 15 minutes later while a policeman was giving tickets to private car-owners who had left their cars unattended for a few minutes.

The cars ticketed were in a lay-by, not blocking the road, as was the taxi.

I asked the policeman about this and he assured me everyone was treated the same, even the taxi.

A few minutes later, he went over to the taxi, hovered near it and allowed the driver, who was eating in a nearby cafe, to see him and drive it away.

No ticket was issued and the policeman disappeared, presumably having made his daily quota.

The taxi, having gone round the block, parked again in exactly the same place and the driver resumed his meal.

Charitably assuming that no corruption was involved, I wrote and asked the Traffic Prosecutions Bureau what criteria were used in such situations as they seemed to fly in the face of reason.

Unsurprisingly, I was informed that I had indeed broken the law and as befits such an offence, I would have to pay my fixed penalty.

I had already done so. With reference to the taxi; this he said, ''had no bearing on my case''.

I knew that, it was merely used to illustrate my question, and, quote, ''you will . . . appreciate that officers on the ground deal with matters as they are able under due consideration on the priorities in the individual circumstances''.

We are truly in Alice's Wonderland.