Tougher approach to on-street clothes cages unveiled
Updated at 7.20pm:
The government would adopt a 'zero tolerance' approach to used clothes collection cages on streets, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Monday.
Under a new policy, on-street cages will be removed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in operations co-ordinated by district officers, starting in mid-July.
'Owners of cages now placed illegally on the streets are urged to remove them voluntarily before enforcement action commences and owners of those things will be prosecuted,' Mrs Lam said.
She said the government had received a large number of complaints about on-street cages and repeated concerns expressed by district councils.
Mrs Lam said on-street cages adversely affected the cityscape. They also caused inconvenience to pedestrians.
'The new approach is in line with the Policy Address of the Chief Executive in 2005-06, which stated that the government should enhance its work in districts through more effective co-ordination by district officers, and is in response to people's aspirations for a cleaner and tidier environment,' Mrs Lam added.
Under the current policy, used clothes collection cages illegally placed on streets are removed by the Lands Department or the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
In resorting to the Land Ordinance, the Land Authority gives a day's notice to the owner before taking enforcement action. Four hours prior notice must be allowed under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance.
'The limitation of these two pieces of legislation makes enforcement action ineffective as owners of the cages can easily satisfy the legal requirement of the removal notice by moving the cages to a nearby location,' Mrs Lam explained.
A new approach was needed, she said.
'Therefore, cross-departmental efforts with a clear steer and direction from the senior level are needed to resolve this problem encountered in most of the 18 districts.'
The problem of used clothes placed illegally on streets is most serious in central, and western districts, Kowloon City, Yau Tsim Mong District and Kwai Tsing District.