Fewer objects thrown from flats
Fewer cases of people throwing objects from high-rises in public housing estates have been recorded this year, an improvement that the government says is because of outdoor surveillance systems, staff patrols and a strict penalty system.
Undersecretary for transport and housing Yau Shing-mu told a Legislative Council housing panel meeting yesterday that there had been eight successfully prosecuted cases involving objects thrown from housing estate buildings in the first three-quarters of this year. That was far fewer than the 30 cases last year and the 43 cases in 2007.
Meanwhile, 45 households were punished for the misdemeanour under the marking system - a penalty scheme enforced by the Housing Department to regulate tenants' behaviour - in the first nine months this year, compared with 65 last year and 73 in 2007.
Under the marking scheme, a household is liable to seven penalty points for 'throwing objects from heights that jeopardise environmental hygiene', and will forfeit 15 penalty points if the offence 'causes danger or personal injury'.
Public housing estate tenants are evicted if they notch up 16 penalty points.
To address the problem, Yau said, the government had installed a total of 106 'sky-eye' outdoor surveillance systems in public housing estates since 1998. In addition, irregular patrols at estates that record frequent complaints about thrown objects and the point-based penalty system also helped reduce the number of such cases.
The meeting also heard that the government planned to install digital colour closed-circuit television at all public housing estates to replace black-and-white systems. The systems provide clearer and smoother images, and store up to 14 days of video.
The Housing Department said 43 estates had upgraded their CCTV systems and the project, with a budget of HK$92 million, was expected to be completed by 2013 to 2014.