Bid to eject hawker advances
A Central building owner has received permission to proceed with its legal effort to strip a news vendor's licence, on grounds she is an 'incorrigible' obstructor of the busy pavement near the building's entrance.
The Court of First Instance yesterday allowed Inglory, which owns the Luen Shing building on Queens Road Central, to pursue claims that the licenced hawker, Tang Kwai-kiu, has cost the company more than HK$9.4 million over the years by taking up more than her share of pavement.
Specifically, the company wants Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Director Clement Leung to reconsider his refusal to revoke Tang's licence after a previous complaint from Inglory. The company acquired the building in 1987, four years after Tang opened her stall.
Lawyers for the landlord and the hygiene agency appeared in court, where Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon found there was an arguable case and allowed the application.
Inglory's lawyer, Hectar Pun Hei, cited photographs taken in previous years which, he said, showed obstructions around the news-stand. At one point, he said, Tang was using an area 'actually double, if not triple the size of the permitted area'. Tang is licensed to occupy an area of 0.45 metres by 1.8 metres, he said.
The company claimed in a writ requesting the proceeding last month that Tang had been extending her stall illegally.
She had not made any improvements despite more than 26 prosecutions by the hygiene agency between June 2008 and February of this year, the writ said. In addition, she has received 74 oral warnings.
Tang, who was not a respondent to the writ, declined to comment.