• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:59pm
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 3:22am

Law enforcement on the road to nowhere


Bonny Schoonakker has worked as a journalist in South Africa, Europe and, now, Asia, reporting on war and peace, and everything in between, for more than 30 years. Despite being in newspapers for an uncomfortable length of time, he feels he still has a lot to learn and cannot shake off the suspicion that you are only as good as your next story, no matter how good your last one. However, he does know that truth is a lie’s best cover, and remains constantly on the alert.

It's just as well that my colleague over on the Lai See column, down there in the rear of our Business section, has taken leave, given an item of news befitting the silly season. Last week we and other local media reported that the police were at a loss to deal with a bit of cheekiness on the part of chauffeurs ordered to move along while awaiting their employers' return from lunch. The offenders, it seems, are happy to pay the fine.

As regular readers will be aware, over the past couple of years Lai See has been waging a campaign worthy of Hong Kong's equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize for crusading journalism, if there is such a thing. Lai See has fired salvo after salvo at this anti-social behaviour, in which a certain class of road user instructs its hired help to break the law and commit a public nuisance, engines running and a HK$450 fine be damned.

Lai See, if it had not been taking time out, would have had something apoplectic to say about this latest development, of that we can be sure, as did other sections of the city's commentariat.

However, in the flood of indignation provoked by the police's admission of their impotence, a few of salient points have been overlooked. Firstly, the blowhards in their Alphards clogging this city's arteries are guilty not of mere illegal parking - they are causing an obstruction on a public highway, an offence which can attract a fine of HK$2,000 and up to three months' imprisonment. Secondly, any person who disobeys the instructions of a police officer "engaged in the regulation of traffic on a road" (to quote the Road Traffic Ordinance), is committing an offence also liable to a HK$2,000 fine. A couple of those in short order may make at least the humbler sweatshop owner wince, but even more severe sanctions are at hand, such as impounding the vehicle and adding demerit points to the driver's licence.

By far the most intriguing question, however, is why a select few should be shown such leniency. The humourless Robocops who police this town don't do forbearance when it comes to insolence, at least not in my humble experience. So if the plutocrats may be excused from mere traffic laws, by virtue of their money, what else can it be that they are getting away with?


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This article is now closed to comments

Reminders won’t help those who refuse to accept realities. Vocational training may help, to build up their self-confidence so that they won’t have to irrationally blame and put down to shore up their poor self-image.
and who in beijing said we weren't integrating with the mainland and employing their best practices? next step is to have official police escorts available to rich people who need to get through traffic quickly!
BS, the disciplinary force is confused as you point your finger everywhere.
Let’s see if we may be more effective this way:
Attention, much respected police constables, sergeants and officers
Here is a list of 5 BIG offenders, in descending order of seriousness
You must take effective actions seriatim against them,
coordinate with other authorities if required,
to thoroughly eliminate their wrongful practices.
(1) The marine dealer (和記回收) at the junction of Mercer Street and Jervois Street:
It turns the street into a hazardous metal junk yard and scrap storage; demolishing workers breaking up machines on pedestrian way and illegal parking of its lorries as roadside rubbish collection stations.
(2) The marine dealer on Aberdeen Street that blocks up the alley adjoining Pak Tze Lane as storage for its junks. PTL garden, a cultural project developed for the memory of Furen Literary Society, a revolutionary organization, deserves proper respect.
(3) Taxicabs illegally parked on Po Shan Road and upper Kotewall Road. On Wednesday night and when there are betting events, drivers study probability in airconed cabs even in cool weather with idling engines.
(4) Vehicles parking and double-parking outside the general post office in blatant defiance of the Big warning signs about immediate prosecution.
(5) The marine dealers in Tung Loi Lane (東來里) near Western Market.
BS, please revisit this topic in 2 weeks to assess results.
"....what else can it be that they are getting away with?"
Ask Henry why he hasn't been charged with a crime in submitting fraudulent documents to the Buildings Department. Or ask Donald if he returned the wine he pilfered when moving from Government House. Or ask when Donald will be implicated in the Kwok/GabrielHui unfolding scandal. The reality is some people are more equal in Hong Kong.
Well...at least we know for a fact that HKSAR has now been fully enveloped by the PRC with no more "one country two systems".
Well....Don't blame this on the PRC. The rich and famous always get away with everything even in the colonial days.


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