• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:50pm

Banners have no place on Hong Kong's streets

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 April, 2013, 3:00am

Bernard Chan in his letter ("Banners offend locals and visitors", March 19), asked why we continue to suffer from the visual pollution of hundreds of banners hung at various key points in the city by the Hong Kong Youth Care Association and the Falun Gong.

These banners are of an offensive nature and have no place on the streets of a city that is a commercial and financial centre with large numbers of business and tourist visitors.

He may be interested to know that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department set up a task force some months ago to deal with this menace.

Like residents in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of the target areas, he could ask how much this task force is costing us and what is it doing.

The Lands Department from the offset declared that the banners are illegally hung but that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is tasked with the duty of removing illegal banners, billing for removal charges and prosecuting repeat offenders.

However this department keeps bleating that the two groups want to make their views known. I received yet another message to this effect a few days ago. The department advised it had contacted both groups on the matter.

I am engaged in a number of environmental and social movements and all of them would love to have the opportunity to promote their message. However I am sure that as soon as we hung a banner we would be obliged to remove it.

In fact, the department website talks about daily inspection and removal of illegally hung banners.

We are not talking here about the sporadic banner hanging affiliated with various incidents, such as excursions to the Diaoyu Islands, but a systematic and daily assault on our senses.

As Mr Chan points out, freedom of speech is respected but a monopoly on public spaces cannot be tolerated.

Could Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man let taxpayers know why he tolerates the inability of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to deal with a simple matter like illegal banners?

All officers have to do is cut them down, take them away and prosecute further offences. If they cannot handle this task then contract it out and sack the task force.

Taxpayers want an end to this pussyfooting around over an activity that is bringing no added value to our streets.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui


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We should organize a citizens banner removal task force. Since the authorities are failing in their duties to remove these obstructions of the highways, there is a Common Law right of "restitution".
If citizens find their rights of way are obstructed (either physically or visually) Common Law permits them to clear the obstruction. They must not go too far, however, and deliberately damage the items they remove. The best action would be to carefully remove the items and take them straight to the police station and hand them in as unattended found property causing obstruction of a public highway.
I volunteer, if Mary wants to join me.
Agree! Cut down the banners, report sleeping police and bash in the lights of illegally parked tyGoon 7 seaters!!
People of HK RISE!!
Thank you Mary Melville. The offenders should not be hard to find. They regularly sit at tables by the TST Star Ferry pier to pass out literature and promote their causes
Again, the HK police show their mettle by arresting and prosecuting such a trifle rather than going after real problems!
The banners are very unsightly and an eye sores regardless of their messages; I can only see them as rubbish. Housekeeping is desperately needed on this issue.
I agree TST pier is a disgrace and shocking when you see it. Those banners are low hanging and dangerous to tall tourists. It also looks hideous. I cannot believe we have a task force to deal with these illegal structures. It would take cleaners 1 day to clean them up. I agree that the task force should all be sacked. I looks like corruption is paying here as if they are not doing there job then it means they are doing nothing.
Ha ha! Be careful about the "bashing" bit in your response.
A "gw eilo" , I know of, is still out on $5,000 police bail after "accidentally" kicking one of these banners some months ago. A 'bannerman' (attendant) dialled 999 and the police came and arrested this 'gw elio' for suspected criminal damage.
His mistake? Unable to read the Chinese content, he picked on the banner belonging to the wrong side. He thought his foot had 'come in contact' with a "far-flung-dung" poster board but it belonged to the other lot! He spent the whole of the night in a police cell and still doesn't know if he will be charged.


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