Bosses force chauffeurs to park illegally, say police
Police efforts to unclog the congested streets of Central by nearly doubling the number of parking tickets issued have been obstructed by chauffeurs unwilling to incur their employer's anger by moving along, as ordered.
The defiant drivers waiting outside offices or eateries say they would prefer to get a fine - which their owners would happily pay - rather than move, a police officer said.
"They tell our frontline officers that they have no choice. 'You ticket me; my boss will pay. If I don't wait here, my boss will yell at me'," he said.
"There are a lot of wealthy people in Hong Kong, and a fine means nothing to them."
Central and Western District councillor Cheng Lai-king agreed, saying "for them, paying such a fine is just like paying a car-park fee".
Parking tickets cost between HK$320 and HK$450.
Cheng and the police agree "bosses' cars" worsen traffic congestion in Central during peak hours.
Police have launched a publicity campaign with the slogan "Wait for your car. Don't get your car to wait for you."
Police have also written to property management companies, seeking their help to pass the message to tenants.
The number of parking fines in Central is up 93 per cent to 73,058 this year.
The force's assistant Central district commander for operations, Superintendent Eric Leung Yan-kit, said the sharp increase was the result of tougher enforcement.
"Those who break traffic regulations will be ticketed. If necessary, vehicles will be towed away. Police will not exercise discretion," he warned.
Leung said the crackdown had improved traffic flow in the district.
Also adding to Central's traffic woes are drivers of armoured security vans abusing their restricted-zone parking permits.