Jail officers want car licence plate barred

Union asks department to reclaim HK$5,000 'CSD HK' plate, saying it is damaging morale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 March, 2013, 3:45am

The sale of a personalised licence plate reading "CSD HK" is rattling the bars among Hong Kong's prison officers.

They say the sale by the Transport Department has damaged the dignity of the Correctional Services Department - commonly abbreviated as CSD - and also the staff morale.

Anyone who sees the licence plate would be likely to assume that the vehicle belonged to the department, the Correctional Services Officers' Association has complained.

And any such implication would contravene the Transport Department's criteria for issuing personalised plates.

"We feel great regret and disappointment about this," the prison officers' union said yesterday, demanding that the Transport Department make use of its power to reclaim the plate.

Its complaints are set out in a letter to Commissioner for Transport Ingrid Yeung Ho Poi-yan.

"Our association is expressing strong dissatisfaction and lodging a complaint to you," the union wrote.

The personalised plate was sold at public auction on February 16 for HK$5,000.

The union said it had asked the Transport Department to withdraw the plate before the auction, but the sale had gone ahead because of what it described as the department's bureaucratic practices.

Anyone aged 18 or over can apply for a personalised plate but must bid for it at public auction after it is approved.

Vetting criteria listed on the Transport Department website include one saying that an application for a plate will be refused if it was likely to cause a reasonable person to believe that the vehicle or the person using the vehicle represents any public body such as a government department.

A Transport Department spokesman said the Commissioner for Transport had taken into account the vetting criteria and the views of the Vetting Committee which comprises members from various walks of life.

He said the plate "CSD HK" satisfied the requirements and did not breach any of the criteria.