Penalties for mainland Chinese cars rise sharply

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 4:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 4:37am

The number of fixed-penalty tickets issued to cars belonging to mainland authorities and businesses has increased by nearly 70 per cent in the past five years.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung revealed the figures in the Legislative Council yesterday in a written answer to an inquiry from lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai.

Fan called for curbs on the number of mainland vehicles allowed into the city, saying they contributed to pollution and the rate of accidents.

The cars, which have plates starting with "FU" or "FV", enter through a quota scheme jointly administered by the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments.

Cheung said the number of fixed-penalty notices issued to mainland cars had increased from 25 in 2009 to 42 last year. Of those, five notices were overdue in 2009, compared to 14 last year. The number of vehicles entering under the quota had risen from 1,500 in 2009 to 2,300 last year.

In comparison, fixed penalties for local vehicles rose by about 11 per cent in the first 10 months of last year, to 860,339.

If a permit holder did not pay a penalty by the deadline, the police would apply for a court order demanding payment of the fine, an additional penalty and costs. The Transport Department would also consider putting on hold any licence applications for the vehicle. Cheung said police could trace the registration plates and there had not been one case in the past five years where they had failed to prosecute offenders.

Fan said 2,300 such cars on Hong Kong roads was too many and would increase air pollution and congestion. Differences in driving habits would also increase the number of traffic offences and accidents, he said.

Since a scheme for Hongkongers driving to the mainland was launched in March 2012, the government has received 3,172 applications. Cheung's bureau said there was no timetable for allowing ordinary mainland motorists to visit Hong Kong.