Traffic watchdog calls for higher parking fines in Hong Kong as complaints jump 30 per cent
The Transport Advisory Committee hopes Legco will approve plan to increase penalties by next year
Complaints against illegal parking have jumped by 30 per cent over the past six months, despite a police crackdown, prompting Hong Kong’s transport watchdog to renew calls for the government to push ahead with higher parking fines.
With the release of its Transport Complaints Unit quarterly report on Tuesday, Transport Advisory Committee chairman Larry Kwok Lam-kwong said he hoped that fines could be increased to deter illegal parking.
“As far as I know, this proposal will be discussed in Legco this year. I hope that Legco will approve this plan by early next year,” he said.
The government has proposed that the current fines of HK$320 and HK$450 for different classes of vehicles be raised to HK$480 and HK$680 respectively, as the penalties had not been increased since 1994. A Transport and Housing Bureau spokeswoman said the bureau would consider collected views and propose legislative amendments at an appropriate time.
Kwok made the call as the report showed that from January to June there were 927 complaints against illegal parking, up from 713 in the same period last year, despite a citywide crackdown by police since April, especially at accident black spots.
Sai Kung, Eastern District and Kwun Tong were the top three trouble spots, with rises of 107 per cent, 55 per cent and 13.5 per cent in the number of complaints received compared with last year, accounting for 83, 93 and 101 complaints respectively. Tsuen Wan recorded the biggest spike in complaints at 163 per cent to 50 cases.
Kwok said the rising number of private vehicles, at 4 per cent a year, and an acute shortage of parking spaces, were contributing to the problem. “Of course we have suggested that the government build more parking space.
“But what is more important is the continuous increase in the number of vehicles. At this growth rate, I believe the number will hit one million within 10 years ...We need to reduce or slow down the growth of vehicle numbers.”
Quentin Cheng Hin-kei, spokesman for the Public Transport Research Team, said higher penalties would deter illegal parking to a certain extent but the government should address the root of the problem with better planning of parking facilities in each district and initiatives to discourage vehicle use.
“The government should stop providing incentives such as tax waivers and subsidies for any kind of car purchase, even for electric cars, and also allocate sufficient parking space for each district,” he said, adding that he opposed any draconian fines.
A total of 6,431 complaints were received from April 1 to the end of June on the city’s transport matters, up 18.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively from 5,421 cases in the previous quarter and 6,140 cases in the same quarter last year.