More than 39,000 tickets issued in Hong Kong illegal parking week-long crackdown
Expert says drivers still take risks because of high parking fees and lack of space
More than 39,000 penalty tickets were issued by police during a week-long crackdown on illegal parking which ended on Thursday, totalling at least HK$12.5 million in fines.
The government has proposed a 50 per cent rise in fixed penalty fines to HK$480 or HK$680, depending on the degree of violation, compared to HK$320 and HK$450 currently.
During the operation, penalty tickets were issued without prior warning and 28 vehicles were towed away for causing serious obstruction to traffic flow or danger to other road users.
Owners of towed vehicles are required to claim their cars at the police vehicle pound and pay a towing fee and storage charge.
“The operation targeted undesirable driving behaviours which might cause accidents and impede traffic flow, with a view to improving the driving attitude of road users,” a police spokesman said.
“Police will continue to take stringent enforcement actions targeting illegal parking throughout the territory.”
He appealed to road users to drive safely, be considerate and respect the rights of others.
The police will also continue to enhance publicity and education to raise awareness of road safety.
Terence Chong Tai-leung, associate economics professor at Chinese University and a member of the government-appointed Transport Advisory Committee, said many owners parked their vehicles illegally because of high fees for parking spaces and a lack of car parks.
“Many people are long-term illegal parkers who expect to be issued a ticket twice or three times a week, because they have worked out that paying the fines will be cheaper than renting a parking space,” Chong said.
“Others want to try their luck because they cannot find a place to park their cars nearby,” he added.
Chong said the government and the committee had been studying how to solve the city’s traffic problems, with a consultation on a proposed pilot scheme for electronic road pricing currently being studied.
There were four citywide illegal parking clampdowns last year, with a total of 147,048 fixed penalty tickets issued and 54 vehicles towed away.
In the first nine months of last year alone, 1,165,779 tickets were issued – a 21 per cent increase from 967,148 tickets in the corresponding period in 2015.