Still thinking of parking there? Hong Kong lawmakers slam ‘unfair’ proposal to increase fines up to HK$680

Government plans to raise fines by 50 per cent by June next year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2017, 9:53am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 2:06pm

A proposal to increase illegal parking fines by 50 per cent from June next year has been criticised as “unreasonable” by lawmakers from across the political spectrum.

The government’s proposal would see penalties for 27 different offences increased from HK$320 and HK$450 to HK$480 and HK$680, depending on severity.

For example, drivers who load or unload goods, pick up or drop off passengers in a restricted zone would face a penalty of HK$680.

Anyone caught unlawfully entering a box junction, doing a U-turn that causes obstruction, or making an unauthorised stop at a bus stop or a taxi stand will be hit with a HK$450 fine.

Deputy secretary for transport and housing Ivy Law justified the increase, saying the last adjustment was made in 1994.

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“The deterrence of the penalties has weakened by a lot,” she said during Tuesday’s Legislative Council meeting.

“There is a social cost to illegal parking. It affects public transport services.”

The plan, however, proved unpopular with lawmakers.

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho said the main reason for illegal parking in Hong Kong was that car ownership had grown faster than the growth of parking spaces.

“It would be unfair if you raise fines by 50 per cent to HK$480 at this moment,” Tam said.

From January to November last year, more than 1.45 million tickets were issued for illegal parking in Hong Kong.

Lawmaker Lau Kwok-fan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong also opposed the increase.

“If you look at how much money drivers are looking at today, they could in fact be making less than they did 10 years ago. The penalties should be decreased. (The increase) is very unreasonable,” he said.