TRAFFIC

Hong Kong traffic offence fines to rise 50 per cent from June 2018 in bid to crack down on illegal parking

Move comes after 20 per cent rise in traffic offences last year and 30 per cent surge in complaints received about illegal parking

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 6:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 2:09pm

Hong Kong is moving to raise its fixed penalty fines for congestion-related traffic offences by 50 per cent in June next year in an effort to crackdown on rampant illegal parking.

The increased fines – the first increase since 1994 – are proposed to come into effect on June 1, 2018.

Once approved by LegCo, fines will be raised to HK$480 or HK$680 depending on the severity of the violation, up from the current HK$320 and HK$450, for 27 identified traffic offences.

Drivers in restricted zones who pick up or set down passengers, as well as loading or unloading goods, will face a penalty of HK$680.

Offences such as unlawfully entering box junction, making a U-turn to cause obstruction, or making an unauthorized stop at bus stops, public light bus stands or stopping places, and taxi stands, violators will result in a fine of HK$450.

The move aims to address the “deteriorating” road traffic condition in Hong Kong, a problem that “remains unchecked” despite increased enforcement actions, according to a Legislative Council (LegCo) brief.

Traffic watchdog calls for higher parking fines in Hong Kong as complaints jump 30 per cent

There was a 20 per cent rise in these traffic offences last year, with over 1.45 million tickets issued for illegal parking in the first 11 months of last year, police said.

Transport Advisory Committee chairman Larry Kwok Lam-kwong previously said he hoped higher fines could help deter illegal parking, caused in part by the increased number of cars on the road, which rose by 4 per cent per year.

“At this growth rate, I believe the number will hit one million within 10 years,” he said late last year. “We need to reduce or slow down the growth of vehicle numbers.”

Lawmaker Wu Chi-Wai said yesterday the penalty increases have been a long time coming, but should happen in phases.

“The increase is about time,” he said. “But we should make it in say two or three phases, so [penalties] can catch up with the past more than twenty years’ inflation rate, and will not put too heavy [of a] burden on the driver.”

While police have engaged in ticketing and public education campaigns, complaints against illegal parking have been on the rise, surging 30 per cent in the first six months of 2016.

The problem has been exacerbated by limiting parking spaces, making drivers more reliant on street-side parking, according to Wu.

“It’s a very, very serious situation in Hong Kong,” he said. “There has been a significant increase in the [number of] public cars, and on the other hand, you have the significant decrease in the parking space.”