The death of an elderly hawker who set himself on fire in court has prompted a government rethink about confiscation of offenders' property. The chairman of the Provisional Urban Council's markets and street traders select committee, Ip Kwok-chung, said a by-law should be amended to allow more discretion. The Public Health and Municipal Services Department ordinance requires magistrates to confiscate all property of hawkers who are convicted of unlicensed selling. Controversy erupted after a 76-year-old hawker died yesterday in Queen Mary Hospital, bringing accusations from hawkers that magistrates are insensitive to their plight. Wong Tai-fuk set himself alight in North Kowloon Magistracy on Monday to protest against the seizure of his 251 pieces of jade. Mr Ip said: 'Our working group on the Itinerant Hawker Licence will look at ways to give more discretionary powers to magistrates.' The matter would be discussed on Tuesday and a proposed change to the law, if approved, would be forwarded to the Legislative Council. The Urban Council has said it is determined to rid the streets of unlicensed hawkers. 'We understand they are struggling to make ends meet, but do you want to see our city strewn with hawkers, going back to the situation in the 1970s?' Mr Ip asked. 'Whether we treated Wong fairly is debatable. He has been prosecuted five times in the past four years.'