Legislators backed the Government's proposal to freeze the fixed penalty for smoky vehicles at $450, foiling an attempt to raise it to $5,000. Following a heated debate, Secretary for Treasury Denise Yue Chung-yee's proposal was carried by a vote of 47 to seven. Supporters included the Democratic Party, the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong. Opposing the proposal were Emily Lau Wai-hing and Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Frontier, James Tien Pei-chun, Ronald Arculli and Howard Young of the Liberal Party and Christine Loh Kung-wai of the Citizens Party. Non-affiliated legislator Bernard Charnwut Chan also opposed the proposal. Ms Yue pledged that the Government would introduce a series of anti-pollution measures, including stiffer penalties, in September. The vote came after the Government made a last-minute decision earlier this month to withdraw its original proposal to increase the fine to $570 to take effect from August 1. Passage of the proposal meant that Ms Loh, of the Citizens Party, had no chance to raise her amendment to increase the fine to $5,000. 'There were members who spoke and argued that $5,000 is simply too much. But how much is our health worth to each one of us?' Ms Loh said. Liberal Party chairman Mr Tien, who opposed the administration's proposal, said he had decided to allow his party colleagues a free vote. Backing a stiffer fine, he urged adoption of a 'carrot-and-stick' approach to deal with the problem. While supporting the transport trade's call for introduction of different measures to reduce emission, he believed a heavier fine would produce an immediate deterrent effect and act as an incentive for car owners to maintain their vehicles. The Democratic Party withdrew its proposed amendment to increase the fine to $1,000. Members also approved a proposal to freeze proposed increases in government fees and charges.