Drivers of smoky vehicles will be liable for a fine of $1,000 from December 1, more than double the current $450, after a change was approved by the Legislative Council last night. Secretary for Environment and Food Lily Yam Kwan Pui-ying said the Government would introduce further measures to penalise repeat offenders in an amendment in October. The new fine would convey 'a clear message to all vehicle owners that they have a responsibility to maintain their vehicles properly', said Mrs Yam. 'We believe that a fixed penalty at the existing level does not adequately reflect the impact of smoky vehicles on public health.' An amendment moved by Christine Loh Kung-wai of the Citizens Party to raise the fine to $5,000 was defeated. Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun withdrew an amendment to increase the penalty to $1,500. He quoted a survey by the University of Hong Kong which showed that more than half of the respondents supported the Government's proposal. Mrs Yam said the police would co-operate with the Environmental Protection Department to increase roadside tests of smoky vehicles. Police issued about 2,000 tickets to drivers of smoky vehicles in the first four months of the year, compared with 5,100 in the whole of last year. Drivers who receive tickets must have their vehicles checked by the department or lose their licences. Liberal Party member Miriam Lau Kin-yee, who represents the transport industry, objected to the increase, saying maintenance techniques were not adequate for tackling problems with older vehicles.