Lai See

Higher illegal parking fines are only effective if they are applied

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 4:30am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 5:48pm

Great minds think alike. We have been urging that fines for illegal parking be raised as the current level of HK$320 is evidently not much of a deterrent. The police now seem to think this is a good idea. Their reasoning is that the number of tickets for this offence has increased by 13 per cent over the past 10 months.

It is unclear whether the problem is getting worse or whether the police have been 13 per cent more productive in this respect. Whether the increase in the fine has much effect on the problem is a moot point. Many will be deterred by the prospect of having to pay HK$820. But for the seven-seater brigade, HK$820 may be of no concern.

The big problem has always been that the police and the traffic wardens do not ticket offenders. Drivers wait illegally outside buildings while their masters and mistresses attend to their business. If the police turn up, and it is a big if, they generally tell them to move off without ticketing them. It is generally vehicles with nobody inside that get ticketed.

If the increased fine is to be effective, it has to be applied. So we are not expecting illegal parking to disappear until the police take a tougher line.


Citi's shock win

Jubilation at Citi yesterday when it was declared Asia's best bank in FinanceAsia's Achievement Awards 2013. The award is for excellence across investment banking, consumer and commercial banking. HSBC was the best commercial bank, while UBS was the best investment bank and best private bank.

Despite being surpassed by Goldman Sachs in terms of deal value, UBS also secured the award for best equity house. HSBC was the best bond house and Morgan Stanley won best M&A house.

Borrower of the Year was won by Reliance Industries and the award for best financial law firm went to Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Citi also won 10 other deal-related awards from the magazine and the staff were yesterday rewarded with a herogram by Stephen Bird, the chief executive for Asia.

FinanceAsia's awards have been going for 16 years and Citi has won the best bank award 15 times, so it would have been news if it had not won it this year. The only time it did not win was in 2008 during the financial crisis, when the award went to Deutsche Bank.


BMW's Hong Kong premium

Good to see BMW Concessionaires (HK) doing its bit for the environment. We see that the indicative price for the new BMW i3 electric car is HK$500,000 or US$64,482. Meanwhile, the indicative price for the car in the US is US$42,000. So if the indicative prices become actual, when the cars are priced next month, the Hong Kong price will be 53 per cent higher than in the US. This seems pretty steep given that it is exempted from first registration tax. The indicative price in Britain is £30,000 (HK$381,775) - 17 per cent higher than the US.

When this pricing disparity was pointed out to a salesman in Hong Kong, he was quick to say the price was not finalised and that some of the car's specifications differed from the US version. The lights, for example. However, to the more cynically inclined, there is another possible reason for the huge price difference. Maybe, BMW is not too keen for sales of this model to take off given that the firm is presumably doing rather well out of petrol and diesel engine warranties and servicing and is keen to protect this "old" business.


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