LCQ18: People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison vehicles

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Sing-chi and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (June 27):


     I have received complaints from a member of the public who pointed out that when he was crossing the boundary in his vehicle via Huanggang Control Point, he found that except for the drivers of vehicles with licence plates prefixed with "ZG" ("the relevant vehicles"), all other drivers crossing the boundary were required to undergo breath tests ("tests"). That member of the public had asked the law enforcement officers of Hong Kong at the control point ("law enforcement officers") why the drivers of the relevant vehicles were not required to take tests. According to those law enforcement officers, as the relevant vehicles belong to the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, they worried that if they conducted tests on the drivers, they might face "political pressure". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of the relevant vehicles travelling between Guangdong and Hong Kong in each of the past 10 years, together with a breakdown by year, travelling direction (from Hong Kong to the Mainland and from the Mainland to Hong Kong) and control point;

(b) whether it knows the respective numbers of the various driving offences committed by the drivers of the relevant vehicles in Hong Kong and on the Mainland in each of the past 10 years, together with a breakdown by year, territory (Hong Kong and the Mainland) and offence;

(c) whether it has at present issued guidelines to the law enforcement officers, stating the need to conduct tests on all drivers (including those driving the relevant vehicles), or stating that exemption may be granted to the drivers of the relevant vehicles; if it has, of the details, and whether the guidelines are for internal reference only; if not, the reasons for conducting tests on drivers of all vehicles, except those drivers of the relevant vehicles, at control points;

(d) whether it knows the details of the aforesaid "political pressure"; whether it has assessed if the law enforcement officers, in handling the relevant vehicles or vehicles issued with Guangdong and Hong Kong licence plates in the course of their duties, are unable to perform their duties and carry out enforcement actions in a normal manner in the face of "political pressure"; if it has, of the details; whether the Government has received complaints lodged by the law enforcement officers, pointing out that they had faced "political pressure" or had been treated impolitely in performing their duties; if it has, of the number and details of such cases in each of the past 10 years, as well as the respective follow-up action taken by the Government, and set out the information by year and control point; whether the Government has reflected the situation to the relevant mainland authorities; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e) of the measures taken by the Government in each of the past 10 years to assist those law enforcement officers who were unable to perform their duties in a normal manner in the face of "political pressure" or impolite treatment; whether it has reviewed the effectiveness of such measures; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(a) The Central People's Government is responsible for the defence of the HKSAR. According to the Hong Kong Garrison of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (the Hong Kong Garrison), the Hong Kong Garrison has all along been strictly complying with the Basic Law, the Garrison Law and other Hong Kong laws, including the Road Traffic Ordinance, Cap. 374. The drivers of Hong Kong Garrison vehicles cooperate with the Hong Kong Police to undergo alcohol breath test in accordance with the law. The number of cross-boundary trips made by Hong Kong Garrison vehicles and the distribution of these trips among various boundary control points (BCPs) are defence and military information and hence cannot be disclosed.  

(b) According to the records of the Police, there has not been any case of prosecution involving vehicles with registration marks consisting of the letters "ZG" (the relevant vehicles) for contravention of traffic-related legislation in the past 10 years. Separately, the Administration does not have any information regarding the relevant vehicles being involved in traffic offences in the Mainland.

(c) To combat drink driving, the Police randomly select drivers, including those driving Hong Kong Garrison vehicles, to require them to undergo alcohol breath tests at various locations, including land BCPs, in Hong Kong. Given that the tests are conducted on a random basis, every driver passing through land BCPs has a chance to be chosen for inspection, though not every such driver eventually undergoes the test.

(d)&(e) The Police do not have any information showing that there have been occasions on which police officers on duty could not properly carry out their duties or take enforcement action regarding the relevant vehicles owing to "political pressure".

Ends/Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:31