Operators and managers fined for illegal guesthouse operations

     Three women and two men were fined $3,000 to $4,000 at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts today (June 26) for contravening the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance.

     The courts heard that officers of the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA), Home Affairs Department, inspected four suspected unlicensed guesthouses at the junction of Shantung Street and Canton Road, Sai Yee Street, Nullah Road and Nathan Road in Mong Kok in December last year. The OLA officers posed as lodgers and successfully rented rooms in the four guesthouses on a daily basis.

    According to the OLA's records, the guesthouses did not possess valid certificates of exemption or licences under the Ordinance on the days of inspection. Therefore the three women and one man responsible for managing or operating these premises were charged with contravening section 5(1) of the Ordinance.

     Furthermore, OLA officers inspected a licensed guesthouse on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui in November last year. They posed as lodgers and successfully rented a room in an unlicensed guesthouse in the same building on a daily basis. Therefore, the male manager was charged with contravening section 21(3)(b) of the Ordinance for managing a guesthouse in a premises other than the one indicated in the licence.

     A department spokesman stressed that operating or managing an unlicensed guesthouse is a criminal offence and will lead to a criminal record. Upon conviction, the offender is liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     He appealed to the public to report suspected illegal guesthouses to the OLA through the OLA hotline (2881 7498), by email (hadlaenq@had.gov.hk) or by fax (fax number: 2504 5805) using the report form downloaded from the website (www.hadla.gov.hk).

Ends/Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:35