Operator and manager fined for illegal guesthouse operations

     Two men were fined $8,000 and $9,000 respectively at the Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts today (March 19) for contravening the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance (the Ordinance).

     The courts heard that officers of the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA), Home Affairs Department, inspected two suspected unlicensed guesthouses in Reclamation Street in Mong Kok, and Tak Hing Street in Jordan, in August and September last year respectively. OLA officers posed as lodgers and successfully rented rooms in these two guesthouses on a daily basis.

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

     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 (Tel: 2881 7498), by email (hadlaenq@had.gov.hk) or fax (fax number: 2504 5805) using the report form downloaded from the website (www.hadla.gov.hk).

Ends/Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:16