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Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance to commence on September 24
     The Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance (the Ordinance) will take effect from tomorrow (September 24). A fixed penalty system will be introduced as an additional enforcement tool to tackle the problem of shop front extensions (SFEs). 
     Under the Ordinance, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Hong Kong Police Force are empowered to enforce the fixed penalty system. The two departments will be able to issue Fixed Penalty Notices in addition to taking summons action against SFEs involving the offence of "Obstruction of Public Places" under section 4A of the Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap. 228). The fixed penalty level is set at $1,500. The newly introduced fixed penalty system will be an additional enforcement tool to tackle SFEs more efficiently and effectively. It can also help address the deficiency of the existing summons system, i.e. the long lead time involved in the prosecution process and the light penalties that carry insufficient deterrence.
     "In the past six months, we have stepped up publicity efforts through various channels to promote the newly introduced fixed penalty system. District Offices have also collaborated with District Councils to conduct public education and publicity work to raise public awareness and encourage the trade and other stakeholders to make the necessary preparation during this period," a Government spokesman said.
     The spokesman stressed that keeping the streets obstruction-free hinges on the self-discipline of shop operators. He reminded shop operators to avoid obstructing public places for business operation so as not to block pavements or cause inconvenience to pedestrians.  
      The Legislative Council passed the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2015 on March 18, 2016. The Ordinance was subsequently gazetted on March 24, 2016 and scheduled to come into operation tomorrow.
Ends/Friday, September 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:52
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