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Managers of unlicensed guesthouses sentenced to imprisonment and fined
     Two men and two women were charged with contravening the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts today (September 28). A woman was convicted of managing an unlicensed guesthouse in September last year and was given a suspended sentence. The court activated the suspended sentence today. She was therefore sentenced to five months' imprisonment in total. Another woman was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years and fined $10,000. The two men were fined $8,000 and $10,000 respectively. 
     The courts heard that from December last year to March this year, officers of the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA), the Home Affairs Department, inspected four suspected unlicensed guesthouses in Dundas Street, Tung Choi Street, Jordan Road and Man Wui Street, Kowloon. The OLA officers posed as lodgers and successfully rented rooms in these guesthouses on an hourly or daily basis. 
     According to the OLA's records, these guesthouses did not possess licences under the Ordinance on the days of inspection. The men and the women responsible for managing the premises 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 anyone with information about suspected unlicensed guesthouses to report it to the OLA by the hotline (Tel: 2881 7498), by email (hadlaenq@had.gov.hk), by fax (2504 5805) using the report form downloaded from the OLA website (www.hadla.gov.hk), or through the mobile application "Hong Kong Licensed Hotels and Guesthouses".
Ends/Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:38
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