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Operating unlicensed caravan as guesthouse fined
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     ​Two companies were each fined $10,000 at the Tuen Mun Magistrates' Courts today (November 22) for contravening the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance (Cap 349) (the Ordinance). Meanwhile, two women of the same case had each earlier been bound over be of good behaviour for 18 months with a surety of $2,000.
      
     The courts heard that in November and December last year, law enforcement officers of the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA), the Home Affairs Department, inspected a suspected unlicensed fixed caravan providing short-term sleeping accommodation at a fee in Fung Ka Wai in Yuen Long. OLA officers posed as lodgers and successfully rented a caravan on a daily basis.
      
     According to the OLA's record, the caravan did not possess a licence under the Ordinance on the day of inspection. The companies responsible for operating the caravan were charged with contravening section 5(1) of the Ordinance and were each fined $10,000 on conviction.  The two female managers were each bound over be of good behavior for 18 months.
      
     The operation of guesthouses in Hong Kong is regulated by the Ordinance, which aims to ensure that the premises intended to be used as a guesthouse comply with the statutory standards of structural and fire safety in order to safeguard the patrons and the public. The OLA is responsible for the enforcement of the Ordinance and has formulated a set of licensing procedures and guidelines applicable to the handling of caravans providing short-term sleeping accommodation at a fee.
      
     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 ([email protected]), 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/Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:05
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