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Company convicted and fined for illegally handling and exporting waste lead-acid batteries
     A company of a recycling site in Yuen Long involved in the illegal storage and export of waste lead-acid batteries (WLABs), which are classified as chemical waste, was fined $12,500 at Fanling Magistrates' Courts today (March 21) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation. In addition, in the same case four workers from the recycling site and a driver who illegally collected WLABs were convicted in February and were fined a total of $85,000.

     Acting upon intelligence, Environmental Protection Department (EPD) staff in July 2016 conducted a blitz operation at an open recycling site in Yuen Long. They intercepted a truck transporting illegally collected WLABs and found that the recycling site also illegally handled and stored a large quantity of chemical waste, including 3 000 WLABs which were pending export. The EPD and Hong Kong Customs later jointly intercepted at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals two containers which were pending export and suspected to come from the recycling site. There were a further 2 000 WLABs inside these containers with no export permit granted from the EPD. The estimated export market value of the 5 000 WLABs involved was around $400,000.

     An EPD spokesman said, "The EPD has all along been taking stringent action against the illegal collection, handling, import and export of WLABs, which are classified as chemical waste. From 2016 till now, there have been 54 successfully convicted prosecutions for such offences. The EPD will continue to closely collaborate with relevant government departments to take stringent enforcement action against illegal operators (such as garages and scrap metal dealers) for illegal trading, collection, import and export of WLABs.

     The spokesman reiterated that WLABs contain sulphuric acid and lead and are classified as chemical waste. Waste generators, including garages, recycling companies, operators of data centres and companies involved in installation and maintenance of telecommunication systems, should hire licensed chemical waste collectors to collect WLABs. It is an offence for anyone to hand WLABs to non-licensed collectors.

     According to the WDO and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation, companies, organisations and premises which produce chemical waste must register with the EPD. Chemical waste must be properly packed, labelled and stored as stipulated by law, and must be delivered to the EPD's licensed chemical waste treatment facilities for disposal by licensed chemical waste collectors. It is an offence for anyone to violate the WDO and the Regulation. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment. A maximum fine of $500,000 and six months' imprisonment may be imposed on any subsequent conviction.
Ends/Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:15
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