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LCQ9: Pouring of urine in public places
     Following is a question by the Hon James To and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in the Legislative Council today (March 29):

     Quite a number of residents have complained to me that there is often a stench coming from the area around the Tai Kok Tsui (Island Harbourview) Public Transport Interchange.  They suspect that some professional drivers have poured urine carried in containers into the planters in that area and also discarded such containers there.  In March last year, in reply to a question raised by me at a meeting of the relevant committee of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, officers of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) pointed out that "for instituting prosecutions against those people suspected of pouring urine into planters, it has to be confirmed that the liquid so poured out was urine.  Difficulties might arise in the course of taking law enforcement actions".  Subsequently, FEHD further stated in writing that when enforcing the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap. 132, sub. leg. BK) (the Regulation), FEHD officers had not been empowered by legislation to seize, as an exhibit, any container suspected to have been used for containing urine.  As a result, they could not institute prosecutions.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of complaints received by the authorities in each of the past five years in relation to persons illegally pouring urine at public places, and the number of prosecutions instituted against the persons concerned, as well as the number of cases in which prosecutions could not be instituted, broken down by the reason involved (including not having the power to seize the exhibits concerned);

(2) whether it has studied what other ordinances that law enforcement officers may invoke at present to seize exhibits for enforcing the Regulation; and

(3) whether the authorities will study amending the Regulation to empower law enforcement officers to seize relevant exhibits, so that such officers can effectively enforce the law; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(1) The numbers of complaints received by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and prosecutions against pouring of urine in public places in the past five years are tabulated as follows:
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Cases of complaints against pouring of urine in public places 2 1 3 1 5
Cases of substantiated complaints after investigation 0 0 0 0 0

     As there has not been any complaint that was found substantiated after investigation in the past five years, FEHD has not initiated prosecution in respect of the relevant cases.

(2) Enforcement officers of FEHD are not empowered under current legislation to seize exhibits for prosecution against the disposal of waste, including urine, in public places.  In general, if FEHD enforcement officers witness the disposal of waste including pouring of waste water in public places, they may prosecute the person(s) concerned for illegal disposal of waste without seizure of the exhibit(s) under the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation (Cap. 132, sub. leg. BK).  If the liquid poured cannot be confirmed as litter/waste and FEHD enforcement officers need to seize the exhibit(s) for the prosecution of the suspected offender(s), they may seek assistance from the Police.

(3) Having regard to the facts that pouring of urine in public places is uncommon and that enforcement officers may seek assistance from the Police to seize the exhibit(s) when in need, FEHD considers that there is no need to amend the regulations at present.
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:08
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