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LCQ15: Unauthorised display of items in country parks
     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for the Environment, Mr Tse Chin-wan, in the Legislative Council today (January 31):
     It has been reported that in recent years, there have been from time to time people displaying large vertical banners on prominent cliff faces within country parks to express their appeals. As a result, the authorities have to deploy public money and manpower to remove such items. For example, in December last year, a huge vertical banner measuring 25 metres tall and 3 metres wide was displayed on the cliff face of the Lion Rock within the Lion Rock Country Park. It took about one hour for three firemen to reach the hilltop by a helicopter of the Government Flying Service and abseil down the cliff face to remove the vertical banner. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of reports on unauthorised display of items such as vertical banners within country parks received by the authorities in each of the past three years; in respect of the operations to remove the items in each case, (i) the government departments and equipment involved, (ii) the manpower deployed, (iii) the time spent, (iv) the amount of public expenditure incurred, and (v) whether any staff member was injured during the operation; and
(2) given that section 10 of the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations (Cap 208 sub leg A) provides that no person shall, within a country park or special area except in accordance with a permit in writing granted by the Country and Marine Parks Authority, display any sign, notice, poster, banner or advertisement, whether the authorities, in the past three years, (i) invoked the provision to institute prosecution against those persons who displayed items within country parks, and (ii) recovered from them the public expenditure incurred in removing such items; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     Reply to the questions by the Hon Chan Hak-kan is as follows:
(1) According to records of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), there were three (2015), four (2016) and three (2017) cases of illegal display of banners in country parks in the past three years. For cases which were located in difficult terrains, joint operation might have been carried out by various government departments, including the Fire Services Department (FSD), the Government Flying Service (GFS), the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and the AFCD to remove the banners concerned. Information of the cases concerned such as the number of officers involved, equipment required, duration of operation and cost is set out in the Annex.
(2) According to the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations, Cap. 208A (Regulation), it is an offence to display any sign, notice, poster, banner and advertisement in country parks or special areas without a permit granted by the Country and Marine Parks Authority. Contravention of the relevant regulations is liable to a maximum fine of $2,000 and imprisonment for three months. The AFCD will carry out investigation and prosecute the offender under the Regulation if there is sufficient evidence. For the 10 cases mentioned above, no suspect could be identified in those cases of illegal display of banners, and so no further action could be taken.
Ends/Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Issued at HKT 12:03
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