LCQ7: Arrangement for licence renewal of Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-boundary vehicles
It has been reported that under the impact of the epidemic, several thousand Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-boundary vehicles have been stranded on the Mainland. As quite a number of these vehicles are more than six years of age, the registered owners are required under the law to send the vehicles concerned to designated car testing centres for annual examination before the vehicle licences can be renewed. If the licences are not renewed for more than two years after expiration, the registration of the vehicles concerned will be cancelled by the Transport Department. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the number of Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-boundary private cars which were stranded on the Mainland last year;
(2) given that the Government launched in December last year an "Arrangement for Cross-boundary Vehicles Stranded in the Mainland or Macao to Return to Hong Kong for Vehicle Examination" to facilitate owners of eligible cross-boundary vehicles to arrange, by June 30 this year, for return of the vehicles concerned to Hong Kong to undergo vehicle examination and complete licence renewal procedures, whether the Government will consider extending the implementation period of such arrangement; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) given that normal traveller clearance between the Mainland and Hong Kong has not yet been resumed, whether the Government will consider allowing Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-boundary private cars stranded on the Mainland to undergo vehicle examination at Mainland's car testing centres that are recognised by the Hong Kong Government, and their registered owners to apply for licence renewal based on the relevant results; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
My consolidated reply to the question raised by the Hon Gary Zhang is as follows.
At present, pursuant to the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) and related regulations, a private car aged six years or above must first complete and pass an annual vehicle examination at a designated car testing centre before applying to the Transport Department (TD) for the renewal of its vehicle licence in Hong Kong each year. The Commissioner for Transport (the Commissioner) is not empowered under the existing legislation to extend the validity period of the vehicle licence issued, exempt a vehicle from the requirement of passing a vehicle examination for licence renewal, or designate any place outside Hong Kong as a designated car testing centre. On the other hand, if no vehicle licence has been in force in respect of a vehicle within two years, the Commissioner may send to the registered owner a notice at his address appearing on the register of vehicles informing him that, if the vehicle is not licensed within 15 days after the date of such notice, the registration of the vehicle may be cancelled. Nonetheless, on receipt of such notice, the registered owner may apply to the TD on reasonable grounds for deferral of the cancellation of vehicle registration.
According to the travel records of the vehicles, as at early 2022, it is estimated that about 9 500 Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-boundary private cars aged six years or above have not returned to Hong Kong since they left for the Mainland in early 2019, and their vehicle licences in Hong Kong have already expired.
The TD has been offering assistance to such cross-boundary vehicles stranded in the Mainland in various aspects. First, during the period from January 2021 to April 2022, it approved about 840 eligible applications for deferral of the cancellation of vehicle registration of such Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-boundary vehicles. Besides, to assist in the return of such stranded cross-boundary vehicles from the Mainland to Hong Kong for vehicle examination and vehicle licence renewal, the TD has introduced a temporary measure such that, during the period from December 13, 2021 to June 16, 2022, eligible owners can apply for the exemption of their vehicles from the licensing requirements under the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374E) when driving back to Hong Kong on a specified date via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge port along a designated route, for subsequent vehicle examination and vehicle licence renewal in Hong Kong. On June 2, 2022, the TD announced that the said measure has been extended to December 31, 2022. Apart from this, we note that some vehicle owners may arrange for cross-boundary towing services to transport their vehicles directly from the Mainland back to Hong Kong for examination at designated car testing centres, so that arrangements can be made for vehicle licence renewal afterwards.
The TD will continue to closely monitor the situation with a view to providing the most appropriate assistance to the vehicle owners concerned.
Ends/Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:20
Issued at HKT 12:20