FEHD responds to Ombudsman’s direct investigation report (with photos)


     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) expressed gratitude to the direct investigation report on Government’s regulation of illegal occupation or obstruction of streets by goods and miscellaneous articles made by the Office of The Ombudsman. The FEHD accepted and is actively following up all the six recommendations made by the Ombudsman, and has achieved certain results in combating shop front extensions.

     A spokesman for the FEHD said today (February 16), “Combating illegal occupation or obstruction of streets by goods and miscellaneous articles requires inter-departmental collaboration as it involves various legislative provisions. We are grateful to the Ombudsman’s detailed examination on the work of the relevant departments and for her recognition of the FEHD’s efforts in improving the situation in recent years, and for the recommendations made for improvement.”

     The Government established the District Matters Co-ordination Task Force led by the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration in July 2022. One of the main focuses is to combat illegal shop front extensions leading to street obstructions. The FEHD and the Police have conducted more than 500 joint enforcement operations across the territory since October last year, which achieved effective results and received support and positive comments from district personalities. Significant improvements have been observed in various districts including some shop front extension black spots mentioned in the Ombudsman’s report, such as Ho Pui Street and Tsuen Lung Street in Tsuen Wan, and Chun Yeung Street in North Point.

     The spokesman said, “Despite the proven results in combating shop front extensions over the past few months, the FEHD and the Police will continue to take stringent enforcement actions, while at the same time actively following up on the Ombudsman’s recommendations to further consolidate and enhance law enforcement effectiveness.”

     Furthermore, the Ombudsman recommended the Environment and Ecology Bureau (EEB) and the FEHD to consider amending legislations related to combating shop front extensions, including raising penalties and exploring the feasibility of empowering the FEHD staff to remove and seize goods and miscellaneous articles causing obstruction of streets. The EEB has commenced a relevant legislative review and completed public consultation on raising the level of the fixed penalty and the maximum penalty imposed for the respective offence when prosecution was taken by summons. The bureau will also take due consideration of the Ombudsman’s recommendations on other legislative amendments when conducting the legislative review.

     The spokesman added, “To tackle the problem of illegal occupation or obstruction of streets by goods and miscellaneous articles in the long run, co-operation of the vendors and members of the public is also crucial. The FEHD and relevant departments will continue to raise the law-abiding awareness of the vendors and the public through publicity and education.”