FEHD responds to media enquiries on case of unlicensed hawker in Wan Chai


     In response to media reports on a case of unlicensed hawker in Wan Chai district, a spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today (June 10):

     The newspaper stall concerned, located at Lockhart Road near Percival Street, has been persistently operating without a licence and extensively occupying pavement since the death of the original licensee in February this year.

     The spouse of the original licensee has applied to the FEHD for succession of the licence, but it requires more time to process in view of the complexity of succession rights involved in the case. The FEHD has repeatedly advised her to cease the unlicensed operation of the newspaper stall and the occupation of pavement, as well as to apply for a temporary licence so as to carry on business while the succession rights are pending confirmation. So far, the FEHD have not received any application for the temporary licence concerned.

     The newspaper stall has been operating without a licence and extensively occupying pavement, continuously affecting other pavement users. In the past three months, the FEHD received 48 relevant complaints from a District Council member and members of the public and issued 53 warnings and instituted 48 prosecutions against the unlicensed newspaper stall. As the violation persisted with no sign of improvement, the FEHD arrested and charged a woman on June 7 for illegal hawking and causing obstruction to passageway, and seized relevant goods as evidence. The court will later deliver verdict on the case, including how to handle the goods seized.

     The newspaper stall concerned has been the subject of numerous complaints and failed to rectify the situation despite repeated advice and warnings. The FEHD is given no choice but to take enforcement action in accordance with the law, in order to safeguard the rights of other pavement users and ensure fairness to other law-abiding operators. In addition to enforcement, the FEHD will continue to liaise with the spouse of the original licensee, advising her to cease the unlicensed operation and the occupation of pavement as well as to apply for a temporary licence and operate the stall in accordance with the conditions therein. The FEHD will provide assistance as far as practicable to her for the temporary licence application.

     According to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132), no person is allowed to hawk on the streets unless he holds a valid hawker license issued by the FEHD. Offenders may be prosecuted. Upon conviction, offenders may be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for six months, and the goods and equipment involved will be seized and confiscated. If unlicensed hawking activities obstruct passageways, law enforcement officers may use the Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap. 228) to charge offenders causing obstruction by placing items in public places. Upon conviction, they may be fined $25,000 or imprisoned for three months.