Hong Kong – Two property owners fined over $10,000 in total for failing to comply with Fire Safety Improvement Directions

Two property owners fined over $10,000 in total for failing to comply with Fire Safety Improvement Directions

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     Two property owners were convicted and each fined $5,295 at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts early this month for failing to comply with fire safety improvement directions issued under the Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance (FS(CP)O) (Cap. 502).



     The Buildings Department (BD) issued fire safety improvement directions under section 5(1A) of the FS(CP)O to the property owners of two premises in a 40-year-old specified commercial building at Ma Tau Wai Road, Kowloon City, requiring them to comply with certain fire safety construction requirements, which include providing fire-rated doors at the unit entrances and fire-rated walls separating the units from the common corridor.



     Failing to comply with the statutory directions, the property owners were prosecuted by the BD and were convicted and fined by the court on August 4.



     “According to the FS(CP)O, failing to comply with a statutory direction issued under the ordinance without reasonable excuse is a serious offence. The BD may instigate prosecution proceedings against the owner of the specified commercial building under the ordinance”, a spokesman for the BD said today (August 22).



     Pursuant to section 5(7)(b) of the FS(CP)O, any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a statutory direction, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine at level 4 ($25,000 at present) and to a further fine of $2,500 for each day of non-compliance. Upon conviction, an application may also be made to a court for a Fire Safety Improvement Compliance Order against the owner under section 6(1) of the FS(CP)O directing the owner to comply with the requirements of the direction.

We are trustees not owners says Union Environment Minister at the launch of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav-Iconic week’ of the ministry

On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and heralding the Iconic Week of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav of MoEFCC (4-10th October 2021), Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav today flagged off a rally on wheels ‘India for Tigers’ and released guidelines for ecotourism and also released guidelines for enumeration of river Dolphins in Indus and Ganges rivers.

Shri Yadav informed that during the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav- Iconic week’ and beyond, it is envisaged that an intensive, country wide campaign which will focus on citizen participation, to be converted into a ‘Janandolan’, where small changes, at the local level, will add up to significant national gains and help reinforce the trusteeship concept and living in harmony with nature.

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On the occasion the Minister flagged off the Tiger rallies from three tiger reserves  Navegaon Nagzira tiger reserve- Maharashtra, Biligiri ranganatha temple tiger reserve, Karnataka and Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh.

Tiger is not only a charismatic species, its presence is vital to regulating & perpetuating ecological processes. On #GandhiJayanti flagged off ‘India for Tigers – A rally on wheels’ in which all 51 tiger reserves will be participating at landscape level.#AzadiKaAmritMahotsav pic.twitter.com/0Ntp1NdAqW

— Bhupender Yadav (@byadavbjp) October 2, 2021

The PAN India outreach activity has the twin objectives of celebrating India’s 75 years of Independence and spreading the message of biodiversity conservation under the ambit of Project Tiger and Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH) programme of Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The rally on wheels will be organized on select dates and assigned routes and will be spearheaded by Field Directors. The field directors will start off from their designated tiger reserves. The rallies will culminate at Ranthambore, Kanha, Melghat ,Bandipur ,Similipal,Sunderbans,Manas, Palamau and Corbett tiger reserves, representing our country’s initial nine tiger reserves designated under The Project Tigerin1973.

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All 51 tiger reserves will be participating at landscape level and myriad of events throughout the rally will see active involvement of diverse range of stakeholders and the amalgamation of events will showcase the overarching presence of tiger which is deep rooted in our culture, mythology, history, literature with an appeal to give this majestic big cat its due right to flourish in peace and safety.

The event also saw the release of Guidelines for Ecotourism in forest and wildlife areas.Ecotourism is practiced world over as well as in India. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has  released the ‘Guidelines for sustainable Ecotourism in forest and wildlife areas’. These guidelines are applicable to ecotourism sites falling in forest, wildlife areas and eco-sensitive zone.

Considering the  need for a participatory approach for conservation of wildlife and its habitats, the guidelines emphasizes the engagement of local communities in a manner that enriches local economies and encourage sustainable use of indigenous material though financial viable value chains to help local communities become ‘Atma Nirbhar’  and promotes partnership among stakeholders in development of ecotourism as well as equitable sharing of benefits with local communities.

Creation of foundation in each Protected Area and sharing of revenue with local communities has also been underscored in the guidelines. Besides, the guidelines provides for identification of ecotourism sites, zonation and making an ecotourism plan which shall be part of approved management plan/working plan for forest/protected area and tourism master plan in case of eco-sensitive zone. It also provides for monitoring mechanism at district level, state level and national level.

The Environment Minister also released a field guide for monitoring Ganges and Indus river dolphins, associated aquatic fauna and habitat.Dolphin is an aquatic apex predator and controls the aquatic system. Dolphin act as an umbrella species, whose conservation will result in well being of associated habitat and biodiversity, including humans. Dolphin enumeration is very important to delineate important conservation areas, where development can be planned with appropriate mitigation measures, and to also secure livelihoods of local communities.

So far, there is no synchronized enumeration plan, however sporadic enumerations have been done in past. First time a standardized monitoring protocol has been made and will be employed for synchronized Dolphin enumeration exercise to be undertaken in states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. Dolphin estimation is an important process and constituent of “Project Dolphin”.

The monitoring protocol methodology includes visual monitoring of Gangetic Dolphin populations. Depending upon the width and depth of river, boat based method for Dolphin visual monitoring would use double observer survey, boat in tandem survey and single boat survey.

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Hong Kong – Property owners given suspended jail sentences for persistently not complying with removal orders

Property owners given suspended jail sentences for persistently not complying with removal orders

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     ​Three property owners were given suspended jail sentences last week at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts and the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts respectively for failing to comply with two removal orders issued under the Buildings Ordinance (BO) (Cap. 123).
      
     The first case involved a three-storey house on Yu Chui Street, Tai Lam, Tuen Mun. The unauthorised building works (UBWs) included illegal site formation works for constructing around 120 square metres of garden and construction on different floors of five structures of about 55 sq m in total.
      
     The second case involved several UBWs, including a yard structure of about 10 sq m, two metal frames and a canopy, in a shop on the ground floor of South Wall Road, Kowloon City, owned by two owners.
      
     As the UBWs were carried out without prior approval and consent from the Buildings Department (BD), removal orders were served on the three owners under section 24(1) of the BO. After failing to comply with the removal orders, the owners were prosecuted by the BD.

     The owner in the first case was prosecuted by the BD five times and fined about $350,000 in total upon conviction at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts. However, the owner persisted in not complying with the order and the BD instigated prosecution against the owner for the sixth time. The owner was convicted again at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts on August 27. Considering the seriousness of the case given the owner’s previous conviction records, the court imposed a four-month imprisonment sentence suspended for two years.

     The two owners in the second case were prosecuted by the BD three times and fined about $30,000 in total upon conviction at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts. However, the owners persisted in not complying with the order and the BD instigated prosecution against them for the fourth time. In the hearing held on August 25, the court imposed a 14-day imprisonment sentence suspended for 18 months, plus a fine of $4,400, after considering the seriousness of the case given the two owners’ previous conviction records.
      
     “UBWs may adversely affect the structural and fire safety of a building, leading to serious consequences. Owners must comply with the removal orders without further delay. The BD will continue to take enforcement action against owners who have failed to comply with the removal orders (including instigation of prosecution) so as to achieve a deterrent effect”, a spokesman for the BD said today (September 3).
      
     Pursuant to section 40(1BA) of the BO, any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the removal order served on the person under section 24(1) of the BO commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $200,000 and to imprisonment for one year, as well as a further fine of $20,000 for each day that the offence continues.

Hong Kong – Four vehicle owners convicted for illegal disposal of waste from vehicles (with photo)

Four vehicle owners convicted for illegal disposal of waste from vehicles (with photo)

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     Four vehicle owners, whose vehicles were involved in illegal waste disposal in Ping Che, New Territories, were convicted and fined a total of $8,000 at the Fanling Magistrates’ Courts today (May 25) for contravening the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation. In addition to these four convictions, 13 other cases of the same kind that happened at the same location have been scheduled for hearings in the Fanling Magistrates’ Courts.

     A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said that the department has been concerned about some public places, such as remote kerbsides or laybys, in the rural areas of the New Territories easily becoming illegal waste disposal sites. In December last year, the EPD installed two sets of surveillance camera systems with a night vision function at a fly-tipping black spot at the roadside of Ng Chow Road in Ping Che, North District, in order to step up monitoring and deterrence against illegal waste disposal, and to assist in evidence collection and prosecution. The waste deposited at this site, including some large-sized commercial and industrial (C&I) waste, not only created obstruction to passages, but also caused environmental hygiene problems.
 
     In addition to the installation of surveillance camera systems at various black spots, the EPD also displayed banners in the district to remind the public that anyone who engages in fly-tipping contravenes the law and may be prosecuted. The spokesman called on all sectors, especially members of the logistics and construction industries, to dispose of waste in accordance with relevant laws. The logistics sector and the C&I sector may contact recyclers to collect C&I waste with reusable or recycling value, while non-recyclable waste should be delivered to refuse transfer stations or landfills.

     According to the Public Cleansing and Prevention of Nuisances Regulation, it is an offence to dispose of waste on the streets or in public places from vehicles, including goods vehicles, private cars and motorcycles. The registered vehicle owners concerned may be prosecuted. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 and six months’ imprisonment on first conviction.