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No Filipinos among 51 fined $5k over NY for violating anti-virus rules

04 January 2021

By The SUN 

Police and other law enforcers were out in force again over the New Year holidays

A total of 51 fixed penalty tickets costing $5,000 each were issued to violators of group gatherings and mask-wearing regulations at the extended New Year weekend, the Labour Department said. But no Filipino was apparently among those penalized.

Consul General Raly Tejada said today, Jan 4, that no one from the Filipino community had informed the Consulate about being slapped with the hefty fine over the weekend.

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Wala naman (none so far)...I hope it’s a good sign. Mukhang tuluy-tuloy na ang paghihigpit ng law enforcement agencies ng Hong Kong,” the head of post replied when asked whether he had received a report about an OFW being fined. (It looks like the Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are now going to be tougher.)

On Dec. 27, a Filipina who was issued the penalty ticket after being caught without a mask on in Statue Square in Central, had gone to the Consulate to lament her misfortune.

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A relative who was with her at the time said the offender had just briefly taken off her mask to munch on “chichirya” when she was spotted from afar by patrolling police officers.

Another Filipina was caught on video while being issued with the $5,000 ticket in Tamar Park in Admiralty. A fellow Filipina who filmed the incident said the offender had taken  off her mask to put on face powder.

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They were among 43 people ordered to pay the fine during the long Christmas holidays.

During a similar operation between Dec 31 to Jan 3, the government said in a press statement that 51 people were issued the penalty tickets, but the police could not say whether there were Filipinos among them.

Enforcers remind Indonesian DHs in a Kowloon Park to follow social distancing rules

A Filipina who was among those who camped out in Central on Sunday, said the hefty fine, which costs more than the $4,630 minimum salary of a FDH, appeared to have had the desired effect.

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“Natakot na po, kasi mahal po ang penalty…kaya dapat sumunod talaga sa protocol ng Hong Kong government. Yesterday sa Central, maraming nag-iikot na pulis,” said Rez Espenilla. (People must have been scared because the penalty is so steep. We really need to follow the protocols imposed by the Hong Kong government. Yesterday, there were a lot of police patrols in Central).

“Disiplina talaga ang kailangan ng bawat isa at makipagtulungan para hindi na marami pang mahawa [sa coronavirus],” she said. (Everyone really needs to practice discipline and to cooperate, so the number of people who get infected will lessen)

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The Labour Department said the joint operations were carried out in collaboration with the Hong Kong Police Force, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Leisure and Cultural Department.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the police and the FEHD also conducted publicity in Tai Lam Country Park in Tai Tong, Yuen Long, where thousands of people had gone to see the red leaves of the sweet gum trees there.

Heavy police presence in Tai Tam Country Park, which attracts huge crowds during winter

The operations covered FDH gathering places such as Tamar Park in Admiralty, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, the Fa Yuen St footbridge in Mong Kok, the Cultural Centre in Tsimshatsui and various places in Central, Wan Chai, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, Tsing Yi and Tseung Kwan O.

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A Labour press release on Sunday said the operations included mobile broadcasts in Chinese, English, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai in popular FDH gathering places urging them to obey a ban on group gatherings of over two persons, and to wear masks in public places.

Publicity vans broadcast the reminders to FDHs while officers from the departments concerned distributed multiple-language promotional leaflets appealing to FDHs to maintain environmental hygiene and refrain from unlicensed hawking.

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The New Year holiday joint operations ended on Jan 3 with the vast majority of FDH and the public observing the relevant regulations after being advised, the press release said.

“For example, during the joint operations [Sunday], the FDHs at the footbridge near Fa Yuen St in Mongkok left on their own volition after advice was given. As for those who still refused to abide by the regulations after repeated reminders, the relevant departments had taken enforcement actions,” the department said.

“For the four-day period up to the expiry of the first cut-off stage today, a total of 51 fixed penalty notices at $5,000 were issued during the aforementioned joint operations.” 

The government will step up publicity and enforcement and, as needed, hold joint operations to ensure compliance with the requirements, the press release said. It urged everyone to exercise self-discipline, co-operate to fight the virus and abide by the law.

The police also increased manpower to step up patrols at those places and the FEHD took follow-up actions to keep those places clean, the government said. 

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