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Police fine 71 people for gathering, 582 others for not wearing mask in public

20 February 2022

By The SUN


The cold and rain, plus government warnings left Chater Road largely empty today

The police have issued penalty tickets to 71 people who violated the regulation against group gathering (Cap.599G), and a whopping 582 tickets to those found not wearing a mask in public (Cap.599I) during a two-day operation that ended at 6pm Sunday.

According to a police spokeswoman, 19 of those who were fined for not complying with the group gathering restriction were foreign domestic helpers. She could not give a separate figure for those who were issued tickets for failing to wear a mask properly.


Separately, according to a government statement issued late Sunday, the Labour Department found nine FDHs who failed to comply with the prohibition on group gathering, and one who did not wear a mask properly. All of them were issued fixed penalty tickets.

In its own crackdown on violators, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department issued nine fixed penalty notices to persons who breached public cleanliness offences.


In addition, they seized articles abandoned by illegal hawkers in the Victoria Park area weighing about 75 kilos, which included cooked food and cooking paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, staff from the Leisure and Cultural Services Department issued mostly verbal warnings over the two day period. The government statement said more than 640 verbal advice were given out during patrol of venues by LCSD staff.


However, they also issued fixed penalty notices to four persons who breached mandatory mask-wearing in public places.

Police in the act of issuing fixed penalty tickets

The joint-departmental operation was carried after Chief Executive Carrie Lam vowed “no mercy” for those found violating the tightened gathering restrictions, amid the continuing surge of Covid-19 cases.

From Feb 10, only a maximum of two persons are allowed to gather in public, from the previous four. Mask-wearing remains compulsory in most public places, indoor or outdoor.


Officials have also warned of further restrictions if the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continue to climb. Latest figures from the government show the daily infection rate has now gone up to around 10,000.

In the wake of the warnings, favorite gathering places of FDHs were largely empty today, including the Filipinos’ favorite haunt, Chater Road in Central. The cold and rainy day could have also contributed to the decision of many to stay away.


However, a few workers on their days off managed to get together still in the undeground walkway connecting Chater Road and Edinburgh Place, their ubiquitous cardboard shields separating them from pedestrians.

But as a video posted on Facebook showed, uniformed police officers soon descended on the gathered women, telling them to dismantle their cardboard partitions and get off the walkway.

Police dismantle cardboard partitions and clear the pedestrian walkway of workers  

Meanwhile, the police spokesperson said she needed to double check how much the penalty tickets issued to violators cost.

The regulation says the penalty should be $5,000 for those who violate the rule that only a maximum of two people could gather in public, and a separate one that punishes failure to wear a mask in public. 

However, in her warning, the Chief Executive said the penalty had been doubled to $10,000.

The two-day joint operation was carried out in various districts where people, including FDHs congregate during weekends and public holidays, including Tamar Park in Admiralty, and Edinburgh Place, Chater Road and Statue Square in Central.

Apart from the group gathering violations, Labour staff also took the opportunity to distribute rapid test kits to FDHs so they could do voluntary testing and protect themselves and their employers’ families.

However, people are reminded that rapid tests are not a substitute to swab tests in complying with a compulsory testing notice.


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