The government on Wednesday proposed doubling the fine for littering to HK$3,000, as part of efforts to clean up the city. The Chief Executive said in his maiden policy address in October that officials were looking to raise the penalty so that it would have a stronger deterrent effect. In papers submitted to the legislature, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said the fine was last increased to HK$1,500 in 2003, and Hong Kong has seen a cumulative inflation rate of 60 percent since. The department added that the heavier penalty will also apply to offences such as spitting, allowing pets to make a mess in public and displaying posters without permission. Meanwhile, officials also proposed raising the fines for illegal shop extensions and depositing construction waste unlawfully from the current HK$1,500 to HK$6,000. "We notice that some non-compliant shop operators treat the fixed penalty as rental and operating costs for using the space outside their shops illegally, which is unfair to compliant operators," the FEHD said in the Legislative Council document. The department added that it's necessary to raise the fine for illegal construction waste disposal due to difficulties in enforcing the law, saying offenders often did the dumping at odd hours or within a very short period of time. It said it plans to table the proposed changes to Legco in the second quarter of next year at the earliest.
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