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Joint operation against illegal hawking at Victoria Park

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Immigration Department and the Police today (October 17) mounted an operation in Victoria Park and the vicinity to curb illegal hawking.

The operation from 2.30pm to 7pm saw 16 suspects arrested for various offences.

Five arrested persons were escorted to the Task Force Office of the Immigration Department to be charged with breaching conditions of stay. Four associated with illegal hawking on cooked food business were taken to the North Point Police Station where they will later be charged with hawking offences under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance.

In the meantime, summons action was taken against seven illegal hawkers selling other items and unauthorised obstruction in public places.

"Today's operation was aimed at stamping out the illegal hawking activities, the cooked food and drink business in particular, in the areas," an LCSD spokesman said.

Some illegal hawkers have been found selling cooked food on trolleys or handcarts on an itinerant basis within Victoria Park or in the adjacent areas, with quite a number of them congregating near the entrances along Gloucester Road. The most common cooked foods sold by the illegal hawkers are beef balls on soup with noodles, iced drinks and rice with curry and they are likely to pose food hygiene hazards to consumers.

"The joint operation was intended to give people a clear message of zero tolerance to illegal hawking activities, especially those selling cooked food and the like, in the park and its environs. Also, we have serious concern over the food hygiene problem brought about by illegal cooked food hawking," the spokesman said.

During the operation, two fixed penalty tickets for littering were issued.

Since January, 2004, the LCSD has issued almost 130 summonses for illegal hawking or unauthorised obstruction in the park and 100 fixed penalty tickets for littering in Victoria Park.

Ends/Sunday, October 17, 2004
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