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Joint operation against noise nuisance in Tuen Mun Park

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and the Police conducted a joint operation in Tuen Mun Park today (February 19) against suspected violation of the Noise Control Ordinance. Evidence was collected in the operation and may be used in possible prosecutions, depending on advice from the Department of Justice.

The joint operation was aimed at tackling the noise nuisance to nearby residents caused by music performances in Tuen Mun Park. This followed a host of education and publicity efforts taken over a long period, appealing to park users to be considerate while using the park.

"The message is simple: park users are free to enjoy a range of leisure activities provided they don't annoy others," an LCSD spokesman said.

"Unfortunately, some performing groups have failed to cooperate, and have used amplifying equipment, creating excessive noise, and upsetting the nearby residents," he said.

With the support of the Leisure and Culture Committee of Tuen Mun District Council, the LCSD, in November last year, introduced a trial measure to minimise noise by advising such performers to refrain from using amplifying equipment at non-designated areas in the park.

"In the three-month trial period, LCSD staff together with Tuen Mun District Council members went to the park to explain the rationale of the measure to the park users and urged them to cooperate," the spokesman said. "But some of them still repeatedly use powerful amplifiers to generate excessive noise at non-designated areas in the park in spite of warnings given by park management. Such irresponsible behaviour has not only deprived other park users of a peaceful park environment, but also disturbed the nearby residents. Over 400 complaints were received in the past three months.

"To tackle the noise problem, the LCSD, EPD and Police have had to resort to a joint operation to enforce the Noise Control Ordinance. Evidence and the personal particulars of suspected offenders were collected in today's operation. Depending on legal advice, prosecution action may follow," the spokesman said.

He pointed out that the department had tried to identify alternative venues near the park where music lovers could stage their performances. "In fact, various locations within the district, such as the nearby Tin Hau Square, community halls managed by the Home Affairs Department and even indoor squash courts have been offered for use by local music lovers.

"These venues are either away from residential areas or indoors, where users may perform without disturbing others," he said.

"There is also the amphitheatre in Tuen Mun Park, which was built to cater for performances. Performing groups can apply to use the amphitheatre free of charge provided they abide by the terms of use including the requirement to keep sound levels under 70 decibels.

"We are now planning to install a sound barrier at the park's amphitheatre to further reduce the noise levels of the performances staged there, and will adjust the timeslots available for bookings in order to cater for more users.

"To provide public entertainment in the park, we will identify suitable areas for performances such as mime, recitation, story-telling and acoustic music," the spokesman said.

Ends/Sunday, February 19, 2006
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