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Locking your bike in public places

This is a difficult issue to deal with in a small space, but signs such as the one below have been put up in some areas. The ordinance used to remove bicycles parked on public pavement areas are usually aimed at illegal occupation of the land. Bicycles are often locked to fences or railings due to a lack of proper bicycle parking facilities, and often do not obstruct the pavements, however sometimes the police/transport department/lands department will decide to remove the bicycles in certain areas, and sometimes with only 24 hours notice.

Two cyclists who had their bikes being removed in Sha Tin created the  ‘Who stole my bike’ facebook page to help put pressure on the government to change the practice of removing bikes with only 24 hours notice and to install more bike parking areas. To quote the facebook page, the actions to remove the bicycles are inappropriate because:

1) If the Government planned properly, there would not be a serious shortage of reasonable bicycle parking, as it is often full and so forced many residents to park bicycles illegally.
2) Lightning 24-hour notice period is insufficient, and so the Departments do not explain which bicycles are to be confiscated, and the selling of peoples property is very rude!
3) The Home Affairs Department issued a notice that the owner will need to be told, but the principle and law enforcement is inconsistent, so as the owner of such a vehicle, I use it every other day, so I have not been notified under the confiscated property, leaving me no recourse.
4) bicycle clean-up operations should be where there is a danger to pedestrians and illegally parked bicycles (such as fire exits, intersection, etc.)
5) The government will auction confiscated bicycles, but people can not get them back  in any way. Illegally parked cars are only towed away, instead of being confiscated and auctioned! These actions are clearly discrimination against bicycle users!

The Hong Kong Cycling Alliance believes that a two-way approach needs to be taken,; firstly that enforcement should be rational and understanding, as in many cases parked bicycles are not causing an obstruction and are only there because there is no alternative available, and secondly the government should undertake its obligation to install more bicycle parking spaces, since the decision to use bicycles as transport should not be based on whether there is somewhere to lock your bike at the other end of the journey.

The law says:

Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap 28)

Section 6: Unlawful occupation of unleased land

(1) Subject to subsection (2A), if unleased land is occupied, otherwise than under a licence or a deed or memorandum of appropriation, the Authority may cause a notice, requiring the occupation of the land to cease before such date as may be specified in the notice, to be posted in one or more places- (Amended 56 of 1979 s. 3)

  • (a) on or near the land; or
  • (b) on any property or structure on the land.

(2) If the occupation of unleased land does not cease as required by a notice under subsection (1), any public officer, or other person, acting on the direction of the Authority may, with the assistance of such other public officers or other persons as may be necessary-

  • (a) remove from the land the persons (if any) thereon; and
  • (b) take possession of any property or structure on the land.

(2A) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where-

  • (a) a structure is being erected on or over unleased land, otherwise than under a licence or a deed or memorandum of appropriation; or
  • (b) a structure has been erected on unleased land, otherwise than under a licence or a deed or memorandum of appropriation, and the Authority is reasonably satisfied that the structure is not being habitually and bona fide used,

any public officer, or other person, acting on the direction of the Authority may, with the assistance of such other public officers or other persons as may be necessary, and without giving any notice-

  • (i) remove from the structure any person or property therein;
  • (ii) demolish the structure; and
  • (iii) take possession of such property and of any property resulting from the demolition of the structure. (Added 56 of 1979 s. 3)

(3) Any property or structure of which possession is taken under subsection (2)(b) or subsection (2A)(iii) shall become the property of the Government free from the rights of any person and may be demolished or otherwise dealt with as the Authority thinks fit. (Amended 56 of 1979 s. 3; 29 of 1998 s. 105)
(4) Any person occupying unleased land, otherwise than under a licence or a deed or memorandum of appropriation, who without reasonable excuse does not cease to occupy the same as required by a notice under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of $10000 and to imprisonment for 6 months.
(4A) Any person who-

  • (a) is engaged in any way in the erection of a structure on unleased land; or
  • (b) arranges or directs the erection of a structure on unleased land,

being a structure being erected otherwise than under a licence or a deed or memorandum of appropriation, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction-

  • (i) where the offender has been engaged in any way in, or has arranged or directed, the erection of the structure for the purpose of disposing of the structure for gain for himself or another, to a fine of $50000 and to imprisonment for 1 year; and
  • (ii) in any other case, to a fine of $10000 and to imprisonment for 6 months. (Added 56 of 1979 s. 3. Amended 46 of 1982 s. 2)

(5) The Authority may recover from any person convicted of an offence under subsection (4) or (4A) any cost incurred in or arising out of the demolition of any property or structure under subsection (2A) or (3) and the exercise of the powers conferred by this section. (Amended 56 of 1979 s. 3)

 Also:

Cap 228 Summary Offences Ordinance

Any person who without lawful authority or excuse sets out or leaves, or causes to be set out or left, any matter or thing which obstructs, inconveniences or endangers, or may obstruct, inconvenience or endanger, any person or vehicle in a public place shall be liable to a fine of $5000 or to imprisonment for 3 months.

 

**IMPORTANT: The above information is provided for reference only and should not be considered legal advice. The government BLIS legal database at www.legislation.gov.hk contains the full text of all Hong Kong laws. **

One Response

  • Caractacus says:

    Article 105 of the Basic Law states: “The HKSAR shall, in accordance with law, protect the right of individuals and legal persons to the acquisition, use, disposal and inheritance of property and their right to compensation for lawful deprivation of their property.
    Such compensation shall correspond to the real value of the property concerned at the time and shall be freely convertible and paid without undue delay.”
    Section 6 of Cap 28 land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance states, among other things: “(3) Any property or structure of which possession is taken under subsection (2)(b) or subsection (2A)(iii) shall become the property of the Government free from the rights of any person and may be demolished or otherwise dealt with as the Authority thinks fit.”
    Removing and disposing of people’s bicycles without giving them a chance to recover them, albeit on payment of a modest fine, is a monstrous abuse of a law intended to prevent illegal occupation of land. It may well be contrary to the Basic Law. Write to your LEGCO members and complain to the Ombudsman.



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