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CONTROL OF LICENSED AND UNLICENSED HAWKERS

Hawker Control Teams

To control hawking activities, 191 squads of Hawker Control Teams (125 squads in Hong Kong and Kowloon and 66 squads in the New Territories) are deployed at two levels, namely district and division, including the Divisional Task Force (15 squads in Hong Kong and Kowloon divisions and 12 squads in the New Territories division). The squads are equipped with portable radios and vehicles.

Management of Licensed Hawkers

Hawker Control Teams are responsible in the management of licensed hawkers by-

  • ensuring that the licensed hawkers operate their stalls in accordance with the conditions of their licences and the provisions of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap.132) and its subsidiary legislation and other relevant laws of the HKSAR; and
  • controlling street obstruction and nuisances caused by licensed hawkers.

Staff of Hawker Control Teams inspect licensed fixed-pitch hawker stalls regularly and regulate the operation of itinerant hawkers whenever they are found hawking in the streets. Where appropriate, they take enforcement action to deal with irregularities, such action resulted in 5 064 convictions in 2013.

Control of Unlicensed Hawkers

To combat unlicensed hawking, the Hawker Control Team conducts sector patrols and raids at hawker black-spots. There are also Hawker Control Team staff working overnight shift to tackle unlicensed hawking activities during the late-night and early-morning hours.

There were 26 294 convictions of unlicensed hawker or hawker-related offences in 2013. At the end of December 2013, the number of unlicensed hawkers was around 1 460.

The chart shows the number of unlicensed hawkers during the period from 1994 to 2013.

Enforcement Strategies against Hawking Activities

Current enforcement strategies of the Department are as follows-

  • The Hawker Control Teams continue to take stringent enforcement action against unlicensed hawkers selling prohibited/restricted food or cooked food.
  • The Hawker Control Teams maintain hawker-free situation in major thoroughfares, areas of high pedestrian flow (for example, heavily used footbridges, MTR Lines/West Rail Lines/Light Rail Lines entrances/exits, ferry concourse and bus termini, tourist spots and pedestrian precincts, etc) and places under repeated complaints of hawking activities.
  • Provided that food and environmental hygiene would not be compromised, the Hawker Control Teams will issue verbal warning to licensed hawkers or unlicensed hawkers (selling non-food dry goods) if and when they cause obstruction or are subject of complaint. If the verbal warning is not heeded, the Hawker Control Teams will take the normal course of enforcement and seizure action.

Legislation

Legislation applied by the Government of the HKSAR in the control of hawking activities includes-

  • Sections 83-86D of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap.132);
  • Hawker Regulation (Cap.132, sub.leg.);
  • Food Business Regulation (Cap.132, sub.leg.); and
  • Section 4A of the Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap.228).
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