To control hawking activities, about 190 squads of Hawker Control Teams (124 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 11 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 3 201 convictions in 2017.
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 6 270 convictions of unlicensed hawker or hawker-related offences in 2017. At the end of December 2017, the number of unlicensed hawkers was around 1 474.
The chart shows the number of unlicensed hawkers during the period from 1994 to 2017.
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 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).