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Swearing in Hong Kong subway could land you in jail


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Apr 22, 2007
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The Standard (Hong Kong)

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By-law spat threatens merger

Carrie Chan

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A controversial proposal that could see people jailed for up to six months for using foul language on trains could derail government plans to get the bill merging the two railway companies passed by the Legislative Council before the current session ends in July.

In a move that caught many legislators by surprise, proposed by-laws for the new unified KCRC and MTRC lines include a suggestion that the penalty for the use of foul language be increased from HK$2,000 to HK$5,000 plus six months' imprisonment.

The fine for loitering, busking or transporting pets would also be increased from HK$2,000 to HK$5,000 plus three months in jail.

In a bid to rush the merger plan, Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung had last week made fare reduction pledges to secure the support of the largest political party in Legco.

During a Legco House Committee meeting, the government had asked that a second reading of the Rail Merger Bill be scheduled for June 6 to allow for a four-week scrutiny of the subsidiary legislation. To expedite the scrutiny, the government also proposed a subcommittee study the draft legislation.

However, the content of the by-laws submitted Friday caused a furor.

Andrew Cheng Kar-foo of the Democratic Party and Albert Chan Wai-yip of the League of Social Democrats described them as "illogical and unreasonable" and claimed many commuters could end up behind bars.

"It looks like we'll have to pay as much attention to these by-laws as we would when preparing a racing car for fear it will crash and cause many casualties," Chan said. "It would be better to delay the process by three to four months to ensure we have something that is more reasonable."

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, a frequent MTR commuter, called for public understanding should there be a delay in return for sensible by-laws.

Lawmakers were also split over whether the second reading should be held June 6, as requested, or delayed to allow for the by-laws to be properly scrutinized. However, the pro-government camp won out by 20 votes to five and the second reading will go ahead as planned. Former talk-show host Albert Cheng King-hon abstained.

House Committee chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee, Liberal Party lawmaker for the transport sector, said polls strongly suggested the public wanted a merger to go ahead quickly to benefit from the pledged reduction in fares.

She said if the merger were not approved before the Legco recess July 11, it would be at least another four months before the new legislative session begins in November.

Lau Kwong-wah, spokesman for Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislators, reminded lawmakers any delay in passing the bill would also shorten the "no fare increase" honeymoon for commuters, which will end in June 2009.

Lau said new by-laws were needed because the KCRC's were outdated.

Other important changes in the by- laws include a maximum fine of HK$2,000 for queue jumping; HK$5,000 fine and six months' imprisonment for unauthorized structures; HK$5,000 fine for the wrong use of ticket-vending machines; HK$5,000 fine for failure to obey directions inside a train carriage; HK$5,000 fine (formerly HK$2,000) for placing feet on seats; HK$5,000 fine and six months' imprisonment for causing a fire hazard; HK$5,000 (HK$2,000) fine for playing a musical instrument or radio or cassette recorder; HK$5,000 (HK$2,000) for taking on board prohibited items; HK$5,000 (HK$2,000) for entering or exiting by improper means; HK$5,000 (HK$2,000) and six months' jail for soliciting, and soliciting for handling goods or luggage; HK$5,000 (HK$2,000) and three months' jail for displaying unauthorized materials or loitering; and HK$5,000 (HK$3,000) and six months' (three months) jail for flying objects endangering operations.


$1HK = $0.13 Canadian
The TTC could run their entire operation for free if tickets were given out in Toronto for these offenses.
oh give me a fucking break!

and do they have a list of what constitutes foul language? what if someone decides to substitute foul language with a netural word? you can still get the point across!

p.s... :D
No sympathy for dog-poop girl here! If there ever was a situation where swearing on the subway was appropriate, this would have been it.
I've always thought the TTC had the most liberal rules/by-laws. Eating and drinking permitted. Pets permitted, with peak period restrictions. Bikes permitted except in rush hour (new bike racks on the new buses and streetcars - Giambrone said they were going to be on the new streetcars!), non-commerical photography permitted.

Here's LA's restrictions. Pretty severe - big fines plus community service.

We need to start shaming the dog poop people that leave dog crap on downtown city sidewalks.

not just downtown but everywhere.

for anyone that needs to let their dog shit in public, please let it take place where someone is not likely to walk in it - such as the base of a tree, pole in grass, etc.

i really hate those people who collect the crap in bags and then throw them all over the place. why collect it at all? it makes the situation worse since the crap doesn't degrade with rain.

it's not fun when you're in a wheelchair and you get dog shit in your wheels. those wheels also roll around the inside the hosue. the problem is much worse when the snow starts to melt and there's a winters worth of crap everywhere.
Yeh I've always thought that the fine for not picking up dog crap should be greater. Not only is it foul looking and smelling it is a downright health hazard when you track it onto carpets in homes and buildings.

The LA laws are perfectly acceptable as they, for the most part, infringe on the rights of other passengers. Some of those Hong Kong laws seem a bit extreme however.