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Gov’t proposes fire safety penalty hike

Violators may soon pay as much as $200,000.

Acting Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk revealed that the government is looking into increasing penalties for non-compliance with the directions and fire safety compliance orders for buildings.

Responding to questions from legislator Lo Wai-kwok in the Legislative Council, Cheuk said the government is working on possible amendments to the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance. 

The proposed changes seek to allow the Fire Services Department and the Buildings Department to carry out fire safety improvement works for the buildings whose owners have failed to comply with the requirements and to recover the relevant fees upon completion of the defaulted works.

Penalties for non-compliance with the directions and compliance orders may be raised to a maximum of $100,000 and $200,000, respectively. Daily fines may also be adjusted, he said.

“We propose to amend the ordinance and to arrange for defaulted works because we understand that some owners are facing genuine difficulties, and that empowering the Government to carry out defaulted works by way of amending the ordinance can assist those owners with genuine difficulties in enhancing the fire safety standards of those relevant buildings, providing better protection to them,” Cheuk explained. 

ALSO READ: Gov’t to prosecute building owners ignoring fire safety orders

The government is also proposing other changes, such as introducing provisions against uncooperative owners to prevent anyone from intentionally obstructing an owners' corporation in complying with the requirements of the ordinance, and allowing authorities to register instructions of the ordinance issued against the involved buildings or their parts in the Land Registry.

Cheuk said they aim to submit the proposed amendments to the Legislative Council for review in July. 

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