立場新聞 Stand News

過年與執法

2015/2/24 — 10:28

農曆年間的旺角流動熟食小販(朝雲攝)

農曆年間的旺角流動熟食小販(朝雲攝)

【過年與執法】
CHINESE NEW YEAR AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

昨天是不少人在踏入羊年後第一個上班日。《法政匯思》祝大家在未來一年生意興隆、步步高陞。

每逢過年,香港不同地方都會見到一些一年一次的某些廣泛違法情況。這些情況包括:

廣告

1. 違例泊車 — 有些傳統豪宅區更會見到不少車輛泊上行人路,把行人逼上對他們有危險的行車路。

2. 違例燒炮竹或煙花— 這情況在新界村落比較常見。

廣告

3. 違例販賣 — 過年街上較多小販是香港一個多年來的「傳統」,近年更集中在某些地方,包括深水埗桂林街、旺角砵蘭街等。

以上這些行為都各自有它們的社會或歷史背景、因由。我們不會評論這些行為在倫理、社會層面上的恰當與否:這些問題就留給社會人士去判斷吧。

但是,我們十分關注當權者近日就這些行為的執法作風。我們不明白為何執法機關看來沒有具體地就以上的1.及2.進行執法行動,但就以上的3.就決定要動員多隊執法人員、甚至使用警棍及警犬去進行大型驅趕行動。論人流,過年時的新界村落不一定會比過年時的桂林街、砵蘭街等地方少。論危險性,有爆炸性的炮竹、煙花,又或者違例泊車使到道路窒塞而衍生的交通意外,都不一定比起小販攤檔(就算包括熟食攤檔)低。

如果執法機構就1.,2.及3.都一視同仁地執法,我們可以理解,而這樣去執法在過年的情況下是否太過苛刻及不近人情,社會人士仍可以討論。如果執法機構因為過年而寬鬆處理1.,2.及3.,我們亦能理解,而社會人士亦可以討論這是否輕視了「守法」。但如果情況是像現實一樣,只有3.受到執法,就會不禁(無論這看法是公道與否)令人懷疑執法機構是否一方面「放生」有地方勢力的村落人士及較有經濟能力的私家車車主,但另一方面就把想「發新年財」及在街上與他們同樂的平民百姓趕盡殺絕。

我們促請執法機構就他們過年時執法不一的作風向香港市民解釋。

法政匯思
2015年2月24日

後記:如果政府對「法治」的理解是正確的(即「法治」只是等於「遵守法律」),那麽過年時燒炮竹、放煙花、非法把車停在路邊,是不是全部都是「破壞法治」的行爲呢?

Yesterday was the first day back at work for many people since the start of the Year of the Ram.  The Progressive Lawyers Group wishes that everyone enjoys business prosperity and career advancement in the coming year.

Every year during Chinese Yew Year, one can witness annual instances of certain breaches of the law around Hong Kong.  These instances include:

1. Illegal parking – in some well to do areas, one can even see many cars parked on pedestrian roads, forcing pedestrian onto risking their trek through roads for vehicles.

2. Illegal lighting of fire crackers or fireworks – this situation is more often found in the New Territories villages.

3. Illegal hawking – the proliferation of hawkers during Chinese New Year is a longstanding “tradition” in Hong Kong, in recent years this has become concentrated in certain locations, such as Sham Shui Po’s Kweilin Street, and Mong Kok’s Portland Street.

The above activities have all arisen due to their various social or historical background/reasons.  We do not comment on the appropriateness or otherwise of such activities from a moral or social perspective: these are matters for members of society to judge.

However, we are very concerned about the law enforcement approach taken by those in power in recent days as regards such activities.  We do not understand why law enforcement agencies appear not to have taken concrete action in relation to 1. and 2. above, but when it came to 3. above, it was decided that many teams of law enforcement officers (which even involved the use of police batons and police dogs) were mobilised to engage in major clearance operations.  If one were to compare crowd sizes, New Territories villages during Chinese New year would not necessarily have smaller crowds than Kweilin Street or Portland Street during Chinese New Year.  If one were to consider potential dangers, the explosiveness of firecrackers or fireworks, or the blockage of roads resulting from illegal parking which could lead to traffic accidents, would not necessarily be of less danger when compared with hawker stalls (even if including cooked food stalls).

If law enforcement agencies were to apply the law equally as regards 1., 2. and 3., we would be able to understand, and the question of whether such law enforcement may be too harsh or lacking in compassion is one which members of society can continue to discuss.  If law enforcement agencies were to be lenient as regards 1., 2. and 3. on account of Chinese New Year, we would also be able to understand, and members of society can also discuss whether this might constitute an insufficient regard for complying with the law. However, if the situation is as with the current reality, where only 3. is subject to law enforcement, it will invite questions (whether such questions are fair or not) as to whether law enforcement agencies have on the one hand let free those with district influence (such as villagers) and those with relatively more economic clout (such as private vehicle owners), but have on the other hand acted harshly against ordinary folk who wish to make some extra money during Chinese New Year, as well as the masses who are enjoying the atmosphere on the streets together with them.

We therefore ask law enforcement agencies to explain to the people of Hong Kong as to why they have seen fit to take an inconsistent approach to enforcing the law during Chinese New Year.

Progressive Lawyers Group
24 February 2015

Postscript: if the government’s understanding of what is meant by the “rule of law” is correct (ie it means nothing more than compliance with the law), then would committing offences like illegal lighting of fire crackers or fireworks and illegal parking be “damaging the rule of law”?

發表意見