Q6. Motor vehicles left unattended in streets or carparks for extended period are found at times. What action can be taken if it happens in the public area? What action can be taken if it happens in privately run carparks?
It should be noted that under section 2 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374), both “road” and “private road” are given such wide definitions that they include almost all kinds of places where a vehicle can be used. Sections 117 and 118 of the same Ordinance expressly stipulate that all major traffic ordinances and regulations shall apply to private roads as they apply to roads.
It therefore does not matter whether the unattended vehicle is on a road or in a public area or privately run carpark.
According to regulation 9 of the Road Traffic (Parking) Regulations (Cap. 374C), any person who “causes or permits a vehicle to remain at rest on a road in such a position or in such condition or in such circumstances as to be likely to cause danger to other persons using the road” commits an offence and is liable to a fine of $2,000.
The Police is also empowered under section 103 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) to remove any vehicle which “remains at rest on a road in such conditions or in such circumstances as to be likely to cause danger to other persons using the road or to interfere with the use of the road” when the driver cannot be located, is unable to remove the vehicle or refuses to remove the vehicle. If the owner does not come forth to claim the vehicle within 3 days, the Police will issue a notice to the owner demanding him/her to take the vehicle and pay the removal and storage charges within the next 14 days; and if the owner does not claim the vehicle accordingly, the vehicle will become Government property and may be sold.
Even if the vehicle may not cause danger to other persons or may not interfere with the use of the road, if there is reasonable cause to believe that a vehicle has been abandoned, the Police may pursuant to section 107 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) give notice to the vehicle owner requiring the owner to remove the vehicle. If the owner does not remove the vehicle within 7 days, the Police may seize it; and if the owner does not claim the vehicle within 14 days after the seizure, the vehicle will become Government property and may be sold.