Motorists enjoyed one of the most lenient traffic regimes for 15 years in 2019, as police shifted resources into battling protests and riots and away from traffic enforcement.
New figures from the Hong Kong Police Force show tickets for moving offences down 16% on 2018, with parking tickets down 30% for the year. Enforcement totals were down to levels not seen (aside from “Occupy” year 2014) since 2004.
Carnage on the roads correspondingly increased: the number of people killed or seriously injured rose 2% to 2,021, an average of 39 casualties each week.
Only two offences – dangerous driving and drug driving – saw any increase in prosecution. Dangerous driving was up 10% with 887 drivers nabbed. And drug driving cases were up by two (two cases, not 2%) from six to eight.
According to Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan, traffic enforcement figures for the second half of the year showed a dip due to “limited manpower”. Police priorities, he said, had focused on the “widespread vandalism committed by violent protestors across the territory,” but, with social tensions easing towards the end of the year he said officers had been redeployed to tackle traffic safety.
December 2019 saw parking tickets up on the previous four months but still down 47% on January 2019.
Police did not respond to questions on the new data.