Police arrested 11 men and two women during an operation to stamp out illegal use of e-mobility devices such as e-scooters and e-bikes. Eight e-scooters, two e-bikes, two e-trikes and an electric unicycle were seized during the territory-wide operation, which ran over the four-day Easter holiday.
Offences included driving an unlicensed vehicle, using a motor vehicle without third-party insurance, and driving without a valid licence. “Police reiterate that electric mobility devices should not be used on roads with ordinary vehicles and are not suitable for use on pavements or cycling tracks. It is an offence for any person to use unregistered and unlicensed electric mobility devices on roads, pavements or cycling tracks. Police urge the public not to drive electric mobility devices illegally,” a police spokesman said.
The Easter crackdown comes just a fortnight after an operation targeting cyclists and e-mobility users on Hong Kong Island, a campaign which saw three arrests and three e-mobility devices seized.
Electric mobility devices are essentially illegal in Hong Kong, with the Transport Department (TD) classifying them as “motor vehicles” and refusing to issue licences for any machines, citing road safety and product safety concerns. Nevertheless there are thought to be more than a million e-bikes and e-scooters in the city, according to import records.
TD says it is reviewing its position – but progress on remaking or refining laws appears to be stalled. The issue was last successfully raised in LegCo on 15 June 2017, when Ted Hui Chi-fung put forward a non-binding motion for the government to encourage cycling, and during the subsequent debate, Charles Mok raised the issue of e-mobility devices. Mok spoke of an inventor he’d met at Hong Kong Science Park who’d developed a motor-driven skateboard. “He held many meetings with TD, spanning as long as several hours. Nevertheless, no conclusion could be reached, and TD asserted his product as unlawful. The inventor asked TD about what types of licence he should obtain from TD, given the latter’s assertion that his product was unlawful – but TD replied that, at present, no relevant licence was available.”
“This already goes beyond the popular perception that the Government wants to avoid mistakes by doing less,” said Mok in 2017. “Rather, it does not want to do anything at all.”