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Enact the amendment to the licence conditions to specifically forbid smoking and make the licensee answerable

Dear Madam,

Thankyou for your pointless reply mentioning licence condition 7, which we have been telling you needs amendment by the addition of one simple sentence.

This would effectively add 13,000 additional enforcement staff to TCO.

We will accordingly publish your reply on our website and encourage all members of the public henceforth seeing illegal smoking offences in licensed premises to report the matter to the police, as a complaint against the licensee under Condition 7 of the liquor licence, instead of Tobacco Control Office.

I am sure the police will welcome your expert advice and workload, so we copied them also.

James Middleton
Clear the Air


Sent: 24 May, 2016 04:11 PM

Subject: Re: LiquorLic-Apathy-remainsabject.pdf

Dear Mr. Middleton,

Thank you for your email on 13.5.2016 suggesting amending the licensing conditions for liquor licence to specifically forbid smoking and make the licensee liable for that. Your email has been considered by the Liquor Licensing Board (the Board).

The Board is established under the Dutiable Commodities (Liquor) Regulations, Cap. 109B as a statutory body to consider applications for liquor licences. Where applications for liquor licence are made to the Board, the Board will consider each application on its individual merits and decide on whether or not to grant a liquor licence based on the circumstances and evidence of each case as well as comments and reports from government departments and the Hong Kong Police Force, who is the enforcement agent of Cap. 109B. If the Board decides to grant a liquor licence, it may grant a liquor licence without conditions or subject to such conditions as it thinks fit.

At present, licensing condition 7 for liquor licence stipulates that “The licensee shall not permit any person to occupy or use any portion of the premises for any immoral or illegal purpose.” As the enforcement agent of Cap. 109B, Police will conduct regular inspections and investigate complaints against liquor licensed premises. Whether or not the licensee is in breach of licensing condition depends on the circumstances of the case and the evidence available. Police will take appropriate enforcement actions against the licensee, including issue of advice, warnings or summons, if there is any breach of licensing conditions or the provisions of Cap. 109B. Any breach of the licensing condition(s) by individual licensee should be reported to the Police for investigation and enforcement actions where appropriate.

Under such circumstances, the Board considered that it would not be necessary to amend the existing licensing conditions for liquor licence.

Regarding your complaint against the premises “Sawadee Thai” in Yuen Long for placing ash trays on tables, your complaint has been referred to the Police and Tobacco Control Office for investigation and follow-up actions under their purviews.

Best regards,

Maggie YIU
for Secretary, Liquor Licensing Board


Date: 13/5/2016 15:55
Subject: LiquorLic-Apathy-remainsabject.pdf

Liquor Licensing Board
Chairman and Members

Dear Sir,

I refer to our letter to the Liquor Licensing Board , already 5 years ago now, attached.

Almost 7,000 people died per year in Hong Kong from smoking related illnesses.

21% of them were from passive smoking, no doubt including workplace staff.

If people cannot go out to bars and smoke, they will stop.

I would urge you to enact the amendment to the licence conditions to specifically forbid smoking and make the licensee answerable for same.

As an example I go to a restaurant near my home, Sawasdee Thai in Yuen Long.

Despite numerous complaint reports and warnings they actually place ash trays on tables, as do many licensed premises throughout HKG as the licensees are basically bullet proof – only the smoker gets targeted and the Tobacco Control Office has been allocated less than 50 staff per shift to cover HKI, Kowloon, NT, Islands, Marine and Planet HKG, so the chances of being caught in flagrante delicto are negligible, as the massively underfunded TCO only can respond days later to such complaints.

The fact that the seeming friend of Big T tax revenues, Financial Secretary, received $6.3 billion in tobacco excise tax (aka the white elephant concrete pouring fund) and allocates only $160 million to tobacco related control measures is despicable, as is the Health Bureau and HK Government abject lack of political will to do anything about this mess.

If you will not make a simple amendment to all licenses, then blood is on your hands and remains there for your previous non action.

The licensees currently encourage smoking with no onus on them otherwise, through flawed legislation.

Only Macau and Hong Kong do not place the onus on the licensee to enforce the law.

You can change that without even going to Legco.

Get moving.

Yours faithfully,

James Middleton

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