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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Hong Kong toughens litter enforcers
A street scene in Hong Kong
Officials want to clean up Hong Kong's crowded streets
Hundreds of government inspectors are being trained in martial arts to counter violence meted out by litter louts.

Hong Kong strengthened its anti-littering laws last month and has discovered that its enforcers needed strengthening too.

Anti-litter law
Offences:
Littering
Spitting
Posting bills
Dog-fouling
Penalty:
HK$600 fine

Three-day courses in using Japanese aikido for self-defence are being offered to the 4,000 men and women who patrol the streets of the territory looking for littering and other public health infringements.

Several officers have already been hurt by angry violators when they served the new HK$600 (US$77) on-the-spot fine.

Tommy Chan, a spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said there had been some violent reactions since officers moved from giving verbal warnings to handing out fixed penalty tickets last month.

Assaults

"In the course of issuing such tickets, we have come across a few cases where the officers have been assaulted," he said.

The government decided to offer the voluntary course after one officer was attacked in June when he tried to fine a man for spitting.

On Tuesday, six officers were hurt in two incidents - when one man tried to run away after being caught dropping litter and when another responded violently when being fined for throwing away a cigarette butt.

So far about 500 officers have taken the course in aikido, which uses throws and holds against an attacker.

See also:

01 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
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