First conviction for HK plastic bag law breach

The Hong Kong government has announced the first conviction for contravention of the plastic bag law introduced last year.
A Hong Kong grocery store proprietor who failed to charge for plastic shopping bags provided at the time of sale has been convicted and fined HK$5000 (US$645) by Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts for contravening the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance (PERO).
An Environmental Protection Department (EPD) spokesman says this is the first case in which criminal proceedings have been instituted since the ordinance came into effect in April last year. Last December and February fixed-penalty notices were issued to the store proprietor for failing to charge customers for the plastic bags, and for offering a rebate to offset the charge.
During an inspection of the store in July, EPD officers found that the store still had not complied with the requirements to charge for plastic bags. To deter further contraventions, the EPD decided to prosecute.
EPD officers have inspected more than 71,000 retail outlets since the charges came into effect, says the spokesman. By the end of last month, 302 fixed-penalty notices had been issued.
Under the PERO, retailers must charge customers not less than 50 cents for each plastic bag provided when goods are sold, with certain exceptions. Only telling the customers the price of the bag without actually collecting the charge, or providing a rebate to offset the charge also violate the law.


Retailers contravening the requirements are liable to a fixed penalty of HK$2000 or even face prosecution for repeated or serious contraventions. First-time offenders face a maximum fine of HK$100,000.

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