Non-registered contractor fined for illegal removal of asbestos cement sheets in Sham Shui Po

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      A non-registered asbestos contractor, who illegally removed asbestos cement sheets when clearing unauthorised building works in Sham Shui Po, was fined $8,000 at Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts today (May 18) for contravening the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO).

     A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said that the department received a report in November last year that there were asbestos-containing materials at a rooftop flat at Shun Ning Road, Sham Shui Po. During a site inspection EPD staff found that the contractor, who was hired to clear the unauthorised building works there, was not a registered asbestos contractor. However, he arranged workers to illegally remove the asbestos cement sheets in the premises and did not notify the EPD 28 days prior to the commencement of the removal works. The department subsequently initiated prosecution against the contractor in accordance with the APCO.

     The spokesman explained that, to safeguard public health, the removal of asbestos cement sheets must be carried out by a registered asbestos contractor in accordance with the statutory requirements and the code of practice on asbestos control to prevent asbestos fibres from being released into the area surrounding the work site and affecting public health.

     Under the APCO, the premises owner or the contractor in possession of a construction site in which asbestos-containing material is found should appoint a registered asbestos contractor to conduct the asbestos abatement work.

Failure to do so is an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment. It is also an offence for failing to give not less than 28 days’ written notice to the EPD of the commencement date of the asbestos abatement work and is liable to a maximum fine of $200,000.

     The spokesman reminded property owners and contractors responsible for clearing unauthorised building works to ensure that the asbestos abatement works is conducted in accordance with the law. The EPD will rigorously enforce the law and take legal action if any non-compliance is found.

Published on: 2017-05-18

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