Upstairs Taoist shrine in Hung Hom convicted for smoke emission

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      An upstairs Taoist shrine in Hung Hom, which failed to install air pollution control equipment for its furnace in accordance with a statutory notice, was fined $10,000 by Kwun Tong Magistrates' Courts today (May 18) for contravening the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO).

     During an inspection in June last year, Environmental Protection Department (EPD) enforcement officers found that a Taoist shrine at Lo Lung Hang Street in Hung Hom did not have appropriate air pollution control equipment installed for its joss paper furnace. The exhaust outlet of the furnace was facing the building's back alley, affecting the nearby residents. The EPD subsequently issued a statutory notice in accordance with the APCO to request the shrine to alter or replace the furnace within a specified period of time.

However, the shrine failed to comply with the statutory notice upon the expiry date and its operator was immediately prosecuted by the EPD.

     A spokesman for the EPD said that furnaces used in worshipping places should have appropriate air pollution control equipment installed to deal with the smoke and ashes resulting from the burning of joss paper and other paper offerings. Their owners or operators should comply with statutory notices to carry out relevant improvement works to reduce emissions within the specified time. Non-compliance constitutes an offence.

According to the APCO, first-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $100,000. A maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment may be imposed on second or subsequent convictions and a daily fine of $20,000 may be imposed for a continuing offence.

     The spokesman reminded the responsible people of worshipping places that they should promote environmentally friendly worshipping with reference to the EPD's guidelines to reduce burning of paper offerings as far as possible. In addition, they should also pay attention to the exhaust system of a worshipping place, and install and make use of appropriate air pollution control equipment to reduce emissions.

Members of the public may visit the EPD's website to view the guidelines:" target="_blank">

Published on: 2017-05-18

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