No more junks: Marine police hotline set up to encourage reports of gatherings on hired vessels

Vessels hired for social gatherings fall under the “party room” definition, Hong Kong authorities said. Photo via Facebook/嘉信遊艇生活
Vessels hired for social gatherings fall under the “party room” definition, Hong Kong authorities said. Photo via Facebook/嘉信遊艇生活

It’s official: The junk days are over.

The HK police said Monday that vessels hired for social gatherings fall within the definition of party rooms, which are now shut to contain the spread of the virus, and that authorities will be tightening enforcement for such violations.

A marine police hotline has also been set up for the public to report groups of would-be revellers gathered at piers.

“The Police noticed that a number of vessels have been hired for social gathering,” the force wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Even privately owned yachts are sometimes used for such purpose. This greatly increased the risk of transmission of disease.”

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the dedicated hotline and said authorities would also be on the lookout for social media posts advertising boats for hire.

Currently, breaches of virus-related policies such as quarantine orders can be reported through traditional complaint channels, including the police’s online report center and the phone numbers for the police’s “report rooms” sorted by district.

Lam said yesterday that the government is also considering increasing the penalty for breaching social distancing regulations.

Hong Kong is in the midst of a fresh COVID-19 outbreak, which has forced a reintroduction of some of the strict policies in place during the third wave of the virus.

Starting tomorrow, gatherings larger than two will be banned and restaurants will not be allowed to operate dine-in services after 10pm.

Civil servants are to begin working from home, a policy that will likely signal a new round of remote work arrangements as private employers take the government’s lead. Students will also return to home-based learning due to citywide class suspensions.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: HEALTH

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