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1. Fixed Penalty Tickets

Fixed-penalty notices, for littering or illegal parking, for example, are a fact of contemporary life. They are designed to reduce paperwork and expense by allowing police officers and certain other public officers to deal with certain low level anti-social behaviour with on-the-spot penalties.

 

The fixed-penalty notice is not a fine or a criminal conviction. A person issued with a fixed-penalty notice can opt not to pay it and challenge it in court. If the fixed-penalty notice is neither paid nor challenged in court within the time allowed in the notice, the penalty, and any additional penalty prescribed by the relevant Ordinance, may be enforced in the same way as fines are enforced. Even so, this is not a conviction.

 

Section 2(3) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance (Cap. 297) ("RHO") provides that the payment or recovery of a fixed penalty, or any additional penalty, under the Fixed Penalty (Traffic Contraventions) Ordinance(Cap. 237), the Fixed Penalty (Criminal Proceedings) Ordinance (Cap. 240), the Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness Offences) Ordinance (Cap. 570), the Fixed Penalty (Smoking Offences) Ordinance (Cap. 600) or the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance (Cap. 611) is not a conviction for the purposes of section 2(1) or 2(1A) of the RHO.

 

Correspondingly, except for the purposes of recovery of the fixed penalty and any additional penalty due for late payment, no evidence is admissible in any proceedings which tends to show that that individual has paid, or been ordered to pay, a fixed-penalty notice. Payment of, or an order to pay, a fixed penalty notice, or any failure to disclose a fixed penalty notice is not a lawful or proper ground for dismissing or excluding a person from any office, occupation or employment or for treating them less favourably than other employees because of the fixed-penalty notice.

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