Bonnie Vegetables fined again for noise violations
Local retailer Bonnie Vegetables and Fruit has been prosecuted once again for repeated violations of Hong Kong’s Noise Control Ordinance (NCO).
The firm’s conviction that a booming, irritating promotional soundtrack was its best chance of luring customers to check out its produce has spectacularly backfired over the past year with snowballing fines now in excess of HK$110,000 (US$14,070).
The business was hit yesterday with an $27,000 ($3450) fine from the Fanling Magistrates’ Courts for profoundly annoying local residents, as well as an additional $12,000 ($1535) fine against the company’s director, who was found criminally liable of contravening the NCO.
The ruling follows a similar decision two months ago to slap an $8000 ($1025) fine on the firm – and another $5000 ($640) against the director – for exactly the same offense. That decision by the court was notable even then as the second prosecution of the business within a year for its exasperatingly persistent promotional racket.
A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said that during the inspections in December last year, the department discovered that three branches of Bonnie Vegetables and Fruit on Kwong Fuk Road and Heung Sze Wui Street in Tai Po, as well as Hop Choi Street in Yuen Long, were proudly broadcasting the promotional recordings through high-volume loudspeakers, causing considerable aggravation amongst nearby residents.
After the series of law enforcement actions taken by the EPD, the number of noise complaints against the shops in Tai Po and Yuen Long has largely reduced. Considering Bonnie Vegetables and Fruit’s particular confidence in the effectiveness of its strategy despite previous reprimands, however, the chances of further appearances in court for the firm are not insignificant.
More responsible retailers are reminded that promotional recordings should be contained within their shop area and should not cause a disturbance to people outside – otherwise, it constitutes an offence. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 for each offence. For repeat offenders, the relevant operators will also be criminally liable for the offences once convicted.