Signboards removed in safety drive

Four abandoned signboards in Mong Kok were removed yesterday as part of the territory-wide cleaning exercise supervised by deputy Chief Secretary Warner Cheuk Wing-hing.

The Buildings Department said more than 1,700 abandoned signs will be removed or repaired in a year, with at least 1,800 signs cleared next year.

Supervised by Cheuk and the director of buildings, Clarice Yu Po-mei, the removal works were carried out at 8.30am to avoid disruption of traffic or inconvenience to shops nearby and pedestrians.

Acting on complaints from the public, the Buildings Department issued dangerous structure removal orders to the owners of the four abandoned signboards that were attached to external walls.

They were required to remove the signboards within 60 days.

But the signboards had not been removed despite the removal notices expiring, so the department arranged removal work yesterday.

The department has also stepped up enforcement action against dangerous and abandoned signboards in recent years by conducting surveys in districts with high pedestrian and vehicle flows.

The department completed a survey in Sham Shui Po last month with about 300 removal orders issued and more than 700 dangerous or abandoned signboards removed or repaired.

The survey in Tsuen Wan is ongoing and the department estimated that about 140 notices will be issued, involving 200 dangerous or abandoned signboards.

The Building Department said if a signboard is abandoned or has become dangerous, irrespective of whether it is legal or not, removal order under the public health and municipal services ordinance will be issued to the owner.

"If the notice is not complied with, the Buildings Department will arrange for removing the signboard and recover the costs from the signboard owner," it said yesterday.