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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

EPD takes action on concrete plants

The Environmental Protection Department said it does not tolerate concrete batching plants operating without a licence and will make every effort to stop any illegal operations.

 

The department made the statement in response to media reports yesterday of a concrete batching plant at 20 Tung Yuen Street in Yau Tong continuing to operate without holding a valid Specified Process Licence (SPL).

 

The department has been closely monitoring the operation of two plants, both owned by China Concrete. The other plant is at 22 Tung Yuen Street in Yau Tong.

 

Regarding the plant at 20 Tung Yuen Street, the Air Pollution Control Appeal Board dismissed an appeal lodged by China Concrete against the department’s refusal of its application for renewal of an SPL for the plant on November 22.

 

Under the Air Pollution Control (Specified Processes) Regulations, the plant’s SPL ceased to be valid with immediate effect and the department issued a letter requesting that all works be halted.

 

The department’s officers entered the plant for inspection and examined surveillance footage on November 23. They did not find the plant’s work to be in operation. However, concrete mixers were seen being taken in and out of the plant at 22 Tung Yuen Street.

 

During a follow-up inspection on November 24, the plant at 20 Tung Yuen Street was found to have resumed operations.

 

The department said it is conducting joint operations with relevant departments and has also sought advice from the Department of Justice on the possibility of applying for an injunction to stop the plant’s from operating illegally.

 

With regard to the plant at 22 Tung Yuen Street, an appeal lodged by the plant was dismissed by the board some time ago. Prior to this month, the department had initiated a total of 32 prosecution summonses against the plant for not complying with air pollution abatement notices and operating without a valid licence. These cases are currently being handled by the court.

 

Meanwhile, the department has applied for a court injunction for the plant to cease operations. The injunction is being scheduled for hearing.

 

The department is also working on legislative amendments to the Air Pollution Control Ordinance to enhance enforcement powers for closing illegal premises and enable it to handle similar cases more efficiently and effectively in the future.

 

The amendments are set to be introduced in the Legislative Council in the first quarter of next year.


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