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Unpaid smoking fines could lead to visitor ban

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The government is executing a territory-wide campaign to ban indoors smoking and in public places, and non-residents who break the rules and fail to pay the fine will be barred from re-entering the city.
Authorities released figures on the first month of enforcing the smoking ban, with 260 fixed-fine penalty tickets (MOP 600 each) issued to smokers who violated the new law aimed at improving air-quality in the city.
But the official statistics also showed that only around 60 percent of the law-breakers had paid the fine, while the remaining 40 percent were yet to face the music.
The government said that all outstanding tickets exceeding the payment deadline would be transferred to the Finance Bureau, which would then enforce a compulsory levy arrangement. Non-residents fleeing the city without shouldering the fine will be barred from re-entering it.
According to the statistics, most the rule-breakers were males and all penalty tickets were issued without violent incidents. But the authority did not provide a breakdown on the number of residents and non-residents who were fined in the past month.
The Health Bureau officers issued most the tickets, while 41 of them (or 15.8 percent) were issued by police officers. During last month a total of 18,760 venues were inspected.

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