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SMS sender scheme expanded

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

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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