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Private cars from Hong Kong have begun driving to Guangdong province, as part of a test run that will eventually allow for increased vehicle traffic between the mainland and the special administrative region. Beginning on April 27th, private cars registered in Hong Kong will be eligible to enter Guangdong.
The daily quota in the first phase of the trial scheme is only 50 cars. Currently, vehicles are only allowed to make one round trip to and from Guangdong province within 7 days. This is in addition to the existing system of cross-border permits extended to 2,000 mainland vehicles.
Paul Law drives to the Chinese mainland on a regular basis. As a car lover and avid driver, he says that the roads are longer and wider in the mainland. Therefore, it is a popular destination for many Hong Kong car clubs.
However, drivers should make sure that they have adequate insurance coverage. The existing motor insurance plans in Hong Kong and the mainland only cover traffic accidents in the respective areas. In Hong Kong, licensing of vehicles requires valid insurance which covers third party liability up to 120, 000 HKD.
Paul Law, president of HK Motor Vehicles Import and Export Association, said, "120, 000 HKD is definitely not enough. Also, it only covers the third party, and not the car itself, or the driver, passenger and owner. Even for the third party, what if 120,000 HKD is not enough? The owner has to take all this into consideration."
The second phase of the scheme will allow private cars from Guangdong to drive to Hong Kong. Since the announcement in February, the scheme has aroused heated debates among Hong Kong residents.
Paul Law, president of HK Motor Vehicles Import and Export Association, said, "Many feel that it is important for mainland drivers to understand Hong Kong traffic regulations, and are concerned about the different driving habits of both places. Drivers who are unaware of traffic rules may cause unnecessary traffic jams."
Implementation of the second phase of the Scheme will involve legislative amendments, to provide a legal basis for the issuance of temporary licenses to Guangdong private cars and for relevant fees.
Currently, there is no timetable for the implementation of the second phase of the scheme. But the Hong Kong SAR government says that they will work closely with Guangdong authorities to further study and discuss the details of the second phase only after smooth operation of the first phase.