7. Related to private roads
Private roads can be quite common in Hong Kong. For example, roads inside university campuses and housing estates are private roads.
The distinction between “road” and “private road”, however, is somewhat meaningless in the context of a traffic offence. The reason is: sections 117 and 118 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap.374 of the Laws of Hong Kong) make it clear that all major traffic offences are applicable to private roads as well as roads. Section 119 of the same Ordinance also expressly provides that in criminal proceedings involving a traffic offence, it shall be sufficient for the prosecution “to show that the place where that offence was committed was either a road or private road, without showing that the place was one or the other”.
- Mr. R is a very rich man owning a large piece of land and several luxurious sport cars. Can he let his 10-year old son drive one of his sport cars on that piece of private land? Let’s assume further that that piece of land is completely barren and there is virtually no road at all. Can he argue that he has not done anything wrong on any road (irrespective of whether it is a private road) because there is no road?