MORE than a dozen reporters from across the city joined Futian police Sunday night for spot checks of entertainment and leisure venues in the Shuiwei area, where smokers were caught on the spot.
At the Jinyu Huangchao KTV club, a 37-year-old man who identified himself as Guo Hua was fined 50 yuan (US$7.27) after being caught smoking inside a room, while Xu Weiping, the manager of the club, received a penalty warning from the police and was required to take a training session at a police station that night. The club will receive a 30,000 yuan fine if it is found to have failed to remain smoke-free.
Another man, who gave only his surname, Luo, was also fined 50 yuan after being caught smoking at the Ganglong Billiard City, while Ganglong received a penalty warning. Another billiard parlor received a penalty warning after cigarette butts were found there.
"Venues that violate the smoking ban will receive a warning if it's their first offense, and will be fined up to 30,000 yuan if they are caught again," Lin Yanjun, deputy head of Fuqiang Police Station, told reporters.
Entertainment and leisure venues like bars, KTV clubs, tea houses, and massage and bath parlors were included in Shenzhen's smoking ban Jan. 1 after a more-than-two-year grace period for those venues ended.
Policemen and other law enforcers, including the city's health commission, are asking reporters to join them as they raid venues across the city throughout this month. At least nine more raids are expected in the coming weeks. Regular raids will start May 1.
Shenzhen's smoking ban, said to be the harshest of its kind in China, stipulates fines between 50 yuan and 500 yuan for individual violators and up to 30,000 yuan for operators of nonsmoking venues who fail to comply with the ban.
By the end of January, the city had fined more than 41,000 individual smokers, totaling roughly 2.1 million yuan, as well as eight venue operators, totaling 210,000 yuan, Shenzhen Tobacco Control Association said last month. The city issued its first penalty March 8, 2014, after enacting the partial smoking ban March 1, 2014.
Entertainment and leisure venues are the most plagued with smoking. Jinyu Huangchao's Xu, with a cigarette in his hand as he met with police officers and reporters Sunday night, said that it's difficult to keep his club totally smoke-free as a high proportion of visitors are smokers.
Li Ling, a manager of Gang-long, agreed. " We abided by the ban strictly at the beginning but our daily revenue dropped to around 3,000 yuan from 5,000 yuan," she said. "We were forced to turn a blind eye to smokers."
Roughly 23 percent of Shenzhen residents aged above 15 smoke, compared with 18.3 percent in 2014, the latest survey by the tobacco control association showed. More than 6 million Shenzhen residents are secondhand smokers, the survey found.