The Ombudsman said on Wednesday it will initiate an investigation into an oversight by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) to file layout plans of public parks and other venues it manages – a gaffe that led to the suspension of a crackdown on activities such as smoking and hawking there.

The department admitted earlier that it had not filed the layout plans for 450 venues such as parks, playgrounds and beaches with the Land Registry.

Under the law, layout plans of public parks and other venues managed by the LCSD should be filed with the Land Registry, to give the department a solid legal footing to enforce specific laws.

After the legal basis of enforcement actions by staff in those venues came under question, enforcement had been suspended for several months from February, until the problem was rectified in June.

Authorities had, for example, issued smoking fines and summonses against riding bicycles.

A preliminary inquiry by the Ombudsman has found that the LCSD should initiate the gazetting procedures when the construction of a public pleasure ground is near completion, and it should inform the Lands Department of the filing of the layout plans concerned.

The LCSD also indicated to the Ombudsman that it would review its workflow.

But the Ombudsman Winnie Chiu said she considered it necessary to find out more about the reasons for the delay or omissions of the filing, so that effective measures can be introduced to prevent similar omissions in future.