- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - Honolulu police officers have begun enforcing a ban on sitting and lying down on sidewalks in Chinatown.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/13Xg4Js ) the enforcement began Monday after two weeks of handing out warnings.

Officers had issued two warnings by midday Monday, and had not issued citations or made any arrests at that time.

The ban is in effect from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., and merchants in Chinatown said they’re hoping the ban will result in more visitors and more business.

“It’s much cleaner,” said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business and Community Association. “I’m so happy about it.”

On Monday afternoon River Street - where homeless people often camp - was clear, although Aala Park, across the channel and outside Chinatown, appeared to be busy.

Most of the streets in Chinatown were clear of people lying down or camping, except for one street near the River of Life Mission.

Rita Luke, owner of a store called Island Keepsakes, said she appreciates the fact officers were asking the homeless people to move on. But she said some people appeared to be merely walking around the block and returning to where they started.

“I’m seeing the same people in the usual spots,” Luke said.

Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said most of the homeless people left the area during a two-week “educational period” before Monday. During that time, she said, officers reported 900 interactions with the public, handed out more than 1,000 help cards with information about services and contacted 138 businesses.

The ban follows one in Waikiki that was enacted in September. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Dec. 2 signed a bill expanding the city’s sit-lie ordinance into downtown Honolulu and 14 other business districts throughout Oahu. Aside from Chinatown, the ban extends to parts of Honolulu and neighborhoods from Wahiawa to Kaneohe.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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