It looks like residents in at a Kowloon housing estate will have to put up with the stink of urine near their homes indefinitely after the issue failed to be resolved in a Hong Kong Legislative Council meeting.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said a number of residents had complained that there was often a stench around the Island Harbourview Public Transport Interchange in Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon.

To said residents suspected that professional drivers had poured urine into the planters and discarded the containers.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) in Hong Kong recorded five cases of complaints over the dumping of urine in public places last year and another seven cases between 2012 and 2015.

No one had been prosecuted because an investigation found the complaints could not be substantiated, Ko Wing-man, the Secretary for Food and Health, said in reply to To’s written question on Wednesday.

Hygiene officers are not empowered under current legislation to seize evidence for prosecution against the unlawful disposal of waste, including urine, in public places, but have to seek assistance from the police if necessary, Ko said.

There was no need to amend existing regulations as dumping of urine in public places was uncommon, he said.