Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 6 February 2002

A 01/02-16

Legislative Council

Agenda
Wednesday 6 February 2002 at 2:30pm

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Immigration (Amendment) Regulation 200214/2002
2.Air Pollution Control (Motor Vehicle Fuel) (Amendment) Regulation 200215/2002
3.Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading (Annual Returns) (Amendment) Rules 200216/2002
4.Securities and Futures Commission (Annual Returns) (Amendment) Rules 200217/2002
5.Solicitors' Accounts (Amendment) Rules 200218/2002
6.Tax Reserve Certificates (Rate of Interest) (No. 2) Notice 200219/2002
7.Drug Dependent Persons Treatment and Rehabilitation Centres (Licensing) Ordinance (10 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 200220/2002


Other Papers

1. No.53-Report by the Board of Governors of The Prince Philip Dental Hospital for the period from 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Health and Welfare)

2. No.54-Hong Kong Arts Development CouncilAnnual Report 2000-2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Home Affairs)

3. No.55-The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Annual Report 2000-2001 and the Financial Statements and Auditor's Report for the year ended 30 June 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Home Affairs)

4. No.56-Employees Retraining Board Annual Report 2000-2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

5. No.57-Li Po Chun Charitable Trust FundAnnual Report for the period 1 September 2000 to 31 August 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Home Affairs)

6. No.58-Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Reports of the Director of Audit on the Accounts of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the year ended 31 March 2001 and the Results of Value for Money Audits (Report No. 37) and Supplemental Reports of the Public Accounts Committee on Report Nos. 35 and 36 of the Director of Audit on the Results of Value for Money Audits (February 2002 - P.A.C. Report No. 37)
(to be presented by Hon Eric LI, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who will address the Council)

7. Report of the Bills Committee on Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon Ambrose LAU, Chairman of the Bills Committee )


II. Questions

1. Hon Ambrose LAU to ask: (Translation)

It is learnt that the number of bankruptcy petitions rose to an all-time high of over 13 000 last year. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows how the numbers of bankruptcy cases in Hong Kong in the past 10 years compare with the relevant figures for neighbouring countries in Asia;

    (b)whether it has assessed the impact of the soaring bankruptcy cases on Hong Kong's economy; if so, of the assessment results; and

    (c)of the measures it will take to prevent debtors from abusing the bankruptcy mechanism to evade liabilities?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services

2. Hon Andrew CHENG to ask:
(Translation)

The Tseung Kwan O Extension of the MTR Corporation Limited ("MTRCL") and the West Rail of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation will commence operation in this year and next year respectively. Regarding the fare structures of these two rail lines, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows how the latest construction cost estimates for these two rail lines compare with their respective original estimates;

    (b)in order to alleviate the burden of travelling expenses on the public, it has discussed with the two railway corporations matters relating to the determination of the fare structures of these two rail lines (including suggesting that the fares should reflect the actual project costs instead of the estimates); if so, of the outcome of the discussions; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)it will discuss with the franchised bus companies concerned the reduction of fares for buses travelling to and from Tseung Kwan O, so as to provide the lower bus fare level as a reference point for the MTRCL in determining the fare structure of its Tseung Kwan O Extension; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

3. Hon CHAN Yuen-han to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the issue of private enterprises relocating some of their businesses or production processes out of Hong Kong and consequently laying off a substantial number of their local staff, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has analyzed the reasons for private enterprises relocating businesses or production processes out of Hong Kong; if it has, of the results of the analysis;

    (b)it has assessed the number of private enterprises which will relocate businesses or production processes out of Hong Kong in the next few years, and the impact of such relocations on the local job market; if it has, of the details; and

    (c)it will formulate policies to encourage these enterprises to continue business development or production in Hong Kong, so as to safeguard the employment opportunities of local workers?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Industry

4. Hon Audrey EU to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding applications made to the courts by litigants in civil cases and defendants in criminal cases for their cases to be heard before a Cantonese-speaking judge, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:
    (a)the respective numbers and percentages of judges at various levels of courts who can conduct hearings in both English and Cantonese;

    (b)whether the courts would normally allow such applications, where they are made at the fixing of hearing dates or earlier and such cases are suitable to be heard in Cantonese; if not, the reasons for it; and

    (c)whether the Judiciary has set any target to facilitate the hearing of all suitable cases in Cantonese by Cantonese-speaking judges; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for it?
Public Officer to reply : Chief Secretary for Administration

5. Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung to ask:
(Translation)

A Frontier Closed Area ("FCA") is currently established south of the Hong Kong SAR's land administration boundary to serve as a buffer against illegal immigration, smuggling and other cross-boundary crimes. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of illegal immigrants ("IIs") intercepted within the FCA and those at other locations in each of the past five years;

    (b)whether advanced technological equipment has been applied to enhance the efficiency in patrolling the FCA and save manpower resources; and

    (c)of the further measures to be adopted to stop IIs from entering Hong Kong via the FCA?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

6. Dr Hon LO Wing-lok to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the regulation of alternative treatment modalities, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has defined and classified alternative treatment modalities;

    (b)whether it has conducted surveys on the popularity of alternative treatment modalities at present, and collected statistics on the number of persons who were injured, fell ill or died as a result of receiving alternative treatment over the past five years, and the details of such cases; and

    (c)of the other mechanisms, apart from the strict regulation on the utilization of alternative treatment modalities imposed on registered medical practitioners under the Professional Code and Conduct made by the Medical Council of Hong Kong, for regulating the utilization of alternative treatment modalities by other persons and the legal basis for such mechanisms; if there are no such mechanisms, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*7. Hon LI Fung-ying to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the Apprenticeship Scheme run by the Vocational Training Council ("VTC"), will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the new trades which were added to the Scheme in the past two years and the number of inspectors of apprentices newly appointed by VTC as a result; if no new trades were added, the reasons for that; and

    (b)the trades being considered by the VTC for addition to the Scheme?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*8. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the Civil Service Regulations and the terms of employment of serving civil servants, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the present legal status of the above Regulations; and

    (b)whether, according to the present legislation and the above Regulations, the Government can unilaterally change the terms of employment of serving civil servants, including their salaries and fringe benefits?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Civil Service

*9. Hon CHAN Kwok-keung to ask:
(Translation)

Under the Employment of Young Persons (Industry) Regulations (Cap. 57, sub. leg.), employers shall observe the following stipulations regarding the employment of young persons aged between 15 and 17 in any industrial undertaking: the young persons shall not work for more than eight hours in a day, their work shall not end later than 7 p.m., and they shall be allowed a meal or rest break of not less than half an hour after working continuously for more than five hours. As the definition of industrial undertaking includes "the preparation of food for consumption and sale on the premises where it is prepared", fast food shops are within the ambit of the Regulations. Nevertheless, it is learnt that some multinational fast food corporations have employed young persons below 18 years of age to work on shifts until late at night in fast food shops. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of inspections carried out by the Labour Department ("LD") at work places last year for enforcing the Regulations, together with a breakdown by the type of such work places;

    (b)whether LD discovered in the past two years cases in which employers had contravened the above stipulations; if so, of the number and details of such cases broken down by each stipulation; and

    (c)of the specific actions taken by LD targeted at the employment of young persons below 18 to work at fast food shops at night?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*10. Hon Eric LI to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of the current total number of staff in all public-funded organizations and statutory bodies of which the Government is the major shareholder, and the gross amounts of their monthly salary and personal emolument-related expenditure, and provide a comparison of these figures with those for the civil service? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Treasury

*11. Dr Hon David CHU to ask:
(Translation)

The register for optometrists is divided into four parts and different restrictions are imposed on the practice of optometrists registered in different parts of the register. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of complaints received over the past three years about optometrists violating the practice restrictions applicable to them;

    (b)the measures in place to ensure that optometrists do not violate the practice restrictions applicable to them; and

    (c)the measures in place to assist consumers in distinguishing optometrists who are subject to different practice restrictions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*12. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:


Severe competition in the construction industry in recent years has resulted in the award of some public works contracts at unrealistically low price. As some of these projects were poorly executed and did not conform to the contracts, the Government had to re-tender them. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of projects re-tendered by the Government in the last 24 months;

    (b)of the additional costs and time involved; and

    (c)whether it has assessed how the community has suffered due to the delayed completion of these projects; if so, of the details of the assessment?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Works

*13. Hon CHOY So-yuk to ask:
(Translation)

Currently, according to the licensing conditions of the amusement game centre licence issued under the Amusement Game Centres Ordinance (Cap. 435), amusement game centres which may only admit persons aged 16 or above are not permitted to operate beyond mid-night. On the other hand, some premises providing Internet games or computer games are operating round the clock as they are not subject to the provisions of the Ordinance, and attract a lot of teenagers to hang around there all night. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it plans to restrict the operating hours of such premises and bring them in line with those of the amusement game centres; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*14. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

I have learnt that householders who have purchased, under the Tenants Purchase Scheme, the public housing flats they occupy may replace the metal gates of their flats at their own expense, provided that the new metal gates comply with the fire safety regulations, whereas other tenants in the same housing estates who have not purchased their own flats are not permitted to do so. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the reasons for not permitting these tenants to replace the metal gates at their own expense?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

*15. Hon Albert CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

Members of the public have reflected to me that although their young children were assessed as having optometric problems during check-ups at the child assessment centres of the Department of Health, the centres made no ensuing arrangements to further examine the children or refer them to other service units and only told the children to return one year later to receive check-ups again. Regarding the services provided by these assessment centres, will the Government inform this Council :
    (a)of the average waiting time for optometric services for children in each assessment centre at present, and the average annual number of children provided with optometric assessment services by each optometrist in the assessment centres; and

    (b)whether there are specific measures to improve the services of the assessment centres; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*16. Ir Dr Hon HO Chung-tai to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that cracks have been found in some of the main columns in the Fu Mau Street Market of the Housing Department ("HD"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the causes of the cracks in the main columns in the above market and the remedial measures to be taken;

    (b)of the market buildings of HD which have similar structural problems in the past two years and the details of such problems; and

    (c)whether HD plans to inspect the structural conditions of all its market buildings within this year so as to ensure public safety?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

*17. Hon LAU Kong-wah to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the infrastructural project of the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai Rail Link being undertaken by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation ("KCRC"), will the Government inform this Council if it knows:
    (a)the latest progress and the estimated completion date of the project, and how they compare with the original plan;

    (b)the total number of complaints concerning the project received by the KCRC so far and the details of such complaints; and

    (c)whether the project in progress has affected the buildings, streets and facilities in the vicinity of the construction sites; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

*18. Hon Emily LAU to ask:


With regard to the public's access to private land traversed by four designated hiking trails, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)whether owners of private land have the right to block the public's access to their land traversed by the trails, or levy a charge for such access;

    (b)of the respective locations of various pieces of private land traversed by the MacLehose Trail, the Wilson Trail and the Lantau Trail; and

    (c)whether the Executive Authorities are required to enter into agreement with the relevant land owners before the designation of a hiking trail which traverses private land?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning and Lands

*19. Hon Ambrose LAU to ask:
(Translation)

It was reported that the Social Welfare Department has commissioned a non-governmental organization to set up an all-night drop-in activity centre in Kwun Tong in the middle of this year for young people, to provide services to young people who regularly hang around in the streets or in places of entertainment late at night. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the estimated number of young people that can be served by the centre each day and the estimated expenditure incurred each year;

    (b)whether it has conducted surveys or studies on the activities that are appealing to these young people and suitable for these centres; if so, of the details; and

    (c)whether, as a complement to the setting up of the centre, it will increase the staffing for the outreach social work teams serving these young people?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

*20. Hon Audrey EU to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding statistics on appeal cases heard at various levels of courts in the past three years, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers and percentages of criminal and civil appeal cases heard in the Court of Final Appeal, Court of Appeal of the High Court and Court of First Instance of the High Court, which were allowed (including those allowed in part), together with a breakdown by appeals against final judgements and those against interlocutory judgements; and

    (b)of the respective numbers of application for leave to appeal which were granted by the Court of Final Appeal and Court of Appeal of the High Court?
Public Officer to reply : Chief Secretary for Administration

*For written reply.

III. Bills

Second Reading (Debate to resume), Committee Stage and Third Reading

Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (Amendment) Bill 2001:Secretary for Financial Services

IV. Members' Motions

Waiving Government rates

Hon Tommy CHEUNG:
(Translation)

That, in view of the sustained economic downturn and the persistently high unemployment rate in Hong Kong at present, this Council urges the Government to waive the Government rates for all the four quarters in the next financial year, so as to alleviate people's hardship and reduce the operating costs of businesses.

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Treasury

V. Request for Special Leave of the Council to Give Evidence of Council Proceedings


Request made under section 7 of the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap 382) and Rule 90 of the Rules of Procedure for special leave of the Council to give evidence of Council proceedings

The request of the Secretary for Justice has been set out in the paper issued on 29 January 2002 under LC Paper No. CB(3) 370/01-02

VI. Motion on Adjournment

Hon Martin LEE : (Translation)

Looking back on the Chief Executive's administration during his term of office.

Public Officer to attend : Chief Secretary for Administration

Clerk to the Legislative Council