Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 17 April 2002

A 01/02-22

Legislative Council

Agenda
Wednesday 17 April 2002 at 2:30 pm

I. Address by the Chief Executive

The Chief Executive to address the Council on the accountability of principal officials.

II. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
Hong Kong Airport (Control of Obstructions) (Exemption) (Amendment) Order 2002 49/2002

Other Papers

1. No.70 - Summaries and Revenue Analysis by Head General Revenue Account Estimates for the year ending 31 March 2003
(to be presented by Financial Secretary)

2. No.71 - Approved Estimates of Income and Expenditure for the financial year 2002-03Securities and Futures Commission
(to be presented by Secretary for Financial Services)


III. Questions for Written Replies

1. Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Planning Department ("PD") drew up the planning brief for the South East Kowloon Development ("SEKD") about three years ago. However, the planning brief had to be revised because certain proposals therein were opposed by the trade. In June last year, the PD conducted a public consultation exercise on the revised planning brief and recently it received a research report on the revised brief from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The PD subsequently decided that a consultant should be commissioned to study the recommendations in the report and the study would last for one year. As a result, the implementation of the SEKD has been further delayed. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) when the planning brief for the SEKD is expected to be finalized and how this schedule compares to the original schedule;

    (b)whether it has made a cost comparison between the original and the latest planning briefs; and

    (c)whether it will conduct another public consultation exercise after finalizing the planning brief; if so, of the details and timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning and Lands

2. Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah to ask:
(Translation)

A recent survey conducted by my office revealed that on the main streets throughout the territory, the percentages of shops and buildings displaying building numbers ranged between 25% and 81%. If calculated on the basis of the three regions, namely Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, the percentages ranged between 40% and 66%, which were lower than the results of the sample surveys carried out by the Administration in 1998 and in 2000, which stood at 77% to 91% and at 81% to 89% respectively. At the same time, it was found that there were no or not enough street name plates on many streets, or that the name plates were improperly located or were of inconsistent shapes. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it will formulate a long-term and specific target for the ratio of shops and private buildings displaying building numbers; if it will, whether it will calculate the ratio on the basis of streets; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it will appeal to users of shop premises, owners of private buildings or owners' corporations for the display of building numbers, and provide them with practical assistance;

    (c)whether it will consider collaborating with District Councils to improve the ratio of display of building numbers on a district basis; and whether it will consider issuing instructions to impose a specified time limit on buildings for displaying building numbers, and prosecuting those who fail to comply with the instructions in accordance with the law; and

    (d)of the concrete measures in place to improve the situation in which the street name plates in Hong Kong are insufficient, improperly located and of inconsistent shapes?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning and Lands

3. Hon Ambrose LAU to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the Early Enrolment of Top Secondary Six Students Scheme launched by a number of local universities for direct enrolment of students who obtained outstanding academic results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has studied the pros and cons of the Scheme; if so, of the details; and

    (b)it knows if the universities concerned have conducted comprehensive consultations with secondary school principals and the education sector before launching the scheme; if so, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

4. Hon IP Kwok-him to ask:
(Translation)

Many bars in Hong Kong are situated in residential areas. Many are allowed to sell liquor until midnight and even until early morning during weekends and holidays. Their customers often get drunk late at night, yelling noisily and causing trouble in the streets, hence posing serious nuisances to residents nearby. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the criteria and justifications for imposing restrictions on bars by stipulating different liquor selling hours for different days; and

    (b)whether, in considering applications for the grant or renewal of liquor licences, the authorities will take the number of complaints lodged by residents nearby to the police about nuisances caused by bars and the details of such complaints as decisive factors in making decisions; if not, of the important factors contributing to its decisions to grant or renew liquor licences, thus allowing those bars likely to cause or having track records of causing nuisances to residents nearby to operate until midnight or even early morning?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment and Food

5. Hon NG Leung-sing to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding civil service pay adjustments, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)as Article 100 of the Basic Law provides that public servants serving in all Hong Kong government departments before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may all remain in employment with their pay, allowances, benefits and conditions of service (the remuneration package) no less favourable than before, whether it has studied if the remuneration package refers to its cash price at that time or its real value, in the context of the expression "no less favourable than before"; if so, of the findings of the study and the relevant arguments; and

    (b)whether the movement of the price index has all along been a major consideration in determining the size of civil service pay adjustment, and whether an alternative formula has been adopted in the light of the price index falling to a negative level; if so, of its rationale for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Civil Service

6. Hon Audrey EU to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the post of Commandant of the Immigration Service Training School in the Immigration Department was upgraded from the original rank of Assistant Principal Immigration Officer to the rank of Principal Immigration Officer in late January this year and, at the same time, 10 posts in more junior ranks were deleted. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the additional expenditure to be incurred as a result of the upgrading of the post concerned and the savings to be achieved with the deletion of the 10 posts in more junior ranks in the fiscal year 2002-03;

    (b)whether the deletion of the 10 posts in question has been necessitated by the need to make up for the additional expenditure incurred by upgrading the post concerned; and

    (c)whether an assessment has been made of the impact of the deletion of these posts on the delivery of services by the Immigration Department; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

7. Hon James TO to ask:
(Translation)

Some vehicle owners have converted the headlamps of their vehicles into high intensity ones emitting beams of blue light, and in case of improper installation, the dazzling light emitted by these high intensity headlamps will blur the vision of drivers and other road users and may cause traffic accidents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will control the conversion of headlamps into high intensity ones emitting beams of blue light; if so, of the concrete plan for implementation and the timetable for public consultation; if not, the reasons for that? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

8. Hon LEUNG Fu-wah to ask:
(Translation)

According to the Electricity Ordinance and the Electricity (Registration) Regulations (Cap. 406), an applicant who applies for registration as an electrical worker for the first time, for changes to the grade of electrical work he is qualified to do, or for additional electrical work he is entitled to do, shall, in addition to the specified qualification requirements, submit certain certificates, including reference letters, certificates of services or certificates of employment for electrical wiring and installation work. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the numbers of applicants who applied for registration under the Ordinance, those who were registered, and those whose registration was refused, with a breakdown by the reasons for refusal, over the past three years;

    (b)of the number of appeals by applicants whose registration was refused over the past three years; and

    (c)whether the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services has discretion to approve such applications; if so, of the criteria adopted by the Director in exercising such discretion, and the number of cases in which such power was exercised and the reasons for using such power on each occasion, over the past three years?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Services

9. Hon Kenneth TING to ask:
(Translation)

Under the SME Business Installations and Equipment Loan Guarantee Scheme ("BIG") launched by the Government at the end of last year, the Government acts as the guarantor of individual small and medium enterprises ("SMEs") to facilitate their securing loans from banks and financial institutions. The applications concerned must be lodged with the Trade and Industry Department ("TID") through relevant lending institutions. It has been reported that a plastics recovery and recycling company has complained of its failure to secure any loans six months after it had lodged its application with a lending institution, and the company was on the verge of closure. TID has responded that it will study the feasibility of allowing SMEs to lodge their applications directly with TID. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the progress of the study on the feasibility of allowing SMEs to lodge their applications for loan guarantee directly with TID; and

    (b)the total number of applications so far received under BIG from businesses related to environmental protection industries and, among these applications, the number of those which have secured loans from banks and financial institutions as well as the total amount of loans involved?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Industry

10. Hon Michael MAK to ask:
(Translation)

The Hospital Authority ("HA") ceased enrolling nursing students in 1999. People who are interested in joining the nursing profession can take the higher diploma or degree courses in nursing offered by the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong or Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It has been reported that the Administration has recently requested Queen Elizabeth Hospital of the HA to organize higher diploma course on nursing this September and to enroll nursing students. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed if such request contravenes the Government's policy on upgrading nurses to degree level; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)of the details about the enrolment of nursing students on this occasion; and

    (c)whether the tuition of the course concerned is collected at cost from the nursing students or paid out of the public fund?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

A traffic accident involving four residents' coaches ("RCs") occurred at the Kwai Tsing Road section of Route 3 in Kwai Chung on 15 March this year and more than 100 people were injured. It is learnt that one of the RCs was suspected by the Police of operating without a licence. Regarding the Government's measures to crack down on operators of unlicensed RCs, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of prosecutions instituted by the Police against operators of unlicensed RCs in the past two years;

    (b)the number of unlicensed RCs, as well as the routes usually serviced by these RCs; and

    (c)the effective measures in place to crack down on operators of unlicensed RCs so as to safeguard the safety of passengers, in addition to requiring the licensees to display the passengers service licence certificate on the windscreen and a copy of the Details of Approved Residents' Service on the nearside front window of the vehicle; whether prosecutions will be instituted against operators of unlicensed RCs on an on-going basis?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

12. Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the planned development density adopted for the Housing Department's proposed Tsing Yi Area 10 Phases 4 and 5 public housing development project (i.e. the redevelopment of the shopping arcade in Cheung Hang Estate and the construction of four additional public rental housing ("PRH") blocks in the estate), and the Housing Authority's switch from using the "development ratio" to "plot ratio" in calculating the development density of PRH estates since the middle of 2000, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the original basis adopted for calculating the planned development density of the development project mentioned above, and whether the Housing Department has subsequently made an application for changing the relevant calculation basis; if so, the progress in vetting the application;

    (b)of the permitted maximum plot ratio for the site at Tsing Yi Area 10 as prescribed in the latest outline zoning plan for the area;

    (c)whether the Planning Department, Transport Department, Environmental Protection Department or other government departments have expressed objection to or reservations over the Housing Department's proposed change to the development density of Cheung Hang Estate; if so, of the details;

    (d)of the differences in the gross building floor area, site area and plot ratio of Cheung Hang Estate before and after the completion of the development project mentioned above, calculated in terms of "plot ratio";

    (e)of the differences in the gross building floor area, net area and development ratio of Cheung Hang Estate before and after the completion of the development project mentioned above, calculated in terms of "development ratio"; and

    (f)of the reasons for the Housing Authority's switching to using the "plot ratio" in calculating the development density of PRH estates, and the mechanism adopted by the authorities concerned for vetting and approving applications for changing the calculation basis of development density?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing

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

Recently, advertisements with the theme of "making fast money" have often been placed on newspapers, inviting men and women born in Hong Kong to respond, and those responding to the advertisements may be arranged to have nominal marriages with mainland residents, so that the latter can apply for settlement in Hong Kong in their capacity as spouses of Hong Kong residents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the police has deployed any officers to respond to such advertisements in the past three years, so as to collect evidence for prosecuting persons involved in the unlawful activities; if so, of the number of prosecutions instituted and the average penalty imposed by the court on those convicted;

    (b)of the specific plans to block entry to Hong Kong by mainland residents through such means; and

    (c)whether any mechanism is in place for regulating such advertisements which may involve unlawful activities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

14. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the European Union ("EU") alleged last month that some foodstuffs (such as chilled chickens, rabbits, prawns, crabs, honey, etc.) and pet feed exported from China contained prohibited antibiotics, and banned the import of such items. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has approached the authorities of EU and China for information concerning the above situation; if so, of the details;

    (b)Hong Kong has imported such items over the past three years; if so, of the quantity of each type of these items; and

    (c)it has conducted regular sample tests on such items for antibiotic contents over the past three years; if so, of the test results and measures taken against those confirmed to have contained antibiotics?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment and Food

15. Hon Albert CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that when the Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited planned to demolish Hilton Hotel for the construction of a commercial building (now the Cheung Kong Centre ("the Centre")), the company was granted the right to develop the government lot adjacent to the development site (i.e. where the Beaconsfield House and a public car park were then located) through private negotiations with the Government. At the end of last year, advertisement signs of the company were displayed on the public footbridge adjacent to the Centre. At the same time, areas originally planned as public sitting-out areas within the boundary of the Centre were being used for illegal parking, which might cause inconvenience to the public and pose risks to pedestrians. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details related to the public areas, sitting-out areas and car parks in the overall development plan of the Centre, including their exact locations, sizes and dates of completion;

    (b)of the locations of pedestrian walk ways in the development plan and their management rights; and

    (c)whether any mechanism is in place to regulate the above-mentioned display of advertisement signs and parking; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning and Lands

16. Hon SIN Chung-kai to ask:
(Translation)

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority ("OFTA") introduced number portability services for fixed telecommunications network services ("FTNS") in 1997 so that consumers might freely switch between service providers without having to change their telephone numbers. Moreover, the OFTA has issued the Industry Code of Practice for the Interconnection of Broadband and Narrowband Local Access Links ("Code of Practice"), requiring Donor Network Operators ("DNOs") to process the number portability requests ("NPRs") of Recipient Network Operators ("RNOs") within a specified time-frame. The OFTA ruled on 13 March this year that a DNO had breached the Code of Practice for its delay in processing 400-odd NPRs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the total number of NPRs received by FTNS providers over the past two years; and the average time required for members of the public to successfully switch to other FTNS providers, as well as the longest and the shortest waiting time;

    (b)as for the time for RNOs to receive responses from DNOs regarding the above 400-odd NPRs, of the average and the longest time by which the actual response time had exceeded that stipulated in the Code of Practice; and

    (c)of the measures to be put in place to ensure that delays in processing of NPRs by DNOs will not recur?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

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

It has been reported that the Government has required all universities in Hong Kong to hold exit English examination for their graduates. Regarding the English proficiency of university graduates, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the admission requirement in respect of English proficiency for BBA and LLB courses in all universities except the Open University of Hong Kong, in the past three years; the average grades which graduates during the same period had attained in Use of English in the Advanced Level Examination when they were admitted to these departments;

    (b)whether the universities have provided English courses for students of various departments to enhance their English proficiency over the past three years; if so, of the details;

    (c)the initial ideas of the universities on how the exit English examination should be conducted for their graduates; and

    (d)the scheduled time for implementing the exit English examination by the universities?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

18. Hon Emily LAU to ask:
(Translation)

It is learnt that when the land auction for a commercial site located at Hung Hom Bay was held in August 2001, both Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. ("Cheung Kong") and Sino China Enterprises Ltd. ("Sino China"), which had only been established for several months, participated in the bidding. Sino China eventually won the bid at a price lower than that expected by the market. In October the same year, Cheung Kong also succeeded in bidding for an adjacent commercial site at a price lower than that expected by the market. It was only after these two land auctions that the market came to realize that Sino China was wholly owned by Cheung Kong. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:
    (a)they have assessed if Cheung Kong's failure to make public its relationship with Sino China at an early stage has caused unfairness to the outcome of the bidding at the two land auctions; and

    (b)they will consider revising the rules for bidding land by stipulating that bidding companies have to disclose their background in order to enhance transparency as well as ensure fairness and justice; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning and Lands

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

It has been reported that the police have recently found that there might be discrepancies in accuracy in nearly half of the laser guns used to detect vehicular speed, and have suspended the use of 17 such laser guns since 6 March. The police has estimated that thousands of drivers might have been prosecuted because the vehicles which they drove were caught speeding by these laser guns, and has indicated that it would take the initiative to contact the drivers concerned to refund the fines. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)when the police will complete the review of all the cases concerned;

    (b)whether the supplier of this batch of laser guns has offered quality assurance to the police; if so, whether the authority concerned will claim compensation from the supplier if discrepancies in speed detection accuracy of these laser guns are confirmed; and

    (c)whether, apart from refunding the fines, any additional compensation will be offered to the drivers concerned?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport

20. Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting to ask:
(Translation)

It is learnt that the Administration intends to convert some vacant units in factory buildings into sports centres so as to provide more community sports facilities. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the districts where it intends to carry out such conversion works;

    (b)of the sports activities that are suitable for the converted venues; and

    (c)whether such sports centres will be managed by a government department or run by private operators?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Planning and Lands

IV. Bills

First Reading

1. Revenue Bill 2002

2. Revenue (No. 2) Bill 2002

3.Marine Fish Culture (Amendment) Bill 2002

4.United Nations (Anti-terrorism Measures) Bill

5. Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 2002


Second Reading (Debates to be adjourned)

1. Revenue Bill 2002 : Secretary for the Treasury

2.Revenue (No. 2) Bill 2002 :Secretary for the Treasury

3. Marine Fish Culture (Amendment) Bill 2002: Secretary for the Environment and Food

4. United Nations (Anti-terrorism Measures) Bill:Secretary for Security

5. Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 2002:Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

Appropriation Bill 2002:Financial Secretary
    (i) Proposed resolution under Rule 69(3) of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

    Hon James TO to move the following motion:


    RESOLVED that head 122 be reduced by $60,394,000 in respect of subhead 000.

    (ii) Proposed resolution under Rule 69(3) of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

    Hon James TO to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that head 122 be reduced by $94,355,000 in respect of subhead 103.


Clerk to the Legislative Council