Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 15 May 2002

A 01/02-25

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 15 May 2002 at 2:30 pm



I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.

Banking Ordinance (Amendment of Seventh Schedule) Notice 200263/2002


Other Papers

1. No.83-Securities and Futures CommissionAnnual Report 2001-2002

(to be presented by Financial Secretary)

2. No.84-The Government Minute in response to the Report No.37 of the Public Accounts Committee dated February 2002

(to be presented by Chief Secretary for Administration, who will address the Council)


II. Questions

1. Hon WONG Sing-chi to ask:(Translation)

Regarding the provision of support services to children who have been sexually abused, will the Government inform this Council:

    (a)of the number of child sexual abuse cases received by the Social Welfare Department in the past 10 years; whether it has estimated the percentage of this number in the total number of abuse cases which had actually taken place, as well as the number of victims who had been sexually abused but were not provided with the necessary support services; if such figures are not available, whether it will consider collecting them and conducting studies on them;

    (b)whether, to enable the victims to receive the necessary support services at an early stage, it will consider adopting measures to ameliorate the present situation, in the light of those cases where some children have been sexually abused without knowing that they have been so abused or without making it known to others, and where those receiving the reports have not consequentially reported them to the relevant authorities; and

    (c)whether special counselling and support services are provided to those who had been sexually abused in their childhood but were not provided with the necessary support services at that time; if so, whether efforts will be made to promote such services?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

With regard to tree-planting in various districts, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a) the procedures involved in the tree-planting programmes for various districts from the proposal stage to the implementation stage, the government department responsible for each procedure and the average time taken to complete the process;

    (b) the number of trees planted in various districts by government departments in each of the past three years; and

    (c)the details of the plans to plant more trees in various districts in the coming three years?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

The Financial Secretary stated in the 2002/03 Budget that the government would promote the development of "the local community economy". It has been reported that, in order to alleviate unemployment, the Government plans to promote the activities of on-street small traders to implement the concept of "the local community economy" and such activities would be promoted territory-wide shortly. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the definition of "the local community economy", together with the specific measures for implementation, including the details about the timetable, funding and staffing arrangement;

    (b) whether it will initiate a study on the concept, direction and long-term implementation measures of "the local community economy" and conduct comprehensive consultation in this regard, including organizing public forums; and

    (c)whether it will consider adopting the concept of "the local community economy" as a strategy for long-term economic and employment development, rather than just a short-term measure to alleviate unemployment, so as to diversify the economy and employment?
Public Officers to reply:Financial Secretary
Secretary for Home Affairs

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

On the 1st of this month, i.e. the first day of the "Labour Day Holidays Week" in the Mainland, large crowds of mainland tourists thronged the Lok Ma Chau Control Point for immigration clearance, and many of them had to wait for several hours for clearance, causing confusion and serious congestion there. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) whether it has assessed beforehand the number of tourists who would enter Hong Kong via the Lok Ma Chau Control Point on that day; if so, how the estimated figure compares with the actual number of arrivals;

    (b) whether it has reviewed the causes of the confusion at the Lok Ma Chau Control Point on that day; if so, of the details; and

    (c)of the measures to be adopted to ensure that various government departments will liaise and communicate closely with the relevant authorities in the Mainland to avoid the recurrence of similar incidents in the future?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

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

It was reported that the Hospital Authority ("HA") had stated that an estimated deficit of around $800 million to $900 million will be recorded for the current financial year, but HA would be able to cut its expenditure by way of cash management and reallocating existing resources to support some of the new services which are to be launched in this financial year and for which the Government has provided funding support. It is estimated that these measures will reduce the budget deficit to $580 million. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a) the specific details of HA's cash management; the scope exercisable by HA in its implementation; and whether HA has absolute power over the reallocation of funding for all of its services;

    (b) the new services that HA plans to support with existing resources, and whether the quality and quantity of such new services will be affected; and

    (c)the reasons for HA to have requested the provision of funding for all the new services when it can support some of the new services with existing resources?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

6. Hon Emily LAU to ask:
(Translation)

The medical insurance schemes provided by some insurance companies do not cover all the medical expenses incurred by the insured for treatment of serious or chronical illness in private hospital. As a result, some insured persons need to rely on public medical services during the late stage of their illness, thus increasing the burden on public funds. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:
    (a) they are aware of such a situation; and

    (b) having regard to such a situation, they have considered reviewing the regulatory mechanism of the insurance industry and adopting effective measures to ensure better health care protection for the public and reduce the burden on public medical services?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Financial Services
Secretary for Health and Welfare

*7. Hon Miriam LAU to ask: (Translation)

Improvement works are being undertaken to upgrade the vehicular border links and facilities for passenger and freight traffic at Lok Ma Chau Control Point in order to cope with the increasing flow of passenger and freight traffic. At the 5th Plenary of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference, both sides agreed in principle to put on trial the arrangement of "co-locating" immigration and customs facilities for cross-boundary passengers at Lok Ma Chau Control Point and Huanggang Border Control, whereby officers from Hong Kong and Shenzhen will conduct separate cross-boundary checks within the same premises. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a) consideration will be given to examining the feasibility of implementing "co-location" of boundary crossing facilities for freight traffic; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b) modifications will be made to the current and proposed improvement works at Lok Ma Chau Control Point in the light of the arrangement for "co-location" clearance of cross-boundary passengers; if so, of the details; and

    (c)consideration will be given to planning afresh the overall facilities at Lok Ma Chau Control Point upon the implementation of "co-location" clearance for cross-boundary passengers, and providing additional lanes for cross-boundary freight vehicles so as to expedite the customs clearance of such vehicles; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

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

Police statistics show that 160 000 counterfeit $10 coins were seized in the first quarter of this year, representing a three-fold increase over the figure of the same period last year. Besides, the number of counterfeit $100 bank notes seized also rose substantially. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the cases of counterfeiting currency or uttering counterfeit currency detected by the Police in the past two years which involved syndicated activities and their modus operandi;

    (b) whether it has studied the reasons for $10 coins being counterfeited in large quantities and considered enhancing the existing security design and features; and

    (c)of the measures against the increasing number of crimes related to counterfeiting currency or uttering counterfeit currency?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Financial Services

*9. Hon James TO to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the acting arrangements for the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Justice ("the Secretaries") and bureau secretaries during the periods when they are not in Hong Kong to discharge their duties, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the acting arrangements for the Secretaries and bureau secretaries during the periods when they are not in Hong Kong to discharge their duties; and

    (b) whether there have been cases in which no acting arrangements had been made in accordance with the prescribed procedures for the Secretaries and bureau secretaries during the periods when they were not in Hong Kong to discharge their duties over the past 24 months; if so, of the reasons for that and the details, including the number of days of their absence from Hong Kong without having made such arrangements and whether there had been occasions on which their decisions or instructions were required on certain matters; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Civil Service

*10. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the "Five-year Corporate Plan" of the Urban Renewal Authority ("URA") has been approved by the Financial Secretary, and URA will continue to acquire dilapidated premises for redevelopment projects. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a) it will submit the "Five-year Corporate Plan" to this Council for consideration; if so, when; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b) it knows the detailed procedures that URA needs to undergo in acquiring dilapidated premises for redevelopment projects; and

    (c)the owners concerned can accept the original purchase offers proposed by URA before the issuance of the order for resumption, i.e. when URA is applying under the Lands Resumption Ordinance (Cap. 124) for the resumption of premises for which no purchase agreements can be reached between URA and the owners?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Planning and Lands

*11. Hon HUI Cheung-ching to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Hong Kong Airport Authority ("AA") is concerned about the increasing amount of cargo for export switching to the airports in the Pearl River Delta ("PRD") and, to avoid vicious competition and to broaden the cargo base, AA is planning to cooperate with these airports. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a) it knows the amount of domestic cargo or Mainland cargo scheduled for export from Hong Kong which has switched to the airports in PRD since the commissioning of the Hong Kong International Airport ("HKIA"); and whether it has projected the growth of this amount in the next three years;

    (b) it has assessed the economic loss suffered or to be suffered by AA each year since the commissioning of HKIA and over the next three years as a result of the export of domestic and Mainland cargoes switching to the airports in PRD; and

    (c)it has considered implementing specific measures to strengthen the cooperation between HKIA and the airports in PRD in order to broaden the cargo base and achieve a win-win situation?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services

*12. Hon Howard YOUNG to ask:
(Translation)

Ping Shan, situated in Yuen Long of the New Territories, is one of the popular tourist attractions promoted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Yuen Long District Office. I recently discovered that refuse had piled up in the drains along the road leading to the Ping Shan Heritage Trail and works in progress on a construction site nearby had caused the emission of fugitive dust, leaving a bad impression on visitors. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the total number of complaints received last year concerning the poor environmental hygiene conditions of various tourist attractions promoted by the authorities concerned; and

    (b) how various government departments (including the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Lands Department) will work together to keep the promoted tourist attractions and their vicinity clean and pleasant?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services

*13. Hon Michael MAK to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Health and Welfare Bureau has set up a working group to study the co-operation between public and private hospitals; the Department of Health ("DH") will co-operate with private hospitals and has planned to launch, within a year, a pilot scheme under which private hospitals will be invited to provide the public with disease prevention services such as women's cervical screening. Patients of public hospitals may be transferred to private hospitals for elective surgery such as cataract extraction. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the membership of the working group, the organisations which they work for and their post titles;

    (b) whether a preliminary decision on the co-operation items of public and private hospitals has been made by the working group; if so, of the details, objectives and implementation schedule of the decision;

    (c)of the estimated number of women undergoing cervical screening in private hospitals under the pilot scheme jointly implemented by DH and private hospitals, of their age groups and the fees to be charged;

    (d)of the costs of cervical screening services currently provided by public hospitals, and how they compare with those provided by private hospitals;

    (e)of the types of patients to be transferred from public hospitals to private hospitals to receive treatment under the co-operation programme with private hospitals; the interface arrangements and average waiting time; whether a mechanism to protect the privacy of patients will be set up; and whether it will provide patients with detailed information on the services provided by and charges of private hospitals; and

    (f)whether it knows if private hospitals will adjust their fees and charges; if they will, of the details?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

Under Section 4 of the Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Ordinance (Cap. 515) ("the Ordinance"), a person who is a lawful successor in the male line of an indigenous villager, upon inheriting a small house holding from his father as a lessee, is exempted from liability to pay Government rent of an amount equal to 3% of the rateable value of the land leased from the date of lease extension. However, if the small house had been given to him by his father while the latter was still alive, he would not be granted such an exemption. The provision has caused grievances among the affected indigenous villagers in the New Territories. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) whether, in formulating Item 2 of Annex III to the Joint Declaration on "Land Leases" and Article 122 of the Basic Law, an interpretation was given regarding the legislative intent of the provisions concerned or the definition of "successor";

    (b) of the number of cases, since the commencement of the Ordinance, in which indigenous villagers have become ineligible for such exemption from payment of Government rent because of their failure to meet the requirements of Section 4 of the Ordinance, and its percentage in those cases in which indigenous villagers should have been eligible for rent exemption before the Ordinance came into operation;

    (c)of the number of complaints received since the commencement of the Ordinance in respect of non-eligibility for rent exemption in the said circumstances and, among these complaints, the number of those in which the complainants subsequently applied to court for judicial reviews, as well as the outcome of such reviews;

    (d)of the indigenous villager bodies which had been consulted at the drafting stage of the Ordinance, and their views on the Ordinance; and

    (e)whether, upon the implementation of the Ordinance, publicity efforts had been made to explain the legislation to those affected by Section 4 of the Ordinance; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Planning and Lands

*15. Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask:
(Translation)

I have received a complaint from the Hong Kong General Association of Re-cycling Business (the Association) which alleged that the Government was planning to resume in July this year the lot of land (formerly the site of the Kai Tak Airport Fire Station) that had been leased to the Association since 1999. This would mean a breach of the verbal undertaking made at that time by the Environmental Protection Department ("EPD") that the piece of land was renewable for a term of five to seven years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) whether it will adhere to the EPD's verbal undertaking and renew the lease with the Association; if it will, of the details; if it will not, the reasons for that;

    (b) if it has decided to resume the piece of land, whether it plans to immediately allot another site to accommodate all the recyclable waste collectors operating there; if it does, of the details; if it does not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)given that the Association indicated that the recyclable waste collectors concerned had invested over $13 million in their business, whether it will offer compensation or allowances to these collectors; if it will, of the details; if it will not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

Regarding Hong Kong ("HK") residents' spouses and their children eligible for right of abode in Hong Kong (ROA children) coming from the Mainland to settle in Hong Kong for family reunion, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the number of HK residents' ROA children who came to settle in Hong Kong on one-way permits in each of the past two years, and its proportion to the total number of one-way permit holders (broken down by those aged 18 years old and above and those aged below);

    (b) whether it knows the respective numbers of HK residents' spouses and ROA children who are waiting to come to settle in Hong Kong and the time required to arrange for all of them to come; and

    (c)whether it will work out measures to shorten the waiting time for HK residents' spouses and ROA children to come to Hong Kong; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

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

It has been reported that the total local sales of CLP Power Hong Kong Limited ("CLP") increased by 2.4% last year as compared with that of the year before, with a 5.3% increase in profit, and its Development Fund having accumulated to almost $3.2 billion. Regarding the tariff charged by CLP, local power demand, the sales forecasts of CLP and the Hong Kong Electric Company Limited, as well as the development projects to increase power supply, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a) CLP's increase in sales last year was in line with the Government forecasts; and, in view of the substantial amount accumulated in the CLP Development Fund, whether it has considered suggesting to CLP that it should reduce its tariff or provide rebates to its customers again;

    (b) it has made projections on the local power demand and the respective sales of the two power companies for the coming three years; and

    (c)it has assessed if the long term local power demand would decrease gradually as a result of economic restructuring; if it would, of the rate of decrease, and whether it will request the two power companies to consider deleting or postponing the implementation of some of their development projects?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services

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

It has been reported that while the cost estimate for decommissioning Cheoy Lee Shipyard at Penny's Bay was $22 million in 1999, the latest estimate stands at $450 million, representing a discrepancy of more than twenty times. This is attributable mainly to the Government's failure to foresee, when the estimation was first made, the need to deploy huge resources to remove the toxic dioxin which has contaminated the land. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a) of the existing industrial sites, with a breakdown by their sizes and the regions in which they are located;

    (b) whether it has adopted specific measures to ensure that users of industrial sites will prevent the land from being contaminated; if so, whether it has reviewed the effectiveness of those measures; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)in granting industrial sites to operators of power plants, sludge treatment facilities, shipyards and iron and steel plants, whether it has specified terms to prohibit users of the sites from contaminating the land; if so, of the details of the terms; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Planning and Lands

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

Two years ago, the Customs and Excise Department ("C & ED") confiscated five illegally imported second-hand military armoured personnel carriers which have an estimated value of $1.1 million. It has been reported that an overseas businessman had approached the C & ED with an offer to take over these carriers for free and to ship them to Ireland at his company's expenses for use in war games organized for staff of its clients. The C & ED rejected the offer and planned to dismantle the carriers at an estimated cost of over $600,000. Regarding the disposal of such carriers, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a) the mechanism for the disposal of confiscated military equipment; and

    (b) how the above-mentioned carriers will be disposed of; whether they will be put on exhibition; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Commerce and Industry

*20. Ir Dr Hon HO Chung-tai to ask:


Under current practice, the main contractors of government construction works are responsible for both construction material testing and works acceptance tests. This may create a conflict of interest situation where the material supplier and the testing agent have a close business relationship and result in unsatisfactory quality control of the construction works. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a) it will review the current practice; if so, of the timetable for the review; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b) this practice will apply to the infrastructure projects which are to be implemented in the next 15 years as mentioned in the Chief Executive's 2001 Policy Address; and

    (c)it will consider implementing the Independent Commission Against Corruption ("ICAC")'s recommendation of employing independent testing laboratories for material testing and works acceptance tests, as set out in the ICAC report on Construction Quality Control Testing published in December 1999; if so, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

*For written reply.

III. Bills First Reading

1. Adaptation of Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2002

2. Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2002

Second Reading (Debates to be adjourned)

1. Adaptation of Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2002:Secretary for Justice

2. Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2002:Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting


IV. Motions

Proposed resolution under the Immigration Ordinance

Secretary for Security to move the following motion:


RESOLVED that Schedule 1 to the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) be amended in paragraph 2

(a) by repealing everything after "born in Hong" and substituting "Kong before or after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.".

V. Members' Motions

  1. Promoting the employment of people with disabilities Hon LAW Chi-kwong:
  2. (Translation)

    That, as the unemployment rate of people with disabilities in Hong Kong is on the high side, this Council urges the Government to formulate appropriate measures to increase the employment opportunities of people with disabilities who are able to work; to establish an indicator for employing people with disabilities and have government departments, public bodies and subvented organizations to take the lead in its implementation; and to encourage the relevant organizations to formulate policies on and procedures for recruiting people with disabilities.

    Amendment to Hon LAW Chi-kwong's motion

    Hon Tommy CHEUNG:
    (Translation)

    To add ", such as to encourage, through tax concessions, employers to employ people with disabilities, in order" after "this Council urges the Government to formulate appropriate measures"; and to delete "; to establish an indicator for employing people with disabilities and have government departments, public bodies and subvented organizations to take the lead in its implementation; and to encourage the relevant organizations to formulate policies on and procedures for recruiting people with disabilities" after "to increase the employment opportunities of people with disabilities who are able to work".

    Amendment to Hon Tommy CHEUNG's amendment

    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung:
    (Translation)

    To delete ", such as to encourage, through tax concessions, employers" after "this Council urges the Government to formulate appropriate measures" and substitute with "and draw up a timetable for implementing in a gradual and orderly manner a quota system for the employment of people with disabilities in the government, public and subvented organizations, as well as by the contractors of the Government's outsourcing contracts, with the ultimate goal of prompting employers of all organizations in Hong Kong".

    Public Officer to attend:Secretary for Health and Welfare

  3. Family problems Dr Hon David CHU:
  4. (Translation)

    That, in view of the impact of rapid changes over the years in the traditional cultural values and social environment on the family as the most basic unit of the Hong Kong society and having regard to the proliferation of family problems and a growing trend in family tragedies arising from the economic downturn in recent years, this Council urges the Government to set up a "Family Affairs Commission" to assist the Government, through the introduction of policy initiatives in various areas such as taxation, housing and social welfare, in promoting mutual love and support among family members, and to consider developing family-oriented social services, so as to enable families to perform their proper functions more effectively.

    Amendment to Dr Hon David CHU's motion

    Hon Howard YOUNG:
    (Translation)

    To delete "set up a 'Family Affairs Commission' to assist the Government," after "this Council urges the Government to" and substitute with "promote mutual love and support among family members"; and to delete "in promoting mutual love and support among family members," after "through the introduction of policy initiatives in various areas such as taxation, housing and social welfare,".

    Public Officer to attend:Secretary for Health and Welfare


Clerk to the Legislative Council