Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 22 May 2002

A 01/02-26

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 22 May 2002 at 2:30pm



I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Registered Designs Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule) Regulation 200265/2002
2.Patents Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2002 66/2002
3.Layout-design (Topography) of Integrated Circuits (Designation of Qualifying Countries, Territories or Areas) Regulation67/2002
4.Trade Marks Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule) Order 200268/2002
5.Rehabilitation Centres (Appointment) Order69/2002
6.Drug Addiction Treatment Centre (Chi Ma Wan Drug Addiction Treatment Centre) (Amendment) Order 200270/2002
7.Prisons (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 200271/2002
8.Prisons (Hostel) (Amendment) Order 200272/2002
9.Detention Centre (Consolidation) (Amendment) Order 200273/2002
10.Rehabilitation Centres Ordinance (Cap. 567) (Commencement) Notice 200274/2002
11.Rehabilitation Centres Regulation (Cap. 567 sub. leg.) (Commencement) Notice 2002 75/2002
12.Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal Traders) (Amendment) Regulation 2002 76/2002
13.Commodities Trading (Trading Limits and Position Limits) (Amendment) Rules 2002 77/2002
14.Lands Tribunal (Amendment) Rules 2002 78/2002
15.Banking (Specification of Public Sector Entities in Hong Kong) (Amendment) Notice 200279/2002
16.Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Regulation 2001 (L.N. 248 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 200280/2002
17.Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Loadshifting Machinery) Regulation (Cap. 59 sub. leg.) (Commencement) Notice 200281/2002
18.Medical and Health Care (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2002 (9 of 2002) (Commencement) Notice 200282/2002
19.Travel Agents (Amendment) Ordinance 2002 (10 of 2002) (Commencement) Notice 2002 83/2002


Other Papers

1. Report of the Bills Committee on Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon Margaret NG, Chairman of the Bills Committee )

2. Report of the Bills Committee on Gambling (Amendment) Bill 2000
(to be presented by Hon Andrew CHENG, Chairman of the Bills Committee )

II. Questions

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

The Hong Kong Housing Authority ("HA") requires shop operators in its shopping centres to run certain designated trades. Will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the criteria with which HA designates those trades;

    (b)if HA adjusted the criteria in the past year in order to contain the increasing vacancy rate of those shops; if so, of the details; and

    (c)if HA has considered developing some of its shopping centres into theme-specific shopping centres where goods of the same themes are on sale, so as to tie in with the development of the local community economy; if so, of the details, if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Housing

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

To keep up with fashion, many young people have holes pierced on parts of their bodies for wearing ornamental rings. At present, the authorities do not have any control over the trade providing such piercing services. In the event of improper treatment in the process of hole piercing or after-care, the wounds may be infected and the persons receiving such services may even contract diseases. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it will step up publicity and educational efforts to make young people aware of the potential dangers involved in piercing holes on parts of their bodies; and

    (b)it will consider establishing a licensing system for the trade providing body piercing services to ensure that the operational procedures and the instruments used comply with the prescribed hygiene standards?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

3. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

It was reported that in some of the samples drawn from Dongjiang water and the sources of Hong Kong reservoirs, the Open University of Hong Kong had detected the presence of parasites originated from animal wastes, and the Water Supplies Department ("WSD") had also detected the presence of cryptosporidia in treated potable water. Two years ago, WSD undertook to release information on water quality in relation to crypotosporidia through the Internet but it has not done so. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :
    (a)of the test items and results of the regular water quality tests conducted by WSD on the quality of water from Dongjiang and the sources of Hong Kong reservoirs over the past three years, including the per litre content level of each of those tested items;

    (b)of the test items and results of the tests conducted by WSD on treated and filtered potable water over the past three years; and whether such test results have shown that potable water in Hong Kong meets the international safety standards of potable water; and

    (c)whether WSD will consider releasing the test results on the quality of potable water regularly; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

4. Hon LAU Ping-cheung to ask:
(Translation)

The Government has announced the development of the Tamar site for the new Central Government Complex together with a new Legislative Council building and other community facilities. It has also decided to invite letters of intent and conceptual designs internationally and to award the "design and build" contract to the selected candidate. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has sought legal advice on the possibility of the project being exempted from the global bidding requirement under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement ("the Agreement") for reason that the building of the new government complex involves "state secrets"; if it has, of the legal advice obtained; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)given the actual and symbolic significance of the new government complex and the Legislative Council building to Hong Kong, whether it will restrict the participation in the project to local architects and contractors only, subject to the relevant requirements laid down in the Agreement being met; and

    (c)of the measures to be adopted to prevent the installation of telephone tapping and concealed video-recording devices in the design and construction of the new government complex and the Legislative Council building?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Planning and Lands

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

Regarding the difficulties encountered by the mobility-handicapped persons in using public transport, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)the MTR Corporation Limited and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation have provided facilities for such persons to assist them in travelling on MTR or KCR trains, including access to and exit from stations above or below ground level; if so, of the details;

    (b)apart from the Rehabus service operated by the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation, there are any other transport services specially provided for such persons; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will consider providing such additional services; and

    (c)travel subsidy has been provided to such persons; if so, of the details?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Health and Welfare
Secretary for Transport


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

It has been reported that the Director of Immigration notified the Police early this year that he had learnt after seeking legal advice that immigration officers had no legal authority to detain persons wanted by the court or the Police at control points and he therefore decided that the interception or detention of wanted persons at control points be suspended with immediate effect. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the reasons for the Director of Immigration seeking legal advice;

    (b)of the reasons for the Director of Immigration making the decision to suspend with immediate effect the interception or detention of wanted persons, and whether litigations were involved; how the decision has affected the immediate and long-term planning and deployment of police manpower as well as the previous cases of interception or detention by immigration officers; and

    (c)whether it will study the possibility of amending the legislation with a view to empowering immigration officers to intercept or detain wanted persons at control points?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

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

Recently, the incidence of suicide cases shows a rising trend. The Social Welfare Department has set up 14 Family Support Networking Teams ("FSNTs") to proactively contact families at risk through outreaching efforts to provide early assistance. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)how FSNTs would identify families at risk at an early stage and provide them with assistance, given that these families may not take the initiative to seek help;

    (b)of the estimated number of cases each FSNT can handle; and

    (c)of any other measures to prevent the problem of suicide from deteriorating?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

Regarding the wetlands in Long Valley, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the current number of wells within the wetlands and, among them, the number of those with a greater depth than that proposed for the tunnel of the planned Lok Ma Chau Spur Line; and

    (b)whether any measures have been put in place to ensure that the tunnel will not be damaged by farmers' well-drilling works along the alignment of the Spur Line in the future?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Transport

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

In respect of protecting passengers against sexual assault aboard public transport, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the quarterly number of cases involving sexual assault on passengers aboard public transport over the past three years and, among such cases, the number of cases in which prosecution was successfully instituted; and

    (b)whether it knows if the public transport companies will formulate specific measures to protect female passengers from sexual assault, such as assigning "women-only" compartments; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Transport

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

The Town Planning Board has relaxed the user restrictions on industrial buildings by allowing owners to use them for information technology and telecommunication purposes without requiring applications for changes of their use, or to apply to use them as educational institutions and places of public entertainment. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of applications received and approved so far in relation to changes in user of industrial buildings; and

    (b)whether it has examined the feasibility of further relaxing the user restrictions on industrial buildings, such as allowing travel agents operating through computer and information technology to conduct business therein, so as to boost the utilization rate of such buildings?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Planning and Lands

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

With regard to the public projects in which the design and supervision work is contracted out by the Architectural Services Department ("ASD") to private architects and the construction work undertaken by private contractors, will the Government inform this Council whether, over the past three years:
    (a)there was incidence of the costs of the projects undertaken by such private contractors exceeding the estimated costs; if so, of the excess amount in each project and its proportion to the estimated cost of the project;

    (b)there were cases in which the contracted out projects were completed only after the injection of Government funds as a result of shortage of funds on the part of such private contractors; if so, of the descriptions and costs of the projects concerned, and the amount of funds injected by the Government;

    (c)ASD has instituted civil proceedings against such private contractors, terminated their employment contracts or blacklisted them due to cost overrun, and the Government having to inject additional funds, or unsatisfactory work progress; if so, of the names of such private contractors and the projects undertaken by them; and

    (d)upon taking over completed projects from such private contractors, ASD had to deploy staff to follow up or rectify problems in the completed projects; if so, of the number of such staff and their posts?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

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

The Government informed this Council on 17 April this year that the Hospital Authority ("HA") would allocate its existing available resources to fund the training and administration cost incurred by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in organizing course equivalent to Higher Diploma in Nursing, and these non-degree level courses serve only as a bridging over arrangement. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows the training and administrative cost of the training course;

    (b)it has assessed if the quality of its general medical services would be affected when HA uses part of their provision to fund the training and administrative cost of the training course; and

    (c)given that the Government supports the upgrading of basic nursing education to degree level for enhancement of quality health care service, it has assessed the period for which the bridging over arrangement should last and whether this arrangement will affect the quality of nurses?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

*13. Hon TAM Yiu-chung to ask:
(Translation)

There has recently been a series of cases in which elderly people were cheated of their valuables by swindlers in the streets. The tricks of these swindlers included pretending to pray for luck or remove misfortunes for the elderly or their families. Regarding such "pray-for-luck gangs" and other on-street defrauding cases with various tricks, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the following in respect of the past three years -
    (i) the modus operandi of the gangs in the reported fraud cases;

    (ii)the number of various type of fraud cases; and the number of victims and the loss involved;

    (iii)the number of gangs arrested and successfully prosecuted in such fraud cases; and

    (iv)the total number of promotional leaflets distributed by the police conveying the message of combating on-street defrauding; and

    (b)the measures to combat on-street defrauding, in particular those which caution the elderly against such defrauding tricks?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

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

Mikania micrantha, also known as "the plant killer", spreads appallingly fast, blocking other plants from sunlight, and strangles many plants which wither as the result. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the locations and the total area where Mikania micrantha proliferates, as well as the regions where it grows densely;

    (b)whether the country parks in Hong Kong are affected by Mikania micrantha; if so, of the list of the affected country parks and the damage caused by the plant;

    (c)whether it has assessed the damage done on plants and the number of trees that have withered as a result of the proliferation of Mikania micrantha; if so, of the details; and

    (d)when it will thoroughly solve the problem concerning Mikania micrantha and whether it has drawn up measures to curb its proliferation; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

To prevent e-mail subscribers from frequently receiving unwanted junk e-mails, the State of California of the United States has legislation to regulate senders of e-mail advertisements, whilst Korea is currently considering introducing legislation to restrict such acts. In 2000, the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (the Association) also drew up codes of practice as guidelines for its members, requiring them to set out, in the conditions of services, terms forbidding their clients to send out junk e-mails. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of complaints concerning e-mail spamming received in each of the past 18 months;

    (b)whether it knows the number of sanctions, such as suspension or termination of services, imposed by Internet service providers on senders of junk e-mails over the past 18 months;

    (c)whether it will encourage some content providers which offer free e-mail services (such as Yahoo and Hotmail) to observe the codes of practice for prevention of e-mail spamming established by the Association; and

    (d)whether it will, with reference to the practice in other countries, consider introducing legislation for monitoring spamming of e-mail advertisements; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

*16. Hon Emily LAU to ask:
(Translation)

In his speech during the resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Appropriation Bill 2002 in this Council on 17 April this year, the Chief Secretary for Administration said that the Administration had modified the land grant mechanism for housing development, and would continue to ensure that there would be adequate land to meet our public housing objectives. He also gave an assurance that there was no policy to create ghettos in our community. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)whether they had conducted any public consultation when the land grant mechanism for housing development was modified;

    (b)of the criteria and procedures specified by the modified mechanism in respect of matters relating to land grant;

    (c)when they intend to implement the modified mechanism; and

    (d)how to ensure that not all the prime sites will be used for the development of private housing when the modified mechanism is implemented?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Planning and Lands

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

It has been reported that according to a report published by the Swedish National Food Administration ("NFA"), a substance known as acrylamide will be formed when carbohydrate-rich foodstuffs are heated at high temperature, and long-term consumption of foodstuffs containing such substance may cause cancer. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has studied the report; if it has, of the conclusion that it has on the report;

    (b)whether it will consider following the example of the Swedish authority and employ the method utilizing liquid chromatography coupled to two-stage mass spectrometry or other existing methods, such as gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, to test the concentration of the acrylamide formed when carbohydrate-rich foodstuffs are heated at high temperature; if not, of the reason for that;

    (c)whether it has conducted other similar studies to find out if carcinogenic organic compounds or organometallic compounds will be formed when foodstuffs are prepared at high temperature; and

    (d)to safeguard public health, whether it will consider formulating guidelines for food premises on preventing the formation of harmful or carcinogenic substances during the preparation of food at high temperature, and strengthening the control of the quality of cooking oils used for frying and metallic cookers used for prolonged cooking or frying at food premises; if not, of the reason for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

It is learnt that on some days in the last month, the company operating cross-boundary shuttle buses between Huanggang checkpoint and Lok Ma Chau charged passengers higher-than-normal fares. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the days in the last month on which the company charged higher-than-normal fares, and the reasons for that; and

    (b)whether it has reviewed this incident with the company, and of the measures to take to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Transport

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

The Administration has contracted out some public toilets cleansing services to private cleaning companies and works are being undertaken to renovate older public toilets. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of public toilets cleansed by private contractors and the criteria for selecting such contractors;

    (b)of the daily frequency of toilet cleansing required of private contractors, and whether it knows the measures adopted by such contractors to monitor their staff's performance and frequency of toilet cleansing;

    (c)whether a comparison has been made between public toilets cleansed by government departments and those by private contractors in terms of their daily cleansing frequency, cleanliness, hygiene conditions and measures to monitor staff's performance of toilet cleansing; if so, of the results of the comparison;

    (d)of the progress of the renovation works on public toilets and the expected completion dates of such works; and

    (e)whether it plans to allocate additional resources for renovating public toilets and keeping them clean and hygienic; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

The Department of Health ("DH") has transferred five of its general out-patient clinics to the Hospital Authority ("HA") and has planned to transfer all the remaining 59 clinics within three years. However it has been reported that the Government has recently decided to complete the transfer in the middle of next year. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the effectiveness of the services of the five clinics after their transfer to HA; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will conduct such an assessment and refrain from transferring the remaining clinics to the HA before a positive assessment result has been obtained;

    (b)of the reasons for accelerating the transfer of the remaining 59 clinics; and

    (c)of the arrangements for the DH staff who are currently serving in these clinics but are not willing to transfer to HA?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

*For written reply.

III. Bills

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

1. Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (Amendment) Bill 2001:Chief Secretary for Administration

2. Gambling (Amendment) Bill 2000: Secretary for Home Affairs


IV. Members' Motions

Review of civil service pay policy and system
Dr Hon LO Wing-lok:
(Translation)

That this Council notes the interim report of the first-phase review by the Task Force on Review of Civil Service Pay Policy and System.

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Civil Service

Clerk to the Legislative Council