Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 5 June 2002

A 01/02-28

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 5 June 2002 at 2:30pm



I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) (Rate of Interest) Order86/2002
2.Financial Resources (Amendment) Rules 200287/2002
3.Tax Reserve Certificates (Rate of Interest) (No. 6) Notice 200288/2002


Other Paper

Report of the Bills Committee on Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon Cyd HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee )

II. Questions

1. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask: (Translation)

It is reported that one-person flats for senior citizens provided by the Housing Authority ("HA") are not well-received by the elderly as they are not provided with kitchen and toilet facilities, resulting in their high vacancy rate. As such, a few months ago HA removed the age restriction on the allocation of such flats. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of such flats which are vacant at present, together with a breakdown by district and the number of years they have been vacant, and the total amount of rental income forgone last year as a result;

    (b)whether it will allocate such flats to public housing applicants who have never indicated their willingness to accept such flats; if so, whether refusal of such allocation will be regarded as having rejected one offer of public housing allocation; and

    (c)whether it has plans to implement other measures to dispose of such vacant flats, such as converting them into self-contained singleton flats, flats for households with more than one member or residential care places for the elderly; if so, of the details and progress of such plans; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Housing

2. Hon Emily LAU to ask:
(Translation)

Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of "June 4th" and the first day of next month will mark the fifth anniversary of the transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China. At the approach of these days, the police have mounted a series of operations which include detaining reporters by handcuffs, arresting participants of peaceful demonstrations at their homes, forbidding demonstrators from holding assemblies at the open space opposite the Main Wing of the Central Government Offices and, in joint operations with Immigration Department staff, making forcible entries into abode seekers' homes for making arrests. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:
    (a)the decision to take the above actions was made by reference to the practice adopted by the Mainland authorities at the approach of sensitive days; whether these actions are aimed at restraining people's right to freedom of expression as well as suppressing dissidents; and

    (b)they have assessed if the above actions will affect people's exercising their rights to peaceful assembly, procession and demonstration, and damage Hong Kong's international image as a liberal and open society; if they have made the assessment, of the results?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Security

3. Hon Michael MAK to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that, in the face of the fierce competition from supermarkets, some fresh provision shops in the markets in the New Territories are recently cutting the retail prices of pork and some prices are even below the wholesale prices of fresh pork, which casts doubt on the sources and quality of such pork. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has stepped up the inspection of fresh provision shops over the past three months to check if chilled or smuggled pork is sold as fresh meat of pigs legally slaughtered in the territory;

    (b)whether there is an upward trend in the number of cases in which shop owners were prosecuted for selling smuggled pork in the past five years, and provide the respective numbers of convictions and of fresh provision shop licences revoked in the same period; and

    (c)of the measures in place to ensure that the pork on sale in fresh provision shops meets the hygiene standards, and whether it will consider increasing the penalties for offences in this regard?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

It is learnt that the Government is studying a proposal to combine the Old Age Allowance Scheme and the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the specific details of the proposal and the expected completion date of the study;

    (b)of the justifications for the proposal to combine the two Schemes; and

    (c)how it will ensure that the benefits and rights already enjoyed by the elderly will not be affected by the proposal?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

Regarding bankruptcies among government employees, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective numbers of employees in the Independent Commission Against Corruption and various disciplined services who were declared bankrupt or heavily in debt in the past five years; whether the authorities have analysed the reasons for their financial encumbrances;

    (b)the assistance and counselling services available to its bankrupt employees; and

    (c)the measures in place to offer to its employees guidance in proper financial management so as not to be encumbered financially?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for the Civil Service
Secretary for Security


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

Regarding combating the import and sale of counterfeit controlled drugs, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective quantities of counterfeit controlled drugs, broken down by type, seized by law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong in each of the past five years;

    (b)of the respective numbers of persons prosecuted and convicted for the import or sale of counterfeit controlled drugs in the past five years, and the average penalties imposed on those convicted; and

    (c)whether it has reviewed existing legislation against the import and sale of counterfeit controlled drugs to see if it has sufficient deterrent effect; if so, of the details of the review; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Commerce and Industry

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

I have learnt that due to the recent surge of visitors to Hong Kong and the closure of toilets in some premises in the vicinity of Repulse Bay Beach which are being redeveloped, there is a shortage of public toilets at Repulse Bay Beach. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of complaints received in the past twelve months in this regard; and

    (b)whether it will consider providing temporary mobile toilets at Repulse Bay Beach, such as near the Hong Kong Life Saving Society?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Home Affairs

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

At present, managers of many housing estates do not allow members of the Legislative Council and District Councils to put up posters or distribute their work reports within housing estates. Even in housing estates managed by the Housing Department, the councillors' work reports can be placed only in the lobby of the buildings for the public to pick up, and not inside the residents' mailboxes directly. The councillors are therefore faced with great difficulties in distributing timely work reports to the residents in their constituencies. It is noted that free mailing service is available to Members of Parliaments in many overseas countries to facilitate their reporting their work to the citizens, but such service is not available to the elected councillors in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it plans to provide the elected councillors with free mailing service; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)it will provide the elected councillors with more assistance in the future to improve communication between them and the general public?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Home Affairs

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

The current "Ride 10 Get 1 Free" fare concession scheme offered by both the MTR Corporation Limited and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation will expire within this month. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of free rides enjoyed by passengers in each month since the introduction of the above concession schemes; and

    (b)if the two railway corporations plan to extend the period of the schemes and to provide other fare concessions?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Transport

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


Regarding the coverage of Outline Zoning Plans ("OZPs"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the areas and locations of land not covered by OZPs and without designated uses;

    (b)whether OZPs will be drawn up for the land identified in (a) above in the next three years; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether the respective total acreage of land designated for various uses on OZPs can meet the various development needs in the next five years; if not, how the shortfall will be met?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Planning and Lands

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

The Open University of Hong Kong offers a Higher Diploma course in Nursing, which includes a ten-month clinical practicum training. Upon completion of the course, enrolled nurses ("ENs") are eligible to take the licensing examination for registered nurses ("RNs"). During the clinical practicum training period, staff of the Hospital Authority ("HA") taking the course will be paid by HA a salary equivalent to the maximum pay point of student nurses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows the justifications for the ten-month duration of the clinical practicum training of the course; whether HA will request the University to consider shortening the duration according to individual students' lengths of service in nursing; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)it knows how HA set the salary level for staff undergoing practicum training; whether HA will consider paying them different salaries according to the staff's lengths of service; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)it knows if ENs now employed by HA under permanent terms who obtain the qualification for registered nurses can retain their permanent staff status upon appointment to contract-term RN posts; and

    (d)it has plans to adopt measures to encourage ENs who are not working for HA to enrol for the course; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

The Civil Engineering Department is carrying out site formation works for a large housing development project at Lung Wah Street, Kennedy Town and the Government has previously agreed to preserve an old banyan tree at the centre of the project site. However, during a recent visit to the site, I found that many main branches of the tree had been cut away and there were no facilities (such as fences) around the tree to protect it from being damaged by the works. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)the works contract signed with the contractor has specific provisions requiring the contractor to take measures to protect the tree; if so, of the details of such provisions;

    (b)it has assessed the extent of the damage caused to the tree so far by the works; and

    (c)the Civil Engineering Department has deployed officers to inspect if the contractor has taken sufficient measures to protect the tree; if so, of the dates and conclusions of such inspections; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Housing

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

Regarding the Hong Kong Disneyland under construction, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest progress of the construction project;

    (b)whether they have assessed if the project can be completed on schedule and if its costs will exceed the budget; if they have, of the results of the assessment; and

    (c)whether they know if the Walt Disney Company and the Universal Studios have plans to construct similar theme parks in the Mainland; if these companies have such plans, of the details, and whether they have assessed the impacts of these theme parks in the Mainland on Hong Kong Disneyland and local tourism?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Economic Services

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

I have received complaints from some New Territories residents who allege that rain water flowed into their homes during heavy downpours because the land in front of their houses having been filled up to form elevated sites, thus turning the sites of their houses into comparatively low-lying areas. Nevertheless, the Government has refused to deal with their complaints on grounds that the land concerned is held under Block Crown Leases. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of such complaints received, the districts concerned and the outcomes of such complaints over the past three years; and

    (b)of the Government's policies or measures to deal with such nuisances to the residents, and whether it will review the effectiveness of such policies or measures?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Works

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

It has been reported that in order to develop Penny's Bay on Lantau Island as Asia's top tourist attraction, the Government is planning to establish a large arboretum adjacent to the Hong Kong Disneyland. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the government department or organization which will be responsible for the management and operation of the arboretum;

    (b)whether it plans to charge a fee for admission to the arboretum; if so, of the admission fee for each visit; and

    (c)of the estimated annual number of visitors to the arboretum in the first three years after its opening?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Economic Services

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

It has been reported that the Government has commissioned a consultancy company to study the feasibility for certain government departments to operate as trading funds. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the items of study which are in progress or scheduled, the consultancy fee for each study and its expected date of completion;

    (b)of the government departments which are being considered, and whether the Government has assessed the impact of these departments operating as trading funds on its overall income and expenditure;

    (c)whether it has worked out long-term strategies and implementation timetables for government departments to operate as trading funds; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (d)of the criteria adopted for deciding which departments are suitable for operating as trading funds; and

    (e)whether the staff of the departments concerned and the public will be consulted before the Government decides that certain departments should operate as trading funds?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Treasury

*17. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:


The Innovation and Technology Fund was established in November 1999 to facilitate innovation and technology upgrading in industries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective numbers of applications that the Fund has received and approved so far and provide, in respect of the approved projects, a breakdown by industry of the number of projects and amount of subsidy;

    (b)the number of applications rejected, and a breakdown by the reason for rejection; and

    (c)the number of funded projects which have been commercialized after completion or in respect of which the technology involved has been transferred to the relevant industry?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Commerce and Industry

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

The Drainage Services Department plans to build a sewage treatment plant at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, and to discharge the treated effluent into the sea from Tai O. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details of the project to construct the sewage treatment plant and sewerage system;

    (b)of the expected completion date of the environmental impact assessment in relation to the project;

    (c)whether it has assessed if the discharge of treated effluent from Tai O will affect the water quality of the coastal waters there; and

    (d)besides the two options already considered (namely connecting the export pipelines to the sewerage system at Tung Chung, and discharging the effluent to the marine waters at Shum Wat Bay), whether it will examine the feasibility of other export routes and effluent discharge locations; if it will, of the details?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment and Food

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

At present, most superstores have set up stalls selling various kinds of fresh meat. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has found cases in which chilled meat was sold as fresh meat at such stalls in the past two years; if it has, of the number of such cases and the follow-up actions taken;

    (b)of the method the authorities use to determine whether the meat for sale at such stalls is fresh or chilled;

    (c)whether it has verified the authenticity of the information on the sources and wholesalers concerning the fresh meat for sale at such stalls; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (d)whether it will consider introducing legislation to require meat retailers to label clearly whether the meat for sale is fresh, chilled or frozen, so as to safeguard consumers' right to information; if so, of the legislative timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment and Food

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading


Public Officers Pay Adjustment Bill

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Public Officers Pay Adjustment Bill : Secretary for the Civil Service

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

1.Adaptation of Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2002:Secretary for Justice
2.Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2001:Secretary for Education and Manpower


IV. Motions

Proposed resolution under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance and the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

Secretary for Education and Manpower to move the motion (Contents of the motion are contained in the paper issued on 22 May 2002 under LC Paper No. (3) 644/01-02)

V. Members' Motions
  1. Solving the problem of "prolonged immigration and customs clearance"

    Hon TSANG Yok-sing:
  2. (Translation)

    That, due to the rapid growth in economic and trade activities and in the flow of travellers between Hong Kong and the Mainland, particularly the recent surge of visitors from the Mainland, the border control points and various ancillary facilities in Hong Kong are under great pressure and travellers are waiting much longer for immigration and customs clearance, thereby hindering cross-border exchanges and affecting Hong Kong's reputation; in this regard, this Council urges the Government to:

    (a)enhance the capacity of the border control points for immigration and customs clearance, streamline the clearance formalities and promote vigorously the co-location of immigration and clearance facilities;

    (b)deploy additional manpower and improve the facilities at the border control points;

    (c)open up part of the Frontier Closed Area and perfect the road network leading directly to the border control points; and

    (d)actively discuss with the Mainland authorities and explore the choice of sites for the designation of more border control points in order to cater for the future rapid increase in exchanges between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.


Amendment to Hon TSANG Yok-sing's motionHon Miriam LAU: (Translation)

To delete "and" after "(c) open up part of the Frontier Closed Area and perfect the road network leading directly to the border control points;" and to add "; and (e) actively discuss with the Mainland authorities the launch of a through-train service between Hong Kong and Shenzhen" after "(d) actively discuss with the Mainland authorities and explore the choice of sites for the designation of more border control points in order to cater for the future rapid increase in exchanges between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province".

Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Security

  • Life education


  • Hon WONG Sing-chi: (Translation)

    That, as youth problems, such as suicide, drug abuse and use of violence, have become serious, this Council urges the Government to adopt measures to promote life education in the face of this phenomenon, including developing comprehensive multi-media course materials, training teachers and providing other ancillary facilities, so that, through the primary and secondary schools curricula and activities, young persons will be systematically imparted the relevant knowledge and skills in handling problems and can develop a positive outlook on life, thereby strengthening their abilities to face up to adversity.

    Amendment to Hon WONG Sing-chi's motionHon YEUNG Yiu-chung: (Translation)

    To add "parent education, publicity programmes and enhanced support and counselling services, the respective roles of schools, the family and the community will be strengthened, and" after "through the primary and secondary schools curricula and activities,".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Education and Manpower

    Clerk to the Legislative Council