Council Meeting ( Agenda ) 19 December 2001

A 01/02-11

Legislative Council

Agenda
Wednesday 19 December 2001 at 2:30 pm

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Film Censorship (Amendment) Regulation 2001266/2001
2.Designation of Libraries (No. 4) Order 2001267/2001
3.Electronic Transactions (Exclusion) (Amendment) Order 2001268/2001
4.Commodities Trading (Trading Limits and Position Limits) (Amendment) (No. 4) Rules 2001269/2001
5.Matrimonial Causes (Amendment) Rules 2001270/2001
6.Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) (Conduct of Inquiries) Rules271/2001
7.Antiquities and Monuments (Declaration of Historical Buildings) Notice 2001272/2001
8.The Ombudsman (Amendment) Ordinance 2001 (30 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001273/2001
9.Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Chemical Residues) Regulation (L.N. 146 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001274/2001
10.Harmful Substances in Food (Amendment) Regulation 2001 (L.N. 148 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001275/2001
11.Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Amendment) Regulation 2001 (L.N. 218 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001276/2001
12.Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal Traders) (Amendment) Regulation 2001 (L.N. 219 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001277/2001
13.Food Business (Amendment) Regulation 2001 (L.N. 220 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001278/2001


Other Papers

1. No.42-Police Welfare Fund Annual Report 2000/2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Security)

2. No.43-The Accounts of the Lotteries Fund 2000-01
(to be presented by Secretary for the Treasury)

3. No.44-Report on the Administration of the Fire Services Welfare Fund together with the Director of Audit's Report and Audited Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Security)

4. No.45-Fortieth Annual Report by the Social Work Training Fund Trustee for the year ending on 31 March 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Health and Welfare)

5. No.46-Emergency Relief Fund Annual Report by the Trustee for the year ending on 31 March 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Health and Welfare)

6. No.47-Hong Kong Housing Authority Annual Report 2000/2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Housing)

7. No.48-Hong Kong Housing Authority Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2001
(to be presented by Secretary for Housing)

8. Report of the Bills Committee on Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon Miriam LAU, Chairman of the Bills Committee)

9. Report of the Bills Committee on Banking (Amendment) Bill 2001
(to be presented by Hon TSANG Yok-sing, Chairman of the Bills Committee)


II. Questions

1. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:

When the Cyberport project was announced in early 1999, the Administration claimed that the project aimed "to create a cluster of leading information technology ("IT") and services companies and a critical mass of professional talents in Hong Kong in the shortest possible time". Also, it was reported in November 2001 that the Government now aims to fill the Cyberport with a balanced mix of large and medium-sized, local and international IT firms. In this connection, will the Administration inform this Council of:
    (a)the measures in place to ensure that the tenant selection process is open and transparent;

    (b)the measures to ensure that the selected tenants are indeed leading companies committed to developing new and leading-edge applications of IT; and

    (c)the respective up-to-date numbers of tenancy applications made by large, medium-sized, local and international companies?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting

2. Hon Tommy CHEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

It is learnt that after terminating the tenancy of a live chicken retail stall, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department ("FEHD") will not let out the stall again for the same business purpose. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)when FEHD started to implement the above-mentioned policy, the number of stalls involved so far, and whether the purpose of the policy is to eradicate stalls selling live chickens;

    (b)whether the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society have implemented the same policy for live chicken stalls under their management; and

    (c)whether the Hong Kong Housing Authority, Hong Kong Housing Society and FEHD have implemented the same policy to stalls selling other types of fresh meat, seafood and vegetables under their management?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

3. Hon Margaret NG to ask:
(Translation)

At present, primary and secondary schools are required to obtain the approval of the Education Department ("ED") before they can admit children who have been granted temporary stay in Hong Kong by virtue of Recognizance Forms issued by the Immigration Department ("ID"). Moreover, the ED will consult the Director of Immigration ("the Director") before making a decision in this respect, and will grant approval only when the Director raises no objection. It has been reported that almost a hundred applications for admission of such children to school have been rejected. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the numbers of such applications for admission to school received by the ED in each of the past four school years and so far in the current school year and, among these applications, the respective numbers of those which have been approved and rejected;

    (b)whether it has tightened up the criteria for vetting and approving such applications in the wake of its request for interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for the Administration approving many such applications in the past but rejected lots of applications now; and

    (c)of the legal provisions on which the Administration bases its requirement that approval of such applications for admission to school is subject to the prerequisite that "the Director of Immigration raises no objection", as well as the legal provisions on which the Director of Immigration bases his decision to turn down such applications; and whether it has assessed if the rejection of such applications contravenes Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides for the right of the child to education?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Security
Secretary for Education and Manpower

4. Hon Emily LAU to ask: (Translation)

Recently, the Executive Authorities announced that they had proposed to the Central People's Government setting up a regional free trade zone ("FTZ") which covered the Mainland and the Hong Kong SAR. In this connection, will the Administration inform this Council of:
    (a)the details of the proposal;

    (b)the trades that are likely to derive benefits from the setting up of the FTZ; and

    (c)the likely timing for setting up the FTZ?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Commerce and Industry

5. Hon Michael MAK to ask:
(Translation)

Last month, the Hospital Authority appointed the members of its Public Complaints Committee for a new term. It was reported that one of the senior members was not re-appointed because he had often openly criticized the medical professionals as defending one another. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows whether public organisations:
    (a)will consider factors such as the political background, religion, occupation and education level of the candidates when making appointments to their advisory committees or policy committees;

    (b)will take into account the criticisms of the organisation concerned by the members during their term of office, when deciding on whether to re-appoint them; if so, of the specific criteria used to assess the criticisms; if not, how they ensure that there will be no retaliation against the making of criticisms; and

    (c)have any measures to enhance the transparency of their appointment mechanisms?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Home Affairs
Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

The Guangzhou New Baiyun Airport ("GNBA"), which is being built to the scale of an aviation hub, will soon come into operation. It has been reported that some Mainland experts predict the air freight market in the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong, can only sustain one aviation hub. Regarding the coordination of passenger and cargo handling capacities of GNBA and the Hong Kong International Airport ("HKIA"), will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has assessed the short-term and long-term impact of the commissioning of GNBA on the growth of passenger and cargo throughput of HKIA; and

    (b)the SAR Government has held discussions with the Guangdong Provincial Government with a view to formulating streaming and cooperation plans for the two airports; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services

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

By the end of last month, there were three cases of Legionnaires' Disease ("LD") this year whereas there were only two such cases last year. Subsequent to the receipts of reports, the departments concerned took water samples at various places for testing and discovered that some of those from the water cooling towers of water-cooled air conditioning systems ("WACS") contained a high concentration of Legionella pneumophila. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed if the risk of the public being infected by LD is increasing; if it is so, of the reasons for that;

    (b)of the measures in place to prevent the growth and spread of Legionella pneumophila, and whether such measures are backed up by legislation; and

    (c)whether there are differences in regulating the WACS installed in government buildings and those in private buildings; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

*8. Hon LAU Wong-fat to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council whether it will consider preserving the building in Tuen Mun which was constructed in 1936 and used to accommodate Tat Tak College in the late 1940s, and declaring it as a statutory monument?

Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Home Affairs

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

Will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)the number of cases involving the use of forged identity documents to open bank accounts has been on an upward trend in the past three years; and

    (b)the respective designs of the identity documents can help and facilitate banks in establishing the authenticity of these documents?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Security

*10. Hon Andrew CHENG to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the emission of smoke from diesel vehicles, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of diesel vehicles on which emission tests were conducted on the spot by the Police and the number of them which failed the tests, in each of the past two years;

    (b)whether it has issued guidelines on the testing procedures and methods to front-line police officers conducting the tests; if so, of the contents of the guidelines; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it has received complaints or reports about diesel vehicles emitting more smoke after the installation of diesel catalytic converters; if so, of the relevant figures for last year and the reasons for these vehicles emitting more smoke?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for the Environment and Food

*11. Hon Kenneth TING to ask:
(Translation)

To alleviate the financial burden of "negative-equity" owners, will the Government inform this Council whether it will consider issuing bonds which offer a higher yield than the time deposits interest rates offered by banks, so as to absorb idle money which may then be lent as low-interest loans to such property owners?

Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Financial Services

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

Two cases of Legionnaires' Disease ("LD") in October were reported to the Department of Health ("DH"). The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department ("EMSD") subsequently collected water samples for testing and found that some samples collected from cooling towers of water-cooled air conditioning systems contained a high concentration of Legionella pneumophila. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the following in each of the past three years,
    (i)a breakdown of the number of persons infected with LD by their place of residence;

    (ii)the number of persons who died of LD;

    (iii)the number of water samples found to contain Legionella pneumophila by DH; and the number of these samples collected from cooling towers; and

    (iv)the number of site checks on cooling towers conducted by EMSD; and the number of reminders issued to the persons-in-charge concerned for contravention of the Code of Practice for Prevention of Legionnaires' Disease; and

    (b)whether it will introduce legislation to monitor the operation and maintenance of such cooling towers; if it will, of the legislative timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

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

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective average teacher-student ratios, the numbers of students per class and the numbers of teaching periods per teacher per week in aided secondary and primary schools at present;

    (b)how these figures compare with those five years ago and the corresponding figures in advanced countries in Europe and America as well as those in the neighbouring countries or regions; and

    (c)whether it will consider reducing the number of teaching periods per teacher per week by a quarter; if it will, of the additional resources required per year; if it will not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

I have learnt that no bank branches or automatic teller machines ("ATMs") are available in the shopping malls of many new public rental housing ("PRH") estates, including those with a capacity to accommodate 20 000 to 30 000 residents, causing inconvenience to the residents of the PRH estates concerned. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the Housing Department ("HD"), when designing the shopping malls of new PRH estates, will reserve space for the setting up of bank branches and installation of ATMs; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)of HD's measures to encourage banks to install ATMs in the shopping malls of new PRH estates to meet residents' need for banking services, when no banks have shown any interest in providing services there?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Housing

*15. Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

In view of the upsurge of bankruptcy cases in recent years, will the Government inform this Council of the policies or measures the authority concerned will adopt, subject to the principle of not affecting free market operation, to assist banks in assessing accurately the repaying ability of loan applicants when vetting their applications, such as allowing banks to exchange more comprehensive credit information on their customers, so as to curb the upward trend of bankruptcy cases and safeguard the overall credit rating of banks in Hong Kong?

Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Financial Services

*16. Hon Cyd HO to ask:


Regarding optometrists employed by the Hospital Authority ("HA"), will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of optometrists currently employed by the HA;

    (b)the average and the longest waiting time for first appointments for optometry service in the HA clinics; whether the HA plans to recruit more optometrists so as to shorten the waiting time; if it has no such plans, of the reasons for that;

    (c)whether the HA plans to review the scope of duties of optometrists with a view to better utilising its human resources; and

    (d)the rationale for the starting and maximum salary points of the optometrists grade, which has an academic entry requirement of a four-year degree, being set at a lower level than those of some other allied health grades which require a three-year degree only; whether the HA plans to review the salary scale for optometrists with a view to setting it on a par with other grades with comparable academic entry requirements; if it has such plans, of the review timetable; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Health and Welfare

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

An institution applying for a Places of Public Entertainment ("PPE") licence pays a nominal licence fee of $140 only, if it is recommended by the Director of Home Affairs or the Director of Education. Also, one of the conditions for granting a PPE licence is that the applicant must file a fire safety certificate issued by the Director of Fire Services which shows that the venue concerned meets the fire safety requirements, and the fee payable for the issuance of a fire safety certificate is $825. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of applications for PPE licences, and the number of those recommended by the Director of Home Affairs or the Director of Education among the successful applications in the past three years;

    (b)of the criteria adopted for setting the fee payable for a fire safety certificate, and a detailed breakdown of the unit cost incurred in issuing such a certificate; and

    (c)whether it will consider reducing or waiving the fee for fire safety certificate payable by a recommended institution; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Home Affairs

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

With regard to the event "CLP Lights Up Hong Kong" which was launched on the 9th of this month, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)how the Hong Kong Tourism Board ("HKTB") as the organizer promotes this event;

    (b)the number of tourists attracted to this event so far, and provide a breakdown by the tourists' country or place of residence; and

    (c)if HKTB plans to organize similar events in the coming year?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Economic Services

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

The Hong Kong Housing Authority has so far launched four phases of the Tenants Purchase Scheme ("TPS"). According to the information released by the authority concerned, public rental housing ("PRH") tenants who purchase their flats within the first two years from the launch of each phase of the TPS are entitled to a discount, with a higher discount rate being offered within the first year. However, it is learnt that the concession period for the first year discount ("FYD") in TPS Phase 4 launched in February this year is less than 12 months. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the beginning and expiry dates of the concession periods for FYD in the first three phases of the TPS;

    (b)of the reasons for setting a concession period of less than 12 months for the FYD in TPS Phase 4, and whether it will consider extending that period to 12 months; and

    (c)whether a concession period of 12 months for FYD will be set for the future phases of TPS?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Housing

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

Regarding the assistance given to residents who suffered losses as a result of the flooding in the North West New Territories in June this year in seeking compensation from the relevant contractors of flood prevention projects, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the contractors who should pay compensation to the affected residents, based on the findings of the Investigation Report on Flooding in the New Territories and Tsuen Wan in June 2001 prepared by the Drainage Services Department;

    (b)whether it knows the total number of compensation claims each of the flood prevention project contractors has received so far; if so, of the amount of claims involved in each case and the latest position in respect of the handling of these cases;

    (c)of the party ultimately responsible for paying the compensation regarding those cases in which the contractors cannot be contacted because of closures of business or other reasons;

    (d)of the government departments which are responsible for assisting the affected residents in seeking compensation and taking follow-up actions on the matters concerned; and

    (e)of the government department to which residents who are not satisfied with the compensation arrangements may lodge appeal?
Public Officer to reply: Secretary for Works

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading

1. Adaptation of Laws Bill 2001

2. Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2001

Second Reading (Debates to be adjourned)

1. Adaptation of Laws Bill 2001 : Chief Secretary for Administration

2. Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for Commerce and Industry

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

1. Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for Transport

2. Banking (Amendment) Bill 2001 : Secretary for Financial Services

IV. Motions
  1. Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance
    Secretary for Constitutional Affairs to move the following motion:


  2. RESOLVED that the Chief Executive Election (Election Petition) Rules, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 241 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 21 November 2001, be amended -

    (a)in section 9(2), by repealing 控罪 and substituting 指控;

    (b)in section 15 -

    (i)in subsection (1)(b) and (c), by repealing "due to his death or otherwise";

    (ii)in subsection (2), by repealing "the proceedings for a petition shall be" and substituting "a petition is".


  • Proposed resolution under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance
    Secretary for Health and Welfare to move the following motion:


  • RESOLVED that -

      (a)the Pharmacy and Poisons (Amendment)(No. 5) Regulation 2001; and

      (b)the Poisons List (Amendment)(No. 4) Regulation 2001,


    made by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board on 26 November 2001 be approved.

      (The two Regulations have been issued on 3 December 2001 under LC Paper No. CB(3) 220/01-02)

  • Proposed resolution under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance
    Secretary for Security to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Canada) Order, made by the Chief Executive in Council on 18 September 2001, be approved.

      (The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Canada) Order has been issued on 28 September 2001 under LC Paper No. CB(3) 9/01-02)


  • Proposed resolution under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance
    Secretary for Security to move the following motion:


  • RESOLVED that the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Philippines) Order, made by the Chief Executive in Council on 18 September 2001, be approved.

      (The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Philippines) Order has been issued on 28 September 2001 under LC Paper No. CB(3) 9/01-02)


  • Proposed resolution under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance
    Secretary for Security to move the following motion:


  • RESOLVED that the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Portugal) Order, made by the Chief Executive in Council on 18 September 2001, be approved.

      (The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Portugal) Order has been issued on 28 September 2001 under LC Paper No. CB(3) 9/01-02)


    V. Members' Bills

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

    1.Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd. (Hong Kong Consolidation) Bill:Dr Hon David LI
    Public Officer to attend:Secretary for Financial Services

    2.The Bank of East Asia, Limited (Merger) Bill:Hon NG Leung-sing
    Public Officer to attend:Secretary for Financial Services


    VI. Members' Motions
    1. Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance
      Hon Kenneth TING to move the following motion:


    2. RESOLVED that in relation to the -
      (a)Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Regulation 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 248 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 28 November 2001;

      (b)Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2001 (19 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 255 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 5 December 2001; and

      (c)Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Regulation 2001 (L.N. 248 of 2001) (Commencement) Notice 2001, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 256 of 2001 and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 5 December 2001,
    the period referred to in section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) for amending subsidiary legislation be extended under section 34(4) of that Ordinance to the meeting of 9 January 2002.

  • Strengthening co-operation with Guangdong in developing the logistics industry
    Hon HUI Cheung-ching: (Translation)

    That, as both Hong Kong and Guangdong have been vigorously developing the logistics industry in recent years but have rarely engaged in co-operative projects, in order to avoid harmful competition, this Council urges the Government to:
      (a)apart from studying the co-development of Nansha, explore more options with the Guangdong Provincial Government for strengthening co-operation and the streaming of the logistics industry and co-ordinating more effectively the development objectives and strategies in both places;

      (b)as far as possible, accord priority in allocating resources for cross-boundary sea, land and air transport infrastructural projects and expeditiously remove the barriers hindering the operation of the logistics businesses in both places, including implementing round-the-clock cargo clearance for laden goods vehicles in other border control points, actively studying the construction of a bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai, granting traffic rights for air cargo services as appropriate, implementing the streaming and connection of flight routes with the airports in the Pearl River Delta, and establishing a technology platform whereby Hong Kong and Guangdong can exchange logistics information; and

      (c)encourage enterprises in Hong Kong and Guangdong to invest in each other's logistics industry and infrastructural services relating to sea, land and air transport.
    Amendment to Hon HUI Cheung-ching's motion
    Hon SIN Chung-kai:
    (Translation)

    To delete "apart from studying the co-development of Nansha," after "(a)" and substitute with "comprehensively"; and to delete "more" after "explore" and substitute with "various feasible".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Economic Services

  • Opposing unfair competition
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung: (Translation)

    That, as currently unreasonable market domination and unfair competition exist in such domains as power supply, gas, petroleum products, supermarkets, container terminals and their complementary services, and the Easy Pay System, and the trend tends to escalate, thereby adversely affecting people's livelihood as well as industrial and commercial enterprises, this Council urges the Government to expeditiously enact a fair competition law and set up a fair competition authority, so as to promote fair competition and safeguard the rights and interests of the public.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Economic Services

    Clerk to the Legislative Council