Council Meeting (Agenda) 26 January 2005


A 04/05-17

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 26 January 2005 at 2:30 pm,
Thursday 27 January and Friday 28 January 2005 at 9:00 am on each day

I. Special Motions

Proposed resolution under Rule 91 of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Hon Miriam LAU to move the following motion:


RESOLVED that Rules 23(2) and 24(3) of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region be suspended to enable Members to ask, at this Council meeting, the questions scheduled for the Council meeting held on 19 January 2005 but were not asked.

II. Questions

(Questions originally scheduled for the last Council meeting)

1. Hon Andrew LEUNG Kwan-yuen to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the performance and conduct of civil servants, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given that the authorities revised the procedures in 2003 to enable them to take action under Section 12 of the Public Service (Administration) Order to require an officer to retire in the public interest, if his/her performance is rated unsatisfactory within an appraisal period of 12 consecutive months and evidence shows that appropriate counselling and warning have been given by the management, whether they have assessed if the procedures can facilitate management actions and the effectiveness of such actions; if they have, of the assessment results; and

    (b)whether measures will be taken to further enhance the performance of civil servants and maintain their integrity in order to ensure that Hong Kong will continue to have a meritorious and honest civil service; if so, of the details of these measures?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Civil Service

2. Hon Martin LEE to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the protection of natural rivers and streams in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the existing policies on the conservation of natural rivers and streams in Hong Kong, as well as a breakdown of the laws concerned; the government departments responsible for enforcing the relevant laws; and the enforcement measures taken by them;

    (b)whether it has conducted surveys on the natural rivers and streams in Hong Kong so as to establish a databank on their locations, ecosystems and water flows; if so, of the situation as reflected by the present data; and

    (c)as the natural rivers in Hong Kong have been polluted, damaged or channelized continuously, resulting in serious disruption of their ecosystems, whether the authorities will consider enacting comprehensive legislation on the protection of natural rivers so as to curb such situation?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

3. Hon Margaret NG to ask:


Regarding the enforcement of arbitral awards and judgements in commercial matters, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given that in response to the request made by the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services in March last year for statistics on the number of applications for enforcement of Hong Kong arbitral awards in the Mainland, the Acting Deputy Solicitor General informed the Panel in July that a reply from the Mainland authorities was still awaited, what statistics and information have been obtained so far, particularly the up-to-date numbers of applications made, awards enforced as well as unsuccessful applications and the reasons for their being unsuccessful; and

    (b)how the enforcement situation as reflected in the statistics and information in (a) above will affect the Government's position on the current negotiation on the reciprocal enforcement of judgements in commercial matters between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Mainland?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Justice

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

Under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance and the Waste Disposal Ordinance, a person commits an offence if he discharges sewage or disposes of waste into streams without prior approval. However, I have learnt that in a number of places in the New Territories, such as Pat Heung, Ping Shan and Tin Shui Wai, the streams are heavily polluted as a result of illegal discharges, which not only constitutes a visual blight, but also causes foul smell and mosquito breeding, posing health hazards to the local residents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has looked into the reasons for the authorities' failure to curb those activities which have caused pollution in streams, and whether such reasons include loopholes in the relevant legislation, inadequate enforcement efforts, etc.;

    (b)it has assessed the effectiveness of night-time raids on illegal discharge of sewage from pig farms and soya product factories late at night; and

    (c)it will consider devising more comprehensive measures to tackle pollution in streams caused by illegal discharges?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

5. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask:
(Translation)

The arrangement whereby a certain number of members of the Legislature are now returned by functional constituencies has been adopted for nearly 20 years since 1985/86. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the merits and demerits of the above arrangement in regard to the social and constitutional development of Hong Kong; if so, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)given that Article 68 of the Basic Law provides that the ultimate aim in respect of the method for forming the Legislative Council is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage, whether it has assessed if the adoption of the arrangement whereby a certain number of members of the Legislative Council are returned by functional constituencies for a long period of time constitutes a violation of such a provision; if the assessment result is in the affirmative, of the timetable for abolishment of such an election method and what specific measures will be adopted in this regard; if the assessment result is in the negative, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional Affairs

6. Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the results of survey published last month reviewed that among 509 young people in the 15-24 age group interviewed, 19% indicated that they were unemployed, and 60% indicated that the main difficulty they encountered in seeking jobs was their lack of work experience, followed by their academic qualifications and skills being below those required by the positions. Some young people said in a press conference that as they lived in the remote North District and came from poor families, the travelling expenses on going to urban areas for job-hunting were a heavy burden for them. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the measures it will take to assist young people from low-income families in the remote areas in finding work in urban areas;

    (b)whether it will consider including more career-oriented subjects in the junior secondary school curriculum to cater for the needs of young junior secondary school leavers, and extending free education from nine years to 12 years to enhance the employment opportunities of young people; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the adequacy and effectiveness of existing employment support measures for unemployed young people and the areas that can be improved; if it has, of the assessment results?
Public Officers to reply :Secretary for Education and Manpower
Secretary for Home Affairs
Secretary for Economic Development and Labour


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

The tsunami in South Asia last month resulted in hundreds of Hong Kong residents travelling in Southern Asia losing contact with their families, and some of them were injured or died. The Government has been criticized for underestimating the number of Hong Kong residents affected by the disaster at the initial stage, and the support team comprising officers from various Government departments was not sent to the stricken regions until four days after the incident, which was considered to be a slow response. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it has plans to set up a standing mechanism to provide assistance to Hong Kong residents in danger outside Hong Kong, which includes a one-stop telephone hotline; if it will not, of the reasons for that? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

Will the Government inform this Council whether it knows the following regarding the Hong Kong Productivity Council ("HKPC") and its subsidiaries in each of the past three years:
    (a)the respective total number of employees;

    (b)the respective establishments of their departments/units, and the respective numbers of employees who were made redundant, newly employed and transferred;

    (c)the respective intakes, tuition fees and profits of the training courses conducted;

    (d)whether non-Hong Kong residents were employed; if so, the number involved and its percentage in the total number of employees;

    (e)among the organisations they served, the respective numbers of such organisations which did and did not operate manufacturing processes in Hong Kong;

    (f)the respective amounts of funds dedicated to serving the two types of organisations mentioned in item (e), and the respective percentages of such amounts in the total amounts spent; and

    (g)if HKPC and its subsidiaries do not have the above statistics, the reasons for that, and whether the Administration will request them to collect and keep the relevant statistics?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

*9. Hon Jeffrey LAM Kin-fung to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of the changes in the trading volume of securities, stockbrokers' commission income, and trading activity of securities investors after the abolition of the minimum brokerage commission rule on 1 April 2003, as compared to those before the abolition, as well as the numbers of securities companies which have wound up their businesses and of securities professionals who have become unemployed so far, due to the abolition of the above rule? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*10. Hon WONG Kwok-hing to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details of the funding schemes currently offered by government departments to render support to new arrivals from the Mainland in education, housing, financial assistance, childminding and medical services, together with a breakdown of funding amounts allocated to each of the above areas for the above persons and the entire population of Hong Kong respectively in each of the past five years; and

    (b)as the Consultation Paper on "Legislating Against Racial Discrimination" points out that new arrivals from the Mainland sometimes face discrimination by Hong Kong Chinese persons who form the majority, of the details of the education and publicity programmes and measures currently implemented by the authorities to eliminate discrimination against new arrivals from the Mainland, as well as the respective funding amounts allocated to such programmes and measures in each of the past five years?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*11. Hon Alan LEONG Kah-kit to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the following information about each statutory body:

    (i)its date and purpose of establishment;

    (ii)total amount of public assets injected into it and funding granted to it by the Government since its establishment;

    (iii)current number of its staff members (including contract, temporary and part-time staff) who are receiving remuneration higher than the first salary point of the Directorate Pay Scale of the civil service;

    (iv)whether it has adopted the civil service pay scales for remunerating its staff; and

    (v)its total expenditure on staff remuneration and allowances in the previous year; and

    (b)how it monitors the operation, number of staff employed, remuneration system and expenditures of statutory bodies?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*12. Hon Albert HO to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of the current ordinances which:
    (a)have not yet commenced;

    (b)contain some provisions that have not yet commenced; and

    (c)have been enacted by the legislature for more than six months but have not yet commenced, the reasons for that and the expected commencement dates of such ordinances?
Public Officer to reply : Chief Secretary for Administration

*13. Dr Hon YEUNG Sum to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of welfare service units contracted out through competitive bidding by the Social Welfare Department since 2001, the number of tenders received for the welfare service units, and how the unit costs of the services contracted out through the above mode compare to those under the Lump Sum Grant; and

    (b)whether it has assessed the total savings achieved by adopting the system of contracting out through competitive bidding, and the impact of the system on the quantity and quality of welfare services; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

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

Will the Government inform this Council of the number of newspapers and periodicals, other than those classified as indecent articles under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles (Cap. 390), whose registration under the Registration of Local Newspapers Ordinance (Cap. 268) was cancelled or deemed to have lapsed due to cessation of publication in the past 10 years, and the names of these publications, the dates of their first registration, as well as the dates at which their registration was cancelled or deemed to have lapsed? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*15. Dr Hon Joseph LEE Kok-long to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding health care personnel in public hospitals falling victim to violence while on duty, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)in each of the past five years:

    (i)of the number of such cases reported to the relevant authorities, with a breakdown by the types of violence used and the categories of places where the cases occurred;

    (ii)of the reported number of health care personnel assaulted, with a breakdown by the hospitals and grades to which they belonged; and

    (iii)of the respective numbers of attackers who were prosecuted and convicted of assaults, and the punishments imposed on them by the Courts;

    (b)whether the authorities have reviewed if the existing security measures in public hospitals and the support provided to their staff are adequate; if they have, of the review results; if not, of the reasons; and

    (c)of the measures to strengthen the communication between health care personnel and patients as well as their relatives and friends, so as to avoid the occurrence of violent incidents?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

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

It has been reported that, in view of the recent mounting pressure to appreciate the Renminbi ("RMB"), the State Administration of Foreign Exchange has taken a series of measures to relax the restrictions on outflow of funds in order to relieve the pressure to appreciate the RMB. Furthermore, the implementation of Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors ("QDII") scheme as well as the permission for Mainlanders to invest in Hong Kong will both facilitate inflow of funds from the Mainland to Hong Kong, and help the Hong Kong investment markets and the real estate sector to gradually recover, increasing job opportunities in Hong Kong and easing the pressure to appreciate the RMB. As the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government ("HKSAR Government") said in June last year that the Central People's Government had approved the scheme in principle and were working out the relevant details, and that the HKSAR Government would liaise closely with the relevant the Mainland authorities on this matter, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the progress of such liaison; and

    (b)the specific measures to attract QDII to invest in Hong Kong?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*17. Hon LEE Wing-tat to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding development of the West Kowloon Cultural District, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has, in compliance with the General Conditions set out in the paper released for the Concept Plan Competition for the Development of an Integrated Arts, Cultural and Entertainment District at the West Kowloon Reclamation in Hong Kong ("the Scheme Area"), appointed a team through the normal consultants selection process to finalize a detailed masterplan for the Scheme Area on the basis of the winning conceptual proposals; if such a team has been appointed, of its composition and terms of reference; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)as the General Conditions also stipulate that based on the detailed masterplan, the authorities will then decide on how the Scheme Area will be developed, and that packages within the Scheme Area suitable for private sector development will be decided by public tender, while subsequent architectural design competitions may be conducted for selected individual buildings/facilities, whether the authorities have acted in violation of the General Conditions in issuing the Invitation For Proposals instead of public tender documents for the development of the Scheme Area, and whether they will conduct architectural design competitions for selected individual buildings/facilities; if they will, of the details of the competitions; if they will not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will negotiate with the successful proponent on the development parameters in the proponent's proposal before entering into a provisional agreement; if so, whether the authorities will, in the course of negotiation, impose restrictions on the scope of alterations that may be made to the proposal; if so, of the details of the restrictions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

Recently, some owners of small-scale travel agents have reflected to me that the practice of charging travel agents annual licence fees is unfair and the rate is on the high side. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the unit cost incurred by the Travel Agents Registry in issuing licences to travel agents, the respective percentages of various cost components and the cost-recovery ratio concerned;

    (b)how the rates of licence fee payable by travel agents compare to those of other service industries (such as the catering industry and estate agents), with the figures concerned given in detail; and

    (c)of other trades in which operators are also required to pay similar annual licence fees for their operation, and the rates of the licence fee concerned?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*19. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:


Whilst the latest unemployment rate of the construction sector in Hong Kong still remains persistently high at 15.1%, which is well above the overall unemployment rate of 6.8%, it is reported that Macau is facing a shortage of construction workers, and the Macau authorities are discussing with the Hong Kong authorities the importation of Hong Kong construction workers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the progress of the above discussions;

    (b)whether it has taken any actions to assist the construction workers of Hong Kong in finding jobs in Macau; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)of the actions it has taken to ensure that the Hong Kong construction workers' labour rights are adequately protected while working in Macau?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

(Questions scheduled for this Council meeting)

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

It has been reported that some people make profits by reselling the used clothes collected on the pretext of environmental protection from the metal cages they place in public places over a prolonged period. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of relevant complaints received by the authorities last year, details of these complaints and, among them, the number of cases which were confirmed to be activities conducted by business establishments;

    (b)the number of applications received by the Lands Department ("LD") for placing metal cages in public places to collect used clothes, the respective numbers of applications approved and rejected, and the reasons for rejecting those applications; and

    (c)the conditions LD imposes when approving the relevant applications and whether they include a stipulation that the activities involved should be of a non-commercial nature; how LD ensures that the successful applicants will comply with the conditions and the penalties that may be imposed on those breaching such conditions; of the number of cases discovered by LD which involved breaches of the conditions last year and the punishments imposed on the people concerned?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

*21. Hon MA Lik to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the languages used in court hearings, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows the number of cases heard in Chinese and its percentage in the total number of cases heard by various levels of courts in each of the past five years, and the respective numbers of civil and criminal cases heard in Chinese and their percentages in the total numbers of similar cases heard by the District Courts and courts of higher levels;

    (b)it knows if the language used in hearing an appeal case is the same as that used by the trial court for the case concerned; if not, the arrangements and principles adopted by appellate courts; and

    (c)the Basic Law provides protection of the right of Hong Kong residents who are the plaintiffs or the defendants in litigation cases to use the official language of their choice in court hearings; if it does, whether the authorities have assessed if the existing requirements on the use of official languages in judicial proceedings stipulated in the Official Languages Ordinance contravene such protection under the Basic Law; if they have, of the assessment results and the justifications?
Public Officer to reply : Chief Secretary for Administration

*22. Hon James TIEN to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that, as only a minority of private practitioners of Western medicine and Chinese medicine have taken out professional indemnities insurance cover, there is no full protection of patients' rights. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the respective numbers of private practitioners of Western medicine and Chinese medicine who have taken out professional indemnities insurance cover, as well as the percentages of such practitioners among all the practitioners in their respective sectors;

    (b)whether it has assessed the causes of the above practitioners not taking out insurance cover and how patients' rights have been affected; and

    (c)of the measures to promote taking out professional indemnities insurance cover by private practitioners?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*23. Hon Jeffrey LAM Kin-fung to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the substantial benefits brought to the overall economy of Hong Kong by the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement ("CEPA");

    (b)of the number of Hong Kong businessmen who have relocated part of their production process from the Mainland to Hong Kong due to the implementation of CEPA;

    (c)whether new measures, such as simplifying the vetting and approval procedures for setting up factories, have been drawn up to facilitate early commencement of production or provision of services by Hong Kong businessmen who have relocated their factories to Hong Kong due to the implementation of CEPA;

    (d)of the respective numbers of foreign companies which, due to the impact of CEPA, have entered the Mainland market by establishing companies in Hong Kong or hiring local companies to serve as a gateway to the Mainland market, and have entered the Mainland market by acquiring Hong Kong enterprises; and

    (e)of the number of Mainland enterprises which, due to the impact of CEPA, have been successful in applying for the establishment of companies to operate in Hong Kong, as their first step to enter the international market?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

*24. Hon Albert HO to ask:
(Translation)

Under the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112), an employee may claim a deduction from his assessable income in respect of his contributions to a Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme ("MPFS") or Recognized Occupational Retirement Scheme ("RORS"), and the maximum amount deductible is equivalent to the mandatory contribution cap. However, an employee who is unaware of the above provisions and hence has not claimed a deduction may have to pay more tax. According to the Annual Report of the Inland Revenue Department ("IRD"), there were about 1 205 000 taxpayers in the year of assessment 2001-02. Nevertheless, in reply to a Member's question at the Legislative Council meeting on 3 November last year, the Government advised that there were only about 822 000 claims for deductions in respect of such contributions in that year of assessment. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the reasons for the number of taxpayers exceeding the number of people claiming deductions of such contributions by more than 380 000 in the above year of assessment; and

    (b)whether it will consider requiring employers to report the amounts of employees' contributions to a MPFS or RORS on the Employer's Return of Remuneration and Pensions, so as to remind their employees that they can claim deductions in respect of such contributions and to facilitate verification of the amounts of such contributions by IRD; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*25. Hon LI Fung-ying to ask:
(Translation)

The Hong Kong Disneyland at Penny Bay on Lantau Island is planned to open on 12 September this year. Regarding the transport arrangement for Penny Bay, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details about the routes of franchised and non-franchised buses and green minibuses the operations of which have been confirmed and are being considered, including the dates at which they will come into service, the fares, daily service hours, frequencies, journey time, whether they are newly introduced or redeployed from existing routes, and the operation restrictions concerned;

    (b)of the respective maximum passenger capacities during and outside peak hours of the routes which have been confirmed, and the respective projected initial patronage of each of such routes during and outside peak hours and for the whole day;

    (c)of the criteria adopted for determining the number of routes to be operated and for selecting the modes of public transport to operate such routes;

    (d)whether it will prohibit red minibuses or non-franchised buses from operating routes to and from Penny Bay; if it will, of the reasons for that; and

    (e)of the efforts it has made, in making the transport arrangement for Penny Bay, to balance the interests of various public transport modes and protect the public's right to choose their transport modes; whether it has consulted the transport sector and the public before making the decisions concerned; if it has, of the consultation results; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*26. Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

It is learnt that a survey undertaken by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service has found a sharp decrease in the number of community development initiatives ("CDIs") over the last five years, as shown in the following table:

January, 1999 December, 2004
Neighbourhood Level Community Development Projects being implemented 52 21
Community Centres operated by non-government organizations 13 13
Group Work Units 13 0

Also, an official from the Social Welfare Department ("SWD") stated last month that starting from 2005/2006, the provision for CDIs will be reduced by 4%. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the administrative expenses of SWD on monitoring the implementation of CDIs over the last five years, and whether such expenses have been adjusted downwards in line with the decrease in CDIs;

    (b)the reduction in the Government's allocation to CDIs over the last five years, and the respective portions of the reduction made for the purpose of cutting expenses and providing extra funds for other services, and the details of the additional provision consequentially enjoyed by each of such other services; and

    (c)the dollar amount of the 4% reduction, and the basis for calculating the percentage reduction?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

Regarding car parks operated by private operators, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the quarterly numbers of cases of theft from vehicles and vehicles stolen at such car parks in various police districts in the past three years;

    (b)of the existing legislation and measures to vet and approve applications for operating such car parks and to monitor their security situation; and

    (c)whether it will consider introducing a demerit points system for penalizing those private operators who fail to properly handle security problems at their car parks?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

It has been reported that a number of flights of a local airline experienced mechanical failure in recent months. Although the airline subsequently made reports to the Civil Aviation Department ("CAD"), CAD did not make public the incidents and refused to disclose the details concerned to the media. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total number of aircraft occurrence reports received by CAD from different airlines over the past three years, with a breakdown by the causes of the occurrences;

    (b)why CAD refused to make public the details of the incidents in question; and

    (c)whether CAD will regularly publish information on aircraft occurrences to address public concern; if it will not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*29. Hon LI Fung-ying to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that some pieces of land in the New Territories are being used as storage sites for abandoned electronic products. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of pieces of land in Hong Kong which are being used for the above purpose at present, together with a list showing the district, size, original land use and the types and quantities of the abandoned electronic products stored in respect of each piece of land, and whether it is government-owned or private-owned;

    (b)whether it has received complaints concerning the above sites; if it has, of the nature and number of such complaints, and the authorities' follow-up actions; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the impacts of the sites concerned on the health of the nearby residents, the ecology and the environment; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

It has been reported that a piece of Government land located on the side of Kwu Tung Road in San Tin, Yuen Long, was illegally opened up, involving the felling of a large number of trees. After receiving relevant reports from the local residents, the Government has already commenced an investigation into this case. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total area of the land that has been opened up;

    (b)of the number, age and species of the trees felled, and whether they include trees of a particularly old age and exceptionally rare species;

    (c)of the progress of the investigation, and whether it will take prosecution actions;

    (d)whether it has any plan to recover the land concerned; if it has, of the estimated expenditure and other details of the plan, and whether it will claim compensation from the people involved; if it has not, the reasons for that; and

    (e)how it prevents the recurrence of similar incidents?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

*31. Hon LI Kwok-ying to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the northern runway of the Hong Kong International Airport was recently closed for two hours for repairs due to the appearance of a 1.5-metre-long and 4.4-centimetre-wide crack, and all air traffic had to be diverted to the southern runway for take-offs and landings during the closure. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:
    (a)whether the Airport Authority ("AA") has thoroughly investigated the cause of the incident; if so, of the investigation results;

    (b)whether AA has assessed the safety implications of such a crack on the take-offs and landings of aircraft; if so, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)of the practice and procedure adopted by AA in the routine inspection and maintenance of runways; and whether such work is monitored by the Administration; if so, how it is monitored;

    (d)whether AA has assessed if the crack was caused by differential settlement of the sand and soil used for the reclamation; if so, of the assessment results; and

    (e)given that a full-scale resurfacing of the northern runway has already started since December last year and is expected to be completed in May this year, and the southern runway has also shown signs of wear and tear, what specific measures have been taken by AA during the period of the works for the detection of cracks in the runways and for ensuring the safety of aircraft in taking off and landing?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

I have learnt that some travel agents employ tourist guides who have not yet obtained a tourist guide permit to receive inbound tours. Moreover, it is reported that the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong has found, at popular tourist spots, tourist guides employed by eight unlicensed travel agents receiving tours from the Mainland. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of inbound tourist guides who have not obtained the tourist guide permit, and the reasons for that;

    (b)if the authority concerned will provide more tourist guide training courses and examinations so that more tourist guides can obtain the permit expeditiously; and

    (c)if the authority concerned has any measures to curb the unlicensed operation of inbound tourist business and the travel agents' employing tour guides without the permit, so as to safeguard the interests of licensed travel agents and tourist guides with the permit?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

In reply to my question at the Council meeting on 22 October 2003, the Government advised that residents' bus services were operated as a supplementary service primarily during peak hours to relieve the peak-hour demand on franchised buses and green minibuses, especially as feeder services to railway stations and major public transport interchanges. On this basis, the Transport Department would look at the circumstances of each case carefully in considering matters relating to the operation of residents' bus services. However, recently I have received complaints that owing to the serious shortage of public transport services to and from some housing estates in remote locations, such as Horizon Place in Kwai Chung, Rambler Crest in Tsing Yi and The Cliveden in Tsuen Wan, these housing estates need to apply for operating residents' bus services between the estates and the MTR stations. However, such applications have been repeatedly rejected by the Government, causing inconvenience to the residents of the estates concerned. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the reasons for rejecting the above three housing estates' applications for operating residents' bus services; and

    (b)the total number of applications received by the authorities in the past three years for operating residents' bus services and, among them, the respective numbers of such applications which were successful and otherwise, the names of housing estates whose applications were successful and the bus routes concerned, as well as the names of housing estates (other than those mentioned in (a) above) whose applications were unsuccessful, and the reasons for their being so?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

In reply to a question raised in this Council on 3 November last year, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands advised that a piece of land in Area 4, Tai Po designated for use as a swimming pool complex with ancillary facilities had been granted by way of private treaty for more than 12 months, and that the grantee had obtained funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for redeveloping the piece of land. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest progress of the plan to build the swimming pool complex;

    (b)whether the above funding has met with obstacles; if so, of the details;

    (c)whether the numbers of swimming pool and leisure pool complexes currently in Tai Po have met the relevant standards stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines; if not, of the plan to increase the numbers of such facilities in the district; and

    (d)whether the authorities will, on grounds that Tai Po is far away from bathing beaches, consider increasing the numbers of swimming pool or leisure pool complexes in the district?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

With respect to combating illegal entry to Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of illegal entrants ("IEs") arrested each month in the past two years, together with a breakdown by nationality and means of entry (i.e. by sea or by land), as well as the number of IEs sentenced to imprisonment each year; and

    (b)whether it has found any IEs coming to Hong Kong for the purpose of making money from prison work or seeking medical treatment in prison; if so, whether the number of such cases has been on the rise in recent years, the offences committed by these IEs for which they have been sentenced to imprisonment, as well as the measures in place to curb such a trend?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

It has been reported that the University Grants Committee ("UGC") intends to internationalize the eight UGC-funded higher education institutions by attracting more non-local students to study in these institutions or subsidizing local students to join student exchange programmes organized by universities outside Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the countries from which UGC intends to attract non-local students and the percentage of such students in the total enrolment of the above institutions;

    (b)how UGC will implement the above exchanges and allocate the funds for subsidizing exchanges to the local institutions; and

    (c)the measures taken by UGC to attract non-local students to study in the local institutions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*37. Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

The Administration has established the Link Management Limited ("the Link") to manage the real estate investment trust set up for the divestment of the Housing Authority's ("HA's") retail and car-parking facilities. Regarding the granting of rent concessions by HA and the Link in respect of the premises let to social welfare organizations, educational organizations, District Councillors and Members of the Legislative Council, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)how HA currently determines the amount of rent concessions to the organizations and individuals mentioned above;

    (b)of the respective numbers of units in the commercial complexes, currently let to these organizations and individuals with rent concessions, that will be taken over by the Link;

    (c)whether HA and the Link will take measures to ensure that the rents currently payable by these organizations or individuals who are enjoying rent concessions will not rise sharply in the future; if they will, of the details of the measures; and

    (d)whether the Link will adopt a policy of granting rent concessions to certain organizations or individuals; if so, of the details of the policy; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

With the growing popularity of the Internet, the problem of shortage of Internet Protocol ("IP") addresses is getting worse. To deal with the problem, the relevant international standards organization advocated in 1994 that the IP adopted for Internet infrastructure be migrated from version 4 ("IPv4") to version 6 ("IPv6"). To this end, a number of countries and regions, including the Mainland, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia have initiated active preparations, such as setting up dedicated teams or departments to formulate related policies and standards, implementing pilot schemes and conducting researches on related technologies, products and applications. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has assessed the benefits to our society which will be brought about by the migration from IPv4 to IPv6 for adoption in Internet infrastructure;

    (b)it has devised a work plan, such as setting up a coordination task force, establishing a research and development centre to support the development of products and services compatible with IPv6; if it has, of the details, timetable and public expenditure involved; and

    (c)it has exchanged views with the relevant organizations of other countries and regions on issues of policy, technological development and standards relating to IPv6; and whether it will establish partnership with the relevant organizations of other countries and regions, in particular the Mainland, on establishing a IPv6 trial network to facilitate researches?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

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

It has been reported that in recent years many boats carried passengers illegally in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park for activities of a commercial nature (such as coral appreciation tour groups). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of applications for permits to undertake commercial activities in this marine park in each of the past five years, and the number of successful applications;

    (b)of the respective numbers of prosecutions and successful prosecutions instituted by the authorities under the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance against the owners of the boats used to carry passengers for illegal commercial activities in the park, in each of the past five years;

    (c)whether there are measures to combat such illegal activities at present; if so, of the details and effectiveness of the measures; and

    (d)whether it has assessed the impact of such illegal activities on the ecology of the park; if so, of the details and results of the assessment?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

* For written reply.

III. Bills

(Bill originally scheduled for first and second readings at the last Council meeting)

First Reading


Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) (Amendment) Bill 2005

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) (Amendment) Bill 2005 :Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

IV. Motions

(Proposed resolution originally scheduled to be moved at the last Council meeting)

Proposed resolution under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance

Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food to move the following motion:


RESOLVED that the following Regulations, made by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board on 28 December 2004, be approved -
    (a)the Pharmacy and Poisons (Amendment)(No. 4) Regulation 2004; and

    (b)the Poisons List (Amendment)(No. 4) Regulation 2004.

    (The two Regulations have been issued on 31 December 2004
    under LC Paper No. CB(3) 262/04-05)

V. Members' Motions

  1. Motion of Thanks

    Hon Miriam LAU: (Translation)

    That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address.

    Amendment to Hon Miriam LAU's motion
    Hon LEE Wing-tat:
    (Translation)

    To add ", but as the Policy Address has failed to fully identify the inadequacies and put in place a democratic political system, this Council expresses deep regret and urges the Chief Executive to expeditiously propose the election of the Chief Executive and all Members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008 respectively, to enhance the Government's accountability and the standard of its governance, so that the Government can follow public opinion more closely and improve its governance" after "That this Council thanks the Chief Executive for his address".

    Public Officers to attend are listed in the Appendix



    (Motions originally scheduled to be moved at the last Council meeting)


  2. Introducing a fair competition law for the oil industries

    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW: (Translation)

    That, as the adjustments of local oil product prices are always quick in going up but slow in coming down and the pace of price adjustments by various oil companies tends to be synchronized, while oil product pump prices often fail to truly reflect import costs, this Council urges the Government to actively consider introducing a fair competition law and other effective measures for the oil industries, including requesting the Competition Policy Advisory Group to take heed of any unfair mode of competition that may emerge in the local oil market, and entrusting the Group to monitor and study the situation, with a view to increasing competition in the oil industries and enhancing the transparency of product prices, thereby avoiding oligopoly, promoting fair competition and safeguarding commercial clients and the public against high oil prices.

    Amendments to Hon Mrs Selina CHOW's motion
    (i)Hon WONG Kwok-hing: (Translation)

    To delete "actively consider introducing" after "this Council urges the Government to" and substitute with "comprehensively introduce"; and to delete "for" after "other effective measures" and substitute with "starting from".

    (ii)Hon Fred LI: (Translation)

    To add "comprehensive" after "consider introducing a"; to delete "for the oil industries" after "other effective measures"; to delete "requesting" after "including" and substitute with "reforming"; to delete "to take heed of" after "the Competition Policy Advisory Group" and substitute with "and providing it with statutory power of investigation, so as to enable it to regulate"; and to delete "and entrusting the Group to monitor and study the situation," after "local oil market,".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

  3. Enacting legislation on freedom of information

    Hon James TO: (Translation)

    That this Council urges the HKSAR Government to enact legislation on freedom of information so as to safeguard Hong Kong's freedom of the press and information, and to enhance the transparency and accountability of the HKSAR Government with a view to consolidating the core values of Hong Kong.

    Amendments to Hon James TO's motion
    (i)Hon Albert Jinghan CHENG: (Translation)

    To add ", as the current Code on Access to Information is inadequate for safeguarding freedom of the press, freedom of information and the public's right to know," after "That"; to add "and amend the existing Official Secrets Ordinance and other legislation that may be in conflict with freedom of the press, freedom of information and the public's right to know," after "freedom of information"; and to add "as well as the public's right to know" after "freedom of the press and information".

    (ii)Hon TSANG Yok-sing: (Translation)

    To add ", on the premise of fully consulting various sectors of the community and having regard for the public's right to know and their social responsibilities," after "freedom of information"; to delete "and to" after "press and information,"; and to delete "with a view to consolidating" after "accountability of the HKSAR Government" and substitute with ", safeguard the public interests of the Hong Kong community, and consolidate".

    (iii)Hon Margaret NG: (Translation)

    To add "to provide for: (a) the public's right of access to information held by public authorities; (b) clearly defined categories of information the disclosure of which may be refused; and (c) the mechanisms for enforcing the right and for appeal," after "freedom of information"; and to add "and facilitating public participation in assessing and proposing public policies" after "core values of Hong Kong".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Home Affairs

Clerk to the Legislative Council