Council Meeting (Agenda) 15 June 2005


A 04/05-33

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 15 June 2005 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Prisons (Amendment) Order 200592/2005
2.Tate's Cairn Tunnel Ordinance (Replacement of Schedule) Notice 200593/2005

II. Questions

1. Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah to ask: (Translation)

The visibility in Hong Kong during winter has often been low in recent years. An academic has pointed out that it is attributable to the emissions of pollutants from local power plants. Moreover, a local power company has also admitted that it has increased the use of common coal in the generation of electricity in recent years. However, the Environmental Protection Department has pointed out that more than 80% of the pollutants come from the Pearl River Delta ("PRD") Region. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective percentages of common coal, eco-coal and other fuels consumed by local power plants in the total fuel consumption in each of the past three years;

    (b)regarding the pollutants causing the low visibility in Hong Kong during winter, of the respective quantities of various kinds of pollutants generated from the PRD Region and in Hong Kong, as well as their relative ratios; and

    (c)whether daily satellite images of air pollutants in the PRD Region will be uploaded onto the government web-sites to inform the public of the sources and distribution of air pollutants; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

Some local bodies have reflected to me that the construction of the recreational and sitting-out facilities in quite a number of public housing estates have not commenced even though the residents have moved in for many years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the recreational and sitting-out facilities planned for those public housing estates completed in the past ten years but the construction of which has not yet commenced, the criteria adopted for deciding on the commencement dates of the works, and the anticipated progress of such works in the coming three years;

    (b)whether it has consulted the residents concerned on the completion dates of the recreational and sitting-out facilities in their housing estates; if so, of the details of the consultation; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)as the sites for planned recreational and sitting-out facilities the construction of which has not commenced are used as temporary car parks, whether it has any plan to permanently allocate such sites for use as car parks; if it has, of the affected housing estates and the reasons for doing so?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

The sale of Home Ownership Scheme ("HOS") flats has ceased since 2003, and the authorities have stated that these flats would not be put up for sale as subsidized housing before the end of 2006. The Housing Authority ("HA") has more than 16 500 unoccupied HOS flats at present, and in preparing its recent financial forecasts, HA has assumed the sale of 2 000 HOS flats each year from 2007/08 onwards. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the estimated respective maintenance fees, management charges, rates/Government rent and depreciation costs incurred by the suspension of sale of HOS flats since the commencement of the suspension until all the HOS flats have been sold out;

    (b)given the delayed inflow of sale proceeds due to the suspension of the sale of HOS flats, of HA's loss in investment return as a result of the decision on suspension, calculated on the basis of HA's average rate of investment return over the past five financial years; and

    (c)whether it will consider advancing the sale of the unoccupied HOS flats and setting a higher annual sales figure; if it will, of the timing for the resumption of sale and the number of flats to be sold each year; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

4. Hon LEUNG Kwok-hung to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that some contractors of the Government's outsourced cleansing services ("the contractors") submitted false leave certificates of their employees and documents with forged signatures to obtain their service fees by fraud. Moreover, the Cleaning Workers' Union and the Cleaning Service Industry Workers Union had each lodged complaints with the Housing Department ("HD") against four contractors who did not pay their employees according to the committed wages stipulated in the service contracts, and these complaints were already substantiated. On the other hand, while the contracts of the Government's outsourced cleansing services expressly provide that the contractors shall not breach the Employment Ordinance, there are still cases concerning the above wage problem and employees of certain contractors being forced to work without taking leave on rest days over a long period of five to six years. However, the government departments with the regulatory responsibility in this regard knew nothing about these irregularities and only dealt with such cases after receiving complaints from the workers' unions. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether, as victims of the above fraudulent acts, the government departments concerned will take the initiative to report to the Police for investigation into the criminal liability of the contractors suspected of committing the above fraudulent acts, and how HD will punish the four contractors who have been found not paying their employees according to the wage scales stipulated in the contracts;

    (b)whether the government officials responsible for regulating the contractors concerned will be held accountable for the occurrence of such cases; if so, of the officials involved and how they will be punished; and

    (c)as contractors frequently breach the labour laws and deceive their employees after the commencement of the Government's outsourcing of its cleansing services, whether the authorities have considered ceasing to outsource the cleansing services, or directly employing cleaning workers by other means, instead of providing manpower and resources to regulate the contractors?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

5. Hon WONG Ting-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the results of a survey on intellectual property conducted by the Intellectual Property Department ("IPD") in mid-February this year revealed that almost 50% of the respondent business establishments mistakenly believed that they could automatically obtain intellectual property protection in Hong Kong upon successfully registering the trademarks, patents and designs of their goods in the Mainland. However, IPD stressed that under the principle of "one country, two systems", trademarks, patents and designs of goods have to be registered in Hong Kong and in the Mainland separately before they can enjoy protection of the relevant laws in both places. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of types of goods which have their trademarks, patents and designs currently registered in Hong Kong but not in the Mainland;

    (b)the number of complaints over the past three years concerning goods which had not been registered concurrently in Hong Kong and in the Mainland, and therefore could not enjoy protection of the relevant laws in the event of infringement of rights of these goods in the place where they had not been registered; and

    (c)the measures to enhance the business establishments' knowledge about the registration system for the trademarks, patents and designs of goods?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

6. Hon KWONG Chi-kin to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding whether a statutory minimum wage system should be implemented in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of meetings held so far by the Labour Advisory Board to discuss this issue, and whether any preliminary conclusions have been reached;

    (b)of the progress of the research on this issue conducted by the Administration, and which countries' experience in implementing a minimum wage system it has referred to, in particular the impact of such a minimum wage system on the economic development and social stability of these countries; and

    (c)whether the Administration has drawn up any timetable for formulating and implementing a minimum wage system; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*7. Dr Hon David LI to ask:


From 29 April to 7 May this year, the Hong Kong Disneyland held in-situ trials of the nightly fireworks display planned for the theme park once it opens. During the trials, it was observed that the fireworks rose to a lower maximum height than that at the initial test held in January this year. As such, the resultant smoke tended to hover at a low level and, due to the prevailing wind conditions, drift inward towards the former Penny's Bay. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the average wind speed and direction measured at the Hong Kong Disneyland site on each night during the trial period;

    (b)the locations and types of all instruments used by the contractors of the Hong Kong Disneyland and the authorities to measure the impact of the noise, particles and chemical substances of the fireworks on each night during the trial period;

    (c)the specific chemical substances measured by the above instruments; the rationale for the choice of chemicals to be recorded by the contractors and the Government for reporting purposes, and the sensitivity of these instruments in respect of each of these chemicals; and

    (d)the maximum instantaneous reading for each of the specified measurements recorded by each of the above instruments on each night during the trial period, broken down by location?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the particulars of the term contracts awarded by the Highways Department ("HyD") for road maintenance and administration in the current financial year and those awarded last time, including geographical coverage, the names of contractors as well as the values and periods of the contracts;

    (b)of the criteria for determining the periods and geographical coverage of the above contracts;

    (c)whether such contracts have provided that HyD may terminate a contract when the contractor's performance is unsatisfactory; if so, whether HyD has invoked the relevant provisions;

    (d)whether HyD has monitored if the progress of outsourced road maintenance works meet the contract requirements; if it has, of the respective numbers of road maintenance works which proceeded on schedule and which experienced delays in the past five years, as well as the maximum and average numbers of days of delay; and

    (e)of the number of complaints about traffic congestion arising from the delays of such works lodged by District Council members, motorists and the public in the past five years, together with the number of occasions on which HyD issued warnings to or imposed fines on contractors for the postponement of the dates of completion of works?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

I have recently received complaints that some operators of public light buses ("PLBs") are running, without the passenger service licences issued by the Transport Department, unauthorized passenger transport service between the urban areas and Yuen Long/Tuen Mun. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has received in the past two years complaints about unauthorized operation of passenger transport service by PLBs; if it has, of the number of complaints received each year;

    (b)whether it has looked into the operating mode of such service and the routes in operation;

    (c)of the measures to crack down on such unauthorized service; and

    (d)whether publicity efforts have been made to advise people against riding on these PLBs; if so, of the details of such efforts; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

Regarding the arrangements made by the Women's Commission in respect of the activities related to "Beijing+10" (i.e. the tenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)before sending representatives to attend the "Beijing+10" World Conference on Women organized by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in February this year, whether the authorities have done the following for the purpose of reviewing the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in Hong Kong:

    (i)submitting a report to the Commission and returning the completed questionnaire distributed by the United Nations to various governments for completion; and

    (ii)liaising with and consulting community concern groups on women's rights;

    if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and why the authorities did not report the implementation progress and submit related documents to this Council; and

    (b)of the purposes of the Hong Kong and Mainland authorities organizing the "Mainland and Hong Kong Joint Events in Celebration of 'Beijing+10'" in Beijing in April this year, the names of the women organizations invited to the events and the quota of representatives from each of these organizations, the names of the women organizations which had not been invited to the events and the reasons for not inviting them, as well as the criteria adopted by the Hong Kong authorities for determining the organizations to be invited to the events?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*11. Dr Hon KWOK Ka-ki to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Secretary for Education and Manpower has indicated earlier that consideration is being given to the introduction of the third phase of the Matching Grant Scheme this year to encourage University Grants Committee ("UGC") - funded institutions to raise funds by themselves. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the various donation campaigns for which the above institutions have been awarded matching grants, the respective amounts of private donations and matching grants involved and the total amount of funds raised;

    (b)if it knows whether any mechanisms or rules have been drawn up by these institutions regarding matters such as regulating the use of private donations secured under donation campaigns that have been matched by matching grants and reciprocating the donors; if so, whether any established criteria on donation amount have been laid down for reference on the naming the institutions, faculties/departments, campus buildings or research centres after the relevant benefactors, and whether donation campaigns which attained designated private donations have been included in the scope of the Matching Grant Scheme and meet the conditions of the grants; and

    (c)whether it will review and improve the Matching Grant Scheme, including considering increasing the aggregate amount of matching grants and raising the ceiling on the amount of grants received by each institution, so as to allow UGC-funded institutions to solicit donations from the community and their alumni through various campaigns and means, hence encouraging different social sectors to make donations and promoting proactively a philanthropic culture, and whether the matching ratio between grants and private donations, which determines the amount of matching grants, will be adjusted by the authorities to allow institutions with smaller fund-raising capabilities to be awarded more grants?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

Article 50 of the Basic Law stipulates that the Chief Executive ("CE") may dissolve the Legislative Council ("LegCo") only once in each term of his or her office. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)"each term of his or her office" referred to in the article means the term of office of the CE stipulated in Article 46 of the Basic Law, i.e. five years, or the term of office of any person each time he is elected as the CE in a CE election, or has other interpretations; and

    (b)the CE elected to fill a vacancy in the office of the CE which has arisen before the expiry of a five-year term has the power to dissolve the LegCo once under the article; if so, whether such power is affected by whether or not his/her predecessor(s) in the same term of office has(have) dissolved the LegCo?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional Affairs

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

A study on urban heat island effect is reported to have revealed that a 1oC rise in local temperature will result in an increase of around 1.7 billion dollars in expenditure on electricity. The incidence rates of some infectious diseases will also rise. Measures encouraging the construction of more green roofs on buildings have been adopted in many countries in order to mitigate urban heat island effect. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)building managers of government offices buildings, subvented schools, public hospitals and other government buildings will be required to implement green roof projects on their buildings; if so, of the details of the requirements; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (b)measures will be formulated to encourage building managers of private buildings to implement green roof projects on their buildings; if so, of the details of the measures; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*14. Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming to ask:
(Translation)

Since the relocation of the former Kai Tak Airport in 1998, the Government has not yet made a decision on the South East Kowloon Development ("SEKD"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)how it will develop the sites covered by SEKD and the details of the development plan, including its progress and timetable;

    (b)of the resources to be put into the development of South East Kowloon; and

    (c)whether it will put up the above sites for public auction?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

Regarding the supply and demand of nurses, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows, in respect of the situation over the past five years and projection for the coming three years:

    (i)the respective numbers of enrolled nurses and registered nurses graduating from relevant nursing courses each year; and

    (ii)the respective numbers of vacancies for enrolled nurses and registered nurses in each public hospital cluster, the Department of Health, private hospitals, private elderly homes and other types of non-governmental organizations each year, and the number of such vacancies not filled after completion of the relevant recruitment exercises; and

    (b)of the public services affected by the shortage of nurses during the past five years and the details of the impact?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*16. Hon TSANG Yok-sing to ask:
(Translation)

In recent months, some Internet access service providers have launched broadband Internet access services ("IAS") with claimed data transmission speed of up to 100 Mbps or even 1 000 Mbps. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the development trend of the bandwidths of IAS; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, whether assessment will be made;

    (b)whether it has assessed if the facilities of the Hong Kong Internet Exchange, which provides local data exchange services, can cope with the growth of information flow on the Internet, and whether they will become the bottleneck in data transmission; and

    (c)of how it monitors the quality and stability of broadband IAS, and whether it has educated consumers to appreciate the factors affecting the actual bandwidths of IAS?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

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

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of applications for visas to Hong Kong by persons from various countries/regions (excluding residents in the Mainland and Taiwan) over the past three years, and the number of cases in which visas were issued;

    (b)given that a number of tourist projects will be completed in Hong Kong and the number of inbound tourists (especially those from Russia) has been increasing, whether the authorities will consider relaxing the existing requirement that inbound tourists should hold valid entry visas, including granting visa-free access to inbound tourists from various countries/regions such as Russia, the Middle East, East Europe and Vietnam, so as to attract more overseas tourists to Hong Kong, thereby promoting tourism; if not, the rationale for it; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the impact of granting visa-free access to inbound tourists from the countries/regions mentioned in (b) on the local economy and tourism; if it has, of the assessment results?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

In her speech during the debate on the 2005 Policy Address at the Council meeting on 27 January this year, the Secretary for Justice pointed out that the Law Society of Hong Kong ("Law Society") and the Consumer Council had studied the operation of claims companies, but there was insufficient evidence to prove that these companies had caused harm to the community, or that control by way of legislation was necessary. However, it has been reported that the Law Society has earlier said that financing accident victims in instituting legal proceedings by claims recovery agents constitutes an act of maintenance or champerty, which should be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has studied if the Law Society has changed its position on whether these claims companies have caused harm to the community; if the study reveals such a change, whether the authorities have asked the Law Society about the reasons for the change as well as the specific harm to the community; if the study reveals otherwise, the rationale for that;

    (b)whether it has assessed if claims companies have been involved in champerty and illegal promotional practice and whether the problem of excessive fee-charging is serious; if the assessment results reveal that such acts are illegal and the problem is serious, of the details and how the authorities will follow up; if the assessment results revealed otherwise, the details of that; and

    (c)as claims companies solicit business by claiming that they will charge on a "no win, no fee" basis, and the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong is studying this form of fee-charging, whether the authorities know the latest progress of the study, and whether such matters as how to regularize the operation of claims companies will be covered by the study; if they will not be covered, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Justice

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

I have received complaints from members of the public that motorcycle parking spaces in many areas are insufficient, especially in Tsuen Wan, Tsing Yi and Tin Shui Wai. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the demand and supply situation of day-time and night-time motorcycle parking spaces in various administrative districts and the districts in which motorcycle parking spaces are seriously in short supply; and

    (b)whether it plans to provide additional motorcycle parking spaces in the next 12 months; if so, of the proposed locations and the number of such parking spaces?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

Regarding the lifeguards employed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective numbers of drowning swimmers at public swimming pools and beaches since last year and, among them, the number of those drowned, as well as the number of cases in which other forms of assistance were sought from lifeguards in the past five years;

    (b)the respective average years of service among the lifeguards who are employed on pensionable terms and those who are employed on various contract terms, and whether it has assessed if lifeguards' years of service, work experience and familiarity with the environment are relevant to their performance in rescuing drowning swimmers;

    (c)the measures in place to ensure that there is an adequate number of experienced lifeguards on duty at public swimming pools and beaches during the swimming season; and

    (d)the respective average numbers of swimmers at various public beaches in early mornings before lifeguards were on duty in the past year; whether it will consider advancing the lifeguard service hours at public beaches with relatively more swimmers in early mornings, so as to better safeguard the safety of swimmers?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for the Civil Service
(in the absence of Secretary for Home Affairs)

*For written reply.

III. Bills

First Reading


Certification for Employee Benefits (Chinese Medicine) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2005

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Certification for Employee Benefits (Chinese Medicine) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2005 :Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

IV. Members' Motions

  1. Nature conservation policy

    Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming: (Translation)

    That, as the two measures, namely management agreements and public-private partnership, introduced by the Government under the new nature conservation policy implemented last year have failed to truly achieve the objective of conserving ecologically important sites under private ownership in a sustainable manner, and have even given rise to landowners' dissatisfaction about the infringement of their rights and interests as well as the public's doubt about the effectiveness of such measures, this Council urges the Government to review the policy, including:

    (a)establishing policy objectives and strategies which genuinely accord priority to conservation;

    (b)reviewing the existing fragmented legislation relating to nature conservation, and considering the enactment of legislation which specifically deals with the conservation of nature and ecology;

    (c)the Government assuming a more proactive role by undertaking conservation and management work on the 12 priority sites for enhanced conservation ("priority sites");

    (d)exploring afresh practicable and reasonable options to make reasonable compensation or arrangements for owners of private land in the priority sites, so as to ensure that there is more effective conservation and management of the lands concerned;

    (e)enhancing the training for the personnel responsible for managing and supervising conservation work so as to upgrade their professionalism, and promoting public awareness of nature conservation; and

    (f)the relevant government departments taking the lead in co-ordinating exchanges on conservation matters among the Administration, green groups, the private sector, rural organizations, universities, research institutions, etc, and in uniting the efforts of the various parties in promoting the conservation of the ecology.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

  2. Deepening the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement

    Hon WONG Ting-kwong: (Translation)

    That, as the SAR Government has just completed its study on the economic benefits of the first phase of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement ("CEPA I"), and the business sector and professional organizations have respectively expressed their views on ways to improve CEPA, this Council urges the Government to take proactive measures to respond to the aspirations expressed by various sectors in the review of CEPA I, including:

    (a)strengthening its promotion efforts to attract Mainland enterprises to set up offices in Hong Kong for developing the international market, and pursuing with the Central Authorities the relaxation of the control of capital flows, with a view to implementing the investment facilitation policy for Mainland enterprises to invest in Hong Kong and Macao;

    (b)assisting Hong Kong businessmen in overcoming the trade barriers they encounter in various Mainland provinces and cities, improving the customs clearance facilities, and promoting the trading of goods, so as to assist the development of local industries and to create local job opportunities;

    (c)stepping up its promotion efforts to encourage low-skilled people of Hong Kong to start their businesses in the Mainland by setting up individually owned stores; and

    (d)pursuing with the Central Authorities the admittance of Hong Kong professionals to the Mainland to set up their businesses and practise there, so as to facilitate the trade in services.

    Amendment to motion
    Hon SIN Chung-kai:
    (Translation)

    To delete "and" after "setting up individually owned stores;"; and to add "; (e) enhancing its support for those Hong Kong people who work and operate businesses in the Mainland, e.g. by strengthening the functions of the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Beijing and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong, so as to render assistance to Hong Kong residents who encounter in the Mainland such difficulties as trade or legal disputes and threats to personal safety; (f) discussing with the Central Authorities the early implementation of the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors scheme for promoting Mainlanders' investments in Hong Kong; and (g) discussing with the Central Authorities according national treatment to Hong Kong companies operating in the Mainland" after "to facilitate the trade in services".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology


Clerk to the Legislative Council