Council Meeting (Agenda) 9 May 2007


A 06/07-27

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 9 May 2007 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers
Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Road Traffic (Amendment: Extension of Permitted Area for New Territories Taxis to Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area) Regulation 200768/2007
2.Closed Area (Hong Kong Section of the Shenzhen Bay Bridge and Deep Bay Link Portion) Order69/2007
3.Immigration (Places of Detention) (Amendment: Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point) Order 200770/2007
4.Immigration Service (Designated Places) (Amendment: Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point) Order 200771/2007
5.Immigration (Places of Detention) (Amendment: Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area) Order 200772/2007
6.Immigration Service (Designated Places) (Amendment: Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area) Order 200773/2007
7.Frontier Closed Area (Permission to Enter) (Amendment) Notice 200774/2007
8.Shenzhen Bay Port Hong Kong Port Area (Permission to Enter) Notice75/2007
9.Antiquities and Monuments (Declaration of Historical Building) Notice 200776/2007

II. Questions

1. Hon Tommy CHEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

It has been learnt that the Government expects serving kindergarten ("KG") teachers to obtain the Certificate in Early Childhood Education ("ECE") qualification by the 2011-2012 school year. In this regard, since the 2007-2008 school year, teachers who work in KGs not joining or not eligible for the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme ("PEVS") may claim reimbursement for up to 50% of the fees for one approved ECE diploma or degree course, capped at $60,000. As for teachers working in KGs eligible for PEVS, they may receive no less than the same amount of course fee reimbursement as teachers of the above KGs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether, according to the above arrangement, teachers of KGs eligible for PEVS will receive more subsidies than those of non-eligible KGs; if so, whether it has assessed if such an arrangement is unfair, and whether it will reduce the opportunities for those teachers who work in non-eligible KGs and cannot afford the course fees to pursue further studies and seek employment in future, as well as adversely affect the development of the qualifications of teachers in such KGs; if it has made such an assessment, of the results; and

    (b)given that according to the above arrangement, teachers receiving subsidies are required to pay the course fees in full first and then apply for partial reimbursement afterwards, how the Government will assist those teachers who are unable to pay the full fees first?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

It is learnt that the Faculties of Medicine of the two universities have not kept detailed records of the number of consultation sessions provided by clinical teaching staff for non-private patients at public hospitals ("general patients") and the number of such attendances. One of these universities also has not kept records, such as the number of sessions, for private consultation service. Not only are members of the public concerned about the proper use of public health care resources, they also worry that these teaching staff are preoccupied with private consultation service, which gives the university a share of the income, resulting in general patients being adversely affected. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows if the two universities concerned and the Hospital Authority:
    (a)will consider keeping more detailed information on private and non-private consultation services, so as to monitor if the two Faculties of Medicine and the teaching hospitals are preoccupied with private consultation service;

    (b)have any new measures to ensure and monitor the proper use of the income generated from private consultation service; and

    (c)will set targets on the number of hours spent each week on the treatment of general patients and the number of such patients treated by each clinical teaching staff, so as to ensure that the general patients of the teaching hospitals will not be discriminated and will receive treatment by clinical teaching staff?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

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

The Government is processing the application by the Airport Authority Hong Kong to build a permanent aviation fuel facility ("tank farm") at Tuen Mun Area 38. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest progress of the aforesaid application, and whether there are other possible sites;

    (b)whether there are any stipulations on the safety distance between the tank farm and residential areas, as well as that between the tank farm and various types of industrial/commercial premises; if not, how the Government safeguards the lives of the public; and

    (c)given that the design and building of tank farms are subject to the Code of Practice for Oil Storage Installations, whether the Government has updated the Code since its revision in 1992 in accordance with the changes in relevant international standards; if it has, of the details of the updating exercise; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

4. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

Quite a number of general weekly magazines published in Hong Kong carry in every edition a large quantity of full-page advertisements relating to beauty and figure improvement. Regarding the regulation of advertisements published in the print media, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given that in 2004 the Broadcasting Authority ("BA") strongly advised two television stations not to broadcast a certain advertisement for a height enhancing equipment because BA considered that the claim in the advertisement could not be substantiated, and that the licensees concerned had not exercised due diligence in ascertaining the truthfulness of the relevant claim, whether the publication of similar advertisements in the print media is subject to the same regulation; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)whether there are measures to regulate the publication in the print media of print advertisements carrying contents which are related to beauty, height enhancement, body trimming and plastic surgery, etc, and involve untruthful claims; if so, of the details; and

    (c)as many advertisements relating to breast augmentation are published in the above-mentioned general weekly magazines, whether the Government has studied if such advertisements are subject to the regulation under the Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance; if it has conducted such a study, of the findings?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)
Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

The former Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board ("HKTB"), who has just departed, received a "discretionary performance pay" ("variable pay") in the amount of $589,000 in 2005-2006, four times more than that of the previous year. It has been reported that the Board of HKTB will further grant her a variable pay exceeding one million dollars. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows of the formula adopted by the Board of HKTB for calculating the amount of variable pay receivable by the Executive Director, together with the factors for consideration as well as their weighting;

    (b)if the above factors for consideration include the two indicators of "Visitor Arrivals" and "Tourism Expenditure Associated to Inbound Tourism", whether, based on the Government's assessment, developments such as the Central Government's liberalization of Individual Visit Scheme, the opening and publicity of the Hong Kong Disneyland, and the rising hotel room rates have contributed to the rise of these indicators, apart from the publicity of HKTB; and

    (c)whether it knows how the Board of HKTB, when it applies the said formula to determine the variable pay, assesses how much of the changes in the factors for considerations may be attributed to the performance of HKTB?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

Regarding the governance of statutory bodies, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the details of the remuneration and bonus systems for senior staff of existing statutory bodies (including the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, the Hospital Authority, the Urban Renewal Authority and the Hong Kong Tourism Board), the vetting procedures for such systems, and how it ensures that there will not be wastage of public money under such systems;

    (b)whether it has reviewed how the roles and functions of government officials who serve as ex-officio members of such bodies, and how they assist in meeting the target of achieving good governance in such bodies; if it has conducted such a review, of the results; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)how it ensures that members of the governing structures (such as board members) of such statutory bodies fully assume their responsibilities as members of the governing structures concerned, and how individual members hold themselves accountable to the public?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*7. Hon Martin LEE to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that last month, a real estate developer and two art groups jointly submitted an application to the Town Planning Board for planning permission for a development project, which includes a 33-storey hotel, shops as well as art and cultural facilities (exhibition hall and studio theatre), on the Ex-A-King Slipway Site and the adjoining government land in Causeway Bay. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows if the authorities concerned:
    (a)have requested the applicants to provide an assessment report on the following aspects of the development project: (i) the need for reclamation or piling works to be carried out at any shore or sea-bed, (ii) the impact of the proposed hotel development on air ventilation to the inland buildings, on the view from the sea to the waterfront, on the panoramic view from the inland buildings, and on the traffic conditions of the nearby residential areas, as well as (iii) whether the site concerned has been contaminated; if they have, of the results of the assessment and the channels through which members of the public may access the relevant report; if not, whether they will make such a request; and

    (b)have studied the impact on the view corridor in the district upon completion of the buildings of the project; if they have, of such impact (with illustrations);

    (c)have studied if the proposed 33-storey hotel of the project has breached the stipulation in the Urban Design Guidelines of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines that taller buildings should be located inland, with lower developments along the waterfront; and

    (d)have posted notices and the relevant plans at the streets nearby (including the Hing Fat Street, Gordon Road, Whitfield Road and Electric Road) during the consultation period of the development project to consult and inform the local residents; if they have, of the exact locations where the notices and the plans are posted; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

*8. Prof Hon Patrick LAU Sau-shing to ask:
(Translation)

I have recently received complaints alleging that some women from the Mainland came to Hong Kong to give birth and left their new-born babies to the care of their friends and relatives in Hong Kong, who would then apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ("CSSA") in the name of the babies and remit part of the CSSA payments to the Mainland to subsidize the daily expenses of these women. In addition, some Mainland people had applied for settlement in Hong Kong on the grounds of taking care of young children in Hong Kong, and upon coming to Hong Kong, they asked for discretionary approval of their CSSA application on the grounds that they had to stay home to take care of these children and thus could not go to work. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of cases in which children born in Hong Kong to mainland women remained in Hong Kong since birth and became CSSA recipients in each of the past five years;

    (b)whether it knows, in each of the past five years, the number of cases in which mainland people applied to the mainland authorities for one-way exit permit to settle in Hong Kong on the grounds of taking care of young children in Hong Kong; and

    (c)whether it has assessed if the CSSA system has been abused; if it has and the assessment result is in the affirmative, whether it has any means (such as enacting laws) to curb the problem?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

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

It has been learnt that with the number of school-aged children continuing to decrease in recent years, and the transformation of schools such as the merging of schools and schools participating in the Direct Subsidy Scheme, the number of teachers employed by government and aided primary and secondary schools in the 2007-2008 school year is expected to continue to decrease. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given that it has been reported that the Education and Manpower Bureau ("EMB") has earlier ordered 13 primary schools to cease operating Primary One classes in the new 2007-2008 school year, and that there are 12 secondary schools with insufficient student intake for Secondary One classes, what is EMB's final decision on the future of these schools;

    (b)of the respective expected numbers of surplus teachers in primary and secondary schools in the next school year resulting from schools ceasing to operate classes at certain levels, transformation of schools or reduction of classes; and

    (c)of the plans it has to assist the above surplus teachers in seeking employment?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*10. Hon Audrey EU to ask:
(Translation)

It has been learnt that the Hongkong Post provides the Hongkong Post Circular Service for delivering advertisement circulars to commercial and residential letterboxes. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of advertisement circulars delivered by the Hongkong Post in each of the past three financial years; and

    (b)whether there is a mechanism for members of the public who do not want to receive such circulars to be exempted from receiving those circulars; if so, of the details; in each of the past three financial years, how many members of the public and residential estates were exempted from receiving such circulars, and how the mechanism deals with requests made by residents in residential estates or buildings without owners' organizations for exemption from receiving such circulars?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

With regard to the anticipated traffic noise nuisance caused to residents of Rambler Crest in Tsing Yi upon the opening of Route 8's slip roads, which are under construction, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the reasons and justifications for deciding not to install noise barriers at the road sections concerned; and

    (b)given that the site of Rambler Crest was planned for commercial use when the relevant environmental impact assessment study was conducted, and the Town Planning Board had subsequently approved an application to change the planned use of the site to "hotel and service apartment", whether it will reconsider installing noise barriers at the road sections concerned in the light of this change in land use?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

At the Legislative Council meetings on 30 June and 1 December 2004, I had asked questions on the discussions between the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the mainland authorities on the transfer of sentenced persons. In reply, the Administration said that because of differences in the legal and judicial systems of the two places and the complexity of the issues involved, the discussions had therefore not yet been completed, and both sides had agreed that the discussions should continue and hoped to reach an agreement as soon as possible. However, no agreement on the above matter has been reached so far. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest progress of the above work;

    (b)of the number of meetings held with the mainland authorities since 1 December 2004, and the details of each meeting, including the meeting date, officials present, issues discussed and achievements made;

    (c)of the reasons for not yet being able to reach an agreement with the mainland authorities so far and the difficulties encountered; and

    (d)whether a target has been set for reaching an agreement on the matter; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

Will the Government inform this Council whether it knows the following in each of the past three years:
    (a)the respective numbers of spontaneous and induced abortions;

    (b)the number of children who died before reaching the age of five, broken down by the causes of death;

    (c)the number of babies who were born in Hong Kong and diagnosed as having hereditary diseases, and the percentage of such number in the number of new-born babies in that year; and

    (d)the number of married couples both the husband and wife of which had undergone body check-ups before the wife became pregnant, and the measures taken by the Government to promote such check-ups?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

*14. Hon James TO to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the employment of the ethnic minorities, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has allocated or established funds for assisting the ethnic minorities in seeking employment; if it has, of the amount of funds used every year;

    (b)of the current numbers of social worker teams, community centres and non-governmental organizations that offer employment assistance to the South Asians living in Western Kowloon;

    (c)whether it will request the Employees Retraining Board to offer training courses on language and vocational skills specially for South Asians, and to provide them with job allowances, in order to enhance their employability; and

    (d)whether financial incentives will be provided to employers to encourage them to employ South Asians?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

The Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre ("HKCERT"), established and managed by the Hong Kong Productivity Council ("HKPC"), is tasked to coordinate the efforts in handling local incidents relating to computer or network security, and has been in operation for six years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows why the report on Information Security Survey published annually since 2001 has ceased publication after 2004; whether HKCERT currently has channels to understand the standard, current status and trends of information security in Hong Kong, as well as to collect the relevant data; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it knows in each year since 2005, the number of requests for assistance (broken down by the types of information security incidents such as hacker intrusion and viruses) handled by HKCERT, the average response time, the number of various types of security alerts disseminated, as well as the number of applications for SMS Alert Service provided by HKCERT;

    (c)of the respective amounts of money allocated to HKCERT by the government departments concerned and HKPC each year since the establishment of HKCERT;

    (d)whether it knows if HKCERT had launched new measures in each of the past three years to disseminate news on its own initiative for more members of the public to know more clearly the latest information on information security; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (e)given that the number of security incidents is on the rise according to the data released by HKCERT in the end of 2006, whether it knows if HKCERT will follow the practice of other major computer emergency response team coordination centres in the Asia-Pacific region to introduce a monitoring system on network threats, so as to proactively monitor potential risks; if it will, of the details, as well as the estimated costs involved and the implementation schedule; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Economic Development and Labour
(in the absence of Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology)

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

Regarding the inspection and eradication of red fire ant mounds, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of red fire ant mounds found last year and the relevant details;

    (b)of the details of the actions taken to eradicate the red fire ant mounds found;

    (c)of the measures to eradicate ants to be taken in areas where red fire ant mounds have been found, and whether ants surveillance inspections will be carried out more frequently in those areas; and

    (d)whether it will re-issue publicity leaflets and posters about red fire ants and step up publicity efforts in this regard, so as to remind the public how to effectively avoid the nuisance caused by red fire ants?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

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

Recently, I received quite a number of complaints from residents in Tuen Mun and Tin Shui Wai that they fail to have clear reception of the broadcast of Radio 3, Radio 5 and the Putonghua Channel of Radio Television Hong Kong ("RTHK"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of relevant complaints received in each of the past three years;

    (b)of the reasons for RTHK's failure to solve the problem so far; and

    (c)whether it will step up efforts to urge RTHK to expeditiously improve the broadcasting quality in the above areas, so that the residents there can have clear reception of the broadcast of the radio channels concerned; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour
(in the absence of Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology)

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

Will the Government inform this Council of the following in the past three years:
    (a)the amount of expenditure the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department ("AFCD") incurred each year on handling stray dogs which were implanted with microchips;

    (b)the number of microchipped dogs which had been abandoned and caught or received by AFCD each year, broken down by AFCD's Animal Management Centres; and among such dogs, the respective numbers of those which had been reclaimed by their owners, had been adopted by others and had not yet been adopted; whether the owners who reclaimed their dogs or the adopters were required to pay any fees; if so, of the details;

    (c)how AFCD handled cases in which owners of stray dogs declined to reclaim their dogs; whether such dog owners would be subject to a fine; if they would, in each year, the number of cases in which the dog owners concerned were fined, the amount of fines generally imposed, the number of cases in which the fines have not been fully settled to date and the total amount of outstanding payments; and

    (d)how many stray dogs which had been implanted with microchips were euthanized each year, and the amount of expenditure involved?
Public Officer to reply :Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

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

The Framework Agreement signed between the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology and the Director of Broadcasting specifies that Radio Television Hong Kong ("RTHK") is editorially independent. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of phone calls made in the past two years by the staff of the Information Officer grade in the Office of the Chief Executive, Private Offices/Offices of the Secretaries of Departments, bureaux and departments to the News and Current Affairs Unit of RTHK to enquire or complain about its news reports (with a breakdown by the reasons for making such calls), and the number of cases in which RTHK made changes to the contents of its reports as a result;

    (b)whether they will review if the aforesaid practice of such staff goes against the policy of safeguarding the editorial independence of RTHK; and

    (c)of the other measures in place to honour the undertaking to safeguard the editorial independence of RTHK?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour
(in the absence of Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology)

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

The Government has set up a number of Internet portals, namely "Hong Kong SAR Government Information Centre", "news.gov.hk", "GovHK" and "ESDlife". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective dates on which the above web sites were set up, the purposes of setting up these web sites and the expenses incurred, their functions and characteristics, their respective daily average hit rates and numbers of visitors, the contents of the web pages which have the highest and lowest page view rates, the government departments/contractors managing these web sites, as well as the annual expenditure involved in maintaining these web sites and the manpower requirements in this respect;

    (b)whether it has conducted a survey on the public awareness of these web sites, including whether the public can distinguish the different functions and characteristics of these web sites, as well as the backgrounds of the visitors and their needs; if so, of the results;

    (c)whether it has assessed if the functions of these web sites overlap and meet the needs of the visitors; if so, of the assessment results; and

    (d)whether, for the purposes of saving resources and facilitating visitors, it will consider consolidating the above web sites and the information they contain, with a view to providing a one-stop web site which is diverse in content and user-friendly?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour
(in the absence of Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology)

*For written reply.

III. Members' Motions

  1. Combating unscrupulous shops

    Hon LAU Kong-wah: (Translation)

    That, in view of the rising number of cases of Mainland tourists being cheated while shopping in Hong Kong, this Council urges the Government to adopt active measures to rigorously combat unscrupulous shops ripping off customers and to strengthen the regulation of the tourism industry, in order to restore the confidence of tourists coming to Hong Kong for shopping, including:

    (a)studying the consolidation of the provisions relating to protecting consumer rights and interests in the existing legislation into a Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests Ordinance;

    (b)comprehensively reviewing the existing legislation on protecting consumer rights and interests, and tightening up regulation to cover the marketing practices of alluding to particular brands or misleading the customers;

    (c)enhancing the regular inspections and "undercover" operations carried out by the Police and the Customs and Excise Department to crack down on shops engaging in fraudulent practices and selling fake products;

    (d)requesting the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) to set up a complaint website, so that Mainland tourists may lodge complaints through the website after their departure from Hong Kong;

    (e)expeditiously discussing with the TIC the introduction of a demerit point system to regulate travel agents and tour guides; and

    (f)fully disclosing the parties involved in complaint cases, including the names of shops, the local and Mainland travel agents, as well as the tour guides concerned.

    Amendments to motion
    (i)Hon Howard YOUNG: (Translation)

    To delete "rising number of" after "in view of the" and substitute with "recent"; to add "which have aroused wide concern" after "shopping in Hong Kong"; to add "On the cooperation with the relevant Mainland authorities: (a) fully implementing the eight regulatory measures promulgated earlier by the China National Tourism Administration, including conducting regular inspections and imposing severe penalties on non-compliant travel agents, so as to thoroughly combat the problems arising from zero-fare and negative-fare tours; (b) prohibiting outbound travel agents in the Mainland from imposing additional charges on tour members for leaving the tour group before completion of the itinerary; (c) vigorously publicizing to tourists the risks involved in 'arranged shopping' tours and the protection available to them;(d) expeditiously allowing Hong Kong's reputable travel agents to operate Hong Kong and Macao tours in Guangdong Province, with a view to upgrading in the long run the quality of tourism services in the Mainland; On the local front:" after "coming to Hong Kong for shopping, including:"; to delete the original "(a)" and substitute with "(e)"; to add "whether there is a need for" after "studying"; to delete the original "(b)" and substitute with "(f)"; to delete the original "(c)" and substitute with "(g)"; to delete the original "(d)" and substitute with "(h)"; to add ", and providing tourists with such information as the complaint hotline at border crossing points" after "departure from Hong Kong"; to delete the original "(e)" and substitute with "(i)"; to delete "and" after "travel agents and tour guides;"; to delete the original "(f)" and substitute with "(j) if the complaints are substantiated,"; and to add "; and (k) discussing with the industry the introduction of a tour guide fee system" immediately before the full stop.

    Amendment to Hon Howard YOUNG's amendment
    Hon SIN Chung-kai:
    (Translation)

    To delete "providing tourists with such information as the complaint hotline at border crossing points" after "departure from Hong Kong, and" and substitute with "installing television facilities at border crossing points to publicize tourism information, as well as cooperating with telecommunications companies to provide inbound and outbound tourists with information such as the complaint hotline via mobile telephone short message service".

    (ii) Hon Fred LI: (Translation)

    To delete "; and" after "travel agents and tour guides" and substitute with ", and in the cases of travel agents incurring demerit points due to non-compliance with the rules, examining how to prevent their directors from evading the penalty by changing their company names to continue operations; (f) studying the transfer of the TIC's function of monitoring the tourism industry to a new statutory regulatory body to avoid the problem of 'the industry regulating its own members'; and"; and to delete the original "(f)" and substitute with "(g)".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

  2. Improving the planning for Hong Kong and reducing screen-like buildings

    Hon WONG Kwok-hing: (Translation)

    That, despite the planning guidelines provided in the existing Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines on building density, layout, urban design and air ventilation etc, such guidelines are not legally binding, resulting in the recent emergence of a large number of screen-like buildings, which not only affect the air ventilation and lighting, etc of the neighbouring areas but also bring adverse impact on the planning of ancillary facilities, such as transport and public realm, for the entire community; in view of the above, this Council urges the Government to thoroughly review the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, consider introducing legislative measures to regulate the density and height of buildings, air ventilation and lighting, etc, and, at the same time, protect the ridgelines and harbour view, so as to ensure better planning for Hong Kong.

    Amendments to motion
    (i)Hon Frederick FUNG: (Translation)

    To delete "despite" after "That," and substitute with "since"; to delete ", such guidelines" after "air ventilation etc"; to delete "resulting in" after "legally binding," and substitute with "it has resulted in"; to add "and result in deteriorating air quality in areas farther away from the coastline (such as the old areas of Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong)," after "neighbouring areas"; and to add ", strengthen the ventilation requirements of the Buildings Department and the two railway companies (i.e. the MTR Corporation and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation) in vetting and approving building designs" after "review the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines".

    (ii) Hon Audrey EU: (Translation)

    To delete "despite the planning guidelines provided in" after "That," and substitute with "since"; to delete "on building density, layout, urban design and air ventilation etc, such guidelines" after "the existing Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines"; to delete "resulting in" after "legally binding," and substitute with "it has resulted in"; to delete ", consider introducing legislative measures to regulate the density and height of buildings, air ventilation and lighting, etc, and, at the same time, protect the ridgelines and harbour view" after "review the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines" and substitute with "and adopt the following measures"; and to add ": (a) extending the application of the Technical Circular on Air Ventilation Assessment (TC1/06), currently applicable to government building only, to all projects of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), developments above railway stations and private developments; (b) taking a leading role to immediately and thoroughly review the design and scale of all current large-scale development projects, particularly the redevelopment projects of URA and the development projects above railway stations of wholly Government-owned railway corporation, so as to ensure compliance of all development projects with the requirements of the 'Qualitative Guidelines on Air Ventilation' in the 'Urban Design Guidelines' under Chapter 11 of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, and the requirements of the Technical Circular on Air Ventilation Assessment, and reducing development density or improving design to prevent the occurrence of wall effect; (c) thoroughly reviewing all large-scale development projects which have been approved but not yet developed, in order to minimize the impact of wall effect by improving their designs, such as increasing the distance between buildings, creating view corridors and breezeways, setting back developments from site boundaries, and enhancing the provision of public realm at ground level; (d) refraining from subsidizing railway developments, urban renewal projects, cultural venues and other public facilities through land exchange, development rights or additional plot ratio, because the density of land development in various districts should be based on professional planning decisions and not financial considerations; (e) thoroughly reviewing the development density of all districts including the metropolitan area and the new towns, in order to avoid the emergence of screen-like buildings, particularly at the ventilation points, such as harbour-front areas or areas facing large open spaces; Government land located in high density districts should not be sold for property development, and should be reserved for low density development or used as open space, so as to alleviate the increasing development density of private properties in the same district; newly planned sites should not be over-sized and should be separated by view corridors and breezeways to improve air ventilation at ground level; the amalgamation of sites should also be limited to mitigate wall effect; (f) amending existing legislation, such as section 16 of the Buildings Ordinance, or stipulating more objective guidelines through Practice Notes, to provide a clearer basis for the Building Authority and the industry, so as to avoid the construction of buildings, such as screen-like buildings, which will bring adverse ventilation impact on neighbouring buildings; (g) reviewing the various existing mechanisms and guidelines to avoid any unnecessary wall effect, such as over-sized car-parking podium, or the emergence of screen-like buildings due to lack of co-ordination among departments; (h) abandoning the current two-dimensional approach to town planning and replacing it with a three-dimensional approach; using three-dimensional physical models to assist in design during the planning process and as a means to communicate with the general public, so as to envisage at an early stage whether the development density, building mass and disposition will cause wall effect; apart from the existing Outline Zoning Plans and General Building Plans, district-specific Urban Design Guidelines should also be drawn up; (i) formulating relevant guidelines to prevent wall effect by making reference to overseas experience: (i) Shanghai has requirements to limit the width of slab block buildings to not more than 60 metres, etc; (ii) New York imposes control on street shadow area for buildings, so that super high buildings will not be linked up like the Great Wall; and (iii) Japan and Singapore have included height limits and massing control in the land leases or buildings regulations to prevent the emergence of screen-like buildings; (j) conducting assessment on sunlight, wind tunnel and micro-climatic analysis, etc, with reference to examples like the Ngau Tau Kok Upper Estate redevelopment project, while planning for new large-scale development sites, so as to minimize the adverse impact of new developments on the community; (k) increasing the participation of non-government professionals and the community in the planning process, and considering the introduction of a 'Planning Aids Scheme' to assist the public in lodging planning applications when necessary, so that affected residents and shop operators can obtain independent and professional advice more easily, in order to ensure that the aspirations of the community can be taken care of in the planning process; and (l) in the long run, restructuring the Town Planning Board to ensure its independence from the Government; the current situation whereby the Government benefits from the sale of land on the one hand and takes charge of the town planning process on the other has inevitably led to conflicts of interest, and it is difficult to ensure that the Town Planning Board can make planning decisions impartially for the benefit of the community at large" immediately before the full stop.

    (iii) Prof Hon Patrick LAU Sau-shing: (Translation)

    To delete "," after "layout" and substitute with "and"; to delete "and air ventilation etc, such guidelines are not legally binding, resulting in the recent emergence of" after "urban design" and substitute with ","; to add "still emerge in recent years" after "screen-like buildings"; and to delete "consider introducing legislative measures to regulate" after "review the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines," and substitute with "and, under the principle of not affecting private development rights, study the expedient introduction of greening ratio and regulation of".

    (iv) Hon LEE Wing-tat: (Translation)

    To add ", while the Town Planning Board (TPB) fails to meet the public's expectation in preventing or minimizing such adverse impact" after "entire community"; to add "the composition and modus operandi of TPB with a view to enhancing public involvement and TPB's public representativeness; review relevant documents such as" after "thoroughly review"; and to delete ", consider introducing legislative measures to regulate the density and height of buildings, air ventilation and lighting, etc," after "the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines" and substitute with "and the Practice Notes for Professional Persons; strengthen legislation, including specifying the adoption of specific, clear and enforceable clauses, development parameters or procedures in relation to the density and height of buildings, air ventilation, lighting and conservation of historic buildings, as stated in the applicable chapters of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and relevant documents, such as the Practice Notes for Professional Persons, for land parcels in different zones on the statutory plans that carry legal effect, in order to reduce wall effect in an expedient and effective manner;".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

Clerk to the Legislative Council