Council Meeting (Agenda) 6 December 2006


A 06/07-10

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 6 December 2006 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Legal Practitioners (Risk Management Education) (Amendment) Rules 2006261/2006
2.Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Amendment of Section 24C(1) and Schedule 6) Notice 2006262/2006
3.Tax Reserve Certificates (Rate of Interest) Notice 2006 263/2006
4.Construction Industry Council Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 2006264/2006

Other Papers

1.No.32-Emergency Relief Fund Trustee's Report on the Fund and Audited Statement of Accounts and Director of Audit's Report for the year ended 31 March 2006
(to be presented by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

2.No.33-Employees Retraining Board
Annual Report 2005-2006
(to be presented by Secretary for Education and Manpower)

3.Report of the Bills Committee on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill 2006
(to be presented by Hon LEE Cheuk-yan, a member of the Bills Committee)

II. Questions

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

It has been reported that there have been 11 cases of human myiasis since January this year, representing a significant increase over last year's mere six cases, and most of those infected were elderly persons incapable of self-care. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it has examined the causes for the rising number of human myiasis cases in recent months, and of the measures to address the situation?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

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

It has been reported that currently some consignees (commonly known as "itinerant couriers") smuggle inflammable or toxic chemicals through the Lo Wu Control Point into the Mainland by train. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has received complaints about the smuggling of hazardous chemicals by train in the past three years; if so, of the follow-up actions taken; and whether it has seized any hazardous chemicals smuggled by train; if so, of the details;

    (b)whether it has reviewed if there are any loopholes in the existing spot-checking arrangements for cross-boundary train passengers, and whether it will step up spot checks on such cross-boundary passengers; and

    (c)whether it has considered increasing the penalty for smuggling hazardous chemicals by train, so as to curb such smuggling activities?
Public Officers to reply : Secretary for Security
Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

Regarding the sites which were granted by way of private treaty with permitted use specified, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details of the sites granted by private treaty in the past five years, including the land grant execution dates and the premiums paid by the grantees, their permitted and current land uses, and whether the sites have incorporated private land already held by the grantees before the execution of the land grants;

    (b)among the cases referred to in item (a), of the cases in which the use of the sites concerned as permitted have ceased or diminished, and when the cessation or diminution of use began; as well as the cases in which the authorities initiated, on grounds of breach of the cessation or diminution of use clause, proceedings to re-possess the sites without compensation, the results thereof, and whether the authorities have assessed the market value of the sites concerned that may be realized through open auctions; and

    (c)in respect of each of the six applications for lease modification or land exchange submitted in the past five financial years to alter the land use of sites granted by private treaty, of the permitted land use, the land grant execution date, whether the use of the site concerned as permitted had ceased or diminished before the application was approved (if so, please specify when the cessation or diminution of use began), the respective dates on which the application was received and approved, the reasons for approving the application, and the amount of premium payable by the grantee concerned?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

More and more Mainland women come to Hong Kong to give birth and all their new-born babies have the right of abode ("ROA") in Hong Kong. The Government has indicated that it has not come to a conclusion on the long-term effect of the issue on Hong Kong at this stage, and, in planning for public services, these babies are not counted as part of Hong Kong's population. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it has conducted any comprehensive studies on the impact of Mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth on the objectives of the long-term population policy of Hong Kong; if it has not, of the reasons for that, and how the Administration can assess the magnitude of the burden on the local public services as well as the additional public expenditure should these babies come to reside in Hong Kong later on in great numbers within a short period, and devise accordingly a suitable long-term population policy for Hong Kong;

    (b)the Government is studying options for curbing Mainland women coming to Hong Kong to give birth so as to achieve the objectives of the long-term population policy of Hong Kong; if it is, of the feasibility and merits of these options; and

    (c)it has assessed if the situation in which any Chinese national born in Hong Kong has ROA in Hong Kong even if neither of his parents had been settled or had ROA in Hong Kong at the time of his birth is in compliance with the legislative intent of the relevant provision(s) of the Basic Law; if the assessment result is in the negative, whether the Government will consider activating the process for amending the relevant provision(s), so as to tackle the problem of a large number of Mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong?
Public Officers to reply : Secretary for Security
Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

5. Dr Hon YEUNG Sum to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest progress of the longitudinal pilot study, which started in the 2004-2005 school year, on small class teaching at primary one and two levels in 37 primary schools;

    (b)whether it has assessed the effectiveness of the small class teaching scheme, which started in the 2005-2006 school year, in primary schools with a high concentration of disadvantaged students; if it has, of the assessment results; and

    (c)whether it will consider extending the above study and scheme to other grades in primary schools and secondary schools, as well as to all other subjects besides Chinese Language, English Language and Mathematics?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

6. Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the impact of implementing a voucher system to subsidize pre-primary education on the remuneration of the teachers concerned, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the respective numbers of kindergartens and child care centres which are currently paying teachers in accordance with the Government's "Recommended Normative Salary Scale for Kindergarten Teaching Staff" ("the salary scale"), the respective percentages of these numbers in the total numbers of kindergartens and child care centres in Hong Kong, and list out in a table the names of these kindergartens and child care centres;

    (b)whether it has assessed how the remuneration of the above teachers will be affected upon the abolition of the salary scale when the voucher system is implemented; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it has consulted the profession on the abolition of the salary scale; if it has, of the results; if not, the reasons for that; and how the authorities ensure that no layoffs or pay cuts will result from the abolition of the salary scale?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*7. Hon WONG Yung-kan to ask:
(Translation)

The Government has enacted a subsidiary legislation to introduce multiple entry permits for river trade vessels ("RTVs") to facilitate the transportation of cargoes via river. As marine traffic is becoming busier day by day, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of reports, received by the Marine Department in the past three years, on collisions involving RTVs and locally-licensed vessels ("LLVs") in the waters of Hong Kong, together with a breakdown by the type of LLVs involved, as well as the resultant casualties and property losses; and

    (b)as the Government said in April last year that the Marine Department would organise seminars for the operators, masters and crew of local and Mainland-registered vessels to enhance their awareness of navigational safety, of the relevant details and whether there are other measures to reduce marine accidents involving RTVs; if there are, of the details of the measures; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

Some members of the public have complained to me that they have to wait for a long time to become members of elderly health centres. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective current numbers of members and elderly persons on the enrolment waiting list of each elderly health centre;

    (b)of the current estimated average waiting time for enrolling as members of elderly health centres;

    (c)of last year's attendance by elderly persons for services in respect of each elderly health centre;

    (d)of the respective current numbers of medical staff and nursing staff in each elderly health centre; and

    (e)whether it has any plan to allocate additional resources and manpower for elderly health centres, so that they can serve more elderly persons; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*9. Hon TAM Heung-man to ask:
(Translation)

On promoting women's participation in advisory bodies, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number and percentage of the existing advisory bodies with female members accounting for 25% or more of their compositions;

    (b)whether it will review the 25% gender benchmark set for the composition of advisory bodies (i.e. at least 25% of their members are of either sex); if it will, of the direction and details of the review; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will consider formulating guidelines to ensure, as far as possible, that there is women's participation in each advisory body?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

It has been reported that some computer accessories on the market can instantly re-transmit the signals of free and subscription television programmes via the Internet to personal computers, third-generation mobile phones and other mobile communication devices. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it has assessed if the use of the above accessories to re-transmit, without the authorization of the copyright owners concerned, television programmes for personal viewing contravenes the relevant provisions of the Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528); if the assessment result is in the affirmative, whether the Government will publicize the relevant provisions to avoid the public breaching the law inadvertently; if the assessment result is in the negative, whether the Government plans to amend the Ordinance to strengthen the protection of intellectual property?

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

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

Regarding the project to construct a logistics park at Siu Ho Wan on Lantau Island ("the LP project"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the detailed feasibility study commissioned by the Civil Engineering and Development Department to take forward the LP project has been completed; if so, of the specific conclusions drawn from the study; if not, the progress of the study and its projected completion date;

    (b)given that in reply to a question from a Member of this Council in June last year, the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour advised that the LP project had to follow all the relevant statutory procedures before it could be implemented and the public would be consulted again in accordance with these procedures, when the statutory procedures will be completed and when the public will be consulted, and how long it will take to complete the whole process, as estimated by the Administration; and

    (c)whether there will be a delay in the implementation of the LP project because the implementation timetable for the concrete construction plan for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has not been finalized?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

The Hospital Authority ("HA") implemented the automated phone appointment service in the general out-patient clinics under the Kowloon West Cluster in October this year. Patients with episodic illnesses may make appointments by telephone for consultation and treatment on the same day or the following working day. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the total number of persons who have obtained the consultation slots through the above telephone booking system so far, and a breakdown of this number by age groups (above 60, 45 to 60, and below 45) and their respective percentages; the percentages of these numbers in the total number of persons who obtained the consultation slots in the same period; and the percentage of persons who did not turn up after obtaining consultation slots through the above service;

    (b)the respective numbers of consultation slots reserved daily by the above clinics for patients who use the telephone booking system and for those who come in person, and, among those who make use of the booking system and those who come in person, the respective average daily numbers of patients who fail to obtain consultation slots;

    (c)if the situation in which patients queue in person for consultation slots at the above clinics in the middle of the night has not recurred since the implementation of the above booking service;

    (d)the number of complaints received by HA in relation to the above service so far, with a breakdown by the nature of the complaints;

    (e)as some patients have told me that, when all consultation slots of a designated clinic have been allocated, the booking system cannot immediately search and arrange an available consultation slot in another clinic within the same cluster, whether HA will improve the functions of the automated telephone booking system of out-patient service in view of the above situation; and

    (f)if HA will make other arrangements to improve the phone appointment service such as deploying additional staff to receive appointment calls by elderly with hearing impairment; if it will, of the details of the relevant arrangements; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

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

It has been reported that in certain statutory monuments and historical buildings (such as the Central Police Station Compound and Victoria Prison Compound), water leakage and exposed steel reinforcements have appeared as a result of dilapidation, and the Lui Seng Chun tenement, Yau Ma Tei Theatre, quarters at Yau Ma Tei Pumping Station (commonly known as "Red Brick House"), etc. have been left unattended for a long time. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the amount of the Government's expenditure on the maintenance, repair and management of statutory monuments in each of the past three years;

    (b)of the current progress of the restoration work for the Central Police Station Compound and Victoria Prison Compound, and whether it will consider opening these buildings for visits by the public on a long-term basis;

    (c)whether it has studied the uses of the Lui Seng Chun tenement, Yau Ma Tei Theatre and quarters at Yau Ma Tei Pumping Station, and whether they will be declared as statutory monuments and open for visits by the public;

    (d)of the government departments currently responsible for the inspection, management and restoration of monuments and historical buildings, as well as the number of officers involved;

    (e)of the statutory monuments and historical buildings which are open for visits by the public at present, as well as those which are not open to the public together with their reasons (please provide the relevant details using the table below); and

    Name of monument/
    historical building
    Statutory monument/
    Grade I historical building/
    Grade II historical building/
    Grade III historical building
    Opening hours/
    reasons for not
    opening to the
    public







    (f)whether it has studied the feasibility of opening the monuments and historical buildings which are currently not open to the public, as listed in (e) above, for visits by the public; if so, of the results of the study?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

It has been reported that buildings must be at least fifty years old in order to be considered for classification as historical buildings. As it has only been forty-eight years since the opening of the Star Ferry Pier in Central in 1958, the Pier is not eligible to be classified as a historical building. However, some members of the public, after looking up the relevant information, have pointed out that in fact the Pier officially opened in 1957. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the minimum years of history required for a building to be considered for classification as a historical building; whether the commencement or completion date of the works concerned or the opening date of the building is used as the basis for calculating its years of history, and whether such calculation method is prescribed in any internal guidelines of the Government; if so, of the details and whether the relevant documents may be made public; if such calculation method is not prescribed in any guidelines, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it knows the respective commencement and completion dates of the works for the eastern and western arms of the Star Ferry Pier in Central, and their opening dates; and

    (c)whether it will reconsider classifying the Star Ferry Pier in Central as a historical building so that it will be protected by the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53); if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

In reply to my written question in October last year, the Government indicated that the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority ("MPFSA") had taken a number of measures against employers defaulting on contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund ("MPF"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows the number of reports received by the MPFSA regarding employers defaulting on MPF contributions in the last financial year;

    (b)it knows the respective numbers of warning letters issued and prosecutions instituted by the MPFSA in relation to employers defaulting on MPF contributions in the last financial year, and the number of employers convicted; and

    (c)it will adopt more measures to deter employers from defaulting on MPF contributions, such as increasing the powers of the MPFSA, further stepping up prosecution and increasing penalties; if so, of the details of such measures; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

The board of a clansmen association has related to me that earlier on the Police arrested 14 persons who were playing mahjong on the premises of the association. They were subsequently convicted of illegal gambling. A voluntary staff member of the association was even convicted of operating a gambling establishment. The board has also pointed out that those persons were convicted mainly because the court decided that the donations of money made during the mahjong playing were "game levies". In connection with the clansmen associations registered in Hong Kong and their operation and activities, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of newly registered clansmen associations in each of the past three years and the up-to-date total number of registered clansmen associations;

    (b)of the number of arrests, in each of the past three years, of persons suspected of gambling on clansmen association premises and other private premises, such as other types of clubhouses and residential premises, with a breakdown in table form by the type of premises, together with the following information: the basis of the decisions on the arrests, the number of prosecutions instituted, the judgements given by the court and the main justifications thereof; and

    (c)whether it has studied the social functions of clansmen associations particularly in respect of building a harmonious community; if it has, of the details and results of the study; and whether it has drawn up any guidelines to regulate the operation of clansmen associations and the activities conducted in their premises to enable such associations to perform their social functions and to prevent participants of their activities from breaking the law; if so, of the details of the guidelines; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

In view of the recent cases in which the personal data of members of the public have been leaked by government departments and public bodies, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the measures currently adopted by the Information Security Management Committee and the Information Technology Security Working Group, so as to ensure that various policy bureaux and government departments comply with the information technology ("IT") security policies and guidelines formulated by the Government Chief Information Officer;

    (b)whether it has assessed if the above measures can effectively enhance the information protection capabilities within the Government; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)whether it has assessed the overall information protection capabilities of policy bureaux, government departments and public bodies; if it has, of the results; if not, whether it plans to make such assessment; if so, of the relevant details;

    (d)whether it will consider extending the scope of application of the IT security guidelines to all public bodies to protect the personal data of members of the public; and

    (e)whether it plans to allocate additional resources, including funding for information security projects and investment in hardware to improve the information protection capabilities of policy bureaux, government departments and public bodies?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

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

Regarding rates of residential properties, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the following statistics in each of the financial years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007:

    Monthly rateable value
    of residential units





    ($)
    Number/estimated
    number of units and
    its percentage in
    the total number of
    units
    The amount/
    estimated amount of
    rates collected and
    its percentage in
    the total amount of
    rates revenue
    number % $ %
    below 5,000



    5,000 to 5,999



    6,000 to 6,999



    7,000 to 7,999



    8,000 to 8,999



    9,000 to 9,999



    10,000 to 10,999



    11,000 to 11,999



    12,000 to 12,999



    13,000 to 13,999



    14,000 to 14,999



    15,000 to 19,999



    20,000 to 29,999



    30,000 or above




    (b)whether it has studied if the existing arrangement of applying a rates charge of 5% across the board is in line with the "ability to pay" principle; if it has, whether it has made reference to the arrangements in other countries in the course of the study, and of the results of the study; if no study has been conducted, whether it will conduct such a study; and

    (c)whether it will consider studying the implementation of the proposal to introduce a progressive scale of rates charges (i.e. the rates charges will be progressively increased according to the monthly rateable values of residential properties); if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

Regarding the indecent assault cases on public transport, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of relevant reports received by the Police and relevant persons convicted in each of the past two years, with a breakdown by the mode of public transport;

    (b)whether there are new measures to combat the crime; and

    (c)whether it will consider drawing reference from the practices in other places to prevent such crime and studying the feasibility of designating women-only compartments for rush hours?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*20. Hon Emily LAU to ask:


There are no rules or regulations prohibiting independent non-executive directors ("INEDs") of a listed company from resigning just before the company announces that it is facing financial difficulties or requiring them to disclose their reasons for resignation to the shareholders and the public. In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of cases in the past three years in which INEDs resigned within one month before the company concerned announced that it was facing financial difficulties;

    (b)if the relevant authorities plan to review the current situation in which INEDs are not required to disclose their reasons for resignation to shareholders and the public; and

    (c)if the relevant authorities plan to strengthen the role of INEDs in order to better protect the interests of small investors?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*For written reply.

III. Bills

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


Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Bill 2006:Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

IV. Members' Motions

  1. Promoting the development of party politics

    Hon Margaret NG: (Translation)

    That this Council urges the Government to expeditiously initiate studies and public consultation with a view to promoting law reforms, public policies and measures that are conducive to the development of party politics.

    Amendment to motion
    Dr Hon Philip WONG:
    (Translation)

    To delete "expeditiously initiate studies and public consultation with a view to promoting law reforms, public" after "the Government to" and substitute with "continue to consider and promote, within the framework of the Basic Law and existing legislation,"; and to delete "party politics" after "the development of" and substitute with "political parties, but room for political participation by independents should be allowed".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Constitutional Affairs

  2. Strengthening Hong Kong's capability in immediate transhipment

    Hon CHAN Kam-lam: (Translation)

    That, in order to tie in with the National Eleventh Five-Year Plan and promote the continuous development of the local logistics industry, this Council urges the Government to take proactive measures in the aspects of policy, transportation network, infrastructure and information system, with a view to strengthening Hong Kong's capability in immediate transhipment, including:

    (a)in the policy aspect, supporting the development of immediate transhipment, such as formulating a comprehensive plan for logistics development, implementing the co-location of immigration and customs facilities at the Hong Kong airport and striving to reduce various operating costs of the logistics industry;

    (b)in the aspect of transportation network, enhancing the efficiency of immediate transhipment, such as increasing the number of flight movements at the airport, formulating policies on the air traffic management of the Pearl River Delta region and perfecting the land transportation network;

    (c)in the aspect of infrastructure, augmenting the throughput of immediate transhipment, such as expeditiously constructing the third runway at the airport, Container Terminal 10 and the Liantang Control Point; and

    (d)in the aspect of information system, optimizing immediate transhipment services, such as establishing a common electronic platform for customs clearance at the Pan-Pearl River Delta ("PPRD") region,

    so as to seize the opportunities brought about by the economic development of the PPRD and strengthen the position of Hong Kong's logistics industry.

    Amendments to motion
    (i)Hon SIN Chung-kai: (Translation)

    To delete "implementing" after "plan for logistics development," and substitute with "exploring, with due security and legal consideration, the implementation of"; to add ", as well as proactively developing cross-boundary intelligent transport systems with the relevant departments in the Mainland" after "perfecting the land transportation network"; to add ", Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, logistics park, Regional Express Line" after "Container Terminal 10"; and to add "and further encouraging the logistics industry to adopt the radio frequency identification technology" after "Pan-Pearl River Delta ('PPRD') region".

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

    To delete "implementing" after "plan for logistics development," and substitute with "exploring, with due security and legal consideration, the implementation of"; to add ", as well as proactively developing cross-boundary intelligent transport systems with the relevant departments in the Mainland" after "perfecting the land transportation network"; to add ", Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, logistics park, Regional Express Line, northern section of Route 10 (from Lam Tei of Tuen Mun to So Kwun Wat)" after "Container Terminal 10"; and to add "and further encouraging the logistics industry to adopt the radio frequency identification technology" after "Pan-Pearl River Delta ('PPRD') region".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour
Clerk to the Legislative Council