Council Meeting (Agenda) 9 December 2009



A 09/10-10

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 9 December 2009 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Dangerous Drugs Ordinance (Amendment of Second Schedule) (No. 2) Order 2009239/2009
2.Pilotage (Dues) (Amendment) Order 2009240/2009
3.Tax Reserve Certificates (Rate of Interest) (No. 5) Notice 2009241/2009

Other Papers

1.No. 39-Hong Kong Tourism Board Annual Report 2008/09
(to be presented by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development)

2.No. 40-Director of Social Welfare Incorporated
Financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2009 together with the Report of the Director of Audit
(to be presented by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare)

3.No. 41-Emergency Relief Fund Annual Report by the Trustee for the year ending 31 March 2009
(to be presented by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare)

4.No. 42-Police Welfare FundAnnual Report 2008/2009
(to be presented by the Secretary for Security)

5.No. 43-Annual Report on the Police Children's Education Trust and the Police Education and Welfare Trust 2008/2009
(to be presented by the Secretary for Security)

II. Questions

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

In recent years, traffic accidents involving heavy vehicles such as franchised buses, tourist coaches, lorries, container trucks and resulting in serious casualties occurred from time to time. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the total number of traffic accidents involving heavy vehicles in each of the past 10 years and the related casualties, as well as the major causes of such accidents; and

    (b)the improvement measures currently implemented and to be implemented by the authorities to reduce traffic accidents involving heavy vehicles?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

2. Hon Alan LEONG to ask:
(Translation)

Many different patient groups have complained to me that newer drugs with fewer side effects on the market are not listed on the Hospital Authority Drug Formulary ("the Formulary") in a timely manner, or listed as third-line drugs, thus patients who need to take such drugs are not subsidized. Some of the complaints are from patients suffering from Thalassaemia who have pointed out that at present patients with Thalassaemia major of the Hospital Authority ("HA") are only prescribed first-line and second-line drugs on the Formulary, which may cause severe side effects, and doctors of public hospitals rarely prescribe Deferasirox, which is a third-line drug for treating Thalassaemia and has fewer side effects. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of times that Thalassaemia patients of public hospitals were prescribed Deferasirox in each of the past three years and for how long on average the drug prescribed lasted; whether HA will list Deferasirox as a first-line drug for the treatment of Thalassaemia; if it will, of the specific timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)the details of the clinical guidelines for doctors of public hospitals to determine if Deferasirox should be prescribed; if HA will review and amend the contents of the guidelines to allow more Thalassaemia patients to be prescribed the drug; and

    (c)if HA will consider inviting representatives from patient groups to sit on the Drug Advisory Committee, so that the Committee will take into account the views of patients when considering introducing new drugs; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

3. Hon KAM Nai-wai to ask:
(Translation)

As there is keen public demand for columbarium niches, some temples such as Sai Lam Temple, Memorial Park, Yan Hau Ancestral Hall and Chuk Lam Sim Yuen operate columbarium facilities in their premises. It has been reported that the Lands Department has recently issued warning letters to the persons in charge of such premises, pointing out that they are in breach of the terms of land leases and demanding them to stop operating the facilities, and it is estimated that nearly 10 000 people who bought columbarium niches are affected. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the current total number of public columbarium niches in Hong Kong, and list out by district (Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories) the respective locations of the churches, temples and Taoist monasteries where columbarium niches are provided, whether the premises concerned are providing such services legally, the current shortfall in the supply of columbarium niches, as well as the estimated shortfall in this regard for the next 10 years;

    (b)of the name list of the premises where the operation of private columbarium facilities has been substantiated to have breached the terms of the land leases concerned, details of the breaches, the number of columbarium niches provided by them and the number of those affected; whether it has assessed if the keeping of the ashes of their deceased relatives by members of the public in coffin shops and stone factories as well as at home is in breach of the land leases and the deeds of mutual covenant of the residential buildings concerned and against the law; if such an assessment has been made, of the results; and whether the various policy bureaux and government departments (including the Lands Department and the Food and Health Bureau) will standardize the legal definition of "human remains" for compliance by members of the public and the trade; and

    (c)of the options to address the problem and assist the aforesaid affected members of the public; the Government's plan to assist private bodies and organizations (both profit-making and non-profit making) in providing columbarium niches legally, and how the Government deals with the objections raised by local residents to the construction of columbarium facilities in their districts?
Public Officers to reply : Secretary for Food and Health
Secretary for Development

4. Hon Albert CHAN to ask: (Translation)

I have recently received complaints from quite a number of members of the public pointing out that instead of setting up branches or providing self-service banking facilities in remote areas, some note-issuing banks ("NIBs") have continued to close branches and self-service banking facilities recently, causing great inconvenience to residents of the districts. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the number of branches and self-service banking facilities set up by the various NIBs in Hong Kong in each of the past four years, and whether it has assessed if these banks have an obligation to provide adequate basic banking services for members of the public;

    (b)given that NIBs have continued to reduce the number of branches in recent years, whether the authorities will reconsider revoking the NIB status of such banks; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)given that quite a number of members of the public have indicated that the services currently provided by non-NIBs can serve the needs and interests of the general public better than those of NIBs, whether the authorities will reconsider granting NIB status to such banks; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

5. Hon Ronny TONG to ask:
(Translation)

Under sections 142 and 143 of the Companies Ordinance, on the application of members of a company with good reason, upon an order made by the court or a special resolution passed by a company, or if it appears to the Financial Secretary ("FS") that there are circumstances suggesting those cases stipulated in section 143(1)(c) have occurred, FS may appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of the company and to report thereon. By virtue of the power conferred by this Ordinance, FS may also directly regulate the operation of Hong Kong companies. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether FS has applied the provisions to appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of Hong Kong company since the enactment of the above sections; if so, of the dates of such applications, contents of the investigations and summaries of the findings; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)of the criteria, factors of consideration and procedures on which FS at present bases his decisions regarding whether inspectors should be appointed to investigate the affairs of individual companies; besides, when FS is requested by shareholders or members of the public to investigate the affairs of individual companies by invoking the above Ordinance, what criteria and procedures FS adopts for deciding whether he should intervene, and whether he will make public the reasons for making the decision concerned; and

    (c)whether FS will exercise this investigation power to make up for the inadequacies of financial regulators in this regard; if so, of the criteria adopted; if not, the justification for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

6. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask:
(Translation)

Last year, under the impact of the financial tsunami, the social, economic and other aspects of Hong Kong were seriously affected, especially the livelihood of the middle and lower classes. However, The Link Real Estate Investment Trust ("The Link") still managed to achieve substantial profits, with a revenue of $2,438 million for the first half of this financial year, and the profits from the rents of retail properties even amounted to $1,333 million, representing a growth of over 10% and 25% respectively as compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, tenants of shopping malls and markets under The Link have continued to complain for many years about its disregard of social responsibility and frequent outrageous increases in rents which were unaffordable to them and resulted in their going on strike time and again, thus causing social disputes. At the same time, some public rental housing ("PRH") tenants have commented that since The Link took over the management of the shopping malls and markets of public housing estates, prices of commodities have surged continuously, shops lack varieties and there is little room for survival for small shop tenants, resulting in fewer shopping choices for the residents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether, in response to the social disputes caused by The Link in the past as well as the experience and lessons brought by the financial tsunami (e.g. certain enterprises only care about making profits and ignore public interests), the Government has conducted any comprehensive review of the issues relating to privatization of government assets, including whether there is over-reliance on free market, how public interests can be protected and how a balance can be struck between enhancing corporate profits and fulfilling corporate social responsibilities; if it has, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that; of the authorities' latest strategy on privatization and their medium and long-term privatization plans; and

    (b)of the substantive assistance provided by the authorities to the tenants of The Link and the affected PRH tenants hitherto; whether the authorities have recently assessed the impact of The Link taking over the shopping malls and markets concerned on the interests of PRH tenants, and if the current situation is contrary to the original intention of providing these shopping malls and markets to serve the PRH tenants; whether the authorities have formulated remedial measures to protect the interests of PRH tenants?
Public Officers to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*7. Hon Jeffrey LAM to ask: (Translation)

It has been reported that at the end of last month, the debt problem of Dubai World, a sovereign investment company, has triggered off financial turbulence with quite a number of stock markets worldwide becoming very volatile, and some banks in Hong Kong are also creditors of Dubai World. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the impact of the debt crisis in Dubai on the Hong Kong stock market, and if it will slow down the pace of recovery of Hong Kong's economy; what measures the authorities have put in place to stabilize the stock market, so as to avoid recurrence of the financial tsunami;

    (b)given that the Government has actively studied the development of Islamic bond market in recent years, whether the authorities have assessed the impact of the current economic situation in Dubai on the development of Islamic bond market in Hong Kong; of the latest progress of the development of such bond market in Hong Kong; and

    (c)whether it knows the total number of banks and financial institutions in Hong Kong that have business connections with Dubai World at present, and of the impact of the debt problem of Dubai World on them?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

It has been learnt that as the only government-designated driving school on Hong Kong Island, which is near the Ap Lei Chau industrial area, is small in size, there is an acute shortage of space for learner drivers to practise driving on roads. In addition, a temporary barging point will be set up near the driving school to tie in with the commencement work of the South Island Line project, and it is expected that learner drivers and staff of the school will be seriously affected during the construction period. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has looked into the difficulties faced by the driving school, including the unpredictable threats brought by the seaside environment (for example, strong winds with a speed of over 100 kilometres per hour swept Aberdeen in 2006 and the storm surge caused by a typhoon in 2008), the acute shortage of space for driving practices on roads, as well as the lack of necessary facilities for road driving training (for example, traffic lights, roundabouts, lane changing practice area, merging and diverging lanes, etc.);

    (b)whether it will assist in relocating the driving school to other sites; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that ; and

    (c)of the factors and criteria considered by the Government when identifying the site for the driving school on Hong Kong Island?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

In connection with complaints about and regulation of food products or complementary medicines claimed to have health maintenance effects, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it knows if the Consumer Council had received any complaint about the above food products or medicines in the past three years; if so, of the number of such complaints received and the investigation results;

    (b)in the past three years, it had uncovered that some of the above food products or medicines contained western or Chinese medicines, or carried health claims which contravened the Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance (Cap. 231); if so, of the number of such cases and the penalties imposed; and

    (c)the authorities will reconsider formulating dedicated regulatory framework and legislation to regulate the above food products and medicines or products such as "dietary supplements"?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

*10. Hon IP Wai-ming to ask:
(Translation)

At present, among the job vacancies processed under the Supplementary Labour Scheme ("SLS"), the main type of jobs is Care Worker (Elderly Service). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of care workers imported under SLS in each of the past three years, as well as their average, highest and lowest monthly salaries and working hours; the respective numbers of applications submitted by residential care homes for the elderly ("RCHEs") of private undertakings and social service organizations; whether there was a big difference in the number of applications from these two kinds of organizations; if so, of the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it knows the total number of posts of Care Worker (Elderly Service) in Hong Kong at present and, among them, the number of posts held by local employees, and their average monthly salary and working hours;

    (c)whether the authorities will set manpower ratios on care workers for the various types of RCHEs; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (d)of the number of training courses the Government organized for care workers in RCHEs in each of the past three years and whether it knows the number of graduated trainees who were employed as care workers for six months or longer; whether it will consider increasing the number of such training places; if it will not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

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

At present, patents registered in Hong Kong are of two types, namely standard patents and short-term patents. The grant of a standard patent is based on a patent granted by one of the three designated patent offices located outside the boundary, and Hong Kong does not have an independent registration system for standard patents. Moreover, applicants of patent registration have relayed to me that Hong Kong lacks the talents for drafting patent specifications required for submission when applying for registration of standard patent. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the numbers of applications for short-term patents and standard patents received in each of the past three years and the types of inventions involved and, among the applications, the numbers of those which were unsuccessful and the reasons for that;

    (b)given that neighbouring places such as Singapore and Macao have already set up independent registration systems for standard patents, whether the authorities will study the setting up of an independent registration system for standard patents in Hong Kong; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will consider training local talents for preparing patent specifications and setting up a system to recognize the relevant professional qualifications; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*12. Hon CHEUNG Kwok-che to ask:
(Translation)

The Panel on Education of this Council passed a motion on 20 March this year, urging the Government to establish a committee whose members include representatives from the pre-primary education sector and parents to review the kindergarten ("KG") fee subvention system, as well as to establish a remuneration system that is linked to teachers' training and qualifications. It has been reported that the Education Commission indicated that a working group ("WG") had been established to review the Pre-primary Education Voucher Scheme. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the membership of WG includes parents of children, KG teachers, representatives from school sponsoring bodies, academics, official representatives and members of the public;

    (b)whether WG's scope of review includes:

    (i)studying the Government's future role in early childhood education ("ECE"), as well as how it ensures that the problems of a fully market-driven ECE will not occur;

    (ii)examining the mode of operation of different schools so that whole-day nursery schools will receive fair subsidies;

    (iii)determining the recognized salary level for teachers, and directly providing subsidies according to the salaries of teachers;

    (iv)examining the work of teachers and the pressure they encounter when pursuing further studies;

    (v)enhancing support to children at different learning stages and the corresponding support to parents; and

    (vi)formulating a long-term development blueprint for ECE to optimize the articulation of ECE and primary education; and

    (c)of the review timetable of WG, as well as what consultation mechanisms and methods are in place to obtain the views of the various ECE stakeholders; how it ensures that the WG's operation is transparent and will report its work to the various stakeholders and the public?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

*13. Hon Tanya CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

To cope with the demand of Hong Kong people for columbarium niches, quite a number of private columbaria have come into operation. The Lands Department recently issued warning letters to some private columbaria, pointing out that the operation of such columbaria had breached lease conditions. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether in the past three years the Administration had comprehensively examined the land leases of all the columbaria in Hong Kong that are not operated by the Government or by the Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries to ascertain whether such premises could be used for accommodating the ashes of the deceased; if it had, of the progress and findings, and whether the Government will consider making public the findings; if it has not examined the leases, whether the Government will commence the relevant work in the near future; if it will not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)given that quite a number of members of the public spent large sums of money to buy columbarium niches, which involve the issue of consumers' interests, whether at present there are legislation, policies and measures to regulate the selling of columbarium niches to safeguard consumers' interests; if so, of the details; if not, whether the Government will consider studying the formulation of the relevant measures in the near future; if it will not, of the reasons for that;

    (c)whether the Government will consider reviewing the current policy that regulates columbaria so as to facilitate individuals or organizations that are currently operating or intend to operate columbaria to operate the business; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (d)whether the Government will consider taking various measures to expedite the supply of government niches, e.g. by expediting the study on developing artificial rock caverns or factory buildings for use as columbaria; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

Regarding the fare collection systems for roads and tunnels, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given that at present, users of the auto fare collection system for roads and tunnels operated by the Autotoll Limited are required to pay a monthly administration fee of $35 and a deposit of $150 when opening an account, whether it knows if there is room for downward adjustment of the fees;

    (b)whether it knows if the authorities concerned have signed with the aforesaid company agreements that granted the latter exclusive franchise; if they have, of the reasons; and

    (c)given the growing popularity of the public making purchases with Octopus cards, whether the authorities will reconsider installing Octopus systems at the various tolled roads and tunnels for motorists to choose for use?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*15. Dr Hon David LI to ask:


Following the second meeting of the Task Force on Economic Challenges in December 2008, the Chief Executive announced that over 60 000 jobs were to be created through expediting infrastructure projects, advancing recruitment of civil servants and creating temporary positions. In the 2009-2010 Budget, the Financial Secretary mentioned a number of measures to create about 62 000 jobs and internship opportunities in the next three years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the number of jobs and internship opportunities that had been created through these measures as of 30 September 2009, and of this total, the breakdown between full-time and part-time jobs, between civil service recruitment and private sector recruitment, as well as between permanent positions and internship positions?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Labour and Welfare

*16. Dr Hon LAM Tai-fai to ask:
(Translation)

I raised questions regarding the depreciation allowances on machinery and plants under section 39E of the Inland Revenue Ordinance ("section 39E") at the meetings of this Council on 21 October, 4 November and 25 November of this year respectively. Regarding the replies given by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the authorities have, on the basis of "balance of probabilities", which is the standard of proof generally adopted in civil litigation cases, assessed the feasibility of allowing taxpayers to provide their own proof to prove that section 39E does not apply to the activities involved; if they have assessed, of the results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)given that the former Secretary for the Treasury indicated at the meeting of the former Legislative Council on 11 March 1992 that the amendment to Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 5) Bill 1991 aimed "to apply the new provisions relating to leveraged leasing to transactions entered into on or after 15 November 1990 only in respect of ships and aircraft", why the Government now states that since 1986, section 39E has already covered machinery or plants other than ships and aircraft;

    (c)given that the Government has stated that it had noticed at that time many companies could technically circumvent the definition of "leveraged leasing", yet the Legislative Council Brief of 1991 did not mention such situations, of the justifications for the Government to make such a statement, whether there are any data indicating the number of companies involved in such arrangements at that time, and of the detailed explanation of "technically circumvent the definition";

    (d)according to the Legislative Council Brief dated 13 November 1991, the taxation loophole at that time was that foreign operators who had acquired ships or aircraft through limited partnership in Hong Kong were granted depreciation allowances for profits tax in the capacity as Hong Kong operators, whether this situation is different from that of "technically circumvent the definition" raised by the Government at present;

    (e)of the reasons for the Government to amend section 39E(1)(c)(i) from "(i) the person holding rights as lessee is not a person who is deemed by section 23B to be carrying on a business as the owner of ships in Hong Kong; and" to "(i) the person holding rights as lessee is not an operator of a Hong Kong ship or aircraft; or" when section 39E was amended in 1992;

    (f)given that the former Secretary for the Treasury referred to the amended section 39E as "the new provisions relating to leveraged leasing" at the meeting of the former Legislative Council on 11 March 1992, why the Government now claims that the scope of application of section 39E has been extended beyond "sale and leaseback" and "leveraged leasing" arrangements to cover all kinds of leasing arrangements;

    (g)given that the Government has stated that section 39E is an anti-avoidance provision, on what criteria the Government has based to decide that, for the activities of Hong Kong enterprises engaging in import processing, the provision would be applicable to those related to commercial arrangements falling within the "specific scope of the provision", and whether it has assessed if such criteria are still applicable to the current economic and social situations; as the Government has indicated that the provision would be applicable to any commercial arrangement falling within the specific scope of the provision, why the Government still assured the former Legislative Council in 1986 that the Ordinance concerned would only be used to strike down tax avoidance;

    (h)given that the Government has stated that the assurance (only to be enforced in circumstances of actual necessity) given by the then Commissioner of Inland Revenue ("the Commissioner") upon resumption of the Second Reading debate on the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 1986 ("the Bill") was a general assurance in respect of the Bill as a whole rather than a specific assurance in respect of section 39E, as the provision was included in the Bill, whether the assurance concerned covers section 39E;

    (i)given that in the appeal case with decision number D51/08, the counsel representing the Commissioner pointed out that the Departmental Interpretation and Practice Notes No. 15 ("P.N. 15") updated in 2006 was not applicable before January 2006, whether it has assessed his grounds; if it has, of the results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (j)why the term "lease" was explained in the P.N. 15 updated in 2006 but not in the P.N. of 1986 and that of 1992;

    (k)given that the Government has stated that section 39E is an anti-avoidance provision, the Board of Review, however, pointed out in the appeal case with decision number D61/08, 24 IRBRD 184 that it was not stipulated in section 39E that there should be "an intention to avoid tax" in order for the provision to apply; whether the authorities have assessed if the two arguments contradict each other, and what the effects are on its decision of the Board not considering the statutory setting of the Bill in 1986 when making such a decision; and

    (l)given that the authorities have stated that as long as the machinery or plants are wholly or principally used outside Hong Kong, the taxpayer concerned would not be granted depreciation allowance, what the meaning of "principally used outside Hong Kong" is, whether there are any objective and quantifiable standards to define "principally", and whether the taxpayer concerned is allowed to explain the use of the machinery or plants outside Hong Kong; if he is not allowed to do so, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

In respect of reducing casualties of passengers on public service vehicles ("PSVs") in traffic accidents, will the Government inform this Council whether:
    (a)it will consider extending the current requirement for passengers of taxis and public light buses ("PLB") to wear seat belts to those of tourist coaches and public buses; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; what specific measures are in place to further step up public education to raise the awareness of PSV passengers in wearing seat belts; and

    (b)at present, it is stipulated that the vehicle bodies and seats of PSVs (including public buses, PLBs, taxis, tourist coaches, school buses and school private light buses) shall be able to withstand collision impact of certain tonnes; if so, of the details; if not, whether it will study formulating a set of guidelines on safety standards for reference by the transport trade in procuring vehicles, so as to enhance the safety of vehicle compartments and reduce casualties in traffic accidents?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

*18. Hon CHAN Hak-kan to ask:
(Translation)

The section of Tolo Highway beside Wan Tau Tong Estate, King Nga Court, Tak Nga Court and Classical Gardens is undergoing widening works to add a lane each for southbound and northbound traffic. Some local people have recently relayed to me that the widening works involve the felling or transplanting of a large number of trees and they are also worried that with the works going on and the future growth in traffic the noise problem will be aggravated. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)given the information provided by the authorities to this Council on 19 December last year that the widening works would involve the felling and transplanting of about 11 120 trees, whether the number needs to be adjusted, and of the number of trees which have been removed; if the number needs to be adjusted, of the details and reasons for that;

    (b)given that the green areas along the aforesaid road section are providing open space for many residents within the district, and they are also the habitat of a large number of birds, whether the authorities will re-assess the ecological impact of the widening works on the environment nearby;

    (c)whether it will consider carrying out the widening works mainly on the northbound lanes which are relatively farther away from residential areas, so as to alleviate the impact on the residents nearby while the works are being carried out; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (d)of the estimated increase in the daily vehicular traffic flow and the estimated increase in traffic noise after the completion of the widening works for the road section concerned; of the estimated number of residents to be affected by the noise; and

    (e)of the details of the tree-replanting plan after the completion of the widening works, including the specific planting locations and dates, as well as the species of trees to be planted?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

The Financial Secretary has stated that Hong Kong has the prospect to replace London as the world's second largest wine auction centre after New York, and the authorities will strive to fortify Hong Kong's position as a regional hub for wine trading and distribution. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed the business opportunities and economic benefits for the wine-related businesses brought by Government's exemption of wine duty last year; which industries will benefit from the growth in the trading volume of wine, and the expected number of job opportunities to be created annually;

    (b)whether it has compared the existing supporting facilities and the relevant government policies in facilitating wine auctions in New York and London with those in Hong Kong; if it has, in what aspects New York and London are better than Hong Kong; if it has not, whether the authorities will consider making such a comparison to provide reference when formulating policies conducive to establishing Hong Kong as a wine trading and distribution hub; and

    (c)given that some wine traders have pointed out that Hong Kong lacks wine storage facilities, logistics services and talents, what solutions the authorities have in place; what short-term, medium-term and long-term measures the authorities will adopt to assist the development of the relevant industries and enhance Hong Kong's position as a regional hub for wine trading and distribution?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

*20. Hon Mrs Regina IP to ask:
(Translation)

Recently, I received many complaints about finance companies being too lax in approving loans, such as granting large amounts of loans to young people who have no income or credit records, which adversely affects their growth and their parents will most probably have to make repayment for them in the end. Moreover, it has been reported that some foreign domestic helpers left Hong Kong after borrowing money from finance companies, and their former employers are often harassed by finance companies when the latter recover debts. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)under the Money Lenders Ordinance (Cap. 163), Money Lenders Regulation and other relevant legislation,

    (i)whether finance companies are allowed to make loans to persons who have no income or credit records;

    (ii)whether finance companies have to follow a specific set of criteria or procedure for vetting and approving loan applications of young people and foreign domestic helpers; and

    (iii)of the respective statutory rights and benefits of debtors and creditors in the situation where finance companies granted loans to persons who obviously lack repayment ability and such persons are unable to make repayment;

    (b)whether the Government will, when studying Hong Kong's financial reform framework in the future, consider reviewing and amending the Money Lenders Ordinance at the same time, so as to protect people's interests more effectively; and

    (c)given that some finance companies also take deposits and such deposits are fully guaranteed by the Government, whether the Government has assessed if there arises a situation of members of the public depositing large sums of money in these companies to earn higher interest income because they do not need to worry about the financial situation and stability of such finance companies, and thus these finance companies have abundant funds to make loans extensively?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

* For written reply

III. Bills

First Reading


Buildings Energy Efficiency Bill

Second Reading (Debate to be adjourned)

Buildings Energy Efficiency Bill : Secretary for the Environment

IV. Members' Motions

  1. Motion under Rule 49B(1A) of the Rules of Procedure

    Hon Miriam LAU to move the following motion:

    That this Council, in accordance with Article 79(7) of the Basic Law, censures Hon KAM Nai-wai for misbehaviour (details as particularized in the Schedule to this motion).

    Schedule

    Details of misbehaviours of Hon KAM Nai-wai are set out below:

    (a)Hon KAM Nai-wai made inconsistent remarks to the media and withheld key information, causing the public to have doubts about his integrity

    There were media reports on 4 October 2009 that Hon KAM Nai-wai dismissed his female assistant because of his unsuccessful advances to her. The female assistant was employed with public funds to assist him in performing his duties as a Legislative Council Member. At his press conference held on the same day, Mr KAM:

    (i)denied that he had made advances to his female assistant and did not disclose that he had expressed affection towards her; and

    (ii)denied that he had dismissed his female assistant because of his unsuccessful advances, and pointed out that the employment contract with his female assistant was terminated by giving one-month payment in lieu of notice which was in accordance with the employment contract, but did not mention that he had expressed affection towards her.

    However, after the media subsequently reported that he had actually made advances to his female assistant, Mr KAM admitted on 6 October 2009 on a radio programme that he had expressed affection towards his female assistant when he was alone with her on one occasion in mid-June 2009.

    (b)Hon KAM Nai-wai was unfair in dismissing his female assistant, whose overall work performance was judged by him to be good, after his expression of affection was rejected by her

    In mid-June 2009, Hon KAM Nai-wai expressed affection towards his female assistant. Subsequently, he noticed some signs of his female assistant rejecting him. Between early September and mid-September 2009, Mr KAM invited his female assistant to dine out and was also refused by her. Subsequently on 24 September 2009, he terminated the employment contract with his female assistant with immediate effect without reason assigned, although her overall work performance was judged by him to be good.

  2. Reviewing afresh the use of land at the Kowloon waterfront

    Dr Hon Priscilla LEUNG to move the following motion: (Translation)

    That the Chief Executive has put forward the policy directions of reducing development density and beautifying the waterfront promenade in his past three years' policy addresses, yet many waterfront sites in Kowloon have still been wrongly planned for the construction of densely built high-rise buildings in recent years, causing further damages to the beautiful ridgelines of Kowloon and even blocking the ventilation openings and aggravating the wall and heat island effects, hence exacerbating the environmental problems in Kowloon; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to honour its pledges made in the policy addresses and, by adhering to the overriding principle of conforming to environmental protection and low development density, strengthen the coordination and cooperation among different departments as well as review afresh the use of vacant waterfront sites in Kowloon, so as to create favourable conditions for the implementation of the Kowloon waterfront promenade project.

    Amendments to the motion
    (i)Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To add ", in his past three years' policy addresses," after "That"; to delete "put forward the policy directions of reducing development density and beautifying the waterfront promenade in his past three years' policy addresses, yet many waterfront sites in Kowloon have still been wrongly planned for the construction of densely built high-rise buildings in recent years, causing further damages to the beautiful ridgelines of Kowloon and even blocking the ventilation openings and aggravating the wall and heat island effects, hence exacerbating the environmental problems in Kowloon" after "the Chief Executive has" and substitute with "proposed to beautify the harbourfront, implement harbourfront enhancement work and create a better living environment through a proper review of development density"; to delete "honour its pledges made in the policy addresses and, by adhering to the overriding principle of conforming to environmental protection and low development density" after "this Council urges the Government to" and substitute with ", by adhering to the overriding principle of balancing different needs for land between Hong Kong's economic development and quality life"; to delete "as well as review afresh the use of vacant waterfront sites in Kowloon" after "different departments"; and to delete "the Kowloon waterfront promenade project" immediately before the full stop and substitute with "harbourfront beautifying work in various districts".

    (ii)Hon Tanya CHAN to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To add "as well as constructing" after "reducing development density"; to add "there is still much room for improvement in the planning of" after "policy addresses, yet"; to add "and other districts, the Government should as far as practicable enable as many members of the public as possible to use these waterfront sites; at the same time, these sites" after "many waterfront sites in Kowloon"; to add "and other districts" after "beautiful ridgelines of Kowloon"; to delete "in Kowloon" after "environmental problems"; to delete "vacant" after "review afresh the use of"; and to add "and other districts" before ", so as to".

    (iii)Hon James TO to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To add "including improving the accessibility of the waterfront and studying measures to address issues relating to ownership of private lands at the waterfront, present use of waterfront sites as well as impact of various future projects on lands at the waterfront," before "so as to".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Development

  3. Resignation en masse of Members returned from five geographical constituencies as a referendum

    Hon WONG Yuk-man to move the following motion: (Translation)

    That, this Council appeals to all people in Hong Kong to fully support the campaign of 'Resignation en masse of Members returned from five geographical constituencies as a referendum on the fight for dual universal suffrage in 2012', so as to, by way of direct democracy, return the right of decision on constitutional development to the people, and strongly requests the Special Administrative Region Government to take the opportunity of the constitutional reform consultation to relay to the Beijing Government the aspiration of Hong Kong people, with a view to fighting for the implementation of dual universal suffrage in 2012.

    (i)Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To delete "this Council appeals to" after "That," and substitute with "as constitutional development is a major issue affecting the well-being and interests of all Hong Kong people, this Council appeals to the Special Administrative Region Government to allow"; and to delete "fully support the campaign of 'Resignation en masse of Members returned from five geographical constituencies as a referendum on the fight for dual universal suffrage in 2012', so as to, by way of direct democracy," after "all people in Hong Kong to" and substitute with "decide, through a referendum, the constitutional arrangements for 2012 and beyond, and".

    (ii)Hon Alan LEONG to move the following amendment: (Translation)

    To add "de facto" after "as a"; to delete "dual universal suffrage in 2012" after "the fight for" and substitute with "the implementation of genuine universal suffrage and abolition of functional constituencies"; and to delete "dual universal suffrage in 2012" immediately before the full stop and substitute with "genuine universal suffrage and abolition of functional constituencies".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

Clerk to the Legislative Council