Council Meeting (Agenda) 3 March 2010



A 09/10-19

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 3 March 2010 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Public Revenue Protection Order 201018/2010
2.Rating (Exemption) Order 201019/2010
3.Revenue (Reduction of Business Registration Fees) Order 201020/2010
4.Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Regulation 201021/2010
5.Designation of Libraries Order 201022/2010

Other Papers

1.No. 74-Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications Annual Report 2008-2009
(to be presented by the Secretary for Education)

2.No. 75-Estimates
for the year ending 31 March 2011
General Revenue Account
- Consolidated Summary of Estimates
- Revenue Analysis by Head
(to be presented by the Financial Secretary)

II. Questions

1. Dr Hon LEUNG Ka-lau to ask:
(Translation)

According to Annex II of the Basic Law, the passage of bills introduced by the Government shall require at least a simple majority vote of the Members of the Legislative Council present. The passage of motions, bills or amendments to government bills introduced by individual Members of the Legislative Council shall require a simple majority vote of each of the two groups of Members present: Members returned by functional constituencies and those returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections ("directly elected Members"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the justifications for the Basic Law stipulating different procedures for voting on bills introduced by the Government and by individual Members of the Legislative Council respectively;

    (b)of the following data in each of the past three legislative sessions:

    (i)regarding voting on motions introduced by the Government under the positive vetting procedure, the respective numbers of those which were by division and those which were not; and among the motions on which a division had been held, the number of those that failed to obtain a majority vote of the directly elected Members present; and

    (ii)regarding voting on government bills at different stages (including Second Reading, Committee stage and Third Reading), the respective numbers of those which were by division and those which were not, as well as those that failed to obtain a majority vote of the directly elected Members present; and

    (c)whether it will consider proposing that the Basic Law be amended to unify the procedures for voting on bills introduced by the Government and those by Members of the Legislative Council, so that the implementation of government policies can follow public opinions more closely?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

2. Hon CHAN Kin-por to ask:
(Translation)

According to the statistics of the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Hong Kong ("MIB"), there were a total of 82 claims between 2004 and 2008 in which the vehicles concerned were not covered by the third party risks insurance and MIB was required to make compensations amounting to more than $84 million to the victims. Some members of the trade have indicated that since at present the source of the compensation fund is the levy on third party risks insurance premiums, it has resulted in vehicle owners who have taken out the said insurance subsidizing those who have not. These members are also of the view that the number of uninsured vehicles uncovered because of their involvement in traffic accidents is only a small proportion of that of uninsured vehicles at present. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective number of vehicle owners who were prosecuted in each of the past five years for using or permitting others to use their vehicles which had not been insured against third party risks as required by the existing legislation, as well as the penalty imposed on those who were convicted;

    (b)whether the Police have, when investigating traffic accidents involving uninsured vehicles, looked into the reasons for vehicle owners not taking out third party risks insurance, and whether the authorities have, in the past two years, assessed if the penalty imposed on such owners by the existing legislation has sufficient deterrent effect; and

    (c)what new measures the Government has to ensure that vehicle owners will comply with the law and take out third party risks insurance?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Transport and Housing
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury


3. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan to ask: (Translation)

Section 12A of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance stipulates that certain amounts relating to severance payments and long service payments may be paid from accrued benefits of mandatory provident fund ("MPF") schemes. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the total amounts of payments made by approved trustees of MPF schemes to employers and employees respectively in accordance with the aforesaid provision in each of the past three years;

    (b)whether it knows the total accumulative amount of payments made by approved trustees in accordance with the aforesaid provision from the implementation of MPF schemes to the end of 2009; and

    (c)given that an employer may, at present, make an application under the aforesaid provision to the approved trustee of the MPF scheme to withdraw the part of accrued benefits attributable to contributions made by the employer from his employee's MPF account, and use the money to pay severance payment or long service payment to that employee, whether the Government will review afresh the relevant arrangement?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury
Secretary for Labour and Welfare


4. Dr Hon Margaret NG to ask: (Translation)

Maryknoll Convent School was declared a monument in 2008. There was a Norfolk Island Pine on its campus which was over 70 years old and half of the roots of the tree were damaged as a result of the drainage works carried out in the school last year. The school had earlier removed the tree on grounds of safety. Regarding the conservation of trees within the site of a monument and the aforesaid incident of the Norfolk Island Pine being removed, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)which existing legislation and provisions are related to the conservation of the trees within the site of a monument, especially those monuments located on private land; if there is no such legislation, whether the Government will consider commencing the work of enacting legislation to make up for the inadequacy of the existing legislation;

    (b)whether it knows the details of the aforesaid drainage works, including the implementation date, nature, scope, payer and contractor, etc.; which government department had issued the "general permit" to the school before the commencement of the drainage works, and under which legislation the permit was issued, as well as the content, issuance date and validity period of the permit, and provide a copy of the permit to this Council; whether Maryknoll Convent School had applied to the Secretary for Development for carrying out the above drainage works under section 6(1) of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance ("the Ordinance"); if not, whether it has assessed if the works were in breach of the law, and whether any follow-up action has been taken by the authorities; if the works were assessed to be in compliance with the law, of the justifications for that; and

    (c)whether it knows the number of trees on the campus of Maryknoll Convent School which had been felled since the school was declared a monument, as well as the details of all the tree-felling works, including the dates, particulars of the contractors and reasons for felling the trees; whether the school had obtained a permit under the Ordinance before each of the tree-felling works; if so, provide a copy of each of such permits; if not, whether it has assessed if the works were in breach of the law and what follow-up actions had been taken by the authorities; if the works were assessed to be in compliance with the law, of the justifications for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

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

The Financial Secretary announced a 50% increase in tobacco duty in the Budget for the last financial year. The Secretary for Food and Health later told the media that he hoped that the increase in tobacco duty would encourage smokers, particularly young smokers, to quit smoking, with the aim of reducing the number of smokers by 10% to 20%. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers and percentages, in the past three years, of the people in the groups listed below who smoke, and the average number of cigarettes smoked by each smoker per day, together with a breakdown of such figures by gender:

    (i)the population in Hong Kong;

    (ii)those aged 11 to 18 of the population; and

    (iii)those aged 10 or below of the population;

    (b)whether it knows at which locations and through what channels underage smokers obtain cigarettes; what measures the Government will adopt to prevent them from obtaining cigarettes from those locations and channels, and whether it will increase the penalties for the offence of selling cigarettes to underage persons; and

    (c)whether it has analyzed the reasons why underage persons smoke; if it has, of the details, and how future anti-smoking promotional strategies will complement accordingly; if it has not, the reasons for that, and whether it will consider conducting such a study?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

6. Hon Cyd HO to ask:
(Translation)

It has been learnt that the United Services Recreation Club ("USRC"), which is located within the Gun Club Hill Barracks, used to be a recreation club for the former British Garrison in Hong Kong and their family dependents. It was owned and administered by the British Garrison in Hong Kong before 1997, and its ownership was subsequently handed over to the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison ("PLA Garrison") after the handover of sovereignty in 1997. At present, USRC is a private club which generates profits by collecting membership fees and monthly subscriptions, and it is administered by a private company with its membership open to application by the public. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)if it knows whether the site at which the aforesaid club is situated is a military site under the management of the PLA Garrison with defence purposes; whether the authorities have collected from USRC or the PLA Garrison any fee, rent or rates, etc.;

    (b)if it knows whether the PLA Garrison has participated in the management of USRC and shared its profits; if it has assessed whether the PLA Garrison has contravened the requirement under the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Garrisoning of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that stationed forces are prohibited from engaging in profit-making operating activities in whatsoever manner; if an assessment has been conducted, of the outcome; and

    (c)if it knows whether there are military sites under the management of the PLA Garrison which are currently used for purposes unrelated or not directly related to defence; if there are, whether the authorities have planned to acquire such sites and categorize them as "Government, Institution or Community" sites?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*7. Dr Hon Samson TAM to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the promotion of the development of information technology ("IT") in schools in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of school IT assistants employed by primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong in each of the past three years, with a breakdown by age, academic qualifications and remuneration groups;

    (b)of the respective average numbers of school IT assistant vacancies in primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong in each of the past three years, as well as their percentages in the total numbers of such posts;

    (c)whether it has assessed the remuneration, turnover rate, development and employment prospects of school IT assistants as well as their influence on IT education; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that, and whether it will conduct such assessments in the future;

    (d)whether it will consider making school IT assistants permanent professional posts in primary and secondary schools; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (e)given that some members of the education and IT sectors are not satisfied with the low remuneration and lack of employment prospects of school IT assistants, of the authorities' response and measures to address their dissatisfaction; and

    (f)given that the Education Bureau has set up a central technical support team according to the recommendation in the Third Strategy on Information Technology in Education, to assist schools and teachers in overcoming the technical problems in implementing school-based IT in education development plans, whether it has assessed the effectiveness of the team's work since its inception; if it has, of the outcome?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

*8. Ir Dr Hon Raymond HO to ask:
(Translation)

On 29 January this year, a 55 years old six-storey tenement building at 45J Ma Tau Wai Road suddenly collapsed while renovation works were being carried out in a shop on the ground floor of the building. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the date on which the Buildings Department last inspected the aforesaid building, the parts of the building inspected, the inspection result, the reasons for not listing the building as a dangerous building after inspection, and whether the professional structural engineer responsible for the inspection was present and participated in the inspection work; and

    (b)whether the Government will focus on the aforesaid incident and further enhance regulation of the procedure for carrying out renovation works in private buildings, so as to prevent the occurrence of similar tragedies; if so, of the details?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

*9. Hon WONG Kwok-kin to ask:
(Translation)

Some residents of Kwun Tong have relayed to me that due to a prolonged lack of maintenance of the buildings in Yue Man Square and its vicinity which have been acquired by the Urban Renewal Authority ("URA"), tin plates on the rooftop of the buildings were once blown away and fell down, and it was lucky that no one was hurt. Furthermore, some members of the public have pointed out that as the Kwun Tong Town Centre Project and Mong Kok's Sai Yee Street Project cover relatively large redevelopment areas, it will therefore take some time before demolition and redevelopment works formally commence; yet, in the meantime, the buildings acquired by URA may become potential bombs in the city. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)if there were accidents in the past five years which were caused by the lack of maintenance of old buildings already acquired by URA but pending redevelopment; if so, the numbers and nature of such accidents;

    (b)if URA will appropriately maintain the flats and buildings it has acquired but pending redevelopment, such as regularly inspecting them and removing the dangerous illegal structures therein, with a view to ensure that such buildings are structurally safe and will not pose danger to the pedestrians nearby; if not, the reasons for that, and

    (c)the total amount of funding URA committed in the past five years to the maintenance and management of the flats and buildings it has acquired but pending redevelopment?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Development

*10. Hon WONG Sing-chi to ask:
(Translation)

It was reported that a British girl died in a fatal accident last month while karting at a kart track in Lung Kwu Tan in Tuen Mun ("the kart track"). It was also reported that the kart track commenced operation in 2006, with part of the track located on private land and other facilities such as the spectator stand built on the land leased from the Government under a short term tenancy ("STT"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective land uses of the aforesaid government land and private land before they are used for the aforesaid purposes; whether the Government and the owner of the private land had submitted applications for changing the land uses to the Town Planning Board ("TPB") regarding the construction of such facilities; if so, of the dates of applications, dates on which TPB deliberated on such applications as well as the concerns of TPB and the relevant government departments on the applications, and the conditions on approval of applications;

    (b)when the Lands Department started to grant the government land to the operator of the kart track through a STT for construction of facilities such as the spectator stand, together with the date on which the STT was first granted, the length and additional conditions of the tenancy, and the date of each application for STT renewal submitted by the operator of the kart track, as well as the length and additional conditions of each tenancy renewal;

    (c)given that it was reported that according to the land lease, the operator should submit a report to the authorities when an accident occurred at the kart track, of the number of accident reports submitted by the operator to date, together with the dates of submission and summary of the content, and whether the authorities have made recommendations for improvement in respect of such reports; if so, of details of the recommendations made on each occasion;

    (d)given that it has been reported that the Home Affairs Bureau has indicated that the kart track currently operates karting activities in accordance with the code of practice for safety and guidelines issued by the Federation Internationale de L'automobile, with regular inspections conducted monthly by the Hong Kong Kart Club ("the Kart Club"), but the Kart Club has indicated that follow-up inspections will only be conducted when there are kart competitions at the kart track, whether it knows the number of regular inspections conducted and the items checked during each inspection by the Kart Club each year since the commencement of operation of the kart track; how the Government ensures that the Kart Club monitors the daily operation of the kart track (especially when no inspection is conducted on the site), as well as the compliance with the code of practice for safety and guidelines by the operator of the kart track; what penalty the Government may impose on the Kart Club if it is found negligent in monitoring the operation of the kart track; and

    (e)given that it was reported that funding had been granted by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department ("LCSD") to the Kart Club for running training courses at the kart track, and the operator of the kart track commenced its operation under the monitoring of the Kart Club in 2006 with the consent of LCSD and under the permits and waivers issued by the relevant government departments, of the issuance dates, terms and conditions as well as the effective dates of such permits and waivers; of the scheme under which funding is granted by LCSD to the Kart Club for running training courses, together with the number of training courses provided, dates of such courses, the number of training places, the amount of funding granted, as well as details of the terms and conditions (including whether there is a requirement for submission of financial statements)?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

*11. Dr Hon PAN Pey-chyou to ask:
(Translation)

The State Council announced last year that our country had decided to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product to 40% to 45% by 2020 as compared with that of the 2005 in terms of carbon intensity, and the aforesaid target had been submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the meeting of this Council on 2 December last year, the Secretary for the Environment indicated that the SAR Government would try to tie in with the country's efforts to achieve the goal of reducing carbon intensity and take this opportunity to review the Government's relevant policies and objectives. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the emission reduction work being carried out currently in Hong Kong will be included in the country's targets for carbon intensity reduction; if so, when it will commence to report on such work; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether the SAR Government will undertake that Hong Kong's target for carbon intensity reduction will not be lower than that set by the Central Government, so as to fulfil Hong Kong's responsibility as a developed city to address climate change issues; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (c)given that a consultant was engaged to conduct a consultancy study on climate change in 2008 by the authorities, whether the authorities will, in response to the outcome of the study, formulate various emission reduction plans for achieving different emission reduction targets; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (d)given that the Chief Executive had earlier proposed to develop the six economic areas where Hong Kong has enjoyed clear advantages, which include the environmental industry, whether the authorities will take the opportunity of addressing climate change to discuss with the Central Government and seek mutual complement, with a view to developing the environmental industry and creating more employment opportunities for local workers; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (e)of the latest progress and details of the efforts made by the Chief Secretary for Administration during the discussion at the Liaison and Co-ordinating Meeting of Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao in Jointly Taking Forward the Implementation of "The Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta" to include a specific low-carbon development project in the 12th Five-Year Plan?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

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

It has been reported that Singapore Exchange and an international electronic stock trading centre has jointly set up a "dark pool" trading platform for institutional investors to conduct block trading of stocks listed in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Hong Kong and Japan, by way of offshore trading. Regarding the development of "dark pool" trading in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the average turnover of Hong Kong stocks ("HK stocks") transacted on "dark pool" trading platforms in Hong Kong in each of the past 12 months, as well as the respective percentages in the total turnover of HK stocks;

    (b)whether trading activities on "dark pool" trading platforms are currently monitored by the Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571); whether it knows if operators of "dark pool" trading platforms are required to apply to SFC for the relevant licences; if so, of the necessary application requirements, approval procedure and scope of monitoring by SFC;

    (c)given that "dark pool" is a platform for matching anonymous block orders of stocks between buyers and sellers and such transactions are made mainly by institutional investors, whether it has assessed the unfair situation caused by "dark pool" trading to ordinary investors; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (d)given that it has been reported that the United States passed a bill in October last year to strengthen the monitoring of "dark pool" trading and enhance the transparency in the trading of financial products, whether the authorities will follow the practice of the United States and review the relevant monitoring mechanism, so as to regulate "dark pool" trading activities;

    (e)given that it has been reported that some operators of "dark pool" trading have indicated that the turnover of HK stocks transacted on their trading platforms might reach 5% to 10% of the total turnover of HK stocks, thus directly affecting the turnover of stocks transacted through the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited ("HKEx") in Hong Kong, of the counter-measures put in place by the authorities and whether it knows those by HKEx; and

    (f)whether it has assessed the merits and demerits of developing alternative trading (such as "dark pool" trading) platforms for Hong Kong to maintain its position as an international financial centre in the long run; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*13. Dr Hon David LI to ask:


At the meeting of the Legislative Council Panel on Security on 5 January 2010, the Government presented a paper on the latest position of the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme and Quality Migrant Admission Scheme. Information on the contributions made by the successful applicants after their resettlement in Hong Kong was not provided in the paper. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it collects statistical data on the new immigrants approved under the aforesaid two schemes relating to the years after their resettlement in Hong Kong; if so, of the nature of such data;

    (b)for those applications approved prior to 2009 under each of the two schemes, of the respective average number of days the principal applicants spent in Hong Kong in 2009, and the respective number of principal applicants who were absent from Hong Kong for all of 2009;

    (c)of the breakdown by age at the time of approval of the principal applicants in the applications approved under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme in 2008 and 2009 (set out in the table below); and

    AgeTotal number of principal applicants
    numberpercentage
    18-24

    25-29

    30-34

    35-39

    40-44

    45-50

    51 or above

    Total


    (d)of the respective value of the total investment in local real estate made by applicants approved under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme in 2008 and 2009, broken down by type of real estate (commercial, industrial or residential), and their respective share in the value of the total transactions of such type in that year?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

*14. Hon Starry LEE to ask:
(Translation)

Focusing on the situation of special pre-primary education (learner diversity education) in Hong Kong, a political party invited academics to conduct a questionnaire survey with kindergarten teachers in 2009. The outcome indicated that there might be as high as 70% of the kindergartens in Hong Kong which had children with various types of special needs and about 50% of the teachers surveyed considered that there might be as many as 10 children or more with learner diversity needs ("children with learner diversity") in their school, reflecting the keen demand for special pre-primary education. The survey also found that recognition and acceptance of the teaching staff towards children with learner diversity were merely of medium level, which reflected that the actual number of children with learner diversity was larger than that indicated in the survey; and parents in Hong Kong generally knew very little about children with learner diversity, which warrants concern. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the current number of school children in Hong Kong with problems of learner diversity;

    (b)in order to facilitate early identification of and assist children with learner diversity so as to reduce their difficulties in learning at primary levels, whether the authorities will review the present practice of systematic identification of children with learner diversity needs starting only from the primary levels, including whether they will advance the screening process to pre-primary stage; if they will conduct such a review, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)what support is provided by the authorities at present to kindergarten teachers to assist them in early identification of children with learner diversity problems and in helping such children, including what designs of teaching kits and guidelines on teaching method have been provided; of the basis on which such guidelines were formulated by the authorities, and whether they have assessed if such guidelines are sufficiently specific and adequate, and how they monitor whether the mainstream kindergartens have provided assistance to children with learner diversity and their parents in accordance with such guidelines;

    (d)focusing on parents' inadequate awareness of children with learner diversity, and the situation where some parents are aware of their children's difficulties but do not know how to help them, what assistance is provided by the Government at present; and

    (e)of the measures/strategies adopted by the Government on public education to make the public understand and accept the situation and needs of children with learner diversity, and provide a positive environment for these children to grow up in?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education

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

Regarding the use of disposable and reusable food containers by schools, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total number of food containers used by primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong in the past three years and the respective percentages of disposable and reusable food containers; and among such disposable food containers, the percentage of the recyclable ones;

    (b)of the current number of recyclers which recover disposable food containers in Hong Kong; the percentage of recovered food containers in the total number of disposable food containers in the past three years; and how the Government deals with those disposable food containers which have not been recovered; and

    (c)as the Secretary for the Environment, in replying to a question from a Member of this Council on 13 January 2010, pointed out, "The Environment and Conservation Fund has reserved $50 million to support existing schools to conduct retrofitting works and install facilities necessary for implementing 'on-site meal portioning'. Each school will be subsidized for the actual expenditure incurred. We have now already started receiving applications for such subsidies", whether the Government has set a target for the number of applications; if it has, of the details; and how the Government will meet this target?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment

*16. Dr Hon Joseph LEE to ask:
(Translation)

At present, the Hospital Authority ("HA") makes an annual allocation for staff training and development, a part of which was used for training nurses. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows, in each of the past three years:
    (a)the amount of expenditure incurred by HA on training nurses, the percentage of such amount in the total allocation for training and development, and the number of nurses who received training, together with a breakdown by hospital cluster, rank and training hour;

    (b)the number of training courses for nurses which were subsidized by HA, together with a breakdown by course type and number of places; whether the authorities will consider subsidizing more training courses of different types as well as increasing the number of subsidized places, so as to enable more nurses to upgrade themselves and enhance the quality of healthcare services in a sustainable manner; and

    (c)the number of applications for study leave submitted by nurses of public hospitals under HA for receiving training and, among such applications, the respective numbers of those approved and rejected, and the reasons for rejecting some applications; how the authorities deploy its manpower to facilitate nurses' participation in different training courses?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

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

Some members of the public have relayed to me that the forecast time of the southward migration of a cold front, the seven-day weather forecasts and weather forecasts for even shorter periods made by the Hong Kong Observatory ("HKO") during the Chinese New Year holiday this year (from 11 to 20 February) significantly deviated from the actual situations, and that the temperature forecasts had been amended time and again, while the actual temperatures on several days were significantly lower than those forecasted. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)during the aforesaid period, how the forecasts for the arrival time of cold front, and the maximum and minimum temperatures (including seven-day weather forecasts and local weather forecasts) compare with the actual situations, and of the time when cold weather warnings were issued;

    (b)of the absolute accuracy scores (out of a maximum of 100) for the daily forecasts made by HKO during the aforesaid period, and of the reasons for the significant deviations of the aforesaid forecasts and actual situations in respect of the cold front; and

    (c)of the method currently adopted by HKO for forecasting the arrival time of cold fronts and subsequent temperature falls; whether the authorities will review the current method of forecasting in view of the aforesaid deviations of the forecasts from actual situations, and assess afresh the impact of such large-scale weather systems (for example, winter monsoon) on local temperatures, as well as making corresponding improvements in hardware and software, so as to avoid the occurrence of similar situations as far as practicable?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

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

In its paper submitted to the Panel on Transport of this Council in November 2008, the Government has indicated that the traffic distribution among the three road harbour crossings ("RHCs") is uneven, and there is room for improvement. One of the major causes of uneven distribution is the difference in toll levels of the three RHCs. Moreover, quite a number of members of the public have relayed to me that congestion occurs in north bound and south bound traffic at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel ("CHT") every morning and evening, and it has not only resulted in longer journey time but has also aggravated air pollution as it has increased vehicle emissions. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective average daily vehicular flows, as well as the maximum and minimum traffic flows of CHT, Western Harbour Crossing ("WHC") and Eastern Harbour Crossing ("EHC") in each of the past five years, together with a breakdown by vehicle type;

    (b)since the implementation of the Journey Time Indication System ("JTIS") at the end of 2003, whether the authorities have reviewed the effectiveness of JTIS, including the accuracy in its estimation of journey time; if they have, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (c)whether the Transport Department ("TD") has received complaints about journey time being wrongly estimated by JTIS; if it has, of the total number of complaints received since the implementation of JTIS and, among such complaints, the maximum and minimum differences in the estimated and actual journey times involved;

    (d)whether TD has assessed if the traffic congestion problem at CHT is serious at present, and whether it has studied ways to solve the problem, including formulating time indicator for cross-harbour journeys or other vehicle divergent measures (for example, increasing the number of autotoll lanes); if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (e)whether it had, in the past three years, assessed the impact of the traffic congestion problem at the three RHCs on the journey time to work and to school of members of the public, as well as on air pollution, and whether it had assessed the resultant economic losses to Hong Kong (including the impact on the gross value of production of relevant industries and the development of the tourist industry in Hong Kong); if it had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (f)whether it has assessed the impact of the Central-Wanchai Bypass Project, West Kowloon Cultural District Project and the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Project on the traffic at CHT during their construction; whether it will aggravate the traffic congestion problem at CHT; if it has, of the details, and how such problems are to be solved;

    (g)whether it has assessed if the traffic congestion problem at the three RHCs can be alleviated after the commissioning of the Shatin to Central Link; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

    (h)given that the Government indicated in November 2008 that it had commissioned a 12-month consultancy study on the improvement in traffic distribution among the three RHCs, when the consultancy study will be completed, and whether it will make public the outcome of the study; and (i) given that the franchises of EHC and WHC will expire in 2016 and 2023 respectively, what factors the Government will consider in deciding whether it will propose buying out or extending their franchises; how the outcome of the consultancy study will affect the Government's decision?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Transport and Housing

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

In recent years, quite a number of members of the public have engaged in angling at the waterfronts of the Victoria Harbour. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether there is legislation in place to regulate the angling activities at the waterfronts of the Victoria Harbour; if so, of the details;

    (b)whether it knows the number of people engaged in angling at the waterfronts of the Victoria Harbour in the past three years;

    (c)whether it knows if the catches of angling by members of the public at the waterfronts of the Victoria Harbour are suitable for consumption, and whether it has assessed if the catches of angling at these waterfronts will be suitable for consumption upon completion of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 2A in around 2014; and

    (d)given that a number of waterfront promenades along the Victoria Harbour will be open for use in the next few years, whether the Government has considered making these promenades available for the angling activities of members of the public?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Food and Health

*20. Hon Paul TSE to ask:
(Translation)

Quite a number of licensed travel agents have relayed to me that, in applying for renewal of licences, other than having to submit audited financial statements to the Travel Agents Registry, they are also required to submit their annual management accounts and, among such travel agents, many of them are even required to submit three or four quarters of quarterly management accounts; yet, companies are only required to submit returns to the Inland Revenue Department once a year, even those operating as limited companies in other industries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers of licensed travel agencies which had closed down or newly registered and established in each of the past three years; whether it has assessed the causes of their closing down; if it has, of the assessment outcome; if not, whether it will make such an assessment expeditiously;

    (b)in view of the number of travel agencies which have closed down in recent years, the general financial situation of the medium-to-small travel agencies and the difficulties faced by them, as well as the principle of fairness for all industries, whether the authorities had, in the past three years, assessed if the measure of requiring licensed travel agents to submit annual or quarterly management accounts when applying for renewal of licences is practically necessary and reasonable; what legal basis the authorities have to require licensed travel agents to submit the aforesaid documents when applying for renewal of licences, and that such documents are more than those required for submission by other commercial organizations, when applying for renewal of Business Registration Certificates; and

    (c)whether the authorities had, in the past three years, considered relaxing the aforesaid requirement for renewal of licences, so as to permit medium-to-small licensed travel agencies with lower turnover to submit only audited financial statements, without having to submit their management accounts, when applying for renewal of their licences, thereby alleviating the operational burden of such travel agencies?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development

* For written reply

III. Motions

Proposed resolution under the Inland Revenue Ordinance

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury to move the following motion:


RESOLVED that the Inland Revenue (Disclosure of Information) Rules, made by the Chief Executive in Council on 26 January 2010, be approved.

(The Rules were issued on 11 February 2010
under LC Paper No. CB(3) 456/09-10)

IV. Members' Motions

  1. Proposed resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

    Hon Miriam LAU to move the following motion:

    RESOLVED that in relation to the -

    (a)Prisons (Amendment) Order 2010, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 13 of 2010;

    (b)Immigration (Places of Detention) (Amendment) Order 2010, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 14 of 2010;

    (c)Immigration (Treatment of Detainees) (Amendment) Order 2010, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 15 of 2010; and

    (d)Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 2) Order 2010, published in the Gazette as Legal Notice No. 16 of 2010,

    and laid on the table of the Legislative Council on 24 February 2010, the period for amending subsidiary legislation referred to in section 34(2) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) be extended under section 34(4) of that Ordinance to the meeting of 14 April 2010.

  2. Actively participating in the by-elections to implement genuine universal suffrage

    Hon Audrey EU to move the following motion: (Translation)

    That this Council appeals to all electors in Hong Kong to actively participate in the forthcoming by-elections in the five geographical constituencies to peacefully quantify public opinion through voting, so as to achieve the social effect of a de facto referendum, and strive for the expeditious implementation of genuine universal suffrage and abolition of functional constituencies.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

  3. Improving the living environment in old districts

    Hon Starry LEE to move the following motion: (Translation)

    That, old buildings abound in Hong Kong and those of 30 years or above amount to as many as 16 000 and will increase to 26 000 in 10 years' time; many of the old buildings are dilapidated, have poor environment and are not properly managed, giving rise to various building safety and law and order problems; as such, this Council urges the Government to take action regarding the aspects of maintenance of old buildings, building management as well as redevelopment and planning of old districts, etc., so as to improve the existing living environment of residents in old districts, and the proposed measures include:

    on building maintenance,

    (a)to allocate additional funding to 'Operation Building Bright', and co-ordinate the various subsidy and loan schemes to provide one-stop services and perfect the relevant schemes, so as to assist more owners with financial difficulties;

    (b)to enhance regulation of renovation works which involve structural alterations;

    (c)focusing on water seepage problems of ceilings of old buildings, to review the existing practice of using colour dyes as the main testing tool and improve the relevant follow-up procedures of government departments, so as to enhance processing efficiency;

    (d)to expedite the clearance procedures for handling unauthorized building works;

    on improving building management,

    (e)to actively assist owners of old buildings in organizing owners' corporations or hiring management companies, including exploring the engagement of the Hong Kong Housing Society or other non-government organizations to act as agents and let these organizations to take over the management work or hire management companies, so as to assist the residents in resolving management and maintenance problems;

    (f)to review the existing Building Management Ordinance, so as to alleviate the problem of inefficiency in building management of 'one building with multiple owners' corporations' and 'multiple buildings with one owners' corporation';

    (g)to set up a 'building affairs tribunal' to resolve the existing problems of lengthy building management disputes, expensive legal costs, etc.;

    (h)to actively examine the creation of a commissioner for management of old buildings to co-ordinate the existing work of various departments, so as to avoid fragmented administration of such departments;

    (i)to implement a licensing scheme for property management companies to improve the quality of such management companies;

    on expediting redevelopment of old districts,

    (j)when launching urban renewal projects, the Urban Renewal Authority ('URA') should preferably adopt a 'bottom-up' approach, and let owners of old buildings take the lead in that they may take the initiative to invite URA to carry out redevelopment after obtaining a certain number of ownership shares;

    (k)in order to promote urban renewal, the development mode of renewal should be diversified in that apart from financial compensations, URA may consider other compensation options, including providing flat-for-flat exchange, for owners of old buildings to choose;

    on planning of old districts and enhancement of cityscape,

    (l)to improve greenery, supporting community facilities and conservation work in old districts and enhance river channels and harbourfront areas, so as to revitalize old districts and improve the quality of life of the residents;

    (m)to allocate additional resources to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to eradicate environmental hygiene blackspots in old districts; and

    (n)to actively explore feasible ways to properly deal with the management problem of private streets, so as to improve the street environment in the places concerned.

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

    To add "the dilapidation of buildings and their lack of management not only pose potential danger to their residents and the public, but also hinder the sustainable development of the society;" after "That,"; to add "relax the restrictions on application and terms of funding support for various subsidy and loan schemes, and" after " 'Operation Building Bright', and"; to add ", and carry out extensive publicity and education work to enhance public awareness of the effect of structural alteration to units on building safety, and encourage the public to provide information on works involving structural alterations to facilitate the Government in early detection of illegal structural alteration works, so as to avoid the building structure being affected" after "structural alterations"; to add ", and enhance the exercising of powers conferred on the Building Authority under section 22 of the Buildings Ordinance, in particular focusing on old and notably dilapidated buildings, to enter into units of such buildings to inspect whether there are unauthorized building works that may affect the building structure, so as to ensure building safety; and should serious cases of inter-linked unauthorized building works be detected, the Government should take the initiative to assist the affected owners in carrying out rehabilitation works together and then share the costs among the owners, so as to avoid continuous potential hazards in the building structure and safeguard building safety" after "building works"; to add "(j) to establish a mechanism for modifying unreasonable provisions in the deeds of mutual covenant, so as to assist owners in managing the buildings more effectively; (k) to actively consider establishing an approval mechanism to assist small property owners under sub-deeds of mutual covenant in obtaining the right to deal with building management problems covered by sub-deeds of mutual covenant;" after "management companies;"; to delete the original "(j)" and substitute with "(l)"; to delete the original "(k)" and substitute with "(m)"; to add "and options for joint development with owners" after "flat-for-flat exchange"; to add "(n) to review the existing compensation measures of URA to ensure that tenants affected by the freezing survey will have reasonable compensation or rehousing arrangement;" after "choose;"; to delete the original "(l)" and substitute with "(o)"; to delete the original "(m)" and substitute with "(p)"; and to delete the original "(n)" and substitute with "(q)".

    Public Officers to attend:Secretary for Home Affairs
    Secretary for Development
Clerk to the Legislative Council