LegCo Paper No. HB 127/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 6th meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Friday, 10 November 1995 at 2:30 p.m.

Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)













(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 3.11.95

(LegCo Paper No. HB 99/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Matters arising

Proposed delegation of the House Committee to attend the hearing of the United Nations Committee Against Torture on 17.11.95

(LegCo Paper No. PL 162/95-96)

Mr Albert HO Chun-yan, chairman of the Home Affairs Panel, said that the Panel had arranged a briefing on Mr James TO’s proposal for interested Members on 7.11.95. Extracts from Hansard in respect of the two relevant motion debates were also distributed to all Members for reference. He reported on the Panel’s deliberations as contained in the Paper. The Panel was in general agreement on TOR 1 and 3 for the captioned delegation. Taking into account the views of some Members, the Panel had agreed to suggest two options on TOR 2 for Members’ consideration, as stated in paragraph 4 of the Paper.

The Chairman asked Members to take the following into account in considering the proposal :

  1. the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) had already made recommendations concerning the investigation of complaints against the police;
  2. the Administration was taking steps to make the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) a statutory body and thereby enhancing its independence. In addition, the Administration had advised that discussion was being held with IPCC on arrangements to implement the Lay Observers Scheme under which investigations by the Complaints Against Police Office would be observed by independent citizens; and
  3. having regard to (a) and (b) above, whether it was appropriate to raise the matter with UNCAT thereby possibly sending a misleading message about the gravity of the problem.

Mr Albert HO supplemented that TOR 2 was aimed at improving the existing system and to enhance the credibility of the investigation process. In response to Mr Martin LEE on whether the TOR should include post-1997 reporting arrangements, he said that China was also a signatory to the Torture Convention. There should be no problem in the continued application of the Convention after 1997.

Mrs Miriam LAU said that the Liberal Party was prepared to support TOR 1 and 3, but had reservations about TOR 2 since the outcome of the motion debate on the subject held in 1993 could not be regarded as a consensus reached by the last Council. She was also concerned that TOR 2 would have adverse effect on the morale of the police since measures were being taken by the Administration to improve the existing system.

Mr CHAN Kam-lam said that while he was not aware of the extent of the problem of torture, he queried the effectiveness of the delegation in achieving TOR 2 and 3. He felt that Members should take the matter up with the Hong Kong Government instead of the UNCAT. He also cautioned about prudent spending of public money.

Mr Eric LI had reservations about the proposal in view of the divergent views expressed and the Administration’s stance.

Ms Emily LAU was of the view that the financial implications involved would be minimal and fully justified. It was right for LegCo to send delegations to observe UN hearings such as this one as well as others to be held in future. In response to Dr LAW Cheung-kwok, the Chairman asked the Secretariat to circulate background information relating to UN hearings to be held in the near future for Members’ reference.

Mr Albert HO moved a motion to put the terms of reference of the proposed delegation (i.e. TOR 1, 2(b) and 3) to vote.

The Chairman ordered that the meeting be suspended for 5 minutes to allow Members to consider the motion.

(The meeting resumed at 3:00 p.m.)

In response to Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung and other Members,
Mr Albert HO said that the Panel had in fact supported TOR 2(a), but having regard to the views of some other Members, it had agreed to suggest TOR 2(b), which was an acceptable alternative to the Panel.
Mr James TO supplemented that TOR 2, be it in the form of option (a) or (b), was vital and should be included in the TOR of the delegation.

In response to Mr Ambrose LAU, Mr Albert HO said that the Administration was still conducting a review concerning TOR 3.

Mr Ronald ARCULLI drew Members’ attention to the fact that TOR 2(a) was inconsistent with the recommendation of the UNHRC that Independent Police Complaints Council should comprise both police and non-police members in the investigation of complaints against police.

(para 21 of UNHRC’s concluding observations under agenda item 9(b) refers). Mr James TO said that there were a number of committees under UN and the membership of UNHRC was different from that of UNCAT.

Mr CHIM Pui-chung said that important proposals should be debated and voted upon in the Council. He had reservations about these proposals being decided by the House Committee.

Mrs Miriam LAU moved an amendment to Mr Albert HO’s motion by deleting TOR 2(b). Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung moved a motion to amend Mrs LAU’s amendment by inserting TOR 2(a). His motion to amend was put to vote. There were 26 votes for the motion, 11 votes against it and 5 abstentions.

Mr Edward HO raised a point of order. He asked whether the House Committee was authorized under the Standing Orders to determine whether a delegation might be sent. At the request of the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that under the Standing Orders, the House Committee might consider any items relating to the business of the Council. Having regard to the past convention to adopt a liberal interpretation of the term "Council business", he was of the view that this particular item was within the terms of reference of the House Committee.

Some Members queried whether a delegation should be sent in the absence of a consensus reached on the TOR of the delegation, and hence the representativeness of the delegation. Mr ARCULLI asked Members to consider sending a delegation in the name of the Panel. Members had different interpretations of the word "consensus". Some Members were of the view that it should mean "majority decision", while others felt that it should mean "unanimous decision".

Mrs Selina CHOW had reservations about TOR 2(a) being included because the Council had not yet had an opportunity to debate the subject to gauge Members’ view. Mr Ambrose LAU was concerned how the delegation should present its view on TOR 3 to UNCAT in the absence of the Administration’s stance on the subject. Mr IP Kwok-him queried whether the proposal should be taken any further in the light of the reservations expressed by some Members.

The Chairman concluded that a decision should be made on the proposal because the Home Affairs Panel had already held a briefing for all interested Members, and the fact that the hearing would be held on 17.11.95 did not allow time for further discussion. The proposal should be put to vote and decided by majority of the Members present.

Mr HO’s motion as amended by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung was put to vote i.e. TOR 1, 2(a) and 3 (at Appendix). There were 26 votes for the motion, 13 votes against it and 4 abstentions.

In response to Mr IP Kwok-him’s request, the Chairman agreed that the meeting be suspended for 5 minutes.

(The meeting resumed at 3:48 p.m.)

The motion that a delegation in the name of the House Committee be sent to Geneva was put to vote. There were 25 votes for the motion, 9 votes against it and 6 abstentions.

Members agreed that the budget for each Member joining the delegation should not be more than $20,000, subject to a ceiling of $100,000 for the delegation. Mr James TO and Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung agreed to join the delegation. A staff from the LegCo London Office would accompany the delegation.

(3) Legal Adviser’s report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 8.11.95

(LegCo Paper No. LS 21/95-96)

The Legal Adviser referred Members to the report. Members agreed to support the subsidiary legislation.

Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested and Members agreed that, in future, items relating to fee increases be highlighted by asterisks in the Legal Adviser’s report.

(4) Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. HB 108/95-96)

Members noted the position report.

(5) Legal Adviser’s report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order No. 42(3A)

(a) Medical Registration (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995

(LegCo Paper No. LS 24/95-96)

Referring Members to the Paper, the Legal Adviser said that the Bill had been introduced in the last session, and part of the provisions had been passed. The remainder had been reintroduced in this session.

The Legal Adviser said that the Bill raised complex and important issues. He suggested and Members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following Members agreed to join : Mr Edward S T HO, Mr Michael HO Mun-ka, Dr HUANG Chen-ya, Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung, Mr LAW Chi-kwong and Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung.

(b) Non-Local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Bill

(LegCo Paper No. LS 23/95-96)

The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the Bill was to establish a registration system to regulate post-secondary and professional educational courses provided by overseas institutions leading to non-local qualifications. The Legal Service Division was still studying certain legal and drafting aspects of the Bill.

The Legal Adviser suggested and Members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following Members agreed to join : Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr CHEUNG Bing-leung and Mr
IP Kwok-him.

The Chairman informed Members that the Administration had suggested giving a briefing on the subject to the Education Panel on 17.11.95. With a Bills Committee now formed, the Chairman asked whether there might be duplication of efforts.

Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung said that the policy aspect of the Bill had been discussed by the Education Panel in the last session. The briefing on 17.11.95 was meant to brief new Members of the Council.

(6) Business for the LegCo sitting on 22.11.95

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 141/95-96)

Members noted that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled. The Chairman advised Members that Dr David LI had changed the subject of his question.

(b) Statement

No statement had yet been notified.

(c) Government Motion

Three resolutions under section 7(3) of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59)

(LegCo Paper No. LS 22/95-96)

The Legal Adviser introduced the 3 resolutions which were consequential to the enactment of the Builders’ Lifts and Tower Working Platforms (Safety) Ordinance.

Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that the industry had expressed concern about the regulations. He suggested and Members agreed that the Administration be requested to defer the motions by one week i.e. to 29.11.95 to allow Members to examine the regulations in more detail.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Estate Agents Bill

(ii) Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995

The Chairman informed Members that the above bills would be introduced into LegCo on 22.11.95 and considered by the House Committee on 24.11.95.

(e) Motion debate on "Unemployment assistance scheme" - to be moved by Miss CHAN Yuen-han

(f) Motion debate on "Monitoring of gas supply and charges" - to be moved by Mr LAU Chin-shek

The Chairman reminded Members that the deadline for notice of amendments, if any, to the above motions was 15.11.95.

(7) Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 29.11.95

(a) Motion debate on "Vietnamese migrants problem"

Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mrs Selina CHOW.

(b) Motion debate on "Entry visa for Taiwan visitors"

Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr Lawrence YUM Sin-ling.

The Chairman advised the Members concerned that the deadline for giving notice of the above motions was 14.11.95.

(8) Reports by Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

(a) Interim report by the Subcommittee to study the Building (Administration) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulation 1995 and the Marine Fish Culture (Amendment) Regulation 1995

(LegCo Paper No. HB 115/95-96)

Mr Edward HO, chairman of the Subcommittee, reported on the deliberations of the Subcommittee. Pending further information to be provided by the Administration, the Subcommittee recommended extending the scrutiny period of the Building (Administration) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulation 1995 to 29.11.95. In regard to the fee increase proposed in the Marine Fish Culture (Amendment) Regulation 1995, which would affect the livelihood of the mariculturists, the Subcommittee recommended repealing it.

In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI’s comment that the effective date of the two Regulations would be 23.11.95, the Legal Adviser said that it would be necessary to move motions at the sitting on 15.11.95 to extend the scrutiny period of the Building (Administration) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulation 1995 and, in order to avoid any confusion in the event that Members decided to repeal the Regulation, to defer the effective date of the Regulation from 23.11.95 to 1.12.95. Furthermore, a motion needed to be moved at the sitting on 15.11.95 to repeal the Marine Fish Culture (Amendment) Regulation 1995. The President’s approval to waive the required notice of the two latter motions would be required.

Members supported the Subcommittee’s recommendations and the Legal Adviser’s suggestions.

(b) Report by the Subcommittee to study the Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading (Calls) Rules

(LegCo Paper No. HB 114/95-96)

Dr HUANG Chen-ya, chairman of the Subcommittee, reported that the Subcommittee had reservations about para (4) of the Guideline issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) which allowed an authorized institution to solicit customers with deposits or assets in excess of $500,000 for leveraged foreign exchange trading business. The Subcommittee had requested HKMA to provide information regarding the practices of other financial centres and a definition of "high-net-worth" customers at the meeting to be held on 11.11.95.

Dr HUANG said that as a procedural safeguard, the Subcommittee had given notice on 8.11.95 for a motion to repeal the Rules to be moved at the sitting on 15.11.95. Subject to the outcome of the Subcommittee’s meeting on 11.11.95, the notice might be withdrawn. He said that the Subcommittee would advise Members of developments before the sitting on 15.11.95.

(c) Report by the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters - Processing of bills

The Chairman reported that subsequent to the decision of the House Committee on 27.10.95, the Subcommittee on Procedural Matters met on 7.11.95 to discuss the processing of bills and recommended the existing arrangements be continued i.e.

  1. the maximum number of Bills Committees and subcommittees studying subsidiary legislation, Government motions or orders be limited to 16 at any one time;
  2. a single queue to operate on a first-come-first-served basis for both Government bills and Private Member’s bills; and
  3. where the number of Bills Committees and subcommittees formed exceeded 16 and where requests for priority had been made, the House Committee would decide on the order of priority.

Members supported the Subcommittee’s recommendation.

(9) Any Other Business

(a) Hong Kong tour guide Paul AU Wing Cheung and citizen WONG Chuen Ming

Mrs Miriam LAU referred Members to Mr Howard YOUNG’s paper which was also submitted on behalf of herself, Mrs Emily LAU and Mr LAU Chin-shek. The paper proposed that :

  1. the Chairman of the House Committee write to President Fidel Ramos of the Philippines to express Members’ concern and to urge the authorities to expedite the judicial proceedings; and
  2. a delegation be sent to put the case to the President of the Philippines.

Members supported the proposals.

Ms Emily LAU said that, subject to the view of the House Committee on proposal (ii), the LegCo representatives could join the delegation of the travel industry which was tentatively planning a trip for the same cause in the week commencing 20.11.95. Mr LAU Chin-shek considered the proposed arrangement acceptable. Mr Martin LEE and some Members were of the view that LegCo Members should go as a separate delegation from that of the travel industry. This might facilitate meeting arrangements with the President and other authorities.

The meeting discussed various suggestions and agreed that the Chairman of the House Committee should write to the President, the Speaker of the Senate, National Assembly and the Chief Justice of the Philippines as well as the UK Embassy. Letters could also be sent to Messrs. AU and WONG and their families to express Members’ concern.

Members discussed Mr IP Kwok-him’s suggestion that the letters should be issued in the name of the President of the Council. Dr YEUNG Sum said that it might not be appropriate for the House Committee to make a decision binding on the President since he had not been consulted.

Members agreed that a House Committee delegation should be sent to urge the relevant authorities to expedite the judicial proceedings. As regards whether the delegation should join the delegation of the travel industry or otherwise, Members

agreed to Mr LAU Chin-shek’s suggestion that the delegation should be allowed flexibility in this respect. The budget for each member of the delegation should not be more than $5,000 subject to a ceiling of $30,000 for the delegation. The following Members indicated interest in joining the delegation: Mrs Selina CHOW, Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, Ms Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr Fred LI Wah-ming, Mr Howard YOUNG, Miss CHAN Yuen-han, Mr LAU Chin-shek and Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee.

(Post-meeting note : Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung and Mr David CHU Yu-lin subsequently joined the delegation.)

(b) Concluding observations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and statement by Chairperson of the Committee

The Chairman advised Members that letters had already been sent to the Prime Minister of UK, the Premier of China and the Governor respectively conveying the House Committee’s decision reached on 27.10.95. The letters would be circulated to Members for information

Ms Emily LAU referred Members to the concluding observations of the UNHRC and the statement made by Chairperson of the Committee. She suggested and Members agreed that the Chairman of the House Committee should send letters to thank the UNHRC and urge them to continue to monitor developments.

Mr Martin LEE said that despite requests, he was not given a copy of the Committee’s report until the Administration had held their press briefing on 3.11.95. He considered it highly unsatisfactory that Members were being given lower priority than the media in receiving the report. The Chairman agreed to reflect Mr LEE’s view, which was shared by Members, to the Chief Secretary.

(c) Remembrance Sunday

The Chairman reminded Members that the Remembrance Sunday ceremony would be held on 12.11.95. Members were requested to assemble at the LegCo Building at 10:45 a.m. After the ceremony, brunch would be served.

(d) LegCo Fun Day

The Chairman reminded Members of the LegCo Fun Day to be held on 9.12.95. Members were encouraged to participate in the various events. In response to Mr Martin LEE and Mr James TIEN, Members asked the Secretariat to consider including more games such as table-tennis and tennis in the programme.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
15 November 1995


Proposed terms of reference of the House Committee delegation
to attend the hearing of the United Nations Committee Against Torture on 17.11.95

  1. To monitor the performance of the British Hong Kong Government delegation;
  2. To urge the setting up of a fully independent office to investigate complaints against the police; and
  3. To urge the British Hong Kong Government to hasten the introduction into Hong Kong law of the reforms made to UK law by the English Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as recommended by the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission in 1992.

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