LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1321/96-97
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/BCS

LegCo Panel on Broadcasting, Culture & Sport

Minutes of Meeting
held on Thursday, 23 January 1997 at 10:45 am
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling (Chairman)
    Hon MOK Ying-fan (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai

Member Absent :

    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Item III
Mr CHAU Tak-hay
Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
Mrs Rita LAU
Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
(Broadcasting & Entertainment)
Mr Eddy CHAN
Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing
Assistant Commissioner for Television & Entertainment Licensing
Mr Albert WONG
Senior Assistant Crown Prosecutor (Acting)

Item IV
Mr CHAU Tak-hay
Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
(Culture & Sport)
Mr Raymond TAM
Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
Mr Jonathan MCKINLEY
Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
(Recreation & Sport)

Item V
Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
(Culture & Sport)
Mr Raymond TAM
Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture & Sport
Mr CHIU Siu-tsan
Executive Secretary
Antiquities and Monuments Office

Item VI
Mr PO Pui-leong
Assistant Director of Urban Services
Mr CHENG Tak-wing
Senior Staff Officer of Urban Services
Mr Philip LAU Yiu-wah
Assistant Director/Specialist
Buildings Department
Mr Alfred CHUNG Chun-man
Chief Building Surveyor/CS
Buildings Department
Mr LAM Chun-man
Chief Fire Officer (Protection)
Fire Protection Bureau
Fire Services Department
Mr LAI Kwok-tung
Assistant Director (Environmental Health Policy)
Regional Services Department

Attendance by Invitation :

Item V

The Hong Kong Archaeological Society
Mr LO Kam-kau

The Archaeological Action Group
Mr William MEACHAM
Miss Vivien LAU Tung-yin

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Miss Connie FUNG
Assistant Legal Adviser 3
Mr Raymond LAM
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 6

I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting and matters arising

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 974/96-97)

The minutes of the meeting held on 2 December 1996 were confirmed.

II. Date of next meeting and items for discussion

(Paper No. CB(2) 697/96-97 (01))

Members noted a paper provided by the Administration on "Regulation of obscene and indecent materials transmitted through the Internet" (LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1030/96-97). It was agreed that the next meeting would be held on Thursday, 27 February 1997 at 10:45 am to discuss the following -

  1. Regulation of obscene and indecent materials transmitted through the Internet.
  2. Implementation of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance :

    1. Control of pornographic CD-ROMs.
    2. Control of pornographic publications and other articles.

It was agreed to invite members of the Information Policy Panel to join the discussion on item (a) and those of of Security Panel on item (b). Representatives of Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA), Customs and Excise Department and the Police should be invited to attend item (b).

III. Regulation of obscene and indecent materials

Review of the definitions of "Indecency" and "Obscenity" in the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (COIAO)

(Paper No. CB(2) 697/96-97 (02))

At the invitation of the Chairman, representatives of the Administration highlighted the salient points of its paper and stated that as a result of legislative amendments to COIAO in 1995, the number of inspections by TELA had increased. The resultant deterrent effect had led to a decrease in the number of prosecutions. As regards the Canadian Bill C-114 which sought to define pornography, Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (Broadcasting and Entertainment) (DSBCS(BE)) stated that, to her knowledge, the Canadian Bill did not reach the parliamentary stage. She believed that divergent views in the society about the legislative proposal might be one reason for it.

A member commented that while the changing community moral standards made it difficult for the Administration to draw up specific definitions for "indecency" and "obscenity", behaviours such as bestiality and incest had always been generally regarded as unacceptable but were still appearing in some CD-ROMs. He added that obscene or indecent publications could be easily purchased in the streets by young people aged below 18. The Administration should consider adopting some of the definitions proposed in the Canadian Bill C-114. Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (SBCS) and DSBCS(BE) responded that partial definitions would render the COIAO incomplete. The fact that some behaviours were illegal did not mean that they could not be mentioned or discussed. Amendments to COIAO in 1995 had already raised penalty on offences. Education was also very important in shaping our young people’s attitude towards sex. Senior Assistant Crown Prosecutor (Acting) added that under the COIAO, "obscenity" and "indecency" included violence, depravity and repulsiveness. In determining whether an article was obscene or indecent, the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT) would have regard to prevailing standards of morality, decency and propriety that were generally accepted by reasonable members of the community.

As regards a member’s question on whether CD-ROMs containing movies had to undergo the censorship required under the Film Censorship Ordinance (FCO), SBCS and DSBCS(BE) stated that, regardless of the forms, films (such as cinematograph film, videotape or laser disc) intended to be shown in cinemas were required to be censored under the FCO. Subsequent publications of these submitted films were also subject to the FCO. Those not intended for theatrical release were regulated by COIAO and under the COIAO, submissions of articles for classification were entirely voluntary. SBCS cautioned against any suggestion of extension of censorship to articles. In a free society, censorship should be kept to the minimum. He added that complaints could always be lodged with TELA on sales of obscene or indecent articles.

In response to a member’s question on paragraph 13(b) of the Administration’s paper, Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing stated that the number of inspections carried out by TELA had increased from 6 810 in 1995 to 9 940 in 1996, while the number of complaints had decreased from 456 to 364 and the number of referrals to OAT had decreased from 403 to 229 during the same period, indicating an improvement in the situation. At the member’s request, he undertook to provide detailed statistics in writing.


(The statistics provided by TELA was issued to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1096/96-97)

Regulation of obscene and indecent materials transmitted through the Internet

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1030/96-97)

At the invitation of the Chairman, DSBCS(BE) briefed members on the Administration’s paper. She stated that following consultation with the public and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Administration had decided not to introduce legislative control on materials transmitted through the Internet at this stage. Nevertheless, the Administration would -

  1. maintain dialogue with ISPs and assist the industry to develop their code of practice;
  2. actively encourage and promote the use of filtering/labelling tools to enable parental guidance to be exercised;
  3. work with the Education Department to promote the proper use of the Internet.

Members were concerned that many parents might not be as computer literate as their children, thus making it difficult for them to make use of filtering tools. Parents should be made aware of the availability of filtering tools. A member suggested the formation of an advisory committee on the subject. Another member suggested that the Broadcasting, Culture and Sports Branch (BCSB) should form a working group with the Education and Manpower Branch for the implementation of the proposal at paragraph 7(c) above.

The meeting agreed that this subject should be further discussed in detail at the next meeting.

IV. Arts and Sport Development Fund

(Paper No. CB(2) 985/96-97(01))

Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (Culture & Sport) (DSBCS(CS)) briefed members on the Administration’s paper and stressed that the proposed Arts and Sport Development Fund (ASDF) would be used on one-off projects or programmes with a short defined time-frame. SBCS added that Government subvention was constrained by the policy that increase of government expenditure in a financial year should not exceed the estimated mid-term economic growth rate of that year. Additional funds were required for implementing the key initiatives identified in the five-year strategic plans of Hong Kong Arts Development Council (ADC) and Hong Kong Sports Development Board (SDB). Upon approval by the Finance Committee, discussions would be held with ADC and SDB to identify their respective funding needs.

A member commented that much money had been spent on administration rather than directly on athletes or artists. He enquired about the criteria used in the allocation of ASDF. DSBCS(CS) reiterated that the object of ASDF was to provide resources for implementing the key initiatives identified in the five-year strategic plans of ADC and SDB. Administrative costs were met by recurrent Government subventions. For administrative convenience, ASDF would be subsumed into the Sir David Trench Fund for Recreation (SDTFR). SBCS would make the final decision on the allocation of ASDF. The issue of administrative expenses had previously been discussed at meetings of the Panel and members’ views had been conveyed to ADC and SDB. To his knowledge, the administrative costs of ADC and SDB were kept within 10% of their respective annual recurrent subventions. He undertook to continue monitoring the situation.


A member was concerned that the grouping of funds for arts and sports in one single Fund might lead to conflict between the arts and sports communities. Another member added that ASDF should be separated from the SDTFR. SBCS responded that fundings for arts and sports were grouped in one single Fund in order to maintain flexibility in allocation. BCSB would decide the allocation of funds through negotiations with SDB and ADC. ASDF was expected to last until 2001, after which a review would be carried out by the Administration. In the longer term, the Administration hoped to provide funding of arts and sports through recurrent subventions and minimize the need for establishing special funds.

In response to a member, SBCS responded that BCSB had not maintained statistics on the sponsorship of the tobacco industry on arts and sports. He undertook to follow-up the issue with the Health and Welfare Branch.


V. Archaeological sites at Yung Shu Wan, Lamma

(Paper Nos. CB(2) 810/96-97, CB(2) 985/96-97 (02) and (03))

Meeting with the Archaeological Action Group (AAG)

Representatives of AAG presented the salient points of their submission and remarked that the inefficiency of the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) had resulted in the destruction of archaeological sites at Sha Po Tsuen and Wang Lung. Despite the findings of the Hong Kong Archaeological Survey in 1985, archaeological sites at Yung Shu Wan were destroyed. They were concerned that the forthcoming archaeological survey to be conducted by the Administration would only be a repetition of the same process.

Meeting with the Hong Kong Archaeological Society (HKAS)

Representative of HKAS stated that HKAS was supportive of the points mentioned in the Administration’s paper.

Meeting with the Administration

DSBCS(CS) and Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport (Culture) (PAS(BCS)(C)) briefed members on the Administration’s paper and stressed the Administration’s commitment to protecting and conserving archaeological sites. An additional amount of $750,000 had been allocated for the 1996/97 financial year and a rescue excavation had already commenced in one of the Yung Shu Wan sites. They requested AAG to provide information on the exact locations of the sites mentioned in their submission for follow-up by the Administration. To attract more public interest, the Administration had designated this year as the Year of Heritage. In response to a member, they undertook to provide a paper on the work of AMO, especially the progress of work in connection with the Hong Kong Archaeological Survey in 1985.


In response to a member, Executive Secretary of AMO explained that a rescue excavation normally took two to four weeks to complete and cost about $100 000. As a practice, landlords usually allowed six months for rescue excavation prior to construction of small houses.

A member referred to paragraph 5 of the Administration’s paper and commented that AMO should be more concerned with the protection of archaeological sites than the rights of villagers. To his knowledge, there was widespread unauthorized construction of small houses which might cause irrecoverable damages to archaeological sites. Co-ordination between AMO and the Lands Department should be strengthened. PAS (BCS) (C) responded that BCSB would take the following actions -

  1. A comprehensive archaeological survey, which would take about two years to complete, would commence in February 1997. The Planning, Environment and Lands Branch and the Lands Department would be informed of sites identified in the survey to be of archaeological value.
  2. The Administration would propose the inclusion of archaeological sites under "Special Design Area" and "sites of special scientific interest" in the forthcoming proposed amendments to Town Planning Ordinance.

A member commented that, as more houses would be constructed with the anticipated influx of new residents in 1997, the Administration should give priority to the issue of archaeological sites on Lamma Island. DSBCS(CS) agreed to consider the suggestion.


VI. Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Bill

(Paper No. CB(2) 697/96-97 (03))

At the invitation of the Chairman, Assistant Director of Urban Services (ADUS) briefed members on the Bill.

A member questioned the difference in the performance pledges of the Urban Services Department (USD) and Regional Service Department (RSD) for the period of issuing letter of requirements (eight weeks for USD Vs seven working days for RSD). He commented that the eight-week period pledged by USD was too long and should be reviewed. ADUS responded that the period pledged by USD was counted from the date of receipt of an application and relevant drawings, while the seven-day period pledged by RSD was counted from the date of confirmation from all other departments concerned that the premises were suitable for licensing. He agreed to consider the member’s views.

A member suggested that the Administration should consider ordering the temporary closure of unlicensed cinemas. Assistant Director (Specialist) of Buildings Department responded that under the Buildings Ordinance (BO), closure of premises was ordered on the ground that the premises were "dangerous or liable to be dangerous". As evidence of such dangers was difficult to establish in the case of unlicensed cinema premises, it was difficult to exercise provisions of BO. He added that many unlicensed cinemas actually involved premature operation when application for a valid licence was being processed.


In response to a member, ADUS stated that the problem of unlicensed restaurants was similar to the problem of unlicensed cinemas. Hundreds of Prohibition Orders were issued each year by the court to unlicensed restaurants.

A member suggested that the penalty on unlicensed cinemas should be stepped up so as to constitute sufficient deterrent effect. ADRS responded that the Bill would involve stepping up of penalty, as it was proposed that a Closure Order would be issued if a Prohibition Order was breached.

The meeting ended at 12:55 pm.

LegCo Secretariat
25 February 1997

Last Updated on 12 Aug, 1998