LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1525/95-96
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref: CB2/PL/RC

LegCo Panel on Recreation and Culture

Minutes of Meeting
held on Thursday, 25 April 1996 at 10:45 a.m.
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai

Members Attending:

    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin

Members Absent :

    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon MOK Ying-fan

Public Officers Attending :

Items III to V
Mr CHAU Tak-hay
Secretary for Recreation and Culture

Item III
Mr Benjamin TANG
Deputy Secretary for Recreation and Culture
Mr Jonathan McKinley
Principal Assistant Secretary
(Recreation & Sports)

Items IV & V
Mrs Rita LAU
Deputy Secretary for Recreation and Culture
Mr Peter Bourton
Principal Assistant Secretary

Attendance by Invitation :

Item III
Hong Kong Sports Development Board
Mr John HUNG
Hong Kong Sports Development Board
Mr Andrew MA OS+J
Chief Executive
Hong Kong Sports Development Board
Dr Dennis WHITBY
Hong Kong Sports Institute
Ms IP Hay-wood
Director of Sports Development
Hong Kong Sports Development Board

Amateur Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong
Mr A F M Conway
Vice President, ASF&OC
President, Hong Kong Hockey Association
Mrs Vivien FUNG
Vice President, ASF&OC
Chairman, HK Tenpin Bowling Congress
Mr Ronnie WONG
Hon Deputy Secretary, ASF&OC
Hon Secretary, HK Amateur Swimming Assn
Prof. Frank H FU
Director of Studies, HK Olympic Academy
The HK Post Secondary Colleges Athletic Assn
Mr William KO
Council Member, ASF&OC
HK Amateur Athletic Assn

Staff in Attendance :

Mrs Anna LO
Mr Colin CHUI


I. Confirmation of Minutes of Meetings and Matters Arising

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1221/95-96)

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1059/95-96)

The minutes of the meetings held on 14 February 1996 and 14 March 1996 were confirmed.

II. Discussion Items for Next Meeting

2. Members agreed to discuss the following subjects at the next regular meeting to be held on 23 May 1996 at 10:45 a.m.:

  1. Broadcasting policy (with special focus on pay TV and video on demand);
    1. Composition of the Obscene Articles Tribunal;
    2. Implementation of the control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance; and
    3. Control of pornographic CD-ROMs.

3. Members noted that a special meeting of the Panel would be held on 9 May 1996 to discuss "Planning standards for sports and arts facilities" with the Administration and interested organisations.

III. Funding of Sports Development Board

(Appendices II, III and IV to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1063/95-96)

4. The Chairman welcomed representatives from the Sports Development Board (SDB), Amateur Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong (ASF&OC) and Administration to the meeting. She congratulated Mr John HUNG on his new appointment as Chairman of the SDB and invited him to brief members on his position paper.

Meeting with the SDB

5. Mr John HUNG succinctly briefed members on the plans of the new board. They would endeavour to fulfil the role of the SDB in promoting the development of sport and physical recreation in Hong Kong. As he saw it, the SDB should be the basic facilitator of sports development. Its work and that of the ASF&OC, the National Sports Associations (NSA), and other relevant bodies should be complementary to each other. He stressed the importance of sport to the education and well-being of all citizens at large, particularly the youth, in Hong Kong.

6. Referring to the remarks of ASF&OC (Appendix IV of LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1063/95-96), Mr HUNG had the following comments:

  1. With regard to the criticism that the SDB administration costs were far too high and that there was room for savings, Mr HUNG considered that marginal savings might be found if the integration of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) with the SDB could be made more complete; and he was working in that direction with the cooperation of the new chairman of the HKSI. Against the approved establishment of about 75 administrative posts at the outset of the SDB, 43 were filled. This level of administrative support had been maintained for some time; and, in his opinion, was not excessive. He considered the employment of professional administrators essential for the efficient running of the SDB. Afterall, these posts were approved by boards fully represented by government and ex-officio bodies.


  1. Mr HUNG was in total agreement with the ASF&OC that the budget request from SDB had never been met fully by the Government. Annual government allocations to the SDB had been pegged, at the most, to cost of living adjustments, disregarding ‘growth' which was essential for the ‘development' of sports. To help the situation, he suggested either the Administration allocated more funds; or it should persuade the two Municipal Councils not to charge the NSAs and SDB commercial rates for the use of their facilities in national organised sports.
  1. In the light of shortage of funds, the SDB would have to prioritize its activities and new initiatives proposed in its Strategic Plan 1996-2000.
  1. Mr HUNG disputed the statement that the SDB operated in an unnecessarily costly way and he would like to see proof of this statement. He considered a total staff cost not exceeding 15% of the government subvented funds reasonable for the effective operation of the SDB. He would be looking into the feasibility of pooling the administrative staff of SDB and NSAs (particularly the small ones) in Sports House with a view to identifying savings in this area.

7. Mr Andrew MA supplemented that there was a shortfall of $34 million in the 1996-97 financial year. Dr Dennis WHITBY welcomed the review of the HKSI and reiterated the importance of sports development for the health of the general public as well as the breeding of elite athletes.

8. Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung pointed out the close relationship between the two Municipal Councils and the SDB in sports development and hoped that the SDB would set up a liaison group with the MCs.


9. Mr Paul CHENG supported the review of the HKSI. He thought the review should try to clarify and minimise duplication of work/function among the SDB, HKSI and NSAs. To better understand the structure of these organisations, he requested to be provided with their organisation charts together with job descriptions of their key positions.

(Post-meeting note : A complete set of the HKSDB/HKSI organisational chart and job descriptions had been forwarded to members vide CB(2) 1369/95-96.)

Meeting with the ASF&OC

10. Mr A F M CONWAY stated that the ASF&OC was of the firm opinion that the administration of the SDB had to be reorganised. The SDB spent unnecessary funds on research and self publicity. There was widespread dissatisfaction of NSAs in their relationship with the SDB. The HKSI should have continued support from the government. He hoped all these concerns would be addressed to by the new membership of the SDB.

11. Mr Ronnie WONG said that, from the angle of the Urban Council, the continued operation of the HKSI was very essential to future sports development.

12. Mr William KO supported the continuation of the HKSI. He further suggested that since an independent consultant was appointed to look into the HKSI, it would be best and cost effective if it would also review the overall structure of the SDB at the same time.

(Post-meeting note: Letter from Mr KO dated 24 April 1996 putting his views in writing was circulated to members vide Appendix II to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1153/95-96.)

13. Miss Christine LOH sought clarification on ASF&OC's remarks on the SDB, particularly that about misuse of funds. Mr CONWAY responded that the many publications issued by the SDB on its work were considered by the ASF&OC a misuse of funds because these funds could have more usefully been allocated to NSAs for the promotion of sports. The poor relationship between the SDB and NSAs was often discussed at meetings, proceedings of which were recorded in minutes of these meetings. However, with the recent change of SDB Chairman and CEO who were more receptive to ideas, the relationship had been improved, and hopefully would continue to improve.

Meeting with the Administration

14. Mr T H CHAU was pleased to note the improved relationship between the SDB and ASF&OC/ NSAs. With regard to the shortfall of funds for the SDB, he explained the necessity to prioritize in the annual government resource allocation exercise. Apart from direct government subvention, he was exploring other channels, such as revenue from additional Mark Six lotteries, for sports development. Mr John HUNG stressed that, in his opinion, sports development was as important as education, medical and health and that it should be given equal weight in the allocation of funds.

IV. Regulatory framework for video-on-demand (VOD) services

(Appendix V to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1063/95-96)

15. Mrs Rita LAU informed members that the consultation exercise on Government's proposals for the regulation of VOD programme services had been completed. A list of the 19 organisations/individuals who had submitted views on the proposals and a paper summarising public comments had been forwarded to members.

16. Members asked for the criteria for the Administration's recommendation of only two VOD programme service licences and whether VOD was the same as pay TV. Mr T H CHAU responded that Government's position was that VOD would differ from pay TV (subscription television broadcasting) on the basis that the transmission was point-to-point (or a "dial-up service" as it was sometimes referred to) compared with pay TV which utilised point-to-multipoint. However, since VOD programme services would compete for much the same audiences as pay TV, the Administration considered that the conditions applicable to VOD programme service providers should be similar to those applying to pay TV licensees under the Television Ordinance. The outcome of the TV market survey conducted at the beginning of 1996 indicated that the market was not yet ready to accommodate a second pay-TV service. Taking into account that there was presently one company which planned to launch VOD programme services in the middle of next year and the need to provide adequate competition in the same market, the Administration recommended two VOD programme service licences initially until after a review of the television environment in 1998.


17. Mr CHAN Wai-yip commented that the VOD programme service licences were in fact pay TV licences in disguise; and this would created confusion. He queried why the Administration did not open the pay TV market in July 1996 as pledged in the 1994 Policy Address so as to create a fair, open and diversified broadcasting environment. Mr T H CHAU replied that Government policies had to be adjusted according to changing circumstances. Within the limited TV market in Hong Kong, so far only one TV company was profit-making, the other three were still running at a loss. Mr Bourton added that for technical and legal reasons, as confirmed in a recent judicial review, VOD differed from pay TV. However, for the reason stated in the preceding paragraph, the Administration was proposing to regulate VOD programme service and pay TV by similar arrangements under the Television Ordinance. As requested by the Chairman, the Administration would provide members with a copy of the court judgement on the issue.

(Post-meeting note : A copy of the court judgement was circulated to members vide Appendix I to LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1153/95-96.)

18. Mrs Selina CHOW considered that each VOD service programme licence should provide for a specific service only, e.g. film, documentary or children's programme. In that case, more licences could be issued, avoiding monopoly by a few dominating groups.

19. The Chairman concluded that following the general discussion on the subject at this meeting, a more comprehensive discussion with interested parties would be held at the next meeting on 23 May 1996.

V. Broadcasting policy in respect of using Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) for promoting the work of Preparatory Committee as reported in the media reports

20. The Chairman invited representatives of the Administration to inform Panel members of the Preparatory Committee's request for air time on RTHK for promoting its work. Members were concerned of interference with RTHK's editorial independence such that it might be used as a propaganda machine. They asked whether there were precedents of similar requests as that of the Preparatory Committee from the Hong Kong Government to RTHK.

21. Mr T H CHAU stated that as the ten requests from the Preparatory Committee had not yet been published and as the Government had not yet given a formal response to those requests, some of which were broadly worded and required clarifications as to their precise nature, it was inappropriate for him to comment in public on the request regarding "air time". However, he stressed it was the Government's policy to maintain RTHK's editorial independence in its radio and television programmes.


22. With regard to the present arrangements on broadcasting Government programmes, Mrs Rita LAU informed members that under the existing Television Ordinance, only the Broadcasting Authority had the authority to ask the two commercial television companies - ATV and TVB - to make available free air time for the following three categories of programmes:

  1. The first category was school programmes produced by RTHK at the request of the Education Department;
  2. The second category was Announcement of Public Interest (API). The Information Services Department (ISD) was responsible for their production and the schedule for their broadcast; and
  3. Documentary and current-affairs programmes produced by RTHK belong to the third category.

Mrs LAU stressed that RTHK had complete editorial independence in all the programmes it produced. As requested by members, the Administration would set out in writing the present system and actual arrangements governing the broadcasts of the above-mentioned categories of programmes on TV.

23. Mr Howard YOUNG remarked that the Administration could take the initiative of suggesting to the Preparatory Committee how RTHK could help to publicise its work.

24. The meeting ended at 1:10 p.m.

LegCo Secretariat
6 June 1996

Last Updated on 23 Jul, 1996