Our Ref: CAB C4/17/7
4 September 1999
Mrs Constance LI
Clerk to Bills Committee
Legislative Council Secretariat
Legislative Council Building
8 Jackson Road
Dear Mrs Li,
Bills Committee on
Provision of Municipal Services (Reorganization) Bill
Follow-up to meetings in July 1999
Thank you for your letters of 28 and 31 July 1999, conveying the
Bills Committee's requests for information. Our response to the outstanding
requests is set out below.
Meeting of 23 July
To provide a paper to elaborate the division of responsibilities
in respect of food and drug hygiene under the Public Health and Municipal
Services Ordinance, Cap.132 and other relevant legislation such as the
Chinese Medicine Ordinance.
. A paper on the division of responsibilities in respect of food and
drug hygiene is at Annex A.
Meeting of 27 July
1. To provide a paper on the procedures for the proposed Food and Environmental
Hygiene Department to co-ordinate with the Department of Health and Agriculture
and Fisheries Department in the surveillance, investigation, assessment
and control of outbreak of food-borne diseases; the comparison of the existing
and proposed procedures and workflow for dealing with food and environmental
hygiene matters; the existing and proposed arrangements for secondment
of health officers from Department of Health; and the authorities for identification,
assessment, control and prevention of communicable diseases, including
those involving bathing beaches, livestock and seafood.
A paper providing information on the above is at Annex B.
2(a) To clarify the authorities for granting permission to post bills,
posters and billboards within the boundaries of the Airport Authority,
unleased land, cultural and recreational venues managed by the future Leisure
and Cultural Services Department, and land controlled by other public corporations
such as MTRC and Land Development Corporation.
In general, the owner, legal occupier or management of a particular
building or land is responsible for granting permission for posting of
bills, posters and billboards within the boundaries of that area.
The authorities for granting permission to post bills, posters and billboards
within the boundaries of the above land and venues are summarized as follows:
(i) airport managed by the Airport Authority
The Airport Authority is a body established under the Airport Authority
Ordinance (Cap. 483) to provide, operate, develop and maintain the airport
at Chek Lap Kok. Under Section 35 of the Airport Authority Ordinance,
the Authority may make bylaws for regulating the use and operation of the
airport and the conduct of persons in the concerned areas of the airport.
Bylaw 38 of the Airport Authority Bylaw (Cap. 483 sub. leg.) states that
no person shall erect any advertisement on any part of the Bylaw area without
the permission of the Airport Authority and that the Authority can remove
and dispose of any advertisement found in the area.
Section 104E(1)(a) of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance
(Cap.132) which designates the Director of Civil Aviation as the authority
for the control of bills and posters within the boundaries of the airport
as defined in the Hong Kong Airport (Regulations) Ordinance (Cap. 292)
has become obsolete as the latter only applies to the former Kai Tak Airport.
As Kai Tak has ceased to be used as an airport, Cap. 292 will be repealed
in due course. As consequential amendments to repealing Cap. 292,
section 104E(1)(a) of Cap. 132 will also be repealed.
(ii) Unleased land
Unleased land is defined in the Lands (Miscellaneous) Ordinance (Cap.28)
as land not held under a Government lease nor vested in a person by an
Ordinance. It covers Government land used for various purposes such
as streets and country parks. Under section 5 of Cap.28, the Director
of Lands is responsible for issuing licences to occupy unleased land.
The word "occupy" is broadly defined in Cap.28 to include "use, inhabit,
be in possession of, enjoy, erect or maintain a structure on or over, and
place or maintain anything on, land". Therefore, bills, posters and
billboards put up on unleased land require licences from the Director of
Lands or any public officer under his delegated authority.
On the other hand, under section 104A and section 104E(1) of Cap.132,
the Provisional Urban Council (PUC) and Provisional Regional Council (ProRC)
are responsible for granting permission for display of bills and posters
in Government land in the urban area and the New Territories respectively,
other than those referred to in section 104E(1)(a) to (e) (such as land
managed or controlled by the Housing Authority and land within a country
park). Under section 104B and 104C, the Councils also have powers
to remove bills and posters displayed without permission or not maintained
in a clean and tidy condition.
Under the current arrangement, the Lands Department issues licences
(in the form of approval letters) for occupation of the unleased land while
the PUC/PRC grants permission for the display of banner and billboards
thereon. Removal of unauthorized bills, posters and billboards are
usually carried out by USD or RSD staff.
(iii) cultural and recreational venues managed by the future Leisure
and Cultural Services Department (LCSD)
Staff of the LCSD will be responsible for the proper management of
the cultural and recreational venues. Under section 13(1)(a) of the
proposed Museums Regulation (Cap.132 sub. leg.), no person is allowed to
erect any structure or bring or allow to remain any materials for such
a structure, or any display material, except with the written permission
of a Head of Museum. There is similar provision under section 10(1)(a)
of the proposed Civic Centres Regulation where the power to grant permission
is vested in a manager appointed by the Director of Leisure and Cultural
Services to manage or assist in the management of a civic centre.
Similarly, the Director or staff of the LCSD will have powers to control
bills, placards and notices affixed, erected or exhibited in recreational
venues under the relevant subsidiary legislation made under Cap.132.
Examples are section 8 of the proposed Bathing Beach Regulation, section
15 of the Pleasure Grounds Regulation, and section 13 of the Stadium Regulation.
(iv) land controlled by the MTRC
Section 21 and the Schedule to the Mass Transit Railway Corporation
(MTRC) Ordinance (Cap.270) expressly provide that Part IX of Cap. 132 governing
advertisements, decorations and signs shall not apply to any sign or advertisement
erected by or on behalf of the MTRC in the railway area. Bylaw 32
of the Mass Transit Railway By-laws (Cap. 270 sub. leg.) further specifies
that no person shall put up any bills, posters, etc. on any part of the
railway premises unless authorized by the MTRC.
(v) land controlled by the Land Development Corporation (LDC)
Section 5(2) of the Land Development Corporation Ordinance (Cap. 15)
empowers the Corporation to lease, purchase or otherwise acquire and hold
land and to manage any buildings, premises or structures which it has acquired,
purchased, acquired or otherwise holds and any common parts thereof including
any ancillary land, having regard to the interests, welfare and comfort
of the tenants, owners or occupiers thereof. Although there are no
specific provisions concerning the control of bills, posters and billboards
in the land and property managed or controlled by the LDC in Cap.15, as
the manager, the LDC should have power to grant permission for posting
of bills, posters and billboards within the boundaries of those buildings
and land concerned.
2(b) To explain the policy and arrangements for the display of art collections
in places other than the museums; the recovery of losses arising from damage
of these items on loan for display in the official residence of CE/CS/FS
and other places.
Museums are purpose-built institutions most suitable for the storage
and display in appropriate environment works of art for the appreciation
of the general public. Nevertheless, the Urban Council/PUC has a
policy to lend selected original works for display at the former Government
House and other official residence since 1977. These works are inspected
by museum conservation experts twice a year and will be withdrawn for conservation
treatment or museum exhibition when required. The loaned items are
covered by an all-risks insurance policy raised by the PUC for museum collections
to take care of loss or damages of the items while on loan in Hong Kong.
In April 1997, the Urban Council approved a new policy for the
loan of museum collection items for display at territory-wide significant
buildings. At present there are 25 items on display at the VIP Rooms
of the Hong Kong International Airport. These items are also covered
by the insurance policy.
In addition to these loan displays, the PUC has installed 23 open-air
sculptures in various Council venues for public display. A PUC Working
Group is also studying extending the display of works of art in more Council
2(c) To assess the need for retaining the word "organized" in reference
to games and sports in clause 50 of Schedule 3 to the Bill.
The intention of section 107(2) of Cap.132 aims to differentiate
the games organized by bona-fide organizations/associations from bookings
made by individuals. There is no intention to discriminate any bookings
for non-organized games. To avoid any misunderstanding, we have no
objection to deleting the word "organized" in clause 50 and will propose
a Committee Stage Amendment accordingly.
2(d)To consider whether it is more appropriate to transfer the control
and management of public cemeteries to another department such as the Home
The Provisional Municipal Councils (PMCs) have been responsible
for overseeing a whole range of services concerning disposal of the dead
on public health and environmental hygiene grounds, including cemeteries,
crematoria, funeral parlours and undertakers of burial, burials and exhumations
and removal of unclaimed dead bodies. It would be appropriate for
health inspectorate staff in the proposed Food and Environmental Hygiene
Department to continue to oversee the management of both public and private
2(e) To consider whether it is more appropriate to transfer the responsibilities
for exhumations to another department such as the Department of Health.
Exhumations are controlled mainly on environmental hygiene grounds
and closely tie in with the overall management of cemeteries. It
would be appropriate for the health inspectorate staff in the proposed
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to continue to oversee exhumations.
Meeting of 30 July
(a) To explain the existing mechanism for determining the market stall
rentals, the existing appeal systems; the proposed mechanism for LegCo
Panel to monitor the fee revisions.
A paper providing more information on the management of public
markets and determination of market stall rentals is at Annex C.
(b) To provide information on the role of the proposed Advisory Council
on Food and Environmental Hygiene in dealing with food and hygiene matters,
the Administration's initial views on the Consultant report on streamlining
food business licensing.
We have accepted the Consultant's recommendation to set up an
Advisory Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene to advise the Government
on major policy issues concerning food safety and environmental hygiene
and to monitor the delivery of these services on a territory-wide basis.
We are still considering the terms of reference of the Advisory Council
and will brief Members on our thinking when details are available.
The consultancy report on restaurant licensing completed in early
August 1999 is being considered by the departments concerned in detail.
An executive summary of the report is at Annex D. The Consultant's
main proposal to streamline the restaurant licensing process is to entrust
the recognised professionals (including the authorised person, registered
structural engineer, registered fire services installation contractor and
registered ventilation contractor, etc.) with the responsibility to verify
and to certify that the premises are safe in every respect for the issuance
of a restaurant licence. Under the proposed new licensing system,
the time taken to get a licence would depend on the applicants and the
licensing authority will issue restaurant licences upon receiving the relevant
certificates from the recognized professionals appointed by the applicants.
All the departments which have a role to play in restaurant licensing,
i.e. Building Department, Fire Services Department, and Urban Services
Department, are generally in support of the thrust of the proposal.
The trade has also indicated their acceptance of the proposal during the
(c) To explain the rationale of the proposed appeals mechanism, the
proposed tenure of members and whether there will be overlapping membership
in these appeals boards.
Following the reorganization, we propose to:
(i) establish a new Licensing Appeals Board (LAB) to hear appeals against
licensing decisions made by Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene
and Director of Leisure and Cultural Services under Cap.132.
This replaces the existing review committees of the PMCs set up under section
125(9) of Cap.132 to review licensing decisions made by the municipal services
departments on behalf of the PMCs; and
(ii) merge the two existing Municipal Services Appeals Boards (MSABs)
be into a single Board chaired by a legally qualified person to deal with
appeals against decisions of the LAB, the Liquor Licensing Board (LLB)
and other decisions made under Cap. 132 and the Places of Public entertainment
Ordinance (Cap. 172).
The establishment of the LAB as a first tier appeal mechanism will preserve
the existing right of access to a less formal first tier review/appeal
mechanism under Cap.132 and avoid the future MSAB being inundated with
too many appeal cases. As the new LLB will be consisted entirely
of non-officials, there is little justification for appeals against decisions
of the LLB to be heard by the LAB comprising non-officials of similar background
before being considered by the MSAB.
The tenure of appointment to the MSAB as provided under the Municipal
Services Appeals Board Ordinance (Cap. 220) is three years. For the
new LAB, our intention is to make the appointments for 2 or 3 years, renewable
upon expiry. In making appointment of members, care will be taken
not to appoint the same person to be a member of LAB and MSAB.
(d) To explain the rationale of having two systems for regulating public
and private swimming pools, the differences in existing standards (e.g.
water quality), and the feasibility of providing uniform standards for
public and private swimming pools.
Private swimming pools (except for those serving not more than
20 residential units and to which the public have no access) are subject
to licensing control by the PMCs under the Swimming Pools (Urban Council)
Bylaws and (Regional Council) Bylaws (Cap.132 sub. leg.). The primary
objectives of control is to protect public health and safety. The
Bylaws mainly provide for the water quality and standards, proper design
and hygiene and safety standards of the swimming pools. The health
inspectorate staff are responsible for licensing in consultation with other
relevant departments such as Buildings Department (on structural safety)
and Fire Services Department (on chlorination plant). Health inspectors
are also responsible for periodic inspection of licensed private swimming
pools and sampling of the pool water for bacteriological examination and
Public swimming pools are provided and managed by the PUC and
the ProRC for public recreation. The PUC and ProRC respectively operate
16 and 18 public swimming pools. They are governed by the Public
Swimming Pools (Urban Council) Bylaws and (Regional Council) Bylaws (Cap.132
sub. leg.), which mainly provide for the proper management and control
of the swimming pools and the conduct of users. Although public swimming
pools are exempted from licensing under the Swimming Pools Bylaws, they
generally follow the standards applicable to private pools. A broad
comparison of the standards applicable to private and public swimming pools
are set out in Annex E. There are only minor differences in terms
of operational standards and daily routine. Public pools are under
slightly more stringent control because the capacity and number of users
of a public pool are generally greater than those of a private pool.
(e) To explain the rationale of applying different regulatory
requirements to public markets in Government and Housing Authority premises
and markets in private premises.
Please refer to the paper at Annex C.
(John C. Y. Leung)
for Secretary for Constitutional Affairs