LC Paper No. CB(2) 1859/98-99
Ref : CB2/H/5
House Committee of the Legislative Council
Minutes of the 29th meetingMembers present :
held in the Legislative Council Chamber
at 2:30 pm on Friday, 30 April 1999
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Margaret NG Ngoi-yee
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon HUI Cheung-ching
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHAN Kwok-keung
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon LAU Chin-shek, JP
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Hon FUNG Chi-kin
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JPMembers absent :
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Martin LEE Chu-ming, SC, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JPClerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM Clerk to the House Committee
I. Confirmation of the minutes of the 28th meeting held on 23 April 1999
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG, JP
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA, JP
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LAW Kam-sang, JP
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mr LEE Yu-sung
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Miss Polly YEUNG
- Assistant Secretary General 1 (Acting)
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Miss Anita HO
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Mr Stephen LAM
- Assistant Legal Adviser 4
- Mr KAU Kin-wah
- Assistant Legal Adviser 6
- Mr Charles FOO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints) (Acting)
- Miss Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Miss Odelia LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)1
- Mr LAW Wing-lok
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2)5
- Mrs Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (3)1
- Mr Andy LAU
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)3 (Acting)
- Miss Mary SO
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1795/98-99)
No amendment to the minutes was proposed.II. Matters arising
(a) Report by the Chairman on his meeting with the Chief Secretary for Administration
2. The Deputy Chairman said that the Chief Executive (CE) had just suggested that the Question and Answer Session on 6 May 1999 could commence at 2:30 pm, instead of 3:00 pm as originally scheduled.
3. Miss Emily LAU said that Members would very likely raise questions relating to the survey results that 1.7 million people in the Mainland would be eligible for right of abode in Hong Kong under the Court of Final Appeal's judgment delivered on 29 January 1999.
(b) Participation by public officers in a debate initiated by a Member
(CS's letter of 21 April 1999 and the Chairman's earlier letter to CS of 7 April 1999 issued vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 1780/98-99 dated 22 April 1999.)
4. Deputy Secretary General reported that the Committee on Rules of Procedure would examine the matter further and present its recommendation to the House Committee in due course.
5. Referring to the motion debate on "New arrivals from the Mainland" at the Council meeting on 28 April 1999, Miss Emily LAU expressed dissatisfaction that the Secretary for Security spoke only at the beginning of the debate. She said that the Administration had the responsibility to respond to Members' views expressed at the debate.
(c) Issues arising from Transport Panel's report on legal procedures in respect of the determination of maximum fares for licensed ferry services
(LC Paper No. CB(1) 1152/98-99 issued vide LC Paper No. CB(2) 1176/98-99 dated 22.4.99)
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 1815/98-99)
6. The Chairman referred members to paragraphs 7 and 8 of the paper and invited members' views on whether -
- the matter of the legal procedures for the determination of maximum fares of licensed ferry services should be pursued further by a subcommittee under the House Committee; or
- the broader issue of the existing legislative mechanism for the Council to monitor the making of subsidiary legislation by persons under delegated authority should be examined, and if so, whether the work should be undertaken by the relevant Panel.
7. Mr LAU Chin-shek was of the view that a subcommittee should be formed under the House Committee to pursue both the matter of the legal procedures for the determination of maximum fares of licensed ferry services and the broader issue referred to in paragraph 6(ii) above.
8. The Chairman suggested that either the Panel on Constitutional Affairs or the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services be invited to follow up the broader issue referred to in paragraph 6(ii) above. As regards the legal procedures for determination of maximum fares of licensed ferry services, he pointed out that the Panel on Transport had already considered the matter very thoroughly.
9. The Legal Adviser said that the broader issue referred to in paragraph 6(ii) above was not simply a legal matter of identifying which instruments as "having legislative effect" in the absence of a legal definition of "legislative effect" in the laws of Hong Kong, it also concerned the issue of the relationship between the executive and the legislature.
10. Miss Cyd HO shared the views expressed by the Chairman and the Legal Adviser, and suggested that the issue be followed up by the Panel on Constitutional Affairs. She further said that there might be a need for a dedicated subcommittee to be formed under the Panel to undertake the task. Mr LAU Chin-shek expressed support for Miss HO's suggestion.
11. Mrs Selina CHOW, Dr YEUNG Sum, Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Miss Emily LAU were of the view that the issue should be examined by the Panel on Constitutional Affairs. Miss LAU further suggested that a paper be prepared by the Secretariat setting out the historical background on why certain instruments were published as subsidiary legislation subject to scrutiny by the Council, and some were not.
12. Mr Andrew WONG said that the Bills Committee on the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 and the Bills Committee on Adaptation of Laws (No.2) Bill 1998 had agreed with the Administration that where an instrument was made by CE after consultation with the Executive Council, it would be so reflected in the heading of the instrument concerned. He added that whether such instrument was subject to the Council's scrutiny under section 34 of Cap.1 should also be looked into.
13. Mr WONG suggested that a decision on forming a subcommittee under the Panel on Constitutional Affairs should be deferred pending the Panel's preliminary consideration of the issue, including whether outside legal opinion should be obtained.
14. The Chairman suggested that the Panel on Constitutional Affairs should submit a report on its preliminary deliberations to the House Committee for consideration. Members agreed.
II. Business arising from previous Council meetings
(a) Legal Service Division's reports on bills referred to the House Committee in accordance with Rule 54(4)
(i) Provision of Municipal Services (Reorganization) Bill
(LC Paper No. LS 170/98-99)
15. The Chairman introduced the paper and recommended that a Bills Committee be formed to study the Bill which had generated considerable public concern and debate. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee : Miss Cyd HO Sau-lan, Mr LEE Wing-tat, Mr Fred LI Wah-ming, Miss Margaret NG, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr Howard YOUNG and Dr TANG Siu-tong.
16. The Chairman said that the Administration had suggested that scrutiny of the Bill should commence as soon as possible. He sought members' views as to whether the Bills Committee on the Bill should be accorded special treatment so that it could commence work immediately and ahead of other Bills Committees on the waiting list. He pointed out that there were already 16 Bills Committees in action, which exceeded the maximum number of 15 Bills Committees.
17. Mr Fred LI said that the Bills Committee on the Bill should be put on the waiting list in the normal manner.
18. Miss Emily LAU, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr James TIEN and Miss Margaret NG were of the view that the Bills Committee on the Bill should be placed at the top of the waiting list, but they did not see the need for the Bills Committee to be activated immediately.
19. Mr Andrew WONG said that members could decide to suspend the work of one of the Bills Committees in action to make way for the scrutiny of the Bill.
20. The Chairman said that the reason for the temporary suspension of the work of a Bills Committee in action was usually because the Administration needed time to provide further information. There was no previous case of temporarily suspending the work of a Bills Committee to enable a Bills Committee on the waiting list to be activated.
21. Mr James TO said that the Bills Committee on International Organizations (Privilege and Immunities) Bill was awaiting the Administration's response to certain points raised by the Bills Committee. He added that if the Administration could expedite in giving a substantive reply, the Bills Committee could conclude its work soon; otherwise consideration could be given to suspending temporarily the work of the Bills Committee.
22. The Chairman said that the majority view expressed by members was that the Bills Committee on the Bill should be put at the top of the waiting list to await its turn. Members agreed.
(ii) Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 154/98-99)
23. The Legal Adviser introduced the paper and said that the main purpose of the Bill was to amend the Insurance Companies Ordinance to strengthen the regulation of the Lloyd's insurance business in Hong Kong. He added that according to the Administration, the relevant organizations in the insurance industry had been consulted and they all indicated support for the proposals in the Bill. The Panel on Financial Affairs was also briefed on the Bill at its meeting on 13 April 1999.
24. The Legal Adviser recommended that subject to the Administration's clarification on a few minor drafting points, resumption of Second Reading debate on the Bill could be supported.
25. The Chairman suggested that a Bills Committee needed not be considered unless queries on the drafting aspects of the Bill raised by the Legal Service Division could be satisfactorily resolved with the Administration.
(b) Legal Service Division's report on subsidiary legislation tabled in Council on 28 April 1999 (gazetted on 23 April 1999)
(LC Paper No. LS 168/98-99)
26. The Legal Adviser said that the Lands Tribunal (Amendment) Rules 1999 (the "Amendment Rules") and the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 1999 (the "Commencement Notice") were interrelated. The Amendment Rules proposed to add a new Part XIVA to the Lands Tribunal Rules to deal with the matters of practice and procedure arising out of the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance. Both the Amendment Rules and the Government Notice would come into operation on 7 June 1999. The Legal Adviser added that the Legal Service Division was studying the Administation's reply to its queries on some legal and drafting aspects about the Amendment Rules and a further report would be issued as soon as possible.
27. The Chairman suggested and members agreed that a decision on the Amendment Rules and the Government Notice be deferred pending the Legal Service Division's further report.
28. Members raised no queries on the remaining five items of subsidiary legislation covered in the paper.
29. The Chairman said that the deadline for giving notice to amend the subsidiary legislation was 18 May 1999, and that the deadline for giving notice to extend the scrutiny period was 20 May 1999.
IV. Further reports by the Legal Service Division on outstanding bills
(a) Disciplined Services Welfare Funds Legislation (Amendment) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 134/98-99)
30. The Legal Adviser introduced the paper which detailed the Administration's reply to the Legal Service Division's query on the need to enact clause 10 of the Bill to validate previous property acquisitions by the Commissioner of Police for the Police Welfare Fund (PWF). He said that the Administration had explained that the purpose of clause 10 was to make clear the Commissioner of Police's power to acquire, hold and dispose of property for the purpose of the PWF, which was not clearly expressed under section 39 of the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232). He added that if the Administration's explanation was acceptable to members, the Second Reading debate on the Bill could be resumed.
31. Mr James TO asked whether the Legal Adviser accepted the Administration's explanation that the Commissioner of Police could acquire and hold property on behalf of the PWF under section 39 of Cap. 232. He expressed reservations about the need for enacting the validation clause as previous property acquisitions by the Commissioner of Police could be transferred to the PWF.
32. The Legal Adviser responded that there were no express provisions in section 39 of Cap. 232 empowering the Commissioner of Police to acquire property for the purposes of the PWF. He also pointed out that previous property acquisitions by the Commissioner of Police on behalf of the PWF were made in the name of "The Hong Kong Police Welfare Association", rather than relying on section 39 of Cap. 232. He shared Mr TO's reservations about the need to enact the validation clause to achieve the purpose.
33. The Chairman suggested that Mr TO and the Legal Adviser should clarify the matter with the Administration and report at the next meeting. Members agreed.
(b) Adaptation of Laws (No. 5) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 151/98-99)
34. The Legal Adviser said that the paper detailed the Administration's reply to the queries raised by the Legal Service Division on why certain amendments proposed in the Bill, which were not straightforward adaptations, were dealt with in the context of the Adaptation of Laws Programme. He recommended that a Bills Committee be formed to study the issues raised in regard to the proposed amendments in the Demolished Buildings (Re-development of Sites) Ordinance as set out in paragraphs 7 and 8 of the paper.
35. Miss Margaret NG said the Administration's explanations in paragraphs 2 and 6 of the paper relating to the amendments proposed to the Aliens (Rights of Property) Ordinance and the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance should also be examined. Miss NG suggested and members agreed to form a Bills Committee to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join : Miss Cyd HO Sau-lan, Miss Margaret NG, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr Ronald ARCULLI (as advised by Mr James TIEN), Mr Andrew WONG Wang-fat and Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee (as advised by Mr James TIEN). (c) Adaptation of Laws (No. 10) Bill 1999
(LC Paper No. LS 171/98-99)
36. The Legal Adviser referred members to the issues raised in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the paper relating to the proposed substitution of "England" by "the People's Republic of China" in the International Organizations and Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance (Cap. 190) and the proposed replacement of the references to "British citizen(s), British Dependent Territories citizen(s) or British Overseas citizen(s) " to "Chinese national(s)" in the subsidiary legislation made under Cap. 190. The Legal Adviser added that members might wish to form a Bills Committee to study the issues involved.
37. Miss Emily LAU suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee be formed to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join : Miss Margaret NG, Mr James TO Kun-sun, Mr Andrew WONG Wang-fat, Mr Howard YOUNG and Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing.
V. Further business for the Council meeting on 5 May 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1553/98-99)
38. Members noted that the new oral question to be asked by Mr LEE Wing-tat.
VI. Business for the Council meeting on 12 May 1999
(LC Paper No. CB(3) 1554/98-99)
39. Members noted that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been scheduled.
(b) Bills - First and Second Readings
(i) Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 1999
(ii) Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital Incorporation (Amendment) Bill 1999
40. Members noted that the above two Bills would be introduced into the Council on 12 May 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 14 May 1999.
(c) Bills - resumption of debate on Second Reading, Committee Stage and Third Reading
Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Amendment) Bill 1999
41. The Chairman said that members agreed at the meeting on 16 April 1999 that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(d) Government motions
Resolution under section 46 of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (Cap. 485) - to be moved by Secretary for Financial Services
(LC Paper No. LS 166/98-99)
42. The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the resolution was to seek the Council's approval of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (Fees) Regulation which prescribed fees for the purposes of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance and the regulations made under the Ordinance. He added that the Regulation would come into operation on 3 August 1999, if passed by the Council.
43. The Legal Adviser further said that the Legal Service Division had drawn the Administration's attention to some of the provisions specified in the Regulation which would come into operation after 3 August 1999, and had asked the Administration to clarify whether provision would be made for different days of commencement for parts of the Regulation which relate to certain parts of the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme which would start operation after 3 August 1999. The Administration had explained that the fees prescribed under the provisions concerned would not be payable upon the coming into force of the Regulation on 3 August 1999. He considered that the Administration's explanation was acceptable from the legal point of view. Members raised no queries on the resolution. The Chairman said that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the resolution was 5 May 1999.
(e) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Problem of youngster gangs"
44. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr HO Sai-chu.
(ii) Motion on "Installation of retro-fitting platform screen doors"
45. Members noted the wording of the above motion to be moved by Mr LAU Kong-wah.
46. The Chairman reminded members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments, if any, to the motions was 5 May 1999. The speaking time limits stipulated in rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
VII. Advance information on business for the Council meeting on 19 May 1999
(a) Bills - First and Second Readings
(i) Adaptation of Laws (No. 12) Bill 1999
(ii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 13) Bill 1999
(iii) Adaptation of Laws (No. 14) Bill 1999
47. Members noted that the above Bills would be introduced into the Council on 19 May 1999 and considered by the House Committee on 21 May 1999.(b) Members' motions
(i) Motion on "Youth unemployment problems"
48. Members noted that Miss CHAN Yuen-han had been allocated a debate slot.
(ii) Motion on "The June 4 incident"
49. Members noted that Mr SZETO Wah had been allocated a debate slot.
50. The Chairman said that the deadlines for giving notice of motions and notice of amendments, if any, to the motions were 4 May 1999 and 12 May 1999 respectively. The speaking time limits stipulated in rule 17(c) of the House Rules would apply.
(a) Position report on Bills Committees/subcommittees
(LC Paper No. CB(2)1813/98-99)
51. The Chairman said that there were 16 Bills Committees and four subcommittees in action. Six Bills Committees were put on the waiting list, including the Bills Committees formed to study the Provision of Municipal Services (Reorganization) Bill, Shipping and Port Control (Amendment) Bill 1999, Protection of Wages on Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 1999, Organized and Serious Crimes (Amendment) Bill 1999, Adaptation of Laws (No.5) Bill 1999 and Adaptation of Laws (No.10) Bill 1999.
(b) Bills Committee on Revenue Bill 1999
(A note was tabled at the meeting)
52. Referring to the note tabled at the meeting, Miss Margaret NG, Chairman of the Bills Committee, said that the Bills Committee had taken over the work of the Subcommittee on Public Revenue Protection (Revenue) Order 1999. She added that in order to facilitate members' consideration of the Order the scrutiny period of which would expire on 5 May 1999, the Bills Committee considered it necessary that members should be informed of the deliberations of the Bills Committee on whether it was proper to include in the Order proposals which -
- did not serve the purpose of protecting public revenue;
- did not take effect on 1 April 1999; and
- sought to increase fixed penalties for traffic-related offences.
53. Miss NG further pointed out that the Council only had the power to repeal but not to amend the Order.
54. Assistant Secretary General 3 (ASG3) advised members that Mr Albert HO had given notices to move four motions to amend the Order at the Council meeting on 5 May 1999. ASG3 added that the President was now considering whether Mr HO's proposed amendments were in order.
55. Mr Andrew WONG opined that the President should have regard to the rule of anticipation in considering Mr HO's proposed amendments.
56. In reply to the Chairman's enquiry, the Legal Adviser said that whether or not the Order would be repealed would not have legal effect on the scrutiny of the Revenue Bill 1999 by the Council.(c) Report of the Subcommittee on Securities (Dealers, Investment Advisers, Partnerships and Representatives) (Amendment) Rules 1999
(LC paper No. CB(1) 1236/98-99)
57. Mr SIN Chung-kai, Chairman of the subcommittee, introduced the report which detailed the subcommittee's deliberations on the Amendment Rules.
58. The Chairman said that Mr SIN had reported at the House Committee meeting on 23 April 1999 that the subcommittee had recommended that the Amendment Rules be supported.
IX. Any other business
(a) Secretary for Justice's letter of 27 April 1999 regarding proposed abolition of the corroboration rules for sexual offences
59. The Chairman said that the Secretary for Justice (SJ)'s letter sought Members' views on the proposal to abolish the corroboration rules for sexual offences which would be introduced into the Council on 30 June 1999 in the form of an Amendment Bill to the Evidence Ordinance. The Chairman further said that the Administration intended to submit the draft Amendment Bill to the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services towards the end of May 1999.
60. Miss Margaret NG said that the approach adopted by SJ to consult Members on the proposed amendments was unusual and wondered whether such an approach would be followed by other bureau secretaries. She questioned the need to consult the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services further, if all Members had already been consulted beforehand.
61. Miss NG added that the agendas for the two Panel meetings in May 1999 were already full. The earliest opportunity for discussing the proposed amendments by the Panel would be in June 1999. She pointed out that if SJ's request had come earlier, it might be possible for the Panel to discuss the proposed amendments at either one of its meetings scheduled for May 1999.
62. Miss Emily LAU said that SJ's initiative of consulting Members during the drafting stage of the Amendment Bill was a step in the right direction. Miss LAU suggested that given the significant implications of the proposed amendments, the House Committee should invite SJ and other officials of the Department of Justice to give a briefing to Members. As there was no Finance Committee meeting on 28 May 1999, she proposed that the briefing be held immediately after the House Committee meeting on that day.
63. Miss NG said that the proposed amendments actually centred on a narrow issue i.e. in the event of the abolition of the corroboration rules for sexual offences, the lack of a warning by the judge to the jury of the dangers of convicting on the complainant's evidence alone would no longer be treated as a ground for appeal. Miss NG further advised that the rules of evidence governing corroboration in respect of sexual offences had been discussed by the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services of the former Legislative Council and a Bills Committee was formed in 1996 to examine the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996, which included amendments similar to those proposed in the information paper provided by SJ. She suggested that it would be more appropriate for the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services to follow up the matter. Members agreed.
64. Miss NG further said that she would convene a special meeting of the Panel at the end of May or in early June 1999 to discuss the matter. She requested that a paper comparing the proposed amendments set out in the information paper with the relevant provisions in the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 1996 be prepared by the Secretariat for the Panel's reference. She added that it would facilitate discussion if the Administration could provide the draft bill to the Panel prior to the special meeting.
(b) The problem of Hong Kong residents detained in the Mainland
65. Mr James TO said that Mr LOK Yuk-shing was arrested by the Chinese authorities in July last year for fraudulent practices and had been held in custody since then. He added that the case had been widely reported in the press and had attracted public attention. He suggested that a letter jointly signed by Members should be sent either to CE urging the Administration to render assistance to Mr LOK and his family, or to the relevant Chinese authorities urging them to deal with Mr LOK's case in a fair and expeditious manner. Miss Emily LAU and Mr LAU Chin-shek expressed support for Mr TO's suggestion.
66. Dr LUI Ming-wah expressed concern about the problem of Hong Kong businessmen detained in the Mainland and said that he had previously asked a question at the Council meeting on 9 September 1998 concerning rendering assistance to Hong Kong businessmen operating in the Mainland. He said that the Administration should play a coordinating role in establishing a support centre in Hong Kong and at the same time consult the Chinese authorities on the setting up of a similar organization in the Mainland.
67. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung expressed support for Dr LUI's suggestion and added that Hong Kong residents visiting or working in the Mainland should also be rendered assistance.
68. Mr Andrew WONG said that the letter to CE should also mention the other known cases of Hong Kong residents currently detained in the Mainland. Mrs Selina CHOW and Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong concurred with Mr WONG.
69. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong suggested that CE be asked to convey members' concern about the plight of Hong Kong residents detained in the Mainland to President Jiang Zemin, since both CE and President Jiang would be attending the '99 International Horticultural Exposition in Kunming.
70. Mr SIN Chung-kai proposed that a joint Panel meeting be held to urge the Administration to more proactively render assistance to families of the detainees.
71. Miss Margaret NG said that the problem of Hong Kong residents detained in the Mainland had been raised with the Administration on several occasions before but to no avail. She considered it more appropriate for a motion debate on the problem be held at a Council meeting.
72. Miss LAU suggested that the Administration should be invited to discuss the problem with members on 28 May 1999. She further said that members of the public should be welcomed to bring cases involving Hong Kong residents detained in the Mainland to the attention of Members so that such cases could be raised with the Administration at the meeting. She added that if no progress was made at the meeting, a motion debate on the issue should be held.
73. The Chairman said that he would write to CE requesting him to convey members' concern about the plight of Hong Kong residents detained in the Mainland to President Jiang Zemin, and to invite the Administration to attend a House Committee meeting on 28 May 1999 to discuss the problem. Members agreed.
74. The meeting ended at 4:07 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
5 May 1999