LegCo Paper No. CB(2)875/96-97
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/BC/2/96

Bills Committee on Tsing Ma Control Area Bill

Minutes of the 2nd Meeting held on
Monday, 9 December 1996 at 4:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam

Members Absent :

    Dr Hon Samuel WONG, MBE, FEng, JP
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Public Officers Attending :

Miss Nancy LAW
Deputy Secretary for Transport
(Transport Management)
Mr Allan CHOW
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
Dr Ernest LEE
Assistant Commissioner for Transport
(Management & Licensing)
Mr Royston GRIFFEY
Senior Assistant Law Draftsman
Mr FUNG Yun-kai, Patrick
Assistant Director
Electrical and Mechanical Services Department
Mr MAK Wai-pui, Norman
Chief Engineer/Kap Shui Mun
Highways Department

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. Matters arising

(Paper No. CB(2) 650/96-97(01))

At the invitation of the Chairman, the Administration highlighted the salient points of its responses to the issues raised by members at the last meeting.

Government Monitoring Team

The Chairman questioned the larger establishment of the Government Monitoring Team of TMCA in comparison with those monitoring teams for other tunnels and Tuen Mun Road. The Administration stated that Tuen Mun Road comprised 20% of bridges, while TMCA comprised 80% of bridges, most of which were suspension bridges with higher maintenance requirements. Apart from electrical or mechanical repairs, the maintenance of Government tunnels was undertaken by the Highways Department, thus requiring less monitoring. Noting that the establishment of the monitoring team for TMCA was outside the scope of the Bill, members agreed that this issue should be referred to the Transport Panel for further examination.


Management options for TMCA

In explaining the consultant’s advice in 1994 on the management and maintenance options for TMCA, the Administration informed members that while tolls for TMCA were not yet determined, the option of selling the TMCA franchise would result in a toll with 47% more than that under the contracting-out option. Despite the Administration’s explanation, the Chairman maintained his reservation on the option of contracting out the operation, management and maintenance of TMCA.

Powers of Police Vs powers of authorised officers

In response to a member, the Administration stated that, in the event of an incident, upon arrival of the Police, the Police would take charge of the scene.

Penalty on authorized officers

The Administration confirmed that there was no provision in the Bill for penalty on authorized officers abusing their powers or failing to discharge their duties. Such provisions would be set out in the Administration’s contract with the operator. Financial penalties could be imposed on the operator in accordance with clause 28 of the Bill. The Administration could also terminate the contract with the operator, if necessary.

Remuneration to the operator

The Administration explained that the operator would be paid management fee in a fixed monthly lump-sum.

II. Clause-by-clause examination

(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(2) 538/96-97(2) and 680/96-97)

Interpretation (clause 2)

Members noted that the definition of "road" in the Bill was revised for clarity. The Airport Railway was outside the definition of "road" in TMCA.

Area boundaries and plans (clause 6)

As regards the question of change in boundaries of TMCA under clause 6, the Administration stressed that changes would only be made for technical, operational or maintenance reasons. This provision also appeared in other ordinances for tunnels. Changes involving private property or other roads of Ma Wan would be dealt with separately. The Chairman requested the Secretary for Transport to make a statement to this effect in his speech during the resumption of Second Reading debate on the Bill.


Power of authorized officers for personal information (clauses 13 & 14)

It was noted that Clause 13(2)(b) was amended in response to concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data. As the requirement for proof of identity had been removed, other means of verifying a person’s identity would be used.

A member questioned whether clause 13(2)(b) was necessary, as 13(2)(c) already required drivers to produce their driving licences. The Administration responded that the provision was intended for regulating people who were not drivers, such as passengers of vehicles.

Members were concerned that there might be practical difficulties for the driver of a vehicle to give the name and address of the registered owner of a vehicle, as required under clause 13(2)(c)(ii). The Administration responded that such provision also appeared in other existing ordinances and so far there had not been any implementation problem. It was agreed that there should be some flexibility in the provision. The Administration undertook to revise the clause.


As regards the Chinese text of clause 13(2)(c)(ii), the Administration undertook to check whether " " was the usual translation for "name" in this context.


(Post meeting note : The Administration confirmed that it is the usual translation as a vehicle may be registered in the name of a company.)

Members noted that the reason for amendment of clause 14(2)(a) was the same as that for clause 13(2)(b).

Certificates of image recording, and printing device (clause 20)

The Administration informed members that clause 20 was detailed so as to ensure that no person was mistakably taken to court. The same provision also appeared in the Road Tunnels (Government) Ordinance (Cap. 368).

Disposal of abandoned vehicles (clause 23)

On the question of whether vehicle owners were responsible for removal of stolen vehicles abandoned in TMCA, the Administration stated that it depended on when the vehicle was reported to be stolen.

Tolls for the use of the Lantau Link (clause 27)

In response to the Chairman, the Administration stated that tolls for the use of the Lantau Link would be imposed by regulations made under clause 27(1), which were subsidiary legislation subject to the negative procedure provided by section 34 of Cap. 1. Government vehicles would also be required to pay tolls.

As regards automatic toll collection facilities mentioned in clause 27(s), the Administration assured that the system to be chosen would be one of the two types currently used by other tunnels in Hong Kong. The issue of unifying the two existing automatic toll collection systems in Hong Kong had been discussed at the Transport Panel and was being reviewed by the Administration.

Financial penalties (clause 28)

The Chairman commented that the financial penalties on the operator was too light. The Administration responded that, in addition to imposing financial penalties, it had the right to terminate the contract with the operator.

New clause (clause 32)

Members noted that clause 32 was to make a related amendment to the Road Tunnels (Government) Ordinance (Cap. 368). In line with clauses 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d)(i) of the Bill, sections 11(1)(b) and 11(1)(c)(i) of Cap. 368 would also incorporate the Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) Ordinance (Cap. 375) so as to extend the provisions of Cap. 375 to Government tunnels.

A member commented that to her knowledge, the Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) Ordinance (Cap. 375) only provided for the recording of points in relation to various road traffic offences connected with road safety. It itself did not create any criminal offences. The member considered that the way clauses 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d)(i) of the Bill was presented suggested that an offence could be committed against Cap. 375. The Administration undertook to check the provisions in Cap. 375 and to refine the wordings of clauses 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d)(i), if necessary.


II. Way Forward

Subject to paragraphs 11, 12, and 20 above, the Bills Committee generally accepted the Bill as amended by the revised draft CSAs proposed by the Administration (tabled at the meeting and issued vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 680/96-97). The second revised CSAs would be examined by the Chairman before reporting to the House Committee.

III. Legislative timetable

Members noted the following legislative timetable -

Date of report
>to House Committee

Date of resumption
of Second Reading

Deadline for
notice of CSAs

20 December 1996

8 January 1997

28 December 1996

The meeting ended at 5:55 pm.

LegCo Secretariat
16 December 1996

Last Updated on 27 October 1997