November 30, 2015

Lawmakers raise doubts about express rail deal - RTHK

RTHK.hkToday, 7:59 PM
  • Lawmakers raise doubts about express rail deal

  • Lee Cheuk-yan says the new deal is a financial trick. Photo: RTHK

    Lee Cheuk-yan says the new deal is a financial trick. Photo: RTHK

  • Wu Chi-wai is sceptical about the deal to pay for the Express Rail Link's cost overruns. Photo: RTHK

    Wu Chi-wai is sceptical about the deal to pay for the Express Rail Link's cost overruns. Photo: RTHK

Lawmakers have cast doubts on the MTR Corporation’s proposal to pay the government a special HK$19.5 billion dividend instead of directly footing the cost of overruns to its long-delayed Express Rail Link to Guangzhou.

The government has agreed to seek a further HK$19.42 billion in public funds to pay for the HK$84.42 billion project. This matches up almost exactly to the sum it is promised as a special dividend.

However, Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan says this may all be a financial trick to use public money to foot the bill for the project – scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.

“Whether you’re talking about government expenditure or you are talking about MTR special dividend… it’s the same people who are footing the bill, so it’s just a trick!” he warned.

The government is the majority shareholder of the MTR Corporation.

Democratic Party legislator Wu Chi-wai, meanwhile, says the devil may all be in the details, and criticised the Transport minister, Anthony Cheung for refusing to disclose further details of the agreement. 

“The financial arrangement between the MTR [Corporation] and the government have a lot of black holes inside… We need to see the details in order to… understand whether or not the arrangement will hurt the general public,” he said.

New People’s Party lawmaker Michael Tien also said the arrangement is like forcing the government to pump billions of dollars into the troubled rail project instead of using the money to build hospitals, schools, and roads.

The government needs approval from the legislature to inject money into the Express Rail project; while the MTR Corporation needs the green light from its independent shareholders for the special dividend. The railway is offering to pay shareholders a special dividend totalling HK$6.2 billion to sweeten the deal.

Letter of the law: Prosecutorial delays must be eradicated for the sake of justice in Hong Kong

The long time it takes to process some cases must place intolerable strain on suspects


PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 8:34pm

UPDATED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 8:34pm

An original Magna Carta as part of worldwide celebrations of its 800th anniversary at Sothebys Hong Kong Gallery in Admiralty. Photo: Sam Tsang

In 1215, England's King John, in the Magna Carta, undertook not to "delay right or justice" to any man. However, 800 years later, in Hong Kong, case delays have become rife and are blighting justice.

When delays arise, suspects undergo strain, witnesses forget what happened and a fair trial is imperilled.

Delays are arising in all types of cases, with frustrations boiling over. While lawyers and magistrates in the Occupy cases have criticised prosecutorial foot-dragging, a judge complained last month that a prosecution decision to drop charges against six alleged drug mules took "too long", resulting in suspects being detained for many months.

READ MORE: Duped 'drug mules' finally freed in Hong Kong after being detained for attempting to smuggle crystal meth to Australia and New Zealand

Although some investigations are vast, particularly fraud cases, most cases are not like this.

The Occupy movement has, as of 29 July, generated 955 arrests. This, however, should have been anticipated, with sufficient personnel deployed to process cases expeditiously. Some cases, apparently straightforward, are being delayed for a year or more, although ICAC delays are the most alarming.

Whereas the former chief executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, was finally charged with criminal misconduct after three years eight months - apparently a record for a lone suspect investigation - former ICAC commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming remains, after an unbelievable two years seven months, under investigation for alleged malfeasance. The strain on Tong must be intolerable.

Although it is not known if the delays are being caused by prosecutors or investigators, they invariably work in tandem, and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, who exercises overarching responsibility, must move things along.

Inordinate delays, inevitably, alarm the public, with suggestions being made of political motivation. Our prosecutors, fortunately, have integrity and would not tolerate outside interference, but justice, to be credible, must also be efficient.

The delays are apparently being caused by the pressure of events, a manpower shortage, inexperience in senior positions and a reluctance to bite the bullet, allied to an over-reliance on getting legal advice from lawyers in London, which always slows things down.

Criminal justice depends not only on an independent judiciary and a strong legal profession, but also on an effective prosecution service. Yuen must tackle the delay culture now before lasting damage is done.

Grenville Cross SC is a criminal justice analyst

Woman ingests part of cockroach in Chinese sausage

Coconuts Hong KongToday, 7:49 PM

One woman got more than she bargained for after biting a Chinese sausage, also known as lap cheong, and finding part of a dead cockroach.

According to Apple Daily, the woman, surnamed Chan, had purchased six packs of the lap cheong last Wednesday, intending to give five away and keep one for herself.

However, she claims to have been suspicious after noticing a black spot in the lap cheong. After cutting it open, Chan reportedly found a 3cm long part of a cockroach body, the rest of which she had presumably swallowed. 

Chan said that she filed a complaint with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, but did not go to the hospital until the next day, as she had to stay at home with her daughter.

The store where Chan purchased the lap cheong, a Tai Po outlet of HK JEBN, has since issued her an apology and a refund.

Staff from the HK JEBN outlet said that the sausages were manufactured in mainland China. FEHD staff have since collected the contaminated lap cheong for examination, and a report is expected in one to two weeks' time.

The examination results will determine whether the same batch of lap cheong will be pulled from shelves.

Photo: (for illustration) Wikipedia

Hong Kong rail operator effectively to foot extra bill for Guangzhou high-speed link


PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 6:45pm

UPDATED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 6:48pm

The MTRC and the government have reached an agreement on the cost overrun for the high-speed link. Photo: Felix Wong

The Mass Transit Railway Corporation and its majority shareholder, the Hong Kong government, have agreed on a proposal that would effectively mean the rail operator would pay the cost overrun for the controversial high-speed rail link to Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

The government announced today that the latest cost estimate for the project is HK$84.4 billion, up HK$19.6 billion from the original estimate.

It is expected to be completed behind schedule - in the third quarter of 2018.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the government would ask the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee for extra funding to pay the extra cost.

However, the MTRC has agreed that, if lawmakers approve the funding, it would pay HK$19.5 billion in special dividends to the government.

This would effectively mean that the MTRC would be covering the cost overrun.

However, MTRC chairman Raymond Chien Kuo-fung denied that the rail operator was footing the bill, insisting that it was merely paying a special dividend to its major shareholder.

Business owners warn against MPF rule changes - RTHK

RTHK.hkToday, 4:25 PM
  • MPF rule changes will hit some businesses hard, say owners. Photo: RTHK

    MPF rule changes will hit some businesses hard, say owners. Photo: RTHK

The business community is stepping up its rhetoric against a proposal to take away the right of employers to use part of their Mandatory Provident Fund contributions to offset severance payments. 

Some reports have said the Chief Executive, CY Leung, is thinking about scrapping the so-called MPF offsetting mechanism in his upcoming Policy Address. 

The Hong Kong Business Community Joint Conference, whose members come from over 60 industries, warned that such a move would have a profound impact on small and medium sized enterprises and could force some businesses to close.

A convenor of the group, Chan Kei-biu, criticised the government for mixing up poverty alleviation with labour issues.

MTR agrees to pay govt HK$19.5b for XRL overruns - RTHK

RTHK.hkToday, 5:00 PM
  • The government has agreed to pay a total of HK$84.42 billion for the Express Rail Link to Guangzhou. Photo: RTHK

    The government has agreed to pay a total of HK$84.42 billion for the Express Rail Link to Guangzhou. Photo: RTHK

The MTR Corporation has reached an agreement with the government that would essentially see the railway pay for the entire cost overrun of its troubled Express Rail Link to Guangzhou.

In a filing to the Stock Exchange, the railway operator said it would pay a special dividend amounting to approximately HK$19.5 billion to the government, and HK$6.2 billion to other MTR Corporation shareholders. Payment will be made in two tranches, subject to approval from the MTR Corporation's independent shareholders.

In return, the government will inject up to HK$19.42 billion into the massive project – on top of the HK$65 billion earlier approved by the Legislative Council. Legco approval will also be required for the additional cash injection.

That will be enough to pay for the entire project – with the railway revising down its cost estimate from HK$85.3 billion, to HK$84.42 billion.

However, the MTR Corporation will have to shoulder any further costs on top of that.

The project has repeatedly been hit by costly delays. However, both the government and the MTR Corporation say there should be no further delays to the construction of the 26-kilometre-long Hong Kong section of the link, which should be completed in the third quarter of 2018.

The Secretary for Transport, Anthony Cheung, said the government reserves the right to take legal action against the MTR Corporation for its management of the project and the cost overruns. However, Cheung said both sides have agreed to defer any such action until after the line is opened in 2018 in view of the “extremely tight working schedule.”

Cheung also stressed that “tthis agreement between the government and the corporation… does not mean that the government is satisfied with the corporation’s performance as project manager.”

MTR chairman Raymond Ch’ien urged independent shareholders to approve the special dividend, which will be tabled in February, and for legislators to give the green light to the additional government funding required.

“We understand the public’s concern about the cost of the project, and hope our undertaking to bear any project costs exceeding 84.42 billion dollars, and our declaration of the special dividend, will demonstrate our commitment to the project,” he said.

New People's Party legislator Michael Tien, however, was critical of the "tit-for-tat" arrangement. The former KCRC chairman said while the government should be free to use dividends from the MTR any way they like, they're effectively required to inject the special HK$19.5 billion dividend back into the Express Rail link project. "You could say that as [a] taxpayer, I’m receiving 19 billion dollar less of schools and hospitals and roads," he said.

Last updated: 2015-11-30 HKT 18:00

Group rallies against death penalty

2015-11-30 HKT 14:57
  • Activists opposed to the death penalty protest outside the Indonesian consulate. Photo: RTHK
    Activists opposed to the death penalty protest outside the Indonesian consulate. Photo: RTHK

Father Franco Mella talks to RTHK's Michelle Chan
A group of activists held protests outside the Indonesian Consulate and Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong on Monday to call for the abolition of the death penalty.

An alleged drug dealer from Hong Kong, Wong Chi-ping, was sentenced to death by an Indonesian court earlier this month for possessing hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine, while a Beijing court in October handed down a death sentence to a Hong Kong businessman who was caught with a large quantity of cocaine.

The Joint-Committee for the Abolition of the Death Penalty activists called on Beijing and Jakarta not to go ahead with the capital punishment.

The spokesperson of the organisation, Father Franco Mella, condemned the death penalty as a violation of human rights. Mella told RTHK’s Michelle Chan that “you cannot use the law to kill people. Life is sacred, so killing is not the solution to any problem.” He added that international experience shows that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent against serious crime. 

The protest also marked the Cities for Life Day – a worldwide movement that supports the abolition of the death penalty. It is celebrated on November 30, the day on which the Grand Duchy of Tuscany banned the death penalty in 1786.

Last updated: 2015-11-30 HKT 15:33

No more recaps? Hong Kong police spokesman who found fame during Occupy Central to leave post

SCMP Hong KongToday, 4:01 PM

Steve Hui, with his cartoon figure during the police force’s launch of its Facebook page, in Wan Chai. Photo: Bruce Yan

Time to say goodbye to ‘four o’clock Hui Sir’. Chief superintendent Steve Hui Chun-tak is leaving the police force’s public relations bureau next month, and will longer be the icon of its Facebook page.

A police source said Hui would be transferred to Sham Shui Po as district commander and would leave the PR bureau in mid-December after leading the bureau for almost two years. The source did not state the reason for the move and stated it was a common arrangement for the force.

The source also said Hui would no longer appear on the police’s Facebook page, and declined to reveal further arrangements regarding the page on news of Hui’s leaving.

READ MORE: Thin blue likes: Four Facebook lessons Hong Kong cops can learn from police around the world to make friends online

The police force launched its official Facebook page on October 5, aspiring to improve its communications with the public by posting a variety of clips.

The page also featured a “4 o’clock news channel” programme bearing an animated avatar of Hui. It explained to internet users that Facebook was not the most appropriate place to discuss the progression of police cases and that inappropriate comments would be deleted.

Less than one day after its launch, the page attracted some 10,000 likes. It was also flooded with more than 70,000 comments, many of them containing obscenities.

Hui was promoted to the post of chief superintendent in March last year and appointed as the head of the public relations bureau.

READ MORE: Hong Kong police ‘friend’ request: force launches Facebook page to overcome post-Occupy negativity

He became well-known during last year’s Occupy movement, when he gave daily televised updates on police efforts at 4pm. Hui’s polite and friendly presentation style during the press conferences were well-liked by much of the public, earning him the nickname ‘four o’clock Hui Sir’.

His signature catchphrase, “I will now recap in English”, became an object of both affection and scorn as he routinely repeated his Cantonese-language briefings in English during his 4pm press conferences.

The police source said Hui would be succeeded by Au Chin-chau, chief superintendent of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau. Au's experience includes high-profile cases such as the attack on veteran journalist Kevin Lau Chun-to in February last year and a bomb plot at the former ATV studio complex in June this year.

Woman blocks bus with baby trolley after being refused boarding

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 4:22 PM

A woman refused to fold her trolley when boarding a bus in Wah Kwai Estate. Photos: Google Maps, YouTube

A woman attempted to stop a bus from leaving the Wah Kwai Estate (華貴邨) terminus in Aberdeen by parking a baby trolley in front of the vehicle after she was asked to fold it before boarding the bus.

The woman demanded that she be allowed to get on the Citibus unit, which was heading for Kowloon Bay, through the exit door in the middle of the vehicle, Apple Daily reported.

The driver, who has 20 years of experience in the business, rejected the woman’s request.

The woman refused to fold the trolley, saying her baby was inside. She then stood in front of the bus with her trolley. 

“I just don’t believe that you will crush me,” she said. “Hong Kong is not kind at all.”

Some passengers who were already on the bus got off to reason with the woman. They asked her to go away if she could not comply with the rules of the bus company.

After arguing for several minutes, the woman finally yielded and pushed the trolley to one side of the road, but she kept murmuring, “People in Aberdeen lack conscience.”

A Citybus spokesperson confirmed that a bus was prevented to leave the Wah Kwai Estate bus terminus momentarily as it was blocked by a baby trolley and a woman.

The spokesperson said baby trolleys must be folded up before they could be brought on bus to ensure the safety of all passengers.

A bus driver said the regulation was laid down by the Transport Department and passengers ought to comply with the law.

Netizens have mixed views on the incident.

Some netizens said bus companies should have flexible rules for people who bring baby trolleys, especially in the district without MTR service. They said the woman deserves sympathy as it is not easy to fold the trolley while holding the baby.

However, others slammed the woman for insisting to get on the bus without folding her trolley. If the woman had difficulty in foldingthe trolley, she could ask people to give a hand, they said.

They also suggested the woman use a baby carrier or a lighter trolley that can be easily folded with one hand, instead of using a bulky one.   

(Cantonese only)

– Contact us at


64 HK restaurants join program to promote breast-feeding

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 1:58 PM

A growing number of restaurants are providing priority seats of breast-feeding mothers. Photo: Family Health Service

At least 64 restaurants have joined a UNICEF-initiated program to provide convenience to breast-feeding mothers in their facilities.

Jointly promoted by the Department of Health and the Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health, the program held briefing sessions for 20 catering groups from July to September.

However, only four of the groups, or 64 restaurants, have implemented the program so far. The restaurants include 20 outlets of McDonald’s.

Wendy Lam, senior director of corporate affairs at McDonald’s Hong Kong, said the company has trained staff about the program, and nearly 10 percent of its outlets are participating.

The restaurants will provide priority seats for breast-feeding mothers, while its Tai Wo store has set up a 24-hour nursing room.

Other restaurant chains, including Café de Coral, Fairwood and Tao Heung Group, have expressed support for the program but still need to conduct feasibility studies.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades Limited, said those joining the program are all restaurant chains with bigger outlets that can provide separate rooms for breast-feeding mothers, while small and medium-sized restaurants find it hard to provide such facilities.

– Contact us at


Will TSA trigger a new wave of student protests?

by SC Yeung

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 2:42 PM

Parents and school children oppose the territory-wide system assessment (TSA) scheme. Photo: HKEJ

The Leung Chun-ying administration is facing another crisis of confidence.

With the leader bogged down by low approval ratings, almost all his policies are creating more problems than benefits to the public. 

The uproar over the education bureau’s territory-wide system assessment (TSA) for primary school students, for example, is turning into a huge political bomb, four years after the students staged massive protests that led to the government scrapping its patriotic education program for primary and secondary schools.

The furor over TSA was not enough for our officials to come up with a fast resolution of the issue, leading to suspicions that they are not at all interested in solving the problem as they could afford to send their children to study abroad.

In the meantime, local students suffer from the government’s ever-changing education policies.

A group of parents of primary three students from Tai Po is planning to stage a class strike to dramatize their opposition to the TSA.

The mass action, should it push through, is another huge blow to the government’s education policy. Indeed, what could be a more forceful condemnation of a government policy than students and parents taking a radical move to oppose it?

The parents’ anger over TSA failed to push the government to immediately cancel the assessment scheme for primary three students this year. Instead, the government insisted it needs a professional review from experts before making any decision.

While Undersecretary for Education Kevin Yeung did not make any commitment on the cancellation of the TSA, he said the government can take a U-turn on the policy if it is proven that schools failed to take adequate steps to eliminate aggressive training approaches for the school children.

The official’s response came after hundreds of parents and their children on Sunday attended a Legislative Council special meeting, accusing the government of neglecting the plight of primary school children, who are forced to attend review classes in order to pass the grueling exams.

Two school children caught the media spotlight during the meeting. One is a primary three student surname Hung, while the other one is a primary four girl surnamed Chan.

Hung said in the meeting that he has no time to play as he needs to complete all the homework as well as TSA exercises after school.

While the government said children need only one hour for the exercise, Hung said he is not able to find enough time to achieve the goal. He urged the government to understand the real situation confronted by students.

On the other hand, Chan, who is the daughter of a pro-Beijing politician, told the meeting that she did not agree with suggestions that the TSA should be canceled, stressing that the TSA is an effective way to assess student performance across the board.

She also said she felt the TSA was quite easy and no special training was arranged by her school.

Chan said she was quite happy to have the TSA at school, and therefore, there is no need to cancel the assessment scheme.

Listening to the two children, you might think that they were talking about two different assessment schemes, but in fact they are referring to the same TSA.

The public should be aware that what Chan said in the meeting was prepared by her father, who is a senior member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

The little girl admitted that her speech followed a script prepared by her father. And given the fact that her father is from a pro-establishment party, one cannot help but think that he is using his daughter to hit back at the anti-TSA parents’ group.

In effect, the DAB used the Legco meeting to push its stand on the issue. Through the mouth of the child, the party maintained that the TSA should stay while urging schools to reduce the training period for students.

The government insists that the TSA is an effective way of assessing the students’ performance during various periods of their learning process.

But it is quite clear that the assessment scheme is putting a lot of pressure on the government-subsidized schools to maintain a good performance based on the TSA results.

The schools have no choice but to order their teachers to train their students very well for the TSA, on top of the normal curriculum for primary three students.

However, there are other ways to assess student performance without them having to undergo rigid training on the TSA.

The TSA can be a good tool to assess how well the schools are performing based on the performance of their students.

However, the way it is being implemented has put the burden on students and teachers.

The government has set goals, and teachers can only follow government orders to train their students to meet such goals. 

For the schools, the TSA is very important as it is related to their funding allocation from the government. It’s all about money.

Schools need government funding for their development. But the assessment shceme has only turned students into TSA experts. Is that what schools, parents and the government want to see?

If the government can’t find a better way to allocate funding, it should return to the market mechanism by letting the schools and parents make their own policies and decisions.

– Contact us at


Lam Tai-fai warns govt of TSA crisis - RTHK

RTHK.hkToday, 11:31 AM
  • Lam Tai-fai urged the government to properly handle the controversy surrounding TSA. File Photo: RTHK

    Lam Tai-fai urged the government to properly handle the controversy surrounding TSA. File Photo: RTHK

The chairman of the Legislative Council’s education panel has warned that the controversy surrounding a city-wide exam for students may become a political crisis for the government, if it does not handle the issue properly. 

Lam Tai-fai was speaking on an RTHK programme, after chairing a special Legco hearing over the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) on Sunday. Most of the members of the public attending the hearing voiced strong opposition to the controversial exams. 

Lam warned that the problem might become “a repeat of the national education saga” and urged the education chief not to underestimate its seriousness.

In 2012, more than 100,000 people protested outside the government headquarters, forcing the administration to shelve the controversial national education curriculum. Critics accused the proposed subject of trying to brainwash students with communist and nationalist ideology.

TSA was implemented by the Education Bureau in 2004 to gauge information about students’ strengths and weaknesses in Chinese, English and mathematics. Although the government said there’s no need for students to revise or prepare for the assessment, many schools keep drilling their students and assigning excessive homework. The assessment is held for students in Primary Three and Six, and Form Three every year. 

Meanwhile a concern group that's against TSA for primary school children has urged the government to suspend the exams for this academic year. 

Its spokesman, Ho Mei-yee, said this would allow time for the government to decide whether there is a need for the assessment. A three month review on the TSA is currently underway. 

The call comes as the acting secretary for Education Kevin Yeung, said the government may revamp the TSA if it is found to be ineffective after the review to be completed early next year. 

Last updated: 2015-11-30 HKT11:53

Green alliance to celebrate country parks day - RTHK

RTHK.hkToday, 1:04 PM
The alliance is calling on the public to visit different country parks on December 13. Photo: RTHK
Different green groups in the city are coming together to form an alliance to protect the country parks and plan to celebrate December 13 as the first "Annual Country Parks Appreciation Day". 
The Save Our Country Parks Alliance said they are deeply concerned about the recent calls for developing country parks to tackle the housing shortage here. 
Lam Chiu-ying, an adjunct professor in Geography and Resource Management at the Chinese University and former director of the observatory, said he hopes the initiative will remind people of the value of country parks and encourage people to go to different country parks on that day.
He told RTHK that public are urged to take photos of themselves visiting country parks and post it on the social media to send a message to the government.

Mini-segway believed to have caused fire in Wong Tai Sin, 200 evacuated

Coconuts Hong KongToday, 1:30 PM
Approximately 200 residents in Wong Tai Sin's Choi Hung Estate were evacuated at around 5.29am today after a charging mini-segway exploded and reportedly caused a fire.

Oriental Daily reports that the device, also known as a 'hoverboard', apparently began short-circuiting and emitting sparks within one of the units this morning, before residents set off the fire alarm.

Fire officers arrived swiftly to fight the blaze and reportedly rescued seven residents from inside the building as other residents waited for the flames to die down.

No injuries have been reported, and the cause is not believed to be suspicious.

Mini-segways were banned in Hong Kong late last month after the Transport Department deemed them unsafe for users and others around them. They are legal to operate within the confines of private apartments and certain "non-road places", provided no other laws are being broken, however many public parks have outlawed their use.

Photo: Oriental Daily/(for illustration)Instagram

HKU alumni speak by ballot: Arthur Li, top aide to Hong Kong chief executive, should not lead university council

Of the 4,454 votes cast, almost 98 per cent voted to oppose him


PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 1:35pm

UPDATED : Monday, 30 November, 2015, 2:11pm

University of Hong Kong alumni gathered for the convocation’s second extraordinary meeting occasioned by the Johannes Chan appointment. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Thousands of University of Hong Kong alumni yesterday voted overwhelmingly against executive councillor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung becoming the university’s new council chairman.

The non-binding motion was one of five related to the rejection in September of liberal scholar Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun’s as pro-vice-chancellor.

Voting was at an extraordinary general meeting of the HKU Convocation, a statutory body made up of 162,000 graduates and staff. It was the second such meeting triggered by Chan’s rejection.

READ MORE: Fourth leak from University of Hong Kong council meetings shows president supported liberal scholar’s bid for post

Of the 4,454 votes cast, 4,356 – almost 98 per cent – voted for the motion opposing Li, a former education minister, to replace Dr Leong Che-hung as chairman of the council, the institution’s top governing body.There were just 25 votes against the motion and 10 abstentions.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who is also convenor of the HKU Alumni Concern Group, said the result spoke for itself.

“If we didn’t come out to express our opinions, maybe Li would have already been appointed,” Ip said. “Maybe the council would have made more regrettable decisions.”

Ip said power was still vested with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the school’s chancellor. Yet the lawmaker said he believed “any reasonable, rational chief executive wouldn’t still go ahead” with trying to elevate Li to the chairmanship.


Stephen Chan Chi-wan, with his voting ballot, was one of thousands of alumni to vote yesterday. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The motion stated that Li, who had been tipped to take up the post, was not a suitable candidate as he did not have the trust, confidence and respect of academic and non-academic staff, students and alumni.

The four other motions passed with more than 96 per cent support.

One motion denounced the council’s rejection on September 29 of the search committee’s choice of pro-vice-chancellor without providing the convocation or the public with a valid reason. Chan had been the search committee’s sole candidate for the job. That motion was supported by 4,308 votes.

READ MORE: Message sent: Liberal academics sweep three vacant seats in University of Hong Kong council election

There were slightly fewer votes, 4, 282, in favour of a no-confidence motion against then council chairman Leong and members who voted against the search committee’s recommendation.

Almost the same number, 4,281, voted for a motion claiming that releasing audio recordings of the closed-door council meeting where members rejected Chan was in the public interest and in the spirit of HKU’s ‘whistle-blowing policy’. The deliberations appeared to have been recorded secretly and excerpts were posted online and broadcast on radio and television.

Another motion calling for the council to explain its reasons for rejecting Chan within 14 days received 4,345 votes of support.

Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam

EDB hints at big TSA changes but won’t say if exam will be axed

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 12:29 PM

Young students play outside Legco while their parents make the case for the scrapping of controversial TSA scheme before a hearing. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong education officials are hinting at changes to a controversial student assessment scheme but are not saying if it will be abolished amid mounting public criticism.   

Undersecretary for Education Kevin Yeung said the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA) for primary three students is being reviewed after complaints from parents that its overemphasis on preparation is a burden on their children.

Yeung said the TSA has “issues” and that an expert panel is studying if the format can be changed, Ming Pao Daily reports.

The proposed changes include simpler questionnaires and a lower level of difficulty.

The Education Bureau (EDB) uses the exam to assess the performance of schools. In theory, it is also supposed to gauge the academic performance of primary three pupils.    

EDB might use random assessment, meaning not all students will be required to sit the exam.

Yeung said TSA is important in the qualification process, without which students have to wait until secondary six to take a comparable assessment in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, which would be too late, Yeung said.

Meanwhile, Yeung said EDB is considering a recommendation by certain legislators that next year’s TSA be suspended.

A decision is expected by February, he told legislators during a public hearing on Sunday.

An overwhelming majority of about 80 parents who attended the hearing said they want TSA to be cancelled immediately.

One parent, surnamed Mok, said her daughter suffers from anxiety due to TSA-related stress.

When she complained to her school, she was told it’s a common problem among students, Mok said.

Legislator Raymond Chan said parents are threatening not to send their children to school to protest the exam.

Dozens of parents from Tai Po are planning a protest on Dec. 8-10, Apple Daily reports.

Three primary students who spoke at the hearing complained that extensive TSA preparations are robbing them of their play time.

But a girl said the exam is not that difficult. She was later identified as a daughter of Danny Chan, economic development policy deputy spokesman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong. 

Fung Pik-yee, headmaster of Aplichau Kaifong Primary School, said it’s unfair to blame schools for over-drilling students.

Fung said her school has fared well in the allocation of secondary places but does not overemphasize TSA.

However, she said she has received a warning from education authoities to improve her school’s TSA performance.

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Kite string slices cyclist on the neck

Coconuts Hong KongToday, 12:18 PM
A woman has been left shaken and scarred after being sliced by the string of a "stunt kite" in Tai Po this weekend.

The incident reportedly occurred at around 6pm on Saturday, near Plover Cove Main Dam. Speaking to Oriental Daily, the woman, surnamed Lam, recalls cycling towards Tai Mei Tuk with her front and rear bicycle lights on. She said she clearly remembers seeing a white-shirted man, accompanied another man and a child, flying a huge kite which then fell and struck her off her bicycle. 

After Lam had fallen from the accident, the man in the white shirt apparently rushed to pull her up and said "Could you not report this to the police? I will pay for your medical fees", but after seeing she was woozy from shock, he said "I wasn't the person flying the kite, that man already left. I'm just here to help you report this to the police".

So on top of not flying kites safely, he's also good at not keeping his story straight. What a pair of skills to have!

A nearby kite shop owner said he believed the kite was a special "stunt kite", with kite string tension of up to 200 hundred pounds, between 10-20 times the tensile strength of ordinary kites.

While Lam has mostly recovered from her injury, she has been left with a scar about 13-14 centimetres long spanning across her neck. 

Police said that they received reports of a female cyclist falling off her vehicle due to loss of balance, with minor injuries to the hand and neck, and are treating the incident as a traffic accident.

Photo: Oriental Daily/(for illustration)Wikipedia