Daily Information Bulletin - 1990s - 1996 - MAY - ENG

 DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, May 1,1996

Contents

Reference to Hong Kong in the US Special 301 Report................. 1

WTO reaches agreement on basic telecommunications................... 3

More construction activities to face noise controls................. 4

Regional bond clearing and settlement systems for Asia.............. 5

Dangerous roof-top structures to be demolished...................... 7

Five lots of land to let............................................ 8

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................ 9

1

Reference to Hong Kong in the US Special 301 Report *****

The Government notes that the US Trade Representative has just published the annual Special 301 report, in which Hong Kong is mentioned under the "Other Observations" category, amongst 19 other trading partners.

"We are surprised to see Hong Kong mentioned in the Report given our firm commitment to, and vigorous implementation of, intellectual property rights (1PR) protection in Hong Kong," a spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch today (Wednesday) said.

"We are however pleased to note that due recognition has been given in the Report to the various steps taken by the Hong Kong Government in enforcing IPR protection in Hong Kong. We also note the US intention to review Hong Kong's position in six months' time.

"The Hong Kong Government is firmly and totally committed to combating copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. We act decisively against IPR infringers within Hong Kong's rule of law. We will continue with our plans for enhancing IPR protection in Hong Kong," the spokesman said.

"On the legislative front, the level of maximum penalties against copyright pirates was substantially increased last May. New copyright piracy offence provisions were passed by the Legislative Council on April 24, 1996, to make it an offence for any person to manufacture outside Hong Kong for export to Hong Kong pirated copyright goods.

"Any person who, whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere, aids, abets or procures such activities will also be liable to the same offence.

"This will help tackle masterminds of cross-border copyright piracy activities more effectively.

"New customs border measures will soon be put in place to enable copyright owners to apply for court orders to detain suspected imports of pirated copyright goods so as to facilitate their initiation of civil proceedings. This measure is in addition to the existing criminal enforcement by the Hong Kong Customs.

2

"In addition, we are also taking vigorous enforcement action. We have:

a) adopted a pro-active enforcement approach in the form of intelligence gathering and investigation work relating to alleged triad and organised criminal involvement in local and cross-border copyright piracy activities. Customs and the Police have been closely co-operating with each other on this front;

b) increased by 40% over three years the number of enforcement staff in order to strengthen the Customs' capability in enforcement and prosecution, intelligence gathering, border surveillance and interceptions; and

c) instituted closer co-operation between the Hong Kong Customs and the relevant IPR enforcement authorities in the Guangdong Province and the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. Good progress has been made on a number of initiatives, including the setting up of specific contact points, exchange of information and intelligence, organisation of visits and seminars, and where appropriate, the possibility of mounting co-ordinated anti-piracy operations."

Under Special 301 provisions, the US Trade Representative is required to publish annually lists of countries which offer inadequate IPR protection to US IPR investments in these countries.

The lists are ranked in the following descending order in terms of seriousness in IPR violation : "Priority Foreign Country List", "Priority Watch List" and "Watch List". There is also the lowest category "Other Observations" in the Report.

In this year's Report, there are some 50 countries named in categories above "Other Observations" and some twenty trading partners referred to in "Other Observations".

Except for countries named in the "Priority Foreign Country List", the US law does not require Special 301 action against countries named in any of the other categories. Hence, there will not be any immediate threat of trade sanction against Hong Kong.

Separately, the US Trade Representative's report names China as a "Priority Foreign Country".

"We note that negotiations are continuing between China and the US on the latter's concerns with IPR protection in China. This is a bilateral trade matter between China and the US, and we hope that it will be resolved through dialogue," the spokesman said.

End

3

WTO reaches agreement on basic telecommunications *****

The negotiations on basic telecommunications conducted under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), ended in Geneva yesterday (Tuesday) with an agreement reached on opening up markets for basic telecommunications services.

The agreement will come into effect on January 1, 1998. However, participants in the negotiations will have the flexibility to make final adjustments to their commitments between January 15 and February 15, 1997, following further consultations on a few outstanding issues which arose very late in the negotiations.

Participants agreed that these issues needed to be studied more thoroughly. A special group will be formed to carry out such consultations which will commence within 90 days and will complete by February 15.1997.

A total of 39 WTO members (European Union counted as one), accounting for over 80% of the global value of basic telecommunications services, have made various levels of binding commitment to open their basic telecommunications markets to competition.

"We are very pleased that an agreement on the liberalisation of basic telecommunications services has been achieved in the WTO." a government spokesman said.

"Basic telecommunications is a very large market globally (estimated at over US$500 billion p.a.) with enormous potential for Hong Kong services suppliers," he noted.

The agreement reached under the negotiations will provide additional impetus to the global trend of liberalisation in telecommunications markets, and will enhance the opportunities for telecommunications operators to enter lucrative foreign markets.

The consumer will also benefit significantly from the liberalisation of the basic telecommunications market. The introduction of competition into the market is expected to foster more rapid technological advancement, reduce service charges, and provide customers with more choices.

Hong Kong’s commitments made under the negotiations include the opening up of its markets for domestic services in full including fixed network and mobile services, and for a range of international services including call-back, self-provision of external satellite circuits, and mobile satellite services.

4

Many participants in the negotiations, including Hong Kong, have also committed to observe a set of regulatory principles aimed to ensure fair competition among all suppliers of telecommunications services.

The negotiations on basic telecommunications are an extension of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations completed in 1994. At the close, of the Uruguay Round, it was agreed that negotiations on basic telecommunications should continue until the end of April this year in order to allow more time for participants to negotiate with a view to achieving higher levels of liberalisation in this market.

End

More construction activities to face noise controls *****

New controls on certain noisy construction activities will come into effect on November 1.

"Under the new regulations, five items of powered mechanical equipment, including hand-held breakers, dump trucks, bulldozers, concrete mixer lorries and vibratory pokers, will be subject to stringent noise limits if they are to be operated in designated areas during noise sensitive hours," Senior Environmental Officer of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Mr Sam Wong, said.

Also to be controlled will be certain noisy manual activities, such as hammering, scaffolding work, rubble disposal through metal chutes and the handling of steel bars.

The noise sensitive hours are defined as those between 7 pm and 7 am on weekdays, and at any time during general holidays, including Sundays.

Designated areas cover generally the residential districts of Hong Kong, Kowloon and new towns in the New Territories.

Under the new controls to be implemented later this year, the carrying out of specific construction activities in designated areas and noise sensitive hours would need a construction noise permit from the EPD, Mr Wong said.

- 5 -

"However, noise permits will only be granted under very stringent conditions in accordance with the relevant Technical Memorandum, and these controls will amount to a virtual ban on non-essential construction work at night-time and during holidays" he added.

Maps showing the designated areas are available lor inspection in EPD’s Local Control Offices (LCOs). Application forms for construction noise permits and relevant Technical Memorandum can also be obtained at the LCOs.

The districts covered by the LCOs and their respective enquiry numbers are as follows:

LCOs Districts Covered

Enquiry No.

Territory East Kwun Tong, Wong l ai Sin, Sai Kung 2702 7551

Territory North Shatin, Tai Po, North 2634 3805

Territory South UK Island. Islands 2516 1733

Territory West Tucn Mun. Yuen Long 241 1 9635

Urban East Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Yau Tsim Mong 2402 5252

Urban West Tsuen Wan, Kwai 1 sing 2417 6110

End

Regional bond clearing and settlement systems for Asia

*****

It is time Asia hail its own regional network ol bond cleatiug anil settlement systems, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (11KMA). said today (Wednesday).

"An AsiaClear system to clear Asian and international bonds in the Asian lime zone with greatly reduced settlement risk is now a distinct possibility.


- 6 -

’’Payment systems could similarly be linked up as a network, hopefully on real time,” said the Chief Executive of HKMA, Mr Joseph Yam, in delivering his speech at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) this morning in Manila.

The sound market infrastructure is crucial to the development of financial markets, he said, citing the example of the Eurodollar bond market which took off in 1968 when Euroclear was established to facilitate book entry clearing and settlement of Eurodollar bond transactions.

In Hong Kong, the domestic bond market blossomed when HKMA installed an efficient debt securities clearing system.

"Hong Kong stands ready to pursue linkages with other markets, either on a bilateral or on a multilateral basis, in building up such networks," said Mr Yam.

"The ADB, as the premier financial institution and bond issuer in the Region, should explore and support the development of this AsiaClear and other financial infrastructural networks."

The development of AsiaClear could help improve resource mobilisation or financial intermediation in Asia, a matter of strategic importance to this Region, Mr Yam said.

The ADB has estimated that the requirement for infrastructure investment in Asia would reach US$280 billion a year, or over a trillion US dollars to the year 2000.

By comparison, domestic savings in the Region seem inadequate notwithstanding the high savings rates of over 30 per cent of gross domestic product and very substantial reserves of over US$600 billion in Asia.

"In short, the framework of financial intermediation in the Region is not as effective as the situation demands," said Mr Yam.

"I believe strongly that in the area of the development of financial markets and their market infrastructure, domestic authorities do have important responsibilities to carry."

End

- 7 -

Dangerous roof-top structures to be demolished ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Building Authority today (Wednesday) declared that a number of unauthorised roof-top structures at Yan Oi Court, Kwun Tong, would be demolished for public safety.

Under the Buildings Ordinance, the Buildings Department served a statutory order to the property owners of Chung Hing House in Yan Oi Court this morning, requiring them to demolish some 20 illegal structures on the rooftop of the building.

The Assistant Director of Buildings (Control and Enforcement), Mr Cheung Hau-wai, said the structures, lacking proper means of escape, were posing an imminent danger to the residents in case of fire.

The owners have two months’ time to remove the structures, and if they fail to comply with the order, the Government will carry out the works on their behalf and all the necessary cost including a supervision fee will be recovered from them.

Noting that about 75 persons from 20 families would be affected by the clearance, Mr Cheung said if the occupants had any request for re-housing, their cases would be considered by the Housing Department according to eligibility.

The Social Welfare Department and Kwun Tong District Office will also offer assistance to the residents if necessary.

He reiterated that the Government would stand firm in enforcing the clearance. Similar operations for other roof-top structures in the area will also be considered if they were found posing a threat to public safety.

Mr Cheung pointed out that following the collapse of an unauthorised canopy at Chung Hing House in November last year, the Buildings Department had carried out an extensive survey on the three buildings in the vicinity.

The inspection revealed that a large number of unauthorised structures had been erected on the external wall and rooftops of the buildings.

’’The Buildings Department subsequently issued a total of 112 orders to the property owners asking them to remove some 190 illegal structures.

8

"Most of the affected owners are very co-operative and over 80 per cent of the structures have already been voluntarily removed by them.

"For the sake of their own safety, we hope that the other owners will follow suit and demolish the dangerous structures as soon as possible," Mr Cheung said.

End

Five lots of land to let *****

The Lands Department is inviting tenders for the short-term tenancies of five pieces of government land on 1 long Kong Island and in Kowloon.

I'wo lots are located at Aldrich Bay Reclamation. Shan Kei Wan. each with an ’ area of about 12,280 square metres. Both are intended for use as fee-paying public car parks for the parking of private cars, coaches and lorries, but excluding containers, tractors, trailers and container vehicles with or without tractors or trailers.

The tenancies for both lots are for six months, renewable monthly.

Covering an area of about 2,510 square metres, the third lot is located at Lo Shue Pai, Chai Wan. It is designated for open storage of tenant’s goods, excluding containers, tractors, trailers and container vehicles with or without tractors or trailers.

fhe tenancy is for one year, renewable quarterly.

I'he fourth lot is located off Yuet Lun Street, Lai Chi Kok. With an area of about 1.45 hectares, it is intended for use as a fee-paying public car park for the parking of container tractors and trailers only.

The tenancy is for two years, renewable quarterly.

With an area of about 5,320 square metres, the fifth lot is located off Po Lun Street, Lai Chi Kok. It is intended for the parking of private cars, light vans and goods vehicles excluding container tractors and trailers.

The tenancy is also for two years, renewable quarterly.

9

The closing date for submission of tenders is noon on May 17.

Tender forms, tender notices and conditions may be obtained from the Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road and the District Lands Offices of Kowloon West and Hong Kong East.

Tender plans can also be inspected at these offices.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

Time Cumulative change

$ million (hours) (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,513 0930 -112

Closing balance in the account 2,201 1000 -112

Change attributable to : 1100 -112

Money market activity -112 1200 -112

LAF today -200 1500 -112

1600 -112

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.7 *+0.2* 1.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.93 2 years 2802 5.16 98.57 6.10

1 month 5.02 3 years 3904 6.30 99.51 6.59

3 months 5.12 5 years 5103 6.75 98.58 7.22

6 months 5.24 7 years 7302 6.02 92.32 7.61

12 months 5.53 5 years M502 7.30 99.80 7.49

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $27,982 million

Closed May 1, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, May 1,1996

Contents PagsJKo.

Legislative Council meeting: CS's Beijing visit.............................................. 1

Government Minute..............................................

Speech by SHW in motion debate on elderly policy............... 17

Gas Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996............................... 23

Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill................................ 24

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996.................... 26

Inland Revenue (Amendmnet) (No 3) Bill......................... 27

Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996.................... 28

Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill................................... 29

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill.................................... 29

Motor Vehicle (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1996 .. 30

/Air Passenger....

Contents

Page Nq.

Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill.......................... 32

Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill......................................... 32

Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Bill................................. 33

Legal Aid Services Council (No 2) Bill................................ 34

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1995 .......................... 36

Govt to fully co-operate with Chief Executive (Designate)............. 38

Govt's focus on external commercial relations......................... 39

Supplementary Labour Scheme........................................... 40

Incidents involving unidentified gases................................ 42

Specialist treatment for bum patients................................. 44

Overnight parking for buses........................................... 45

Lok Ma Chau Public Transport Interchange.............................. 47

Price movements of diesel oil for vehicles............................ 48

Language proficiency requirements of jurors........................... 49

Services provided by public libraries................................. 50

Dental services for the elderly....................................... 54

/Measures to..

Contents

Page No.

Measures to prevent unlicensed storage of dangerous goods.................. 55

Jockey Club funded social activities....................................... 56

Allocation of RTHK’s air time............................................   57

Fire prevention facilities on passenger ferries............................ 59

Private dangerous slopes maintenance....................................... 62

Banking Code of Practice................................................... 64

Banknotes issued by Bank of China.......................................... 66

Proposal to bring Stock Exchange under bribery law......................... 67

No cases of CSD staff disciplined for gambling............................. 69

CS's Beijing visit

*****

Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary, the Hon Anson Chan, on her visit to Beijing in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

The Chief Secretary is delighted to give a full account of her recent visit to Beijing.

At the invitation of Mr Lu Ping, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, I visited Beijing from 25 to 27 April. I was accompanied by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs and three supporting staff. I had a very useful and businesslike meeting with Mr Lu on 26 April.

Mr Lu and I exchanged views on a wide range of key transitional issues, covering political as well as economic matters. These included co-operation with the Preparatory Committee, the civil service, co-operation with the Chief Executive Officer (Designate), the Provisional Legislature, Hong Kong's economic autonomy and the second runway at Chek Lap Kok.

On co-operation with the Preparatory Committee, honourable members will be aware that on 1 April, our Liaison Office received from the Preparatory Committee Secretariat Hong Kong Office a list of items for co-operation. The full list containing altogether ten items was published by the Secretariat of the Preparatory Committee yesterday evening. After studying the list carefully and in a positive spirit, we arrived at a preliminary response. I made use of my Beijing visit to deliver our response to Mr Lu in his capacity as Secretary General of the Preparatory Committee Secretariat.

I reiterated to Mr Lu our readiness to offer the Preparatory Committee practical assistance on the basis of our three established parameters. Of the ten items put forward by the Preparatory Committee, we have already provided assistance on some of them. In the recent meetings of the Selection Committee sub-group and the Economic sub-group in Hong Kong, we made appropriate security arrangements and facilitated processing of visa applications. We also arranged for the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Affairs to give a briefing on the proposed Mortgage Corporation. In addition, the Preparatory Committee had asked for information on the functional constituencies which represented the professional sectors, plus a list of legislation amended or newly made since 1984. These are all factual and open information which I left with Mr Lu during our meeting.

2

As for the other items, these included giving the Preparatory Committee access to television and radio air time, assisting the activities of the Selection Committee, providing office accommodation and information to the Chief Executive (Designate), providing assistance for the establishment of the Court of Final Appeal, and providing information on Government departments. I explained to Mr Lu that we would require further clarification of the Preparatory Committee's requirements before we could consider further these requests. Both sides agreed that the Liaison Office and the Preparatory Committee Secretariat should follow up.

The Preparatory Committee also sought our assistance for the provisional legislature. On this matter, I reiterated the British Government's and the Hong Kong Government's position on a provisional legislature, and made it clear that we were unable to help in this area. We remained committed, however, to co-operating in other areas consistent with our three established parameters.

On the civil service, I told Mr Lu that my colleagues have found the public statement issued after the recent meeting at The Hague between the two Foreign Ministers reassuring. In particular, they welcomed China's agreement that continuity of the civil service was vital to a successful transition, that all civil servants were welcome to stay on to work for the SARG, and that civil servants should remain loyal to the people of Hong Kong and to the Hong Kong Government before 1 July 1997, and to the Special Administrative Region Government thereafter. 1 expressed the hope that both sides would continue to build on that to maintain the morale and confidence of the civil service. Mr Lu fully agreed with my sentiments, and repeated the hope that all civil servants would stay on to serve the Special Administrative Region Government.

On co-operation with the Chief Executive Officer (Designate), we had some initial exchange of ideas on the possible modalities for co-operation. I made clear to Mr Lu that we would be offering frill co-operation and would provide the Chief Executive Officer (Designate) with sufficient support, whilst ensuring the morale of civil service and the effective administration of Hong Kong. In this connection, 1 stressed that it would be best to allow Principal Officials (Designate) to remain in their posts but to encourage the closest co-operation and dialogue between them and the Chief Executive Officer (Designate). Both sides agreed to continue discussion.

On the question of a provisional legislature, there remains a fundamental difference between the two sides. The clear and consistent position of both the British and the Hong Kong Governments is that such a body is neither necessary nor desirable. 1 spent some time explaining why that was so. I made it clear that we were unable to accept two legislative bodies operating in parallel before 1 July 1997. Mr Lu assured me that there would not be a second centre of power in Hong Kong, and that the work of the Preparatory Committee would not interfere with the effective administration of Hong Kong. The Preparatory Committee would be concerned solely with preparing for the normal operation of the SAR Government after I July 1997.

3

On economic matters, I conveyed to Mr Lu the community's concern over Hong Kong's future economic autonomy and, in that context, urged for early Chinese agreement to the six mobile telephone licences. Mr Lu reaffirmed that Hong Kong would have autonomy in handling its own economic and financial affairs, as guaranteed by Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. He also undertook to look into the question of the mobile telephones.

Finally, I took the opportunity to inform Mr Lu that a study conducted by the Airport Authority indicated that there was a strong case to bring forward the commissioning of the second runway at Chek Lap Kok to end 1998. I expressed to Mr Lu HKG's confidence that the Airport Authority would do this cost-effectively. Mr Lu said that the Chinese side had no problem with the project, and suggested that before we put the proposal to the Airport Committee for confirmation, we should brief the Economic Sub-group of the Preparatory Committee. This we will do soon.

All told, the meeting allowed both parties to have a frank exchange of views. It gave me an opportunity to draw Mr Lu’s attention to specific 1 long Kong concerns and to underline our willingness to co-operate in resolving the remaining transitional issues. Mr Lu and 1 agreed that we should maintain contact, and that the two sides should step up and intensify co-operation in the final 14 months before the transition. In my view, it is essential for the officials of both sides to increase communication and understanding and develop trust at all levels so that we can achieve a smooth transition on the basis of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. I hope to be able to build on the dialogue which I now have with Mr Lu.

Dr Leong Che-hung: Thank you Mr President. Can the Chief Secretary express to this Council whether she considers that any breakthrough has been achieved in Sino-Hong Kong relationship on her visit to Beijing; in particular, has she managed to acquire the assurance of the Chinese Government that civil servants should and must be allowed to maintain political neutrality which is so essential and vital to the running of an efficient civil service?

CS: Mr President. I was not personally expecting any significant breakthrough from this visit but 1 see this visit as a useful building block in developing a relationship of trust, in seeking a dialogue, and in particular seeing where we can maximise cooperation. I believe this to be what the people of Hong Kong want and what the civil servants wish to see.

Insofar as the position of civil servants is concerned. Mr Liu has. of course, on previous occasions, and again on this occasion, reiterated and reconfirmed the need for civil servants to maintain political neutrality, to be dedicated and loyal to serving the people of Hong Kong before 1997, and to do the same, in terms of serving the SAR Government, after 1997.

4

Ms Christine Loh: Thank you Mr President. The Chief Secretary just told us that in the area about co-operation with the Chief Executive Designate, that there was some exchange on possible modalities. 1 wonder if the Chief Secretary could expand upon that? And further, she did point out two particular areas.

She mentioned that there must be effective administration in Hong Kong and also that civil servants should remain in their posts. Could she explain whether these were the modalities that she put forward or whether these are modalities that the Chinese Government has accepted?

CS: Mr President, 1 think I have made clear in my main reply that although we had a brief discussion of the modalities, we did not reach any final agreement and I do not expect, at one meeting, to be able to reach agreement on what is after all a very important and complex issue.

There are various options, clearly, in terms of ensuring continuity and stability in the civil service. Our preferred option would clearly be - and as I have pointed out in my main reply - for principal officials designate to remain in their posts: for the Chief Executive Designate to be adequately and strongly supported in terms of both resources and particularly manpower; for there to be extremely close co-operation and communication between the Chief Executive and his team and all principal officials designate.

The President: I am a bit surprised that you did not respond to Ms Loh’s Freudian slip.

CS: I was too busy, Mr President, listening to the triplc-barrelled question.

Mr Yum Sin-ling (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. Of course if we had a second power centre before 1997, i.e. a provisional legislature - and I am sure the Government won’t object to that - but could it be possible that under circumstances or to a certain extent, you could undertake to assist the provisional legislature by indirectly recognising the provisional legislature? Was that ever touched upon?

CS: Mr President, I think our immediate concern is what happens in the lead up to 1 July 1997. In that respect, both Mr Qian Qichen and Mr Lu Ping have made it abundantly clear that there will not be a second centre of power in Hong Kong and that the effective administration of Hong Kong will not in any way be undermined. Indeed, Mr Qian made it quite clear that this side of 1997, the only people and organisations who will exercise power would be the Governor, the present Legislative Council and the Privy Council.

5

Mr Cheung Man-kwong (in Chinese): Mr President, the Vice Premier, Mr Qian Qichen, has already stated that the Provisional Legislature is a fact: what is done is done. The Secretary wishes to seek common ground; we are talking about three governments, of course. Does that mean that there is a new consensus of opinion that as long as the Chinese side undertakes that the Provisional Legislature would not interfere with the Legislative Council, then the Government would silently agree with the following: that the Provisional Legislature would come jnto place after 1997? Would the Government undertake to see that the pre-1997 Government would not interfere with the post-1997 Government?

You have said that the Provisional Legislature is not necessary and not desirable but still it might be set up and you can have nothing to do with that - or you can do nothing about it, rather.

CS: Mr President, I think the Government has made it abundantly clear what its position is on the Provisional Legislature. We have said and will continue to saythat in our view it is neither necessary nor desirable to have a Provisional Legislature. We have a Legislature which has been returned through open and fair elections in the elections that were conducted in September of last year.

Clearly, in terms of continuity and in terms of giving confidence to the community of Hong Kong, it would be best for this Legislature to be able to continue to function for its full four year term, that is to continue after 1997. That has been our consistent position and it will be our position.

Mr Howard Young: Mr President, it appears that the bone of contention is still the Provisional Legislature. I would like to know whether the Chief Secretary has considered perhaps the best way out is for both sides to stop arguing on the legitimacy or otherwise of the whatever it is called Legislature of the future, but explore whether there are any practical ways to have some sort of working relationship, provided that the Provisional Legislature does not concern itself with any affairs before 1997, and perhaps even provided that it does not do anything within the territorial boundaries of Hong Kong, than if there is a practical need for civil servants to have some sort of’ assistance which might help a smooth transition? I las the Government explored such possibilities, or is it willing to?

CS: Mr President, without in any way accepting the proviso that the I lonourable Howard Young has stipulated, 1 of course agree that notwithstanding that there are fundamental differences between the two sides on the Provisional Legislature, nevertheless we must not allow disagreement in this area to prevent us from exploring and maximising the scope for co-operation in other areas so that we can make the transition as smooth as possible. I believe that to be the wish of the community and to be the wish, also, of the civil servants.

6

Our position on the Provisional Legislature has been very clearly set out and we will continue to make our views known on the Provisional Legislature. But I do agree with Mr Young that it is important to seek to maximise areas for co-operation.

Mr Frederick Fung (in Chinese): Mr President, of the ten items put forward by the Preparatory Committee one is very sensitive, that is air-time on RTHK. This request in fact has caused much concern within the staff and rank of RTHK with regard to their editorial independence and production. The Chief Secretary in fact has spoken to the media that if it does not violate editorial independence, assistance might be given.

In the past it has been said that the Basic Law Consultative Committee has used air-time on RTHK. There seems to be a conflict here: you have to use RI 1 IK air-time but it cannot affect editorial independence. When such a conflict appears on the horizon, can I ask whether the Government would protect the editorial independence as its first and foremost priority?

CS: Mr President, I do not see that there is necessarily an anomaly between on the one hand saying that the editorial independence of Radio Hong Kong will not in any way be compromised or undermined and on the other to say that within the three parameters for co-operation which I have set out, and consistent with our broadcasting policy and a well established regulatory framework, that we cannot consider positively the request from the Preparatory Committee for access to air-time, whether it is on television or through the radio.

What I have explained to Mr Lu is that before we reach a final decision, it would be necessary for us to have a clearer idea as to what types of assistance the Preparatory Committee is looking for, in particular the sort of information that they wish to put across, either on radio or on television. Once wc have that clarification we will be in a better position to make a final decision.

The President: Mr Fung, are you claiming that your question has not been answered?

Mr Frederick Fung (in Chinese): Yes. The two principles spoken of by the CS and the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs might provide a conflict. If a conflict arises, would you protect the editorial independence of RTHK? All she has said is that she would need further information before a decision is made.

The President: ... that there is necessarily a conflict. And the situation you have just described is hypothetical.

7

Mrs Elizabeth Wong: Thank, you Mr President. This time last week I wished the CS well in her visit to Beijing. Today 1 would like to register my appreciation of the effort that our Chief Secretary has, on behalf of Hong Kong, put in; particularly, she has put in her best foot forward in the diplomatic cha-cha-cha of a dialogue with China.

But I would like to ask a question, nevertheless. I would like to ask whether the CS considers that she is fighting a lost cause, particularly with reference to the Provisional Legislature, because of her response? She said it was neither necessary nor desirable; and she said that there was nothing she could do to help with the setting up. But did she or did she not say that the setting up of the Provisional Legislature is in fact in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law and is therefore illegal. This was put to us quite categorically in the reply by Mr Robin Cook this morning.

CS: Mr President, I made it clear to Mr Lu. not just on this occasion but on previous occasions, that in the view of the British and Hong Kong Government there is no need for the setting up of a Provisional Legislature. There is, indeed, no mention of a Provisional Legislature in either the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law. In our view it is best for continuity and confidence for the existing Legislature to serve out its full four year term. That has been our position and it will remain our position.

Mr Albert Ho (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. The Chief Secretary and Mr Lu Ping discussed the transition of the civil service as one of its items. Now this is an item of concern in the legal sector with respect to the interpretation of Article 93 of the Basic Law. 1 do not know, in fact, whether the Secretary has dealt with this issue with Mr Lu Ping and if not. in fact can you give us a clarification on the transition of legal personnel in Hong Kong?

CS: Mr President, we did not specifically discuss this issue but on the basis that 1 hope to have a continuing dialogue with Mr Lu. I would of course be very happy to take up this issue with him at an appropriate time.

Miss Margaret Ng: Thank you Mr President. Mr President, with respect to the Provisional Legislative Council, the Government had used in the past the word "unjustifiable" to describe such proposal. Is this word now being dropped as somewhat too strong and the weaker words of "unnecessary and undesirable" are used in substitution? Thank you Mr President.

CS: Mr President. I believe I have used various words in describing and reiterating our position on the Provisional Legislature. Certainly, the word "unjustifiable" has been used by me on more than one occasion.

8

Mr Lee Wing-tat (in Chinese): Mr President, the Chief Secretary, in her main response, indicated the Preparatory Committee is to set up a Provisional Legislature. My question is this: Do you think that in the Government there is a policy which is anti-Provisional Legislature but moving towards indirectly and silently helping with the setting up of the Provisional Legislature?

CS: The Selection Committee has clearly defined responsibilities in accordance with the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. We are committed to offering co-operation on those fronts within the three established parameters.

Mr Cheung Kar-foo (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. My question is similar to that asked by Mr K K Fung but before 1 ask my question I must say 1 appreciate the Chief Secretary for being on her feet all the time answering our questions. Back to RTHK. I do not think the Government is taking such -

The President: Since you have touched on this point and the Chief Secretary is standing and that no two members ought to be standing at the same time, you might be raising a point of order but 1 purposely turn a blind-eye to the fact as 1 do not wish to see the Chief Secretary sitting down and then jumping up again so very often. Mr Cheng, you may continue.

Mr Cheung Kar-foo (in Chinese): I think to respect the Chief Secretary I should stand up and ask my question. Anyway, let us not waste time. Back to RTHK. 1 do not think the Government has taken the initiative with regard to the RTHK issue. When Mr K K Fung's question was answered, the feeling we got is that we have to wait until China clarifies its position and its request before the Government takes action. Can I ask, at this very moment, whether the British and Hong Kong Governments have a clear position that they should protect the editorial independence of RT1 IK? Can the Chief Secretary confirm this on behalf of the Governments so that RTHK, in the future, would not become a sub-branch of the China Government station?

CS: Mr President, I thought I made it clear in an answer to an earlier supplementary question that we do not intend in any way, and there is no question of us undermining the editorial independence of Radio Hong Kong. I said that on the basis that the editorial independence of Radio Hong Kong will not in any way be adversely affected, and within our established broadcasting policy and the clearly laid out regulatory framework, we would be prepared to consider to offer air-time. But before we do so. we need to have further details from the Preparatory Committee.

9

Ms Emily Lau (in Chinese): Mr President, the Chief Secretary told us earlier on. that the Chinese Government or the ten point request from the Preparatory Committee -and some people call that the Ten Commandments - in fact were given to the Hong Kong Government on April 1st. And yesterday, the Preparatory Committee's Secretariat published the ten points. My question is this: Why did you have to wait a whole month before the Hong Kong Government released the details?

Of course we have read articles from magazines but we do not know if they can be confirmed. We also know that the upper echelons of the Government are unaware -unaware - of these details, although it is within their ambit. Can I ask if the Chief Secretary has actually got the agreement from the Chinese Government to publish these details as soon as possible and to inform your colleagues what the details are? And more importantly, should there be further orders coming on the horizon, would the Government trust the people of Hong Kong, trust your colleagues, and inform us of these events as soon as possible?

CS: Mr President, the list is, of course, a list that was handed to the Hong Kong Government by the Hong Kong Secretariat of the Preparatory Committee, and it was agreed that whilst we were in the process of considering in a very preliminary way our response to these ten items of co-operation, that we should for the time being hold off publication of the list. This is not in any way an attempt to prevent members or the community from learning the details of this list of items for co-operation. And of course, as the Honourable Emily Lau pointed out, the Secretariat of the Preparatory-Committee has now published the list.

Internally, the Constitutional Affairs Branch is of course responsible for considering our initial response to the list of requested co-operation and he has done so on the basis of established policies which are clear to all policy secretaries. Clearly, as our initial response develop on the basis of further clarification from the Preparatory Committee there may be a requirement to seek further and more in depth views from policy secretaries which we will of course do.

Mr Zachary Wong (in Chinese): Mr President, as far as I know the Preparatory Committee has already asked the Government to provide a lot of information and my question for the Chief Secretary is this: when you provided the Preparatory Committee with this information, is all the information open and would it include information that you cannot or you will not make known to the Legislative Council?

CS: Mr President, all the information that we have provided so far is open information that is readily available to members of the public. To the extent that additional information may be required by the Preparatory Committee and which we feel able to offer, we have already undertaken to keep members of this Council folly informed by regular briefings.

10

The President: Mr Wong, are you claiming that your question has not been answered?

Mr Zachary Wong (in Chinese): Yes, Mr President. The crux of the question is this, as the Chief Secretary said that should there be additional information required it will be considered, my question is: When you provide this type of information would you be providing some information that you will not be giving or you do not want to give to the Legislative Council, but you will give it to the Preparatory Committee?

CS: Mr President, we have already undertaken to be fully accountable to members of this Council in whatever information we supply to the Preparatory Committee.

Mr Paul Cheung: Will the Chief Secretary convey to this Council and to the Hong Kong community that in her view, based on her meetings in Beijing, that she found Director Lu and the other Chinese officials she met are all sincere and genuine in their desire to ensure that stability and prosperity in Hong Kong are maintained both pre and post 1997?

CS: Mr President, I gained the impression that both sides are very keen to intensify cooperation, both sides are keen to see a smooth transition, and both sides are keen to maintain confidence and stability and continuity within the civil service.

Mr Henry Tang: Mr President, the Chief Secretary, in regard to the Provisional Legislature, has used the words ’’unjustifiable”, "unnecessary" and "undesirable" but she has never used the word "illegal". Is it the position of the Hong Kong Government that the Hong Kong Government does not consider the Provisional Legislature illegal because it is inconsistent with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law?

CS: Mr President, the Governor has made the Hong Kong Government’s position on this issue ver}' clear in his last question and answer session in this Council. I have again reiterated the Government’s position on the Provisional Legislature this afternoon and I really have nothing further to add to my remarks.

Mrs Selina Chow: Mr President, as Head of the civil service the Chief Secretary in fact was very much expected to bring messages of assurance back to the community and to the civil service as to the smooth transition for the civil service. I just wonder whether the Chief Secretary could tell this Council whether any specific messages could actually be passed on to the civil service to this effect, to ensure that their morale could be uplifted and that their confidence could be enhanced?

11

CS: Mr President, the specific assurances, although they are not of course new assurances, are these: first of all that the Chinese leaders wish to see maximum continuity and stability in the civil service. They wish to see all civil servants remaining in their posts and serving the SAR Government after 1997.

They have reconfirmed that they have no intention of establishing a second power centre in Hong Kong before 1997 and that the Preparatory Committee will only be involved in work that is necessary for the smooth functioning of the SARG after 1997.

Above all, they have made it clear that they will maintain political neutrality within the civil service and that all they ask of civil servants is that they remain loyal and dedicated to serving the people of Hong Kong both now and after 1997.

Mr Szeto Wah (in Chinese): Mr President, the Chief Secretary stated earlier on that we were only given the details of the 10 point - list one month after the receipt because it had undertaken a commitment to keep it secret. Aside from this, 1 wonder if there are any other issues that the Hong Kong Government has promised to keep secret?

CS: Mr President, I do not think there is anything particularly secretive in agreeing with the Chinese that until such time as we have formalised our position on the ten requested items of co-operation that we should, for the time being, hold off publication of the list. There are no other areas where we have made any secret deals and I reiterate again we have said that we remain fully accountable to this Council in our dealings with the Preparatory Committee.

Mr Leung Yiu-chung (in Chinese): Mr President, a question for the Chief Secretary. Why has the Hong Kong Government and the Chinese Government decided to keep the list secret, why is there an agreement on this?

CS: Mr President, can I make it clear again that there is no secret deal. We simply agreed to hold off publication until such time as both sides were ready to make the issue publicly known, and this the Secretariat of the Preparatory (Committee) has now done. It is, after all, their list and it is ultimately for them to decide when to publish the list.

Dr Tse Wing-ling (in Chinese): Mr President, a very brief question, a simple question. Is the Provisional Legislature legal? Can 1 have a yes/no answer please?

The President: Dr Tse, 1 think you are seeking the expression of a legal opinion which runs contrary to Standing Orders.

12

Ms Emily Lau (in Chinese): Mr President, can I ask the Chief Secretary whether she understands that the people of Hong Kong know what is required by the Chinese Government? We want to discuss it now but the way you are dealing with it is this: although you have not made a final decision but you have had preliminary discussions before you made any announcement. Is this not in breach of an open, a fair and accountable Government? You should in fact give us all the details before we make a collective decision. Or have I misunderstood you altogether?

CS: Mr President, in the areas in which I have indicated we have already co-operated with the Preparatory Committee and are prepared to continue to do so, I do not think that these are issues on which members of this Council would take issue.

As regards the other areas, we await clarification from the Preparatory Committee Hong Kong Office and when that clarification is available we will be very happy to discuss our final response with members of this Council.

The President: Mr Lee Wing-tat, do you have a point of order?

Mr Lee Wing-tat (in Chinese): Mr President, there was a question earlier on but you have made a ruling that Dr Tse's question seeks a legal opinion, but if I remember clearly, the question asked by Mr Henry Tang was similar, he asked the Chief Secretary why she did not use the word "illegal" to describe the Provisional Legislature and he was allowed the question. Can you explain why you have differed in your opinion and why the first question was not seeking a legal opinion but the second one was?

The President: This is not a point of order, you are seeking an explanation of my rulings.

Mr Albert Chan (in Chinese): Mr President, my question is about the Provisional Legislature, I am not asking for a legal opinion, I am simply asking for the Government's position. My question is this: On the setting up of the Provisional Legislature the Chief Secretary said earlier on that this was not mentioned in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Because of this, would the Hong Kong Government think that the Provisional Legislature is in breach of agreements? This is not a legal opinion, I am simply asking for the Government's position.

The President: ... for helping Dr Tse to rephrase it.

CS: Mr President, I think I have made the Government's position on the Provisional Legislature abundantly clear. I really have nothing to add to my previous remarks.

13

Mr James Tien: Thank you Mr President. Chief Secretary, when you met with Mr Lu Ping and when you discussed the Provisional Legislature, what were your fundamental differences? Was it the existence of the Provisional Legislature or whether before July 1st 1997, whether the Preparatory Committee would start operating in Hong Kong?

CS: Mr President, I confirm that I think our fundamental disagreement is over the need for a Provisional Legislature. The Government's position on this is clear. As I have said on previous occasions, if the Chinese insist on proceeding with a Provisional Legislature then it is of course for the Chinese Government to explain why it is necessary, in what way it is good for confidence and for continuity in the systems and the policies and programmes which the community clearly are very concerned about.

Mr Tsang Kin-shing (in Chinese): Mr President, the Provisional Legislature - the Governor and the Chief Secretary in fact have not made their stands known on what they will do after 1997. As an accountable and responsible Government you have to be responsible. The Legislature was elected in 1995 and we should continue until 1999. I cannot see what the Government would do during the transition period. You have not given us the crux of the problem. Have you tried to fight to get us through until 1999?

CS: Mr President, can I reiterate again that we have impressed upon the Chinese we see no need and indeed can see a great deal of harm in having a Provisional Legislature. In our view the Chinese should allow the current Legislature to continue after 1997. That is clearly what the people of Hong Kong want and what the civil servants wish to see.

Mr Ronald Arculli: Thank you Mr President. The Chief Secretary said to us that she expressed the view to Director Lu that the principal officials designate should remain in post but would give every assistance to the Chief Executive Designate. I just wondered whether the Chief Secretary is actually expecting a response from the Chinese Government on this particular point and if so, when is it likely that you might get a reply?

CS: Mr President, what Mr Lu and I agreed was that on the question of modalities for co-operation with the Chief Executive Designate, both sides will continue discussions and I would expect that in the context of these discussions it will become clearer what is the best modality to go for.

The President: Although this particular exchange has lasted for less than one hour, I think Members and myself certainly appreciate the Chief Secretary's courtesy and stamina in giving her answers standing whilst the Governor gives his sitting-down.

End

14

Government Minute *****

Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary, the Hon Anson Chan, in introducing the Government Minute in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

Laid on the table today is the Government Minute responding to Report No. 25 of the Public Accounts Committee. The Minute sets out the measures the Government has taken, or is planning to take, on the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Report.

Mr Eric Li, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, spoke in this Council on 7 February 1996 when tabling the Report. He highlighted five areas of particular concern to Members of the Committee to which I would like to respond.

First, police indebtedness. As I have said on more than one occasion, as the Chief Secretary I regard it my first duty to ensure that Hong Kong has a public service which is honest and efficient and remains committed to serving the best interests of the community. I and my senior colleagues recognise that serious pecuniary embarrassment might affect the integrity of the officers concerned. We are aware of the need to contain the problem so that public confidence in the civil service is not adversely affected, particularly confidence in the men and women whose duty it is to maintain law and order. The Commissioner of Police, therefore, maintains a very strict policy on indebtedness of police officers. He requires that all police officers should be temperate and prudent in their financial affairs. As the Secretary for Security will outline in his response later today to the motion proposed by the Hon Ambrose Lau. the Police Force has developed a comprehensive strategy for preventing, identifying and dealing with the indebtedness of police officers.

The Commissioner monitors the situation closely by conducting regular six-monthly surveys on indebtedness among police officers. The Government Minute before you contains the findings of the latest survey which show a downward trend in the number of cases of known indebtedness from sources outside the Government. The Police Force management will continue to monitor the situation closely and take appropriate action to tackle the problem. The Commissioner will make regular reports of further surveys to this Council’s Panel on Security.

15

Second, superannuation schemes of tertiary institutions. Members will wish to know that all UGC funded institutions have registered their schemes under the Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance. Admittedly, three of the schemes, namely those of the University of Hong Kong, the Polytechnic University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, are currently registered under an ’'insolvent” status - these schemes have yet to reach the standards of solvency stipulated in the Ordinance. But the institutions concerned arc taking positive measures to improve the longer term financial viability of their schemes. We are confident that these schemes should be able to achieve solvency before the legislative deadline, i.e. 15 October 1998.

Third, advance accounts for the care and maintenance of Vietnamese migrants. Following the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in November 1995, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has given us another repayment and has issued a letter reiterating its commitment to repaying Hong Kong the outstanding amount and stating that this commitment is not bound by any timeframe. We understand the latter expression to mean that 1997 is not a factor in the UNHCR commitment. We therefore remain of the view that the advances are recoverable. The Financial Secretary, in the light of these developments, has reaffirmed that the advance account arrangement should continue.

We, nevertheless, fully appreciate Members' concern about the significant amount of outstanding advances accumulated over the years. I wish to assure Members that we shall continue to liaise very closely with the High Commissioner with a view to securing full repayment as soon as possible.

On the definition of "recoverable advances" under Section 20 of the Public Finance Ordinance, having regard to a genuine need to cater for all possible circumstances where recoverable advances need to be made and the fact that so far, all advances other than for the care and maintenance of VMs, have been cleared in a timely fashion, we do not consider it necessary to fetter the Financial Secretary's authority under the Ordinance.

Fourth, Public Cargo Working Areas (PCWAs). Let me say at the outset that the Administration shares the PAC's view that the first-come-first-served berth allocation system no longer meets the needs of the trade. However, we find it hard to accept the PAC's remark that we lack knowledge of operation of the cargo handling trade. As the Director of Audit has pointed out, the Director of Marine has undertaken a number of management studies with a view to finding suitable measures to improve the management of the PCWAs. We have attempted various management modifications but unfortunately with only limited success. The PAC is right to demand that we should devise an open, fair and economically viable system that best meets the needs of the trade as early as possible. We believe we have now come up with the solutions and we will redouble our efforts to make them work.

16

As explained in the Government Minute, our consultants recommend that the most practical way to resolve the problems of PCWA management is to allocate PCWA berths through open and competitive bidding. Action is now in hand to implement the recommendations. The Economic Services Branch has formed a Working Group to oversee the management reform. Our plan is to replace, in phases, the current berth allocation system by a tendering arrangement. We are consulting the trade and aim to tender out the majority of the berthing spaces by the end of this year.

On the aspect of law and order in PCWAs, the Director of Marine has taken steps to enhance liaison between the PCWA managers, the local police and ICAC representatives. Economic Services Branch has also put in place a system calling for joint reports from the PCWA management in conjunction with the Police and the ICAC. Hopefully, this would remove the criminal and ’’triad” elements in PCWAs.

Finally, consultants. I must respectfully put it to Members that the observation of the PAC on the Government’s "seemingly habitual dependency on external consultants" is unfounded. The use, selection and management of consultants by Government are subject to rigorous procedures. Our system ensures that consultants are used only when necessary and appropriate, and that both the desired results and value for money are obtained.

We do not give approval for the use of consultants unless there is a clear need for specialist professional expertise which the department concerned does not possess, or there is a significant shortfall in the required professional skills to undertake the task. No doubt Members will appreciate, if we were to undertake all our projects inhouse, it would require an unacceptable expansion of the civil service. The use of consultants allows us to meet the uneven workload demands imposed on departments by time limited projects in a cost-effective manner.

We have clearly stipulated guidelines for the selection of consultants to ensure the best value for money for the Government. We have successfully operated a lump sum fee competitive system for some years to achieve an appropriate balance between technical competence and cost in the selection process.

Many of the staff employed on consultancies are prominent experts in their field. We have optimised the opportunities for technology transfer from these consultant teams to civil servants.

17

We also monitor closely the work of consultants. We provide high quality briefs to steer the consultants’ work and have established clear and effective procedures to monitor all aspects of the progress and management of a consultancy. The Chairman has made reference to PAC Members' concerns that they often see cases where the relevant departments were ill prepared to select, brief and monitor the progress of consultants. I accept that there may be room for improvement in this respect, but we must maintain a proper perspective of the problem. Policy Secretaries and the Works Directors would be very happy to follow-up cases where Members feel improvements are called for.

Mr President, the Government is committed to working closely with the Audit Department and the Public Accounts Committee in our quest for the more efficient use of public funds. I am confident that the measures we have taken, or are planning to take, will go a long way towards this end.

End

Speech by SHW in motion debate on elderly policy *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the motion debate on elderly policy in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

This is a timely debate and 1 welcome the many constructive views made by Members today. Based on current levels of life expectancy, we can all expect to live to a ripe old age. We are all, therefore, understandably interested in ensuring that the policies are in place to provide a dignified and fulfilling life in our twilight years. We are happiest and most satisfied when we are at home surrounded by our family, our friends and a familiar environment. Our fundamental policy goal is to provide the opportunity for as many people as possible to grow old in such circumstances. We give the highest priority to implementing concrete plans to achieve this policy. Because people's outlook and expectations are constantly changing, we must also constantly keep our plans under review. I could not agree more, therefore, with the Hon Chan Yuen-han that our planning must be both pro-active and forward looking.

18

The most comprehensive review of our plans was undertaken in 1993 by a Working Group on Care for the Elderly. This Group reviewed existing policies on the full spectrum of services for the elderly. All 71 recommendations of the Working Group were accepted by Government and funds have been earmarked to implement them.

But our efforts to improve services for the elderly have not stopped there. As I said before, expectations and needs of the elderly are evolving and the Working Group recognised the need to carry out in-depth studies of the needs of the elderly for community support and residential care. We are about to commission an important consultancy study to assess whether the needs of the elderly are being adequately served by existing services and whether new services need to be introduced. The study will also recommend how public and private sector resources should be deployed most effectively to meet these needs. The outcome of this study will help us to fine-tune our services and set them on the right path to meet the needs of those of us who will be in our old age in the early years of the next century.

Talking about elderly at risk, as much as we would all wish to see our elderly age contentedly in their home environment, the cruel fact is that eventually health may deteriorate to the point where constant care is needed. Worse still, elderly people are all too often faced with too little or dwindling incomes to support themselves. The traditional role of children faithfully providing for their elderly parents has sadly broken down in many cases. So here we have a recipe for disaster. Elderly people with failing health, with inadequate financial resources and all too often living alone with no family support. These are some of the most vulnerable members of our community - what the Hon Leong Chi-hung called the 'elderly at risk'. It is for these that the Government has a special responsibility of providing care and support.

Meeting the Financial Needs of the Elderly

A well-established retirement protection scheme is the best way of providing financial security for one's old age. This is why we arc working on introducing the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme. But meanwhile, we have in place a Social Security Allowance Scheme to provide financial assistance to meet the special needs of elderly arising from old age or disability. This Scheme comprises the Old Age Allowance (OAA) and the Disability Allowance (DA), both of which are not mean-tested. About 420.000 elderly people of 65 years of age or more arc receiving the OAA. the total expenditure on which was about $2.8 billion in 1995-96.

The CSSA or the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme which provides a safety net for elderly people in proven financial need. At present, there are about 94.000 elderly recipients, representing about 60% of all our CSSA recipients. Last year we spent about $3 billion on this group of CSSA recipients. As with all other groups receiving CSSA. the payments for elderly are set at a level to meet their basic needs.

19

During the recent cold spell which a number of members alluded to, a lot of concern was expressed about the importance of providing elderly people, especially those living alone, with an efficient means of calling for help in case of emergency. Under the CSSA scheme, elderly persons who need a telephone are eligible to receive a special grant for this purpose. The grants cover both the installation cost and monthly charges. To ensure that elderly people at risk are aware of this assistance, the Director of Social Welfare has just started a new initiative whereby his staff will proactively visit elderly CSSA recipients living alone to inform them about this special grant and to assist them in applying for it.

In meeting our health needs of the elderly, many members have also commented on this very important aspect of care for the elderly. To care for the health of our elderly population, we have a comprehensive system of health and medical facilities. People aged 65 and above are by far the biggest user of public medical and health services vis-a-vis patients of other age groups. The total attendance of patients in the General Outpatient Clinics under the Department of Health totals over 5 million in 1995 and 34% of these are patients aged 65 and above. The total bed-days for patients in public hospitals were 6.9 million in 1995 and 39% of those were for elderly patients. They also constitute an estimated 32% of the total number of patients attending the Medical, Surgery and Orthopaedic outpatient clinics. The Hon Fred Lee and others commented on dental care need for the elderly. As for dental care, the financially disadvantaged elderly who are eligible for CSSA, can seek treatment at non-profit making dental clinics designated by the Social Welfare Department and their fees are reimbursed through the CSSA scheme.

In order to improve our medical and health facilities for the elderly, a range of new services has been developed exclusively to care for the health of elderly people in the past few years. These include the setting up of seven elderly health centres by 1997 to provide and promote preventive health care for elderly people aged 65 and above. So far, four centres have been brought into operation and another three will be opened this year. These new centres will be set up within general outpatient clinics to provide a more integrated service to meet needs of elderly patients. In addition, the Hospital Authority has set up seven community geriatric and one psychogcriatric assessment teams to provide outreaching medical services to elderly people residing in residential care institutions. These teams undertake geriatric assessment to ensure proper placement of elderly patients who need residential care. They also provide specialist support in the form of medical/nursing care and rehabilitation service for elderly persons in care-and-attention homes. One additional community geriatric team and three psychogeriatric teams will be set up this year. These geriatric assessment clinics will also be set up in the various hospital clusters to provide outpatient medical services to the elderly in our community.

20

Clinics under the Department of Health and public hospitals are well-geared to deal with crisis situations, whether this occurs in the elderly population or in the general community. Again arising from the recent cold spell, consideration is being given to enhancing the public health programmes to promote public awareness for the sort of care needed for the elderly during extreme weather conditions. The Department of Health is considering the best way to step up its health education and information materials to elderly persons living in the community through social centres and public housing estates. The Department has also launched a Health Ambassador Programme for the Elderly, the main objective of which is to disseminate health messages amongst the elderly community. I agree with the Hon Michael Ho's suggestion that we need to devise more innovative schemes to promote health education for elderly persons.

For those elderly whose health condition does not allow them to remain at home, a full range of residential care services are provided to meet their varying needs. They range from self-care hostels for those who are still capable of self-care but require certain support in their daily living; to care-and-attention homes which provide personal care and limited nursing care to elderly persons; and to infirmaries where intensive medical and nursing care are given. As at 31 March 1996, there are 19 665 subvented residential care places for the elderly. This represents a 30% increase in such places over the last three years.

In his 1993 Policy Address, the Governor announced the introduction of a new nursing home service for the elderly. It provides medical and nursing care as well as residential care to those elderly who have lost personal care ability and whose medical conditions, while stabilised, still require regular medical attention. There are six nursing homes under planning with a total provision of 1 400 beds. Four of them will be completed in 1997 and two more will be completed by 1998.

On temporary accommodation and emergency placements, we provide to elderly people urgently in need of accommodation while awaiting other long-term placements. Such facilities are either in places of subvented residential care homes or in emergency shelters run by Government or non-governmental organisations. In addition, places are reserved in temporary shelters and hostels for single persons to meet the special needs of elderly people at risk.

Despite the continuous increase in the provision of residential services, the waiting time for residential places still remains an issue of great concern. Strenuous efforts are being made to shorten the waiting time. These include the following :

21

* First of all, increased provision of subvented residential places, particularly care-and-attention places where the demand is most acute. An additional 1 150 places will be provided in the coming two years. The consultancy study on elderly needs which will be commissioned shortly will examine the current planning ratios for residential care places to ensure that they accurately reflect the actual needs of the elderly;

* Secondly, more places will be bought from private residential homes through the Bought Place Scheme. Funds are available for the purpose to purchase additional 300 places;

Thirdly, efforts are being stepped up to encourage private and voluntary organisations to operate self-financing, non-profit making residential homes. These homes provide an alternative for those who are ready to pay for better quality service, thereby releasing subvented places to those genuinely in need of them. At present, there are 2 105 selffinancing places in residential homes. With the setting up of the Elderly Services Development Fund following the recommendation of the Working Group on Care for the Elderly, we hope more organisations will come forward to apply for financial assistance from the Fund for operating more self-financing residential care services; and

Finally, the waiting list system for residential homes is to be streamlined by introducing a computerised, integrated system for all applicants thereby making the system more fair and effective.

Many members commenting on the social support for the elderly, various forms of services are presently provided to reach out to elderly people at risk. Apart from the two subvented outreaching teams, staff of home-help teams are in regular contact with elderly persons who receive such services. Through these home visits, elderly persons with special needs are identified and referred by home helpers to professional social workers for assistance and other welfare organisations. Professional social workers from our family services centres and medical social services of both Social Welfare Department and non-governmental organisations also reach out to elderly people in need. To encourage neighbourhood and volunteer support in the provision of services to vulnerable elderly groups, the experimental Older Volunteers Programme and the Volunteer Workers Programme have been launched in ten multisocial service centres for the elderly. They aim to reach out to elderly persons at risk and to help them make use of services available in the community.

22

To strengthen the support network, a telephone service has also been provided in these multi-social services centres as an integral part of the programme to answer enquiries from elderly people and to provide peer support as well as to refer the elderly persons to appropriate welfare agencies where needed. In addition, mutual help groups- and support networks are organised by service units of the Social Welfare Department and non-governmental organisations in their community support projects and concern visit programme to elderly persons living alone.

As a new initiative, the Social Welfare Department are taking the lead to coordinate with other government departments, non-governmental organisations and local groups in each district to mobilise community and volunteer support to reach out to vulnerable elderly persons. A list of elderly persons at risk will be compiled and volunteers will be identified to conduct regular visits to these elderly persons. The programme will be conducted under the planning and supervision of professional staff in the district offices of the Social Welfare Department and in multi-service centres. A sum of $17 million has been earmarked to conduct this project over the coming two years.

The Hon Leung Yiu-chung has proposed the setting up of a Central Committee on the Elderly. My response to this is that we already have a comprehensive consultative machinery in place to advise Government on all aspects concerning the elderly: the Social Welfare Advisory Committee advises Government on welfare policies including those that concern the elderly; the Health and Medical Development Advisory Committee advises on health and medical policies while the Housing Authority takes care of public housing policies concerning the elderly. The Hospital Authority is responsible for the management of all public hospitals. It is in these four main areas that the vast majority of services for the elderly are provided. The Elderly Services Division of my Branch which co-ordinates policy matters concerning health, medical and welfare of the elderly will seek advice from these bodies when the need arises. In addition, the Council’s own Panel on Welfare Services monitors and advises Government on matters relating to elderly services. An important on-going dialogue is also maintained with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and nongovernmental organisations involved in the provision of elderly services. The existing consultative channels are therefore more than adequate to monitor the work of Government on all aspects of elderly services.

Ensuring those elderly people in need are properly provided for is, without a doubt, one of my heaviest and most challenging duties. But may I remind Hon Members that it is not solely the Government which has a heavy responsibility in this regard. In our society, it has traditionally been a key role of the family to ensure that elderly persons are cared for with the respect and dignity they deserve. I appeal to all members of our community not to neglect this role. Through the combination of these traditional values and the comprehensive services and financial support we provide for the elderly, I am confident we shall succeed in meeting our responsibilities towards them.

End

23

Gas Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996 * * * * *

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu, in moving the second reading of the Gas Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Gas Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second time.

The Gas Safety Ordinance enables the Gas Authority (the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services) to enter and inspect fuel gas installations, such as gas works, high pressure gas pipes and gas pressure-regulating and storage facilities, and he does so annually. If the inspector finds any faults during an inspection, an improvement notice can be issued directing that they be remedied within a certain period.

The Bill proposes that gas installation owners should have a statutory obligation to ensure that their installations are maintained and operated safely and that they are inspected periodically by a competent person. This will ensure that the owner does not wait until the Gas Authority's inspector points out faults before performing maintenance work.

The Gas Authority will specify how often owners should arrange for a competent person to inspect different types of installations, examine the inspection findings and issue improvement notices when necessary.

The Bill will not only improve the safety of gas installations but also give the Gas Authority stronger powers to deal with any installation deemed to be unsafe. The Bill will enable the Gas Authority to effect remedial work himself if necessary or decommission the installation until it is made safe. The overall safety level of gas installations is good and decommissioning of an installation by the Gas Authority would only happen in unusual or extreme cases. It will be an offence to operate an installation that has been decommissioned by the Gas Authority. Expenses incurred by the Gas Authority in doing remedial work on an installation or decommissioning it will be recoverable from the person concerned as a civil debt due to the Government.

24

The proposals in the Bill will apply equally to fuel gas installations owned by registered gas companies, the Government and numerous institutional, commercial and industrial private sector establishments such as schools, power companies, private housing developments, restaurants and factories.

The Bill also amends the Gas Safety (Gas Supply) Regulations to enable the Gas Authority to prohibit disposable liquefied petroleum gas containers which he considers to be prejudicial to public safety.

Experience has shown that accidents with disposable LPG containers which have no valve to automatically close off the gas when the container is disconnected from an appliance often result in the user sustaining burns. These containers are of the type used with camping stoves. As the market will be adequately supplied with camping gas containers equipped with a closing off valve, the Gas Authority proposes, in due course, to prohibit the supply of those without a valve, in the interests of public safety.

The Bill also enables the transfer of responsibility for the examination of gasholders from the Labour Department to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, so that all responsibilities relating to safety of gasholders will be consolidated under one authority.

Mr President, I commend the Bill to the Council.

End

Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill

*****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

This is the first often Bills which I will introduce this afternoon to give effect to the revenue proposals in this year’s Budget.

25

The Bill now before Members seeks to increase salaries tax allowances as announced in the Budget, to introduce a new allowance for maintaining a dependent brother or sister, to provide a deduction for taxpayers to claim fees for attending employment-related training courses at qualifying institutions, and to introduce a specific allowance for hotels refurbishment expenditure. Let me now briefly explain the concessions.

First, on increasing various salaries tax allowances. Specifically, the basic and married person's allowances will be increased by 13.9 per cent. The first and second child allowance and the allowance for the third to ninth child will be increased by 11.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent to $24,500 and $12,500 respectively. The basic and additional allowances for parents and grandparents will be increased by 11.4 per cent and 16.7 per cent to $24,500 and $7,000 respectively while those for single parent and disabled dependant will be increased by 12.5 per cent and 36.4 per cent to $45,000 and $ 15,000 respectively.

Secondly, on introducing a new allowance of $24,500 which can be claimed by a taxpayer if he or she maintains an unmarried brother or sister who, in any time in the year of assessment, was -

(a) under the age of 18;

(b) ofor over the age of 18 but under 25 and receiving full time education; or

(c) of or over the age of 18 and was, by reason of physical or mental disability, incapacitated for work.

Moreover, the disabled dependant allowance of $15,000 will also be extended to include a dependent brother or sister who is disabled.

Thirdly, on introducing a new deduction up to a maximum of $12,000 a year to allow taxpayers to claim fees for employment-related training courses attended at qualifying institutions. This will help to upgrade the skill of the workforce. The deduction will apply to a course of education undertaken to gain or maintain qualifications for use in any employment that is provided by a university, university college, technical college or other qualifying place of education, or a training or development course provided by a trade, professional or business association for its members. Courses provided by overseas institutions of the above nature including long distance courses will also be acceptable. The Commissioner of Inland Revenue will publish an information pamphlet to explain the details to taxpayers.

26

Finally, the Bill seeks to introduce a specific profits tax allowance to enable hotels to amortise refurbishment expenditure over a five-year period using an annual 20 per cent write-off This recognises the fact that refurbishments have only a limited life in the case of hotels which have to be renovated from time to time to maintain quality and standards.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996 *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to apply a concessionary tax rate of 50 per cent of the normal profits tax rate to trading profits and interest income derived from certain debt instruments issued in Hong Kong. To qualify for the tax benefit, the debt instrument has to satisfy the following criteria -

First, it has to be lodged with and cleared by the Central Moneymarket Unit operated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA);

Secondly, it has a rating acceptable to the HKMA from a credit rating agency recognised by the HKMA;

Thirdly, it has an original maturity of not less than five, years;

Fourthly, it has a minimum denomination of $500,000; and

Lastly, it is issued to the public of Hong Kong.

- 27 -

The concession will help to attract overseas issuers to Hong Kong, enlarge our debt market and enhance our competitiveness vis-a-vis other financial centres in the region.

The Bill also seeks to empower the Financial Secretary to exempt by Order in the Gazette an issuer from the credit rating or the $500,000 minimum denomination requirement. The intention is to provide exemption to statutory bodies owned by the Government. We have no doubt about the credit standing of these bodies and there is no need to require an explicit rating for their debt issues. We have also encouraged these bodies to issue lower denomination paper so as to improve small investors’ access to high quality Hong Kong dollar debt securities. It would therefore be appropriate to exempt these bodies from the minimum denomination requirement. Any Order made by the Financial Secretary to provide such an exemption is a piece of subsidiary legislation and will be subject to scrutiny by this Council in the normal manner.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to include specific exclusions from profits tax liability for certain income derived by non-residents from Hong Kong share trading transactions and bona fide offshore funds managed in Hong Kong. It also seeks to exclude stock brokers and the managers of offshore funds from potential profits tax liability in respect of share trading and fund investment profits derived by non-residents from whom they act as agents. The amendments in fact reflect the existing practices and seek to provide greater certainty to the relevant areas in the legislation. They will help to enhance Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre.

28

The opportunity is also taken in this exercise to amend the legislation in order to provide equal tax treatment to Hong Kong and non-Hong Kong stocks in stock borrowing and lending transactions. Under existing legislation, profits tax concessions proposed to promote such transactions apply only to Hong Kong stocks. The Bill seeks to extend the concession to non-Hong Kong stocks transactions as specified by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. t

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996 *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to raise the maximum average monthly turnover levels below which businesses are exempt from payment of business registration fees. For the sale of goods, the level is raised by 100 per cent from $15,000 to $30,000. For those providing a service, the level is raised by 150 per cent from $4,000 to $10,000.

The Bill also seeks to transfer minor regulation making power under the Business Registration Ordinance from the Governor in Council to the Secretary for the Treasury. This Council would still be able to scrutinise any regulation made under the Ordinance, in the usual way.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

29

Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill before Members seeks to adjust the schedule of asset value for the purpose of assessing estate duty. Specifically it increases, from $6 million to $6.5 million, the level below which no duty is payable and widens the duty band widths of the two marginal duty bands from $1.0 million to $1.5 million. Therefore estate duty will be payable at 6 per cent on estates of value between $6.5 million and $8.0 million; 12 per cent in respect of value between $8.0 million and $9.5 million; and 18 per cent in respect of value over $9.5 million.

The opportunity is also taken to transfer minor statutory powers of the Governor in Council under the Estate Duty Ordinance with no policy implications to the Secretary for the Treasury in order to lessen the burden on the Governor in Council and to improve the presentation of the Ordinance.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill


Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury. Mr Alan Lai. in moving the second reading of the Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President.

I move that the Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

30

The Bill seeks to adjust the rates of stamp duty to bring relief to home buyers at the lower to middle end of the market, including those who purchase Home Ownership flats or Sandwich Class Housing Scheme properties. Specifically, it increases the limit below which only the nominal fee of $100 is charged from $500,000 to $750,000. The rate of 0.75 per cent will apply to properties with a value of $750,000 to $1.5 million; the rate of 1.5 per cent will apply to properties with a value of $1.5 million to $2.5 million; the rate of 2 per cent will apply to properties with a value of $2.5 million to $3.5 million; and the threshold at which the maximum rate of 2.75 per cent begins to apply will be raised from $3.0 million to $3.5 million.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

Motor Vehicle (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1996 *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Motor Vehicle (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Motor Vehicle (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to enable the Commissioner for Transport to set by regulation the maximum value for tax exempted items, i.e. exempted accessories and distributor's warranty, in respect of different levels of taxable value of vehicles so that the value of these items in excess of the maximum value would become taxable. This will tackle the problem of over-declaring the value of the tax exempted items as a means to reduce the taxable value of the vehicle and therefore the first registration tax payable. We will consult the vehicle trade on the appropriate level of the maximum value of the various tax exempted items before we introduce the regulation, which will be subject to the scrutiny of this Council in the usual manner.

31

The Bill also enables us to impose conditions on the granting of* first registration tax remission and to provide sanctions against abuse to obtain the remission. This is necessary for the implementation of the proposed scrapping incentive scheme for replacement of old vehicles, as announced in the Budget. Under the scheme, which is being introduced in order to improve air quality, if the owner of a private vehicle of ten years old or more gives up the old vehicle and replaces it with a new one, he would be eligible for a reduction in first registration tax of 20 per cent of the tax payable or $30,000, whichever is the lower amount. The conditions we intend to impose to safeguard against abuse are -

(a) the old vehicle must be scrapped and de-registered;

(b) the old vehicle must have been continuously licensed for the 24 months immediately before scrapping;

(c) the ownership of the vehicle must have remained unchanged for the 24 months immediately before scrapping;

(d) the right to the concession can only be retained for six months after the scrapping of the old vehicle;

(e) the replacement vehicle has to be petrol-engined; and

(f) the transfer of the replacement vehicle purchased within one year after acquisition will be subject to the repayment of the first registration tax remission provided.

Any person who made a false declaration in order to obtain the remission commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500,000 or imprisonment of 12 months.

The opportunity is also taken in this exercise to rectify minor irregularities in the legislation and to amend provisions related to ’’disabled person" to reflect accurately the policy intention that first registration tax remission would only be granted to a disabled person who is fit to drive.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

32

Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to increase the Air Passenger Departure Tax from $50 to $100, which was the level when the tax was first introduced in 1983. The level of $50 is well below the average for the region and the increase will bring the tax more in line with the level charged in other places. Passengers aged below the year of twelve are still not required to pay the tax.

Mr President, with these remarks, 1 commend the Bill to Members.

End

Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill

*****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai. in moving the second reading of the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President.

1 move that the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to increase betting duty by half a percentage point. The rate for a standard bet will be increased from 11.5 per cent to 12 per cent and for exotic bets from 17.5 per cent to 18 per cent. The increase will apply with effect from the next racing season. 1 September 1996. I he Royal I long Kong Jockey Club will absorb the cost of the increase by a corresponding reduction in its betting commission. The prize money pool will not be reduced.

Mr President, with these remarks. I commend the Bill to Members.

End

33

Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, in moving the second reading of the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr Deputy President,

I move that the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill be read the second time.

The Bill seeks to increase the specific duty rates on tobacco and fuel by 9 per cent broadly in line with inflation in 1995. This is consistent with our overall budgetary strategy whereby we aim to maintain the yield in real terms from the various sources of revenue to ensure financial stability. In the case of tobacco duty, we also believe that there is a need to increase the duty rates in order to maintain the deterrent effect of the duty on smoking. The impact of the proposed duty increases on inflation is minimal.

We have recently strengthened the resources of the Customs and Excise Department to tackle the problems of cigarette smuggling and illicit activities in the use of diesel oil.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the Bill to Members.

End

34

Legal Aid Services Council (No 2) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the Chief Secretary, the Hon Mrs Anson Chan in resuming the second reading debate of the Legal Aid Services Council (No 2) Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

On October 18, 1995, the Legal Aid Services Council (No 2) Bill was introduced into this Council. This Bill provides for the establishment of an independent Legal Aid Services Council to oversee the publicly-funded legal services operated by the Legal Aid Department and the Duty Lawyer Service. The objective of the Bill is to provide greater and more direct public participation in legal aid administration and policy formulation and to enhance the independence of legal aid administration.

I would like first to thank Members of the Bills Committee, especially its Chairman, the Honourable Mrs Miriam Lau, for their hard work and thorough examination of this controversial Bill. We have responded positively to most of the ideas put forward by Members of the Bills Committee and these are reflected in the Committee Stage Amendments which I will move later.

Before I proceed any further, Mr President, I should like to acknowledge that I appreciate that for some members, this Bill does not go any far enough. And in the views of members, nothing short of a totally independent legal aid services will be acceptable. Let me just recapitulate briefly why we do not agree with setting up an independent legal aid authority now. The first reason is that we are frankly not convinced that this is the best way forward, rhe second reason is that it will take a considerable period of time to do this. It will be necessary to dis-establish the Legal Aid Department and draw up new terms and conditions of services for the new authority. From experience, this could involve protracted consultation with the staff of the department. We have now indicated clear support for the proposal. Therefore, we have proposed proceed in two stages: first by establishing the Legal Aid Services Council and secondly by asking the Legal Aid Services Council to examine and advise on the proposal for an independent authority.

Mr President, I would like to outline briefly our proposed changes to the Bill and to set out our views on some of the concerns raised by the Bills Committee.

35

First, in my speech on 18 October 1995 to move the Second Reading of this Bill, I said that once the Legal Aid Services Council had been established, we would ask the Council to examine the feasibility and desirability of establishing an independent legal aid authority. Some Members were of the view that, for the avoidance of doubt, the Bill should provide explicitly that the Council’s advice would be sought on this proposal. To allay Members’ concern, I shall move a Committee Stage Amendment to include a sub-clause to this effect in Clause 4 of the Bill.

Secondly, some Members of the Bills Committee suggested that the Duty Lawyer Service should not be put under the supervision of the Legal Aid Services Council since the Service is already managed by an independent governing body, the Council of the Duty Lawyer Service. They supported the legal profession's view that the Duty Lawyer Service should be allowed to maintain its autonomous status. We are prepared to agree that the Duty Lawyer Service should be excluded from the supervision of the Legal Aid Services Council. At the Committee Stage, I shall move amendments to clauses 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10 of the Bill to give effect to this. However, we believe that it is important that the Council should be able to advise the Government on the provision of all publicly-funded legal aid services, including those provided by the Legal Aid Department and the Duty Lawyer Service. This is preserved in the new Clause 4(5) that I shall propose.

The Chairman of the Bills Committee, Mrs Lau, will propose Committee Stage Amendments to clauses 2 and 4 to delete all references to the Duty Lawyer Service. As I have just said, the Administration believes that it is important that the Council should be able to offer advice on the whole range of publicly-funded legal aid services and on the co-ordination between the Legal Aid Department and the Duty Lawyer Service. We therefore cannot support Mrs Lau’s proposed amendments.

Thirdly, some Members proposed that Clause 4 of the Bill, which sets out the functions of the Council, should be amended to refine the relationship between the Council and the Legal Aid Department to enhance the supervisory role of the Council. The amendment to Clause 4 that I shall move at the Committee Stage will allow the Council to look into the day-to-day operation of the Department, with the exception of staff matters and the handling of individual legal aid cases. A provision will also be made to require the Department to provide information as reasonably requested by the Council.

36

Fourthly, some Members proposed deleting Clause 14 of the Bill, which provides for the prohibition of unauthorised disclosure of information. They considered that the criminalization of disclosure of information was unnecessary. Clause 14 is modelled on a similar provision in UK legislation and its purpose is to protect applicants for legal aid and aided persons from unauthorised disclosure of information. However, we appreciate Members' concern, and I will move an amendment to restrict the scope of Clause 14 and to provide that a prosecution for an offence under this clause will not be brought without the written consent of the Attorney General. But we do not agree that Clause 14 should be deleted, as Mrs Lau will propose at the Committee Stage. The privacy of applicants for legal aid and aided persons needs to be adequately protected.

Some Members also suggested that the Administration should appoint as lay members of the Council a Member of this Council, persons from human rights organisations, social services and welfare organisations and the academic community. I can assure Members that we will give careful consideration to appointing persons from these groups as lay members when the Council is established.

Mr President, with these remarks, and subject to the Committee Stage Amendments proposed by the Administration, I commend the Legal Aid Services Council (No. 2) Bill to Honourable Members.

End

Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1995 *****

Following is the speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan Lai, at the resumption of second reading debate on the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

Firstly, I would like to thank the several members for their speeches, Dr the Honourable Huang Chen-ya and the Bills Committee for their thorough and detailed discussions with the Administration on the Bill. I am very grateful for the support the Bills Committee has given to the Bill. The main purpose of the Bill is to enable us to tax the income of Hong Kong airlines which is earned from air traffic involving an agreement country. This Bill will allow us to bring into force double taxation relief articles in Air Services Agreements. Under the Agreements, we will have the right to tax the income from international traffic of Hong Kong airlines derived from an agreement country if such income has been granted full tax relief by that country. At the same time, we will give up the right to tax the income of airlines of the agreement country derived from Hong Kong if such income is subject to tax in that country.

37

In the course of examining the Bill, Members of the Bills Committee expressed concern over two issues, namely whether the amendments would undermine the territorial source basis of our taxation system, and whether there would be an obligation to disclose tax-related information to overseas authorities. Let me make clear the Administration's stand on these two issues.

First, the objective of the amendments is to cater for the unique situation in respect of international airline operations. The initiative for the present legislative amendments came from the local airline industry. Due to the international nature of their operations, airline operators are more susceptible to double taxation than other taxpayers. Our international aviation partners have also appealed to us to enter into negotiation on double taxation relief. In fact, to seek taxation of airlines by the country of residence is the international practice. I can therefore assure Members that the application of the amendments is restricted to the particular situation of international airline operations. They will not be regarded as creating a precedent for the world-wide taxation of income on other types of Hong Kong business.

Secondly, regarding the question of exchange of tax-related information, the Administration has no intention of including an exchange of tax information article in double taxation relief arrangements for airline income in the negotiation of such an arrangement. In the standard double taxation relief article for airline income, there is no provision for exchange of tax information. We have not to date negotiated any such provision and will not do so in future. Moreover, the procedures for bringing a double taxation relief arrangement into effect carry their own safeguard. Under Section 49(1) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance, each and every double taxation relief arrangement has to be put into effect by an Order to be made by the Governor in Council. Such Orders are subsidiary legislation and therefore subject to the scrutiny of this Council in the usual way. Members can therefore be assured that no exchange of tax information provision can be included in a double taxation relief arrangement without this Council's knowledge or agreement.

At Committee Stage I will move a few amendments to the Bill which have been agreed by the Bills Committee. I shall also explain the reasons for the amendments at that point.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

38

Govt to fully co-operate with Chief Executive (Designate) *****

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It has been reported that some members of the Preparatory Committee have suggested that incumbent policy secretaries of the Hong Kong Government should leave the Hong Kong civil service temporarily upon being appointed principal officials-designate of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG), in order that they may take up such posts before July 1, 1997. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council of the serious impact the implementation of this suggestion will have on the operation of the Government, and whether it will divide the civil service and cause contradictions among civil servants?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Government has made clear that it will fully co-operate with the Chief Executive (Designate) within practical, efficient and common sense arrangements which, based on the following three principles:

are consistent with the provisions of the Joint Declaration and Basic Law;

do not undermine the authority and credibility of the Hong Kong Government in its responsibility for administration of the territory until midnight June 30, 1997; and

do nothing adversely to affect the morale and confidence of the civil service.

Regarding the modalities of co-operation, as the Chief Secretary has just said, is a matter still awaiting further discussions. I believe that Honourable Members would not expect me to speculate on this, or to respond to unverified reports in the press. I would only stress that the continuity of the civil service is self-evidently crucial to a smooth and successful transition. Indeed, it is fully guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. At present, policy secretaries all have very full schedules, and if they have to leave their posts for a long period, it would certainly lead to serious consequences; including the maintenance of effective administration of Hong Kong.

39

In this connection, the Foreign Secretary and the Vice Premier Qian Qichen issued a public statement after their recent meeting at The Hague. The two sides agreed that continuity of the civil service was vital for a successful transition, reaffirmed the commitment to a politically impartial civil service, and agreed that civil servants should remain loyal and dedicated to serving Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Government before July 1, 1997 and the Special Administrative Region Government thereafter. Vice Premier Qian also said that China hoped that all civil servants would stay on to serve the Special Administrative Region Government. He also confirmed that until July 1, 1997 the Governor, Privy Council and Legislative Council alone would exercise power in Hong Kong. Following his discussions with the Chief Secretary, Director Lu Ping also reiterated that the Chinese government would not have a second power centre in Hong Kong and that there would be no interference in Hong Kong Government’s effective administration before June 30, 1997.

The Hong Kong Government welcomes these statements.

End

Govt’s focus on external commercial relations ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Cheng Ming-fun and a reply by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that China and Macau signed an agreement on trade and cooperation with the European Union (EU) in 1985 and 1992 respectively and that the Republic of Korea is now negotiating a similar agreement with the EU. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the reasons for the territory not having entered into such an agreement with the EU?

Reply:

40

Mr President,

In managing Hong Kong's external commercial relations, the Government's focus has been put on the multilateral front through the World Trade Organisation and the regional front through the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation. Hong Kong's active participation and where appropriate, negotiations, in these organisations have enabled us to secure and further Hong Kong's commercial and economic interests.

On the bilateral front, the Government has concentrated on negotiating agreements in the two specific areas of air services and investment promotion & protection. The Government has so far accorded a low priority to concluding bilateral trade and co-operation agreements because being more general in nature, they are seen to be offering less tangible benefits than specifically targeted agreements. However, I am pleased to inform this Council that the Government has recently started to look into the merits and implications of negotiating and concluding a general agreement on trade and co-operation with the European Union. I shall be happy to inform and consult the LegCo Trade and Industry Panel on the progress and outcome of our deliberations.

End

Supplementary Labour Scheme

*****

Following is a question by the Hon James Tien Pei-chun and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Information from the Census and Statistics Department indicates that under the Supplementary Labour Scheme introduced on 1 February this year, the minimum wages for various types of jobs have risen as compared to those for similar types of jobs under the former General Labour Importation Scheme. As a result, some employers in the industrial and commercial sectors cannot afford employing imported labour even though they are unable to recruit local employees. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

41

(a) the average percentage of increase in the minimum wages for the various types of jobs under the Supplementary Labour Scheme as compared to that for the corresponding jobs under the General Labour Importation Scheme, and how this rate of increase compares with the inflation rate in the same period; and

(b) the criteria for determining the minimum ages for the various types of jobs under the Supplementary Labour Scheme; and whether, in determining such wages, consideration has been given to the ability of the employers in various sectors.(especially those in small and mediumsized businesses) to afford wage increases in the present economic e downturn?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Government's policy on importation of labour is that local workers must be given priority in filling job vacancies available in the job market, and that employers who are genuinely unable to recruit workers locally to fill these job vacancies should be allowed to bring in imported workers.

To safeguard the interests of local workers and to ensure that they will not be displaced by cheap labour from overseas, we have made it a requirement under the Supplementary Labour Scheme that the wages offered to local workers should be set at no less than the latest median monthly wage levels for comparable job titles in the local labour market.

It follows that if the employer is not able to recruit locally, the Scheme requires that the minimum wages to be offered to imported workers should be equivalent to the median wages for the same vacancies at the time of the visa application. This requirement is in compliance with Hong Kong's obligation under International Labour Convention No. 97 which stipulates that foreign workers should be subject to no less favourable treatment than that applied to their local counterparts in respect of remuneration and other conditions.

It should be noted that this wage requirement is also included under the previous General Labour Importation Scheme, and the Special Labour Importation Scheme for the New Airport and related Projects.

My replies to the specific parts of the question are as follows:

42

(a) We last invited applications under the General Labour Importation Scheme in early 1994 when the minimum wages for the various jobs were based on the September 1993 wage figures. This Scheme was replaced by the Supplementary Labour Scheme which commenced in February this year and which has been using the September 1995 wage figures in setting the minimum wages for the various types of jobs. Comparing these two sets of figures, the average annual increase in the minimum wages is 9.5%, while the average annual inflation rate in the same period is 8.8%.

(b) The minimum wages for the various jobs under the Supplementary Labour Scheme are set at the same level as the corresponding median wage levels compiled by the Census & Statistics Department at half-yearly intervals. The median wage statistics are computed from the results of the half-yearly Labour Earnings Survey on the actual wage levels of the respective jobs reported by employers, including small and medium-sized businesses.

End

Incidents involving unidentified gases *****

Following is a question by the Hon Allen Lee and a reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Incidents involving unidentified gases hitting schools have frequently occurred in recent years, and a similar incident has recently occurred in a school near the Tai Po Industrial Estate. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) whether it has traced the source of the unidentified gas in the above

incident, and whether the gas originated from the Tai Po Industrial Estate;

(b) whether it will formulate guidelines to advise the management of schools (including schools for the disabled) on taking emergency evacuation measures effectively in the event of a gas attack; and

43

(c) what mechanism the Government has to facilitate the payment of financial assistance and compensation to persons who have to be treated in hospital and those who suffer permanent physical injuries due to gas attacks?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The source of the unidentified gas in respect of the incident referred to by the Honourable Member could not be established despite a thorough search of the school and the vicinity by the Fire Services Department. There was no evidence to suggest that the gas originated from the Tai Po Industrial Estate.

(b) The Education Department has issued a circular to all schools, including those for the disabled, providing guidance on measures to be taken in the event of gas leaks or reports of unidentified gases or odours. These measures include the prompt removal of pupils from the affected area to a safe place with fresh air, care by a responsible member of staff for pupils not feeling well, and requesting for emergency services. Under these general guidelines to handle emergency situations, school heads are able to exercise their discretion to minimise adverse effect to the pupils while avoiding unnecessary anxiety or alarm.

(c) Like any other patients suffer from gas attack and in financial hardship as a result of hospitalisation or permanent physical injuries may also apply for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). For CSSA recipients, their treatment at public hospitals will be free of charge. Those who suffer permanent physical injuries due to gas attacks resulting in a disability broadly equivalent to 100% loss of earning capacity will be eligible for a Disability Allowance. There are no specific schemes for compensation to be paid to persons who suffered injuries as a result of a gas attack. However, under our legal system, anyone who believes that he has suffered a harm or loss as a result of an act or omission by another person may seek redress in the civil courts.

End

44

Specialist treatment for burn patients ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Mok Ying-fan and a reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The Pat Sin Leng hill fire tragedy, which resulted in a number of deaths and critical bums cases, has aroused public concern. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) which public hospitals have specialist burns units to deal specifically with burns cases and how these units operate;

(b) of the number of bums patients who have received treatment, and the number of operations on bums patients in these units from 1993 to 1996; and

(c) of the success rate in the treatment of severely burned patients (with bums up to one-third or more of their bodies) in public hospitals during the same period, and how it compares with the respective success rates in the United States, Britain, Japan and China?

Reply:

Specialist treatment for burns patients is provided in the isolation facilities of seven major acute hospitals namely Queen Mary Hospital, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital.

Since the statistics in respect of 1995 are still being finalised, only the number of bums patients admitted into public hospitals up to 1994 are available. The relevant figures are 1 910 in 1991, 1 735 in 1992, 1 674 in 1993 and 1 622 in 1994 respectively. On average, about 15% to 20% of these patients would require some form of surgical operations during the acute phase of their injury.

It will be difficult to ascertain the degree of success achieved by specialist treatment provided for bums patients which is dependent not only on severity of the injury, but also other factors such as age, location and depth of the burns, inhalation injuries as well as other underlying medical conditions. Furthermore, given the lack of local clinical data on the outcome of treatment for bums patients, it would not be possible to make a direct comparison with other countries.

End

45

Overnight parking for buses ♦ * * ♦ *

Following is a question by the Hon Samuel Wong and a reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the respective current shortfalls in overnight bus parking spaces of three bus companies (i.e. KMB, CMB and Citybus), as well as the respective numbers of buses of these companies which have to be parked on the road overnight at present; and

(b) . the reduction in the number of bus parking spaces over the past ten years as a result of the Government permitting bus companies to change the usage of their depots?

Reply:

Mr President,

Overnight parking for franchised buses is permitted at bus depots, off-street short term tenancy (STT) sites, bus termini and also on-street. Taking into account these designated locations for overnight parking, KMB, CMB and Citybus all have sufficient numbers of parking spaces to cater for their respective fleet sizes. The details are set out in the Annex to my reply.

Before buses can be parked overnight at bus termini and on roads, the bus companies must first seek the specific approval of the Commissioner for Transport who would consult the relevant District Boards before permission is given. The parking of buses overnight at termini and, to a more limited extent, on-street, is, of course, not ideal. However, such arrangements are unavoidable for operational reasons because of the lack of suitable sites for off-street parking in the vicinity. In some ways, the reliance on this arrangement has become even greater because bus companies have implemented new routes and improved frequencies in response to requests from District Boards for better services.

46

Our approach will be to continue to identify and allocate suitable off-street sites for overnight parking. For example, temporary off-street sites have been found for Citybus's fleet and, later this year, about 80 of KMB's buses currently parked on-street in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun will be relocated to a new off-street STT site in Tin Shui Wai. But it has to be recognised that such sites will be in very short supply, particularly in the urban areas where there are other competing and urgent demands for land.

The disposal of bus depots inevitably results in the loss of parking spaces. Over the past ten years, KMB lost 180 such spaces whilst the corresponding figure for CMB is 60. It should be noted that the bus companies had acquired the depots in question in the open market and permission for their disposal was given because the depots were no longer served an operational requirement.

Annex

Bus Parking Spaces for CMB, Citybus and KMB (As at 30 April_199f>J

Company Fleet Size (as at end 1995) Off Street Parking Spaces On Street (<1) GrandJCotal (a)+(b)+(c)+(d)

At permanent bus depots (a) At STT parking sites (b) At approved bus termini (c)

CMB 844 305 350 345 6 1,006

Citybus 375 0 155 222 0 377

KMB 3,513 1,660 687 1,185 231 3,763

Total 4,732 1,965 (38% 1,192 (23%) 1,752 (34%) 237 (5%) 5,146 (100%)

End

47

Lok Ma Chau Public Transport Interchange *****

Following is a question by the Hon Ngan Kam-chuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Lok Ma Chau Public Transport Interchange (the Interchange) was completed in April 1995 and scheduled to be brought into use in July of the same year. Although the Transport Department has indicated on two separate occasions that the Interchange would be in use before this Lunar New Year and Easter respectively, this has not materialised. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the reasons for the delay in putting the Interchange in use;

(b) whether the proposed shuttle bus services at the Interchange have been approved by the relevant authorities in China and Hong Kong; and

(c) of the general consultation procedures for such cross-border projects and the time required to complete such procedures?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Lok Ma Chau Public Transport Interchange was completed on schedule at the end of August 1995. This Interchange has been built to provide a cross-border shuttle bus service between Lok Ma Chau and Huanggang. It also has facilities to cater for taxis, buses, PLBs as well as private cars.

48

Under the agreement reached between the Shenzhen People's Municipal Government and the Hong Kong Government, each side is required to appoint an operator who in turn should form a joint-venture company to operate the shuttle bus service. On our part, following a tender exercise, we appointed the Kowloon Motor Bus Co Ltd in June 95. Negotiations between KMB and the bus company selected by the Shenzhen side took time and a joint-venture company was formed on 26 January 1996. The shuttle service will commence once certain formalities, such as those in relation to travel documents to be issued to the Chinese drivers, have been completed.

The Joint Working Group on Cross-border Transport Services deals with all cross border transport issues. There is almost daily contact between the border liaison officers on operational matters. Apart from this, we meet with our Shenzhen counterparts on a quarterly basis and the relevant Guangdong provincial authorities on a six-monthly basis. The time required for reaching agreement on specific projects very much depend on the subject matter.

End

Price movements of diesel oil for vehicles *****

Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In the last two years, the average import price of light diesel oil stood al about $1.1 per litre, whereas the retail price of vehicle diesel oil has risen from $5.31 per litre in January 1991 to $6.32 per litre in February this year. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has information showing the reasons for the big rise in the retail price of vehicle diesel oil; and

(b) how it has monitored the extent of each price rise for petroleum products so as to prevent oil companies from setting prices at unreasonable levels?

49

Reply:

(a) The movement of the retail price of diesel oil for vehicles in Hong Kong is affected by the movements of oil prices in the international market, the effects of local inflation on the operating costs of the oil companies, as well as the duty rate. During the period from January 1994 to March 1996, the retail price of diesel oil for vehicles increased by 16% from $5.31 to $6.16 per litre. Over the same period, the import price of diesel, the Consumer Price Indcx(A) and duty rate rose by about 15%, 19% and 28% respectively. (The retail price of diesel had gone down to $6.16 per litre in March 1996 from $6.32 per litre in February 1996.)

(b) The increase in retail price has remained in line with the increase in costs. Five companies are operating in the market and arc evidently competing with one another. The Government believes that market forces can be relied upon to ensure healthy competition among the oil companies supplying diesel oil for vehicles and that competition is the best safeguard against unreasonable price increases.

End

Language proficiency requirement of jurors *****

Following is a question by the Hon Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen and a written reply by the Chief Secretary, the Hon Anson Chan, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to the findings of a survey, local jurors have little or no knowledge of the legal terminology mentioned in a judge's summing up to the jury or the medical terminology used in inquiries held by coroners. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of cases in which a new jury had to be empanelled due to the low standard of English of the jurors, with a breakdown of such cases by type, in the past three years; and

50

(b) whether it will review the language proficiency required of jurors so as to ensure that trials can be conducted fairly?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Section 4 of the Jury Ordinance (Cap 3) sets out the qualifications of a juror, including, inter alia, a knowledge of the English language sufficient to enable him to understand the evidence of witnesses, the address of Counsel and the Judge's summing up. The Judiciary has advised that if the understanding of certain terms is material to a trial or an inquest, the judge or the coroner will normally direct such terms to be explained to the jurors and explain the legal terms himself in his summing up. The Judiciary has no record of any cases where a new jury has had to be empanelled as a result of the jurors' poor standard of English.

(b) The Judiciary is committed to put in place a framework which enables Chinese, along with English, to be used in all judicial proceedings in Hong Kong before 1 July 1997. In the light of this commitment, the need to maintain the proficiency in English now required of jurors is under review.

End

Services provided by public libraries *****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon David Li Kwok-po and a written reply by the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr T H Chau, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It has been reported that a recent survey by the Hong Kong Development and Strategic Research Centre shows that a lack of services is the reason given by most people for making little or no use of public libraries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

51

(a) of the number and locations of public libraries in the territory as well as the services they provide;

(b) whether any survey has been conducted to find out if the variety of books in public libraries is sufficient to meet the demand of users; if so, what the results are; if not, why not; and

(c) whether it will consider extending the opening hours of public libraries at weekends so as to enable the working population to utilise the library services?

Reply:

(a) The Urban Council currently operates a total of 33 libraries including 1 central library, 1 specialised Arts Library, 15 district libraries, 12 small libraries and 4 mobile libraries in the urban areas. The Regional Council operates a total of 25 libraries including 3 central libraries, 7 district libraries, 12 small libraries and 3 mobile libraries in the New Territories. The number and locations of the two Municipal Councils' libraries are shown in Annexes I and II.

As regards the services provided by these libraries, they include:

i) Reading, Listening and Viewing Services

The two Councils provide a combined stock of more than 5.55 million items of library materials in various forms, including books, newspapers and periodicals, audio-cassettes, audio compact-discs, video discs, video cassettes, microforms, computer programmes, Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM), Compact Disc-Interactive (CD-I), educational kits and maps to meet the varied needs of the people of Hong Kong.

ii) Lending Services

Lending services for adults and children are available in all libraries except the Arts Library where the materials are for reference only. In addition to books, audio-cassettes and back issues of periodicals are available for home lending in central and district libraries. In 1995, a total of 21.44 million items of library materials were borrowed for home use.

52

iii) Newspapers & Periodicals Services

Over 10,000 current titles of local and overseas newspapers and periodicals are subscribed by the libraries. The central libraries, City Hall Public Library and Arts Library also house back files of a large number of newspapers and periodicals in the original and microform format for readers to make retrospective searches. In 1995, a total of 1.91 million back issues of newspapers and periodicals were referred to in the two Councils' library systems.

iv) Block Loan Services

The libraries provide regular block loans of books, audiocassettes and back issues of periodicals to non-profit-making organisations, rehabilitation and penal institutions and homes for the aged and the physically handicapped.

v) Outreach Programmes

Outreach programmes form an integral part of the public library services. Educational and recreational programmes such as book and art exhibitions, video shows and organised group library visits are frequently organised. In addition, the libraries also take an active role in promoting literary arts and have organised a number of literary arts awards such as the Awards for Creative Writing in Chinese, Poetry Writing Competition and the Competition on Story Writing in Chinese for Students to arouse public interest and awareness in this regard. On average, some 21,500 outreach events are organised by the two public library systems each year, attracting a total attendance of about 6.5 million per annum.

vi) Reference and Information Services

Reference library services are provided in the central libraries, City Hall Public Library and the Arts Library. These libraries provide comprehensive collections of reference materials and a number of special collections. In addition, they play an active role in the dissemination of information and the handling of public enquiries. In 1995, a total of some 490,000 reference enquiries had been handled whilst a total of 2.43 million items of reference materials had been referred to in the libraries.

53

In addition, the libraries also provide students' study room facilities, services for the handicapped, microform services and copying services for the public.

(b) The Urban Council has conducted two benchmark surveys on its services in 1990 and 1992. The surveys have, inter alia, looked into public's reception of the library services. The surveys have revealed that the public is generally satisfied with the library services as the satisfaction rate increased from 77% in 1990 to 84% in 1992. In addition, the Urban Council has commissioned an independent institution to conduct a comprehensive survey on the Urban Council's library services in June 1996 to identify the needs of library users and non-users for the preparation of its Five-Year Plan for further development.

Similar benchmark surveys have been conducted by the Regional Council and the result of the public reception of the libraries services is also positive as the satisfaction rate has risen from 60% in 1991 to 68% in 1993. The Regional Council has also planned to conduct a special public opinion survey on the library services in July this year. This survey will enable the Council to identify the needs of the public at large and to further improve its library services provided to the public.

(c) The Urban Council's central and district libraries at present open 7 days a week for 57 hours, with one late night closing at 9 p.m. on Friday. The Regional Council's central and district libraries open 6 days a week for 56 hours with a closing day on either Monday or Thursday. All Municipal Councils' libraries are open from 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays respectively. The two Municipal Councils are currently reviewing the opening hours of their libraries as well as other library services with a view to better serving the community. The feasibility of extending library opening hours at weekends will be carefully considered.

End

54

Dental services for the elderly *****

Following is a question by the Hon Li Wah-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

With regard to a recent study by the Faculty of Dentistry of the Hong Kong University which revealed that up to 70% of the elderly are not provided with dental treatment, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) why no public dental services are specifically provided for the elderly; and

(b) whether it will review the demand of the elderly for dental services and consider providing dental services in health centres for the elderly; if not, why not ?

Reply:

(a) The Government's policy on dental service to the public is to provide preventive services such as the School Dental Care Service and promotive services such as oral health education. Curative services are limited to persons in need of emergency treatment, to specified special needs groups and to in-patients in public hospitals whose dental treatment forms an essential part of their medical treatment. For the financially disadvantaged elderly who are eligible for public assistance, they can seek treatment at the non-profit making dental clinics designated by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) and fees can be reimbursed through the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) scheme. The elderly can also visit private dental clinics but only the amount of fee equivalent to that charged by the SWD designated clinics for the same treatment will be reimbursed.

(b) At present, Government does not plan to review its policy on the provision of dental services. Accordingly, there are no plans for the provision of dental services in health centres for the elderly.

End

55

Measures to prevent unlicensed storage of dangerous goods

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It has been reported that, in the course of investigation of a fire which broke out in a flat in the Western District last month, the Police had discovered dangerous goods being stored in the flat without licence. As the incident has aroused widespread public concern, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of cases concerning the storage of dangerous goods without licence in each of the past three years;

(b) what measures are in place to prevent people from storing dangerous goods without licence; and

(c) whether it has any plans to review or amend in the near future the existing system for regulating the issue of licences for storing dangerous goods?

Reply:

(a) The number of cases concerning the illegal storage of dangerous goods prosecuted under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance in the past 3 years is:

Year No. of Cases

1995 105

1994 84

1993 129

(b) fhe Fire Services Department, as the licensing authority, will inspect all dangerous goods stores before a licence is issued or renewed to ensure that these stores are maintained to the required standards. The Department will also see if there is any illegal storage of dangerous goods during its inspections of premises, such as restaurants, schools and places of public entertainment, applying for other types of licences.

56

To enhance awareness of safe use and storage of dangerous goods, fire prevention campaigns, visits and talks are regularly conducted by the Department. It also has a 24-hour hot-line to handle complaints concerning dangerous goods.

(c) There are no plans at present to review or amend the existing licensing system on the storage of dangerous goods.

End

Jockey Club funded social activities * * ♦ ♦ *

Following is a question by Dr the Hon Law Cheung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the amount of donation by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club (the RHKJC) for funding social activities (e.g. education and sports) for which the Government is responsible in each of the past three years; and

(b) of the measures in place to monitor the social activities funded by the donation of the RHKJC and for which the Government is responsible; and what the details of such measures are?

Reply:

(a) By convention, every year the Governor recommends to the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club (RHKJC) a list of projects to be funded by them - this has been informally referred to as the annual "Governor's Shopping List" exercise. The Secretary for Health and Welfare vets the large number of initial applications and recommends a shortlist to the Governor. In the past three years (the RHKJC's financial year runs from 1 July to 30 June), the following amounts have been allocated to projects through this exercise -

- 57 -

1992-93

1993-94

1994-95

$88 million

$75 million

$78 million

According to its Annual Reports, these sums represent about 7% of the total charitable donations made by the RHKJC over this period. On donations made outside the "Shopping List" exercise, the RHKJC consults the Government to ensure that the RHKJC's allocation of funds for major charitable and community projects is in keeping with the interest and expectations of the public. Active Government support is required in cases where projects would necessitate public expenditure (whether capital or recurrent) in order to reach fruition.

(b) Once the RHKJC has approved the allocation of funds to organisations successful in their "Shopping List" bids, the Policy Branches concerned monitor the organisations to ensure that the donations are spent appropriately and in a timely manner.

End

Allocation of RTHK's air time

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr T H Chau, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that one of the items in the list of requests for assistance from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Preparatory Committee (PC) to the Administration is a request for Radio Television Hong Kong air time to broadcast programmes about the work of the PC. Will the Administration inform this Council:

(a) of the policy regarding the allocation of RTHK's air time for broadcast on radio and television;

(b) whether the Administration will comply with the PC's request; and

58

(c) whether the policy referred to in (a) above prohibits the use of the air time for broadcasting political propaganda; if so, how the Administration will ensure that this policy is adhered to?

Reply:

The licences of commercial television broadcasters make provision for the broadcasting of Government programmes at the direction of the Broadcasting Authority, subject to the time limits set out in Section 8A (which is annexed) of the Television Ordinance. The present practice is that RTHK uses this facility to provide programmes which inform, educate and entertain Hong Kong people. In doing so, RTHK exercises editorial independence in deciding on the nature and content of the programmes it produces.

In addition, the licences of the commercial television broadcasters also make provision for the broadcasting of Announcements in the Public Interest (API), subject to the time limits set out in their licences. These APIs carry messages from either Government departments or non-governmental organisations, such as the Red Cross or the Community Chest.

As regards radio, RTHK exercises editorial independence in planning and producing its own radio programmes. The commercial radio stations are required under their licensing conditions to broadcast APIs supplied by Government and nongovernmental organisations. RTHK also broadcasts such APIs.

The Preparatory Committee has requested Government's assistance in providing them with television and radio air time. We have explained to the Preparatory Committee secretariat that to enable us to take forward our consideration of their request, we would need more information from them as regards their proposal. The Administration will consider the Preparatory Committee's request on the basis of existing broadcasting legislation and policy.

Regulation 7 of the Commercial Television (Advertising) Regulations provides that no advertisement of a political nature shall be broadcast. As for radio, paragraph 8(m) of the Radio Code of Practice on Advertising Standards similarly provides that no advertisement of a political nature shall be broadcast by a licensee, except with the prior approval of the Broadcasting Authority. RTHK does not carry advertising.

End

59

Fire prevention facilities on passenger ferries ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the fire prevention facilities currently installed on the passenger ferries of the Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry Company Limited, the Star Ferry Company Limited, and the other locally registered ferries on the Hong Kong/China and Hong Kong/Macau routes; and when the standards of such fire prevention facilities were first prescribed by the Government;

(b) how the authorities concerned ensure that the fire prevention installations on such ferries meet the standards prescribed by the Government; and whether any ferry companies have been prosecuted for breach of the standards, if so, the penalty imposed; and

(c) whether it will review the current standards of fire prevention facilities applicable to ferries; if so, when the review will be conducted; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

rhe legislation covering fire prevention facilities on the passenger ferries of the Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry Company Limited and the Star Ferry Company Limited, viz. locally licensed ferries, are different from those for Hong Kong Registered passenger craft on the Hong Kong/China and Hong Kong/Macau routes. The former are governed by local legislation and the latter are governed by international conventions and codes developed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The answer is therefore given in two parts.

60

(i) Locally Licensed Ferries

(a) The provisions for fire appliances on board licensed ferry vessels are prescribed under the Merchant Shipping (Fire Appliances) Regulation, Cap. 369 which came into operation in 1969. It stipulates that fire pumps, fire mains, hydrants, hoses, nozzles and fire extinguishers shall be provided on board ships. Moreover, for certain types of passenger vessels, such as triple deckers, catamarans, etc., engine rooms are required to be provided with fixed fire extinguishing installations.

(b) Before a new vessel is licensed, Marine Department will carry out a survey to ensure that the vessel complies with the relevant safety requirements including those relating to fire prevention facilities. Thereafter, the vessel will be thoroughly inspected annually for the renewal of licence. Moreover, patrol officers of the Marine Department will conduct random spot checks on ferry vessels. Prosecution will be instigated if deficiencies are found. So far no prosecution action has been taken on these ferries for contravention of the requirements.

(c) Safety standards of local vessels are at present being reviewed in consultation with the industry. The review of regulations relating to fire appliances is scheduled to commence in the second half of this year.

(ii) Hong Kong registered passenger craft on the Hong Kong/China and Hong Kong/Macau routes

(a) Currently, there are two conventional passenger ships plying on these routes and the other vessels on these routes are high speed craft of light construction, which are also termed as dynamically supported craft (DSC).

The requirements for fire prevention facilities on these passenger craft are governed by the Safety of Life at Sea (IMO) Convention which has been implemented in Hong Kong by :

(i) Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Fire Protection) (Ships Built Before 25 May 1980) Regulations 1991;

(ii) Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Fire Appliances) (Ships Built On or After 25 May 1980 but Before 1 September 1984) Regulations 1991;

61

(iii) Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Fire Protection) (Ships Built On or After 1 September 1984) Regulations 1991;

(iv) Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Passenger Ship Construction) (Ships Built Before 1 September 1984) Regulations 1991; and

(v) Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Passenger Ship Construction and Survey) (Ships Built On or After 1 September 1984) Regulations 1991.

All the above Regulations are made under the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance, Cap. 369 and were enacted in 1991. The Regulations specify the requirements for structural fire protection, prevention of fire spread through ventilation system, fixed fire detection and extinguishing systems, restriction on the use of low flash point fuel, fire patrol, fire pumps, fire mains, portable fire extinguishers, fire fighting gear, fire control plans etc.

Moreover, in view of the special design of DSC, IMO adopted a Code of Safety for Dynamically Supported Craft (DSC Code) in 1977 specifying safety standards for DSC. At present, the Code, which sets out the requirements on the design and construction of DSC, is applied administratively in Hong Kong. Regarding fire prevention facilities in particular, the Code stipulates requirements covering similar aspects as those for passenger craft, but differing in details to suit the design features of DSC.

(b) The design features of a passenger craft are examined by Marine Department and confirmed to be in compliance with the requirements before construction of the vessel is commenced. It will then be inspected during and upon completion of construction before it enters into service. Once in service, annual surveys will be carried out to ensure that the structural details and equipment are maintained in satisfactory condition. Further spot checks are conducted to ensure compliance with the requirements. With these measures in place, we can confirm that these passenger craft maintain a very high safety standard and so far no prosecution action has been taken.

62

(c) In recognition of the growth in size and types of high speed craft and to reflect the improvements of maritime safety standards since 1977, the International Code of Safety for High Speed Craft (HSC Code) was developed and has recently been adopted by the Member States of IMO to replace the DSC Code. The Code sets out the safety standards regarding the construction of high speed craft, the equipment to be provided and the conditions for their operation and maintenance. Necessary legislation to implement the HSC Code in Hong Kong is now under preparation and is targeted to be enacted within this year. In the meantime, with the full co-operation of the craft operators, the requirements of this Code are being implemented administratively and the very high standard continues to be maintained.

End

Private dangerous slopes maintenance *****

Following is a question by the Hon Ambrose Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Works, Mr H S Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It has been reported recently in the press that maintenance works are being carried out on some 160 private dangerous slopes, and that such works will not be completed before the coming rainy season. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council of the emergency measures that will be taken before the onset of the rainy season, so as to reduce the potential hazards of these slopes?

63

Reply:

Mr President,

The duty to maintain private slopes rests with the owners. When the Buildings Department (BD) issues a Dangerous Hillside Order, the owner is normally required to complete certain works within specified time limits including the appointment of an authorised person or consultant. A reasonable time limit will be imposed in cognisance of the scope and complexity of various works involved. Permanent civil engineering works of this nature comprising the investigation, design and construction phases will normally take two to three years to complete. Where circumstances warrant, temporary protective works may also be required within a relatively short period of time before the commencement of permanent works. In adverse times where adequate safeguards cannot be taken promptly, it may be necessary in exceptional cases to temporarily evacuate residents and close the affected buildings. Warning notices will also be posted at conspicuous positions on site to keep people away from the affected area when BD staff serve such an Order.

The authorised person and/or the consultant appointed by the owner is required to be responsible for taking precautionary measures and giving warning of impending danger prior to completion of permanent works. The precautionary measures may include the installation of instrumentation for close monitoring of slope stability, the protection of exposed slope works, the provision of temporary surface drains and the maintenance of these systems in good working order. In this connection, with the onset of the rainy season this year a reminder has recently been sent to the professionals concerned to draw attention to the need to lake appropriate measures as mentioned so as to ensure safety of the slopes concerned.

In the event that the owner fails to comply with the requirements under an Order, BD will appoint a consultant to proceed with the works in his default. BD is also empowered to carry out emergency work deemed necessary to obviate any imminent danger of slope failure. Currently, some 35% of these private slope Orders are in default by owners and are now under the control of geotechnical consultants appointed by BD.

In the unfortunate event of a landslip on a private slope, the emergency response capability of the works Group is available to assist as if it were a public slope. Key departments such as Civil Engineering, Highways, Drainage Services, Electrical & Mechanical Services and Architectural Services all have contingency plans to set up control centres in times of emergency to liaise with Police and l ire Services to ensure that technical assistance is provided as soon as possible.

End

64

Banking Code of Practice

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

At present, when credit card users or loan borrowers default on repayment, some banks and finance companies make enquiries or seek to recover the debts from their referees, thus causing nuisance to the referees. In reply to a question in this Council in January this year, the Government stated that the matter would be studied by a Working Party to be formed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the banking industry associations to develop a "Banking Code of Practice". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) when such study will be completed and its recommendations implemented; and

(b) whether, in studying the matter, consideration will be given to:

(i) requiring applicants to produce their referees' written consent as well as requiring banks and finance companies to contact the referees to verify their consent; if not, why not;

(ii) stipulating the provisions concerning the responsibilities of referees and requiring banks and finance companies to inform referees of such provisions in writing; if not, why not; and

(iii) requiring banks or finance companies to inform the referees concerned in writing when credit card users or loan borrowers become insolvent and have disappeared, and to refrain from recovering the debts from the referees or passing on the personal data of the referees to debt collecting companies, if not, why not?

Reply:

(a) The Code of Banking Practice (the Code) is expected to be completed by the end of 1996. In the meantime, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority . (HKMA) has already taken steps to address some of the issues before the publication of the Code. These include -

65

(i) issuing a letter in January 1996 to the banking industry associations to remind authorised institutions (Ais) under the Banking Ordinance that they should satisfy themselves that applicants for personal loans or credit cards have obtained the prior consent of the referees before the latters' names are entered into the application forms;

(ii) establishing a complaint hotline on 22 April 1996 so that the HKMA can monitor closely the propriety of the debt recovery actions of agencies employed by Ais and, if necessary, follow up with individual institutions to rectify any weaknesses in their management of debt collection agencies; and

(iii) issuing a letter on 22 April 1996 to the banking industry associations to stress that the employment of debt collection agencies which use improper means to recover debts is unacceptable and the need for Ais to exercise strict control over their agencies.

The HKMA will closely monitor the complaints received through the complaint hotline. If it appears that there is a significant number of legitimate complaints, further action to restrict the use of debt collection agencies will be considered. Furthermore, in the light of public concern, the Working Group on the Code of Banking Practice (Working Group) will consider whether the sections of the Code on referees and debt collection agencies should be prepared and issued in advance of the rest of the Code.

(b) The Working Group will give due consideration to the specific points referred to in part (b) of the question in developing the Code -

(i) the Administration supports the principle that referees' consent must be obtained before their names are entered into the application forms as set out in HKMA's letters to the banking industry associations in January 1996. The means of obtaining such consent will be further examined in the context of the Code, taking into account the need to strike a balance between the need to verify such consent and the operational efficiency of institutions and cost implications for customers;

66

(ii) if a referee has not entered into a formal contractual agreement with the lender to guarantee the liabilities of the borrower or cardholder, the referee has no legal obligation in respect of the borrower's liabilities towards the lender. The Working Group will consider recommending Ais to inform referees in writing of this basic principle and other rights and responsibilities of referees;

(iii) Ais or debt collection agencies have no right to recover the debt from the referee unless the latter has taken on the role of a guarantor. The Administration supports in principle the suggestion that Ais should not pass information about referees to debt collection agents. This issue will be considered in detail by the Working Group together with the suggestion that Ais should inform referees in case of default by the borrower or the cardholder.

End

Banknotes issued by Bank of China

*****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon Law Cheung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

At the time when the Bank of China started to issue Hong Kong dollar banknotes, there were reports that such banknotes could not be exchanged for the local currency in some places in Europe and America. Moreover, during a recent trip to Taiwan, I personally experienced that Hong Kong dollar banknotes issued by the Bank of China were not exchangeable in banks and hotels in Taiwan. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it is aware of the reasons why Hong Kong dollar banknotes issued by the Bank of China are not exchangeable in Taiwan and whether the circulation of such banknotes in Europe and America has encountered similar situation; if so, what remedial measures have been taken by the Government in this regard?

67

Reply:

Hong Kong dollar bank notes are legal tender in Hong Kong. The acceptance by a person of Hong Kong dollar bank notes in a place outside Hong Kong, whether for conversion into local currency or in settlement of a debt denominated in that currency, is a commercial decision by the person concerned. It is not unusual that bank notes issued by one place are not accepted in foreign countries. Like other governments, the Administration has no authority to compel a person in foreign countries to accept its domestic currency for such purposes.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has not received any report on incidents referred to in the question. The HKMA and the note-issuing banks have been active in explaining to those who are interested, both local and overseas, the arrangements for the issue of Hong Kong dollar bank notes, including the US dollar backing for such notes in the Exchange Fund and the issue of Hong Kong dollar bank notes by the Bank of China since May 1994, and the procedures adopted by noteissuing banks for the return of Hong Kong dollar bank notes for value.

We are aware that the three note-issuing banks, including the Bank of China, have jointly produced a brochure illustrating the types of Hong Kong bank notes in issue. These brochures are distributed to banks abroad.

End

Proposal to bring Stock Exchange under bribery law

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

With regard to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)'s proposal to bring the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the Exchange) within the jurisdiction of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the reasons for the ICAC putting forward such a proposal at this time;

68

(b) whether the scope of the proposed inclusion of the Exchange will cover the regulation of the staff, council members, members of various standing committees as well as individual and corporate members of the Exchange; and

(c) of the progress of the discussion between the ICAC and the Exchange on the proposal?

Answer:

(a) In 1994, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong requested the Corruption Prevention Department of the ICAC to study the work of its Listing Division, Finance & Operations Services Division and Compliance Division. The studies were completed in late 1995. The reports of the studies confirmed that there were no major problems in the SEHK procedures. In endorsing the reports, however, the Corruption Prevention Advisory Committee noted the Exchange’s statutory monopoly of securities trading in Hong Kong and its crucial role for the investing public. The Committee therefore recommended that the Exchange be included in the Schedule of public bodies to the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (the Ordinance) so that the Corruption Prevention Department of the ICAC could initiate studies on all other procedures of the Exchange with a view to giving corruption prevention advice where appropriate, notwithstanding that the ICAC has always received the fullest co-operation in its systems audit work for the Exchange in the past.

(b)&(c)The Exchange has sought clarification from the ICAC on whether the statutory definition of "public servants" in Section 2 of the Ordinance would include staff and all the various categories of membership of the Exchange if the Exchange were listed as a public body under the Ordinance. In particular, legal advice is being sought as to whether a broker member of the Exchange who is not an agent of the Exchange in the ordinary course of business would be regarded as a public servant under the Ordinance. We understand that the Exchange will take a decision on ICAC's proposal in the light of further clarification and legal advice referred to above.

End

69

No cases of CSD staff disciplined for gambling * * * * ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council?

(a) of the number of Correctional Services Department staff who were disciplined in the past three years for gambling among themselves or gambling with prisoners while on duty and of the penalties imposed on such staff; and

(b) of the monitoring measures in place to eradicate the problem of Correctional Services Department staff gambling while on duty?

Reply:

Mr President

(a) In the past three years, we have had no cases of Correctional Services Department staff having been disciplined for gambling, either among themselves or with prisoners while on duty.

(b) There are adequate monitoring procedures in the CSD to prevent all kinds of illicit activity including gambling. These include security controls, background checks, proper supervision and interviews as necessary.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, May 2,1996

Contents Page No,

Transcript of FS's media session.........................................   1

Trial scheme to promote safe driving distance.............................. 2

Bill to shorten obstructing article removal time introduced................ 3

Five language projects funding awarded..................................... 4

Director of Marine returns from Beijing visit.............................. 6

Deputy to Governor visits ITSD............................................. 7

Pre-sale consent approved in the first quarter of 1996..................... 8

Hong Kong School Drama Festival............................................ 9

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 10

1

Transcript of FS's media session *****

The following is the transcript of the Finanical Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang's remark at a media session after giving a briefing to Legislative Councillors on Expenditure of the 1997-98 Budget at the Legislative Council Chamber this (Thursday) morning:

Question: Some Councillors have expressed fears that your hands will be tied doing nothing with next year's Budget given China's insistence that Hong Kong is spending too much on social welfare. How would you react to that?

FS: I think I have explained clearly that we're going to process the 1997-98 estimates in the same way that we have done in the past and we'll listen very carefully the views of the Legislative Councillors and the views of the community as a whole. The additional step we would have to take because of the unique nature of this year is that to listen to also the expert group Chinese representatives' views, and I am aiming at reaching consensus with the Chinese experts on each major step of the preparatory process. I'm personally quite confident that we are going to operate on a rational model because we are dealing with something very important, very important not only to the people of Hong Kong that we are going to have a good estimate, good Budget for the coming year which will be conducive to transition. It will be important, because it is important to China, that Hong Kong is going to succeed in the following year, and for that reason, I am quite sure, my colleagues and I, and the Chinese experts and those who advise the Chinese experts, we are going to be operating very rationally on this and our views will be quite similar to those Legislative Councillor at the end of the day. And then at the end of the day whatever we recommend will have to be put forward to the Legislative Council for approval in March.

Question: Will you need to put it to Chinese advisors that they would have the power to veto?

FS: We have said very clearly we are going to co-operate fully with the Chinese experts in the preparation of next year's estimates. I do not wish to use the word veto, superiority or whatever. We are certainly going into a joint enterprise. Our common aim is to reach a consensus.

End

2

Trial scheme to promote safe driving distance ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Transport Department will put on trial a chevron marking scheme this summer for a section of Tolo Highway to increase drivers’ awareness towards safe driving distance.

In July, chevron markings will be painted on each traffic lane for the section of Tolo Highway south of Lam Kam Interchange at 40 metres separation to help drivers gauge the safe driving distance between two vehicles.

Informatory signs will also be erected on the road sides to advise drivers to keep two chevron markings apart from the vehicle in front.

Introducing the trial scheme, Senior Engineer (Analysis and Strategy) of the Road Safety and Standards Division, Miss Ying Fun-fong, said the markings would be a simple aid to drivers for keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.

Miss Ying said: "This is the commonly known ’two seconds rule’ as recommended in the Road Users Code.

"The application of this rule is simple. Just choose a stationary object ahead, such as a lamp post or traffic sign, as your marker.

"When the vehicle ahead passes the marker, say the phrase ’a thousand and one, a thousand and two'. If you pass the marker before finished saying the phrase, then you are driving too close and cannot stop safely in case of a hazard.”

Miss Ying pointed out that driving too close to a vehicle in front had been a major contributory factor to traffic accidents in Hong Kong in the past years.

Figures for the past three years show "head to tail" (H/T) accidents comprised an averaged 19 per cent of all accidents in the territory, 2,858 out of 15,240 cases. This category also accounts for 23 per cent of the number of casualties involved in road accidents, 4,706 out of 20,510.

For accidents occurred on expressways, H/T accident and casualty numbers comprised a significant proportion averaged 46 per cent (518 out of 1,116 cases) of all accidents and 52 per cent (1,013 out of 1,933) of casualties involved in the past three years.

3

Miss Ying expressed hope that this scheme could increase drivers’ awareness towards safe driving distance and lead to a reduction of road traffic accidents.

She noted that similar experiments were conducted in the United Kingdom and France.

"In the UK ones, an achievement of 56 per cent in accidents and improve driving behaviour were realised. We surely hope similar results can be achieved in Hong Kong to cut down our accident rates and casualties”, she said.

End

Bill to shorten obstructing article removal time introduced ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The owner of an article which causes obstruction to a scavenging operation or to any street sweeper must remove it within four hours if the Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill 1996 is passed into law.

Under the present arrangement, officers of the two municipal services departments can issue notice to an owner to remove his obstructing articles within such period, being not less than 24 hours, as may be specified in the notice.

"Both the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department are of the view that the legislative provision is ineffective," a spokesman for the Recreation and Culture Branch said.

"It is therefore proposed that the statutory period under which the owner must remove his obstructing articles be shortened from 24 hours to four hours so as to facilitate the early removal of such articles," he added.

The proposal is supported by the two municipal councils.

The amendment bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 15.

End

4

Five language projects funding awarded ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Director of Education and Trustee of the Language Fund, Mrs Helen C P Lai Yu, today (Thursday) approved funds totalling $14.3 million for five language improvement projects in the Fund’s third and fourth allocation exercises since September 1994.

The successful projects - three Chinese, one English and one cross-language -aim at improving the language proficiency of students and members of the public.

The Chinese language projects are a self-learning package on simplified Chinese characters, a parent-child reading programme for schools and a reading award scheme for secondary schools.

The English one is a self-learning package for post-secondary 5 students joining the engineering sector.

The cross-language project has been proposed by the Education and Manpower Branch to enable the future Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) to make an early start in implementing language projects recommended in Education Commission Report No 6 (ECR6).

The proposal envisages the engagement of two professionals for SCOLAR's Support Unit to help design, develop, monitor and evaluate research projects commissioned by the standing committee.

They will establish a network of liaison with relevant organisations and agencies on language projects, advise SCOLAR on the implications of research findings, set up a database of resource materials, and develop a public education and publicity programme on language matters.

They will work on priority tasks recommended in ECR6 including:

* a research into the optimal learning pattern for children in the acquisition of language skills;

a study of the general goals and specific attainment targets for language at primary level;

* a review of the Academic Aptitude Test;

5

a study of the relationship between Putonghua and the Chinese subjects in the school curriculum;

development of a vocational language programme, a public information programme and a liaison network for research activities.

Mrs Yu agreed with the Language Fund Advisory Committee’s (LFAC) recommendations that the first professional, employed on contract terms at assistant directorate grade, should be a language expert with well established connections in the field and the leadership to steer and supervise both in-house and outside research projects.

The second professional employed also on contract terms at a salary scale of Master Pay Scale 45 to 49, should have sufficient knowledge in language subject and research methology.

Mrs Yu accepted LFAC’s view that all five projects above meet the objective of the LFAC to raise standards in English and Chinese (including Putonghua).

1 endorse the committee’s view that it should take a more proactive approach to address language issues.

1 am confident that these projects will help to enhance language proficiency in Hong Kong and to formulate a coherent and strategic language policy in education," she said.

The projects supported by the Language Fund now total 78, amounting to $111.3 million.

The Language Fund, set up in May 1994 with an initial allocation of $300 million, is to support proposals and initiatives that will raise the standards in Chinese (including Putonghua) and English, enhance existing efforts and meet temporary shortfalls in language teaching resources.

The Fund also encourages research into problem areas and initiation of new approaches.

End

6

Director of Marine returns from Beijing visit *****

The Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, returned from Beijing yesterday (Wednesday) after a two-day visit to discuss Hong Kong maritime safety and operational transitional issues with the Director General of the People's Republic of China Maritime Safety Administration (PRC MSA), Captain Lin Yunai issues.

*

The talks centred on the technical issues of International Maritime Organisation conventions, specifically international safety management, high speed craft, standards of training, certification and watchkeeping (STCW), and operational co-operation and co-ordination of search and rescue (SAR).

Two understandings were reached concerning Hong Kong's participation in the PRC MSA and STCW activities, and the attachment of SAR staff between PRC and Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination centres.

At the end of the talks, Captain Lin Yunai remarked: "These discussions have been very constructive and have continued to strengthen the firm foundations on which the two maritime administrations will co-operate and co-ordinate the essential element of marine operations and communications both leading up to, and after July 1, 1997."

Mr Dale said: "I fully agree with Captain Lin's remarks and would add that my colleagues and I are most grateful for the arrangements made for the Beijing talks by Captain Lin, and the positive way that our questions and proposals have been received by the PRC MSA."

Mr Dale and his colleagues also paid a courtesy call on the Chinese Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr Liu Songjin, who confirmed the need for positive coordination of maritime transitional issues between his administration and Hong Kong.

It is anticipated the Mr Dale and Captain Lin will meet again in Hong Kong later this year.

End

7

Deputy to Governor visits ITSD ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Deputy to the Governor, Mrs Anson Chan today (Thursday) visited the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) to appreciate the work of the department in enabling its government counterparts to take the full advantage of modem information technology (IT). ♦

Mrs Chan was interested in knowing the latest progress of computerisation in various government departments and, in particular, how they can make full use of computers in achieving cost-effectiveness and improving their services to the community.

Accompanied by the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr K H Lau, Mrs Chan began her visit with a tour of the ITSD computer centre which provides common computer facilities to government departments and supports the government communications network.

Apart from being briefed on the work of the department, Mrs Chan also saw demonstrations on the use of advanced computer tools in system design and development, the use of multi-media technology to provide interactive public enquiries services, the interlink between a hand-held computer and a remote computer by mobile phone, and the potential application of smart card technology.

The Deputy to the Governor was told that computers had now become more and more widely used in all government departments.

The ITSD is now maintaining some 190 application systems and is implementing over 180 approved IT projects for various government departments.. The total value of computers installed, including 10 mainframe, 270 mid-range and over 31,200 microcomputer systems, is over $2,200 million.

Among the major IT projects in hand is the implementation of information systems strategy plans of the Inland Revenue Department and the Information Services Department to be completed within this financial year. The two projects are expected to generate a total five-year savings of some $500 million for the two departments.

Also included is the implementation of local area networks (LAN) and office systems for all government departments in two stages in the next three years with the first stage for 22 departments to be completed by end of this year.

8

In 1995-96, the department also assisted the Immigration Department to achieve an expected five-year savings of some HK$210 million through the implementation of the information systems strategy plan.

Other major projects included the implementation of LAN in all policy and resource branches for the shared use of office automation systems and exchange of E-mails and information.

In conjunction with the Information Services Department, ITSD also launched the Government Information Centre Homepage on the Internet which provides an alternative and effective means for public access to government information.

End •

Pre-sale consent approved in the first quarter of 1996 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Lands Department has approved eight applications for consent to pre-sale of residential and non-residential units in uncompleted developments during the first quarter of 1996.

Of the applications, seven are for the pre-sale of a total of 3,530 residential units located in Kowloon, Kwai Tsing, Sha Tin and Yuen Long.

Except for one case developed by the Hong Kong Housing Society which is estimated to be completed in July 1997, the other units are estimated by the developers to be completed between the end of 1995 and March 1997.

The other application is for the pre-sale of non-residential units in Kowloon.

In addition, two consents to assign residential units were approved where occupation permits have been issued involving 2,208 units in Yuen Long.

A total of two deeds of mutual covenant, four sub-deeds of mutual covenant, two management agreements and eight deeds of mutual covenant and management agreements for residential or non-residential developments were also approved during the quarter.

9

At the end of March, a total of 13 applications for pre-sale consent involving 7,371 residential units and seven applications in respect of non-residential developments are pending for approval.

These developments are located in a variety of districts throughout the territory. The majority are estimated to be completed in mid to late 1996.

Since the measures for pre-sale were introduced by the Government in June 1994, consent has been given to 18,813 residential units and to four private sector participation scheme projects (involving a total of 5,810 units), two sandwich class housing developments (involving 1,906 units) and one flat-for-sale scheme (involving 400 units), which are not subject to the measures.

End

Hong Kong School Drama Festival * » * ♦ ♦

The outstanding teams in the Hong Kong Drama Festival 1995-96 will show their talents at the Gala evenings at the Theatre, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre on May 8 and 9 (Wednesday and Thursday).

It is an annual event organised by the Education Department, jointly presented by the Urban Council and the Regional Council, and sponsored by the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon.

Four outstanding Chinese dramas will be presented in the first Gala Evening and three English dramas on the second day.

Education Department's Inspector (School Activities) Mr Lai Man-lai said: "A total of 4,227 students from 145 secondary schools and 42 primary schools participated in the festival.

"The best performing primary and secondary schools will be awarded the Lok Sin Tong Cup and the Director of Education Cup respectively in the ceremony.

"The winning teams will be awarded other prizes for best stage effect, original script, actors, actresses, directors, production diary and overall performance."

Tickets of $30 for Gala evenings are available at the URBTIX outlets. There will be 50 per cent discount for students and persons aged 60 or above.

End

10

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

♦ * * * *

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,201 0930 +198

Closing balance in the account 2,049 1000 +198

Change attributable to : 1100 +198

Money market activity +198 1200 +198

LAF today -350 1500 +198

1600 +198

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.8 *+0.1* 2.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.90 2 years 2802 5.16 98.54 6.12

1 month 4.99 3 years 3904 6.30 99.51 6.59

3 months 5.15 5 years 5103 6.75 98.53 7.24

6 months 5.25 7 years 7302 6.02 92.25 7.63

12 months 5.56 5 years M502 7.30 99.98 7.44

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $16,566 million

Closed May 2, 1996

End

: 2A02 A-t-fc-t

Friday, May 3, 1996

Contents Page No.

Anonymous allegations of abuses in prisons refuted......................... 1

Veterinary surgeons to be registered....................................... 4

Chemical waste treatment charges revised................................... 5

Noise emission control on vehicles......................................... 7

Seminar to consult HK. trade on WTO agenda................................. 8

Amended town planning law enacted......................................... 10

Tenders invited for slope upgrading work............................... 11

Tenders invited for minor works contract.................................. 12

Tenders invited for two construction projects............................. 12

Over 9,600 agreements lodged with Land Registry in April.................. 13

Survey on housing aspiration.............................................. 14

Sub-contractor served summonses for late payment of wages................. 14

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 15

1

Anonymous allegations of abuses in prisons refuted ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Commissioner of Correctional Services, Mr Raymond Lai Ming-kee, said today (Friday) that the Correctional Services Department (CSD) could only be more forthcoming with details of the recent attacks on penal institutions once the police investigation is concluded.

Speaking to reporters after a passing-out parade in which 136 officers graduated from CSD, Mr Lai said the department would remained on high alert following the attacks.

’’The police investigation is still ongoing and we are continuing to assist them in their enquiries through intelligence sharing.

”1 cannot comment either on the current progress of the investigation, or whether any of the rumours published in the press recently are true,” said Mr Lai.

The Commissioner noted that in the past two weeks, a number of allegations had been made by anonymous persons to the press about what they considered to be abuses.

On the use of sedatives, Mr Lai said they were administered at the direction of the Medical Officer seconded from the Department of Health or the psychiatrist seconded from the Hospital Authority.

"The role of CSD staff who are trained in nursing duties, including psychiatric nursing duties at Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre, is to present the patient and his condition to the doctor, record immediately the course of action prescribed by the doctor and, if appropriate, administer any medication in accordance with instructions given by the doctor.

"This sequence of events is identical to that which would occur in a hospital or a clinic and is a matter of medical, not correctional practice," Mr Lai said.

The Commissioner said he was also aware of the allegations, again made by anonymous persons, concerning the alleged unfairness of complaints procedure.

"As is often the case with anonymous complainants, there is no way of verifying the details of what they say. However, in the case of ’Gary’ whose claims appeared in a leading newspaper, he was such a well-known character that his identity was instantly recognisable by us.

2

"He was a habitual complainant who made 35 complaints to our Complaints Investigation Unit (CIU), Justices of the Peace, the Office of the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints (COMAC), the Legislative Council and even to the then British Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher during his time at Shek Pik Prison.

"He seems hardly likely to make such complaints if he feels he will be victimised by staff as a result," Mr Lai said.

The Commissioner said CIU was but one channel by which prisoners could air their complaints.

"They can approach a visiting Justice of the Peace at any time on his rounds, and even request a private discussion. They can petition the Governor, write to COMAC, LegCo or anyone else they feel might be able to help them.

"They can even complain about the way CIU cases have been conducted to these bodies if they wish," Mr Lai added, noting that there were so many channels of complaints outside the control of CSD.

The number of CIU cases in 1995 was 171, up 11 per cent from 154 in 1994 and 80 per cent from 95 in 1993. The number of cases substantiated was seven in 1993, 11 in 1994 and nine in 1995.

Mr Lai pointed out that if CIU was held in such low regard and so distrusted, the number of complaints would not increase.

"The rise in complaints is due to the greater awareness among inmates of their right to complain," he said.

"The low substantiation rate is due to the fact that there are so many trivial issues brought up as a ruse to get out of some other form of trouble. Yet where we have substantial evidence to support a complaint we will take action against the staff involved," Mr Lai explained.

On accusations of staff gambling on duty, the Commissioner said these allegations were complete nonsense.

"No member of staff has been found to be gambling on duty either with prisoners or other staff," Mr Lai said.

As for the allegation that the gambling takes place at night, he said this was simply ridiculous.

3

"Moving from one location to another, without authority, even for a chat, is an offence punishable under discipline. How could staff get together to gamble?" he asked.

"These allegations have been made up by someone who has never been in a prison because the person clearly has no idea of how the system works," he added, noting that the person who had made the claims now states he was misquoted.

Mr Lai said gambling among prisoners was prevalent and that the department had disciplined 338 prisoners over the past six months for involvement in gambling or gambling-related activities.

"Of these, 23 were known to have been involved in ninning large gambling syndicates and in each case, severe action is taken against prisoners found involved with punishments that include solitary confinement, loss of privilege and loss of remission," he said.

The Commissioner also refuted suggestions that some staff had been indebted to the CSD Credit Union because of gambling.

"A degree of hysteria appears to have entered the discussions with someone claiming that 45 per cent of CSD Credit Union members were in debt. Of course they are. It is a Credit Union whose aim is to encourage thrift and self-help; if no-one owed it money it would cease to function - the same goes for a bank," Mr Lai pointed out.

"This really has little to do with gambling. There are cases of people getting into very serious trouble with indebtedness, though more often than not it is bad investments, family problems and the like which cause the debt rather than gambling.

"We constantly monitor all staff in serious indebtedness. They are required to formulate a plan to repay the debts and will be held to it, and the potential for corruption is recognised and special steps are taken to guard against it."

End

4

Veterinary surgeons to be registered *****

The Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill, which aims to regulate the practice of veterinary surgery in Hong Kong, is gazetted today (Friday).

At present, a person who wishes to practise veterinary surgery in Hong Kong needs to be a member of the United Kingdom's Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons before he can obtain and use the antibiotics, poisons and other controlled drugs necessary to practise the profession.

However, it is believed that there are also some unqualified persons practising as veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong. Veterinary treatment administered by unqualified persons may be expected to cause suffering to animals.

There are now 93 qualified veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong, of whom 71 are engaged in private practice. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons exercises disciplinary control over the professional conduct of its members, but faces practical difficulties in intervening effectively from the United Kingdom in professional disputes involving the practice of veterinary surgery by its members in Hong Kong.

These problems point to a need for a locally-based statutory regime of professional standards and disciplinary control for veterinary surgeons in the interests of animal welfare, the veterinary profession itself and consumer protection.

Under the Bill, a registration system for veterinary surgeons will be established.

A Veterinary Surgeons Board consisting of 10 persons to be appointed by the Secretary for Economic Services - namely, a chairman, six persons who are veterinary surgeons and three persons who are medical practitioners or pharmacists or representative of the interests of persons who utilise veterinary services, will be set up.

The Board will have the power to:

* establish and maintain a register of registered veterinary surgeons,

* set and review the qualification standards for registration as a "registered veterinary surgeon",

* examine and verify the qualifications of persons who apply for registration as registered veterinary surgeons,

5

* receive, examine, accept or reject applications for registration and renewal of registration as a registered veterinary surgeon, and

♦ issue a code of practice, make rules for the professional conduct and discipline of registered veterinary surgeons and deal with disciplinary offences.

The Bill restricts the use of the description "registered veterinary surgeon" to those qualified to use it.

The Bill also provides for criminal offences relating to false representation and practising veterinary surgery without being registered, with a maximum penalty on conviction of a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year.

A spokesman for the Economic Services Branch said the proposals had been drawn up at the request of, and in consultation with, the profession.

The spokesman said the proposals would open the way for persons holding veterinary qualifications other than membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to practise as veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong provided that these qualifications were accepted by the Veterinary Surgeons Board (once it is established) as meeting its qualification standards for registration as a "registered veterinary surgeon".

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 15.

End

Chemical waste treatment charges revised *****

The Govemor-in-Council has approved that regulations should be made under the Waste Disposal Ordinance to revise charges for the use of services provided by the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre (CWTC) on Tsing Yi.

The fee revision will take account of the rise in operation costs according to the movement of the Consumer Price Index (B) and the declared policy that the charging levels will be increased gradually with a view to recovering the full variable operating cost (VOC) over a period of eight years after the charging scheme was introduced last year.

6

This is to enable chemical waste producers sufficient time to factor the disposal charges into their production cost.

A spokesman for the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch said: "The proposed revision will increase the VOC recovery rate from 20 per cent to 25 per cent.

’’This means the Government will still bear 75 per cent of the VOC as well as the fixed operating cost and capital cost.

’’The revisions represent a fee increase of about 35 per cent. We believe it strikes a reasonable balance among the impact on waste producers, the disincentive to use the CWTC and the requirements of the polluter pays principle.

”We do not expect the revised charges to pose a significant burden on industries because we estimate that the present level of disposal charges represent a very small portion of the operating cost of the affected industries.

’’The operation of the CWTC is not a monopoly and the use of its services is not compulsory.

’’Chemical waste producers can alternatively use their own treatment facilities on site or services of other licensed waste disposal facilities.”

The registration of chemical waste producers and the trip-ticket system would enable the Environmental Protection Department to identify improper disposal practices and take necessary enforcement action, he said.

Details of the adjustments are listed in the Waste Disposal (Charges for Disposal of Chemical Waste) (Amendment) Regulation 1996 gazetted today (Friday).

It is intended that the new charges will come into effect on June 28.

End

7

Noise emission control on vehicles *****

The Government intends to impose noise emission standards on vehicles on first registration with effect from August 1 as a further measure to reduce traffic noise on the roads.

The new requirement, which will enable Hong Kong to keep up with international standards and prevent vehicles emitting excessive noise from being imported into Hong Kong, is set out in the Noise Control (Motor Vehicles) Regulation gazetted today (Friday).

The existing vehicle fleet will not be affected. The noise emission standards will only apply to vehicles to be registered first time in Hong Kong on or after August 1.

The allowable noise level will be set at 77 dB(A) for a private car and 84 dB(A) for a large truck during acceleration, both measured at a 7.5-metre distance.

A spokesman for the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch said: "New vehicles imported into Hong Kong from Japan and European countries should be able to meet the statutory requirement without difficulty. These countries accounted for a great majority of the vehicles imported for local use."

He noted that some of the new vehicles imported from places other than these countries may need to adapt the vehicle design or install noise mitigation devices in order to meet the statutory standards.

Used motor vehicles imported into Hong Kong on or after August 1 will have to undergo a simple noise test in order to ensure they meet the required standards. This will only lead to a marginal increase in arrival cost as most of them are high-end vehicles.

The new legislation, if enacted, will bring about a slight reduction of traffic noise in a few years when the existing fleet is largely replaced by new vehicles which comply with the stringent noise standards.

The new requirement will not apply to special purpose vehicles, motor tricycles, village vehicles, and vehicles that cannot travel above 50 km per hour.

The Regulation was endorsed by the Advisory Council on the Environment. The Motor Traders Association, major bus companies, the Hong Kong Motor Cycle Association, the Hong Kong Motor Cycle Chamber of Commerce, and vehicle manufacturers had also been extensively consulted and generally supported the proposal.

End

8

Seminar to consult HK trade on WTO agenda ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Trade Department will be holding a seminar next Thursday (May 9) to inform Hong Kong’s business sector of the issues under consideration for inclusion in the agenda of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) first Ministerial Conference scheduled for December in Singapore, and to hear their views.

Entitled ’’Trade Liberalisation Seminar - Hong Kong Business and the WTO Agenda”, the seminar is being organised in co-operation with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.

The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, will open the seminar which will be held between 9 am and 12.45 pm at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Announcing details of the seminar, the Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mr Tam Wing-pong said today (Friday): ’’Hong Kong is a staunch supporter of the WTO multilateral trading system as a cornerstone of our trade policy . The multilateral principles of non-discrimination, national treatment and transparency provide a level playing field for international trade which best serves Hong Kong's trade interest.

"As an active participant in the WTO, we attach great importance to the Singapore Ministerial Conference (SMC) where the future direction of the WTO will be defined.”

Mr Tam said in preparing for the SMC, the Trade Department had been reviewing Hong Kong's priorities and concerns to identify areas in the WTO agreements and new issues which should be included in the future agenda.

"For the purpose of formulating Hong Kong's agenda for the SMC, we would like to hear the views of the business community before formally finalising Hong Kong's position," he added.

Mr Tam said on the basis of views expressed so far in various fora, a tentative outline of the SMC agenda was gradually emerging as follows:-

The SMC should be the occasion to take stock of the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements;

9

* The SMC should review the unfinished business of the Uraguay Round i.e. the four extended track of service negotiations of financial services, movement of natural persons, basic telecommunications and maritime transport;

* Ministers should review the report of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) and to decide on the future programme for the work of the CTE on trade and environment;

* The SMC should take a decision on which of the new issues (e.g. investment, competition) are mature for negotiations within the WTO; and

* Ministers should decide on the programme for further liberalisation byway of, for example, tariff reductions, acceleration of UR commitments and breaking down of trade and non-trade-related barriers.

"Bearing this in mind, our forthcoming Trade Liberalisation Seminar will provide a golden opportunity for government officials, people in the business sector and academics to exchange views on their expectations for the SMC and the future WTO agenda," Mr Tam said.

The half-day seminar will in the main comprise three sessions to focus discussions on the traditional GATT issues, the UR-introduced issues and new issues, followed by a round-up session by the Director-General of Trade, Mr Tony Miller.

Speakers at the first session will be Managing Director, Fang Brothers Knitting Limited, Mr Kenneth Fang, and the Government's legal consultant in Europe, Mr Jean Francois Bellis. They will speak on textiles and clothing, and anti-dumping respectively.

The second session will feature four speakers. Chairman of Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries, Mr Brian Stevenson, and Representative of US Coalition of Service Industries Inc, Mr Charlie Fleeter, will address issues relating to trade in services. Two other speakers, Senior Partner of Robert W H Wang and Co, Ms Anna Wu, and Director, Centre of Urban Planning and Environmental Management, University of Hong Kong, Professor Peter Hills, will focus on intellectual property rights and trade and the environment.

Talks by Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Consumer Council, Mrs Pamela Chan, on trade and competition, and by Managing Director of Hopewell Holdings Ltd, Mr Gordon Wu, on trade and investment will be featured in the third session.

10

The Executive Director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Mr Michael Sze, will be the seminar chairman.

The seminar is open to members of the Hong Kong's business community. However, in view of limited seating capacity, enrolments will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. For enrolment and enquiries, please contact the Multilateral Division of the Trade Department on 2398 5691.

End

Amended town planning law enacted ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Town Planning (Amendment) Ordinance 1996, which introduces three technical amendments to the Town Planning Ordinance, was enacted today (Friday).

"The first amendment clarifies that a judge, who shall only come from the High Court or below, may be appointed to the Town Planning Appeal Board. (TPAB) panel," a spokesman for the Town Planning Board said.

The second one provides that the Governor may appoint more than one Deputy Chairman to the TPAB panel.

The spokesman said another provision of the Ordinance stipulated that a TPAB should be presided by the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the TPAB panel.

"The second amendment will therefore enhance the efficiency in processing planning appeals as additional appeal boards may sit simultaneously," he added.

The last amendment clarifies the nature of a continuing offence in respect of an unauthorised development under section 23(6) of the Town Planning Ordinance.

"It removes the ambiguity on how the daily fines shall be charged for such continuing offence," said the spokesman.

End

11

Tenders invited for slope upgrading work *****

The Civil engineering Department is inviting tenders for upgrading 18 slopes and retaining walls throughout the territory under its accelerated landslip preventive measures (LPM) programme.

The works arc expected to commence in August for completion in 18 months.

Of these 18 slopes, nine arc under the maintenance of Highways Department and nine are with Architectural Services Department.

Chief Geotechnical Engineer of the department’s Geotechnical Engineering Office, Mr Allan Watkins, pointed out that the contract would be the second to be let under the current fiscal year and the seventh to be offered under the accelerated LPM programme which commenced in April last year.

"A total of six contracts are expected to be let this year,” he said.

Under the programme, the upgrading works to government-owned man-made slopes in the 1977 Slope Catalogue would be completed by the year 2000.

"Studies of private slopes and retaining walls have also been accelerated considerably and about 300 slopes will be studied this year.

"A statutory notice will be served by the Buildings Department requiring owners to carry out upgrading works if a slope or a retaining wall is identified by the studies as not meeting the required standards,” Mr Watkins added.

Tender forms for the slope upgrading works contract and further particulars can be obtained from Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick (UK) Limited. 38th floor. Metroplaza Tower 1.223 Hing Fong Road. Kwai Fong. New Territories.

Tender offers will close at noon on May 31.

End

12

l enders invited for minor works contract

*****

The Territory Development Department is inviting tenders for the department's Term Contract for Minor Works for 1996-1998.

The scope of works includes construction of various types of minor items of engineering works relating to the projects under the management of the department. The projects are located throughout the territory including restricted areas and outlying islands.

The two-year term contract will start in June. The works will be designed and supervised by the Regional Development Offices of the department.

Details of the tender arc contained in the Government Gazette published today (Friday).

Tender forms and further particulars may be obtained from the New Territories West Development Office, 25th floor, Tsuen Wan Government Offices, 38 Sai Lau Kok Road, Tsuen Wan. New Territories.

Tenders must be clearly marked and addressed to the Chairman of the Central Tender Board. They must be placed in the Government Secretariat Tender Box in the lift lobby of the lower ground iloor. Central Government Offices (East Wing), Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong before noon on Friday, May 24.

Late tenders will not be accepted.

End

Tenders invited for two construction projects *****

The Architectural Services Department is inviting tenders for two construction projects for the Regional Council.

The first project relates to the construction of a two-storey air-conditioned market in Peng Chau.

The contract will also include the design and construction of piling works for Peng Chau Market, which will have a total floor area of about 1,600 square metres.

13

Works will commence in August for completion in January 1998.

The other project is for the renovation of entrance halls and public areas and provision of air-conditioning to seven Regional Council indoor recreation centres.

Works will also start in August for completion in April next year.

Tender forms and further particulars of both projects can be obtained from the Architectural Services Department, 34th floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

Tender offers for the Peng Chau Market and the recreation centres will close at noon on May 31 and 24 respectively.

End

Over 9,600 agreements lodged with Land Registry in April ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A total of 9,606 sale and purchase agreements for building units, including both residential and non-residential properties, were lodged with the Land Registry last month.

The figure represents a decrease of 19.4 per cent from that of March this year, and a decrease of 25.9 per cent when compared with April last year.

The total consideration of these agreements in the month is $29.54 billion, down 21.1 per cent and 21.6 per cent when compared with the amounts for March 1996 and April 1995 respectively.

The figures are contained in the monthly statistics released today (Friday) by the Land Registry on deeds relating to property transactions received for registration in the Urban and New Territories Land Registries last month.

Relevant statistics for March 1996 and April 1995 were provided for comparison. Figures on sale and purchase agreements received for the past 12 months and the year-on-year rate of change were also released.

These statistics generally relate to land transactions executed up to four weeks prior to their submission for registration, as there is usually a time lag between the execution of deeds and their lodgement for registration.

End

14

Survey on housing aspiration ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Planning Department today (Friday) signed an agreement commissioning a firm to conduct a survey on housing aspiration of the community.

’’The survey will identify the housing preference including housing type, location, flat size and ownership of various socio-economic groups,” a spokesman for the Department said.

"Information will be collected from a total of 12,000 randomly selected households.

' z!l

"Findings of the survey will be used to assess the housing needs of the territory," he added.

The survey will take about nine months to complete.

End

Sub-contractor served summonses for late payment of wages

* ♦ * ♦ ♦

The Labour Department has issued five summonses to a sub-contractor for suspected late payment of wages to a group of imported workers from China in November last year.

The sub-contractor, Success Civil and Foundation Company Limited, was engaged in the works contract of the Airport Passenger Terminal Building.

The summonses were served under Section 23 of the Employment Ordinance, stipulating that wages shall become due on the expiry of the last day of the wage period and shall be paid as soon as practicable but in any case not later than seven days thereafter. The maximum penalty for each summons is $200,000 and imprisonment for one year.

The five summonses will be presented for hearing in Eastern Magistracy on May 27.

End

15

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Time Cumulative change

Sjnillion (hours') (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,049 0930 +350

Closing balance in the account 2,050 1000 +350

Change attributable to : 1100 +350

Money market activity +346 1200 +350

LAF today -345 1500 +350

1600 +346

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 ♦-0.2* 3.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.89 2 years 2802 5.16 98.31 6.27

1 month 5.01 3 years 3904 6.30 99.08 6.76

3 months 5.19 5 years 5103 6.75 97.73 7.44

6 months 5.32 7 years 7302 6.02 91.17 7.86

12 months 5.68 5 years M502 7.30 99.14 7.67

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $17,508 million

Closed May 3, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Saturday, May 4,1996

Contents Page

HK-Guangdong talks on boundaries of administration................... 1

CAS commended for excellent service.................................. 1

Injured employees should be protected................................ 3

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................. 4

Sunday, May 5,1996

Contents Page Nth

Application for flag days in 1997 invited........................

1

HK-Guangdong talks on boundaries of administration ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Further discussions on matters relating to the boundaries of administration between Hong Kong and Guangdong will take place in Guangdong from Tuesday to Thursday (May 7 to 9) between the Hong Kong Government and the Guangdong provincial authorities, a government spokesman said today (Saturday).

The Deputy Political Adviser, Mr John Ashton, will lead the Hong Kong team.

Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Guangdong Provincial Government, Mr Xiao Jinzhe, will lead the Guangdong team.

End

CAS commended for excellent service *****

Please note that the following press release is embargoed until 8 pm this (Saturday) evening:

The Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, today (Saturday) commended the Civil Aid Service (CAS) for having consistently offered excellent service to the community since its establishment in 1952.

Speaking at the CAS 52nd Passing Out Parade this evening, Mr Lai said the work members of the service had done, as volunteers, would be a challenge to a full-time, professional service.

’’None of us can fail to be impressed by the fact that you have done all these as volunteers in your spare time to the highest standards. So much so that in future you will play an important role in the Government's upgraded emergency response management system," he said.

Mr Lai pointed out that through hard work, sometimes under difficult and dangerous circumstances, CAS had over the years earned the respect and gratitude of the people of Hong Kong,.

He noted that last year CAS had devoted a total of over 8,000 man-days in crowd control duties alone.

2

"You have assisted in evacuating flood victims; you have played an active part in our countryside fire protection efforts; you conducted rural area patrol duties; you have managed Vietnamese migrants detention centres; and you have continued to provide Hong Kong's principal mountain rescue service," he said.

On mountain rescue service, Mr Lai said CAS' response to the recent tragic hill fire at Pat Sin Leng clearly showed the professionalism and perseverance of its members.

"Your outstanding mountain rescue work, particularly in locating the last casualty, was clearly demonstrated and, I am sure, will be remembered by the people of Hong Kong with gratitude for many years to come," he said.

"As an extension of your excellent service, you will in the months and years ahead pass on your knowledge and expertise in mountaineering to other colleagues in the civil service, as well as teachers and students in schools, so as to enhance the safety and protection of hikers.

"This is yet another example of your public spiritedness and your professionalism."

On those passing out today, Mr Lai noted that they had completed 180 hours of basic training.

"You will now be attached to units where you will receive further advanced training on specialised subjects.

"Very soon you will be working in the front line with your more experienced colleagues, and learn to aspire to the very high standards that they have set. 1 have no doubt you will be determined to show them that you are every bit as good as they are," he said.

Mr Lai said he believed strongly that one of the secrets of Hong Kong's success was the strength of commitment shown by individuals who wished to offer whatever form of public service they could and pointed out that CAS' new members were a perfect example of this.

3

"You have chosen not only to participate in public life, but to volunteer your time and effort in a challenging, potentially dangerous, but always rewarding service.

*

"Your work will remain a vital element of the unique fabric of Hong Kong. I have no doubt that, under the direction of your Commissioner, the CAS will continue to grow from strength to strength," said Mr Lai.

End

Injured employees should be protected

*****

Employers are reminded today (Saturday) to observe the provisions of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (ECO) or they will face prosecution.

In a recent court case at Tsuen Wan Magistracy, Viking Restaurant in Kwai Chung was fined $10,000 for dismissing an employee injured at work before a certificate of assessment in respect of permanent incapacity (Form 5) had been issued by the Commissioner for Labour to the employer and the employee.

Labour Officer (Prosecutions), Mrs Tonia Leung, said under ECO, an employer had to compensate an injured employee according to what was stated in Form 5 within 21 days after the certificate was issued.

"No employer should dismiss, or give notice to dismiss, an injured employee who is entitled to compensation under the ECO until a medical practitioner or registered dentist has certified that the period of temporary incapacity has ceased or until the relevant Form 5 has been issued," she said.

An employer who contravenes this provision commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $25,000.

End

4

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations * ♦ ♦ * ♦

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Sjnillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,050 09:30 +320

Closing balance in the account 1,970 10:00 +320

Change attributable to: 11:00 +320

Money market activity +320 11:30 +320

LAF today -400

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 *+0.0* 4.5.96

End

5

Application for flag days in 1997 invited

*****

Organisations wishing to hold flag days next year to raise funds to finance services which they provide are invited to apply to the Social Welfare Department (SWD).

About 50 flag days will be allocated next year.

’’Applicants must be bona-fide non-profit-making charitable organisations registered under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance,” a department spokesman said today (Sunday).

"All applicants will be considered by the Subventions and Lotteries Fund Advisory Committee (SLFAC) on the merits of the service or special projects for which fund-raising through a flag day is proposed, the applicant organisation’s financial needs, and the organisation’s ability to execute such fund-raising activities,” the spokesman said.

Explaining the allocation criteria, the spokesman said each application would be considered basically in the following aspects:

an assessment of the management capability of the applicant organisation. This is important since public collection of money are involved;

the nature of the services provided by the organisation, and the demand for such from the community;

the financial need of the organisation based on its annual budget, operating surplus/deficits, availability of other funding resources, and planned projects; and

the organisation's ability to organise fund-raising activities and to maximise the benefits of a flag day.

The spokesman emphasised that expenses in connection with a flag day should not exceed 10 per cent of the gross receipts, and that successful applicants need to observe the conditions for holding flag days as laid down on a public subscription permit issued under the Summary Offences Ordinance.

Application forms can now be obtained from SWD Headquarters, Room 920, ninth floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, in person or in writing.

6

The completed application form, together with a copy of the organisation's latest annual report and statement of audited accounts, must reach the department on or before May 31. Late applications will not be entertained.

Successful applicants will be informed by October.

The list of successful applicants being allocated with flag days in 1997 will also be announced in the media, so that the public will be aware of who these welfare organisations are.

. ■ J

Enquiries on flag day activities can be made at 2892 5315.

Members of the public who suspect that they have been approached by bogus persons or charitable agencies for funds are advised to report to the Police, so that due enquiries can be conducted.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Monday, May 6,1996

Contents

Page No,

Transcript of FS’s media session.......................................... 1

Amended Immigration (Amendment) Bill forwarded to LegCo................... 1

Assistance for Yeung Hoi-keung being considered........................... 2

Gross domestic product for the Fourth Quarter of 1995 .................... 3

IRD initiatives facilitate tax filing..................................... 7

HK to host APEC Regional Energy Co-operation meeting...................... 8

Tender for the 13th issue of 2-Year exchange fund notes................... 9

Government communications exercise....................................... 10

Unlicensed guesthouse operator fined.................................. 11

Hong Kong School Drama Festival...............?....................... 11

Water storage figure..................................................... 12

Salt water cut in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan................................. 13

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations..................... 13

1

Transcript of FS's media session

*****

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, after officiating at the Hong Kong Note Printing Ltd today (Monday):

Question: Do you agree with Newsweek Magazine which accused Hong Kong's tycoons of betraying their pro-democracy middle class?

FS: Well, I don't think the governor used exactly those words. I men you've heard what the Governor said. I have very little more to add.

End

Amended Immigration (Amendment) Bill forwarded to LegCo

♦ * * * ♦

In response to press enquiries, a government spokesman today (Monday) confirmed that an amended version of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996 had been forwarded to the Legislative Council.

"We do not agree that the original Bill is contrary to our obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as applied to Hong Kong or that the Bill is unconstitutional in any way or provides for arbitrary' or indefinite detention," the spokesman said.

"We have proposed an amended version of the Bill to allay any concerns that the Administration was seeking to impose unnecessary restrictions on the courts.

"The amended Bill in no way affects the court's ability to consider any evidence before it and to make its own judgment, while maintaining the objective of the original Bill."

End

2

Assistance for Yeung Hoi-keung being considered ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

In response to press enquiries, a government spokesman today (Monday) confirms that the Government is actively considering ways to provide assistance for Mr Yeung Hoi-keung to help him tie over his financial predicament.

The solicitor representing Mr Yeung has already got in touch with the Secretary for Security directly.

"We accept that Mr Yeung’s case deserves special consideration in recognition of his bravery as a good citizen in fighting crime by apprehending a jewellery shop robber in 1989.

"As a caring Government, we should provide every assistance to ensure a stable living for Mr Yeung and his family in the years to come," the spokesman said.

Accordingly, the Government is exploring the possibility of granting ex-gratia payment on compassionate ground under the Public Finance Ordinance.

In calculating the amount to be granted, the Government will take into account the need to ensure that Mr Yeung and his family can enjoy a stable living notwithstanding his disability.

As regards legal aid costs, the Director of Legal Aid intends to waive the costs although the exact amount has yet to be worked out.

The Director of Social Welfare will support an appeal by Mr Yeung to the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation (CLEIC) Board against the refund to CLEIC. The Board will consider this appeal urgently.

End

3

Gross domestic product for the Fourth Quarter of 1995 * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.2% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 1995 over the same quarter in 1994, according to the preliminary estimates released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

This modest growth was brought about by continued sluggish consumer spending, a slow-down in private sector investment expenditure and a decelerated growth in exports. For 1995 as a whole, GDP grew by 4.6% in real terms.

Amongst the major GDP components, re-exports registered a slower growth of 9 7% in the fourth quarter of 1995 in real terms over a year earlier, following strong increases in the first three quarters.

On the other hand, domestic exports decreased by 5.2% in real terms over the same period after recording increases for four consecutive quarters.

Exports of services increased by 9.1% in real terms over a year earlier, supported by continuing growth in tourism and trade-related services.

Imports of goods and services increased by 8% and 3.7% respectively in real terms in the fourth quarter of 1995 over a year earlier.

• On investment spending, gross domestic fixed capital formation recorded an increase of only 2.4% in real terms, following a double-digit growth in the third quarter.

Within this component, construction output in the public sector increased by 7 2% while that in the private sector decreased by 5.8%. As a result, overall expenditure on construction showed little change from the fourth quarter a year earlier.

On the other hand, expenditure on machinery and equipment rose by 7.1% in real terms over a year earlier, showing a modest growth after the large increases in earlier periods.

The accumulation in stocks further moderated during the fourth quarter of 1995.

Consumer spending remained sluggish. Private consumption expenditure grew by only 0.8% in real terms in the fourth quarter over a year earlier.

4

The slow-down was mainly concentrated in spendings on motor vehicles and other durable goods, while spendings on consumer non-durables and on services recorded increases of 5.8% and 3.6% respectively in real terms.

Government consumption expenditure increased by 6.2% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 1995 over a year earlier.

The implicit price deflator of the GDP rose by 5% in the fourth quarter of 1995 over a year earlier. Excluding the effect due to change in terms of trade, the domestic demand deflator increased by 5.5% over the same period.

This relatively moderate increase was mainly due to the moderation in consumer prices, property prices, and import prices for machinery and equipment.

The estimates of GDP and its components for earlier periods are also revised to incorporate more up-to-date data. The real growth rate of GDP for 1994 was revised upwards from 5.4% to 5.5%.

Summaries of the latest GDP figures are presented in tables 1 and 2.

More detailed quarterly estimates of GDP from the first quarter of 1994 to the fourth quarter of 1995 are published in a report entitled "Quarterly Estimates of Gross Domestic Product 4th Quarter 1995".

This bilingual report is now on sale at $8 per copy at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

It is also available at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Telephone enquiries may be directed to the National Income Branch (1) of the Census and Statistics Department on 2582 5077.

5

Table 1 Expenditure-based GDP Estimates

first quarter of 1994 to fourth quarter of 1995

GDP at Constant (1990) Market Prices

GDP at Current Market Prices

Year/quarter 1994 1995 HKS Mn 1,015,560 1,111,244 % change over same period of the preceding year 13.2 9.4 HKS Mn 728,195 761,921 % change over same period of the preceding year 5.5 4 6

1994 QI 232,709 15.1 169,318 6.3

Q2 243,673 13.4 173,275 5.0

Q3 266,470 12.1 192,147 5.1

Q4 272,710 12.3 193.455 5.6

1995 QI 260,324 11.9 179,152 5.8

Q2 265,636 9.0 182,217 5.2

Q3 289,727 8.7 200,957 4.6

Q4 295,557 8.4 199,596 3.2

3

CL

Table 2 Expenditure-based GDP Estimates

Year-on-year growth rates, first quarter of 1994 to fourth quarter of 1995

% change over same period of the preceding year

Expenditure

Components of GDP At current market prices At constant (1990) market prices

1994 1995_______________ __________________1994_______________ _____________1995

QI Q2 Q3 Q4 Annual QI Q2 Q3 Q4 Annual QI Q2 Q3 Q4 Annual QI Q2 Q3 Q4 Annual

Private consumption expenditure 18.5 14.6 13.5 14.2 15.1 10.9 11.8 10.6 8.8 10.5 12.0 5.8 4.6 5.3 6.9 0.9 1.6 1.3 0.8 1.1

Government consumption expenditure 16.2 15.1 14.6 14.1 15.0 14.4 12.7 15.6 15.3 14.5 4.9 3.7 3.2 3.1 3.7 3.9 2.6 6.3 6.2 4.8

Gross domestic fixed capital formation 26.2 16.2 11.9 28.1 20.4 5.3 13.1 11.3 4.5 8.4 16.0 8.2 6.0 22.6 13.1 3.4 7.7 11.2 2.4 6.1 1 cn

of which: Construction 23.5 17.0 20.0 21.6 20.7 3.4 19.0 6.7 9.3 9.1 17.3 11.5 18.4 17.4 16.3 -2.1 10.5 -2.1 -0.3 1.0 1

Machinery and equipment 16.0 7.3 2.9 42.3 16.7 28.2 31.3 44.5 9.8 27.2 12.4 6.5 1.2 36.7 13.9 19.1 15.0 35.7 7.1 18.3

Total exports of goods 8.6 11.3 12.6 14.1 11.8 20.1 16.7 15.3 8.9 14.9 7.7 11.3 10.8 11.3 10.4 17.6 12.7 12.2 6.8 12.0

Imports of goods 9.8 15.8 17.4 22.3 16.6 27.5 21.5 18.9 11.3 19.2 8.3 15.1 14.7 17.1 14.0 21.7 13.6 13.5 8.0 13.8

Exports of services 14.4 9.9 11.5 16.7 13.1 17.3 19.9 20.1 16.6 18.5 7.9 3.4 4.7 9.0 6.3 9.2 11.9 12.3 9.1 10.6

Imports of services 15.7 13.4 15.7 18.6 15.8 17.5 16.7 14.4 10.6 14.8 9.6 6.0 6.8 8.1 7.6 6.5 6.1 5.2 3.7 5.4

Gross Domestic Product 15.1 13.4 12.1 12.3 13.2 11.9 9.0 8.7 8.4 9.4 6.3 5.0 5.1 5.6 5.5 5.8 5.2 4.6 3.2 4.6

7

IRD initiatives facilitate tax filing ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has launched a series of new initiatives to assist taxpayers in completing their tax returns and to answer any enquiries arising from tax related matters.

These include setting up floating enquiry centres at 13 different locations throughout the territories on May 25 and 26.

Disclosing the service package at a press conference today (Monday), the newly appointed Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mr Wong Ho-sang, hoped that the initiatives would be able to alleviate the workload of IRD enquiry staff who had been overwhelmed by callers with questions on filling in tax returns in the past years, and satisfy the needs of the general public.

Last year, IRD had received a total of 534,000 telephone enquiries and 93,000 personal enquiries in the two months after the forms were issued.

This year, the department estimated that about 30% of the 1.8 million taxpayers who have to file their tax returns would need to seek further information and briefing on how to fill in the tax return.

The floating enquiry centres will be set up in 10 community centres throughout the territories on May 25 and 26, from 2 pm to 5 pm, while the three IRD enquiry centres will remain open at the same time for the public.

An IRD hotline 2594 5479 has been installed to give details on the service.

Furthermore, IRD has organised seminars for over 5,500 personnel and accounting staff members from private companies so as to enable them to handle enquiries on tax returns when approached by their own colleagues.

The department has also organised briefing sessions for staff manning the enquiry service counters at district offices and for the assistants to the councillors of the 3-tier councils .

8

IRD will soon go on the Internet. Its home page will include general information on how to file tax returns and its 24-hour telephone enquiries services with 59 lines will be strengthened by setting up 26 more lines as from this month.

Mr Wong also reminded the public that before lodging the tax returns, it was important to ensure the address was correct and that all the relevant parts were completed and duly signed.

End

HK to host APEC Regional Energy Co-operation meeting *****

Over 70 officials from 17 economies will attend the 12th meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Working Group on Regional Energy Cooperation (EWG) in Hong Kong tomorrow (Tuesday) and the day after.

EWG, which meets twice every year, is aimed at promoting co-operation on energy supply and demand issues in the Asia Pacific Region, a spokesman for the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) said today (Monday).

"The two-day meeting is being held in Hong Kong for the first-time. Our department, which has been representing Hong Kong at the EWG and its expert group meetings since mid-1992, will be the host.

"The meeting will commence tomorrow morning with an opening address by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu," he said.

The Deputy Director of EMSD, Mr Leung Cham-tin, will co-chair the meeting with the Executive Director of the Department of Primary Industries and Energy of Australia, Mr Russell Higgins.

Participating economics include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and the United States of America.

9

To achieve its goal, EWG has identified five "themes" which are of strategic importance to the Asia Pacific Region. The themes are Energy Supply and Demand; Energy and the Environment; Energy Efficiency and Conservation; Energy Research, Development and Technology Transfer; and Energy Exploration and Development.

Expert groups comprising technical specialists from individual member economies have been established under each of these themes.

End

Tender for the 13th issue of 2-Year exchange fund notes * * * ♦ ♦

Tender for the 13th issue of 2-year exchange fund notes will be held on May 13 for settlement on May 14, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announces today (Monday).

Similar to the previous issue, an amount of $500 million 2-year notes will be on offer. In addition, another $100 million will be held as reserve by HKMA for supply to market makers in the secondary market.

The notes will mature on May 14, 1998, and will carry interest at the rate of 6.3% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears.

Members of the public who wish to tender for the notes may do so through any of the market makers or recognised dealers on the published list which can be obtained from HKMA at 30th floor, 3 Garden Road, Hong Kong, or on Tel 2878 8150.

Each tender must be for an amount of $50,000 or integral multiples thereof.

Tender information for the thirteenth issue of 2-Year exchange fund notes:

Issue number : 2805

Tender date and time : Monday May 13, 1996, 9.30 am to 10.30 am

Issue and settlement date : Tuesday May 14, 1996

Amount on offer : $500 million plus an additional $ 100 million as reserve

stock for the Monetary Authority

10

Maturity : Two years

Maturity date : May 14, 1998

Interest rate : 6.3% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears

Interest payment dates : Nov 14, 1996, May 14, 1997, Nov 14, 1997, May 14, 1998

Tender amount : Each tender must be for an amount of $50,000 or integral multiples thereof. Members of the public who wish to tender for the notes may approach market makers or recognised dealers on the published list

Other details : Please see Information Memorandum published or approach market makers or recognised dealers

End

Government communications exercise *****

A government communications exercise will be held from May 22 to 24.

This is the latest of the routine exercises which are held periodically to test the use of both police and civil government communications networks.

There will be no deployment of police or other units on the ground during the exercise, and there will be no interference with traffic or inconvenience to the public.

End

11

Unlicensed guesthouse operator fined ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The operator and the manager of a guesthouse were fined a total of $25,000 today (Monday) in South Kowloon Magistracy after pleading guilty to operating and managing an unlicensed guesthouse in Yau Ma Tei.

The operator of the guesthouse at 14 Tak Hung Street, whose certificate of exemption expired last November, had been reminded by officers of the Home Affairs Department's Licensing Authority to cease operation until a licence had been obtained. /

However, during an inspection on the premises in January, the officers found that it was in operation without a licence, contravening Section 5 of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance.

A spokesman for the department said unlicensed guesthouses would not be tolerated and enforcement action would continue to be taken to eliminate such establishments to ensure public safety.

He also appealed to members of the public to help in the crackdown on unlicensed guesthouses by reporting them to the Licensing Authority on 2881 7034.

» i • •

End

L'i.

Hong Kong School Drama Festival ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The outstanding actor and actress at the Public Performance Phase of the Hong Kong School Drama Festival 1995-96 will be awarded a scholarship given by the Mountview Theatre School to attend a two-week summer course on drama in London, United Kingdom.

Education Department's Inspector (School Activities), Mr Lai Man-lai said: "This is the first time such prizes be awarded."

The travel expense is sponsored by the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon.

The winners of the scholarship will be announced at the Gala evenings at the Theatre, Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, on Wednesday and Thursday (May 8 and 9).

12

The Lok Sin Tong Cup and the Director of Education Cup for the best performing primary and secondary schools will be presented at the ceremony.

Other prizes for best stage effect, original script, actors, actresses, directors, production diary and overall performance will also be awarded to the winning teams.

Seven schools with outstanding performances at the Public Performance Phase are invited to present their dramas in the Gala Evenings.

v They are Yuen Long Long Ping Estate Wai Chow School PM, Mongkok Workers' Children School, Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School, St Benedict's Secondary Technical School, Shatin Government Secondary School, Kwun Tong Government Secondary School and La Salle Primary School AM.

Four outstanding Chinese dramas will be presented in the first Gala Evening and three English dramas on the second one.

It is an annual event organised by the Education Department, jointly presented by the Urban Council and the Regional Council, and sponsored by the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon.

This year, a total of 4,227 students from 145 secondary schools and 42 primary schools participated in the festival.

Tickets at $30 for Gala evenings are on sale at the URBTIX outlets. There will be a 50 per cent discount for students and persons aged 60 or above.

ni: •

End

Water storage figure ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 82.6 per cent of capacity or 464.263 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 383.278 million cubic metres of water, representing 65.4 per cent of capacity.

End

13

Salt water cut in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Flushing water supply to all premises in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan will be temporarily suspended from 9am to 8pm on Thursday (May 9) for the replacement of a control valve.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,970 0930 +431

Closing balance in the account 2,368 1000 +431

Change attributable to: 1100 +431

Money market activity +431 1200 +431

LAF today -33 1500 +431

1600 +431

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 *+0.0* 6.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.91 2 years 2802 5.16 98.41 6.21

1 month 5.01 3 years 3904 6.30 99.23 6.70

3 months 5.16 5 years 5103 6.75 97.87 7.41

6 months 5.29 7 years 7302 6.02 91.28 7.83

12 months 5.65 5 years M502 7.30 99.22 7.65

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $17,361 million

Closed May 6, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Tuesday, May 7,1996

Contents Page No.

Governor visits the United States...................................... 1

Increase in water charges approved..................................... 2

Panel for non-summary company liquidations established................. 4

Kindergarten subsidy application to close soon......................... 6

Escort mandatory provision on "nanny van" to be implemented........

Tips for summer health cited.......................................

Salt water cut in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung............................ 1°

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results........................... 10

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations............... 11

1

Governor visits the United States *****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, today (Monday, May 6, New York time) completed the New York leg of his visit to North America with a speech to the National Committee on US-China Relations at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel.

Addressing an audience of over 400 members of the New York business and professional communities, Mr Patten said there were two things which the international business community should speak up for above all else to help ensure that the economic and political freedoms survive in Hong Kong.

"First, it's imperative that Hong Kong continues, as promised, to run its own affairs and to run them in the same successful way that it's done for decades: low taxes, sensible macro-economic policy, level playing field for business, and no politicisation of the award of franchises and contracts," he said.

"Secondly, 1 hope the international business community and the local business community will underline the importance of the rule of law to Hong Kong's economic success and continuing prosperity."

He stressed it was important for Hong Kong's economic success that the territory continued to have independent courts and that the Government was subject to, and the people were able to depend on, the rule of law.

Mr Patten also said it was important to the success of 1 long Kong in future that the rest of the world stayed interested in its affairs.

The reasons this interest should continue included America's huge economic stake in the territory, and the fact that Hong Kong was "the best possible bridge between China and the rest of the world", he said.

"And finally," he told his audience, "I hope you'll stay interested because Hong Kong is the sort of place, 1 would argue, that America would like Asia as a whole to be: open markets, rule of law, economic freedom and political liberty - all together in a remarkably successful community."

Mr Patten said two ways that the American community could show its ongoing interest in Hong Kong's continuing success were through not applying conditions to MFN and by not allowing Hong Kong to be swallowed up in the greater issue of the United States overall relationship with China.

2

"But above all, Hong Kong's success will be determined by the people of Hong Kong themselves. Hong Kong's success has been made by those six million people, six million extraordinarily resilient people, six million people who are very attached to their freedoms," said Mr Patten.

While in New York - his first stop in the United States following a week-long tour of Canada - Mr Patten also delivered speeches to the Council on Foreign Relations and to students and alumni at Columbia University, and attended editorial meetings with leading media.

On Monday afternoon, Mr Patten travelled by train to Washington D C where he will have a round of meetings with members of Congress and the Administration to argue for unconditional renewal of MFN for China.

End

Increase in water charges approved *****

The Governor-in-Council today (Tuesday) approved an increase in water charges.

The increase, which was made following an annual review of water charges, will come into effect on July 1. The last increase was over 16 months ago on February 16, 1995.

A spokesman for the Water Authority said charges for domestic consumers will increase by 8.5 per cent and for non-domestic consumers, by 9.3 per cent.

"The revision is aimed at reflecting more accurately the higher operating costs mainly due to inflation and the costs of expansion of the supply system in the next few years to cope with future demand," he said.

"The increase is below inflation which is 10.6 per cent for the same period," he remarked.

Under the new charges, 16 per cent of the 1.8 million domestic consumers will continue to enjoy free supply of water, while 63 per cent will pay less than $6 more per month.

3

The remaining 21 per cent will pay $6 or more per month. Of this group, about eight per cent (i.e. less than two per cent of all consumers) will have to pay more than $20 extra per month.

A comparison of the water charges for domestic consumers under the old and new tariffs is shown below:

Consumption in units 1 unit = 1 cubic metre

Charges per four-month period

Present ($) New ($)

12 and below Free Free

13-43 4.16-128.96 4.51 - 139.81

44-62 135.41 -251.51 146.81 -272.81

63 - 120 260.56-776.41 282.63 - 842.37

Over 120 776.41 plus $9.05 842.37 plus $9.82

per unit over per unit over

The higher increase in the charges for non-domestic consumers, in comparison with the charges for domestic consumers, is aimed at eliminating the cross subsidy from domestic consumers to non-domestic consumers after this charges increase, the spokesman said.

"The 9.3 per cent increase for non-domestic supplies is unlikely to have any significant impact on business operations as water charges represent only a small part of the operating costs of most firms.

"For example, the new rate will increase the production cost of the bleachdyeing industry, which is the largest consumer of water, by about 0.28 per cent and that of the entire manufacturing sector by about 0.02 per cent.

"Therefore the increase in the charges should not have any significant impact on their operations," he said.

The fees for connection and other miscellaneous services will also be increased to reflect the rise in material and labour costs. The last increases in these fees were also on February 16, 1995.

End

4

Panel for non-summary company liquidations established *****

The Official Receiver (OR), Mr Robin Hearder, and the President of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants (HKSA), Mr Brian Stevenson, today (Tuesday) announced the establishment of the Administrative Panel of Insolvency Practitioners for the Court Winding-Up of Companies for non-summary company liquidations.

Mr Hearder explained that the scheme was not a licensing scheme, and merely involved the registration by the OR of member firms of HKSA, which possessed the necessary expertise and resources to form a panel.

Under the scheme, when statutory meetings of creditors and contributories in non-summary company liquidations (having net estimated realisable assets of more than $200,000) are called, the OR will inform the persons attending that except for public interest cases, they have a choice whether an application should be made to the court to appoint a liquidator in place of the OR.

If they want a liquidator other than the OR, the OR will recommend that the appointment be given to the firms listed on the Panel.

Creditors in non-summary cases may in some instances choose not to appoint someone other than the OR as the liquidator.

The OR will advise creditors in such cases that if they do appoint the OR as liquidator, he will promptly apply to the court to appoint special managers from the Panel under Section 216 of the Companies Ordinance.

The appointment will be allocated to a firm on the Panel, based on a roster of firm names arranged in alphabetical order. Firms which join the Panel after the roster has begun will be placed at the end of the list in the order of their admission.

It should be noted that in some instances, creditors may wish to appoint an accountant not on the Panel. Subject to producing satisfactory affidavits of fitness, a suitable bond to the satisfaction of the OR, and the discretion of the court, there is nothing to prevent them doing so.

The Panel will be managed by the OR and member firms must possess four main criteria of expertise and resources to be admitted.

5

The main ones are having at least four professional accountants who are members of HKSA, and two of these accountants must be insolvency practitioners who have a minimum number chargeable hours in relevant insolvency work (excluding members voluntary liquidations).

All applications to join the Panel have to be accepted by an approval committee consisting of three members of HKSA and three members of the OR Office.

The approval committee met last week and granted the applications of 13 firms to join the Panel.

Panel members who are appointed as special managers or liquidators under the roster system will be remunerated on a time-cost basis based on the standard scale of fees approved by the OR in consultation with HKSA.

The standard scale of fees will be reviewed each year. Panel firms may apply to the Committee of Inspection of Creditors or to the court to be remunerated at a different rate of the standard scale of fees having regard to the complexity of the case or other relevant factors.

Panel firms must sign an undertaking to the OR to accept any cases allocated to them under the roster system except for special reasons satisfactory to the OR which precluded them from doing so, and must carry out an appropriate minimum standard of statutory investigation having regard to the funds available.

Mr Hearder welcomed the participation of experienced insolvency practitioners of HKSA to take on the larger and more complex company liquidations, and to relieve the pressure on his hardworking staff who would have more time to concentrate on other company liquidations and bankruptcies.

Mr Stevenson said the scheme signified a successful and effective partnership between the government and the private sector.

He welcomed the move by government to make greater use of private sector skills in areas of public sector work.

He believed that HKSA members on the Panel, having the necessary professional expertise and skills in insolvency work, will make a definite contribution.

End

6

Kindergarten subsidy application to close soon

*****

Kindergarten operators are invited to apply for government subsidy under the Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme for the 1996-97 school year on or before Friday (May 10).

Senior Education Officer, Mr Chan Chi-tak, said: "The advantage of joining the Scheme is that kindergartens will be able to boost competitiveness by lowering their fees, and at the same time reduce parents' burden."

Under the revised Scheme, kindergarten operators will see an annual subsidy rate raised to $790 per pupil and eligibility cut-off point to $11,700 per pupil per year in the 1996-97 school year.

The subsidy rate and the cut-off point in the present Scheme are $695 and $8,300 respectively.

Mr Chan said: "The subsidy rate has been revised to take account of both inflation and the annual salary increment of teachers."

The enhancement of the eligibility cut-off point, raising by almost 41 per cent for the forthcoming school year, will enable up to 90 per cent of kindergartens to join the Scheme.

"For a standard kindergarten with 320 pupils, the revised subsidy will be $252,800 per year. For one with 80 or fewer pupils, a flat rate of $63,200 per year will be paid," said Mr Chan.

The Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme, introduced in September last year, is aimed at improving the quality of kindergarten education and to minimise the impact of fee increases on parents as a result of the Government's new regulatory requirements on kindergartens.

Mr Chan said kindergartens wishing to join the Scheme should complete the application forms and return them to the respective District Education offices.

More than $20.8 million was paid to 236 kindergartens benefiting about 60,000 pupils under the Education Department's Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme in the second payment of the 1995-96 school year, he noted.

The payment will be effected to kindergartens on Friday.

End

7

Escort mandatory provision on ’’nanny van” to be implemented ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Government will make provision of an escort mandatory on board school buses which have a capacity exceeding 16 seats effective from next February.

The provision, however, is confined to school buses carrying primary school and kindergarten children.

This was revealed by the Assistant Commissioner for Transport (Management and Licensing), Dr Ernest Lee, at a press conference today (Tuesday) on safety provisions of school transport jointly held by Transport Department, Education Department and the Police.

Dr Lee said the experience gained from the bigger buses would help to assess the possible extension of such a requirement to nanny vans at a later stage.

He noted that the requirement was one of the measures drawn up by the three government departments for implementation to enhance the safety of school transport after a three-month public consultation that ended last December.

In the exercise, Education and Transport departments had received 11,900 completed questionnaires. Of them, 84 per cent were from parents.

Dr Lee pointed out that other improvement measures would also be implemented in stages to enhance the safety of school transport.

These measures and their implementation schedule are as follows:

encouraging the setting up of school bus service committees in all primary schools and kindergartens;

the tightening of licensing conditions for nanny vans to commence on August 1;

an additional ’’Caution: Children” sign board to be placed on buses when carrying school children to alert other motorists should be in place by August 1;

* mandatory installation of warning devices at the main door and emergency exit door for commencement on February 1, 1997;

8

* a new colour scheme for new nanny vans to make them more conspicuous with effect from February 1, 1997;

* mandatory installation of a public announcement system to enable drivers and/or escorts to communicate with school children to be effective on February 1, 1998;

* a new colour scheme for existing nanny vans by February 1, 1998; and

* requirement for nanny vans to obtain a passenger service license by mid-

1998.

In addition, Transport Department is currently pursuing with Housing Department the possibility of designating suitable bus stops for school transport vehicles in public housing estates.

End

Tips for summer health cited ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Safe food, good personal and environmental hygiene are the effective weapons against gastro-intestinal infections, the acting Assistant Director of Health, Dr Leung Ting-hung, said today (Tuesday).

Dr Leung was appealing to members of the public to take special precautionary measures against diseases with the approach of the summer season.

He pointed out that food-bome diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and food poisoning are more common in the summer season as a result of eating unclean or deteriorated food, or drinking contaminated water.

"Members of the public are strongly advised not to patronise illegal hawkers selling cooked foods and non-bottled drinks, and unlicensed food premises as their food may be unclean and may pose serious risk to health," he said.

He also advised people travelling to tropical countries to take extra precautions in choosing their food and drinks.

Dr Leung cited 12 points for members of the public to observe to guard against gastro-intestinal infections:

7

Escort mandatory provision on "nanny van" to be implemented ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government will make provision of an escort mandatory on board school buses which have a capacity exceeding 16 seats effective from next February.

The provision, however, is confined to school buses carrying primary school and kindergarten children.

This was revealed by the Assistant Commissioner for Transport (Management and Licensing), Dr Ernest Lee, at a press conference today (Tuesday) on safety provisions of school transport jointly held by Transport Department, Education Department and the Police.

Dr Lee said the experience gained from the bigger buses would help to assess the possible extension of such a requirement to nanny vans at a later stage.

He noted that the requirement was one of the measures drawn up by the three government departments for implementation to enhance the safety of school transport after a three-month public consultation that ended last December.

In the exercise, Education and Transport departments had received 11,900 completed questionnaires. Of them, 84 per cent were from parents.

Dr Lee pointed out that other improvement measures would also be implemented in stages to enhance the safety of school transport.

These measures and their implementation schedule are as follows:

* encouraging the setting up of school bus service committees in all primary schools and kindergartens;

* the tightening of licensing conditions for nanny vans to commence on August 1;

an additional "Caution: Children" sign board to be placed on buses when carrying school children to alert other motorists should be in place by August 1;

mandatory installation of warning devices at the main door and emergency exit door for commencement on February 1, 1997;

8

* a new colour scheme for new nanny vans to make them more conspicuous with effect from February 1, 1997;

* mandatory installation of a public announcement system to enable drivers and/or escorts to communicate with school children to be effective on February 1, 1998;

* a new colour scheme for existing nanny vans by February 1, 1998; and

requirement for nanny vans to obtain a passenger service license by mid-

1998.

In addition, Transport Department is currently pursuing with Housing Department the possibility of designating suitable bus stops for school transport vehicles in public housing estates.

End

Tips for summer health cited ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Safe food, good personal and environmental hygiene are the effective weapons against gastro-intestinal infections, the acting Assistant Director of Health, Dr Leung Ting-hung, said today (Tuesday).

Dr Leung was appealing to members of the public to take special precautionary measures against diseases with the approach of the summer season.

He pointed out that food-bome diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and food poisoning are more common in the summer season as a result of eating unclean or deteriorated food, or drinking contaminated water.

"Members of the public are strongly advised not to patronise illegal hawkers selling cooked foods and non-bottled drinks, and unlicensed food premises as their food may be unclean and may pose serious risk to health," he said.

He also advised people travelling to tropical countries to take extra precautions in choosing their food and drinks.

Dr Leung cited 12 points for members of the public to observe to guard against gastro-intestinal infections:

9

* Keep the kitchen clean;

* Clean the chopping block and knife before use, especially after cutting raw meat and poultry;

* Use clean cooking utensils;

Use wholesome food and make water safe for drinking by boiling;

* Wash hands with soap after visiting toilet and before preparing or eating

food;

* Defrost food only when needed;

* Store all perishable food not meant for immediate consumption properly. Cooked food stored in the refrigerator should be separated from raw food items;

* Soak and wash vegetables thoroughly before cooking;

* Cook food, especially meat and shellfish, thoroughly before consumption;

* Eat cooked food while it is still hot and do not leave it exposed for a long period of time;

* Food to be kept over-night should be put in a refrigerator and reheated thoroughly before eating; and

All garbage and waste should be stored in a covered container before disposal.

Dr Leung stressed that the Department of Health, the Urban Services and Regional Services departments would continue to take positive measures to prevent the spread of gastro-intestinal infections.

"These measures include prosecution against illegal cooked food hawkers and dissemination of health education messages and advice to the licensees and staff of licensed food premises as well as to the residents in remote areas," he said.

Publicity would also be stepped up to put across health messages to the public on food, personal and environmental hygiene, he added.

End

10

Salt water cut in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The flushing water supply to some premises in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung will be temporarily suspended from 10 pm next Friday (May 10) to 10 am the following day for repair work on watermains to be carried out.

The suspension will affect all premises in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung, including Upper Kwai Chung, Lower Kwai Chung and the Kwai Chung container terminal.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

*****

Tender date 7 May 1996 7 May 1996

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q619 H664

Issue date 8 May 1996 8 May 1996

Maturity date 7 Aug 1996 6 Nov 1996

Amount applied HK$5,540 MN HK$3,380 MN

Amount allotted HK$ 1,500 MN HKS800 MN

Average yield accepted 5.15 PCT 5.31 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.16 PCT 5.32 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 46 PCT About 56 PCT

Average tender yield 5.18 PCT 5.34 PCT

- 11 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tenders to be held in the week beginning 13 May 1996

Tender date 13 May 1996 14 May 1996 14 May 1996

Paper on offer EF notes EF bills EF bills

Issue number 2805 Q620 Y689

Issue date 14 May 1996 15 May 1996 15 May 1996

Maturity date 14 May 1998 14 Aug 1996 14 May 1997

Tenor 2 years 91 days 364 days

Amount on offer HKS500+100MN HK$l,500+300MN HK$500+150MN

Coupon 6.30 PCT

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

S million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,368 0930 +33

Closing balance in the account 1,586 1000 +33

Change attributable to: 1100 +33

Money market activity +33 1200 +33

LAF today -815 1500 +33

1600 +33

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 *+0.0* 7.5.96

12

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills Terms Yield EF notes

Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.90 2 years 2802 5.16 98.46 6.18

1 month 4.99 3 years 3904 6.30 99.37 6.64

3 months 5.16 5 years 5103 6.75 98.07 7.36

6 months 5.31 7 years 7302 6.02 91.50 7.79

12 months 5.62 5 years M502 7.30 99.35 7.61

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $28,242 million

Closed May 7, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, May 8,1996

Contents Page Not

Governor Patten calls on Capitol Hill...................................... 1

Membership of Equal Opportunities Commission announced..................... 2

FS to lead delegation to visit Southeast Asia.............................. 4

Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 1996 ................................... 6

Bill on aviation security to be introduced................................. 7

Lay members of Insider Dealing Tribunal appointed.......................... 9

Erroneous press report on PCS licence applications......................... 9

Director for securities clearing company appointed........................ 10

New vessels commissioned to promote marine safety......................... 10

Transfer of VMs from High Island Detention Centre......................... 12

549 VMs transferred to Victoria Prison.................................... 12

Education system will continue after 1997................................. 13

Revised fees for using country parks facilities........................... 14

Stamp sheetlet to mark exhibition..................................... 15

Four lots of land to let.................................................. 16

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 17

1

Governor Patten calls on Capitol Hill ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, today (Tuesday, May 7, Washington Time) completed his first full day in Washington D C, the fifth city of his six-city North American tour.

The day’s appointments included a morning meeting with US Vice President Al Gore at the White House where National Security Advisor Anthony Lake and National Economic Advisor Laura Tyson were also present.

Following the meeting, the Governor told the press that he had received two assurances from the Vice President.

"First of all, that the US administration takes the same view that we do about MFN and about the importance of its renewal and, secondly, that the US administration continues to believe that there should be full implementation of the Joint Declaration as the basis for Hong Kong’s transition to Chinese sovereignty in 1997," he said.

Mr Patten said during the meeting he had also expressed to the Vice President Hong Kong's gratitude for continuing interest by the United States administration in what was happening in Hong Kong and for the continuing American concern towards the full implementation of the Joint Declaration in Hong Kong.

"We very much appreciate the lively and informed interest which the US administration has shown," Mr Patten said.

During the day, the Governor had several other appointments on Capitol Hill.

These included meetings with Secretary for Commerce Ambassador Mickey Kantor, formerly the US Trade Representative until he assumed the position of Secretary for Commerce following the death of Secretary Ronald Brown last month, and with Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.

The Governor met Republican Senator Connie Mack who in 1995 formed the Hong Kong Coalition, a bipartisan group of House and senate members whose purpose is to monitor Hong Kong’s transition; Democratic Senator Joseph Liberman; and Democratic Senator Bill Bradley, a member of the Finance Committee.

Mr Patten also had discussions with the Bipartisan Working Group on MFN, a group of bipartisan pro-trade Congressmen in the House of Representatives.

2

The Governor addressed a lunchtime meeting of 200 members and guests of the Washington D C-based think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

He also had two television interviews - with CNN and with the Public Broadcasting Service programme News Hour with Jim Lehrer - and an interview with National Public Radio.

Tomorrow, Mr Patten will continue his round of appointments in the US capital.

End

Membership of Equal Opportunities Commission announced ♦ * ♦ * *

The Governor has appointed Dr Fanny Cheung Mui-ching as the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) for a term of three years commencing May 20, 1996.

Sixteen other members have also been appointed to serve on the Commission for a two-year term with effect from the same day.

Under the Sex and Disability Discrimination Ordinances, the EOC is to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities between women and men and persons with and without a disability.

The Commission will undertake public education and research programmes to promote equal opportunities in the community, handle complaints and encourage conciliation between parties in dispute, and provide assistance to aggrieved persons.

It may also issue codes of practice to provide practical guidance to the employment sector to facilitate compliance with the statutory requirements of the Ordinances.

Dr Cheung is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Social Science of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She is fully conversant with issues relating to discrimination on the grounds of sex and disability in Hong Kong.

3

For the past 20 years, Dr Cheung has played an active part in promoting equal opportunities for women. She spearheaded the establishment of a women’s centre in the early 1980s to provide comprehensive counselling and development services for women. She also founded the Gender Research Programme at CUHK 10 years ago and has been serving as the Programme Director since.

Furthermore, Dr Cheung has a commendable track record in the field of rehabilitation. She has been closely involved in public education and community campaigns to promote public acceptance of the handicapped persons and is the incumbent Vice-chairperson of the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. She is also the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Social Work Training and Manpower Planning.

The 16 members appointed to the EOC represent a wide range of community interests. They possess diverse but useful expertise in the relevant fields. Apart from the professionals and academics, there are members who have recognised credentials in promoting the rights of women, equal opportunities and rehabilitation services for the disabled persons, or who are conversant with issues relating to the employment sector.

The members are as follows:

1 Mr Chan Fuk-sing, Peter - certified public accountant, member of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee;

2 Mr Cheung Wing-lam, Linus - Chief Executive of the Hong Telecommunications Ltd and member of the Review Committee of the Independent Against Corruption;

3 Ms Cheung Yuet-lan - member of the Regional Council;

4 Dr Fung Hon-yuen, Stevenson - lecturer of the University of Hong Kong and member of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee;

5 Ms Hung Suet-lin - social worker of Caritas-Hong Kong and Vice-chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Feminism;

6 Mrs Lam Pei Yu-dja, Peggy - Chairman of the Wan Chai District Board;

7 Mr Lee Man-ban - certified public accountant, Chairman of the Hong Kong

Society for Rehabilitation;

4

8 Mr Lee Yeh-Kwong, Charles - solicitor, member of the governor's Business Council,

. H.

9 Mr Leung Kwan-yuen, Andrew - Managing Director of the Sun Hing Knitting Factory Ltd and employer representative on the Labour Advisory Board;

10 Miss Leung Oi-sie, Elsie - solicitor, President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers;

11 Ms Li Fung-ying - General Secretary of the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions and employee representative of the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund Board;

12 Professor Ng Mun-hon - Professor of the University of Hong Kong and member of the Advisory Council on AIDS;

13 Miss Shum Mun-ling, Elle - Director of Protech Components Ltd and member of the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education;

14 Ms Wu Hung-yuk, Anna - solicitor, Vice-chairman of the Consumer Council;

15 Dr Wu Wai-yung, Raymond - medical practitioner, Chairman of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee;

16 Mr Yeung Kong-hing, Peter - General Manager (Personnel) of the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd and Chairman of the Transport and Physical Distribution Training Board of the Vocational Training Council.

End

FS to lead delegation to visit Southeast Asia *****

J

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, will lead a 62-member delegation to visit Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok between May 14 to 22 to strengthen business ties among APEC participants and identify opportunities for building a strategic business partnership with the three cities.

Announcing details of the visit today (Wednesday), a government spokesman said the visit represents the joint efforts of the Government and the private sector to foster closer economic ties with the three Southeast Asian countries and to explore with them mutual development opportunities in the region.

5

The delegation comprises representatives from both the private and public sectors including the Secretary for Works, Mr H S Kwong, and representatives from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA).

It also includes over 30 members of the five professional bodies in the construction trade and related industries - the Association of Consulting Engineers of Hong Kong (ACEHK), the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA), the Hong Kong Electrical and Mechanical Contractors' Association (HKEMCA), the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKJE).

A business seminar "Building Strategic Partnership for the Future" will be organised by HKTDC in each of the three cities. The Financial Secretary will deliver a keynote address at the luncheon which will follow the seminars.

Other speakers include the Executive Director of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Mr Vincent Cheng; Chairman of the Sino Land Group, Mr Robert Ng; Chairman of HKTA, Mr Y S Lo, Chairman of INFA Telecom Group, Mr Peter Tsang; Chairman of DHL International Ltd, Mr Chung Po-yang; Chairman of the Hong Kong Exporters Association, Mr Willy Lin; and the Director of Hong Kong Centre of Economic Research, University of Hong Kong, Professor Richard Wong.

Representatives of the professional bodies, including

Mr James Blake of the HKIE; Mr Kenneth Lau of ACEHK; Mr K K Chan of HKCA and Mr C K Tsang of HKEMCA, will also speak at the seminars.

The Financial Secretary will leave Hong Kong on May 14 for Kuala Lumpur where he will call on senior Malaysian banking and financial officials and attend the HKTDC business seminar. He will also speak at a lunch meeting of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.

On May 16, the delegation will depart for Singapore where Mr Tsang will call on the Prime Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong; Chairman of the Economic Development Board, Mr Philip Yeo; and ministers responsible for finance and trade and industry.

While in Singapore, Mr Tsang will officially open the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) and the HKTA Office on May 17. The HKETO (Singapore) has been in operation since last August to strengthen economic and trade links with Singapore and other ASEAN countries.

6

Mr Tsang will also address the Harvard Club of Singapore and visit the Singapore Stock Exchange and the Singapore International Monetary Exchange.

On May 20, the delegation will set off for the last leg of the visit, Bangkok. In the Thai capital, Mr Tsang will call on the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Amnuay Viravan, and senior officials in charge of foreign affairs and finance.

End

Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill 1996 *****

The Government has proposed to amend two provisions in the Telecommunication Ordinance which might affect press freedom or freedom of expression.

The Telecommunication (Amendment) bill 1996 was passed by the Govemor-in-Council at its meeting yesterday.

A government spokesman explained today (Wednesday): ”We intend to repeal section 13C(3)(a) of the ordinance which empowers the Broadcasting Authority to require radio licensee to refrain from broadcasting any programme.

"With the repeal of this section, the administrative measure to prohibit programming will cease.

"However, the existing provision which allows the court on application by the Chief Secretary to prohibit certain programmes that may incite hatred, result in a general breakdown in law and order or gravely damage public health or morals will be retained.

"The Broadcasting Authority will continue to regulate the standards of programmes or advertisements.

"The licensing regime for radio licensees will thus be brought into line with the regime for television licensees under the Television Ordinance."

The other provision to be amended is section 28 which makes transmitting messages known to be false by telecommunication an offence.

7

The spokesman said this provision was considered to be too vague and too onerous.

He said: "The reason for having the section is to comply with Article 47 of the Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which requires steps to be taken to prevent the transmission or circulation of false or deceptive distress, urgency, safety or identification signals.

"The redrafted section will enable us to comply with the ITU requirements."

The Bill will be gazetted on Friday (May 10) and introduced into the Legislative Council on May 22.

End

Bill on aviation security to be introduced *****

The Government will introduce new legislation to establish a statutory framework on aviation security in Hong Kong so that the territory will continue to comply with international requirements, a Government spokesman said today (Wednesday).

The Aviation Security Bill will be gazetted on Friday (May 10) and is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on June 5 this year.

The spokesman said that the international community had agreed on a number of standards and recommended practices for the suppression of unlawful interference committed against aircraft, airports and passengers.

These are laid down in Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. In addition, agreements on measures to combat unlawful interference are enshrined in the Tokyo, The Hague and the Montreal Conventions.

The Aviation Security Bill aims to localise provisions in UK legislation giving effect to these Conventions, which are extended to Hong Kong by Orders-in-Council.

"The Bill also seeks to regularise the aviation security arrangements currently applied at Kai Tak Airport through administrative measures," the spokesman said.

8

Under the proposed legislation, any acts of omission on board a Hong Kong registered aircraft, which would constitute an offence in Hong Kong if committed here, or the unlawful seizure of an aircraft in flight or any acts of destruction or violence on board an aircraft which would endanger the safety of that aircraft, will be an offence.

The Bill will establish a statutory Aviation Security Authority and an. Aviation Security Programme to provide the regulatory framework required by Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention.

"The Secretary for Security will be designated the Aviation Security Authority and will be responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the Aviation Security Programme.

"The Programme will provide guidelines on the aviation security standards required, and the Secretary for Security will be empowered to issue directions as necessary to ensure compliance with these standards." the spokesman said.

An Aviation Security Committee will be established on a statutory basis to advise the Aviation Security Authority on matters relating to aviation security.

Members of the Committee will be appointed from the Government, the Airport Authority and the aviation industry.

The spokesman said that both the draft Aviation Security Bill and the draft Aviation Security Programme had been circulated to the industry, including the Airport Authority, the airlines and the airport tenants, for detailed consultation.

"They have expressed general support for both." he said.

"It is our aim to implement the aviation security requirements in co-operation with the industry. Enforcement action will only be taken if a company or person persistently refuses to comply with a reasonable requirement." the spokesman added.

End

- 9 -

Lay members of Insider Dealing Tribunal appointed *****

The Government today (Wednesday) announced that the Financial Secretary had appointed Mr Felix Chow Fu-kee and Mr Michael Sze Tsai-ping as lay members of the Second Division of the Insider Dealing Tribunal to hear the case .related to Yanion International Holdings Ltd.

It was also announced that the Second Division would hold a preliminary hearing on the Yanion case on May 13.

Mr Chow is an accountant and has extensive experience in finance, investments, securities and insurance.

Mr Sze, also an accountant, is the managing director of a securities company.

Chairman of the Second Division of the Tribunal, Mr Justice Burrell, will preside over the inquiry.

At the preliminary hearing, the Tribunal will announce its terms of reference and procedures for the inquiry, state its duties and power, receive applications for representation and set a date for the main hearing.

The preliminary hearing will start at 10 am in Court No 16. eighth floor. Supreme Court Building.

The Yanion case is the fourth insider dealing case referred by the Financial Secretary to the Tribunal since the Securities (Insider Dealing) Ordinance came into effect in September 1991.

End

Erroneous press report on PCS licence applications

*****

The Government pointed out that the article which .appeared on the front page of the Eastern Express today (Wednesday) contains a number of serious tactual errors.

A spokesman said none of the top ranked bidders for personal communication services (PCS) has notified the Telecommunication Authority of any intention to withdraw their applications. On the contrary, all remain extremely keen to obtain their licences quickly.

I p •

10

It is therefore the greatest importance that the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) endorses the issue of the PCS licences as soon as possible.

The continuing delay is clearly not in the interests of the Hong Kong consumers who will benefit significantly when these new services are introduced.

The article purports to list the six successful bidders.

"However the list is not accurate," the spokesman said.

The article also claims that the Chinese side of JLG has requested information on possible changes to the charging systems for local and IDD calls.

"This is untrue. No such request has been received," the spokesman added.

End

Director for securities clearing company appointed

*****

The Financial Secretary has appointed Mr Derek Murphy as a director of the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Co Ltd." a spokesman for the Financial Services Branch announced today (Wednesday).

Mr Murphy, a lawyer, has extensive experience in the securities and futures sector. His appointment is for a period of two years from last Sunday (May 5).

End

New vessels commissioned to promote marine safety

*****

The Marine Department's fleet of new vessels which will support and promote the marine safety initiatives were commissioned at an inauguration ceremony at Joss House Bay today (Wednesday).

Speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, said the 12 new vessels with their high speed and better reliability would greatly enhance the department's patrol capability.

11

He said: "They can cover a much greater area in a given number of patrol hours, and provide a faster response to an emergency than our previous boats."

These vessels will be deployed for patrolling and controlling marine traffic in Hong Kong waters, specifically in such places as typhoon shelters and fairways.

Marine inspectors on board will intercept and inspect boats for compliance with all navigational safety, licensing, and safety equipment requirements.

The fleet consists of five steel and seven glass reinforced fibre launches.

The steel launches replace the same number of post-World War II wooden tug boats while the glass reinforced fibre ones arc replacements for nine small patrols boats which has now been in service for over 20 years.

Mr Dale said: "All the old launches have now exceeded their useful life and arc beyond economical repair.

"They were too slow and due to their age suffered considerable down lime, causing frequent disruption to our patrol services."

Mr Dale noted that the new steel patrol launches, with their towing capabilities, were a crucial tool in the proper management of typhoon shelters before, during, and after the passage of a tropical cyclone.

"Apart from the day to day management of Hong Kong waters." he said, "these launches are essential in our efforts to promote marine safety."

For example, on May 3, in conjunction with the Marine Police, they completed a two-week fairway rule enforcement exercise at I sing Yi.

A total of 227 warnings were issued to local and river-trade vessels during the first week, and there were three prosecutions for infringement of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

"Another example." Mr Dale said, "is the Tin Hau Festival on May 10. At that time the Joss House Bay Temple will be lull of worshippers most of whom will have come by boat.

"Marine traffic in Joss House Bay will dramatically increase and a number of these boats will be needed for control and safety purposes."

End

12

Transfer of VMs from High Island Detention Centre *****

The Government announced that a group of Vietnamese migrants will be transferred from the High Island Detention Centre today (Wednesday) in preparation for their return to Vietnam under the Orderly Repatriation Programme.

They will be transferred to Victoria Prison for pre-flight documentation and medical checks prior to leaving Hong Kong in five groups over the next few weeks.

The transfer will be observed by independent monitors.

End

549 VMs transferred to Victoria Prison *****

An operation to transfer 549 Vietnamese Migrants (VM) from High Island Detention Centre to Victoria Prison was carried out smoothly today (Wednesday) by the Correctional Services Department.

The VMs were transferred to Victoria Prison in two convoys of lorries. The group and 49 others will be repatriated to Vietnam in the next three weeks.

The operation began at about dawn and by 8 am the VMs began packing their belongings and boarded the vehicles and by 11.45 am the first convoy of 260 VMs had arrived at Victoria Prison.

By noon all the remaining VMs had packed their belongings and were transferred to Victoria Prison shortly afterwards.

During the transfer operation, there was passive resistance and about 20 people climbed onto the rooftops of the huts where they staged a protest. Three men also climbed onto the barbed wire fence.

All 20 people on the rooftops were removed when CSD officers gained access to the roofs with mobile stairs. One man put up resistance and was slightly hurt during a scuffle with CSD officers.

i • H t • •

13

The three men on the fence came down after two hours of counselling by CSD officers who assisted them down ladders.

Originally 577 VMs were scheduled to be transferred, but yesterday 24 VMs voluntarily departed for Victoria Prison while two VMs are in hospital and two others have been detained for police investigations.

End

Education system will continue after 1997 ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

The education system provided the workforce of Hong Kong with a sound basic education and contributed greatly to its present competitiveness, the Deputy Director of Education, Mr Kwan Ting-fai, said today (Wednesday).

It would continue after June 1997, as stipulated in Article 136 of the Basic Law for the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, he said.

Speaking at the briefing for the Greater Seattle and Washington State Intercity Study Mission to Hong Kong, Mr Kwan said continuous improvement to upgrade the quality of education would be made to keep abreast of the demands arising from technological and societal changes.

"Currently, we are effecting measures to improve the working environment, curriculum development, school management and language proficiency," he said.

"To improve the working environment, we are progressively improving the teacher and student ratio and reducing the class size."

To establish a computer system to link public sector schools with the Education Department, implementing extensive school improvement programme, strengthening induction support for new teachers and co-operation between parents and schools arc some measures to improve working environment, he added.

Regarding curriculum development, Mr Kwan said the department had implemented the Target Oriented Curriculum in primary schools, broadened of secondary school curriculum and identified areas for improvement in practical and technical curriculum.

14

"To modernise school management, we are promoting the school management initiative," he said.

Under this initiative, he said, schools had more systematic planning and evaluation of activities, and more flexibility in the use of resources.

The continued promotion of mother tongue teaching, the strengthening of teaching and learning of Putonghua, native-English speaking teacher scheme and intensive English courses for the sixth formers were measures to equip young people with a high level of proficiency in both English and Chinese, Mr Kwan added.

Apart from briefing the Mission on the aim of school education in Hong Kong and the education system, Mr Kwan also introduced the salient features of Hong Kong's public education system in terms of equal educational opportunities for all, strong community involvement and continuous improvement.

End

Revised fees for using country parks facilities *****

Fees for using some facilities in country parks will be revised undei Country Parks Ordinance from June 28 this year.

The revision, set out in the Country Parks and Special Areas (Amendment) Regulation 1996. has been endorsed by the Country Parks Committee of the Country and Marine Parks Board and was approved by the Secretary for the Treasury.

A spokesman of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) today (Wednesday) noted that the fees are set, according to the general government policy, at levels sufficient to recover the full costs of providing the services.

The last costing review for fees was conducted in 1993-94 and the current revision with an increase of about 9 per cent was based on the movement of the Government Consumption Expenditure Deflator.

15

The revised fees will be applied to permits to sell or let on hire any commodity or article; permit to display any sign, notice poster, banner or advertisement; permit to construct or erect any building, hut or shelter or excavate any cave; permit to hold any public meeting or sporting competition, make any public speech or address any public meeting; permit to hold any event organised for the purpose of raising funds and permit to carry on any activity for the purpose of any business.

The amendments related to the details of new fees will be published in the Government Gazette this Friday (May 10).

End

Stamp sheetlet to mark exhibition *****

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, today (Wednesday) announced that the Hong Kong '97 Definitive Stamp Sheetlet Series No 2 will be issued on May 18.

The sheetlet is one of the products issued in relation to the Hong Kong '97 Stamp Exhibition to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 12 to 16. 1997.

It comprises three sheetlets which are designed in se-tenant form showing the changes in the Hong Kong skyline at various stages in history, starting from the 1850s.

Sheetlet No 1 had already been released on February 23 while Sheetlet No 3 will be released this October.

Sheetlet No 2 is a reproduction of an early photograph depicting the Victoria Harbour and the Peak in about 1920. The postmarks reproduced on the sheetlet are some of those used by the Hong Kong Post Office around that period.

The sheetlet is designed by Mr Arde Lam and printed by Joh Enschede of the Netherlands.

The $10 definitive stamp depicted on the sheetlet is green in colour which is different from the brown colour of the current $10 definitive stamp.

16

Official souvenir cover at $1 each will be on sale at all post offices from Saturday (May 11). No advance order service will be provided.

On May 18, hand back service will be provided at all post offices to official and privately-made covers bearing an indication of the event and a special postmark will be introduced. A sales restriction of 20 sheetlets for each customer queuing will be imposed.

Coincidentally, a specially designed cachet will be introduced on the same day for general cancellation purpose at the following eight philatelic offices to commemorate Hong Kong Post Office’s participation in China '96 Stamp Exhibition to be held from May 18 to 24, 1996, in Beijing, China. They are:

Airport Post Office Beaconsfield House Post Office General Post Office Granville Road Post Office Peak Post Office

Sha Tin Central Post Office Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office Tsuen Wan Post Office

End

Four lots of land to let *****

The Lands Department is inviting tenders for the short-term tenancies of four pieces of government land in Kwai Chung and I sing Yi.

Two lots in Tsing Yi are designated for use as fee-paying public car parks for the parking of motor vehicles except container tractors and trailers.

The first lot, located at Tsing Tim Street in Area 16. has an area of about 1,694 square metres. The tenancy is for three years, renewable quarterly.

Covering an area of about 5,290 square metres, the second lot is located at Nga Ying Chau Street in Area 8. The tenancy is for six months, renewable monthly.

The other two lots are intended for use as fee-paying public car parks for the parking of container tractors and trailers only.

One of them is located at Container Port Road South in Kwai Chung. It has an area of about 17,000 square metres and the tenancy is for one year, renewable monthly.

The other lot is located at Sai Tso Wan Road, Area 16, Tsing Yi. It has an area of about 23,400 square metres and the tenancy is for three years, renewable quarterly.

The closing date for submission of tenders is noon on May 24.

Tender forms, tender notices and conditions may be obtained from the Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road and the District Lands offices of Kowloon and Kwai Tsing.

Tender plans can also be inspected at these offices.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1.586 0930 +814

Closing balance in the account 1.841 1000 +714

Change attributable to : 1100 +714

Money market activity +715 1200 +719

LAF today -460 1500 +719

1600 +715

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 *+0.0* 8.5.96

18

I long Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.85 2 years 2802 5.16 98.41 6.21

1 month 4.99 3 years 3904 6.30 99.23 6.70

3 months 5.16 5 years 5103 6.75 97.92 7.39

6 months 5.32 7 years 7302 6.02 91.32 7.83

12 months 5.64 5 years M502 7.30 99.17 7.66

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $20,081 million

Closed May 8, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE. HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, May 8,1996

Contents Pagg No,

Legislative Council meeting: Motion debate on review of advisory and statutory bodies........... 1

Deregulation of pay TV market inevitable: SRC..................... 5

Increase of fines under Urban Council Ordinance................... 8

Companies (Amendment) Bill....................................

Employees' Compensation (Amendment) Bill...................... 11

Noise Control (Amendment) Bill................................... 12

Health care services for elderly................................. 14

Immigration status of British citizens in Hong Kong........... 15

Protection of visiting Chinese officials......................... 17

/Traffic improvement

Contents

EagfeJiOx

Traffic improvement measures in Southern District........................ 18

Cinemas operating without licence........................................ 19

Expenditure on housing projects.......................................... 21

Waiting time for consultation in TM and YL clinics....................... 23

Nursing staff under Hospital Authority................................... 25

Complaints on decayed food items......................................... 28

Protection to endangered plants and animals.............................. 29

Expenditure on environmental protection.............................. 31

Road safety plans for elderly............................................ 33

Purpose of integrity checks on civil servants explained.................. 35

Additional work involved in VM repatriation programme.................... 36

Estimation of size of ethnic minorities updating......................... 37

Permits for watchmen in private buildings................................ 38

Public hospital beds planning and provision.............................. 40

Lands Development Corporation renovation projects........................ 41

Sanctuary for Chinese white dolphins..................................... 43

1

Motion debate on review of advisory and statutory bodies ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the speech by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung, in the motion debate on review of the major advisory and statutory bodies in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

The current network of advisory and statutory bodies has developed over several decades in response to the changing needs and character of our society. It is an effective and well tried system that plays important complementary roles to that of the other parts of Government including the three tiers of representative Government. I am pleased to have this opportunity to explain how the system works and respond to the issues raised by Honourable Members in this debate. Before I do so, however, I would like to pay tribute to the ladies and gentlemen who have spent much time and effort in serving in various advisory and statutory bodies.

Roles and Functions

Mr President, there are at present some 300 advisory boards and committees. Of these, about 80 are statutory bodies. The remainder have been established by administrative means. Each advisory body gives advice to Government in a specified area of activity according to its terms of reference. The areas covered range from fundamental livelihood issues such as housing, labour issues, education, social welfare, medical care and transport to highly specialised and technical matters, such as the operations of our securities and futures markets or radiological protection. There are also boards and committees that advise on the affairs of particular districts or neighbourhoods, such as the Area Committees and District Fight Crime Committees.

In addition to the advisory boards and committees, there are a host of statutory bodies that have been set up primarily to perform an executive function. Some of these manage publicly-owned corporations such as the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation or the Mass Transit Railway Corporation; others, such as the Hospital Authority and the Airport Authority, are responsible for the provision of public facilities. There are also charitable statutory bodies, such as the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and Po Leung Kuk. Yet another group are the statutory boards that deal with appeals under a whole range of ordinances.

The examples 1 have given illustrate the extremely diverse nature of the roles and functions of our boards and committees. It is a key strength of the system that it can encompass such a wide range of requirements.

Composition and Membership

Our overriding objective in making appointments to boards and committees is to secure the services of the best available persons to meet the requirements of the board or committees concerned. Each appointment is made on the basis of the merits of the individual concerned, taking into account their personal ability, expertise, experience, integrity and commitment to public service. Due regard is also given to the need to ensure a good balance of expertise, experience and backgrounds among the membership of the particular board or committee as a whole. Where appropriate, this will include appointing people with experience in district affairs.

In considering appointment to boards and committees under their purview, Branch Secretaries and Department Heads also bear in mind the need to ensure a reasonable turnover of membership and that individual appointees do not have an excessive workload. Accordingly, we try to avoid appointing an individual to sit on more than six bodies at any one time. We also do not normally re-appoint an individual who has already served on a particular body for six years. These are, however, not hard and fast rules. Some committees may find it necessary to retain the services of members for a longer period either because they possess particular expertise or to provide continuity.

Representativeness

The motion refers to a need to enhance representativeness among the membership of our boards and committees. Several Honourable members have suggested that this could be achieved by giving this Council a greater say in the appointment process. As a matter of general principal, the composition of government boards and committees should broadly reflect the interests and views present in the community. However, in making appointment, we must also give due regard to the functions of the individual body and the types of business that it deals with. Hence, for boards and committees which give advice to Government on issues directly affecting the general well-being of the community, it is natural that Government would tend to appoint more members with experience of and interest in community affairs. On the other hand, appointments to bodies that advise on specialised matters need to include a relatively higher proportion of persons with the necessary expertise. In some cases, we invite professional bodies or other organisations to nominate members to the bodies in which they have a direct interest. For some statutory bodies, provision for this is laid down in the Ordinance concerned.

3

There are currently proposals before this Council for changing the present appointment system in respect of one statutory body. The proposals would require the approval of this Council for appointments and specify that a certain number of members from the three-tier system of representative Government must be appointed. The Administration strongly opposes these proposals. The present system works well because it enables Government to make appointments based on individual merit to meet the needs of the body concerned. Giving the Legislative Council powers to vet candidates proposed by Government is likely to be seen as politicising the choice of appointees thereby reducing the pool of independent and candid advice, on which the system vitally depends. The three-tier system of representative government and the advisory and statutory bodies play highly effective complementary roles. The proposal to require members of the three-tier system of representative Government to be appointed to these bodies in large numbers would reduce their complementary character and introduce undue rigidity into the appointment system.

Accountability

The motion also calls for greater accountability in our system of boards and committees. This suggests that there is an accountability gap. But accountability is concerned with ensuring that someone is accountable for decisions taken or policies adopted. The Hong Kong system of government already provides for this. In particular, with the Administration being fully accountable to this fully-elected legislature.

The purpose of the system of advisory boards and committees is to allow Government to obtain advice from persons of a range of backgrounds and expertise at an early stage of the policy formulation process. The advisory bodies act as an initial sounding board or 'think-tank'. The issue of accountability is not relevant at this stage because no decisions have been taken. Indeed, proposals and recommendations emerging from the relevant advisory boards and committees in the case of major policy initiatives are invariably subject to close scrutiny by the Administration before they are taken further. Members of the three-tier system of representative government also play a significant role in shaping the final outcome of this process. Once a decision has been made, the Administration is of course fully accountable for it.

The role of the boards and committees performing executive functions is quite different from that of the advisory boards and committees. These executive bodies operate with a high degree of management independence to deliver services to the public. In many cases, such bodies are required to operate in accordance with prudent commercial principles. This is done because this is the most efficient and effective way of providing the services concerned. Although such bodies are entrusted with executive powers, policy responsibility remains firmly with the relevant policy secretaries. And it is the policy secretaries who are accountable to this Council.

4

In short, our system of Government is a fully accountable one, with accountability resting in the final analysis with those who are responsible for policies of the day. There is no accountability gap that needs to be filled.

Transparency

As Hong Kong has become more sophisticated, the community has rightly come to expect greater openness with respect to Government's decision-making process. It is natural that this expectation of greater transparency should also apply to advisory and statutory bodies, given that they deal with important matters affecting people's day to day lives. The fact is that we have done a great deal in recent years to meet this expectation. Measures adopted to increase their transparency include, where appropriate, conducting meetings in public, making papers and reports available for public inspection, holding regular press briefings and issuing press releases. To date,

(a) over 130 conduct their meetings, either wholly or partly, in public;

(b) nearly 190 make their papers/reports available for public inspection;

(c) almost 240 regularly or occasionally hold press briefings after meetings; and

(d) about the same number of them (i.e. around 240) regularly or occasionally issue press releases to inform the public of their work.

In short, we have been matching changing community expectations with far greater transparency.

Conflict of Interest

It is of fundamental importance to our system of advisory and statutory bodies that members should tender their advice and conduct the business of the bodies concerned in an impartial manner. To help ensure that this is done, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has drawn up guidelines on a two-tier system of declaration of interests. For those boards and committees that have extensive influence over policy and financial matters, the chairmen and members are required to register their general pecuniary and personal interests on first appointment. This register of interests is updated regularly and made available for public inspection. When a matter that raises a potential conflict of interests for a particular member is brought up for discussion at a meeting, the member concerned is requested to make full disclosure of his or her interests and withdraw from further discussion of the relevant matter. For other boards and committees, the guidelines provide for the chairmen and members to declare interests as and when a matter for discussion at a meeting raises a conflict of interest. All advisory and statutory bodies have been asked to adopt one or the other of these two systems according to their own needs and the nature of the business they deal with. Over 320 advisory and statutory bodies have done so to date.

5

Conclusion

Mr President, the current system of advisory and statutory bodies serves us well. It is an integral part of our system of government that has evolved over time. The roles and functions of the bodies concerned should not be confused with that of the three-tier system of representative Government. They play complementary not rival roles. The system of advisory boards and statutory bodies works because it is flexible. A key element of this flexibility is Government's ability to appoint from a wide cross-section of the community on the basis of individual merit. The introduction of restraints on the current freedom of appointment would bring unwelcome and damaging rigidity.

The relevant policy secretaries and heads of departments will continue to keep the individual advisory and statutory bodies for which they are responsible under constant review to ensure that they meet the changing needs and expectations of the community. There is no need to undertake an overall review of the roles and functions of all advisory and statutory boards and committees as proposed by Honourable Members. A comprehensive review would only be appropriate if there was good reason to believe that the system is in need of fundamental change. We reject any such suggestion. The system is working well and needs no overhaul.

With these remarks, I urge Honourable Members to reject the motion moved by the Honourable Bruce Liu and the amendment proposed by the Honourable Ip Kwok-him.

Thank you.

End

Deregulation of pay TV market inevitable: SRC

* ♦ * * ♦

The Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr T H Chau, told the Legislative Council today (Wednesday) that he hoped it would be possible in 1998 to move quickly to full deregulation of pay TV and Video on Demand (VOD) programme services, and to set out the timetable for allowing new terrestrial TV services using digital technology.

"It is tempting to offer a guarantee that we shall do so, but, with the benefit of experience, Members will understand if I do not attempt to pre-empt developments in the future," he said.

6

Explaining government's broadcasting policy during the motion debate, Mr Chau stressed that deregulation of the pay TV market in Hong Kong was inevitable, not just because the Government remained firmly committed to it as an objective, but also because of technological and market developments which were progressively lowering or eliminating the barriers between markets.

However, he pointed out that complete deregulation now could have a disastrous effect on Wharf Cable, the existing pay TV licensee, as the take-up rate for pay TV in Hong Kong indicated clearly that the market could not accommodate another large-scale pay TV operator.

"In fact, if we did deregulate completely, it seems doubtful if Wharf would break even before its licence expired in 2005," he said.

"Even allowing unlimited competition from video-on-demand could jeopardise the economic viability of Wharf Cable."

He believed the collapse of Wharf Cable at this juncture would not be in the interests of Hong Kong.

"For one thing, it would bring to a premature halt one of the main routes of the Information Superhighway in Hong Kong, and for another, it would result in a public failure of a high-profile, high technology venture just at the time when the eyes of the world are upon us," he added.

The Secretary assured the Council that the Government's proposal to delay further deregulation of the pay TV market and to offer two VOD programme service licences was the best balance achievable in the public interest.

"It should permit Wharf Cable to continue deploying its fibre-optic cable system, and providing choice to Hong Kong's viewers.

"It also enables VOD to proceed as well as introduces a measure of competition in the provision of paid-for television programmes," he said.

On the setting aside of the Broadcasting Bill, Mr Chau would not agree it was the disaster that some had claimed.

On the contrary, he was convinced that even if the Government had pressed on with the Bill, it would not have been possible to introduce it to the Legislative Council in the current session.

7

Moreover, he said: "We should still not have completed the pay TV review or published proposals for the regulation of VOD programme services."

The Broadcasting Bill would serve to codify much of the government policy and practice implemented through the present combination of primary legislation, regulations, codes of practice and licences.

It would not, as some imagine, enable the Government to leapfrog developments in broadcasting technology.

"We cannot make legislative provision for technological developments that have not happened. And we do not in any case intend to use the Bill to amend the terms of existing licences, none of which expire before the end of the century.

"Setting aside the Bill has enabled us to speed up amendments to the Telecommunication Ordinance, and to achieve rapid progress with important policy decisions on cross-media ownership and other ownership issues," said Mr Chau.

On Hong Kong's broadcasting environment, Mr Chau said it was as free, diversified, open, fair and competitive as could reasonably be expected.

He told the Councillors that to maintain a free environment, the Government, intended to introduce an amendment to the Telecommunication Ordinance to scrap unnecessary powers to prohibit radio programmes as had already been done in respect of television programmes.

As regards limits on foreign ownership, the Government will monitor the evolution of other broadcasting regimes, and consider in the context of the 1998 review of the television environment whether there is a case for opening up the market to greater overseas participation.

End

8

Increase of fines under Urban Council Ordinance *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr T H Chau, in moving the resolution under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the resolution standing in my name in the Order Paper.

The motion before Members seeks to increase the statutory maximum fines stipulated in the Urban Council Ordinance, the Regional Council Ordinance and the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance and their relevant subsidiary legislations and to convert them as appropriate into a standard scale.

Section 100A(l) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance provides that the Legislative Council may, by resolution, amend any Ordinance so as to increase the amount of any fine specified in that Ordinance.

The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (No.2) Ordinance 1994 enacted in July 1994 introduced a scale of fines for statutory penalties not exceeding $100,000. This enables the maximum fine level to be increased from time to time by a single order by the Governor in Council to take account of inflation and hence preserve the deterrent effect of the penalties.

The standard scale, however, does not take account of inflation in respect of fines specified in money terms before their conversion on to the scale. A review of the existing fines is therefore necessary. Both the Urban Council and the Regional Council have reviewed the relevant Ordinances under their purview relating to Urban Council, Public Health and Municipal Services and Regional Council matters. I now propose on their behalf to revise 67 items of statutory maximum fines under three Ordinances, fifty-four By-laws and ten Regulations as set out in the Order Paper.

All maximum fines at or below $100,000 after adjustment will be converted to the appropriate level of fines on the standard scale. However, a daily fine or a daily penalty below $100,000 after adjustment will continue to be expressed in money terms as this is expressly specified in the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (NO.2) Ordinance 1994.

End

9

Companies (Amendment) Bill ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in moving the second reading of the Companies (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the second reading of the Companies (Amendment) Bill 1996.

The Bill proposes a number of changes to the Companies Ordinance, notably the abolition of the doctrine of ultra vires, and the related doctrine of constructive notice, both of which have outlived their usefulness.

The doctrine of ultra vires, whereby a company’s contractual capacity is limited by the objects and power clauses contained in its memorandum of association, was applied by English courts in the nineteenth century and was intended as a protection for its members and creditors. However, it has since become an obstacle for companies, which may commence new businesses without realising that a change in objects is necessary, and a trap for unwary third parties, as their contractual dealings with a company may be unenforceable. The ultra vires doctrine has been abolished by statute in a number of common law jurisdictions such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada and instead companies have been given the capacity of an individual or a natural person. Under the proposals, a company may still choose to limit its objects and powers in its memorandum and any such limitations will bind its directors and management. However, third parties will still be protected in their dealings with the company.

Changes are also made to the related doctrine of constructive notice. Under this doctrine a person is deemed to have knowledge of the contents of any documents concerning a company that have been filed and are available for public inspection. The Bill abolishes this in so far as it relates to companies' memoranda and articles of association.

Other significant proposals contained in this Bill are briefly as follows:

The statutory forms contained in the Fifth Schedule of the Ordinance and the 48 statutory forms set out in the Companies (Forms) Regulations will be deregulated. Instead, the Registrar of Companies will be given more flexibility to determine the content and format of the forms. This will enable the Registrar to improve and update them more readily.

10

The scope of the provisions relating to the disqualification of company directors will be expanded. At present under certain of the provisions a disqualified person is prohibited from involvement in a locally-incorporated company but not from involvement in an overseas company doing business in Hong Kong. The Bill refines and extends the definition of ’'company” under Part IVA of the Ordinance to encompass overseas companies operating in Hong Kong.

* The Official Receiver will be given greater flexibility to apply to the Court for the appointment of outside liquidators. Amendments are also made to allow for a private sector provisional liquidator appointed before a winding-up order has been made to continue in office after such an order is made. These changes will assist the Official Receiver in contracting out more insolvency work to the private sector and should help to relieve some of the strain on the resources of his Office.

Appropriate Chinese equivalents are added to certain statutory wording which is currently prescribed in the Ordinance in English only. This is to provide for companies which wish to register under a Chinese name, or under both a Chinese and an English name, and to facilitate the submission of documents in Chinese.

The Bill also abolishes certain accounting exemptions enjoyed by shipping companies which are not available to other types of company and makes certain other technical changes to the legislation.

The principal items in this Bill have been recommended, or supported, by the Standing Committee on Company Law Reform.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

11

Employees' Compensation (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in moving the second reading of the Employees' Compensation (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

1 move the Second Reading of the Employees' Compensation (Amendment) Bill 1996.

The main purpose of the Bill is two-fold. First, it seeks to improve the mechanism for settlement of compensation claims. Secondly, it seeks to increase the levels of maximum fines which were last revised in 1992.

Currently, there are two parallel systems for determining the amount of compensation for cases involving permanent incapacity. The first is the Certificate System. Under this system, if the loss of earning capacity assessed by the Assessment Board is not more than five per cent, the Commissioner for Labour issues a certificate to determine the amount of compensation payable. The second is the Agreement System. Under this system, if the loss of earning capacity is more than five per cent, the amount of compensation is agreed between the employer and the injured employee subject to the minimum level provided by the Ordinance. The amount should be approved by the Commissioner for Labour before it becomes binding.

Experience shows that the existence of two systems has caused confusion to some employers and employees. Also, by its very nature, the Agreement System is a more time-consuming process. The Bill therefore proposes to repeal the Agreement System and to extend the Certificate System to cover all cases involving permanent incapacity irrespective of the degree of loss of earning capacity.

As regards the levels of maximum fines for offences under the Ordinance, we propose to revise them as set out in the Bill so as to ensure a sufficiently deterrent effect and to maintain relativity with offences of a similar nature under the Employment Ordinance.

The Bill also seeks to expand the definition of "dependants" to include males so as to provide equal protection for both sexes. We further propose a more comprehensive definition of "member of the family" by including son-in-law, brother-in-law, father-in-law and mother-in-law.

12

Finally, members will recall that the levels of compensation specified in various sections of the Ordinance were last reviewed in December 1995. We intend to conduct reviews biennially to ensure that adequate protection are provided to employees. To facilitate future revisions, we propose to group the levels of compensation now specified in various sections under a new schedule, i.e. the Sixth Schedule, to the Ordinance.

Mr President, I beg to move.

End

Noise Control (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in moving the second reading of the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

1 move the second reading of the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1996.

The continuous and repeated sound of alarms in unattended vehicles causes considerable noise nuisance. The protracted sounding of false alarms, sometimes lasting for hours, is particularly disturbing at night, as reflected in the large number of complaints, which average 50 to 60 a month, received by the Administration over the last two years.

The false activation of vehicle alarms is largely due to improper installation or to oversensitive settings. As a result, some systems can be activated simply by the vibration induced by a passing vehicle or overflying aircraft. But these systems can, with proper attention, be easily corrected. At present, however, there is no legislative control on such alarms. The Noise Control (Amendment) Bill therefore aims to prevent noise nuisance from vehicle alarms by setting out the legal parameters of alarm activation, having regard to the security function they are designed to serve.

The Bill proposes three elements of control. The first control tackles oversensitive systems and proposes that activation of an intruder alarm will become an offence unless the vehicle is physically interfered with. This control will ensure that alarm sensors are correctly set to detect attempts to tamper with or enter the vehicle rather than react to slight vibrations. Once this over-sensitivity is controlled, the incidence of false alarms will be reduced.

13

The second control places a limit on the duration of noise generated by alarms. The limit suggested is five minutes, which is sufficient for necessary crime prevention action to be taken. This requirement can easily be complied with by adjusting the functioning of the system.

The third control, which will be applied to newly registered vehicles only, concerns the reactivation of alarms. Many current alarm systems arc reactivated automatically after being triggered and their continuous reactivation causes great noise disturbance to nearby residents. The Bill will prohibit such automatic re-arming of the alarm after an initial activation. However, the alarm can still be reactivated automatically if the doors, bonnet, boot or tailgate of the vehicles are opened. This guards against unauthorised entry.

The Bill places the onus of complying with the controls on the registered owner of a vehicle, who should be responsible for the performance of the alarm system and its regular maintenance. After enactment of the Bill, three months' lead time will be given to existing vehicle owners to comply with the controls and nine months will be allowed for new vehicles to be installed with alarm systems which meet the requirement on reactivation. The Police will be the enforcement agent of the controls.

To consolidate the noise control provisions of all intruder alarm systems, we have also taken the opportunity to transfer the existing provision to control noise from alarm systems installed in buildings from the Summary Offences Ordinance to the Noise Control Ordinance.

Mr President, false alarms is a persistent source of neighbourhood noise nuisance. The proposed controls seek to eliminate this nuisance without affecting the security of the vehicles. With a reduction in false alarms, we would rather expect that when alarms do sound, they will be taken more seriously and the security value of the vehicle alarm systems more enhanced.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

14

Health care services for elderly *****

Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li Wah-ming and a reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to the findings of a recent survey conducted by a voluntary agency on the opinions of the elderly regarding the provision of primary health services, an elderly patient has to wait on average for nearly four hours for a general out-patient consultation. The survey also shows that there are two health centres for the elderly in the territory and they also provide medical services at a concessionary rate to the elderly aged 65 and above. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) whether consideration will be given to setting up more health centres for the elderly in various districts; if not, why not;

(b) whether funds will be allocated from the Lotteries Fund and the Elderly Services Development Fund to non-governmental organisations for the provision of health care sendees for the elderly; and

(c) whether consideration will be given to lowering to 60 the age requirement for eligibility to receive medical services at a concessionary rate, so as to reduce the demand for general out-patient services, if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The Governor, in his Policy Address in 1993, announced that seven elderly health centres will be set up by 1997 as a pilot scheme to promote the health & well-being of elderly persons in the community. Four centres are already in operation and the remaining three will be set up this year. Unlike curative services provided at general out-patient clinics, the services of the elderly health centres emphasise disease prevention amongst the elderly. They provide clients with the knowledge and skills of self-care and healthy life style practices and the venues for health assessment and disease screening. The operational experience of these centres will enable Department of Health to examine the practicability of integrating disease prevention programmes for the elderly with general out-patient clinics to provide for more accessible services in various districts.

- 15 -

(b) Under the provisions of the Government Lotteries Ordinance, only projects to provide welfare services as listed under Section 6(4) of the Ordinance can be granted support from the Lotteries Fund. Since health services for the elderly are not under this list, Lotteries Fund support cannot be granted to non-governmental organisations for the provision of such services. As regards the Elderly Services Development Fund, this was set up based on the recommendations of the Working Group on Care for the Elderly. Its main purpose is to assist private and voluntary organisations to introduce self-financing, non-profit making welfare services. It is not intended for use in developing health services.

End

Immigration status of British citizens in Hong Kong

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Mrs Chan Yuen-han and a reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

i

At present, British citizens are free to Stay and work in Hong Kong without a visa. The number of British citizens in the territory at the end of 1994 and 1995 stood at 23,700 and 26,700 respectively but surged to 34,500 at the end of February this year. Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the reasons for the big increase in the number of British citizens in the territory during the first two months of this year;

(b) how it will prevent a large number of British citizens coming to stay in the territory before July 1, 1997 with a view to becoming eligible eventually to apply to become permanent residents of the territory at a later date;

(c) whether it will consider requiring employers to comply with the conditions for importing foreign workers under the General Importation of Labour Scheme when they employ British citizens to work in the territory; and

16

(d) when it will review the current policy permitting British citizens to work in the territory; and whether, apart from British citizens, there are citizens of other countries or territories who can work here without a visa and, if so, whether such an arrangement will also be reviewed as well?

Reply :

Mr President,

(a) No statistics are kept on the purpose of entry of British Citizens. We are therefore not in a position to explain the reason for the rise in the number of British Citizens coming to Hong Kong in recent months. In looking at the figures quoted by the Honourable Chan Yuen-han in the question, it should be borne in mind that they represent only the number of British Citizens in Hong Kong at particular times and they fluctuate from time to time. It should also be borne in mind that not all British Citizens entered Hong Kong for employment reasons; some, for example, may well have entered Hong Kong to join family members. Also, many British Citizens in Hong Kong may already have the right of abode in Hong Kong.

(b) The criteria for non-Chinesc nationals to acquire the right of abode in the Hong Kong SAR after June 30, 1997 are set out in Article 24(2)(4) of the Basic Law. Those who meet the criteria stipulated in this Article will be eligible for the right of abode in the Hong Kong SAR. The precise application of this Article is under discussion with the Chinese side. There is no reason why we should take any action now to prevent British citizens, or for that matter any other foreign nationals, from satisfying those criteria.

(c&d) As regards parts (c) and (d) of the question, employers at present do not have to comply with the conditions for importing foreign workers under the Importation of Labour Schemes when they employ British citizens. Apart from British citizens, no other nationals are allowed to take up employment in Hong Kong without an employment visa. The immigration status of British citizens in Hong Kong reflects the special relationship between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. We have no plans to propose any change at this stage.

End

- 17 -

Protection of visiting Chinese officials *****

Following is a question by the Hon Chan Kam-lam and a reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it will review the Police measures to protect visiting Chinese officials attending public functions in Hong Kong, so as to more effectively protect the personal safety of the officials concerned and to maintain public order at the locations; and

(b) how it safeguards the personal safety of the disciplined services personnel carrying out such protection duties?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The security measures adopted by the Police to protect visiting officials, whether they were from China or from any other country, have been very effective. So far as I know, no visiting official has ever been injured in Hong Kong, and only one Police officer was slightly injured when discharging his duties to protect a visiting official. As with all other Police operational matters, including in particular crowd control operations, the measures for protecting visiting foreign officials are reviewed constantly to ensure their continued effectiveness.

(b) Police officers deployed for protection duties are specially selected, trained and equipped to give protection up to internationally accepted standards. They are also trained on crowd management, for the safety of both the crowd and the officers themselves as well as the visiting officials. In addition, there are clear guidelines in the operational orders detailing the measures and equipment that should be used on different occasions. The commanding officers at the scene closely monitor the situation to ensure the appropriate number of officers are deployed and the measures taken are effective.

End

18

Traffic improvement measures in Southern District *****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheng Kar-foo and a reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question :

It is learnt that the Housing Authority will build three large Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) estates on Aberdeen Praya Road, Deep Bay Road and Ap Lei Chau, but the Southern District Board has unanimously agreed that it would object to the plan unless the Government undertakes to improve the overall transport network of Southern District, particularly to construct Route 7 and a second Ap Lei Chau Bridge, at an early date. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) whether, in order to tie in with the development of the above HOS estates, the Government will implement the Green Island Reclamation Scheme in order to re-instate the Route 7 project in the Public Works Programme; if so, what the details are; and

(b) if the answer to (a) is in the negative, whether the Government will include the construction of a second Ap Lei Chau Bridge in its plan to improve the transport network of Southern District?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) From a long term planning perspective, we have recognised the need for that section of Route 7 from Aberdeen to Kennedy Town. However, as explained in my reply to this Council on 31 January, the implementation of this project is dependent on the proposed Green Island Reclamation. As no decision has yet been taken regarding that reclamation, we cannot proceed with the Route 7 project at present.

To accommodate the additional traffic generated by the new housing development proposals, a package of traffic improvement measures including junction improvement and signalisation, as well as construction of flyovers and footbridges, will be implemented in Ap Lei Chau, Aberdeen, and Wong Chuk Hang. Our transport studies indicate that these projects, together with other road improvement programmes in Pok Fu Lam and Kennedy Town, should be able to cope with both the present and the projected traffic to and from Southern District, including that generated by the 3 proposed housing developments.

19

(b) The Ap Lei Chau Bridge has already been widened from a two-lane single carriageway to a two-lane dual carriageway. This was completed only 2 years ago in 1994. There are no plans for the construction of another bridge to Ap Lei Chau as we believe the capacity of the existing bridge can adequately cope with the traffic arising from both existing and planned developments.

End

Cinemas operating without licence * ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Following is a question by the Hon Mok Ying-fan and a reply by the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr T H Chau, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that six cinemas in the territory are operating without a licence at the moment. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the number of cinemas which had started business before obtaining a licence in each of the past five years and, of these, how many have still not obtained a licence and the reasons for it;

(b) the time and manpower required by the Buildings Department and the Fire Services Department respectively for processing an application for cinemas licence;

(c) the reasons why some cinemas have not yet been granted a licence despite these applications having been submitted for more than a year and meeting the structural requirements set by the Buildings Department; and

(d) the number of applications for the cinemas licence processed by the Buildings Department and the Fire Services Department, and the manpower deployed to process these applications in the two departments, in each of the past five years?

20

Reply:

Cinemas are required under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance to obtain a licence for operation. The Urban and Regional Councils are the statutory licensing authorities for their respective areas. They determine the policy and procedures for licence applications and ultimately decide whether a licence should be granted. In keeping with the long-established arrangement adopted in respect of questions relating to the two Councils and on the basis of the information supplied to me by the Urban and Regional Services Departments, the Fire Services Department and the Buildings Department, I am pleased to provide answers to the questions in the order they are raised.

In respect of the first question, in the past five years from 1991 to 1995, the number of cinemas which had started business before obtaining a licence is 4, 6, 8, 6 and 5 respectively and, in the first four months of 1996, the number is 3, making a total of 32. Of these, five have still not obtained the requisite licence for one or a combination of the following reasons:

(a) Building Department's objection in respect of the suitability of the premises to be used as a cinema;

(b) the existence of unauthorised building works;

(c) objections to the proposed layout plan of the cinema by Buildings Department, Fire Services Department or Urban Services Department; or

(d) revision of the layout plan by the applicants which necessitates further clearance with Buildings Department and Fire Services Department.

In respect of the second question, the Fire Services Department currently spends an average of 8.3 man hours to process an application for cinema licence. However, no such statistics is kept by the Buildings Department. The processing time of an application by the Fire Services Department and puddings Department consists of three components, namely the time taken:

(a) to assess the suitability of the premises for use as a cinema on fire safety or building safety grounds;

(b) to issue the fire safety or building safety requirements to the applicants through the licensing authority; and

(c) by the applicant to comply with the requirements.

21

Normally, Fire Services Department can complete assessing the suitability of the premises within 14 working days after receipt of the referral from the licensing authority. The time taken to issue fire or building safety requirements depends on whether there is any revision of the layout plan of the premises by the applicant. Using figures in the years 1994 and 1995, the average time required by Fire Services Department and Buildings Department is 3.5 months and 5 months respectively. The average time taken by an applicant to comply with all stipulated requirements is 3 months.

On the third question, of the five unlicensed cinemas, two submitted their applications more than one year ago. The reason why a licence has still not been granted is because, in one case, the premises have been found to be structurally unsafe. In respect of the other, the applicant has revised its layout plan after the issue of licensing requirements, making it necessary for the Urban Services Department to seek the Fire Services Department’s and Buildings Department’s further clearance of the revised layout plan. If necessary, a new set of licensing requirements will be issued once the revised plan is cleared.

On the final question, the number of applications for cinema licences processed by the Fire Services Department and Buildings Department in each of the past five years i.e. from 1991 to 1995 is 4, 8, 11, 3 and 7 respectively. The Buildings Department and Fire Services Department do not keep separate statistics on the manpower deployed to this area of work.

End

Expenditure on housing projects ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that the construction cost of Stages I and II of the public housing development project in Area 30 of Tin Shui Wai has already been overspent by $160 million before the pouring of concrete. According to a spokesman of the Hong Kong Housing Authority, the increase in the construction cost is partly attributable to inadequacies in the initial planning of the project, which have resulted in changes being made to the designs of the foundation and the piling works following detailed site investigation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

22

(a) the detailed reasons for exceeding the construction cost of the project by more than 13%;

(b) the additional expenditure items, and the amounts involved, arising from the inadequacies in the initial planning of the project; and

(c) the reasons for inadequacies occurring in the initial planning of the project?

Answer:

Mr President,

The Building Committee of the Housing Authority has recently approved a revised estimate of cost of the public housing project in Tin Shui Wai Area 30, Phases 1 and 2, from $1,138 million to $1,299 million, representing an increase of $161 million or 14%. A list of expenditure items, together with revised estimates and reasons, is at Annex (note).

Actual expenditure will depend on the outcome of piling tenders and building tenders to be invited in mid-1996 and early 1997 respectively. The bulk of expenditure will not be incurred until actual construction work begins on the site in October 1996. Hence, there is no question of overspending at present.

For any major project, a rough estimate of cost is made at the preliminary design stage, and the estimate is normally based on broadbrush assumptions since detailed requirements are not yet known. Thus, changes and refinements will be necessary when the project moves to the detailed design stage. The project in Tin Shui Wai is no exception. It is not appropriate, therefore, to suggest that the increase in the revised estimate is attributable to inadequacies in the initial planning stage of the project.

End

23

Waiting time for consultation in TM and YL clinics *****

Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chun-yan and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of patients seeking treatment, the average waiting time for obtaining discs, and the average waiting time for medical consultation in the general out-patient clinics run by the Department of Health in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun during the past three years;

(b) of the breakdown of these clinics by name, location, current staff establishment, daily quota of consultations and daily average number of chips handed out;

(c) which of these clinics provide evening and holiday out-patient services, and what the opening hours and daily quota of consultations in such services are; and

(d) whether the Department of Health will extend the evening and holiday out-patient services in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun, so as to reduce the number of patients seeking treatment at the accidents and emergency departments of Tuen Mun Hospital and Pok Oi Hospital in the evening and during public holidays?

Reply:

(a) In 1993, 1994 and 1995, the number of medical consultations provided at the general out-patient clinics in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun districts were 420,946, 489,954 and 573,003 repectively. Consultation discs, each bearing the estimated consultation time, are distributed from 8:45 am for the morning session and from 1:45 pm for the afternoon session. Normally, the discs will all be distributed in about an hour, except in some larger clinics where the consultation capacity is large. Patients are able to receive treatment within 60 minutes of the time specified in the discs, in the past three years. A pre-booked appointment system is also available for patients with chronically ill patients who will receive treatment within thirty minutes of the scheduled appointment.

24

(b) A breakdown of the clinics in the Yuen Long & Tuen Mun districts are

as follows :

Day Clinic Address No of doctors Daily consultation capacity Average no of discs handed out each day (in the first quarter of 1996)

Yuen Long

Yuen Long Jockey Club Health Centre 269 Castle Peak Road Yuen Long 4 (am) 5 (pm) 406 396

Tin Shui Wai Health Centre (Commence operation on 29.9.1993) 3 Tin Shui Road Tin Shui Wai Yuen Long 4 350 334

Madam Yung Fung Shee Health Centre 26 Sai Ching Street Yuen Long 3 270 257

Kam Tin Clinic (From 9:00 am to 11:00 am) Kam Tin Road Shek Kong Yuen Long 1 30 28

Tuen Mun

Yan Oi Polyclinic 6 Tuen Lee Street Tuen Mun 5 450 431

Tuen Mun Wu Hong Clinic (Commence operation on 29.12.1993) 2 Wu Hong Street Tuen Mun 3 260 247

Tuen Mun Clinic 11 Tsing Yin Street Tuen Mun San Hui Tuen Mun 3 260 254

25

(c) Evening and holiday out-patient services are provided in Yuen Long Jockey Club Health Centre and Tuen Mun Clinic, as follows :

Clinic Opening Hours Daily Consultation Capacity Average no. of discs handed out each day (in the first quarter of 1996)

Yuen Long Jockey From 6:00 pm to 160 150

Club Health Centre 10:00 pm on Mondays to Fridays 160 149

From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays & Public Holidays

Tuen Mun Clinic From 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Mondays to Fridays 240 225

(d) At present, evening and holiday out patient services arc provided in Yuen Long Jockey Club Health Centre and Tuen Mun Clinic. The utilisation of the two clinics have yet to reach their full capacities. Nevertheless, the Department of Health will continue to closely monitor the situation in the two districts and allocate resources to meet the demand as appropriate.

End

Nursing staff under Hospital Authority

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Michael Ho and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council of:

26

(a) the existing establishment of nursing staff in different ranks in each of the hospitals under the management of the Hospital Authority;

(b) the existing shortfall of nursing staff in different ranks in each of these hospital; and

(c) the wastage figures of nursing staff in different ranks in each of these hospitals in the past three years?

Reply:

Manpower planning forms part of the Authority’s annual planning process which takes into account the resource input and quality outcome of new initiatives or service improvements. .The strength of nursing staff in public hospitals as at end of March 1996 is summarised in the table at Annex.

Nursing manpower planning is a dynamic process which must be examined in the light of prevailing circumstances unique to each hospital. To facilitate this process, the Hospital Authority has developed a set of indicators and a patient dependency model to assist managers in assessing their manpower requirements to meet operational needs. The Authority is currently working with individual hospitals as well as frontline nurses to verify and refine these tools.

The staff turnover rate for various nursing grades from 1993/94 to 1995/96 is provided below':

Nursing Staff Grade 1993/94 1994/95 1995/96*

Nursing Officer and above 6.6% 8.4% 7.5%

Registered Nurse 8.1% 11.1% 10.2%

Enrolled Nurse 9.8% 12.5% 8.5%

Student Nurse 18.0% 23.9% 11.3%

Pupil Nurse 20.3% 22.2% 13.6%

Total 9.5% 12.2% 9.8%

* including provisional figures for March 1996

- 27 -

Annex

Strength of Nursing Staff bv Hospital as at 31 March 19962*

Hospital NO & above RN SN EN § 1 Others Total

|| Bradbury Hospice 4 25 0 1 0 0 30

HK Buddhist 1$ 77 0 58 0 0 153

|| Cheshire Home (Chung Hom Kok) 1 3 0 9 0 0 13

|| Cnritas Medical Centre 116 4)5 116 197 44 1 889

| Castle Peak Hospital JOS *150 72 180 77 0 587 I

|| Ducliess of Kent Children’s Hospital 12 33 0 25 0 0 70 |

|| Fanling Hospital 12 33 0 32 0 0 77 ri

1 Func Yiu King Hospital 12 37 0 26 0 0 zd

H Ojantliam Hospital 53 117 0 118 167 14 469

|| Haven of Hope Hospital 27 35 0 51 109 18 240 I

B J lung Kong Eye Hospital 10 30 0 *10 0 0 50 1

1 Kwai Chung Hospital 123 243 132 183 0 0 631 I

P Kowloon Hospital 107 81 0 176 361 0 725 1

|j K'.’*ong Wali Hospital 183 511 351 129 0 32 1,206

| Lai Chi Kok Hospital 12 23 0 35 0 0 ““701

|| MacLehose Medical Rehabilitation Centre 5 18 0 12 0 0 d

1 Margaret Trench Medical Rehabilitation | Centre 2 7 0 6 0 0 !5

|l Nam Long Hospital 16 29 0 26 0 0 zJ

|‘ Our Lady of Maryknvll Hospital 32 81 0 75 148 5 241 1

l| Princess Margaret Hospital 216 697 331 153 3 0 1,400 1

| Pvk Oi Hospital 27 101 0 73 0 1 202 j

prince of Wales Hospital 236 858 378 161 0 0 1,6331

■ Pamela Youde Nethersolc Eastern Hospital 161 506 0 147 40 J 855

: Queen Elizabeth Hospital 352 1,062 275 240 0 0 1,929 1

Queen Mar/ Hospital 296 850 277 143 0 0 1,566 |

Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service 25 65 0 0 0 0 90 y

j Ruttoniee Hospital $7 139 0 131 0 4 3311

1 Cheshire Home (Sliatin) 7 24 0 57 0 0 881

31 John Hospital 8 12 0 18 0 0 381

Siu Lam Hospital 13 22 0 34 0 0 69 |

Shatin Hospital 56 76 0 164 0 0 296

l uvn Mun Hospital 198 609 250 241 0 6 1,304 |

Tung Wah Eastern Hospital 33 92 0 49 106 0 280 1

Tang Shiu Kin Hospital 18 6$ 0 24 0 0 no |

Tung Wali Hospital 41 150 0 82 121 0 394

Tsan Yuk Hospital 33 78 0 2 0 47 160

United Christian Hospital 165 407 367 198 0 0 1,137 |

j Wong Chuk Hang Hospital 4 15 0 25 0 0 44 |

| Wong Tai Sin Hospital 30 104 0 111 0 0 245 I

|| Yan Chai Hospital 96 302 183 81 0 0 662

j Total 2,925 8,185 2,732 3,483 1,176 129 18,630 I

Notes :" provisional figures only

Abbreviations : NO « Nursing Officer, RN B Registered Nurse, EN = Enrolled Nurse, SN ■ Student Nurse, PN - Pupil Nurse, Others ° midwife and other non-standard ranks.


28

Complaints on decayed food items ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Recently, complaints have again been made by the public about contaminated paper-packed drinks. In view of the renewed public concern about the quality of food products, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of complaints received by the Urban Services Department and Regional Services Department regarding contaminated food products in the past 12 months;

(b) of the average time required by the authority concerned to complete a test on a food product suspected of contamination; and

(c) whether measures will be taken by the authority concerned to ensure the timely completion of such tests and announce the test results at the earliest possible time?

Reply:

From 1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996, the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department received a total of 150 complaints about decayed food items.

When the two municipal services departments receive a complaint from the public, the suspected food item is promptly sent to the laboratory of the Department of Health for bacteriological tests or the Government Laboratory for chemical tests, or to both laboratories. The time taken to complete the laboratory tests depends on the nature of the complaint and hence the type of tests to be undertaken. In most cases, results will be available in one to seven days' time.

The two laboratories have always given priority to conducting tests on samples of suspect food items. Public announcements are made if and when there is evidence of a public health risk.

End

29

Protection to endangered plants and animals ♦ * ♦ * *

Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Government is planning to spend $4 million on a two-year project to study ways to protect Chinese white dolphins and that it will establish a marine sanctuary for this purpose. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the species of animals and plants which are under the protection of the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance and their habitats in the territory;

(b) whether it has any plans to apply for funds for the establishment of sanctuaries similar to the above for the animals and plants under the protection of the Ordinance; and

(c) if the answer to (b) is in the negative, of the measures it will take to protect such animals and plants, and whether it will introduce legislation to prohibit construction works within the habitats of these animals and plants?

Answer:

Mr President,

(a) The species of animals and plants protected by the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance are listed under Schedules 1 to 3 to the Ordinance. The majority of these endangered species are found inside country parks, special areas, proposed marine parks and marine reserves as well as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).

30

(b) Considerable proportions of the areas within which endangered plants and animals are found are already protected. These include the restricted areas designated under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance such as the Mai Po Marshes and Inner Deep Bay, country parks and special areas under the Country Parks Ordinance, proposed marine parks and marine reserves under the Marine Parks Ordinance and conservation areas and SSSIs in Outline Zoning Plans under the Town Planning Ordinance. Government will continue to designate more sites to protect endangered plants and animals in Hong Kong as and when the need arises.

(c) In addition to the range of protected areas mentioned in (b) above, the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance controls the import, export and possession of endangered species. Moreover, the following ordinances offer protection to local plants and animals:-

(i) The Forestry Regulations under the Forests and Countryside Ordinance control the selling and possession of protected plant species.

(ii) The Wild Animals Protection Ordinance controls the hunting, the possession, selling and export of protected wild animals, or their nests and eggs.

At present, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study is required for any major development project that is likely to have an impact on the environment. An assessment of possible impacts on plants and animals is part of such a study. When the study identifies that the proposed project may cause potential adverse impacts to the environment, mitigation measures to eliminate or minimise such impacts will be recommended. An Environmental Impact Assessment Bill to make these procedures a statutory requirement is now before the Legislative Council. The enactment of the Bill will provide added protection to the endangered species.

End

31

Expenditure on environmental protection ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

Following is a question by the Hon Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the annual growth rate in expenditure of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has been on the decrease since 1994-95, with the result that the overall government expenditure on environmental protection has dropped to a rate of 0.56% of the territory’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1996/97. This figure is much lower than that in certain developed countries which stands at an annual rate of 1% to 2% of their GDP, and is even lower than that in mainland China which stands at an annual rate of 0.6%. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the reasons for the decrease in the annual growth rate in EPD's expenditure in recent years; and

(b) whether it will consider following the examples of the United States and European countries by allocating more resources for the implementation of projects lasting for 5 years or more, so as to concentrate research work on individual items such as water quality, the air and the soil; and whether it will further consider requiring that environmental issues be taken into account when formulating policies, so that environmental protection work can be undertaken more effectively, thereby improving the quality of life in our society?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The expenditure of EPD since 1994-95 is as follows:

% of increase

Year imiUion oygLprey.iQ.us year

1994-95 (Actual) 1,309.1 48.9

1995-96 (Revised Estimate) 1,674.8 27.9

1996-97 (Approved Estimate) 1,848.1 10.3

32

The exceptionally high rate of growth in expenditure in 1994-95 was mainly due to the additional operating expenses required for commissioning new waste management facilities such as refuse transfer stations, strategic landfills and the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre. The full year effect of the additional expenditure is reflected in the 1995-96 Revised Estimate, but such effect levelled off in 1996-97. We do not envisage new waste treatment facilities coming into operation in 1996-97, although several new facilities will come into operation in 1997-98.

A clearer picture of environment spending is illustrated in the following figures which show the growth of total Public Expenditure on the Environment in Hong Kong as a percentage of the overall Hong Kong total Public Expenditure:

Revised

Estimate

Approved

Estimate

88-89 89-90 90-91 91-92 92-93 93-94 94-95 95r96 96-97

0.8% 1.5% 2.1% 2.5% 2.5% 2.0% 2.7% 3.2% 3.1%

(b) The Government's environmental strategy is set out in the 1989 White Paper on Pollution in Hong Kong - and in the subsequent biennial reviews of the White Paper. The 1989 White Paper set out a comprehensive 10-year strategy for environmental protection in Hong Kong and, in particular, targets such areas as waste, water, air and noise. More recently, the Government has established a Trading Fund in the Drainage Services Department and to which the Government has committed all the capital expenditure for a long term high priority programme of urgently needed sewage works around the central harbour. An overall review of our environmental programme was recently set out in the Third Review of the 1989 White Paper on the environment which also set out how environmental issues are taken into account when formulating policies; paras 2.63 and 2.64 of the Third White Paper Review explain the current arrangements for Environment Impact Assessment, particularly the Government's intention to make this process statutory; an Environmental Impact Assessment Bill was introduced in the Legislative Council on 31 January 1996.

End

33

Road safety plans for elderly ♦ * * * ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to information provided by the Police, nearly a hundred elderly people were killed in each of the past two years in traffic accidents involving jaywalking. In comparison with other age groups, the elderly age group had the highest death toll in such traffic accidents. In view of this, the Police have indicated that this year's road safety campaigns will be targeted at the elderly age group. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the other plans the Police have to enhance elderly people's awareness of road safety, so as to reduce the number of casualties among the elderly age group in such traffic accidents;

(b) whether, to achieve a deterrent effect, the Police will step up prosecution against elderly people for contravening traffic regulations when crossing the roads; if not, why not; and

(c) whether the Police will strengthen road safety campaigns targeted at educating drivers, so as to prevent the occurrence of such traffic accidents?

Reply:

Mr President,

It is indeed a cause for concern and very worrying that many elderly pedestrians (60 and over) have been killed or injured in traffic accidents. In an attempt to tackle this particular problem, the Police have conducted activities regularly to enhance road safety awareness amongst the elderly. Such activities included :

(i) launching road safety campaigns targeted at elderly pedestrians;

(ii) delivering road safety talks at elderly centres;

34

(iii) enlisting the support of road safety patrol teams to help disseminate road safety messages and assist elderly pedestrians in crossing the roads near their social centres; and

(iv) distributing road safety pamphlets and giving advice at pedestrian accident blacksites.

These efforts have had a measure of success in that the number of casualties involving elderly people in traffic accidents have been decreasing over the last three years. Notwithstanding this, we need to continue our efforts and, for example, are liaising with the Hong Kong Road Safety Association, to strengthen its road safety patrols at locations which have a high number of casualties of elderly pedestrians.

We do not believe that prosecuting the elderly for jaywalking would solve the problem. We should continue to treat our senior citizens with respect and we consider that continued advice and assistance is the most effective approach to tackle this problem.

The target audiences of road safety campaigns change from year to year depending on circumstances. In 1993/94, the prime target group was drivers to discourage fast driving and driving too close to the vehicle in front. In 1994/95, the emphasis was on the need to develop good driving habits, as well as on pedestrians (those aged under 15 and over 60) on correct road behaviour. In 1995/96, we highlighted the consequences of "Drink Driving". For 1996/97, the main campaign theme is "Pedestrian Safety", with a sub-theme on safety of elderly pedestrians. The need for drivers to remain alert will be highlighted.

Annex

Casualties of Elderly People (60 Years and Over) Involved inTraffieAeeidents

Fatal Serious Slight Total

1993 145 707 1,378 2,230

1994 107 675 1,389 2,171

1995 101 631 1,303 2,037

End

35

Purpose of integrity checks on civil servants explained ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by Dr the Hon John Tse and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question :

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether, in recruiting new staff members and selecting serving staff for promotion, it is the current practice of the disciplined services to investigate the criminal records of the relatives of those concerned and take such records into account in the selection process; if so, what the reasons are; and

(b) if the answer to the first part in (a) is in the positive, whether -

(i) such a practice is subject to regulation under any legislation; and

(ii) the Government has drawn up any guidelines governing such a practice and, if so, what the rationale is; and whether the Government has reviewed the guidelines to ascertain if they contravene the Bill of Rights and the international human rights Covenants and, if so, whether the Government will consider amending the guidelines?

Answer:

Mr President,

For all recruitment and promotion to some positions in the disciplined services, integrity checks are carried out. The purpose of integrity checks is to ensure that the character and integrity of the candidates recommended for appointment and serving officers recommended for promotion are not in doubt and that they can be trusted to perform the functions expected of them in those positions. After carrying out such checks, the Police issue an assessment of integrity of the candidates or officers to the departments concerned. Such assessments concern the individuals only, not their family members.

36

The Government issued in August 1994 a set of procedural guidelines to all departments for carrying out integrity checks in the course of recruitment and promotion. The procedural guidelines were prepared in consultation with the Attorney General’s Chambers and are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap. 383) which incorporates the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights as applied in Hong Kong.

End

Additional work involved in VM repatriation programme

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Law Cheung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the agreement of the Vietnamese Government to accept more returnees under the Orderly Repatriation Programme, will the Administration inform this Council:

(a) of the staff deployment which the departments concerned have to make to cope with the work in connection with the above; and

(b) whether the staff in the departments concerned are required to work overtime to handle the additional workload; if so, what the number and grades of staff are and whether the Administration is aware of the views of the staff concerned on such overtime work?

Reply :

Mr President,

The acceleration of the Orderly Repatriation Programme will give rise to a demand for more manpower, principally in the Police Force, Correctional Services Department, the Immigration Department and the Security Branch of the Government Secretariat. This additional manpower, as and when required, will be made available by internal redeployment and overtime work. Officers of various grades and ranks are involved. However, it is not possible to give a precise breakdown of the grades and number of staff affected. The staff concerned accept the need to accelerate the repatriation of the Vietnamese migrants and are prepared to carry out the additional work involved.

End

37

Estimation of size of ethnic minorities updating ♦ ♦ * * *

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Government is planning to draw up a list of non-Chinese ethnic minorities in Hong Kong who may become stateless after 1997. Will the Administration inform this Council:

(a) of the objectives of drawing up the list;

(b) how it plans to go about drawing up the list;

(c) when the details of the list will be announced; and

(d) whether it will continue to request the British Government to grant full British citizenship to the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The Government is undertaking an exercise to update the estimate of the size of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong (who will not in the main be stateless after 1997) which was last done in 1986.

(b) The exercise involves an estimation technique based primarily on the records of the Immigration Department to identify Hong Kong British Dependent Territories citizens (BDTCs) who are non-ethnic Chinese and do not hold a second nationality.

(c) We will make known the updated estimate when the exercise is completed.

(d) The Hong Kong Government has consistently supported the case of nonChinese ethnic minorities with solely British nationality for the grant of British Citizenship. The British Government's decision announced by the Prime Minister on 4 March 1996, to admit them into the United Kingdom in the unlikely event that they ever came under pressure to leave Hong Kong was a significant improvement on the assurance given so far to this group. The Hong Kong Government will continue to support their case for full British citizenship.

End

38

Permits for watchmen in private buildings *****

Following is a question by the Hon Chan Kam-lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the present number of caretakers (commonly known as watchmen) employed in private buildings in the territory, and the number of those who are above the age of 65 and in possession of watchman permit;

(b) of the number of persons who have applied for the new security personnel permit and the number of such permits that have been issued since the implementation of the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance in June last year;

(c) whether any applications for the new security personnel permit have been rejected; if so, what the reasons are;

(d) of the publicity measures taken by the Government appealing to those watchmen who have not yet applied for security personnel permits to do so before the expiry of the grace period at the end of this month;

(e) whether there is adequate manpower in the Police Licensing Office for processing all the applications for security personnel permits; if not, whether the Police will consider increasing the manpower for processing such applications; and

(f) whether it will review the licensing conditions stipulated in the Ordinance to determine if there is a need to relax such conditions?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) At present, there are about 130,000 watchmen registered with the Police under the Watchmen Ordinance. We do not keep separate statistics on the number of watchmen working in private residential buildings. According to the record of the Police Licensing Office, there are 26,493 watchman’s permit holders who are above the age of 65.

39

(b) Since the commencement of the application period on 2 November 1995, 12,012 persons have applied for the new security personnel permits and 2,595 permits have been issued. We expect to complete processing the rest of applications in about 3 months' time.

(c) A total of 43 applications for security personnel permits have been rejected. All were rejected on the grounds of past criminal record. These include conviction for dangerous drugs offences, burglary, violent and sexual offences. However, not all applicants with past criminal record are rejected. Having considered the nature of the offence and the age of the applicant at the time of conviction, the Police Licensing Office have granted security personnel permits to a total of 50 applicants with past criminal record.

(d) Since November 1995, a comprehensive publicity campaign has been launched. This includes sending over 10,000 appeal letters to officebearers of Mutual Aid Committees (MACs)/Owners Corporations (OCs) and security and property management companies, organising over 30 seminars/briefings for MACs/OCs, District Fight Crime Committees and District Boards , meeting with trade unions, production of radio Announcement of Public Interests (APIs) and RTHK. television programmes as well as provision of hot line enquiry services. These publicity efforts have been stepped up recently through the release of a TV API, increased broadcasting frequency of the radio API, and large scale briefings and seminars to urge prospective applicants to apply as soon as possible.

(e) Additional manpower and supporting resources have already been provided to the Police Licensing Office to process applications for security personnel permits. We will consider, if necessary, increasing the manpower to cope with the anticipated rush of applications before the deadline.

(f) The security personnel permit criteria were determined by an independent Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority and approved by the Legislative Council on 26 July 1995. We will review them in the light of operational experience after the full implementation of the Ordinance on 1 June 1996.

End

40

Public hospital beds planning and provision

* * * * *

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the current planning standard in regard to the ratio between accident I

emergency beds and convalescent beds in the hospitals under the management of the Hospital Authority (I IA);

(b) of the respective numbers of accident/emcrgcncy beds and convalescent beds, and the ratio between the two types of beds, in these hospitals;

(c) of the respective average daily costs of maintaining each accident I emergency bed and convalescent bed in these hospitals; and

(d) whether the number of convalescent beds in HA's hospitals in New Territories West meets the standard referred to in (a) above; if not, what measures are in place to improve the situation?

Reply:

The planning and provision of public hospital beds is influenced by a number of factors including demographic profile and patient conditions, development of day treatment procedures and community nursing care, as well as the availability of other complementary services. There is no fixed ratio between acute to convalescent/infirmary beds but the actual provision of beds will be adjusted in line with changing community needs.

There were a total of 13,944 acute beds, 3.733 convalescent beds and 1.772 infirmary beds in public hospitals as at the end of March 1996 in 1995/96. The corresponding ratio of acute to convalescent/infirmary beds is 2.5:1.

41

Since the planning and provision of convalescent/infirmary beds is carried out in a global context, it will not be meaningful to compare the relative distribution of beds in each region. The daily operating costs for acute bed and convalescent/infirmary bed were $2,770 and $1,230 respectively in 1994/95. The figures for 1995/96 has yet to be finalised.

Government is aware of the need to strengthen hospital facilities in New Territories West to meet the new demands arising from projected population growth and is exploring possible options with the Hospital Authority to tackle this issue.

End

Lands Development Corporation renovation projects

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council :

(a) of the number of redevelopment projects completed by the Land Development Corporation (LDC) since its establishment and the amount of profits generated from each project;

(b) of the number of LDC's redevelopment projects involving the resumption of land by invoking the Crown Lands Resumption Ordinance;

(c) of the total number of affected residents who have been rehoused arising from redevelopment projects undertaken by the LDC; and

(d) how it can ensure that the LDC's redevelopment projects are undertaken for the purpose of improving the living environment of the community, instead of seeking excessive profits?

42

Answer:

Mr President,

(a) The number of redevelopment and renovation projects completed by the Land Development Corporation since its establishment in 1988 is eight.

Owing to the nature of the Corporation’s operation and the involvement of joint venture partners in some of the projects, it is not appropriate to disclose the detailed financial data of individual projects. There are adequate provisions in the Land Development Corporation Ordinance to ensure that the financial accounts of the Corporation are subject to proper auditing and monitoring, including the tabling of the auditor’s report in the Legislative Council annually;

(b) As at 1 May 1996, four of the redevelopment projects undertaken by the Land Development Corporation involved resumption;

(c) As at 1 May 1996, about 450 tenants affected by the Land Development Corporation's projects have been rehoused; and

(d) There are comprehensive statutory and administrative measures to ensure that the Land Development Corporation’s redevelopment projects are for the benefits of the community. Its functions and activities are decided and supervised by a Managing Board appointed by the Governor and composed mainly of non-official members. Under the Land Development Corporation Ordinance, the principal purpose of the Corporation is to improve the standard of housing and environment in Hong Kong by undertaking, encouraging, promoting and facilitating urban renewal. Before the Corporation is given approval to initiate a new project, it is required to submit detailed plans to the Government and demonstrate that the proposed project will improve the environment of the project area. Where a change of zoning under the Town Planning Ordinance is required, the project has to be submitted to the Town Planning Board for approval. The Board will take into account the impact of the proposed project on the environment in its consideration.

The Land Development Corporation is not a profit-seeking organisation, but rather a public statutory body operating in accordance with prudent commercial principles. Seeking "excessive profit" is not an object of the Corporation. All surpluses generated by projects are ploughed back into future urban renewal schemes. As a safeguard against the Land Development Corporation acquiring excessive reserves, the Financial Secretary is empowered under the Land Development Corporation Ordinance to require the Corporation to transfer funds to the general revenue. However, this has not proved necessary to date.

End

43

Sanctuary for Chinese white dolphins

*****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon John Tse and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question :

As the works on the construction of the new airport have seriously affected the living environment of the Chinese white dolphins inhabiting the waters nearby, the Government has undertaken to designate an area of 1200 square kilometres between Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau as a sanctuary for the dolphins and to ban dragnet fishing activities within the sanctuary. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the department concerned has conducted periodic surveys on the number of white dolphins in the waters concerned; if so, what the survey methods adopted are and the annual number of dolphins gathered since the commencement of the above construction works; if not, whether consideration will be given to conducting such surveys on a periodic basis;

(b) of the progress of the proposed plan to establish a dolphins sanctuary and the date the sanctuary is expected to be formally established;

(c) whether the Government will consider enlarging the areas of the sanctuary;

(d) whether consideration has been given to banning all fishing activities within the sanctuary;

(e) of the distance between the sanctuary and the temporary Aviation Fuel Receiving Facility (AFRF) under construction in Sha Chau, and the effects of the temporary AFRF on the dolphins; and

(f) whether there are other measures to protect the Chinese white dolphins?

44

Answer :

Mr President,

(a) The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) commissioned the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS) of the University of Hong Kong to undertake a three-year study to collect baseline information about the Indo Pacific hump-back dolphin, commonly known as Chinese white dolphin, in December 1993.

By using photo-identification techniques, SWIMS has identified a population of over 80 Indo Pacific hump-back dolphins within Hong Kong territorial waters. The result of a recent systematic population survey conducted by Dr Tom Jefferson, a cetacean expert and research associate of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, has indicated that the population size may be several times larger than SWIMS’s estimation. However, the population size of the dolphins has yet to be determined.

AFD further commissioned a consultancy study in mid-1996 to carry out more systematic and in-depth study on the biology, population and distribution of the Indo Pacific hump-back dolphin. The study will take two years.

(b) The draft map of the proposed Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park (SLMP), i.e. the marine sanctuary, was gazetted for public inspection and comments for 60 days on 12 April 1996 in accordance with Section 8 of the Marine Parks Ordinance. After that period, the draft map will be submitted to the Governor in Council for approval. The SLMP is expected to be established around September / October 1996.

(c) Yes, we have indeed considered the appropriate size of the sanctuary. The area of SLMP gazetted now is about 1,200 hectares which is 20% larger than the 1,000 hectares originally recommended by the cetacean expert, Dr Bern Wursig.

(d) Yes, we have considered the question of banning all fishing activities. We have concluded that it would be best for the SLMP to be managed along the lines of a marine park where sustainable fishing will be allowed and controlled through a permit system. Trawling will however be prohibited. Other fishing activities will also be closely monitored. More stringent control will be imposed should there be signs of any activities which may be detrimental to the health and welfare of the dolphins.

45

(e) The aviation fuel receiving facility (AFRF) at Sha Chau is located inside the proposed SLMP. The AFRF is not a fuel depot. There are no storage tanks at Sha Chau nor has any fuel related facility been constructed on Sha Chau. The AFRF is an off-shore berthing facility constructed on piles to reduce marine impacts. It will receive approximately 4 fuel delivery vessels per day with all fuel pumped directly from the vessels via an undersea pipeline to the on-airport fuel storage facility.

The environmental implications of the AFRF have been fully evaluated in a detailed environmental impact assessment study (EIA). The EIA was reviewed by an internationally renowned cetacean expert, Dr Bem Wursig, who concluded that the facility by itself would unlikely have negative effects on the dolphins. The construction impacts of the facility on the dolphins and the marine environment are minimised through implementation of mitigation measures. One of such measures is the use of a bubble curtain.

(f) Yes, other measures to protect the Indo Pacific hump-back dolphin include :

(i) a general regulation to limit the speed of marine traffic to not exceeding 10 knots within the sanctuary;

(ii) for the temporary Aviation Fuel Receiving Facility at Sha Chau, recommended zero discharge and low impact dredging pollution control measures will be implemented throughout the construction phase to reduce potential impact to the marine environment. Oil pollution control measures and oil spill equipment such as oil boom and skimmers will be provided to minimise the risk of oil pollution and contamination during the operational phase;

(iii) a 500 m exclusion zone for vessels around the airport platform will offer additional areas of protection for the dolphins; and

(iv) the consultancy study now in progress may propose other measures.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, May 9,1996

Contents

Governor to meet President Clinton........................................ 1

Trade outlook shows signs of improvement: FS.............................. 2

FS’s media session........................................................ 3

Dentist and nurses registration bills endorsed by ExCo.................... 4

Monitors’ Report submitted to CS.......................................... 4

Grading of beach water quality............................................ 5

Volume and price movements of external trade in February.................. 9

Six students to join US exchange camp.................................... 16

New Tai Po District Officer appointed.................................... 16

RAF Helicopter Squadron Press Day........................................ 17

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations..................... 17

1

- 1 -

Governor to meet President Clinton *****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, will meet President Clinton tomorrow (May 9, Washington time) at the White House.

It will be followed by a breakfast meeting between the Governor and the Secretary of State Warren Christopher on the final day of Mr Patten’s visit to Washington D C.

During the meetings, Mr Patten is expected to set out Hong Kong’s views on the issue of MFN and trade and to brief both Mr Christopher and Mr Clinton on the territory’s current position in the transition to Chinese sovereignty.

Today (May 8, Washington time), the Governor had a full day of appointments on Capitol Hill and speaking engagements.

He met presumptive Republican presidential nominee Senator Bob Dole and members of the Republican Leadership, including House Republican Leader Dick Armey; members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two House Committees: the International Relations Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.

His day began with a breakfast meeting with members of prominent US think tanks, including representatives from The Heritage Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute and the National Intelligence Council.

At lunch time, he gave a keynote speech to 200 members of the National Press Club, and in the evening he addressed the 50th anniversary annual dinner of the Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Media appointments were also included in Mr Patten’s programme for the day, including an editorial board meeting with the Washington Post and a live television interview with CNN.

Following the meetings with the Secretary of State and the President tomorrow, the Governor will address a meeting of leading US journalists organised by the Freedom Forum, and meet Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin.

Before departing for a two-day visit to Seattle and returning to Hong Kong, Mr Patten will give three media interviews.

End

2

Trade outlook shows signs of improvement: FS *****

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, said today (Thursday) that there were signs of improvement in the trade outlook of I long Kong in the next few months, notwithstanding a more volatile export performance in the first quarter of the year.

Speaking at the luncheon meeting of the Hong Kong Exporters Association, Mr Tsang said more orders had been received most recently than in the early part of the year, and producers' orders for raw materials had also increased.

He said all these suggested a positive production prospect into the third quarter of this year.

"While we should not be pessimistic or complacent, it would only be prudent for us to monitor the situation closely. And this 1 and my colleagues will do in the coming months," he said.

Mr Tsang said the provisional external trade figures for the month of March released recently did not come as a complete surprise, for he had anticipated in his Budget Speech that the slow growth in the latter part of 1995 would linger on in the early part of 1996.

There were also other extraordinary factors, he said, adding that these included the cold weather in the United States, the expectation for import tariff cuts in China with effect from April, the earlier tension across the Taiwan Strait, and the late timing of the Lunar New Year combined in March.

"So, let no one draw any rash conclusion that a trade slump is emerging on the basis of such provisional trade figures," he added.

Mr Tsang also briefly outlined Government's recent plans to promote regional economic co-operation.

"Our task is to ensure that Hong Kong will continue to play a leading role in contributing towards regional trade liberalisation in the decade ahead. Our aim is to bring regional co-operation and prosperity to a higher plateau across a wide spectrum of economic activities," he said.

Mr Tsang would lead a Hong Kong delegation next week to visit Malaysia. Singapore and Thailand to foster better mutual understanding and closer business ties, and to enhance co-operation with service suppliers in the region.

The theme of the visit is "Building a Strategic Partnership".

3

"A key message that we will put across is Hong Kong's position as a gateway to China and our strong economic position in the Asia-Pacific region both now and after 1997,” he said.

During the visit, he would call on senior government officials and meet leading local businessmen and the local media.

He would also officially open Hong Kong's Economic and Trade Office in Singapore, where the secretariats of two prominent regional economic forums in which Hong Kong participated actively - the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) and the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council - were established.

"I hope my forthcoming trip to our three Southeast Asian APEC neighbours serves to underline the efforts which the Government is making in promoting our business opportunities in the region and in strengthening our official and business ties within the APEC community”, Mr. Tsang concluded.

End •

FS’s media session *****

Following is the transcript of the remarks by the Financial Secretary. Mr Donald Tsang, after consultation with Legislative Council members on the expenditure proposals for the 1997-98 Budget this (Thursday) afternoon :

FS: I have just completed seven rounds of meeting with Legislative Councillors on the expenditure side of the coming year's Budget. The meetings have been exceedingly useful. Some groups of the Legislative Councillors have in fact given us written suggestions on how I should spend the coming year's resources. We have discussed also possible areas in which savings could be made. Unfortunately on this matter councillors’have spent less time on, and have given me less specific ideas. But there was a common position that in order to find more resources to meet with community aspirations in the year ahead, not only we have to spend the new resources carefully, we have to find ways to make savings from existing services in order to create larger pool of resources. That was the common position. Now we have got the ideas from Legislative Councillors, what my colleagues and I would be going to do would be to analyse these proposals and put these proposals to various policy branches. They are going to examine them and in the light of public response as well and public comments on these proposals, they will be going to1 make bids for resources in the coming Resources Allocation Exercise. The whole exercise has been very smooth and 1 am very happy with the outcome.

End

4

Dentists and nurses registration bills endorsed by ExCo

*****

The Governor-in-Council has endorsed the introduction of the Dentists Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996 and the Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996.

A spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch today (Thursday) said the proposed dentists registration bill spelt out clearly that any person awarded a degree of dentistry by the University of Hong Kong is qualified to be registered as a dentist in the territory.

"The Bill also provides that an applicant is required to submit evidence that he has not been convicted in Hong Kong or elsewhere of any offence punishable with imprisonment, on an application for the issuance and renewal of a practising certificate for dentist," he said.

As to the nurses registration bill, it provides that the usage of the term of "nurse" be restricted to those who are registered nurses and enrolled nurses.

The two bills will be gazetted on May 17 and introduced into the Legislative Council on May 29.

End

Monitors' Report submitted to CS *****

The monitors appointed to observe the transfer of Vietnamese migrants selected for the Orderly Repatriation Programme from the High Island Detention Centre to Victoria Prison yesterday (Wednesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The four monitors comprised two non-official Justices of the Peace, Miss Maria Tam Wai-chu and Mr Chan Ying-lun; and representatives from two non-governmental organisations - Ms Harriet Sewell from Christian Action and Ms Sherman lang from Oxfam.

End

5

Grading of beach water quality ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) today (Thursday) announced the grading of Hong Kong’s beaches, based on their bacteriological water quality, for the 1996 swimming season.

The purpose of the grading system is to inform swimmers and the general public about the state of bacteriological pollution at various beaches.

The grading will be announced biweekly during the bathing season to coincide with the frequency at which beach waters are usually sampled.

The grading is based on the most recent E coli data obtained by EPD in its routine monitoring programme.

As with last year, the grading also includes an estimate of the risk of contracting some minor skin or gastrointestinal complaints as a result of swimming at a beach which has some degree of pollution.

The estimate is based on a very large body of statistical information gathered in Hong Kong in recent bathing seasons.

The grading of some beaches may vary during the summer. This represents a natural fluctuation in the bacteriological quality of bathing waters in most cases, as rain and tides bring more or less pollution to the beaches.

However, the grades give a good general picture of the water quality at bathing beaches at the time of reporting and form the best available forecast for the immediate future.

Beaches with highly developed hinterlands are likely to be more polluted than the grades suggest during and after heavy rain.

"Bathers should avoid such beaches for two or three days after a storm, longer if the weather remains overcast or less if there is strong sunshine," Principal Environmental Protection Officer, Mr Patrick Lei, said.

6

The system for grading beach water quality is as follows :

Grade "1" indicates that the water quality is good. The E coli count is no more than 24 per 100 millilitres at each beach so graded, and the expected risk of minor illness to swimmers is undetectable.

Grade "2" indicates that the water quality is fair. The E coli count is no more than 180 per 100 millilitres at each beach so graded, and the expected health risk is no more than 10 cases of minor illness per 1,000 swimmers.

Grade "3" indicates that the water quality is poor. The E coli count is no more than 610 per 100 millilitres at each beach so graded, and the expected health risk is no more than 15 cases of minor illness per 1,000 swimmers.

Grade "4" indicates that the water quality is very poor. The E coli count is more than 610 per 100 millilitres at each beach so graded, and the expected health risk is more than 15 cases of minor illness per 1,000 swimmers.

The decision whether or not to close a beach to swimmers is based on a judgement of what degree of pollution is acceptable.

Normally, the closure of a beach would only be considered by the Urban or Regional Council if a grade "4" occurred repeatedly, so that the average health risk over the bathing season exceeded 15 cases per 1,000 swimmers.

At present five gazetted beaches, namely Anglers', Approach, Castle Peak, Rocky Bay and Ting Kau, are closed to swimmers, while Old Cafeteria is re-opened. The decision to open or close the beaches has been made by the Regional and Urban Councils on the basis of beach water quality monitoring data for 1995. The public are advised not to swim at the closed beaches. They are identified by an "X" in the following list.

J

The grades of the bacteriological water quality of various beaches in Hong

Kong today are listed below:

Previous Present

Beach Grading Grading

(as at 25.4.96) (as at 9.5.96)

Hong Kong South

Big Wave Bay 2 2

Chung Hom Kok 1 1

Deep Water Bay 1 1

Hairpin 1 1

Middle Bay 1 1

Repulse Bay 1 1

ShekO 2 2

South Bay 1 1

St. Stephen’s 2 2

Turtle Cove 1 1

Stanley Main 2 2

Rocky Bay X X

To Tei Wan* 2 2

Tuen Mun District

Golden Beach 3 2

Old Cafeteria 2 2

New Cafeteria 3 3

Castle Peak X X

Kadoorie 3 3

Butterfly 3 3

Previous Present

Beach Grading Grading

(as at 25.4.96) (as at 9.5.96)

Sai Kung District

Campers* 1 1

Clear Water Bay 1st Beach 1 2

Clear Water Bay 2nd Beach 1 2

Hap Mun Bay 1 1

Kiu Tsui 1 1

Pak Sha Chau* 1 1

Silverstrand 2 3

Trio (Hebe Haven) 1 2

8

Islands District

Cheung Sha Upper 1 1

Cheung Sha Lower 2 2

Discovery Bay* 2 2

Hung Shing Yeh 1 1

Kwun Yam Wan 1 1

Tong Fuk 1 1

Lo So Shing 1 1

Pui 0 2 2

Silvermine Bay 2 2

Tung Wan, Cheung Chau 2 2

Tung 0* 1 1

Previous Present

Beach Grading Grading

(as at 25.4.96) (as at 9.5.96)

Tsuen Wan District

Anglers' X X

Approach X X

Casam 3 3

Gemini 4 4

Hoi Mei Wan 3 3

Lido 3 4

Ting Kau X X

Tung Wan, Ma Wan 2 2

Note : "X" The beach has been closed for swimming purposes.

* Non-gazetted beaches.

The following beaches have changed grading on this occasion:

Golden Beach from ”3” to "2”; Clear Water Bay 1st Beach, Clear Water Bay 2nd Beach and Trio from "1” to ”2”; Silverstrand from ”2” to "3"; Lido from ”3” to ”4”.

The changes are within the normal range of fluctuation of the bacteriological water quality of these beaches.

End

- 9 -

Volume and price movements of external trade in February ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

In the first two months of 1996, the volume of re-exports increased by 14% over the same period last year, while the volume of domestic exports decreased by 0.8%, according to the statistics released today (Thursday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Taking re-exports and domestic exports together, the volume of total exports increased by 12%. Meanwhile, imports increased by 9% in volume.

The growth in the volume of trade is derived from the growth in trade values with the effect of price changes being discounted.

As regards price changes over the same period of comparison, the prices of reexports and domestic exports increased by 1.6% and 1.9% respectively. Import prices increased by 1.9%.

Price changes are reflected by changes in unit value indices, which are compiled based on average unit values or, for certain commodities, based on specific price data.

The terms of trade index, defined as the ratio of total export price index to import price index, decreased marginally by 0.2% in first two months of 1996 over the same period last year.

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, the volume of re-exports increased by 7.3%, while that of domestic exports decreased by 5.6%. Taken together, the volume of total exports increased by 5.1%. Meanwhile, the volume of imports decreased by 4.3%.

Over the same period of comparison, the prices of re-exports and domestic exports increased by 1.2% and 2% respectively. Import prices increased by 1.6%.

Caution should be exercised in interpreting the changes in the volume of trade for a single month at the beginning of each year which may be affected by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays. It is more meaningful to make comparisons over a longer period.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of re-exports by end-use category are shown in Table 1.

10

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, the volume of re-exports of most of the end-use categories recorded increases of various magnitudes: consumer goods (+19%); foodstuffs (+9.1%); and capital goods (+8.4%).

On the other hand, the volume of raw materials and semi-manufactures, and fuels decreased by 8.9% and 8.1% respectively.

Over the same period of comparison, increases in the prices of re-exports were noted of most of the end-use categories: fuels (+8.2%); consumer goods (+1.8%); raw materials and semi-manufactures (+0.9%); and foodstuffs (+0.6%).

On the other hand, the re-export price of capital goods decreased marginally by 0.2%.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of domestic exports by principal commodity group are shown in Table 2.

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, commodity groups which recorded significant increases in the volume of domestic exports included clothing (+12%); travel goods, handbags and similar articles (+11%); and metal ores and scrap (+8.1%).

On the other hand, the volume of domestic exports of footwear and textile made-ups and related articles decreased by 60% and 34% respectively.

Commodity groups which recorded increases in domestic export prices included textile yarn and thread (+8.3%); and metal manufactures (+6.1%).

On the other hand, the domestic export price of domestic electrical appliances and footwear decreased by 3.2% and 1.9% respectively.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of imports by end-use category are shown in Table 3.

The import volume of foodstuffs decreased by 1.8% in February 1996 compared with February 1995.

Significant decreases in the import volume were noted of soya bean oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil and lard; and animals of the bovine species, live. However increases were recorded in the import volume of sugar; and cereals and cereal preparations other than rice, wheat and flour.

11

Over the same period of comparison, the import volume of consumer goods increased by 4.9%.

Increases in import volume were recorded in clothing; and household-type electrical appliances. However, decreases in the import volume were noted of passenger motor cars and radios, television-sets, gramophones, records, tape recorders and amplifiers.

The import volume of raw materials and semi-manufactures decreased by 16% in February 1996 compared with February 1995.

Decreases in import volume were recorded in most of the raw materials and semi-manufactures. Significant decreases were noted of silk fabrics; and woven fabrics of man-made fibres. However, increases in import volume were noted of woven fabrics of wool and mixtures; and thermionic, cold cathode or photo cathode valves and tubes, diodes, transistors etc and parts thereof.

Imports of fuels increased by 71% in volume in February 1996 compared with February 1995.

As regards capital goods, the import volume decreased by 5.5% in February 1996 over February 1995.

Notable decreases were recorded in the import volume of transport equipment and textile machinery. The import volume of office machines however increased.

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, the import prices of most of the end-use categories increased : fuels (+5%); consumer goods (+2.7%); raw materials and semi-manufactures (+1.1%); and foodstuffs (+1.1%).

On the other hand, the import price of capital goods decreased marginally by 0.2%.

Details of the above statistics are published in the February 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong Trade Index Numbers".

12

The report will be available on sale around May 13 at HK$14 per copy at either the Government Publications Centre on the ground floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway; or the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

Enquiries regarding regular subscription to this report may be directed to the Publications (Sales) Office of the Information Services Department on 28th floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong on 2598 8194 and enquiries on trade indices to the Census and Statistics Department on 2582 4918.

13 -

Tabla 1 : Changes in re-exports by end-use category

Comparing FEB with FEB % changes 1996 1995 Comparing JAN-FEB 1996 with JAN-FEB 1995

% changes

End-use category ' P! Value Unit Value Volume Value Unit Value Volume

Foodstuffs 9.7 0.6 9.1 14.0 0.5 13.9

Consumer goods 21.5 1.8 18.6 13.9 2.1 11.2

Raw materials and semi-manufactures -8.0 0.9 -8.9 16.4 1.6 14.3

Fuels 2.9 8.2 -8.1 21.6 14.7 11.2

Capital goods 6.0 -0.2 8.4 20.4 -0.3 23.7

ALL COMMODITIES 8.9 1.2 7.3 15.8 1.6 14.4

- 14 -

Table 2 : Changes in domestic experts by principal commodity group

r * •

Comparing FSB 1996 Comparing JAN-FEB 1996 with FEB 1995 with JAN-FEB 1995

% changes % changes

•1 Unit Unit

Commodity group Value Value Volume Value Value 5 Volume

f Clothing 13.7 1.7 11.9 7.4 2.4 4.7

Textile fabrics -3.0 1.5 -6.9 6.1 0.7 3.2

Textile yarn and thread -12.2 8.3 -18.5 '8.1 9.2 *

Textile made-upa and related articles -33.5 -1.4 -33.9 * -0.4 2.8

Radios of all kinds 26.7 5.1 2.1 140.0 7.0 94.7

Electronic components -9.9 -0.2 -11.0 -2.7 -0.8 -3.0

Footwear -59.3 -1.9 -60.3 -41.6 -2.0 -41.1

Metal manufactures -7.2 6.1 -12.8 6.3 7.3 -1.5

Metal ores and scrap 3.9 3.4 8.1 -10.9 4.7 -9.8

Watches and clocks 5.4 -0.5 6.7 0.5 -0.4 1.3

Traval ooods, handbags and similar articles 17.1 3.9 11.1 12.3 3.3 8.0

Domestic electrical appliances -14.6 -3.2 -11.0 28.4 -2.4 32.8

ALL COMMODITIES -3.8 2.0 -5.6 0.8 1.9 -0.8

less than 0.05%

- 15 -

Table 3 : Changes in imports by end-use category

End-use category Comparing FEB 1996 with FEB 1995 % changes Comparing JAN-FEB 1996 with JAN-FEB 1995

% changes

Value Unit Value Volume Value Unit Value Volume

• Foodstuffs -0.5 1.1 -1.8 7.2 1.7 5.3

Consumer goods 7.2 2.7 4.9 10.1 2.5 7.5

Raw materials and semi-manufactures -15.9 1.1 • -16.1 3.6 1.8 7.1

Fuels 73.9 5.0 70.6 38.9 8.2 30.3

Capital goods -6.2 -0.2 -5.5 13.2 0.3 13.8

ALL COMMODITIES -3.8 1.6 -4.3 10.6 1.9 9.0

End

16

Six students to join US exchange camp *****

Four girls and two boys will each receive a trophy as well as a round-trip ticket to the United States to take part in a one-week international youth exchange camp this summer at an essay competition prize-giving ceremony this Saturday (May 11).

Another 20 outstanding awards will also be presented to the winners of the competition at the ceremony.

Some 470 students from 125 secondary schools had entered the Lions Clubs Living English Essay Competition '96.

After attending a English talk show hosted by two disc jockeys, each participant within 10 days submitted an essay to express their opinions on the messages conveyed in the show.

The competition, organised by the Lions Clubs International District 303 Hong Kong and Macau and co-organised by the Education Department and the Radio Television Hong Kong, aimed at developing students' interest in writing and building up their confidence in the use of English as a communication medium.

End

New Tai Po District Officer appointed *****

Mr Frankie Lui Kin-fun will take up the post of Tai Po District Officer tomorrow (Friday), replacing Mr Danny Tsui.

Mr Lui, aged 39, joined the Government as an administrative officer in 1978 and was promoted to Administrative Officer Staff Grade C in 1993.

He has served in the Economic Services Branch, the former City and New Territories Administration, Home Affairs Branch, Civil Services Branch, the former Buildings and Lands Department, Security Branch and Urban Services Department.

His last posting was Assistant Director for the Regional Services Department.

End

- 17 -

RAF Helicopter Squadron Press Day * * * ♦ ♦

The 28 (AC) Squadron, Royal Air Force, will hold a Press Day on Tuesday (May 14) to inform and update the local media on all aspects of the Squadron, including its history, roles and capabilities.

The programme will include a familiarisation flight along the border, and practical demonstration of the aircraft's roles and capabilities. These will include moving underslung loads, search and rescue, roping drills, and working with Gurkha troops. There will also be an opportunity to view the engineering support in the hangar.

Press briefings on the closure of Sek Kong Station later this year and the Squadron's subsequent operation from Kai Tak International Airport will also be given.

The 28 Squadron was originally formed in 1915, and has now been based in Hong Kong for 46 years. The Squadron is equipped with six Wessex helicopters.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,841 0930 +359

Closing balance in the account 1,680 1000 +359

Change attributable to: 1100 +359

Money market activity +359 1200 +359

LAF today -520 1500 +359

1600 +359

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.5* -0.1* 9.5.96

- 18 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.84 2 years 2802 5.16 98.50 6.16

1 month 4.95 3 years 3904 6.30 99.33 6.66

3 months 5.15 5 years 5103 6.75 98.23 7.31

6 months 5.29 7 years 7302 6.02 91.70 7.75

12 months 5.59 5 years M502 7.30 99.67 7.52

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $19,865 million

Closed May 9, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE. HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Friday, May 10,1996

Contents Page No,

Governor Christopher Patten meets President Clinton...................... 1

Transcript of the media session by the Deputy to the Governor............ 2

Standing Commission's report published................................... 3

Measures proposed to ensure workers' safety.............................. 4

Elderly to receive grant for social activities........................... 6

Government commissions study on needs of the elderly..................... 6

Hong Kong Shipping Register enjoys steady growth.....................

Aviation Security Bill gazetted......................................... 10

Teaching kit on "Decision About Sexuality"........................... 11

HAD Co-ordination Centre set up......................................... 12

The weather of April.................................................... 13

/Fees for....

Contents

Eag£_NQx

Fees for pesticide licensing services revised............................ 16

Shenzhen River improvement works......................................... 16

Reclamation authorised by ExCo........................................... 17

Second autotoll system approved...................................... 18

Draft Lam Tei and Yick Yuen DPA Plan approved............................ 19

Work on bridge over Siu Lek Yuen Nullah approved......................... 20

LDC Development Scheme Plan approved..................................... 20

Improvements to roads and drains on Cheung Chau.......................... 22

Tenders invited for architectural projects............................... 23

High APIs recorded for the territory..................................... 23

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations..................... 24

1

Governor Christopher Patten meets President Clinton *****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, today (Thursday, May 9, Washington time) met with President Clinton at the White House.

Briefing reporters following what he termed ”a very good meeting” with President Clinton, Mr Patten said that he had set out for the President some of the arguments for unconditional MFN renewal that he had been saying on Capitol Hill during his stay in Washington D.C. for the past couple of days.

Mr Patten said he told President Clinton that Hong Kong needed to see MFN renewed.

"That not to do so would be extremely damaging to Hong Kong. If MFN isn’t renewed, if MFN is conditioned, we could lose up to 100,000 jobs and halve our growth rate, and see a savage blow to confidence in Hong Kong, and that would be, I think, a very severe blow at this particular moment," he said.

Mr Patten started the day with a breakfast meeting with US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher and State Department officials. He also had a meeting with US Secretary for the Treasury, Robert Rubin.

The Governor briefed leading representatives of the US media at a forum organised by the Washington-based Freedom Forum, and at a lunch meeting with the editor and writers from the Washington Times. He was later interviewed by Rowland Evans and Bob Novak for CNN.

During the evening (Washington time), Mr Patten flies across the country from Washington D.C. to Seattle for the final leg of his North American tour. He will leave Seattle to return to Hong Kong on Friday, May 10 (US time).

End

2

Transcript of the media session by the Deputy to the Governor *****

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Deputy to the Governor, Mrs Anson Chan, after visiting Police and Correctional Services officers who were injured at the Whitehead incident early this (Friday) morning:

Mrs Chan: Good afternoon everyone. I’ve just come from visiting five officers from the Correctional Services Department and from the Police Department who were injured in the incident at Whitehead this morning. I think the incident and the behaviour of inmates, particularly resorting to violence and causing damage to life and limbs and property is deplorable behaviour which we will not tolerate. But the staff of the Correctional Services Department and the Police Department have acted with their usual restraint, courage and good sense, and the situation now in Whitehead is under control. I’ve just received a full briefing from the Commissioner of Correctional Services and from the Deputy Commissioner of Police. Of course, we are all very sorry that staff have been injured during this incident, but I stress again that they have exercised with the greatest restraint and with the greatest courage. And I’m sure everybody in the community would join me in commending their behaviour and wishing them a very speedy recovery. I’ve heard from the doctors that the injury that they sustain is not serious and happily most of them can be discharged either today or tomorrow. I want also to make it clear that we remain as determined as ever to repatriate all Vietnamese migrants to Vietnam as soon as possible. This incident has not lessened our resolve to encourage more voluntary repatriation and to step up momentum on the orderly repatriation programme. We have today removed 900 inmates from Whitehead to High Island and we'll be continuing this exercise tomorrow.

Question: Some people suggested that the Correctional Services actually provoked the violence by moving these people around and into crowded prisons, unnecessarily causing...?

Mrs Chan: Let me refute that very categorically. There's no basis to this accusation. The staff of the Correctional Services Department work under extremely trying conditions in these camps; they do the best job they possibly can and I don't think that their behaviour on this occasion can in anyway be criticised. They put their own life at risk but they are extremely dedicated to their work. I have only the highest praise for the way in which they have performed their work this time.

End

3

Standing Commission’s report published ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service, chaired by Sir Sidney Gordon, has published its Progress Report for 1995 (Report No 32).

During the year, the Commission tendered advice to the Governor on two proposals which led to the revision of salary scales for the Social Work Assistant grade and that for the Supervisor of Typing Services grade.

The Commission also commented on a proposal to improve the Technical Inspectorate grades and discussed a report by the Administration on the progress of the Government's office automation programme and its impact on the future provision of secretarial services in the civil service.

In keeping with past practice, the Commission continued to hold informal discussions with major staff associations to keep itself abreast of major issues of concern to civil servants.

The 1995 Progress Report also gives an account of the 1994-95 pay trend survey and the modifications for the pay trend survey for 1995-96.

The Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service is an advisory body appointed by the Governor to advise and make recommendations on the principles and practices governing pay and conditions of service and salary structure of the non-directorate civil Service, other than the judiciary and disciplined services.

The progress report is now on sale at the Government Publications Centre, ground floor. Lower Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

End

4

Measures proposed to ensure workers’ safety *****

The Government proposes to empower the Commissioner for Labour to issue suspension and improvement notices in a bid to ensure the safety of workers, particularly those working at construction sites.

Details of the proposal were contained in the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1996 gazetted today (Friday).

Under the Bill, the Commissioner for Labour can issue a notice to proprietors and contractors to suspend immediately any hazardous work or the use of dangerous equipment which is likely to give rise to an imminent risk of serious bodily injury to the workers concerned.

Clear departmental guidelines will be prepared to ensure that consistent standards are applied. A channel of appeal will also be introduced.

A government spokesman explained that under the existing legislation, the commissioner was empowered to issue a notice prohibiting any dangerous trade, industrial process or operation in a workplace.

”1 lowcver, the commissioner has to apply for a court order 1'rom a magistrate to stop the operations of a construction site, or any works or machinery therein, even though he may have reasons to believe that there is an imminent risk to the workers concerned,’’ he said.

"A serious accident could occur in the interim if the risks involved have not been effectively eliminated.

"In the case of a construction site, the situation or process to which the court order relates could have changed, or the process have been completed, because of progress on site. Thus, a court order, by the time it is obtained, may not be very effective."

The spokesman noted that the proposed suspension notice was intended to deal with a situation where workers were exposed to an imminent risk of serious bodily injury. To tackle less serious situation, it was proposed that the commissioner should be empowered to issue improvement notices to require proprietors and contractors to rectify breaches of the law within a specified period.

5

"We believe that the proposed improvement notice will be seen by all concerned as a more positive and forceful means of enforcing industrial safety than the present system of issuing offenders with advisory letters, since ignoring an advisory letter is not an offence whereas ignoring an improvement notice is.

"An improvement notice should have the effect of encouraging the proprietor or contractor to adopt a more positive attitude by taking immediate measures to improve safety at work, thereby averting prosecution," the spokesman said.

"In the interests of improved industrial safety and given that proprietors or contractors concerned are not required to do anything new, it is considered that the new legislation should come into force immediately," he added.

The proposed maximum penalty for contravening a suspension notice is $500,000 and 12 months’ imprisonment, with an additional maximum fine of $50,000 per day for every day that the contravention continues.

"These are set deliberately high because of the seriousness of the offence and the imminent risks it poses to life and limb," the spokesman said.

For those who fail without reasonable excuse to comply with the terms of an improvement notice, they are liable to a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for 12 months.

The spokesman pointed out that the proposed measures were two of the more important recommendations put forward by the Government in a comprehensive review of industrial safety conducted last year. They were supported by the general public and interested bodies including the Labour Advisory Board.

Other legislative proposals, including the requirement for proprietors and contractors to set up a safety management system at the enterprise level, are being drafted.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 22.

End

6

Elderly to receive grant for social activities ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

About 100,000 elderly people will shortly be receiving a flat-rate grant of $320 to enable them to participate in social and recreational activities.

The grant which forms part of the recommendations of the Review of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme, will be paid through the bank autopay system later this month.

This was announced by the Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mr Bob Wilson, at the Legislative Council Welfare Services Panel this (Friday) morning.

Mr Wilson told the Panel that having taken into consideration views expressed by legislative members and various groups, the Government had decided to pay the grant automatically to all elderly CSSA recipients with no need for the production of receipts.

"We shall continue actively to promote the use of this grant for recreational and social activities," he said, adding that involvement in such activities provides valuable social networking support to the vulnerable elderly.

End

Government commissions study on needs of the elderly

*****

The Government has commissioned a consultancy study on the needs of elderly people for residential care and community support services.

Announcing this today (Friday), a spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch said the Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group has been appointed for the job.

The Group will conduct a comprehensive survey to examine the health status and socio-economic characteristics of a cross section of elderly people in Hong Kong for the purpose of assessing their needs for residential care and community support services.

"It will assess whether the needs of the elderly are adequately met by existing services, whether these services need modification or new services need to be provided and how resources can be most effectively deployed to provided the services required,” the spokesman said.

7

’’The consultant's team brings together a wide range of expertise in welfare, medical, health and financial matters. The aim is to apply the best of local and international expertise to address the issues concerned,” he added.

In addition to their extensive overseas experience, Deloitte has contracted out the execution of the major study to a team of respected academics from the University of Hong Kong comprising Professor Nelson Chow, Dr Iris Chi and Professor Y H Cheng.

Professor Chow and Dr Chi have also been retained as advisers for the full term of the study.

The $7.6 million consultancy study is expected to last for 12 to 15 months.

The Secretary for Health and Welfare will chair a working group to steer and monitor the consultancy. In addition to Government officials and the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority, the group will have three members drawn from outside the public sector, Professor Edward Chen, Miss Nora Yau and Mr Michael Lai. They all have important experience of elderly care issues in Hong Kong.

End

Hong Kong Shipping Register enjoys steady growth ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The autonomous Hong Kong Shipping Register, now in its sixth year, is growing steadily at about five per cent a year and the total tonnage placed on the register has recently reached nine million gross registered tonnes, the Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, said today (Friday).

It has gained considerable support from both Hong Kong and China-based ship owners, as well as some major players in Europe, he added.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong Shipowners Association for members attending the 25th Annual General Meeting of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), Mr Dale said the Hong Kong Shipping Register would continue to operate effectively, efficiently and, most importantly, safely for at least 50 years after 1997.

8

"The authority for the Hong Kong Register is included in both the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law," Mr Dale said, adding that it was the only register that was formally recognised at the United Nations, where the Sino-British Declaration was deposited.

Briefing Intertanko members on Articles 124 to 127 of the Basic Law, which related to shipping, Mr Dale said that it was cleared that Hong Kong would continue to exercise the same maritime laws and policies after 1997 as it did now.

He assured his audience who together control and operate more than 90 per cent of tankers around the world that "nothing will change after 1997".

Mr Dale said that the Hong Kong Shipping Register was not a cheap register but neither was it the most expensive.

It was a quality register, he stressed, noting that Hong Kong was not classed as a flag of convenience by the International Transport Workers Federation.

Much of the inspection on the ships on the register is undertaken by surveyors from the Marine Department or surveyors from one of the seven main classification societies which are contracted by the Marine Department to undertake the work on its behalf.

Turning to the latest picture of the port of Hong Kong, Mr Dale said that Hong Kong handled 167 million tons of cargo and 12.6 million twenty-foot-equivalent containers in 1995.

More than 41,000 ocean-going vessels plus 108,000 coastal cargo vessels, and 64,000 international passenger craft passed through Hong Kong last year, he said.

Superimposed on this huge level of marine activity were the 16,000 locally licensed vessels which were continually operating all day and everyday within Hong Kong waters, he added.

"The level of marine traffic is enormous by any standards. Averaged out over the full year, it means one vessel on an international voyage enters or leaves Hong Kong every 1.2 minutes," he pointed out.

These numbers are increasing at about 10 per cent a year, posing the biggest problem on the marine traffic management to the Marine Department.

9

While that it is a nice problem to have, Mr Dale stressed that it is not easy to deal with.

The Director of Marine, being the Manager and Regulator of the port of Hong Kong, must ensure vessels can enter, work cargo, and leave Hong Kong, as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible.

He highlighted two of the activities he undertook in the port towards that objective.

On the first, the Vessel Traffic Management system, Mr Dale said that the Vessel Traffic System (VTS) established in 1989 gives advice, monitors, controls and directs all ocean-going vessels in over 95 per cent of Hong Kong waters.

"To cope with demand the system needs frequently upgrading. This was completed last year, but we are planning further upgrading of the system over the next few years," he said.

"Without doubt the system works. To date, ships rarely if ever suffer delays due to congestion, and the number of serious marine accidents is very low," Mr Dale added.

On the second activity, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) related work to support the objective of safer ships and cleaner seas, Mr Dale said the implementation of all major IMO conventions by Hong Kong also made Hong Kong a safer port.

Hong Kong is an associated member of the IMO and a signatory to all major IMO conventions. She is also a founder member of the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in 1993 and is very actively involved in increasing ship inspection rate.

End

10

Aviation Security Bill gazetted

*****

The Aviation Security Bill, which seeks to establish a statutory framework on aviation security in Hong Kong so that the territory will continue to comply with international requirements, is gazetted today (Friday).

A government spokesman said the Bill aims to localise provisions in UK legislation giving effect to international conventions on aviation security, which are extended to Hong Kong by Orders-in-Council.

"The Bill also seeks to regularise the aviation security arrangements currently applied at Kai Tak Airport through administrative measures," the spokesman said.

Under the proposed legislation, any act or omission on board a Hong Kong registered aircraft, which would constitute an offence in Hong Kong if committed here, or the unlawful seizure of an aircraft in flight or any acts of destruction or violence on board an aircraft which would endanger the safety of that aircraft, will be an offence.

The Bill will establish a statutory Aviation Security Authority and an Aviation Security Programme.

"The Secretary for Security will be designated the Aviation Security Authority and will be responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the Aviation Security Programme.

"The Programme will provide guidelines on the aviation security standards required, and the Secretary for Security will be empowered to issue directions as necessary to ensure compliance with these standards." the spokesman said.

An Aviation Security Committee will be established on a statutory basis to advise the Aviation Security Authority on matters relating to aviation security.

Members of the Committee will come from the Government, the Airport Authority and the aviation industry.

The spokesman said both the draft Aviation Security Bill and the draft Aviation Security Programme had been circulated to the industry, including the Airport Authority, the airlines and the airport tenants, for detailed consultation.

"They have expressed general support for both," he said.

11

"It is our aim to implement the aviation security requirements in co-operation with the industry. Enforcement action will only be taken if a company or person persistently refuses to comply with a reasonable requirement," the spokesman added.

The Bill is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on June 5.

End

Teaching kit on "Decision About Sexuality" * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

To encourage secondary school teachers to use the teaching kit on "Decision About Sexuality", the Education Department has compiled the Chinese version of the kit and make it more readily to use.

The main objective of the teaching kit is to provide teachers with instructional materials for the development of skills in handling interpersonal relationships and the inculcation of proper attitudes towards certain sexual issues.

Principal Inspector (Biological Sciences), Mr Ho Chung-nin, today (Friday) said: "During critical moments in different stages of life, making decisions about sexuality is inevitable.

"These decisions bring about lasting effects. Appropriately made decisions bring about pleasure and contentment, otherwise, detrimental impact on personality development may result."

The teaching kit highlights the main issues demanding decision-making which arise at various stages of maturity.

The materials are divided into three parts: teacher's manual, students' worksheets and fact sheets.

"In the teaching kit, much emphasis has been placed on advising students to seek parent-child understanding and co-operation in handling issues requiring decision-making.

"Teachers should understand that the family and parents may provide strong support and guidance to young people when they have to make crucial decisions."

12

He advised teachers to simplify the teaching kit or select suitable items catering the needs and ability of their students.

Each secondary school will be provided with two sets of the Chinese version teaching kit.

The English version was published and issued to schools in 1993.

Meanwhile, the Biological Sciences Section of the Advisory Inspectorate Division of the Education Department will organise two whole-day courses on sex education for primary school teachers on May 30 (Thursday) and May 31 (Friday).

In addition to a discussion with participants on the content and method of sex education in primary schools, the course consists of two talks: "Understanding Puberty" by Dr Chow Ka-wah from the Central Health Unit, Department of Health, and "Overview on Child Sexual Abuse" by Ms Grace Ma from Against Child Abuse.

Relevant circulars and application forms have been sent to all primary schools.

Schools are requested to return their nomination forms to Inspector (Primary Health Education), Advisory Inspectorate Division, Education Department, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, on or before next Monday (May 13).

Enquires about the courses may be directed to the Biological Sciences of the Advisory Inspectorate Division on 2892 6547 or 2892 6548.

End

HAD Co-ordination Centre set up *****

A Home Affairs Department Co-ordination Centre has been set up at the Sha Tin District Office from 7 am this (Friday) morning in response to the incident at the Whitehead Detention Centre.

Public enquiries concerning the incident can be directed to the Co-ordination Centre on 2604 8078.

A spokesman for the Home Affairs Department urges residents in Ma On Shan to report any strangers in the neighbourhood to the police.

End

13

The weather of April * * ♦ ♦

April was cooler than normal with the mean temperature of 20.4 degrees being 1.8 degrees below the normal figure. The minimum temperature of 10.9 degrees recorded on April 3 was the third lowest on record for April.

Three episodes of heavy rain contributed to most of the month’s rainfall which . amounted to 228.7 millimetres, 67.2 millimetres above the normal amount. On April 30 the rainstorm red warning was issued for the first time this year.

The cloudy and rainy weather at the end of March continued in April. A surge of the northeast monsoon around mid-day on April 1 brought cooler conditions to the territory.

Temperature dropped to 10.9 degrees, the lowest for the month, on the morning of April 3 and heavy rain started in the evening, lasting until the next afternoon with a total of over 60 millimetres of rainfall recorded at the Royal Observatory.

Winds strengthened from the east in the early hours on April 5. As winds moderated on the following day there were some sunny periods.

The weather became cloudy with periods of light rain on April 8 lasting until April 11 when winds strengthened again from the east. Strong easterly winds persisted up to April 13 while the weather remained generally cloudy to April 15.

There were long sunny periods on April 16 but the weather then became misty as winds became light and turned more southerly. It was cloudy and misty the next couple of days.

On April 19 an active trough of low pressure moved southwards and crossed the south China coast bringing squally thunderstorms and heavy rain to the territory.

Flooding was reported in low-lying areas. There were two traffic accidents during the rainstorm and nine people were injured. A minor landslide occurred in Repulse Bay. The transmission station of Radio Television Hong Kong was struck by lightning and broadcast was off air for 47 minutes.

The weather remained cloudy with light rain patches on April 20 and 21.

Under the influence of a drier airstream, the weather became fine and sunny on April 22. Fine weather prevailed until April 28 when a maritime airstream brought about more clouds. Temperature rose to 28.8 degrees, the highest for the month, on April 29.

14

An area of heavy rain and thunderstorms moved across the territory on the last day of the month resulting in 14 reports of flooding in Kowloon and the New Territories.

Only one tropical cyclone occurred in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea in the month.

Details of the issuance/hoisting and cancellation/lowering of various wamings/signals in the month are summarised in Table 1.1. Monthly meteorological figures and departures from normal of April are tabulated in Table 1.2.

Table 1.1 Warnings and signals in April 1996

Wamings/Signals Effective date and time

Strong Monsoon Signals 5 Apr 0430- 5 Apr 1300 11 Apr 0500- 11 Apr 0915 11 Apr 2315- 13 Apr 0745 20 Apr 0400 - 20 Apr 0740 21 Apr 0445 -21 Apr 0745

Rainstorm Warning

Red 30 Apr 1445 - 30 Apr 1615

Flood Warnings 19 Apr 1300- 19 Apr 1710 30 Apr 1325 - 30 Apr 1930

Thunderstorm Warnings 1 Apr 1445 - 1 Apr 1645 19 Apr 0525 - 19 Apr 1725 30 Apr 1230- 30 Apr 2030

Fire Danger Warnings

Yellow Yellow 7 Apr 0000 - 8 Apr 1630 23 Apr 0910-24 Apr 0430

Gas Heater Alert 2 Apr 1630 - 4 Apr 1620

15

Table L2 Figures and Departures from Normal --April.1226

Total Bright Sunshine

Mean Daily Global Solar Radiation

Total Rainfall

Mean Cloud Amount

Mean Relative Humidity

Mean Daily Maximum Temperature

Mean Air Temperature

Mean Daily Minimum Temperature

Mean Dew Point

Total Evaporation

82.2 hours; 26.7 hours below normal

10.46 MJ/SQM; 2.68 MJ/SQM below normal

228.7 mm; 67.2 mm above normal

81%; 3% above normal

82%; 1% below normal

22.8 Degrees Celsius;

2.1 Degrees Celsius below normal

20.4 Degrees Celsius;

1.8 Degrees Celsius below normal

18.5 Degrees Celsius;

1.7 Degrees Celsius below normal

17.1 Degrees Celsius;

1.9 Degrees Celsius below normal

71.4 mm; 35.5 mm below normal

Remarks: All measurements were made at the Royal Observatory except sunshine, solar radiation and evaporation which were recorded at King’s Park.

End

16

Fees for pesticide licensing services revised

*****

Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) today (Friday) announced that fees under the Pesticides Ordinance will be revised from June 28.

The revision set out in the Pesticides (Amendment) Regulation 1996 will be applied to the application, issue, renewal, extension of pesticide licences and permits, and the application for the registration of a pesticide.

An AFD spokesman said that it was Government policy, in general, to set fees at levels sufficient to recover full costs of providing the services.

The new fees were revised according to the Government Consumption Expenditure Deflators of 1995-96.

Details of the amendment was published in the Government Gazette today.

End

Shenzhen River improvement works

*****

The Government intends to construct a river channel along part of Shenzhen River to reduce the risk of flooding and to transform part of the existing river into wetland as an environmental mitigation measure.

A total area of 107.5 hectares of foreshore and seabed will be affected.

Work will commence in the first half of next year and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2000.

The extent of area affected is contained in a notice published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

Any person who considers that he has an interest, right or easement in or over the foreshore and seabed involved may submit a written objection to the Director of Lands on or before July 10, 1996.

17

Notice of such objection should describe the interest, right or easement of the objector and the manner in which he alleges he will be affected.

The notice (in English and Chinese) together with related plans can be seen on notice boards posted near the site.

The plan can also be seen at the Lands Department Survey and Mapping Office, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (where copies can be purchased on order); at the North District Office and North District Lands Office, North District Government Offices, 3 Pik Fung Road, Fanling, New Territories.

The plan is also available for public inspection at the Yuen Long District Office, ground floor, Yuen Long District Office Building, 269 Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long, New Territories; and at the Yuen Long District Lands Office, 9th-l 1th floors, Yuen Long Government Offices, Tai Kiu Market, 2 Kiu Lok Square, Yuen Long, New Territories.

End

Reclamation authorised by ExCo

*****

The Govemor-in-Council has authorised reclamation within an area of about 12.4 hectares of foreshore and sea-bed at Tiu Keng Wan in Tseung Kwan O.

Works will involve dredging of seabed, construction of seawall and reclamation to provide land for residential, commercial, government, institution and community purposes as part of the continuing development of Tseung Kwan O new town.

A government spokesman said the proposed reclamation, together with the cleared land from the Tiu Keng Leng Cottage Area, formed an integral part of the Tseung Kwan O New Town Development and were required for Phase III of the development.

’’The Environmental Impact Assessment Study has concluded that the environmental impacts arising from the proposed reclamation can be controlled within the established standards.

18

"Apart from minor reclamation required for the construction of a temporary access road to facilitate the moving out of residents from the cottage area, the major reclamation work will commence only after the clearance of the cottage area," he said.

The extent of the area affected is contained in a notice published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

Any person who considers that his interest, right or easement in or over the foreshore and sea-bed involved will be injuriously affected may submit a written claim for compensation to the Director of Lands on or before May 10, 1997.

He should state in his submission the sum of money he is willing to accept in full and final settlement of his claim and should submit such particulars which he possesses to substantiate his claim.

The notice (in both English and Chinese) together with related plans can be seen at the Lands Department's Survey and Mapping Office, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (where copies can be purchased on order).

It can also be seen at the Sai Kung District Office, second floor, Sai Kung Government Offices, 34 Chan Man Street, Sai Kung, and the Tseung Kwan O suboffice of the Sai Kung District Office, Room 121-122 ground floor, Po Ning House, Po Lam Estate, Tseung Kwan O, Sai Kung.

End

Second autotoll system approved * ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Transport Department announced today (Friday) that the second autotoll system - Electronic Toll Collection System (ETS) - will be formally used at Tate's Cairn Tunnel from 12.01 am on Sunday (May 12).

The Government’s approval was given following a successful trial since August

1995.

Motorists who choose not to use the ETS when crossing the tunnel can use the manual toll collection booths.

19

Apart from the ETS which can only be used at Tate’s Cairn Tunnel at present, another autotoll system approved for use in tunnels in Hong Kong, Autopass, is now being used at Aberdeen Tunnel, Lion Rock Tunnel, Cross Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Crossing.

Motorists are advised to use only the autotoll lanes of the autotoll system for which they have subscribed.

Advisory signs for the two different autotoll systems will be erected at the toll booth canopies of the different tunnels to guide motorists in the use of the appropriate autotoll lanes.

End

Draft Lam Tei and Yick Yuen DPA Plan approved ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Govemor-in-Council has approved the draft Lam Tei and Yick Yuen Development Permission Area (DPA) plan, a spokesman for the Town Planning Board said today (Friday).

"The plan will establish a statutory land use framework to provide guidance for planning and to facilitate development control within the Lam Tei and Yick Yuen area in Tuen Mun.

"A draft outline zoning plan is being prepared and will be published to replace the approved DPA plan," he added.

The approved plan (No. DPA/TM-LTYY/2) is available for public inspection during normal office hours at:

Planning Department,

16th floor, Murray Building,

Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong;

* Tuen Mun and Yuen Long District Planning Office,

Level 11, Metroplaza Tower 1,

223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong, New Territories; and

20

* Tuen Mun District Office,

2nd floor, Tuen Mun Government Offices,

1 Tuen Hi Road, Tuen Mun, New Territories.

Copies of the plan are available for sale at the Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong and the Kowloon Map Sales Office, ground floor, 382 Nathan Road, Kowloon.

End

Work on bridge over Siu Lek Yuen Nullah approved ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Govemor-in-Council has authorised the construction of On Ming Street Bridge over Siu Lek Yuen Nullah in Sha Tin.

The proposed bridge will provide an alternative access to Area 11, the Shek Mun Industrial area and will alleviate congestion of Tai Chung Kiu Road at its junction with Siu Lek Yuen Road and On Lai street.

It will also provide a convenient footpath and bicycle access for workers in Area 11.

Construction will commence in November this year and scheduled for completion in two years.

End

LDC Development Scheme Plan approved ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Govemor-in-Council has approved the Land Development Corporation (LDC) Waterloo Road/Yunnan Lane Development Scheme Plan.

’’The plan, which covers an area of about 0.42 hectare, will provide a statutory planning framework to guide LDC in redeveloping the area bounded by Waterloo Road, Portland Street, Man Ming Lane and Shanghai Street, including Yunnan Lane and a section of Shek Lung Street in Yau Ma Tei,” a spokesman for the Town Planning Board said today (Friday).

21

Most of the buildings in the area are six-storey in height and were completed before 19656. They are predominantly used for residential purpose on upper floors with shops, which include metal/electrical workshops and coffin shops, on ground floors.

The approved LDC development scheme comprised commercial development and government/institution/community facilities including a refuse collection point, a public latrine with facilities for the disabled, a hostel for single persons and a day nursery, said the spokesman.

"A sizeable public open space of about 1,650 square metres at the corner of Portland Street and Man Ming Lane will replace the existing small sitting-out area within the area." he added.

"Yunnan Lane and a section of Shek Lung Street will be closed to enable the drawing up of a comprehensive layout for the area. An area fronting Shanghai Street will be designated as a taxi lay-by.

"Meanwhile, a basement car park will be provided under the office building and the public open space with a view to improving traffic condition in the area."

With the approval of the plan, LDC will commence the implementation of the scheme which is expected to be completed by the end of 2001.

The approved plan (No. S/K2/LDC1/2) is available for public inspection during normal office hours at:

* Planning Department, 16th floor.

Murray Building, Garden Road.

Central, Hong Kong;

* Kowloon District Planning Office,

11th floor, Leighton Centre,

77 Leighton Road,

Causeway Bay, I long Kong; and

22

* Yau Tsitn Mong District Office, sixth floor, Mong Kok Government Offices, 30 Luen Wan Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon.

Copies of the plan arc available for sale at the Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong and the Kowloon Map Sales Office, ground floor, 382 Nathan Road, Kowloon.

End

Improvements to roads and drains on Cheung Chau * * * * *

The Territory Development Department' has proposed works to improve existing roads and drains in Cheung Chau.

Works will involve widening the existing l ung Wan Road and Cheung Chau Hospital Road, the laying of a comprehensive network of sewerage and stormwater drains, the provision of open space, and the construction of a new road between St John Hospital and the helipad on reclaimed land at Cheung Chau.

On completion, the project will improve water quality in Cheung Chau Typhoon Shelter and Tung Wan Beach and alleviate flooding in certain low-lying area.

In addition, the project will also make available an east-west road link on Cheung Chau for access of standard-size emergency vehicles. This will facilitate the delivery of fire and ambulance services in terms of response time.

The Government has exercised care at the planning stage to minimise the extent of land resumption and clearance for the project. Land owners affected will be compensated for land resumption and eligible residents will be rehoused.

Works will commence at the end of this year and scheduled for completion in two years.

End

23

Tenders invited for architectural projects *****

The Architectural Services Department is inviting tenders for the construction of a primary school in Area 25, Tsuen Wan.

Works will comprise the construction of a standard design primary school with a total gross floor area of over 7,400 square metres.

The contract will also include piling foundation, drainage and external works.

Works will commence in August this year for completion in December 1997.

Meanwhile, the department is also calling tenders for improvement works to four Regional Council’s public toilets currently located in North District, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Cheung Chau.

The works will include improvement to toilet facilities, drainage system, ventilation system, lighting, floor surface, as well as signage.

Works will commence in July this year for completion in about six months.

Tender forms and further particulars of both contracts can be obtained from the Architectural Services Department, 34th floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

Tender offers for the primary school and the public toilet facilities will close at noon on June 7 and May 31 respectively.

End

High APIs recorded for the territory ♦ * * ♦ ♦

Air pollution indices (API) for the territory have exceeded 100 today (Friday). The API is 105 for the urban area, 108 for the industrial area and 109 for the new development area.

"Today’s poor air quality is due to the high respirable suspended particulates levels throughout the territory. We believe it has an association with the strong easterly winds, which blew up the settled dust both in Hong Kong and in the region," the acting Assistant Director of the Environmental Protection Department, Mr Tse Chin-wan, said.

24

"When the index exceeds 100, people already suffering from asthma, lung or heart illnesses are advised to reduce physical exertion and laborious outdoor activities. The current level should have little effect on a healthy person."

The API forecast for the territory tomorrow (Saturday) is 75 for the urban area, 80 for the industrial area and 75 for the new development area.

Members of the public can check the API readings on 2827 8541.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,680 0930 +522

Closing balance in the account 1,699 1000 +432

Change attributable to : 1100 +432

Money market activity +419 1200 +432

LAF today -400 1500 +419

1600 +419

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.5 *+0.0* 10.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.75 2 years 2802 5.16 98.42 6.21

1 month 4.94 3 years 3904 6.30 99.13 6.74

3 months 5.14 5 years 5103 6.75 98.00 7.37

6 months 5.28 7 years 7302 6.02 91.34 7.82

12 months 5.61 5 years M502 7.30 99.36 7.61

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $15,123 million

Closed May 10, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Saturday, May 11,1996

Contents Page No.

Transcript of the Governor's media session............................... 1

Transcript of the Deputy to the Governor................................. 5

Deputy to the Governor pleased with ACP progress....................

Legal system shall continue: Chief Justice............................... 6

Director-General of Industry to visit the USA.......................

Law to control dangerous dogs............................................ 8

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations.................... 10

1

Transcript of the Governor's media session ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten on his return from Canada and the USA this (Saturday) evening:

Governor: Good evening. I am happy to be back on the inaugural 777 Cathay flight from Seattle, after a busy and successful visit to Canada and the United States.

In Canada I addressed extremely large meetings - the largest was a lunch for 1200 in Vancouver - and had good meetings with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Immigration Minister, the Minister for International Trade and other political figures.

My main purpose in Canada was to argue the case for visa-free access for SAR passport holders, which I did as vigorously as possible, and, as you will know if you can cast your minds back to last week, the Canadian Government accepted, in principle, the case for visa-free access though they make it clear that there are a number of detailed points which they want to have sorted out before they can actually take that request. They principally relate both to the issue over retumability, which is where we are trying to provide reassurance to the Canadian authorities, and they relate as well to the question of right of abode, where we are still hoping that expert talks with Chinese officials will clarify some of the doubts that still remain.

I then went on to the United States. I addressed large meetings in New York and then I went on to Washington where I met senior members of the Administration and Congress, as well as addressing meetings. I addressed, as I think you will know, among others the National Press Club and the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

I met the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary for the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, the Chairman of the National Security Council, the Chair of the National Economic Council and a number of other senior officials. And met, on Capitol Hill, Senator Dole and the leadership of the Republican Party in the Senate, Senator Daschle, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, the majority leadership in the House of Representatives and many other congressmen during the course of a very busy three-day visit.

The main purpose of my visit was to argue the case unreservedly for the renewal of unconditional MFN for China, speaking not as a spokesman for China but speaking as a spokesman for Hong Kong. I think and believe that as a result of my visit and as a result of the visit of Mr Lee a few weeks ago, and of the visit of Mrs Chan in a few weeks, Americans will take careful account of Hong Kong's interest in any decision that they come to.

2

I pointed out that we in Hong Kong are going through a very sensitive transition and that anything which damaged our economy, as the failure to renew MFN would do, would make that transition all the more difficult.

I found myself throughout the trip, and in particular during my visit to the United States, having to deal with the consequences of some of the actions which had been taken by Chinese officials and Chinese advisers in recent weeks and months, and dealing with the consequences of things which have been said, we hope, things that don’t necessarily represent policy. I found myself dealing with questions about the future of democratic institutions in Hong Kong, the future of the civil service, the future of the rule of law, and the future of the Bill of Rights.

I expressed, again and again, my optimism that Hong Kong would continue to succeed and prosper as a free society, above all because of my belief in the entrepreneurial momentum here in Hong Kong, and because of my belief that the people of Hong Kong themselves, their resilience and their commitment to the rule of law and to freedom, would ensure that those things weren’t snuffed out.

The American press regarded my remarks as being -1 think the words that the 'New York Times’ used were - "warily optimistic" about the future, and certainly I expressed those sentiments on every occasion.

But I have to say it is worrying that some of the things that have been done and said in recent weeks have raised questions in the minds of American politicians and journalists and business leaders, and I very much hope that just as we need to give more reassurance to the people of Hong Kong over the next few months, we won’t forget the importance of giving the assurance to the community outside as well. But it was as busy a trip as I have ever had and I hope, particularly on visa-free access and the renewal of MFN, we have had some success.

Question: Mr Patten, the protesters outside complain that your speech in the US hurt the image of the businessmen in Hong Kong, do you think that is the case?

Governor: No, I think that what the united front demonstrators outside should be complaining about are those advisers and those Chinese officials who in recent weeks have said things about the rule of law in Hong Kong, about the development of our democratic institutions in Hong Kong, about the Bill of Rights in Hong Kong, which have raised profound concerns both within Hong Kong, as we know, and outside Hong Kong.

I have been dealing with the consequences of those anxieties, not stirring them up. So perhaps the chaps outside who are well organised and who I am looking forward to meeting in a moment or two, perhaps they should actually be down at Happy Valley this evening.

3

Question: Governor Patten, would you ... to expand a bit on the comments you made to 'Newsweek' recently about this feeling that you feel that the people of Hong Kong have been somehow betrayed by the sort of business tycoons?

Governor: Well, you won’t find many of those words in what I actually said in 'Newsweek', so I suggest you read what I said in 'Newsweek' which is quite detailed and quite comprehensive and I don't think I want to add to it.

Except to say this. If members of the Preparatory Committee, whether businessmen or not, are going in the next few weeks to make it clear that they actually think, on reflection, that it is important that the Preparatory Committee should talk to pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong; if they say in the next few weeks that they actually think it would be wrong for the Preparatory Committee to propose gutting the Bill of Rights; if they say they think it would be essential that anybody should be able to stand for the Legislative Council to be elected to it; then obviously we will all be absolutely delighted.

Question: Mr Patten, a couple of things. First of all your reaction to what has been happening at Whitehead over the past two days. And secondly, your reaction to the defeat of the Private Members' Bill which would have granted passports to war-wives and widows.

Governor: Well, can I deal with those two questions, which are important ones, and then go out and meet our friends outside.

First of all on Whitehead. I want to make two points absolutely clear. First of all, the whole community commends and salutes the bravery and courage of the Correctional Services Department officers and the Police officers who have been dealing with this incident, and who have had to deal with similar incidents in the past. They do an exceptionally difficult job extremely well and with considerable restraint, and they have all of my support just as the Chief Secretary set out her support this week, and just as they have the support of the community.

Secondly, nobody, under any circumstances, should condone violence or the sort of things that we have seen at Whitehead this week. There is only one end to this business and that is the return, as soon as possible, of Vietnamese migrants to Vietnam; the return to their own country which is now starting to do better economically. There is no case whatsoever for them staying here.

We have been stepping up our measures to return the Vietnamese migrants; we have increased the pace of the Orderly Repatriation Programme and there will be 600 returning under that programme this month, and we intend to continue to push the programme through until we have achieved our objective And nothing whatsoever, particularly the sort of outrageous behaviour we have seen this week, will stop us.

4

We do, obviously, need to consider some of the lessons from what has happened at Whitehead, and we will be reporting during the coming week to the Legislative Council -1 think to their Security Panel - about some of the measures that we intend to take to try to enhance security in the camps.

But I think that I speak for the whole community in saying that this is not behaviour which can be tolerated and we will take every possible measure to deal with it firmly. I think there are still 32 Vietnamese migrants who are missing, and we will obviously step up the hunt for those so that they can be returned to secure conditions as rapidly as possible.

Second and last, can I just say a word or two about the war-widows bill. You will all know the efforts that we have put in to persuading the British Government and the British Parliament to accept this legislative commitment. It is something which Jack Edwards has bravely fought for for years, and I was delighted when the Prime Minister was here and able to give his commitment that the bill would go forward, and I was delighted as well when the Labour Party, most recently in the person of Robin Cook, gave assurances that they would support it.

Now the House of Commons, like other legislative assemblies around the world, sometimes makes mistakes and I think that what happened yesterday was, frankly, a mistake rather than something that was achieved by deliberate design. What we have got to work to do now is to get the bill back on the rails so that it can be passed into law as soon as possible. But I don't want anybody to be under any doubt the bill will become law in due course. What I want to do is to make the 'in due course' as soon as we possibly can. It is a bill which has the support of the Conservative Party, it is a bill which has the support of the Labour Party, it is a bill which has the support of the Liberal Democrats and, I think, others in the House of Commons. It will go through. But 1 am sorry that this slip-up yesterday has delayed things a bit.

End

5

Transcript of the Deputy to the Governor *****

The following is the transcript of the Deputy to the Governor, Mrs Anson Chan's remarks to the media after officiating at a ceremony on the Tsing Ma Bridge today (Saturday):

Deputy to the Governor: Good morning. 1 think you've all seen me symbolically putting in the last segment of the bridge. It's been a while Since 1 came out to see progress on the bridge. I'm delighted to note the very good progress we've made. We expect the bridge to be open in May of 1997. As I've said we've made excellent progress and I congratulate everybody involved in this work, particularly the contractors, the engineers and all the Government departments involved. We expect all the seven ACP projects together with the third, western harbour crossing to be open by about mid-1997 and I am sure that when all these works are actually operational, the community will benefit very substantially from this. The bridge is now 90 per cent complete and I'm sure that we will continue to make excellent progress.

End

Deputy to the Governor pleased with ACP progress

*****

The Deputy to the Governor, Mrs Anson Chan, this morning (Saturday) tightened a last bolt of the deck of the Tsing Ma Bridge to symbolise the completion of the deck.

Accompanied by the Director of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, Mr Billy Lam, Mrs Chan was driven to the mid span of the recently erected main deck where she was briefed on the works progress by the Director of Highways, Mr K S Leung.

Mrs Chan said she was very impressed with the work on the bridge which is now over 90 per cent complete.

"Tsing Ma Bridge has now taken its final shape linking Tsing Yi and Ma Wan and, through Kap Shui Mun Bridge, linking Lantau Island with the mainland for the first time," Mrs Chan said.

"The biidge has now become a landmark for Hong Kong. I'm looking forward to the day when we'll all be able to drive across this beautiful bridge.

6

"I congratulate all the government departments, contractors and engineers who have been working so hard on this project. This is the longest suspension bridge in the world to carry both road and railway. I'm sure all Hong Kong people will be proud of it," she said.

Mrs Chan said she was pleased that the Airport Core Programme (ACP) projects had progressed so rapidly and that overall, the projects were now more than 55 per cent complete.

"The completion of the seven Government ACP projects and the Western Harbour Crossing by mid-1997 will bring significant benefits to the public, including relief of traffic congestion in West Kowloon and the existing cross-harbour tunnels," she said.

The Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu, the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma and the Secretary for Works, Mr H S Kwong, also took part in the visit.

End

Legal system shall continue: Chief Justice ♦ * * * ♦

Whatever decision in made in respect of court dress and the mode of addressing the Bench, the most important consideration is that we must send a clear message to the hpublic that our legal system shall continue as promised in the Basic Law, the Chief Justice, Sir Ti Liang Yang, said today (Saturday).

Speaking at the ceremony for the admissionof Queen's Counsel this morning, the Chief Justice noted that much had been said about court dress.

"I think some sort of distinctive dress in court will probably find favour with both the Bench and the two branches of the legal profession," he said. "It was still a matter for examination as to what the 'distinctive dress' should be."

On the mode of addressing t he Bench, the Chief Justice said it was a matter for further consideration as to whether "your lordship", "your ladyship", and "your worship" should continue to be used.

'"Your honour' seems suitable for the District Court and needs no change. Perhaps it could be used for the higher courts also. Magistrates may be addressed as 'Sir' or 'Madam'.

7

"Again, no firm decision has been made," Sir Ti Liang said.

The Chief Justice also noted that the future of a senior rank of barristers was under active consideration.

"My personal view is that a senior rank, perhaps called Senior Counsel, should take the place of Queen's Counsel at the appropriate time. I understand that the Administration takes a similar view and is formulating detailed proposals on this subject," he concluded.

Four Queen's Counsel for Hong Kong have been appointed this year. They are: Mr Winston Poon Chung-fai, Mr Michael F Ozorio, Mr John A Scott and Mr Andrew A Bruce.

End

Director-General of Industry to visit the USA ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Director-General of Industry, Mrs. Regina Ip, left Hong Kong today (Saturday) for a two-week visit to the United States as part of the Industry Department's on-going efforts to promote inward investment in Hong Kong's manufacturing industries.

She will also take the opportunity to discuss with senior US officials issues related to the Hong Kong/US investment agreement and other investment issues.

Mrs Ip will first go to Boston where she will call on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for briefings on the latest technological developments. She will visit a venture capitalist company in Boston on May 15 before flying to Washington D.C.

In Washington D.C., Mrs Ip will meet with senior officials from the State Department, Commerce Department and the United States Trade Representative Office to discuss issues related to the Hong Kong/US investment agreement currently being negotiated, and other investment issues.

The Director-General will leave Washington D.C. for New York on May 17 where she will visit a number of major US companies and brief local business associations on Hong Kong's latest industrial and technological development.

8

"The United States is the second largest investor in Hong Kong's manufacturing industries and a major source of technologies used in Hong Kong. Sustained approach to major US corporations, senior officials and academic institutions with cutting-edge technology is essential to helping to upgrade Hong Kong's manufacturing industries." Mrs Ip said.

End

Law to control dangerous dogs * * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government has proposed legislation for the enactment of regulations to safeguard members of the public from serious attacks by dogs.

Under the Dogs and Cats (Amendment) Bill 1996, published in the Gazette yesterday (Friday), there will be stricter regulation on the keeping and control of dangerous dogs, including fighting breeds.

"The Bill provides the necessary enabling powers and organisational structure, while the proposed regulations will set out the specific controls," a Government spokesman said today (Saturday).

"It enables a police officer or any other authorised officer to seize and detain any dog that has bitten or attacked any person and, subject to the outcome of any appeal, to destroy the dog if it has caused the person's death.

"A dog can also be destroyed if it cannot be seized without a serious risk to public safety or if a magistrate decides that it is dangerous and orders its destruction," he explained.

The Bill provides for appeals against various decisions made under the Ordinance to be considered by the Administrative Appeals Board.

It also proposes that a Dogs and Cats Classification Board be established to determine, on application to it, the breed of a dog or cat.

The Board will have 11 members, drawn mainly from tertiary education institutions, animal welfare associations, veterinary surgeons' organisations and dog breeding organisations.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 22, 1996.

r

- 9 -

If enacted, the Bill will be followed by the tabling of a proposed Dangerous Dogs Regulation, which will classify dangerous dogs into three categories, namely fighting dogs, known dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs.

The ’’fighting dogs” category will consist of the Pit Bull Terrier and similar breeds. These dogs are liable to attack a person without provocation or warning and may inflict serious injuries or death.

"The proposed regulations will ban importation and breeding of fighting dogs. Possession of such a dog will also be prohibited unless it is neutered and covered by insurance to a value of not less than $100,000 to indemnify damage caused by the dog," the spokesman said.

The "known dangerous dogs" category will consist of individual dogs classified as such by a magistrate on application to him that the dog has a history of attacking and injuring people. Possession of such a dog will be prohibited unless it is neutered and covered by insurance to a value of not less than $100,000 to indemnify damage caused by the dog.

The "potentially dangerous dogs" category will consist of breeds including Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermanns and Mastiffs. These breeds do not normally attack people without provocation but have the size, strength and potential ferocity of a guard dog. Such dogs are also capable of inflicting serious injuries on people if they attack.

Under the proposed regulation, it will be an offence to allow a dog in any of the three categories to go into or remain in a public place unless it is on a leash and muzzled.

The spokesman said: "The densely-populated and congested environment of Hong Kong is unsuitable for the keeping of fighting dogs, which clearly pose a threat to public safety, and requires tighter controls over other dogs which can be a danger to people."

He noted that the effect of the ban on importation and breeding of pit bull terriers and other fighting dogs would be to remove them from the community within seven to 10 years as the existing dogs died.

Existing legislation on the control of dogs requires that a dog be kept on a leash in a public place, prohibits the keeping of a dog which persistently annoys or menaces neighbours or passers-by and prohibits anyone from allowing an unmuzzled ferocious dog into a public place.

10

If a magistrate receives a complaint that a dog is dangerous, he may order that the dog be destroyed or kept under proper control.

The existing legislation applies to dogs in general, without reference to specific or dangerous breeds.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ Million Time (Hours) Cumulative Change ($ Million.)

Opening Balance in the account 1,699 09:30 +400

Closing Balance in the account 1,634 10:00 +400

Change Attributable to: 11:00 +400

Money Market Activity +400 11:30 +400

Laf Today -465

Laf Rate 4% Bid/6% Offer TWI 123.7 *+0.2* 11.5.96

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Sunday, May 12,1996

Hong Kong to launch major promotion in USA................................ 1

Sino-British Land Commission...................................‘......... 2

S for S starts Torch Run.............................................

Campaign to prevent air-conditioner nuisances............................. 4

Employment agency licence revoked....................................

Slope maintenance exhibition to open at Lok Fu............................ 6

Applications for health courses invited................................... 7

Fresh water cut in Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long............................. 8

Hong Kong to launch major promotion in USA *****

The Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, will lead a high-powered delegation to take part in a major promotion in the United States next month.

Known as “Hong Kong-USA ’96”, the promotion will take place in three major US cities - New York, Dallas and Los Angeles - between June 3 and 11. It is jointly organised by the Government, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Tourist Association.

The delegation comprises more than 20 Hong Kong's top businessmen and senior Government officials who will speak at business conferences. In addition, there will be workshops focusing on financial services, high-tech manufacturing and tourism in Hong Kong.

A Government spokesman said as part of a continuing effort by the Government to publicise Hong Kong overseas, a country is selected each year for a major promotion. A similar promotion was staged in Europe in 1993, the United States in 1994. and in Japan last year. The United States is chosen again this year because of its importance to our trade and its strong tics with Hong Kong.

He said the objectives of the promotion were to enhance the understanding of Hong Kong and business opportunities which Flong Kong can offer as a gateway to China and the Asia-Pacific region; as well as to strengthen the traditional economic ties between I long Kong and her second largest foreign trading partner.

Apart from the business conferences, promotion activities also include fashion shows featuring the work of Hong Kong designers, concerts by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra of the Urban Council and an exhibition called "Hong Kong Wonders Never Cease" showing the many facets of Hong Kong life.

There will be film festivals in which a total of nine Hong Kong films will be shown. The premiere of "Hu-du-men" on the opening night of the film festivals will be attended by the leading actresses Josephine Siao Fong-fong and Anita Yuen Wing-yee as well as the director Shu Kei.

A variety show featuring some of Hong Kong's top artistes will be presented by Television Broadcasts Ltd. at the Universal CityWalk in Hollywood. The programme will be televised in the United States and Hong Kong.

- 2 -

Adding an academic dimension to this year's promotion is the designation of Hong Kong’s first Distinguished Fulbright Scholar, Professor Charles Kao, Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. A well-known fiber optics specialist, Professor Kao will give a series of lectures to the American academic communities.

The Fulbright Programme, which has been referred to as ’’the largest and probably most successful cultural exchange programme in history”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The promotion is supported by major business firms, including Cathay Pacific Airways, HongkongBank. Hutchison Whampoa Limited. Marco Polo Hotels and Sino Group.

End

Sino-British Land Commission *****

The two sides of the Sino-British Land Commission have agreed that the Commission’s 32nd meeting will be held on May 14, 1996 (Tuesday). The meeting will discuss the 1996/97 Land Disposal Programme.

End

S for S starts Torch Run

*****

Participation in sports activities is an important way to integrate the mentally handicapped into the society, the Secretary for Security. Mr Peter Lai. said today (Sunday).

"It helps to enhance their sense of self-worth and to break the barrier of prejudice," he said.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics organised by the Hong Kong Special Olympics at the piazza of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

3

He noted that of all the many fund-raising events which were organised to support the Special Olympics, the Torch Run attracted most participants.

It received the wide support of law enforcement departments in a growing number of countries, he said.

Mr Lai commended Hong Kong's disciplinary forces for having a fine reputation for community service.

"We see evidence of that today with large numbers of them joining hands to raise funds for this very worthwhile cause," he said.

Teams made up of staff of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force, Customs and Excise, Correctional Services, Fire Services and Immigration departments took part in the three-kilometre Torch Run.

The Royal I long Kong Police Pipe Band and the Government Flying Services gave performances, while the Fire Services Department put up a water display at a fire boat.

Although the Torch Run was on a smaller scale than international runs which ended with the lighting of the flame at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics, Mr Lai said, it was nonetheless a great success.

The money raised from the Torch Run this year will provide support for more than 25,000 mentally handicapped persons to join the year-round sports training and competitions.

The fund can also support the Hong Kong team to take part in the Paralympics Games in Atlanta, United States, this August, the Asia Pacific Special Olympics in Shanghai. China, this November and the World Special Olympics Winter Games in Toronto. Canada, in February 1997.

End

4

Campaign to prevent air-conditioner nuisances *****

Don't let your air-conditioner become a nuisance to your neighbour as this will cost you a fine of $10,000.

This is the message of a publicity campaign launched by the Health Education Unit of the Department of Health.

The campaign is organised under the sponsorship of the Urban and Regional Councils.

As part of the campaign, a 24-hour hotline - 2723 0013 - carrying a prerecorded message has been set up to advise members of the public on methods of preventing nuisances caused by air-conditioners.

"The aim is to remind the general public to effect due repair and maintenance to their air-conditioning systems with the approach of the summer season," a spokesman for the Department said today (Sunday).

"Unwanted drippings, hot air and excessive noise are the common nuisances emitted from defective air-conditioners," he said.

He pointed out that if a fresh water cooling tower was improperly maintained, it might cause Legionnaires' disease and affect health.

"Owners of fresh water cooling towers are advised to drain the towers regularly, and the towers should be cleansed and sterilised every six months to prevent the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria.

"The heat release part of the air-conditioning system, such as water cooling tower or air-cooled condenser, should be installed at a suitable position such as roof, podium etc. to avoid causing hot air nuisance to the neighbourhood." he said.

fhe spokesman also advised the general public to choose a type of airconditioner that does not drip.

"If an air-conditioner drips, affix a metal tray fitted with a hose underneath the air-conditioner to drain away the water drippings properly. For water cooling tower of large air-conditioning system, install an anti-splashing guard to eliminate the dripping nuisance," the spokesman added.

5

He stressed that proper maintenance and regular inspection were important to ensure that the machine functioned properly.

Under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, if an air-conditioning unit drips or emits excessive heat in such a manner as to be a nuisance, the authority may issue a notice to the user for rectification within a specified period. Non-compliance of which will constitute an offence.

"Offenders may be fined up to $10,000," the spokesman said.

Publicity letters, posters and leaflets giving advice on the proper use of airconditioners will be widely distributed to the management of housing estates, large shopping arcades, industrial buildings, owners corporations, mutual aid committees, suppliers of air-conditioners and members of the public.

Publicity through the mass media will also be arranged to arouse public concern on the issue.

End

4-

Employment agency licence revoked * ♦ * * *

The Labour Department today (Saturday) urged operators of employment agencies to comply with the law, or their licences could be revoked.

The call followed the revocation of the employment agency licence of the Topbeeth Limited in Kowloon Bay by the department.

The company was recently fined $2,500 at the Kwun Tong Magistracy tor overcharging a Filipino domestic helper.

"Under the.Employment Agency Regulations, an employment agency can only charge a successful job seeker a commission of not more than 10 per cent ot his or her first month's salary," Labour Officer (Employment Agencies Administration), Miss Corrina Cheng said.

"Charging any other fee, such as registration fee, is strictly prohibited," she

added.

- 6 -

Under the Employment Ordinance, the Commissioner for Labour may refuse to issue or renew, or may revoke a licence if the person operating or intending to operate the agency has contravened any provision of Part XII of the Employment Ordinance or the Employment Agency Regulations.

Enquiries and complaints on the operation of employment agencies can be made to the Employment Agencies Administration in person or by telephone at 2852 3535.

End

Slope maintenance exhibition to open at Lok Fu ♦ ♦ * * *

An exhibition on slope maintenance will begin tomorrow (Monday) at Lok Fu Shopping Centre, Phase 1.

The exhibition will last for a week until May 19, and will be open daily between 10 am and 10 pm.

Organised by the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering Department, the exhibition is part of the department's continuing efforts in promoting public awareness of the importance of slope maintenance.

It will feature various aspects of proper slope maintenance by means of colourful illustrations, photographs, charts and graphs.

Also to be shown at the exhibition is a new educational video on slope maintenance, which aims to promulgate the message that property owners should maintain slopes within their lots to prevent the occurrence of landslide.

Visitors can take home leaflets on slope maintenance and the GEO's hotline service, and the guide book entitled "Layman's Guide to Slope Maintenance".

The exhibition will be staged later in other venues, including Tai Wo Estate in Tai Po, Hang Fa Chuen in Chai Wan, Luk Yeung Sun Chuen in Tsuen Wan and Cheung Fat Estate on Tsing Yi.

Information on slope maintenance can also be obtained by calling the GEO's 24-hour automatic hotline 2762 5165.

End

7

Applications for health courses invited

*****

Applications arc now invited for the next round of health worker training courses organised by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) in conjunction with three professional health care training institutes.

The three institutes are the College of Nursing Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Red Cross and the Hong Kong St John Ambulance Association. The first of a total of seven courses is scheduled to start on August 5.

’’The courses are organised with an aim to meeting the demand for health care staff in residential care homes for the elderly as well as raising the professional standard of health workers,” a spokesman for the department said today (Sunday).

SWD has provided training places for 560 health workers in 1995-96 and plans to train 630 additional health workers in 1996-97.

"Under the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Regulation, all health workers are required, among other things, to complete training approved by the Director of Social Welfare before being qualified for registration.

"The registration fee will be increased from $150 to $164 with effect from May 31," the spokesman said.

Each training course, lasts for 11 weeks and covers 140 hours, is designed to equip trainees with the necessary knowledge and skills for a comprehensive understanding of health care for elderly persons.

The content of the course includes lectures on basic nursing skills for elderly persons, physiological and psychological development and common medical conditions of the elderly, basic skills in interpersonal relationship, communication and management of residential care homes for the elderly.

"Hong Kong residents who have completed Form 3 or equivalent and are competent to complete the training course can apply.

"Priority will be given to those who have two or more years of working experience in services for the elderly and those who have received medical, nursing, first aid or home nursing training," he said.

Copies of invitation have already been sent to elderly home operators, inviting them to recommend suitable candidates for the course. Posters of the training courses will also be put up at all public housing estates and group work units of SWD.

8

Individuals who are interested to take up a job in elderly homes may obtain an application form from any of the three institutes or SWD’s Licensing Office of Residential Care Homes for the Elderly at Room 2354, 23rd floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai.

Enquirers may be made to the licensing office on 2961 7220 or 2961 7221. The deadline for application is May 31.

End

Fresh water cut in Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long *****

Fresh water cut to some premises in Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long will be temporarily suspended between 11 pm on Wednesday (May 15) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains to be carried out.

In Sham Shui Po, the suspension will affect the area bounded by Nam Cheong Street, Tai Po Road. Castle Peak Road. Kweilin Street and Fuk Wing Street.

Meanwhile, in Yuen Long, the suspension will affect the area bounded by Hop Yick Road, Tai Tong Road, Fau Tsoi Street, Yau San Street, including Kin Tak Street, 70 Fung Cheng Street, and nos 4-40 and 1-33 Hop Yick Road.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Monday, May 13,1996

Contents Page No.

Transcript of the Chief Secretary's Q&A session............................ 1

Long-term view urged...................................................... 13

FS to embark on visit to strengthen business partnership.................. 14

Aircraft maintenance and aircraft ramp handling franchises............ 15

Land and Building Advisory Committee meets................................ 16

External trade statistics by country and commodity for March.......... 17

Monitors' Report submitted to Chief Secretary............................. 26

Yan Oi Tong directors visit SWD........................................... 26

Water storage figure...................................................... 27

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................... 27

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 28

1

Transcript of the Chief Secretary's Q&A session *****

Following is the transcript of the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan's question-and-answer session at the Eighth Commonwealth Preliminary Seminar, in the Legislative Council today (Monday):

Mrs Elizabeth Wong: First of all, let me say how much I appreciate the excellent speech given by honorary Anson Chan who has set out in very clear terms the prospect for Hong Kong and her view, and also, equally appreciative of the scintillating presence of so many illustrious Honourable Members from other parliaments of many different countries. Therefore I would like to start the discussion by really concentrating on Hong Kong's future as the title of Honourable Anson Chan's speech is about, and our prospects, particularly with focus on the Legislative Council which now sits in this chamber, which is likely to be derailed by China after 1997, 1 July.

So I would like to start the discussion by addressing the question of how does one ensure the high degree of autonomy which is promised Hong Kong under the Basic Law and also the Sino-British Joint Declaration when this Legislature, wholly elected by the people of Hong Kong, is about to be derailed?

As the Honourable Anson Chan has quite rightly said, the SAR - the Special Administrative Region - is going to be called SAR. I hope it does not turn into the "SAR" becomes a "TSAR" (T-S-A-R) which really means a "Token Special Administrative Region'. Now, I am not a pessimist, neither am I an optimist; I am what might be called a new "pessoptimist" which is a new word, which is a neither optimistic nor pessimistic person. But I really would like to see and hear from Honourable Members of this meeting what they feel should be done, ought to be done, could be done for Hong Kong, to attain our high degree of autonomy - unless one is already sure that we have got it?

Mr F V M Mkandawire (Malawi): Thank you Honourable Chairman. I want to speak on the prospects for Hong Kong under the principle of one country, two systems. When you examine this principle thoroughly you will find that the prospect that you have actually been given will easily be dashed, because you cannot hold two systems in one country. But the only way for Hong Kong to avoid its autonomy to be jeopardised by Mainland China, is to ensure that there is no formation of a socialist party in Hong Kong. Immediately you accept the formation of a socialist party, just know that all your hopes will actually be dashed. Well, at the moment that is what I wanted to say.

President: Did I hear "socialist" or "communist" party?

2

Mr F V M Mkandawire (Malawi): Well, I think it is, according to the Basic Law, it says a socialist system. If the socialist system is the Communist Party, then Hong Kong should not form a communist party or a socialist party. I think that is the only way you can safeguard your autonomy.

President: I think Mrs Chan would like to respond to that.

Chief Secretary: Can I make the first point and that is that I personally believe that it is entirely possible to have one country, two systems. And the Basic Law and the Joint Declaration, indeed, lay out the foundation upon which you will practise that concept of one country, two systems. In particular, these two documents make it quite clear that Hong Kong will practise a system that is totally different from the system prevailing in Mainland China.

Of course everybody knows that in Mainland China the system is a socialist system. But the Basic Law and the Joint Declaration make it quite clear that the socialist system will not be practised in Hong Kong and that the capitalist system in Hong Kong will continue to exist both before 1997 and after 1997. And the foundation and the framework for that one country, two systems for underpinning the capitalist system are all very clearly laid out in these two documents and I have just given a very brief outline of the institutions that are already in place or will be in place before 1997, in order to ensure that our capitalist system and our freedoms and our way of life can continue after 1997.

Mr Wilson Tuckey (Australia): Mrs Chan, you made passing reference to the actions of the US Government in particular in recognising both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law in their own legislation. Have you a view on whether other foreign countries, particularly those associated with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, were they to take similar action, particularly in the next 12 months, whether that would be beneficial to your prospects for the future?

Chief Secretary: I am not sure whether the Honourable Delegate is referring specifically to the US-Hong Kong Policy Act?

Mr Wilson Tuckey (Australia): Yes, I think I am.

3

Chief Secretary: Of course other countries have not specifically taken the action that the United States Administration have taken. But that said, we have in fact been very encouraged by the degree of support that we have received from other countries - from all our trading partners, whether they are within the Commonwealth or outside, including European states and other states. They have not been hesitant in expressing first of all their interest and concern for what goes on in Hong Kong, particularly their concern that Hong Kong should retain its current lifestyle, its systems and its freedoms, after 1997. They have been particularly anxious to express to Chinese leaders their interest in Hong Kong because they have very substantial investments -many countries now increasingly, particularly against the background that we are now the eighth largest world trading entity. Of course more and more countries have substantial stakes in Hong Kong and even if they were not considering the interests of the Hong Kong people themselves, in their own interests they have a stake in ensuring that Hong Kong continues to prosper after 1997.

I think it is for countries themselves to decide what is the best way of anchoring that degree of interest, ensuring that they can continue to focus on what happens in Hong Kong after 1997. But I have no reason to believe, and indeed have every reason to believe the opposite, and that is that after 1997 our trading partners will continue to take an interest in what goes on here and will continue to express concerns to Chinese leaders if they see things going wrong in Hong Kong.

Mr Wilson Tuckey (Australia): Yes, but would you encourage other countries to take the action that the United States has taken?

Chief Secretary: There are, of course, many ways of taking action that can be equally reassuring to Hong Kong people. If countries wish to adopt the same action as the United States, then of course we will be delighted. But equally, if countries come to the conclusion that some other means might be a better way of expressing those concerns, then we would equally welcome those measures.

A delegate from Pakistan: Thank you Mr Chairman. I would like to know about one thing that Mrs Chan has stated in the treaty that she has made with Mainland China: After 50 years (from) 1997 your (inaudible) is a little bit silent. What will come out when 2047 - what will be the fate at that time for the future of Hong Kong?

President: By which time I will be dead. And probably you will be dead too.

4

Chief Secretary: It is true that the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law mention only that the cunent systems will continue for 50 years after 1997. I recollect that Deng Xiaoping did at one stage say maybe it will even continue for 100 years, although the JD and the Basic Law do not make specific provisions for 100 years.

I would expect that in 50 years time we would see very, very significant changes in China itself. We will, of course, see changes in the rest of the world and certainly changes in Hong Kong. And provided - and no one is suggesting the contrary - provided China continues on its open-door policies and continues to prosper economically, I think that in its wake there will come political liberalisation. And so over the years, beyond the 50 years, I would think that there will come a stage when the gap, whether in economic or political institutions, between China and Hong Kong, will close and close very rapidly. And so, hopefully - hopefully - by 100 years after 1997, maybe it will be one country, one system - and Hong Kong's system at that.

A delegate from Pakistan: Hopefully. But nowadays, still they have a treaty - with Russia and China, you know. What will come out after 100 years? Nobody knows.

President: I am sorry, I cannot hear you.

A delegate from Pakistan: You see China has a treaty right away with Russia; these days they have some signed agreement with each other. And nobody knows what will happen after 100 years. We are hoping, which you've said - let us hope for the better for the future. That is the only thing I can say.

President: Mrs Wong happens to be a "pessoptimist". But Mrs Chan might be an 'optipessimist'.

A delegate from Pakistan: Yes, she has a new word in the dictionary of English.

President: I wonder what word you use.

Mr Kenneth Allen (Montserrat): Mr Chairman, I seek a clarification. The Honourable speaker said that until the appointed day only the Government, the Privy Council and the Legislative Council will exercise power. I take it that the reference to the Privy Council is to the Judicial Commission of the Privy Council. If I am right, and considering that appeals only go there from the High Court of your lands, why is the reference to the Privy Council rather than to the Courts of the land?

5

Chief Secretary: The Privy Council is of course the Court of Final Appeal under our current system and it will be so up to 30 June 1997. But the Basic Law also makes provision for the Court of Final Appeal to be established here in Hong Kong and we have passed an Ordinance which will come into effect on 1 July 1997 which will establish the Court of Final Appeal here in Hong Kong. So before 1997, the Privy Council will still deal with all cases. After 1997, the Court of Final Appeal will be rooted firmly in Hong Kong and cases will then be heard by the Court of Final Appeal.

Miss Emily Lau: Thank you Chairman. Chairman, I just want to respond very briefly to the remarks by the delegate from Australia and the question of the delegate from Malawi.

On the point raised by the delegate from Australia, I think many of us in Hong Kong would look to the international community for support in the very trying and difficult months and years ahead. So regardless of what the United States Government and politicians decide to do, especially Members of the Commonwealth, we certainly hope that you will continue to pay attention to what is happening here and especially if you see violations of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, gross violations of human rights, we hope you will do what you can to help us. After all, we are six million defenceless and powerless people who have been by and large abandoned by the United Kingdom Government.

Chairman, on the question by the delegate from Malawi. I do not think the Chief Secretary answered his question head on because he was talking about the formation of a socialist party here and he thinks that would not be possible for one country, two systems to flourish. But I am sure the delegates all know that the Chinese Communist Party is alive and well in Hong Kong, in fact every since the Party was formed in 1921 it has been operating here. And of course if you look at the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law there is no reference to the CCP but that does not mean the CCP will not continue to exist.

But I agree with our Chief Secretary that it is possible for one country and two systems to succeed, and what it needs is maximum self-restraint by the Chinese Government and the Chinese Communist Party, and right now we do not see signs of that. And maybe the Chief Secretary' can share her thoughts with us: how, with the continued existence of the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong in future, how we can ensure that we will have a high degree of autonomy.

Mr F V M Mkandawire (Malawi): A point of order please. I want to find out whether the Communist Party that is in existence in Hong Kong has got relations with the Communist Party in Mainland China?

6

President: This is not really a point of order is it?

Mr F V M Mkandawire (Malawi): No, it is not. Chairman, you are not asleep.

President: I do not think this seminar is about finding out whether or not CCP really operates in Hong Kong, though it might be public knowledge to some people but could be disputed. This is not the court to find whether certain accusations are correct or incorrect.

A delegate from the United Kingdom: Can I ask Mrs Chan: The Chinese Government freely entered into the agreements that it made with the UK Government over one nation, two systems and the Basic Law, but what depth of understanding do you think actually exists within the Chinese Government about the importance of free and democratic and accountable government in Hong Kong? Because these things can be overruled against their basic interests without necessarily understanding the consequences of different actions.

Also, in response to the question that was raised by the Executive Member - I am sorry, at the other side of the room - where she said she felt that six million people had been abandoned by the UK Government. At this point in time, not looking back at what might have been done yesterday or the day before yesterday, what specifically is the UK Government not doing that it should be doing?

President: Mrs Chan, would you like to respond to that or would you like to take a few’ more questions before you respond to them?

Chief Secretary: 1 will respond to the first part of the question. I think that on the second part of the question perhaps Miss Emily Lau would like to elaborate on that. I am bound to say that on the whole I am generally satisfied that the United Kingdom, together with the Hong Kong Government, are doing everything it possibly can to secure and provide the foundation for the implementation of one country, two systems, and Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong. But perhaps more of that later.

On the first part of your question, it is of course true that the political system in China is very different from that in Hong Kong and in our dealings with the Chinese it is not always apparent to us that they totally comprehend and understand the differences, the reasons for the differences, between the political system that exists in China and the political system that exists in Hong Kong. 1 personally have no doubt that the Chinese leaders are sincere in saying that they intend fully to implement the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. But because their concepts and their values are so very different from ours, I think we sometimes have the feeling that it is a lack of comprehension, a lack of understanding, that results in actions and words which causes concern and which tend to undermine confidence here.

7

And so against that background it seems to me, personally, to be particularly important that we do not always condemn the Chinese, that we should seek always to try and explain why our systems are different, why it is in China's own interest that they should allow the differences in the two systems to exist and indeed to continue, because that clearly is the basis for ensuring Hong Kong continues to prosper. And if Hong Kong continues to prosper and to grow, then clearly that would also be of direct benefit to China, given our increasingly close economic relationship.

But explanation on its own and understanding and patience on our part are not in themselves adequate. The fact is that time is rapidly running out. We only have just slightly over 400 days to put in place all the necessary mechanisms that will enable the SAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy. I think we increasingly require Chinese leaders to show more co-operation. Wc require Hong Kong people, particularly Hong Kong people who have dealings with China, to be more prepared to stand up, as I said in my speech, to defend and to explain our autonomy.

Of course the Chinese may have different points of view on what is best for Hong Kong. That arises largely out of a lack of understanding of our systems. Hong Kong people who have dealings with China understand very well our systems. It is really largely up to them to try and explain the differences and to defend our autonomy. The fact that the Chinese may say let’s do it a particular way, does not necessarily mean that that is the best way. Of course we have to seek to persuade the Chinese that our way is a better way of doing it. But unless people in Hong Kong are prepared to express views and express them honestly, they are not going to improve their comprehension and understanding of our systems and our way of life.

A delegate from Pakistan: Mr President, as earlier the Honourable Mrs Anson Chan referred, the main factor, the first factor of the progress of Hong Kong is the rule of law. Can you tell us about after 30 June 1997, about your Judiciary system? You see, for the rule of law you need an independent unbiased Judiciary and what will be the system of appointment - on the basis of seniority, on the basis of likeness of the Government?

Chief Secretary: The independence and impartiality of the Judiciary, according to the Basic Law and the Joint Declaration, will be maintained both before and after 1997. The courts of Hong Kong currently, of course, operate on the principle of complete independence from the Executive and Legislative Branches of the Government. This principle is of course fundamental to the Common Law system that is practised here in Hong Kong and I have just explained that the Common Law will continue to be practised in Hong Kong after 1997.

8

The Basic Law makes it quite clear that the courts will continue to operate independent of the Executive and the Legislative Councils. Furthermore, the Basic Law sets out very clearly the procedures for the appointment of judges of the courts of the Hong Kong SAR after 30 June 1997. Essentially, the current system for appointing judges will be maintained after 1997. The Basic Law provides that judges shall be appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of an independent -I stress an independent - commission, composed of local judges, persons from the legal profession and eminent persons from other sectors. This Commission will, under the Basic Law, be known as the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission. Other than the change of name, the procedures for the appointment of judges will remain the same.

Furthermore, judges can only be removed for inability to discharge the functions of his office or for misbehaviour and can only be so removed after an investigation has been carried out by a tribunal appointed by the Governor. This is the current system and this system will continue after 1997.

A delegate from Pakistan: Thank you very much, but 1 will ask: Who will appoint the members of the Commissions who will select the judges? The judges will be selected by the Commission.

Chief Secretary: The judges will be, as it were, approved by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of a Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission which will be an independent commission.

A delegate from Pakistan: But how it will be independent? Who will appoint the members of that Commission?

Chief Secretary: The members of the Commission will be considered by the Chief Executive.

A delegate from Pakistan: The Chief Executive will represent the Mainland Government?

Chief Secretary: No, no. the Chief Executive is a Hong Kong Permanent Resident who has had no less than 20 years permanent residence here in Hong Kong, who is a Chinese national and who will be. as it were, elected. Currently, the Preparatory Committee is putting together a selection committee that will select the Chief Executive. But the Chief Executive will not be an official sent from Mainland China, he or she will be firmly a person from Hong Kong.

9

President: I think we can have more of that when we come to the next speaker. Mr Daniel Fung, who will be addressing us shortly, around 11 o’clock. I have tremendous interest - 1 sec that Australia is interested, CPA Headquarters is interested, and so are the members in 1 long Kong delegation interested. Would our Hong Kong members defer to Sir Colin first.

Sir Colin Shepherd: Thank you very much Mr Chairman. Can I return to the points raised by Emily I au and Bob Ainsworth and say obviously the Commonwealth - and I am quite certain (hat in future exchanges within the Commonwealth, certainly in the CPA, there will be much interest expressed in progress not just over the next 12 months but beyond; there will be no lack of that - one thing we would want to know is the safeguards for the assuredness of the freedom of the press, because without adequate and proper reporting we won’t know or won't be able to have access to allegations of l\ caches of either the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law. and I think we need that basic assurance there.

The second point is, I wonder if Mrs Anson Chan can explain the mechanisms or the institutions that are likely to be put in place to explore the differences of opinion as to whether or not there has been breaches of the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law, after July 1st. 1997.

President: Mrs Chan, would you like to respond to the points made now or would you like to wait a while?

Chief Secretary: Arc there other questions?

President: Yes. there is tremendous interest now.

Mr Barry Bishop (Australia): Thank you Mr Chairman. 1 direct my question to Mrs Chan. I am interested that in fact there are many governments taking a large interest in the transition process that we are talking about and no doubt many governments outside of the Commonwealth will as well. But I am also very interested in the opportunity the corporate world will have, to have an opinion in relation to the transition process. And I say that because of the huge investment infrastructure that the corporate world around the world has put into Hong Kong, and I would ask the question of their ability, aside from governments and knowing in fact that they will go through their governments, of their ability on their own to have an opinion in the structures we will see during that and after the transition process?

10

A delegate from Malaysia: Mr Chairman, and particularly Mrs Chan, we in Malaysia are looking at 1 long Kong with great anxiety because we feel that as a member of the CPA we would like very much Hong Kong, after 1997, remains what they are. And then 1 would like particularly to ask (with) regard to the democratic process and parliamentary system, as what you said just now, the judicial rule of law for Hong Kong in the future shall be based on the basis of the rule of law. Now 1 would like to ask you whether in what capacity, what form of rule of law? Whether based on a parliamentary system to that of the Common Law, and based on what background? You talk about the Common Law. are they based on the conventional Hong Kong background or the British system?

And further, 1 would like to ask, Madam, with regard to the defence - I don't hear very much about the defence system of Hong Kong in future - when Mainland China, under CCP, which has purely the background of the Communist system, and here we would like to see a future democratic process, these two ideologies normally would not go along - then we would look forward with great scepticism/optimism with how the defence system will be looking into Hong Kong's future.

And finally, with the economic point of view, we know fully well Hong Kong has prospered and gone very far from(?) (to) what they are now in the global situation. Now whether they can really meet to a certain level acceptable to Hong Kong people and the country that is the CCP Government in future, with regard to whether they will adopt a win/win situation with regard to the people of Hong Kong and with that in Mainland China. So these three points I would like to ask you to elaborate on.

Mr M H Amier (Tanzania): Mr Chairman, mine is a very simple question. 1 learnt that before last year Members of the Chamber were nominated by the Governor. What was the procedure followed as one to be nominated?

President: You mean the previous system?

Mr M 11 Amier (Tanzania): Yes.

President: Can 1 handle that in my session when I speak? Or, if the Chief Secretary would like to answer that too? 1 have another Member on my Executive Committee who would like to make a point and another delegate from Hong Kong, but time is running out. Let's keep some time for the Chief Secretary to try to respond to all the points fairly and reasonably.

Chief Secretary: Can I first of all comment on the questions on press freedom. The two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, on Economic, Cultural and Economic Rights, are of course applied here in Hong Kong, and under the Basic Law these two International Covenants will continue to apply in Hong Kong after 1997. And in particular, we enacted in the early 1990. the Bill of Rights Ordinance in order to give local effect to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and of course under that, press freedom is one of the freedoms that are guaranteed.

Il

The Letters Patent have also been amended to ensure that we do not have on our Statute Books any laws that are in breach of this International Covenant. And since the enactment of the Bill of Rights Ordinance we have been systematically looking at all our legislation to ensure that all our laws are fully consistent with these two International Covenants. And we have embarked on a comprehensive review, particularly on any laws that inhibit press freedom. We have already dealt with a number of laws - removing draconian laws or laws that in any way inhibit press freedom - and we will be completing this exercise before 1997.

Of course press freedom also depends ultimately on us having a credible independent Judiciary and I have already spoken about the independence of the Judiciary which is guaranteed under the Basic Law.

Insofar as breaches of the Basic Law are concerned after 1997, of course as the signatory to the Joint Declaration the United Kingdom does have an obligation to ensure that the Joint Declaration is complied with after 1997, and the Prime Minister and other senior UK leaders have made it quite clear that they will continue to keep a very close watch over the implementation of the Joint Declaration. And the Prime Minister also made it clear that if there are breaches he would not hesitate to explore all possible means of ensuring that these breaches arc considered and dealt with through whatever means may be appropriate.

Corporate structures. I was not quite clear as to the actual question itself, could you just elaborate?

Mr Barry Bishop (Australia): Certainly. Obviously, governments are interested in the changeover period and the changeover time but just as obviously the corporate world is as well because of the investment they have made in Hong Kong. My question really relates to the ability of the corporate world, perhaps through their governments but perhaps independently, to have a say. if you like, in the process of change.

Chief Secretary: In the process of change? You mean if there are breaches you mean?

Mr Barry Bishop (Australia): In fact the structures after mid-year 1997.

Chief Secretary: Well the structures, of course, after 1997, arc those structures that by and large exist now. We do not see - and indeed the Joint Declaration makes it quite clear that we can substantially keep most of our structures as they are now. Of course there will be changes but I would not have thought any fundamental changes in the basic institutions that exist here in Hong Kong for ensuring a level playing-field, for ensuring that all grievances can be properly addressed by an independent Judiciary, for ensuring rule of law, etc, etc.

12

The corporations who have investments here in Hong Kong, and there are increasingly a larger number of these, will have to basically rely on the health of these institutions. And I have just spoken, generally, that I am satisfied on the whole, provided we all work to defend our autonomy, that these institutions will remain intact and will continue to be in a healthy state after 1997. But in the event there are breaches, in addition to relying on the normal redress through the courts and whatnot, corporations of course always have the other avenue and that is through either their own governments or indeed through direct dealings either with companies here in Hong Kong or with companies in China, or with leaders in China, they can also express their concerns if they see breaches taking place.

But I repeat, essentially, what will guarantee that we conduct our business in a fair open manner are the institutions that I have just referred to and above all the maintenance of the rule of law.

On defence: Under the Basic Law the Chinese Government will of course be responsible for external defence of Hong Kong and for that purpose they will station the People’s Liberation Army here. But the Basic Law also makes it quite clear that the PLA will be here only for external defence, they will not interfere in the internal law and order situation or in any internal affairs of Hong Kong. Those will continue to be the responsibilities of the civilian authorities which basically are the Police.

In the event there are emergencies or natural disasters and the SAR Government deems it necessary to call on the PLA - I repeat to call on the PLA - to assist, then the PLA may respond to such request. But the request will have to come initially from the SAR Government. In other words, the PLA cannot on their own interfere in normal law and order and emergency situations here in Hong Kong. The PLA members who are stationed here in Hong Kong will be subject to Hong Kong laws. The Chinese leaders have made it quite clear that while stationed in Hong Kong they will not be allowed to participate in any commercial activities here in Hong Kong.

President: I propose that we take a short break before we invite the second speaker to address us. But in the meantime, I am quite sure delegates may wish me to thank Mrs Anson Chan for her most interesting talk and her responses.

End

13

Long-term view urged * * * * *

Hong Kong people must all take a long-term view of what is good for Hong Kong as a whole and not focus on short-term narrow interests.

Speaking at the Eighth Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar today (Monday) the Chief Secretary. Mrs Anson Chan. said. "We must not only believe in the promise enshrined in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law - the promises of a 'high degree of autonomy' and 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong' but above all we must unite to defend the autonomy and freedoms that have been promised us and make it work."

"It has taken Hong Kong many years to refine its institutions, to develop a culture that encouraged honest hard work and eschewed corruption and to build up a reputation for fair play."

"These values are the bedrock of our society. We must preserve and nurture these values if we arc to continue to prosper." she said.

Mrs Chan believed that the rule of law, the level playing field and public accountability have been key to Hong Kong's success so far and will be essential elements in its continuing prosperity and stability.

"In Hong Kong today, no one is above the law. Anyone can take the Government to court, and in many cases they will receive legal aid to help them do it." she said.

"The law-making process is open and transparent," she said, adding that all legislative proposals put forward by the Government had to be approved by the Legislative Council, in which the Government had no votes and that the law was enforced impartially and fairly.

On the level playing field, she said Hong Kong prided itself that no-one got a better deal just because of who they were.

"Government contracts are awarded on the basis of the best competitive bid. not on extraneous factors such as nationality of a particular company or who is on its board." she said.

In this regard. Mrs Chan said Hong Kong also had one of the most powerful and efficient anti-corruption organisations in the world.

14

On public accountability, she said, "The people of Hong Kong have always been very ready to criticise their government whenever the services we provide are not up to the mark. Our press is one of the most vigorous and outspoken in the world."

She added that the Legislative Councillors made full use of their right to question the Government on its policies, examined its legislative proposals and applications for funds and monitor their implementation.

Mrs Chan said these three factors were closely interrelated.

"It is difficult, for example, to ensure that you have a level playing field if the Government cannot be held accountable - either publicly or in a court of law - for the decisions it makes," she said.

"And without press freedom, and a properly representative legislature, it's much more difficult to ensure that the rule of law is upheld."

End

FS to embark on visit to strengthen business partnership *****

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, will embark on his nine-day visit to Kuala Lumpur. Singapore and Bangkok tomorrow (Tuesday).

As the leader of a 62-strong delegation comprising representatives from both the public and private sectors, Mr Tsang said the aim of the visit was to strengthen business ties among APEC participants and identify opportunities for building a strategic business partnership with them.

The delegation comprises senior government officials, prominent local businessmen and representatives of the Trade Development Council and the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA), as well as over 30 members of the five professional bodies, namely the Association of Consulting Engineering of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Construction Association, the Hong Kong Electrical and Mechanical Contractors' Association, the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.

15

During his visit, Mr Tsang will call on senior government officials and meet with leading businessmen of the three Asian economics. He will also attend business seminars and make keynote speeches.

The Financial Secretary will also take the opportunity of the visit to update the three cities on the latest developments in Hong Kong.

While in Singapore, Mr Tsang will officially open the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) and the HKTA Office. The HKETO has been in operation since last August to strengthen economic and trade ties with Singapore and other ASEAN countries.

End

Aircraft maintenance and aircraft ramp handling franchises * * * ♦ ♦

At a meeting between the British and Chinese Senior Representatives of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group held today (Monday), the British and Chinese sides reached a common view on the franchises for the provision of aircraft maintenance services and aircraft ramp handling services at the new airport at Chek Lap Kok to be awarded by the Airport Authority.

The Airport Authority will award two 10-year franchises for the provision of aircraft line maintenance services to China Aircraft Services Limited and Pan Asia Pacific Aviation Services Limited, as well as a 20-year franchise for the provision of aircraft line and base maintenance sendees to Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited.

As regards aircraft ramp handling services, three 10-ycar franchises will be awarded to Hong Kong Airport Services Limited, CLK Airport Ground Handling Limited and Ogden Aviation (Hong Kong) Limited.

The Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu, welcomed the agreement.

”We are glad to see a common view being reached on these two important franchises for the.new airport in accordance with the Sino-British Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Construction of the New Airport in Hong Kong and Related Questions. The new airport project has been making excellent progress. This latest agreement marks another major step forward in the development of the new airport towards target opening in April 1998," said Mr Siu.

End

16

Land and Building Advisory Committee meets *****

The Land and Building Advisory Committee (LBAC) held its 41st meeting today (Monday) and discussed a draft design manual for the disabled.

Chaired by Mr Cheng Hon-kwan, the meeting noted that the Design Manual: Access for the Disabled 1984 had been reviewed with a view to improving building access and facilities for the public, including people with a disability.

The new design manual would generally apply to newly constructed and substantially renovated private buildings. The Government and Housing Authority would also make reference to the design manual in the design of buildings.

The design manual contains obligatory requirements and recommended requirements to take care of distinct characteristics of individual buildings and building sites. All obligatory requirements should be complied with, unless the owner is able to show that any of these requirements would, individually or jointly, impose unjustified hardship to him. Recommended requirements are for the reference of owners and building professionals who intend to upgrade the standards of access and special facilities for the disabled.

To ensure the effective enforcement of the obligatory requirements, the Government would, where appropriate, put them into the relevant legislation. Non compliance would entail the disapproval of the building plan and/or rejection to issue an occupation permit by the Building Authority.

The draft manual will be issued for consultation. It is expected the manual will be finalised later this year.

LBAC members were also briefed on the progress of the Buildings Amendment (No 3) Bill and noted that discussion was being conducted between the Director of Buildings and the professions on the structure and content of the supervision plan for building works.

End

17

External trade statistics by country and commodity for March *****

The Census and Statistics Department today (Monday) released detailed statistics on external trade with breakdown by country/territory and commodity for March 1996 as well as for the first quarter of 1996.

As were already released on April 26, the value of re-exports decreased by 5.3% over a year earlier to $82.3 billion, the value of domestic exports by 19% to $14.4 billion, and the value of imports by 0.7% to $120.8 billion in March 1996.

A government spokesman said that, as indicated in the earlier release, a number of extraordinary factors were likely to have affected Hong Kong’s export performance in the month of March. The cold weather in the United States, the expectation for import tariff cuts in China as from April, the tension across the Taiwan Strait in early March, and the late timing of the Chinese New Year could have combined to dampen exports in that month. As such, the dip in March was probably only temporary.

Changes in the value of Hong Kong’s re-exports to 10 main destinations are shown in Table 1.

Comparing the first quarter of 1996 with the same period in 1995, increases were recorded in the value of re-exports to Japan (+32%), France (+13%), the United Kingdom (+12%), China (+11%), the Netherlands (+9.6%), Germany (+8.9%), Singapore (+7.8%) and South Korea (+3.2%).

However, the value of re-exports to the United States and Taiwan decreased by 2.9% and 0.8% respectively.

Taking all destinations together, the value of re-exports in the first quarter of 1996 was $259.7 billion, 8.2% higher than that in the same period in 1995.

Table 2 shows changes in the value of re-exports of 10 principal commodity divisions.

Comparing the first quarter of 1996 with the same period in 1995, increases of various magnitudes were recorded in the value of re-exports of most principal commodity divisions. More notable increases were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $4 billion or 35%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $3.2 billion or 13%); clothing (by $2.1 billion or 11%); footwear (by $1.5 billion or 11%); photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $1.4 billion or 13%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $931 million or 3.5%).

18

Over the same period, a decrease in the value of re-exports was registered for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $2.5 billion or 9%).

Changes in the value of domestic exports to ten main destinations are shown in Table 3.

Comparing the first quarter of 1996 with the same period in 1995, decreases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to Singapore (-11%), the United States (-9.7%), Japan (-8.6%), Germany (-6.5%), Canada (-4.3%), China (-3.8%) and the Netherlands (-3.6%).

However, the value of domestic exports to Taiwan, the United Kingdom and France increased by 10%, 4% and 0.7% respectively.

Taking all destinations together, the value of domestic exports in the first quarter of 1996, at $47.6 billion, decreased by 6% over the same period in 1995.

Table 4 shows changes in the value of domestic exports of 10 principal commodity divisions.

Comparing the first quarter of 1996 with the same period in 1995, decreases in the value of domestic exports were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $1.6 billion or 32%); clothing (by $720 million or 5.1%); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $593 million or 23%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of jewellery', goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (by $457 million or 10%); and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $291 million or 7.5%).

Over the same period, increases in the value of domestic exports were recorded for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $1.3 billion or 19%); and machinery specialised for particular industries (by $153 million or 25%).

Changes in the value of imports from 10 main suppliers are shown in Table 5.

Comparing the first quarter of 1996 with the same period in 1995, the value of imports from most main suppliers showed increases of various magnitudes : Malaysia (+32%), Italy (+26%). the United Kingdom (+19%), the United States (+15%), Singapore (+14%). Germany (+12%). China (+4.5%). South Korea (+3.2%) and Taiwan (+1.1%).

19

However, the value of imports from Japan decreased by 3.4%.

Taking all sources together, the value of imports in the first quarter of 1996, at $347.1 billion, increased by 6.4% over the same period in 1995.

Table 6 shows changes in the value of imports of 10 principal commodity divisions.

Comparing the first quarter of 1996 with the same period in 1995, increases in the value of imports were registered for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $6.3 billion or 16%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $3.9 billion or 29%); clothing (by $1.4 billion or 7%); general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (by $1.2 billion or 11%); footwear (by $994 million or 7.9%); and miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $952 million or 4.6%).

Over the same period, a decrease in the value of imports was recorded for textiles (by $2.2 billion or 7.2%).

All the trade statistics described here are measured at current prices and no account has been taken of changes in prices between the periods of comparison.

A separate analysis of the volume and price movements of external trade for March 1996 will be released in early June 1996.

Detailed trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country / territory are published in trade statistics reports.

The March 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade" with detailed analyses on the performance of Hong Kong's external trade in March 1996 will be on sale at $129 per copy around May 23.

The report can be purchased at either the Government Publications Centre, ground floor. Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong or the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries regarding regular subscription to this report may be directed to the Publications (Sales) Office. 28th floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Tel 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade statistics to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel 2582 4915).

20

TABLE 1 : RE-EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) MAR 96 OVER MAR 95 ("o CHANGE) JAN-MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-MAR 96 OVER JAN-MAR 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 33,528 + 2.3 93,537 + 10.6

UNITED STATES 13,150 - 18.0 45,925 - 2.9

JAPAN 6,291 + 13.5 19,454 + 32.4

GERMANY 2,809 - 15.0 10,883 + 8.9

UNITED KINGDOM 1,842 - 16.2 7,015 + 12.2

TAIWAN 1,993 - 11.6 6,206 - 0.8

SINGAPORE 2,042 + 1.1 6,038 + 7.8

SOUTH KOREA 1,663 + 3.7 4,598 + 3.2

ERANCE 1,062 - 16.6 4,083 + 13.0

NETHERLANDS 1,115 - 11.1 4,079 + 9.6

21

TABLE 2 : RE-EXPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) MAR 96 OVER MAR 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-MAR 96 OVER JAN-MAR 95 (% CHANGE)

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 9,213 + 5.6 27,826 + 13.1

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 7,821 - 16.0 27,412 + 3.5

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 8,091 - 16.0 25,324 - 9.0

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 4,909 - 22.6 21,514 + 10.8

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 7,222 - 12.8 21,227 + 0.8

FOOTWEAR 4,416 - 0.3 15,706 + 10.6

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES • 5,705 + 29.8 15,636 + 34.7

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 3,828 - 0.1 12,108 + 12.8

TRAVEL GOODS, HANDBAGS AND SIMILAR CONTAINERS 1,921 - 28.7 7,872 + 3.9

GENERAL INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, AND MACHINE PARTS 2,744 - 2.7 7,223 + 5.4

22

TABLE 3 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) MAR 96 OVER MAR 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-MAR 96 OVER JAN-MAR 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 4,583 - 12.1 13,182 - 3.8

UNITED STATES 2,804 - 30.8 11,038 - 9.7

JAPAN 1,033 - 13.9 2,805 - 8.6

SINGAPORE 967 - 8.3 2,774 - 11.1

GERMANY 531 - 29.8 2,420 - 6.5

UNITED KINGDOM 596 - 17.9 2,319 + 4.0

TAIWAN 583 - 7.5 1,809 + 10.1

NETHERLANDS 316 - 13.2 1,116 - 3.6

CANADA 232 - 16.3 911 - 4.3

FRANCE 188 - 9.2 692 + 0.7

23

TABLE 4 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION t MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) MAR 96 OVER MAR 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-MAR 96 OVER JAN-MAR 95 (% CHANGE)

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 2,876 - 33.5 13,412 - 5.1

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 2,733 + 15.2 7,861 + 18.9

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY JEWELLERY, GOLDSMITHS' AND SILVERSMITHS' WARES) 1,341 - 20.3 3,992 - 10.3

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 1,062 - 21.5 3,575 - 7.5

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 1,189 - 32.4 3,387 - 32.2

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 991 - 17.8 3,073 - 3.0

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 690 - 23.6 2,024 - 22.7

MANUFACTURES OF METALS 296 - 30.3 994 - 6.1

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 353 - 14.4 899 - 17.6

MACHINERY SPECIALIZED FOR PARTICULAR INDUSTRIES 261 + 25.9 768 + 25.0

24

TABLE 5 : IMPORTS FROM TEN MAIN SUPPLIERS

SUPPLIER MAR 1996 (HKD Mil.) MAR 96 OVER MAR 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-MAR 96 OVER JAN-MAR 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 37,341 - 12.7 120,562 + 4.5

JAPAN 18,818 - 3.6 49,579 - 3.4

TAIWAN 10,346 - 7.1 28,604 + 1.1

UNITED STATES 9,853 + 11.1 27,453 + 14.6

SINGAPORE 7,529 + 14.8 20,013 + 13.5

SOUTH KOREA 6,831 + 7.2 17,151 + 3.2

GERMANY 2,969 + 13.4 8,167 + 11.8

MALAYSIA 2,969 + 35.5 7,967 + 31.7

UNITED KINGDOM 2,722 + 18.9 7,708 + 18.6

ITALY 2,730 + 14.7 7,391 + 26.4

25

TABLE 6 : IMPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) MAR 96 OVER MAR 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-MAR 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-MAR 96 OVER JAN-MAR 95 (% CHANGE)

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 16,574 + 17.8 45,741 + 15.9

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 11,350 - 1.8 33,400 + 0.2

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 10,361 - 14.7 28,165 - 7.2

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 6,030 - 19.9 21,690 + 7.0

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 7,258 - 6.9 21,517 + 4.6

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 6,237 + 23.9 17,514 + 29.0

r PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 5,092 - 3.9 14,716 + 1.6

FOOTWEAR 4,147 - 3.1 13,527 + 7.9

GENERAL INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, AND MACHINE PARTS 4,495 + 0.4 11,577 + 11.5

NON-METALLIC MINERAL MANUFACTURES 3,822 - 12.5 10,540 - 1.0

End

26

Monitors’ Report submitted to Chief Secretary

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the transfer of Vietnamese migrants from Section 3 of the Whitehead Detention Centre to the High Island Detention Centre last Friday and Saturday (May 10 and 11) have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary today (Monday).

The five monitors comprised two non-official Justices of the Peace, Mr Graham Cheng Cheng-hsun and Dr Philip Lai Kong-hou; and representatives from three nongovernment organisations - Mr Edward Chan from Oxfam, Ms Nadine de Lamotte from Medecins Sans Frontieres and Ms Harriet Sewell from Christian Action.

End

Yan Oi Tong directors visit SWD ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The new Board of Directors of Yan Oi Tong today (Monday) paid a courtesy call on the Director of Social Welfare, Mr Ian Strachan, and exchanged with him views on various social welfare issues.

The new chairman of the board, Mr Ho Kwan-yiu, outlined Yan Oi Tong’s existing services and future plans on elderly, youth, rehabilitation and child welfare.

He also thanked the Social Welfare Department for offering the board members advice and support in the past years.

Mr Strachan told the visitors that his department would continue to work closely with Yan Oi Tong in providing welfare services to the needy.

End

27

Water storage figure *****

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 83.5 per cent of capacity or 489.473 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 379.788 million cubic metres ol water, representing 64.8 per cent of capacity.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 13 May 1996

Paper on offer EF notes

Issue number 2805

Issue date 14 May 1996

Maturity date 14 May 1998

Coupon 6.30 PCT

Amount applied HKS4.140MN

Amount allotted 1IKS500 MN

Average price accepted (yield) 100.41 (6.17 PCT)

Lowest price accepted (yield) 100.41 (6.17 PC I )

Pro rata ratio About 74 PCT

Average tender price (yield) 100.39(6.18 PCT)

End

28

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations *****

Cumulative

lime change

£rui!lhm (hours) (Smillionl

Opening balance in the account Closing balance in the account Change attributable to : Money market activity LAF today 1.634 2.302 +368 +300 0930 1000 1100 1200 1500 1600 +467 +362 1-362 +368 +368 +368

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWl 123.7 *+0.0* 13.5.96

I long Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.76 2 years 2802 5.16 98.65 6.07

1 month 4.91 3 years 3904 6.30 99.48 6.60

3 months 5.11 5 years 5103 6.75 98.46 7.26

6 months 5.21 7 years 7302 6.02 91.95 7.70

12 months 5.53 5 years M502 7.30 99.85 7.47

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $12,835 million

Closed May 13. 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Tuesday, May 14,1996

Contents Page No,

Transcript of Financial Secretary's remarks at airport.................. 1

Sino-British Land Commission............................................ 1

Views invited on UN treaty.............................................. 2

Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance to be amended.......... 3

Bill to help tackle problem of illegal employment....................... 5

Governor presents insignia and commendations to 114..................... 6

Management reform in public cargo working areas........................ 12

118 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight.......................... 16

Monitors' report submitted to Chief Secretary....................... 16

New AIDS education centre to be set up................................. 16

Seminar on slope safety for schools................................. 18

Hong Kong Property Review 1996 published............................ 18

Sha Tin students to pull helicopter for charity........................ 19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................ 20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................... 21

1

Transcript of Financial Secretary's remarks at airport * ♦ * * *

The following is the transcript of the remarks made by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, before his departure for Kuala Lumpur to embark on a visit to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand this (Tuesday) afternoon:

Question: Are you going to strike any deals for business?

Financial Secretary: No. I think the intention is not to do business as such but rather to explore business opportunity and to strengthen the spirit of partnership between members of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation. This is the whole purpose of the visit. It is a visit for the purpose of developing friendship rather than doing deals. That is not the purpose of my visit.

Question: It has been reported that seven property companies are acting as a cartel when they come to selling property in Hong Kong. Do you agree that it is happening and would the Government look into this?

Financial Secretary: I would be very amazed in an enormous market of Hong Kong and a free market spirit, it is impossible to form any cartel at all. Anyone forming any such a cartel is likely to lose a lot of money, in my view. But if there is any substance in that sort of movements, certainly we will look into it.

End

Sino-British Land Commission ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The 32nd meeting of the Sino-British Land Commission was held on May 14, 1996. The two sides agreed that the Land Disposal Programme for the 1996/97 financial year should amount to 153.01 hectares.

The programme comprises 46.54 hectares for commercial, residential and industrial development; 42.64 hectares for Home Ownership Scheme, Sandwich Class Housing Scheme, Private Sector Participation Scheme, Hong Kong Housing Society development and Village Housing; 16.31 hectares for public utilities, educational, welfare, religious, recreational and other uses; and 47.52 hectares as special requirements.

The two sides also agreed to set aside five hectares of land in a Supplementary Land Disposal Programme.

End

2

Views invited on UN treaty

*****

The Government has invited the views of the Legislative Council, nongovernment organisations and other interested parties on the 14th periodic report on Hong Kong under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

In March this year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered the 13th periodic report on Hong Kong under the ICERD. In its concluding observations, the committee recommended that the 14th periodic report, due this year, be submitted as an updating report. The United Kingdom Government aims to submit the report to the United Nations by August. The Hong Kong Government's contribution will form part of that report.

In 1994, the Government undertook that - before submitting to the UK Government its contributions to the latter's reports under the various human rights treaties - it would give the Legislative Council, non-govemment organisations and other interested parties a formal opportunity to express their views on the state of implementation of each particular treaty in Hong Kong.

Accordingly, letters were issued to the Legislative Council Secretariat today (Tuesday), inviting views in respect of the 14th report, a government spokesman said.

"To enable the Government to take into account views expressed during the drafting of its contribution to the UK Government's report and to meet the deadline for submission to the United Nations for the hearing in March 1997, comments will need to reach the Home Affairs Branch by June 14.

"To facilitate comments, the Government has prepared an outline of topics which it intends to include in the draft report. The outline also includes an annex containing the committee's recommendations in respect of Hong Kong," the spokesman said.

Non-govemment organisations or individuals who would like to express their views can write to the Secretary for Home Affairs before June 14.

Copies of the outline of the draft report can be obtained from the Home Affairs Branch, 31st floor, Southom Centre, Wan Chai on request and are also available at the Marketing Office of the Information Services Department, 17th floor, Siu On Centre, 176-192 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai.

End

3

Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance to be amended ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Govemor-in-Council has approved a bill to amend the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance with a view to eliminating several deficiencies in the ordinance, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Michael Suen, said today (Tuesday).

Addressing a luncheon of the Lions Club of South Kowloon, Hong Kong, Mr Suen said the bill would be introduced into the Legislative Council later this month.

The Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance, which was enacted in May 1991 and came into effect in September the same year, provides for a licensing scheme to regulate hotels, guesthouses and similar accommodations to ensure that they comply with the requirements on fire and building safety, health and hygiene.

In the process of implementing the licensing scheme by the Licensing Authority (LA) of the Home Affairs Department, several deficiencies in the ordinance have been identified.

"A major weakness relates to the definition of ’hotel' and 'guesthouse', which has unintentionally allowed establishments offering accommodation only to certain categories of persons, such as those of a particular nationality or clients of one tourist agency, to operate outside the ambit of the ordinance," Mr Suen said.

Furthermore, he added, a potential legal loophole in the definition concerning the term "any person presenting himself' had arisen following an earlier High Court judgement which ruled that hotels which accepted guests with prior reservations were not within the purview of the ordinance.

To prevent the loopholes from undermining the integrity of the licensing scheme, Mr Suen said, amendments to the definition of "hotel" and "guesthouse" had been proposed so that the definition would include establishments which offered accommodation to limited categories of persons, and that a person might present himself in person or through an agent or a representative, with or without prior booking.

"There are also inconsistencies in the ordinance relating to closure order and cessation of use of the premises as a hotel or guesthouse," Mr Suen added.

Under the ordinance, premises closed by order may not be re-entered by a contractor to carry out remedial works.

4

"This is quite unsatisfactory in that if remedial works cannot be carried out following closure, there will be no way to improve and reopen the premises for use as a hotel or guesthouse,” he noted.

In this connection, it is proposed that a person authorised in writing by the Secretary for Home Affairs may enter into a hotel or guesthouse to execute remedial works while a closure order is in force.

"To streamline the operation of the licensing scheme by LA, a new provision will also be included to specify the time limit for prosecution of offences. Under the Magistrates Ordinance, LA is barred from initiating prosecution if an offence has been committed more than six months before the authority issues the summons.

"The new provision specifies that the time bar for prosecution of offences shall be either six months of the commission of the offence or six months of the offence being discovered by or coming to the notice of LA, whichever is the later," Mr Suen said.

On the issue of notices for remedial works and in relation to closure order, Mr Suen said the Government had proposed that they could be served by posting them in a conspicuous part of the premises.

This would assist operationally as serving of these notices to the responsible persons by registered post or in person under the ordinance would be difficult when the whereabouts or identity of the persons were not known.

In respect of licensing, the Administration also recommended that LA be empowered to issue and renew hotel and guesthouse licences valid for up to three years in order to obviate the need for annual licence renewal.

"The LA’s approval of three-year licences will be considered on a case by case basis. In principle, such approval will be granted only to establishments that have consistently adhered to the fire and building safety standards and would not abuse the licensing control," Mr Suen added.

End

5

Bill to help tackle problem of illegal employment ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government will propose amendment to the Immigration Ordinance in order to strengthen its hands to take enforcement actions against illegal employment, a government spokesman said today (Tuesday).

The Immigration (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 1996, to be gazetted on Friday (May 17), will remove an obstacle which has been hindering the successful prosecution of employers under section 171 of the Immigration Ordinance for employing non-permanent identity card holders who are forbidden to take up unapproved employment.

The bill proposes to require employers to check the travel documents of job seekers who do not hold a Hong Kong permanent identity card before entering into any contract of employment.

"If employers are not careful and employ non-permanent identity card holders on employment status for any unapproved full-time or part-time employment, they will commit the offence of employing a person not lawfully employable, which carries a fine of $350,000 and three years’ imprisonment," the spokesman explained.

"The proposed amendments should create a greater deterrent effect on employers in employing illegal workers and will help control the illegal employment problem at source," he said.

At present, one of the prime sources of abuse is contract workers such as foreign domestic helpers and imported workers under the Importation of Labour Schemes.

To help employers identify them, the Immigration Department will soon introduce a bilingual and easy-to-read immigration stamp on travel documents of these contract workers.

"The new stamp will, in addition to English, state in Chinese that the holder of the travel document is only allowed to work for a specific employer, under a specific contract, and that change of employer is not permitted," the spokesman said.

Employers can also watch out for W-prefixed identity cards when determining whether job seekers are contract workers.

6

"These identity cards are issued to foreign domestic helpers and imported workers," the spokesman said.

"If employers have doubts on whether a person is lawfully employable or not, they should make enquiries through the Immigration Department investigation telephone hotline 2824 1551 or fax 2824 1166."

The bill is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 29.

End

Governor presents insignia and commendations to 114

*****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, presented insignia and commendations to 114 people at a ceremony at Government House this (Tuesday) evening.

Following is the list of recipients:

CBE

Mr Michael Sze Cho-cheung

Professor Rosie Margaret Young

OBE

Mr Victor Lo Chung-wing

Mr Ng Yee-yum

Mr Pang Chun-hoi

Professor Yeung Yue-man

7

MBE

Mr Cham Yick-kai

Mr Chan Pui-tin

Mr Chiu Chung-man

Mrs Choi Chen Po-sum

Mr Vincent Chow Wing-shing

Mr Foo Kam-chan

Mr Hsu Show-hoo

Mr Lam Yick-man

Mr Lee Chun-wan

Dr Lee Kin-hung

Mr Stephen Lee Siu-hoe

Mr Leung Wah-fong

Mr Leung Wai-ming

Mr Lim Yew-guan

Mr Lui Yau-lok

Mr Alexander Ng Wai-tak

The Reverend Sik Chi-wai

Mrs Tang Wat Yin-ping, Diana

Mr Wan Yiu-sing

Mrs Ophelia Wong Chow Kwun-wai

Mr Yu Hon-ping

8

OEM

Mr Matthew Vincent Walsh

Mr Yip Kwok-keung

QFSM

Mr Tang Siu

ISM

Mr Chung Kau

Mr Lee Fook-lam

Mr Luk Long-suen

Mr Wong Tong

CPM

Mr David Pitt

Mr Richard Ian Tyzzer

Mr Lau Wai-ming

Mr Lee Kam-chung

Mr Stephen Gowan Chandler

Mr Yeung Ying-wai

Mr Blaine Stewart Hoggard

Mr Anthony Ku Kin-wa

Mr James Hogg Bruce

9

Mr David William Holloway

Mr Humayun Abdul Razack

Mr James Wong Ka-sing

Mr Lo Ping-chuen

Mr Kan Wai-hung

Mr Ho Wing-huen

Mr Leung Kwok-keung

Mr Leung Chun-keung

Mr Lau King

Mr Chu Chung-ming

Mr Chan Siu-fat

Mr Chu Yu-pang

Mr Chung Kin-hong

Mr Chu Kut-chuen

The Queen's Commendation for Bravery

Mr Cham Wui-wai

Mr Chan Chi-man

Badge of Honour

Miss Bow Sui-may

Ms Chai Po-wa

10

Mr Chan Joe-chak

Brother Joseph Cheung Koon-wing

Mrs Lai Wei Kit-lin

Miss Robyn Claire Lamsam

Mr Law Kam-fai

Mr Lee Kam-chung

Mr Lee Po-kee

Miss Li Cho-wah

Mr Li Hak-bun

Miss Liu Sin-ling

Mrs Luk Chiu Kwan-hung

Mr Luk Wai-kong

Miss Siu Yuen-sheung

Miss So Yan-lap

Mr Johnny Wan Yee-chong

Mr Wong Kam-chi

Governor^- Commendations

Mr Ian Robert Mackness

Mr Chu Ling-ming

Mr Ng Chi-sing

Mr Lam Chak-fung

11

Mr Tong Koon-ngai

Mr Wong Chi-kong

Mr Poon For-sen

Governor's Commendations for Community Service

Mr Chan Chun-kwan

Mr Chan Kit-chu

Ms Chan Lai-kuen

Mr Chan Ngai

Mr Cheng Chun-wo

Mr Cheng Kin-hung

Mr Ching Man-tai

Ms Fung Chou-ming

Mr Hong Chi-keung

Mr Hui Chung-yin

Mr Kan Yuk-chiu

Mr Lam Man-fai

Ms Lam Miu-yee

Ms Lam Pui-tak

Mr Leung Ka-wai

Mr Lo Wai-keung

Mr Mok Hay-man

12

The Honourable Mok Ying-fan

Ms Ng Wai-fun

Mr Shun Lok-nin

Mr Tang Sai-choi

Mr Wong Ching-chi

Mrs Wong Lau Kam-yin

Mr Wong Wing-piu

Mr Wu Siu-wai

Ms Yau Pik-mui

Mr Yeung Hoi-keung

Mr Yip Chung-ling

Mrs Yuen Chan Po-hing

Mrs Yuen Lai Lai-bing

End

Management reform in public cargo working areas ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Marine Department plans to introduce reform in the management of public cargo working areas (PCWAs) to improve productivity at these facilities and to remove the undesirable practices associated with the existing mode of operation.

Announcing the reform proposals, the Assistant Director of Marine (Planning and Local Services), Mr Raymond Tang, said today (Tuesday) the main feature of the management reform centred around a tender system.

13

’’Under the new system, berthing spaces will be leased to operators by tender instead of the current practice of allocating the berthing spaces on a first-come-first-served basis,” Mr Tang said.

"All berthing spaces except those currently designated as ’fast working berths’ will be leased to existing operators through a restricted tender system. The ’fast working berths' which is about seven per cent of the total number of all the berthing spaces will be leased by open tender to allow new comers to make use of these facilities.

"Only existing operators are allowed to bid in the restricted tender to ensure that none of them will be driven out of business because of the new measures," Mr Tang stressed.

Another built-in feature to protect the interests of current operators is that eligible bidders in the restricted tender are allowed to bid the same number of berths as they are currently occupying.

"This additional safeguard will give all existing operators a fair chance to take part in the allocation exercise through tender and also ensure that no single operator will be able to dominate a large number of berthing spaces," Mr Tang said.

A third distinguishing feature is to allow small operators to group together to bid for one berthing space.

"This will enable small operators who do not have sufficient cargo volume to justify leasing a berth on their own to merge with other small operators to fully utilise a berth," Mr Tang said.

Mr Tang said the new proposals would meet the operational needs of the operators and provide them with a security of tenure of berths and they can continue their business under a fair, open and economically viable environment.

He pointed out that the Marine Department’s proposals were drawn in line with the recommendations of the Director of Audit and the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislative Council in their studies into the management of the PCWAs.

14

The new system will remove the known unfair practices associated with the current system. These unfair practices are:

monopolisation of berths by habitual users, thus preventing a fair access to other operators;

subletting of berths by unlawful means at the expense of government revenue;

low productivity, and

poor financial return and heavy public subsidy to commercial operators in the PCWAs.

Mr Tang noted that the Marine Department, the Police, the ICAC and the Director of Audit as well as the consultants commissioned by the Marine Department identified the first-come-first-served system together with the low berthing fee structure were the roots to all these problems.

The current charges at $60 per day for an eight-metre unit of seafrontage is grossly below the market value which may be 40 times more than the government charges in some cases.

"This low rate leads to high profit margins which obviously the operators will always try to maintain," Mr Tang said.

A common practice to secure a space is to use an idle barge to occupy a berth. Under the first-come-first-served principle, such a practice is acceptable but this common practice effectively reduces the availability of berthing spaces for genuine users and cuts down productivity of the PCWAs.

"As a result it leads to a significant loss of cargo throughput capacity in the PCWAs," he said, adding that average cargo throughput in the PCWAs is less than one-third of that in similar private terminals.

The annual cargo throughput in the seafront of the PCWAs in 1994 was 1,570 tonnes each metre; the corresponding figures in short-term tenancy sites and midstream sites in 1994 was 5,000 and 7,500 respectively.

"According to police reports the existing system is easily subject to triad influence and in some cases the operators may resort to strong arm tactics to monopolise the berthing spaces," Mr Tang said.

15

’’Those operators who are now monopolising the popular berthing spaces at a fraction of the market price will object strongly to the our proposals.

’’The change will likely generate strong and active opposition from existing operators who will try every possible means to reject the new measures.

"Operators at the PCWAs are not different from their counterparts using the cargo handling facilities at container terminals, mid-stream and short-term tenancy sites.”

"There is no reason that their commercial operation should entitle to public subsidy," Mr Tang stressed.

"Except those with vested interest, the sensible and rational members of the general public will agree and support the Government to maximise productivity at the PCWAs, yielding economic gains to the genuine operators and in turn to the society as a whole."

The tender system enables genuine operators to reduce the unnecessary costs such as paying subletting fees and leaving a barge idle for the purpose of occupying a berthing space.

The new reform offers an opportunity for the Government to redirect its resources to justified areas and at the same time to eliminate the unnecessary costs for the operators.

Nine PCWAs are under the management of the Marine Department and they are situated at Tsucn Wan, Rambler Channel, Kwun l ong, Yau Ma Tei, Cha Kwo Ling, Wan Chai, Western, Sheung Wan and Chai Wan.

The current timetable for the reform is that tenders will be invited this summer and the first tender is expected to be awarded before the end of the year.

End

16

118 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A group of 118 Vietnamese migrants(VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Tuesday) on the 35th flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

All of the returnees, comprising 49 men, 27 women, 16 boys and 26 girls, are from North Vietnam.

The majority of them arrived in Hong Kong in 1988 and 1989 with the remaining in 1991 and 1995.

The group brought to 2,640 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

Monitors’ report submitted to Chief Secretary

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Tuesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The monitors were Mr Jim Monan from Oxfam and Ms Harriet Sewell from Christian Action.

End

New AIDS education centre to be set up *****

A series of exhibitions will be organised by the Department of Health in the coming weeks to introduce to the public a new education centre on AIDS scheduled to be opened later this year and to enhance the community’s awareness of the disease.

The centre, called the Red Ribbon Centre, is a new project developed by the Department of Health under the sponsorship of the AIDS Trust Fund.

17

It will be located on the second floor of the Wang Tau Hom Jockey Club Clinic, 200 Junction Road, Kowloon and will become operational in the third quarter this year.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ’"Red Ribbon' is the international symbol for concern about HIV/AIDS and people living with the disease."

"The main objectives of the centre are to promote community participation in AIDS education and research; and to facilitate the development of social, behavioural and epidemiological research on HIV/AIDS in Hong Kong and the region."

"It also aims to enhance the development of quality education programmes; and to provide an avenue for local and international collaboration in the fight against HIV/AIDS," the spokesman added.

The centre, which is not a treatment centre, will have an information centre, an exhibition area, a library and a resource unit which provides support to small nongovernmental organisations working on AIDS.

Audio-visual and desktop publishing facilities will also be available.

The AIDS Unit of the Department of Health has organised three exhibitions to publicise the setting up of the centre. The exhibitions will be open to the public from 9 am to 6 pm and details of the venues and dates are as follows -

Date

May 17- 19 (Friday to Sunday)

June 3-5

(Monday to Wednesday)

June 26 - 28 (Wednesday to Friday)

Venue

Second floor, Lok Fu Shopping Centre (Phase I), Wong Tai Sin

Second floor, Wong l ai Sin Shopping Centre. Wong Tai Sin

Wo Che Shopping Centre, Sha Tin

General information on AIDS, ways of transmission and other educational material will also be displayed.

Members of the public are welcome to visit the exhibitions. Admission is free.

End

18

Seminar on slope safety for schools *****

Heads of schools which might be affected by dangerous slopes have been invited to participate in a seminar on slope safety for schools tomorrow (Wednesday).

A Senior Education Officer. Ms Ip Ling-bik, said: "This is the first of a series of seminars for management of the school to have background information and general technical advice on slope safety."

Participants will learn about the need for slope maintenance, current practice, the Government's Slope Maintenance Publicity Campaign, maintenance responsibility of slopes and legal liability. They will also be briefed on the Layman's Guide to Slope Maintenance.

Speakers from the Civil Engineering Department will answer questions raised by participants.

The seminar will be held at the seminar room, ground floor. Civil Engineering Building. 101 Princess Margaret Road, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon at 2.30 pm.

End

Hong Kong Property Review 1996 published *****

The Rating and Valuation Department has now published the Hong Kong Property Review 1996.

This bilingual publication presents a comprehensive summary of the Hong Kong property market in 1995 in terms of stock, completions, take-up, vacancy, rents and prices for the main property sectors. Forecasts of completions in 1996 and 1997 are also included.

The Hong Kong Property Review 1996, priced at $150 a copy, is available for sale from today (Tuesday) at the Government Publications Sales Centre, ground floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

19

Soft copies, in Microsoft Word for Windows 6.0 and Chinese Word for Windows 6.0, are also available at the same price from the Rating and Valuation Department. Orders for soft copies should be made to Mrs Claudia Au-Yeung on 2805 7942 or Mr Leung Kuen-cheuk on 2805 7915.

Other enquiries concerning this publication should be directed to the department’s Technical Secretary (Information), Miss Christina Yim, on 2805 7614.

End

Sha Tin students to pull helicopter for charity ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is issued on behalf of the Joint Service Public Relations Staff:

Students from Sha Tin College will work up a sweat tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon when they attempt to pull a 10,000-pound Royal Air Force Wessex helicopter in aid of charity.

Lining up on the apron at 28 (AC) Squadron in the New Territories will be 25 students who have all been sponsored to pull the Wessex 200 metres to raise money for the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, a charity which cares for street children in Vietnam.

Adding some extra poundage to the "pull" will be Senior Royal Air Force Officer (Hong Kong), Wing Commander Barrie Simmonds, who will monitor the event from the comfort of the Wessex’s cockpit.

Christina Noble established her foundation in 1991 and all proceeds raised from tomorrow’s sponsored event will go towards providing food, shelter, medical care and education for Vietnam's destitute street children. Here in Hong Kong the foundation is run by students at Sha Tin College who work hard all year round to raise money for the main branch in Vietnam.

28(AC) Squadron, based at Sek Kong, is equipped with six Wessex helicopters (four operational plus two in reserve). All squadron aircraft were built in 1963/64 and their tasks in Hong Kong include trooping, fast roping, transporting underslung loads, air to ground firing and search and rescue operations. The Wessex is 65 feet 10 inches in length and 14 feet five inches in height and has a rotor diameter of 56 feet. Its maximum range without refuelling is 250 miles and it carries a maximum load of 16 troops or 3,000 pounds.

End

1

20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 14 May 1996 14 May 1996

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q620 Y689

Issue date 15 May 1996 15 May 1996

Maturity date 14 Aug 1996 14 May 1997

Coupon - -

Amount applied HKS5.840 MN HK$2,100 MN

Amount allotted HK$ 1,500 MN HKS500 MN

Average yield accepted 5.10 PCT 5.54 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.11 PCT 5.55 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 43 PCT About 20 PCT

Average tender yield 5.12 PCT 5.56 PCT

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tenders to be held in the week beginning 20 May 1996

Tender date 21 May 1996 21 May 1996

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q621 11665

Issue date 22 May 1996 22 May 1996

Maturity date 21 Aug 1996 20 Nov 1996

Tenor 91 days 182 days

Amount on offer HK$ 1500+300 MN HKS800+160MN

End

21

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (. hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,302 0930 -306

Closing balance in the account 2.022 1000 -306

Change attributable to : 1100 -306

Money market activity -305 1200 -305

LAF today +25 1500 -305

1600 -305

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 *-0.1* 14.5.96

I long Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.78 2 years 2805 6.30 100.42 6.17

1 month 4.91 3 years 3904 6.30 99.52 6.58

3 months 5.10 5 years 5103 6.75 98.47 7.25

6 months 5.23 7 years 7302 6.02 91.99 7.69

12 months 5.52 5 years M502 7.30 99.88 7.47

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $16,348 million

Closed May 14. 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, May 15,1996

Conisnls Page No.

FS speaks on business partnership between HK and Malaysia.................. 1

Bill to improve fire safety measures in commercial premises................ 3

Oil storage installation licence fee revised............................... 4

Tougher drug controls proposed............................................. 4

124 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight.............................. 5

HKMA 1995 Annual Report published.......................................... 6

Four lots of land to let................................................... 8

Monitors' Report submitted to CS.......................................

Native-speaking English Teacher Scheme invited participants................ 9

Royal Marines host children in charity school challenge.................   10

Air Quality Report for April........................................... 11

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 12

1

FS speaks on business partnership between HK and Malaysia *****

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, today (Wednesday) said he saw great potential for effective partnership to be built between the business communities of Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Speaking at a business seminar in Kuala Lumpur organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Mr Tsang said the forum provided the impetus for professionals in the two places to start and maintain a rewarding dialogue with each other and to explore the rich business opportunities that would arise in the run-up to the 21st century.

"We do not view the regional services market as a zero sum game. Instead we believe that as the market expands, service providers in Malaysia and Hong Kong will gain more than they can manage separately, if they forge an effective alliance in exploring and creating regional business," Mr Tsang said.

"I see enormous scope for a partnership to be built between service providers in different parts of the region, in which each partner contributes to create a synergy that is greater than the sum of the parts.

"Unlike goods that can be manufactured in great volume and sold all over the world, standardisation of services represents more of a challenge."

He said complex service activities, such as architecture, engineering and construction in particular, often not only involved a combination of sophisticated service components, but also vast different legal and regulatory environments, and were difficult to replicate over huge distances.

"There is a wealth of experience that professionals in Malaysia and Hong Kong, particularly in the fields of architecture, engineering and construction, can share with each other," Mr Tsang said.

He noted that Malaysia was embarking on a very ambitious development programme.

Projects being planned or underway in Malaysia include one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams at Bakun, a new international airport and light railway for Kuala Lumpur.

2

"Like Malaysia, we in Hong Kong believe that a first class physical infrastructure is the key to continued prosperity and success. We are ourselves investing billions in our new airport and related projects," said Mr Tsang.

He said there were many areas in which Hong Kong and Malaysia had seen close co-operation between their business communities.

"Hong Kong is an important gateway for trade between Malaysia and China. Trade between the two countries that were routed through Hong Kong jumped by 62 per cent to HKS13.8 billion in 1995," he said.

Mr Tsang said bilateral trade between Malaysia and Hong Kong has grown rapidly over the years and in 1995, was worth some HK$41 billion, representing an impressive increase of 40 per cent over 1994.

"Malaysia is Hong Kong's 11th largest trading partner and 10th largest source of imports. On the other hand, Hong Kong is now Malaysia's sixth largest trading partner and fourth largest market," he said.

Mr Tsang was leading a 62-member delegation to visit Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok to strengthen business ties and identify opportunities for building strategic partnership with them. Kuala Lumpur is the first leg of the visit.

He called on the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Y B Mr Kerk Choo Ting, and Secretary General of Ministry of Finance, Tan Sri Clifford Herbert this morning. He also met the media.

He will attend a dinner hosted by the Hong Kong Bank Malaysia Berhad during which he will meet top business leaders, politicians and government officials.

Mr Tsang will visit the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange tomorrow (Thursday) and called on the Governor of Bank Negara before he departs for Singapore in the late afternoon.

End

3

Bill to improve fire safety measures in commercial premises ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

The Government will introduce new legislation to improve fire safety measures in commercial premises, a government spokesman said today (Wednesday).

The Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Bill will be gazetted on Friday (May 17) and is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 29.

It will cover specific types of commercial premises with a total floor area exceeding 230 square metres.

Such premises include banks, off-course betting centres, jewellery and goldsmith shops, supermarkets, department stores and shopping arcades.

The Director of Fire Services and the Director of Buildings will be able to issue fire safety directions to owners of these premises requiring them to make improvements on fire safety measures in respect of the premises.

"These measures include the provision of fire services installations and equipment, means of escape in the event of fire, means of access for fire fighting and rescue services, and the use of fire resistant materials.

"An owner who fails to comply with the requirement specified in the direction will be guilty of an offence," the spokesman said.

The enforcement authority would, however, apply the fire safety provisions in a flexible manner when there were genuine and practical difficulties in complying with the fire safety measures, he added.

The Government believes that with the enhanced control on fire safety standards in commercial premises, it would reduce the risk to lives and properties of the public and would prevent a similar recurrence of the fire at the Hongkong Bank branch office in Shek Kip Mei on January 10, 1994.

End

4

Oil storage installation licence fee revised ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government is proposing to increase the fee for the issue and renewal of oil storage installation licence under the Building (Oil Storage Installations) Regulations from the current rate of $44,900 to $48,940.

“The fee was last revised in June 1995. The proposed increase of about nine per cent is to bring the fee up to the current price levels," a government spokesman said.

The amendment regulation will be published in the Gazette on Friday (May 17) and the increase will come into effect on June 28, subject to Legislative Council’s approval.

End

Tougher drug controls proposed

*****

The Government proposes to tighten the statutory controls on the recordkeeping of the acquisition and supply of dangerous drugs by medical practitioners and pharmacists.

Details of the amendments are contained in the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Regulations 1996 which will be tabled in the Legislative Council next Wednesday (May 22).

A government spokesman said: "Under the present Dangerous Drugs Regulations, every person authorised under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance to supply a dangerous drug should maintain proper records of each dangerous drug obtained or supplied, and make them available for inspection by the Director of Health to monitor the use of dangerous drugs.

"However, there are certain alternative arrangements and exemptions on these requirements applicable to medical practitioners.

"Such exemptions undermine the purposes and effectiveness of the recordkeeping requirements as these would make it difficult for the Department of Health to monitor the supply of dangerous drugs, and are liable to abuse by unscrupulous registered medical doctors.

5

"The Government is therefore proposing legislative amendments to remove the exemptions or alternative arrangements."

J

Further amendments are proposed to revise the form of the register stipulated under the First Schedule to the Dangerous Drugs Regulations, with a view to simplifying the form, but including additional information, such as the identity card number of the patient, which are needed to monitor the supply of dangerous drugs.

To complement the legislative amendments, the Government also proposes to increase the maximum fine from $50,000 to $450,000 for offences in contravention of the record-keeping requirements.

"The increase is proposed after taking into account the time lapse since the fine was first set, the community's concern about illicit sale of drugs by some medical practitioners and pharmacies, and the need to revise the fine to a sufficiently high level to reinforce deterrent effect," the spokesman explained.

A resolution to increase the fine will be moved by the Secretary for Security at the Legislative Council sitting of May 22.

"The whole package of proposals represents a positive step taken by the Government to address the problem of illicit sale of dangerous drugs," the spokesman said.

End

124 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A group of 124 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Wednesday) on the 36th flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

All of the returnees, comprising 48 men, 39 women, 14 boys and 23 girls, are from North Vietnam.

The majority of them arrived in Hong Kong in 1989, with the remaining in 1991 and 1995.

The group brought to 2.764 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

6

HKMA 1995 Annual Report published

The 1995 Annual Report of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is published and tabled in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday).

In line with the policy of increasing transparency, the Report contains more detailed information on the balance sheet and the income/expenditure account of the Exchange Fund.

HKMA is disclosing more detailed breakdown of the Fund’s assets and liabilities, including the amounts in each type of investment instrument, the types of investment income, off balance sheet items, as well as the foreign currency mix held in the Exchange Fund.

"Greater disclosure is in line with our policy of increasing transparency and accountability," said Chief Executive of HKMA, Mr Joseph Yam.

"We have come a long way since 1992 when accounts of the Exchange Fund were first revealed."

HKMA also announced today that the foreign currency assets of the Exchange Fund stood at US$59.84 billion as at the end of March, representing a 4.7 per cent increase from end-December 1995. (Detailed comparison with previous years is attached.)

In the Annual Report, Mr Yam presents an overview of major events in 1995 in his Chief Executive's Report.

"The year 1995 was a busy and fruitful one for the HKMA. There was an abundance of events overseas with implications for the monetary and banking systems of Hong Kong and which at the time required our close attention.

"Domestically, we continued to devote considerable effort to strengthen our supervisory framework and our market infrastructure in order to sustain Hong Kong's development as an international financial centre," he said.

The Report highlights the investment returns of the Exchange Fund in 1995.

"The year 1995 was exceptionally good for bonds of all maturities ... the Exchange Fund shared fully in this benign and favourable environment, and the accumulated surplus of the Fund increased by HKS34.3 billion, the largest ever increase in one year in the history of the Fund," said Mr Yam.

7

The Report points out that due to uncertainty abotit interest rate movements and the prospect of a stronger US dollar, it is unlikely that returns in 1996 will match the excellent performance of the Fund in 1995.

On the banking side, performance in 1995 was better than originally expected, according to the Annua! Report.

For the sector as a whole, pre-tax operating profits grew by 19.6 per cent, reversing a 1.1 per cent decline in 1994. This reflects improved operating efficiency and good asset quality of banks.

The capital adequacy ratio of locally incorporated institutions remained healthy at 17.5 per cent, well above the 8 per cent standard set by the Bank for International Settlements. The disclosure of banks’ inner reserves in the 1995 accounts has helped to confirm their strong capital position.

In 1995, HKMA completed a major review of the legal framework for banking supervision.

With the enactment of the Banking (Amendment) Ordinance 1995 in June last year, the authority for the authorisation, suspension and revocation of all three types of authorised institution has been centralised in HKMA, which is in line with similar functions of central banks in other jurisdictions.

HKMA's interpretation of the authorisation criteria has been set out in a new Guide to Applicants.

On the development of market infrastructure, the interbank payment system was a priority area in 1995.

With the support of the banking community, HKMA completed the feasibility study and the system design for RTGS (real time gross settlement) and together with the Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB), established the Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Ltd during the year. This company will take over the clearing functions of the Management Bank of the Clearing House of HKAB during 1996.

The RTGS system will have close interface with the securities register system in the Central Moneymarkels Unit of HKMA to enable banking institutions to carry out intraday repurchase transactions on a real time delivery versus payment basis.

Efforts to develop the debt market continued in 1995 with the introduction of seven-year exchange fund notes and a detailed study on the secondary mortgage market laid the groundwork for the establishment of a government-backed mortgage corporation.

8

In conclusion to his Chief Executive's Report, Mr Yam said: "I am sure there will be more challenges ahead, on both the monetary and supervisory fronts, as Hong Kong continues to develop as an international financial centre and as we move through the historical transitional period leading up to 1997 and beyond.

"My colleagues and I in the HKMA are fully prepared to meet these challenges and we look forward to playing our part in the transition period with enthusiasm."

End

Four lots of land to let *****

The Lands Department is inviting tenders for the short-term tenancies of four pieces of government land in the New Territories.

The first two lots are located in San Uk Ling, DD90, New Territories. With an area of about 220 and 240 square metres respectively, both are designated for cooked food cum convenience stall and any other pre-approved ancillary uses.

The tenancies are for two years, renewable quarterly.

Covering an area of about 1,530 square metres, the third lot is located at Lai King Hill Road, Kwai Chung. It is intended for use as a fee-paying public carpark for the parking of motor vehicles, excluding container tractors and trailers.

The tenancy is for two years, renewable quarterly.

The fourth lot located at On Lai Street, Area 11, Sha Tin, has an area of about 10,400 square metres. It is also designated as a fee-paying public carpark for the parking of vehicles.

The tenancy is for 18 months, renewable quarterly.

The closing date for submission of tenders is noon on May 31.

Tender forms, tender notices and conditions may be obtained from the Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Ro: d, and the respective District Lands Offices of Kowloon, North, Kwai Tsing and Sha Tin.

Tender plans can also be inspected at these offices.

End

9

Monitors’ Report submitted to CS ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Wednesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The two monitors came from two non-govemment organisations. They were Mr Tai Kie-ying from Christian Action and Ms Nadine de Lamotte from Medecins Sans Frontieres.

End

Native-speaking English Teacher Scheme invited participants ♦ * * ♦ ♦

Aided secondary schools are invited to participate in the Native-speaking English Teachers (NET) Scheme under which some 100 native English speakers will be employed to teach English in Hong Kong schools in the 1996-97 school year.

A school circular issued by the Education Department today (Wednesday) said each participating school might employ not more than two Native English speakers to fill genuine graduate teaching vacancies.

A Principal Education Officer, Mr C K Tam, said the scheme followed the Government’s acceptance of a recommendation in Education Commission Report No 6 that schools should be encouraged to employ on local terms more native English speakers, who were qualified English language teachers, to teach the subject.

"It is intended that the first batch of native-speaking English teachers should be in service in September 1996," Mr Tam said.

He said applications by schools to join the scheme should reach the Education Department not later than Monday, June 3.

NETs may be employed by participating schools directly or through the Education Department. The department’s recruitment of NETs will be separately announced later on. in which advertisements and posters will be put up both locally and overseas. Mr Tam said.

10

The administrative costs arising from direct recruitment may be charged to school Tong Fai accounts or to private funds accounts.

The department will set up a data bank of NETs seeking employment and such information will be provided to participating schools for reference.

Schools which entrust the Education Department to recruit NETs on their behalf may specify some basic requirements for the department's reference.

Mr Tam said schools would have full discretion in the allocation of teaching duties to NETs, and of non-teaching duties which should be mainly of English language/literature related.

NETs will be employed on local terms. Their contract will normally be for two years but subject to renewal after expiry. They will receive a salary of the Graduate Master/Mistress rank, equivalent to MPS 17-33, or $18,145 to $38,210.

Fringe benefits will include passages for wife/children, travelling and baggage allowance, and contract gratuity equivalent to 25 per cent of their total basic salary on completion of the contract.

School enquiries on the NET scheme may be made to the respective District Education Offices.

End

Royal Marines host children in charity school challenge ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The following is issued on behalf of the Joint Service Public Relations Staff:

Crack troops from the British Garrison take a break from the macho world of anti-smuggling operations this weekend to face an even more daunting challenge -hosting over 80 children at a charity event at Kings Park, Kowloon.

The 10-man detachment from HMS Tamar, the Royal Navy's base at Stonecutters Island, has organised a sports day for children from six local schools and are inviting members of the public to join in the fun to help raise money for the Hong Kong branch of the Save The Children Fund.

11

The Charity School Challenge kicks off at 10 am on Sunday (May 19)at Kings Park football pitch, with a display by the Royal Logistic Corps' Band who are currently enjoying a short musical tour of the Territory.

Royal Marines will then make a dramatic entrance, fast roping into the arena from a Royal Air Force Wessex helicopter.

While the nine-to-11 -year-olds compete for top honours in the school challenge, the public will be invited to participate in target golf - "beat the goalkeeper" - and paintballing.

They will also be encouraged to take part in the grand prize draw with top prizes including rides in one of the Royal Navy's Fast Pursuit Craft and a helicopter flight over Hong Kong.

The Royal Marines, who are based at 42 Cdo, Plymouth, United Kingdom, are nearing the end of their four-month detachment in Hong Kong and are following in the fund-raising footsteps of their predecessors who, earlier in the year, took part in "Rent-A-Royal" in aid of the Save The Children Fund.

Members of the press also invited to attend the Charity School Challenge, at Kings Park football pitch (old British Military Hospital football pitch), Kowloon, from 10 am onwards on Sunday (May 19).

End

Air Quality Report for April *****

The Environmental Protection Department today (Wednesday) released air quality information for April 1996.

The purpose of the announcement is to keep the public informed of the air quality levels in the territory and to explain the measurements.

The announcement contains monitoring results from Mong Kok, Central/Westem and Kwai Chung, which represent three important land use types in the territory:

* locations close to road traffic in built-up urban areas,

* combined commercial and residential districts, and

* districts close to industrial areas.

12

The reported air pollutants include sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), total suspended particulates (TSP) which comprise all sizes of dust particles, and the respirable fraction of the dust (RSP). All these pollutants can affect respiratory health in sufficient concentration.

In April, there was no exceedance of the 24-hour Air Quality Object’ve (AQO) values at any of three stations. And as usual, the Mong Kok station recorded the highest concentrations of all measured air pollutants.

The gases and particles described originated from various sources. SO2 is mostly produced when fuels that contain sulphur are burned. NO2 is formed during combustion by the combination of nitrogen and oxygen, and by the atmospheric oxidation of nitric oxide (NO), also a product of combustion.

Vehicle exhaust is an important source of NO and NO2 in terms of impact on local air quality. It is also a major source of airborne particulate matter, especially the smaller respirable particles.

Diesel-engined vehicles such as taxis, public light buses, passenger coaches, franchised buses and light and heavy goods vehicles are the greatest contributor of particulate matter. Other sources include industry, furnaces and boilers, construction activities, the sea and the soil.

It is worth noting that while the weather and climate always affect the concentrations of pollutants in the air, the only sure way of reducing the levels is to reduce emissions from the man-made sources.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,022 0930 -61

Closing balance in the account 1,992 1000 -64

Change attributable to : 1100 -62

Money market activity -60 1200 -60

LAF today +30 1500 -60

1600 -60

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.8 *+0.2* 15.5.96

13

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.81 2 years 2805 6.30 100.52 6.11

1 month 4.92 3 years 3904 6.30 99.67 6.53

3 months 5.10 5 years 5103 6.75 98.70 7.19

6 months 5.19 7 years 7302 6.02 92.34 7.62

12 months 5.52 5 years M502 7.30 99.93 7.45

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $27,984 million

Closed May 15, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, May 15,1996

Contents Page No

Legislative -Councilmgeting:

Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill............................... 1

Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill............... 2

Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill....................................... 3

Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No 2) Bill........................ 3

Curriculum on environmental protection.............................. 5

Transition of judges and members of the Judiciary................... 7

Policy on unleaded petrol........................................... 8

Compensation for crime fighting victims............................ 10

Government Supplies Department procured goods................... 11

Power to appoint end date of LegCo session......................... 12

/Unauthorised late...

Contents Page No,

Unauthorised late night construction works............................... 13

Legality of uncompleted small houses pre-sale............................ 14

Meal arrangement for school children..................................... 16

Future development of optical-fibre network.......................... 18

Comprehensive Redevelopment Area planning approach....................... 20

Development plan for KCRC station tops............................... 21

Review of the Diesel-to-Petrol scheme.................................... 22

Tram safety inspection................................................... 24

Insurance policies for employees........................................  25

Hong Kong's participation in OECD........................................ 27

Cross-subsidy in telephone services...................................... 28

Respite service for mental patients...................................... 29

Industrial Support Fund Scheme....................................... 31

1

Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill

*****

Following is the speech by the acting Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Leo Kwan, in moving the second reading of the Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Veterinary Surgeons Registration Bill be read a second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to regulate the practice of veterinary surgery in Hong Kong.

At present, the practice of veterinary surgery in Hong Kong is not subject to statutory regulation. However, a person who wishes to practise veterinary surgery in Hong Kong has to be a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons before he can obtain and use the antibiotics, poisons and other controlled drugs used in the profession. Despite these provisions, it is believed that there are some unqualified persons practising as veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong and that the treatment administered by such persons often causes undue suffering to animals.

The professional conduct of members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons practising in Hong Kong is subject to disciplinary control by the Royal College, but the college has practical difficulties in intervening effectively from the United Kingdom in professional disputes involving the practice of veterinary surgery in Hong Kong.

It is proposed to address these problems through the establishment of a locally-based statutory regime of registration, disciplinary control and professional standards for veterinary surgeons.

The Bill provides for the setting up of a Veterinary Surgeons Board whose main functions will be to establish and maintain a register of registered veterinary surgeons; to set the qualification standards for registration as a veterinary surgeon; to receive, examine, accept or reject applications for registration; and to make rules for the professional conduct and discipline of registered veterinary surgeons and deal with disciplinary offences.

The Bill provides that the Board should consist of 10 persons to be appointed by the Secretary for Economic Services. Of these, one person will be the Chairman, six persons will be veterinary surgeons and three will be medical practitioners or pharmacists or representatives of the interests of the persons who utilise veterinary services.

2

The Bill restricts the use of the description "registered veterinary surgeon" to those qualified to use it and provides for criminal offences relating to false representation and practising veterinary surgery without being registered, with a maximum penalty on conviction of a fine of $ 100,000 and imprisonment for 1 year.

The proposals in the Bill will improve the quality of the veterinary services offered in Hong Kong and open the way for persons holding veterinary qualifications other than membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to practise as veterinary surgeons in Hong Kong, subject to their qualifications being accepted by the Veterinary Surgeons Board once it is established. I commend the Bill to this Council.

End

Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr Chau Tak-hay, in moving the second reading of the Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Public Health and Municipal Services (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to facilitate early removal of articles obstructing scavenging or street sweeping operations. Section 22(2)(a)(i) of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, as it stands at the moment, requires that a minimum period of notice to be given, i.e. not less than 24 hours, to the owner of an obstructing article, asking him to remove the article. After Section 22(2)(a)(i) is amended, the owner of an obstructing article will have 4 hours within which to remove the article. The legislative amendment will enable the law enforcement officers to expedite the procedure for the removal of obstructing articles and should therefore facilitate further effective environmental improvement.

End

3

Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, at the resumption of the second reading debate on the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I am grateful for Members’ support for the resumption of the second reading debate of the Bill, which seeks to increase betting duty by half a percentage point. The rate for standard bets will be increased from 11.5 per cent to 12 per cent and that for exotic bets from 17.5 per cent to 18 per cent.

As Members may recall, on 24 April 1996, this Council passed the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1995 introduced by the Secretary for Home Affairs. The legislation was gazetted and came into force on 3 May 1996. It provides for, among other things, the charging of betting duty on overseas bets at one half of the rates for local bets. It, however, refers to the duty rates of 11.5 per cent and 17.5 per cent, and the application of one half of the two rates, that is, 5.75 per cent and 8.75 per cent, to overseas bets. It is therefore necessary for us to move a Committee Stage Amendment to the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 today so that one half of the new duty rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent apply to overseas bets. I will move an amendment to this effect at Committee Stage.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Dutiable Commodities (Amendment)(No 2) Bill ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the speech by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, at the resumption of the second reading debate on the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment)(No 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I am grateful for Members’ support for the resumption of the second reading debate on the Dutiable Commodities (Amendment)(No 2) Bill 1996. The Bill seeks to increase tobacco and fuel duty by 9 per cent to catch up with inflation, as proposed in the Budget.

4

z*.

I understand that there is only one area in the Bill where the Administration and some Members have different views, that is, the proposed increase in light diesel oil duty, and the Honourable Miriam Lau will move a Committee stage amendment to abolish the increase. I strongly urge Members not to support the amendment. My reasons are as follows.

First, we have proposed various revenue concessions and increases in tax and duty in the Budget. These measures have to be taken as a package. Otherwise, the careful balance which we have strived to achieve in the Budget would be lost.

Duty is an important source of revenue, constituting an estimated 5.5 per cent of recurrent revenue in 1996-97. The proposed fuel duty increase is an integral part of the entire Budget package. Together with other proposed increases, it enables us to fund the various revenue concessions announced in the Budget. The increase in light diesel oil duty is an important element in the proposed fuel duty increase, contributing an estimated $170 million in additional revenue in 1996-97. The revenue concessions in the Budget, which were well received by this Council and the community, were proposed on the basis that all the tax and duty increases announced in the Budget, including the light diesel oil duty increase, would be passed.

Second, there have at various times been suggestions that we might end up with a surplus rather than a deficit in 1995-96 and that we would achieve a greater surplus in 1996-97 than what is estimated in the Budget. Therefore, we could afford to drop the proposed light diesel oil duty increase. I must point out that these are entirely speculations made without any valid grounds. While the accounts for 1995-96 have yet to be closed, latest indications are that we would end up with a deficit of not less than $2.5 billion as forecast in the Budget. As for 1996-97, the estimate of a surplus of $1.6 billion is the best we could make at the moment. Given total estimated Government expenditure of $194.1 billion and revenue of $195.7 billion, this is effectively a balanced budget. It would be most unwise at this early stage, and would send entirely the wrong signal both locally and overseas, if we were to consciously put that modest surplus at risk.

Third, the proposed 9 per cent increase is broadly in line with inflation. This is consistent with our policy to maintain the real value of the duty and a stable revenue source. The impact of the increase on inflation is minimal - well below 0.02 percentage point.

5

Fourth, I understand that some Members are concerned that the duty adjustment would increase the financial burden on the public. In fact, for the majority of commuters, they would not be affected at all as the bulk of the franchised bus services is exempt from fuel duty. As for taxis, PLBs and goods vehicles, fuel cost constitutes only a minor proportion of the overall operating cost and the proposed adjustment would increase the operating cost by no more than 2.5 per cent. The impact is by no means significant.

Fifth, some Members have expressed concern about the increase in illicit activities on the use of diesel oil and are worried that the proposed increase would widen the price differential between light diesel oil for vehicular use and marked oil, thereby fuelling illicit activities in this area. As announced in the Budget, we have strengthened the resources of the Customs and Excise Department to tackle such activities. Two additional investigation and enforcement teams will be established this year. We have also increased the penalty to enhance the deterrent effect against such activities. We expect that the situation would be under control and the proposed increase should not fuel such activities or result in a diminishing return on revenue.

Finally, I would like to emphasise the point that the Budget, as announced, has gained the support of the community and that of this Council as shown in the debate early last month. It should be accepted as a package.

For the reasons I have set out, 1 hope Members would support in full our proposals to increase fuel duty. Mr President, 1 commend this Bill in its entirety to this Council.

End

Curriculum on environmental protection

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Choy Kan-pui and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council whether the Education Department has devised a comprehensive curriculum on environmental protection for primary and secondary schools if so, what the contents of the curriculum are and what effects have been achieved so far; if not, why not?

6

Reply:

Mr President,

Environmental education is a process concerned with understanding the environment, and developing skills and attitudes for participation in improving the quality of the environment. It is Government's policy to promote environmental education at all levels of school education. The aims, objectives and curricula of environmental education in schools have been set out clearly in the Guidelines on Environmental Education in Schools issued by the Education Department in 1992.

2. Government has adopted a cross-curricular approach in environmental education. Each subject area of the school curriculum focuses on and explores different aspects of human understanding and experience of the environment. At primary level, subjects incorporating elements of environmental education include Social Studies, Health Education, General Studies and Science. At secondary level, the relevant subjects include Geography, History, Economics and Public Affairs, Social Studies and science subjects.

3. Let me explain how these different subject groups can help students acquire an understanding of our environment from different perspectives. For example, through science subjects, students acquire the skills of scientific investigation and an understanding of concepts related to the natural environment. Through humanities subjects, students learn about the interaction of man with his environment from historical, sociological, economic and geographical angles. Through Arts and Music students develop an aesthetic appreciation of the environment. Learning these subjects helps students achieve an all-round understanding of the environment and develops their own values towards environmental issues.

4. In addition to the formal curriculum, students can learn about the environment through extra-curricular activities. These can take the form of school based activities like discussion, debate or role play; or they can be in the form of out-door activities like field trips or visits to an organic farm or polluted areas. Through these activities, students arc exposed to real problems and can obtain first-hand experience of the environment, thereby increasing their concern for and appreciation of the environment.

7

5. Every primary and secondary school is actively promoting environmental education through the formal curriculum and extra-curricular activities. For example, over 200 schools have participated in the Student Environmental Ambassador Scheme and some 250 schools in schemes to collect waste paper for recycling. We also see an encouraging trend that schools are organising environmental activities which involve greater participation of students such as greening the school ground and saving energy and water. This indicates that schools are putting more emphasis on environmental education at both the primary and secondary levels.

End

Transition of judges and members of the Judiciary

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chun-yan and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Nicholas Ng, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the Government’s handling of the issue concerning the transition of judges and other members of the judiciary, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) how the Government interprets the stipulation in Article 93 of the Basic Law of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the SAR Government) that judges and other members of the judiciary may all remain in employment; whether they need to be invited by the SAR Government or some other organisations before they can continue to serve in the SAR Government; and whether those who remain in employment will be able to retain their original posts; and

(b) whether, in handling the above issue, the Government will request the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group to explain the meaning of ’’may all remain in employment”; if not, why not?

8

Reply:

Mr President,

Article 93 of the Basic Law states in very clear terms that judges and other members of the judiciary serving in Hong Kong before the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may all remain in employment and retain their seniority with pay, allowances, benefits and conditions of service no less favourable than before. This mirrors the provision in the Joint Declaration on the continued service of judges and other members of the judiciary. Their continued service has therefore been very clearly and explicitly provided for in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. We have no reason to doubt that these provisions will be complied with.

End

Policy on unleaded petrol *****

Following is a question by the Hon Miriam Lau Kin-yee and a reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In order to minimise pollution caused by lead content in the air, the Government introduced unleaded petrol (ULP) in 1991 and prohibited the import of vehicles using leaded petrol as from 1992. It has also been levying lower duties on ULP so as to encourage drivers to switch to the use of ULP. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the lead content in the air has been reduced after the implementation of the above measures; if so, please provide information on the improvement in air quality achieved in the past five years;

(b) of the total reduction in petrol duties collected since the introduction of

ULP; and

(c) of the criteria adopted by the Government for assessing whether ’’the policy on unleaded petrol” has fulfilled the "cost-effectiveness” principle and achieved the purpose of reducing air pollution?

9

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The introduction of unleaded petrol in 1991 has contributed to reductions in lead emissions in the air and built on steps which had been taken before 1991 to reduce the lead content of petrol fuel. Currently, less than 20 tonnes of lead is emitted into the air per year, which amounts to a reduction of 50% from the 1991 figure. Consequently, the three-month average level of lead in air is now below 0.15 microgrammes per cubic metre, which is below 10% of the Air Quality Objective value. However, it should be noted - as we pointed out in the 1989 White Paper on the Environment that unleaded petrol was introduced not only to reduce lead emissions but also to pave the way for the use of catalytic converters, made mandatory in 1992, which would reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from petrol vehicles. As a result of these measures, and despite an increase in the petrol vehicle fleet by about 35% from 1991 to 1995, the levels of these three pollutants in air have largely been maintained within their Air Quality Objectives values. However, as the Administration has been at pains to point out, to this Council and to the public, air pollution from vehicle emissions remains a serious community health problem, mainly because of the high level of particulates emitted by diesel vehicles.

(b) There has been no reduction in petrol duties because the lower duty for unleaded petrol has been offset by the higher duty for leaded petrol.

(c) I believe it would be fair to say that the unleaded petrol policy has been cost-effective in minimising air pollution taking into account the measured air quality benefits which I have mentioned, the fact that, as noted above, there is no cost to government, and that the pump price of unleaded petrol is less than leaded petrol and therefore affordable to motorists.

End

10

Compensation for crime fighting victims *****

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng Kar-foo and a reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Under section 18A(1) of the Public Finance Ordinance, the Legislative Council may by resolution award compensation, by way of either a single payment or periodical payments, from the general revenue of the Colony to any person injured in the execution of a moral or legal duty to assist in the prevention of or resistance to crime or any offence, or to the dependants of a person so injured or who dies as a result of such injury. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the specific policy governing the application of this provision;

(b) of the circumstances under which the Government will apply this provision; and

(c) of the criteria adopted by the Government for determining the amount of compensation ?

Reply:

Mr President,

The provisions in Section 18A(1) in the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap.2) first featured in the Compensation (Special Cases) Ordinance enacted in 1949. These provisions were subsequently transferred first to the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance enacted in 1966, and then to the Public Finance Ordinance in 1993. When moving the Compensation (Special Cases) Bill in July 1949, the then Attorney General explained that the object was to provide an enabling measure for the award of compensation to a person injured or to the dependants of a person killed in fulfilling a duty to uphold the law. It was made clear then that the legislation would not attempt to prescribe the conditions or circumstances in which an award of compensation should be made or the amount which should be awarded as this would enable each case to be judged on its merits. This remains the situation today.

11

That said, the provisions have not been used for a long time, certainly not at all since their transfer to the Public Finance Ordinance. This is because the Administration may award compensation and ex-gratia payments using normal Estimates procedures under the Public Finance Ordinance. Provision for such award is made under Head 106 Miscellaneous Services Subhead 284 - Compensation and is approved by this Council annually in the context of the Appropriation Bill. Any supplementary provision required during the year may be approved by the Finance Committee or by delegated authority as appropriate. That subhead provides for the grant of ex-gratia payments and the settlement of claims made against the Government (other than those compensation which should be charged to specific sub-heads, such as those connected with land, public works, mail and for civil servants under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance).

End

Government Supplies Department procured goods ♦ * ♦ * ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau Wai-hing and a reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the countries of origin of goods procured by the Government Supplies Department, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the criteria for determining the countries from which goods are to be

procured;

(b) of the percentage of the value of the goods procured from Britain out of the total value of all the goods procured in the past two years; and

(c) whether it has any plans to procure more goods manufactured in China in the future; if so, what the reasons are; and whether it will in future continue to adopt the criteria mentioned in the answer to (a) above for determining the countries from which goods are to be procured?

12

Reply:

Mr President,

The answers to the three parts of the question are as follows -

(a) We operate a level playing field in Government procurement. Our aim is to ensure open and fair competition amongst domestic and foreign suppliers. We select the offers that represent best value for money, having regard to their suitability for the users' requirements, competitiveness in price, maintenance and other operational costs, and to reliability of performance and, where applicable, after-sale services. The country of origin of the goods is not a consideration in the award of contracts.

(b) The United Kingdom accounted for 9.7% and 12.0% respectively of the total value of contracts, at HK$50,000 or more each, for goods procured by the Government Supplies Department in 1994 and 1995. Further details of the market share by major suppliers are set out in the table appended to the written version of my reply. We do not have the breakdown by country of origin for small value contracts.

(c) We have no intention to change the purchasing policy outlined in my answer to the first part of the question.

End

Power to appoint end date of LegCo session *****

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Chief Secretary, the Hon Anson Chan, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council whether the Governor has any authority to appoint a date after 30 June 1997 as the ending date of the 1996-97 Legislative Council session; if so, what the legal basis for such authority is; if not, whether the Governor will appoint a date on or before 30 June 1997 as the ending date of the 1996-97 Legislative Council session?

13

Reply:

Mr President,

The Governor's power to appoint the end date of a LegCo session derives from Clause XXIA(l) of the Royal Instructions (RI). There is no legal constraint in our existing constitutional instruments that would prevent the Governor from making an order to appoint a date after 30 June 1997 as the end date of the 1996/97 LegCo session, so long as the order is made whilst the RI are in force. However, any such appointment will cease to have legal effect after 30 June 1997 since, by operation of the Hong Kong Act 1985, the RI will lapse after that date when Britain ceases to have sovereignty over Hong Kong.

According to past practice, the end of a LegCo session is usually fixed shortly before the last sitting date of that session, which would have been determined previously by the President of LegCo. We see no reason to depart from this normal practice in appointing the end date of the 1996-97 LegCo session.

End

Unauthorised late night construction works

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

As the contractor of the project for the construction of the Lai King station of the Airport Railway has repeatedly carried out construction works late at night without the permission of the authority concerned, will the Government inform this Council whether the contractor has been prosecuted; if so, what the result was; and how it will prevent such unauthorised activities from recurring?

14

Reply:

Mr President,

The contractor of the Airport Railway at Lai King MTR Station was issued a Construction Noise Permit in January 1996 to operate specified Powered Mechanical Equipment up to 11 p.m. at night. However, subsequent spot checks conducted by Environmental Protection Department revealed breaches of the Permit conditions. As a result, the Construction Noise Permit was cancelled on 22 March 1996. Prosecution action against the offender was taken and the hearing will be held on 18 July 1996. A further site survey made on 25 March found no more breaches of the Noise Control Ordinance.

After cancellation of the Permit, the contractor submitted a fresh application for a Construction Noise Permit, together with proposals for noise abatement measures to be implemented when Powered Mechanical Equipment are used. The application meets the requirements of the Noise Control Ordinance and a new Construction Noise Permit was issued on 3 April 1996. The Permit limits the maximum number of Powered Mechanical Equipment that can be used at the site and requires noise abatement measures to be implemented. The contractor has been reminded to comply diligently with all Permit conditions. The Environmental Protection Department will continue to monitor the site to ensure compliance with the conditions of the Permit. So far, no further violation of the Noise Control Ordinance has been found.

End

Legality of uncompleted small houses pre-sale

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Lo Suk-ching and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In view of the occurrence of several incidents of pre-sale of uncompleted small houses involving fraud and other disputes in recent months, will the Government inform this Council :

15

(a) whether the pre-sale of uncompleted small house is illegal;

(b) whether it will consider legalising the sale and purchase of uncompleted small houses and monitoring such activities; if not, whether it will consider introducing measures to prevent prospective buyers from being cheated; and

(c) which government department is responsible for controlling the sale and purchase of uncompleted small houses?

Answer:

Mr President,

Under the small house policy, an indigenous male villager over the age of 18 is allowed to apply either for a building licence at nil premium to build a small house in his own land or for the grant, at a concessionary premium of two-thirds of the full market value, of a site on Government land for the same purpose.

All small house grants made under the small house policy are subject to restrictions on alienation:

(I) for grants of government sites within village environs of recognised villages, the restriction is perpetual. Lands Department will only consider applications for modifying the restriction after the development of the small house has been completed and a certificate of compliance has been obtained. Any approval given will also be subject to the payment of a premium and an administration fee, and the execution of a modification document;

(ii) for grants of government sites in Village Expansion Areas, the restriction is perpetual. The Lands Department would only consider modifying the restriction on alienation after the lapse of three years following the issue of the certificate of compliance; and

(iii) for grants in respect of land owned by the villagers, the period of restriction is five years. The conditions for modifying the restriction on alienation are the same as those in category (i).

Unless and until the above restrictions are no longer in force, any other form of disposal of any interests in the small house development would amount to a breach of the lease conditions.

16

(a) The presale of uncompleted houses on lots which have been granted to indigenous villagers under the small house policy is a breach of the lease conditions.

(b) We do not consider that the presale of uncompleted small houses should be permitted or legalised. Grants under the small house policy are made, on concessionary terms, to eligible indigenous villagers so as to assist them to improve their living conditions. Hence, restrictions against alienation should be retained. Permission to allow for the transaction of uncompleted small houses will go against the principle of the small house policy.

Prospective purchasers should always approach their solicitors or other professional representatives for advice if they have any doubts before committing themselves to any purchases or handing over any deposits.

(c) The District Lands Office is responsible for the day to day administration of matters including lease enforcement action relating to small house grants. Any deception cases involving small houses would be investigated by the Royal Hong Kong Police Force.

End

Meal arrangement for school children *****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to a recent survey on lunch arrangements for school children conducted by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, there is a rising trend of school children staying in school for lunch and the number of schools using the delivery service provided by lunch box suppliers has also increased. As the choice of food will directly affect the health and physical development of the next generation, will the Government inform this Council whether, and if so how, it will address the recommendations made in the survey report, including :

17

(a) undertaking a comprehensive assessment and planning on lunch arrangements for school children, and introducing effective monitoring measures to ensure that school children are provided with hygienic and nutritious meals;

(b) reviewing the existing measures and guidelines concerning lunch arrangements for school children and monitoring their implementation to ensure that the prescribed standards are met;

(c) incorporating the provision of venues of having lunches in the list of standard facilities for new school premises; and

(d) promoting and encouraging parent-teacher associations to monitor and manage the lunch arrangements for school children, and stepping up publicity to remind parents and students of the effects of eating habits on health?

Reply:

Mr President,

Meal arrangements for students in schools are matters of concern to the Education Department. The Education Department advises schools through two circulars on operation of tuckshops and on arranging meals from licensed food establishments. Turning to the specific parts of the questions:

(a) Given the trend that more students are staying in school for lunch and that more whole-day primary schools are coming on stream, the Education Department is conducting a review on existing lunch arrangements which includes monitoring measures. The Department expects to complete the review by August 1996.

(b) The Education Department’s review as described in paragraph (a) above includes a careful examination of the existing guidelines to schools with a view to updating and supplementing them as necessary. The Department aims to issue the new guidelines to schools before the start of the new school year in September 1996. In the new circular, schools will be encouraged to form co-ordination groups to supervise, coordinate and improve meal arrangements for students.

18

(c) A school can make use of its existing accommodation, such as covered playground or assembly hall, to cater for students staying in school for lunch. We consider the present arrangement to be both flexible and cost-effective. Providing additional accommodation solely for students to use during lunch break will not be an optimal way of using space in view of the sizeable area required and the low utilisation rate.

(d) We agree that parent-teacher associations can play an active role in managing and monitoring meal arrangements in schools and promote healthy eating habits among students. Through the new guidelines to be issued in October 1996, the Education Department will encourage schools to involve their parent-teacher associations in the co-ordination groups on meal arrangements in schools.

It is also important to cultivate in students good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. Education on health and nutritional value is promoted through the teaching of a number of subjects namely, Health Education, Social Studies and Science at the primary level and Home Economics, Social Studies and science subjects at the secondary level. Through these subjects, students will learn about the effects of various types of food on the body and food hygiene, and will understand the importance of a balanced diet to personal health.

In addition, the Education Department organises regular in-service education programmes to enhance and update teachers’ knowledge on food nutrition and meal arrangements for students.

End

Future development of optical-fibre network ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Henry Tang Ying-yen and a written reply by the acting Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Leo Kwan, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the existing capacity of the telephone lines, including optical-fibre network, used for calls transmission;

(b) of the proportion of the total capacity of the optical-fibre network that is used for calls transmission;

19

(c) whether the Government has any information on the number of telephone lines used for other value-added services, and its proportion in the total number of telephone lines; and

(d) whether the existing optical-fibre network can cope with the load when all telephone lines are used for other value-added services; if not, what the future development plan for the optical-fibre network is?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) In March 1996, the Hong Kong Telephone Company network consisted of 3.3m lines, of which about 40,000 are provided with fibre-optic connections from the local exchange. In addition, 92% of the connections between one exchange and another are using fibre-optics.

(b) The telephone network does not distinguish between telephonic and non-telephonic messages passing through the network. We do not have data indicating the proportion of the messages which are telephonic.

(c) Some indicative figures only on value-added traffic are available. During April 1994 to March 1995, the total both way occupancy traffic (i.e. incoming and outgoing) passing through the telephone network amounted to about 51,300 million minutes, of which local calls were estimated to account for some 45,210 million minutes, international calls 3,450 million minutes and other identifiable types of traffic (such as licensed public value-added services) 2,640 million minutes. The 45,210 million minutes of local calls include telephonic and non-telephonic (such as fax and computer communications) usage. Separate breakdowns on telephonic and non-telephonic traffic are not available.

(d) The existing network is designed to carry the present normal traffic levels, including the current level of value-added traffic. A quality of service standard is imposed on HKTC to ensure that 99% of the calls in the busiest hour are successfully connected. If there is in future a significant increase in the volume of value-added traffic, HKTC might need to make additional investment in switching and other network elements in order to carry such additional traffic and to maintain the current grade of service. The three new Fixed Telecommunication Network Service Licensees are also constructing their own optical fibre backbone networks which will be able, when completed, to share some of the traffic loading of the HKTC network.

End

20

Comprehensive Redevelopment Area planning approach

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of redevelopment projects which have been undertaken since the adoption of the Comprehensive Redevelopment Area (CRA) planning approach;

(b) how it will assess whether such a planning approach has been successful; and

(c) how it can ensure that the property ownership rights of residents in the CRAs will not be affected by the redevelopment projects undertaken by the Land Development Corporation and the Hong Kong Housing Society9

Answer:

Mr President,

(a) Fifteen redevelopment schemes designated as 'comprehensive development area' (CDA) on the outline zoning plans have been implemented. Another sixteen schemes have received planning and building plan approval and are at various stages of implementation. Thirty-six other schemes are under planning.

(b) There are no hard and fast rules by which we evaluate the effectiveness of the CDA designation. The success or otherwise of such an approach would depend on the specific circumstances in each case. However, having regard to the substantial number of schemes already implemented through this method, such as Whampoa Garden, City Garden and Tsuen Wan West, the comprehensive provision of supporting facilities within such developments and the popularity of these developments among local residents, we could say that this approach is successful. In this connection, it should be noted that many CDAs arc so zoned at the request of the land owners.

21

Moreover, it is Town Planning Board's policy to review each CDA zone every 5 years since its first publication on a statutory plan. The idea is to review the feasibility of achieving the planning objectives within a reasonable time frame. This is one way to assess whether the CDA approach has been successful.

(c) Development rights of individual owners are protected by the relevant Ordinances under which compensation would be payable if the properties are acquired or resumed for redevelopment. Any person who is not satisfied with the compensation may appeal to the Lands Tribunal for a determination.

End

Development plan for KCRC station tops * ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Following is a question by the lion Chan Kam-lam and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

As the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) is planning to apply to the Government for the development of commercial and residential premises on top of its stations at Kowloon Tong and Sha Tin, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the progress of the negotiation between the Government and the KCRC on the matter; and

(b) whether the Government will require the KCRC to include the construction of multi-storey car parks in its development plan, thus putting into effect the "park-and-ride" concept, so as to alleviate traffic congestion in the Lion Rock Tunnel and urban areas?

22

Reply:

Mr President,

As one of the measures to reduce traffic congestion, we support the provision of park and ride facilities at railway stations to encourage commuters to continue their trips to busy districts by public transport. Indeed, we have taken the opportunity to ensure that adequate parking facilities are included in development proposals for major stations and interchanges, for example, at the Central and Tsing Yi Stations of the Airport Railway.

An initial proposal for a commercial development at Kowloon Tong Station has been submitted by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) to the Town Planning Board. This proposal is being assessed in terms of land use planning, traffic, urban design and other relevant factors. No decisions have been taken. We will be consulted and will assess the feasibility of incorporating park and ride facilities in this project.

KCRC has just commenced a preliminary study on the development potential of the Sha Tin Station. No application has yet been received from the Corporation. Should the Corporation decide to redevelop this site, the provision of park and ride facilities will be examined.

End

Review of the Diesel-to-Petrol scheme *****

Following is a question by the l ion Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands. Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The Government published the consultation paper ’’Cleaner Air - Further Proposals to Reduce Emissions from Diesel Vehicles” last year to seek the views of the public on the proposed mandatory Diesel-to-Petrol (DTP) Scheme for diesel vehicles of four tonnes or below, and the consultation period expired at the end of last year. A motion was also carried by this Council on 13 December last year urging the Government to review the scheme and replace the proposed mandatory scheme with incentive measures to attract owners of diesel vehicles to change to petrol vehicles on a voluntary basis. Up to the present moment, the Government has still not released the results of the consultation and its review of the scheme. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

23

(a) of the public response to the recommendations put forward in the consultation paper and the ratio between the views in favour of the DTP Scheme and those against it;

(b) of the progress in collating the views submitted by the public in response to the consultation paper, and the date of making a formal announcement of the results of the consultation; and

(c) whether it has considered shelving the proposed mandatory DTP Scheme?

Reply:

Mr President,

At the end of the consultation period on 31 December 1995, a total of 1 327 written submissions had been received. Of these, 1 250 are identical letters in four versions and 77 are submissions from organisations and individuals. Reactions to the proposed diesel to petrol scheme are mixed. Views were expressed on health and environment issues, on operating costs, and on implementation arrangements. All the identical letters and about two-thirds of the submissions are opposed to the scheme. About one-third are in support.

We are re-examining the proposals in the light of the divergent views that have been expressed in the written submissions, and in the light of comments made by Members of the Legislative Council during the Motion Debate on this issue on 13 December 1995. A formal report on the consultation exercise will be published shortly. The Administration is working on a paper to set out the options for the control of emissions from diesel vehicles and their pros and cons and hope to be able to discuss it with the relevant Panels of the Legislative Council soon.

We have not as yet considered shelving the scheme because we remain of the view that only a substantial reduction of diesel vehicles can tackle the serious problem of particulate pollution, and that the proposed diesel to petrol scheme is the most effective way to do this. However, in the light of comments received, we are exploring alternative measures to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles to see if such measures could sufficiently improve air quality to safeguard public health. These will be covered in the options paper mentioned above.

End

24

Tram safety inspection ♦ ♦ * * ♦

Following is a question by the Hon John Tse Wing-ling and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In view of the frequent occurrence of tram accidents recently, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that the authorities concerned at present do not conduct periodic checks on trams, whether the Government will consider changing the existing mechanism for inspecting tram safety and conducting periodic checks on trams in the near future;

(b) of the training period which tram drivers are currently required to undergo before they are permitted to drive trams; and whether the Government will consider introducing legislation to regulate the training of tram drivers; and

(c) in regard to the review being undertaken jointly by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department and the Hong Kong Tramways Limited on the maintenance programme of trams, of the items covered in the review, the progress of the review and when it is expected to complete?

Reply:

Mr President,

Hong Kong Tramways has full responsibility for the maintenance and inspection of its tram cars and, indeed, all tram cars are subject to functional checks daily both before they leave the depot and on their return. The Government does not conduct any periodic checks. The Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services (DEMS) investigates each accident to ascertain whether it has been caused by equipment faults. Should the company subsequently seek to modify tram cars, the approval of DEMS must first be sought.

Following the recent accidents, DEMS has suggested that Hong Kong Tramways should review the wiring system and electrical equipment. These aspects have been included in the scope of a consultancy study which the company intends to commission very soon. The company expects that the consultant will need ten weeks to make available his preliminary findings. The Government will be consulted on the findings and will then decide whether additional regulations for maintenance and safety of tram cars need be introduced.

25

In keeping with international practice for transport modes running on tracks, the Administration does not regulate the training of tram drivers through legislation. The driver training programme now provided by Hong Kong Tramways for its trainees covers an eight week period. Apart from training on road use, equipment handling, safety precautions and emergency procedures, it also includes about 100 hours of driving practice on roads. In addition, trainees are required to pass a written driving test before they qualify as tram drivers.

To see how their current programme can be enhanced, Hong Kong Tramways will also seek their consultant’s advice on recruitment procedures and the training programme. Meanwhile the company has also liaised with the Hong Kong School of Motoring to see whether their current core programme for tram drivers can be broadened to include other road skills.

End

Insurance policies for employees

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Choy Kan-pui and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question :

Will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the current number of staff in the Labour Department responsible for inspecting industrial, commercial as well as sendees organisations to ensure that employers have taken out insurance policies for their employees; and whether the present staff establishment of the Department is adequate to cope with such work; and

(b) the number of employers who were found failing to take out insurance policies for their employees, as well as the number of employers who were found taking out insurance policies at an insured amount which did not meet the statutory requirement, in each of the past three years; how the Labour Department came to know of such cases; whether the employers concerned were prosecuted and if so, what the results were?

26

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) At present, 123 Labour Inspectors are deployed, among other duties, to inspect industrial and non-industrial establishments to ensure that employers have taken out employees' compensation insurance policies for their employees. The existing staff establishment is adequate to cope with such work.

(b) The number of cases detected by the Labour Department involving employers who had failed to take out employees' compensation insurance policies in the past three years were : 692 in 1993, 849 in 1994 and 726 in 1995. Most of these cases were detected by Labour Inspectors during regular inspections while the remainder came to light during investigation of complaints or work-related injuries. The Labour Department had prosecuted those offenders where prima facie cases were established. For cases of a minor nature or where no prosecution witness could be secured, warnings were issued to the employers concerned. The detailed breakdown is as follows :

1221 1224 1222

Cases of failure to take out insurance policy 692 849 726

Cases detected during inspections 660 802 660

No of summonses issued 353 347 530

No of summonses convicted 331 331 514

Amount of fines on conviction $400-$12,000 $500-$14,000 $800-$20,000

The statutory requirement of the insured amounts are specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance. No employer has been found taking out insurance policy below the statutory limit since its enactment in 1995.

End

27 -

Hong Kong's participation in OECD ♦ * * * *

Following is a question by the Hon Miss Emily Lau Wai-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows of the criteria adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for classifying whether a country is a developed country;

(b) whether the OECD has carried out any assessment regarding the category into which Hong Kong should be put; if so, what category does Hong Kong come under; and

(c) if the answer to (b) is in the affirmative, whether the Government is aware of the factors which the OECD has taken into account in classifying Hong Kong; whether the Government has assessed the impact of the influx of Chinese immigrants in recent years on the territory's economy and whether such impact will be helpful to Hong Kong in obtaining the 'developed territory’ classification from the OECD?

Reply:

Mr President,

The OECD does not have a category of "developed country" in its classifications.

Purely to provide a guide to aid patterns in a changing world and to form the basis for the collection of comprehensive and comparable statistical information on aid and other resource flows, the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) compiles a list entitled the "DAC List of Aid Recipients". This list, updated regularly, consists of two parts. Part I lists those least developed countries and income groups based on regularly updated World Bank thresholds. Part II lists those developing countries and territories in transition, with a sub-category entitled "More Advanced Developing Countries and Territories" which is devoted to those places progressing from Part I of the list.

28

On January 1, 1997, Hong Kong will be moved from Part I to Part 11 of the list and put under the sub-category of "More Advanced Developing Countries and Territories". Six countries, namely: The Bahamas, Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar, Singapore and United Arab Emirates, were moved similarly on January 1, 1996.

Immigration from China provides a useful source of manpower supply which is conducive to raising the productive capacity and growth potential of our economy. While the increase in legal immigrants from China in recent years poses additional demand on the community's facilities and resources, the annual inflow of legal immigrants represents less than 1% of our population which is within Hong Kong's ability to cope.

End

Cross-subsidy in telephone services

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Henry Tang Ying-yen and a written reply by the acting Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Leo Kwan, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The data provided by the Government show that under the existing flat-rate pricing scheme for telephone services, light users have been cross-subsidising heavy users in both residential and business telephone services. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether out-going long distance calls are incorporated in the relevant data on the monthly usage of residential and business lines; if so, what the usage pattern of out-going long distance call service is (i.e. a breakdown of the percentages of customers according to long distance call time per month) in the residential and business sectors in the past year; if not, how the overall usage situation would be affected, and whether the amount of cross-subsidy on heavy users from light users would vary, if the data on out-going long distance calls are incorporated;

(b) of the proportion of long distance calls in the total out-going calls made by heavy users (i.e. those with an average call time of over 400 minutes per month), as well as the respective proportions of out-going long distance calls made by such users in the total long distance calls made locally in terms of call time and in terms of profits in the past year; and

29 -

(c) of the proportion of long distance calls in the total out-going calls made by light users (i.e. those with an average call time of 0-400 minutes per month), as well as the respective proportions of out-going long distance calls made by such users in the total long distance calls made locally in terms of call time and in terms of profits in the past year?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The data provided in the Economic Services Panel paper entitled ’’Review of the Pricing Structure of Local Telephone Services” cover successful local outgoing call minutes only. The data were collected from a sampling measurement exercise conducted in the third quarter of 1995 covering some 12,000 residential lines and 11,000 business lines which were randomly selected. Successful local conversation minutes were derived by applying a scale-down factor on all measured outgoing call minutes. As the survey was conducted to collect data on local calls only, information on the usage pattern of outgoing long distance calls had not been collected. However, based on sampling checks it is estimated that international calls accounted for 4% of the total residential traffic and 10% of the total business traffic.

(b&c) As explained in (a) above, the survey was conducted to collect data on local calls only. Data on usage pattern in respect of international calls had not been collected.

End

Respite service for mental patients *****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon John Tse Wing-ling and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the respite service provided for the mentally handicapped, will the Government inform this Council:

30

(a) of the number of residential places currently provided by the Social Welfare Department and the establishment of staff who are directly involved in providing such service;

(b) of the requirements for applying for such service;

(c) whether it has provided financial assistance to voluntary organisations for the provision of such service; if so, how many residential places provided by these organisations are funded by the Government; and

(d) whether it will consider enhancing such service in the near future?

Reply:

The objective of the respite service is to provide temporary residential accommodation for people with a disability, including mentally handicapped persons, for a period not exceeding two weeks in order to allow those who are responsible for caring for them at home to have a short break or respite.

(a) The Social Welfare Department is currently providing two residential places in its Cheung Hong Hostel for respite purposes. The service is provided by the existing staff of the Hostel and no additional posts have been established specifically for this purpose.

(b) The respite service is available to persons with a disability who are of 15 years of age or above; do not have infectious diseases; do not require intensive care; and do not have violent behaviour.

(c) At present, there is no financial assistance provided by the Government to non-governmental organisations for the provision of respite services, although some respite places are provided by such organisations using their own resources.

(d) Subject to the availability of resources, it is the intention of the Government eventually to subvent two residential places for respite services in hostels for the mentally handicapped in each of the five regions.

End

- 31 -

Industrial Support Fund Scheme *****

Following is a question by the Hon James Tien Pei-chun and a written reply by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The Government has recently approved 49 applications, which have been recommended by the Industrial and Technology Development Council, for financial support under the Industrial Support Fund scheme. Of these, 30 applications came from tertiary institutions whereas only 17 applications came from industrial establishments and industrial support agencies. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the criteria adopted for assessing applications made by industrial support agencies;

(b) whether the same criteria are adopted for assessing applications made by tertiary institutions and industrial establishments; and

(c) whether the Government will step up the promotion of the scheme in order to encourage more industrial establishments applying for financial support under the scheme to undertake projects which will contribute to the territory's industrial and technological development, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of the territory's industry?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The criteria adopted for assessing applications made to the Industrial Support Fund (the Fund) are summarised below -

(i) what specific benefits a proposed project will bring to the industrial and technological development in Hong Kong;

(ii) whether there is a demonstrated need for a proposed project and whether there is any duplication with work already being undertaken;

32

(iii) whether the applicant of a proposed project has the required technical and project management capability and whether the schedule of implementation and duration of the project are acceptable;

(iv) whether the budget of a proposed project is reasonable and whether the project will become self-sufficient financially after a certain period of time; and

(v) whether it would be more appropriate to fund a proposed project by other sources such as the University Grants Committee or the Applied R & D Scheme.

(b) All applications submitted to the Fund, whether by tertiary institutions or by industrial establishments, are vetted by the Industry and Technology Development Council and its committees in accordance with the same set of criteria.

(c) The Industry Department already promotes, and will continue to promote, the Fund in the following ways -

(i) annual issue of invitation letters together with publicity materials on the Fund to all likely applicants, including trade and industrial organisations (ITOs);

(ii) regular briefings on the Fund for all likely applicants, including ITOs;

(iii) inclusion of information on the Fund in government publications such as the fact sheets on Hong Kong Manufacturing Industry' and on Science & Technology, the Hong Kong Annual Report, the annual report on the Hong Kong Manufacturing Industry, the leaflet on "Support Service for Hong Kong" and Industry Department's Handbook; and

(iv) inclusion of information on the Fund in the Industry Department Home Page on the Internet.

In addition, the findings and deliverables of various completed projects supported by the Fund will be exhibited at the Technology Week scheduled for 6-11 January 1997. This should help to promote the Fund. Also, to encourage more ITOs to submit applications beneficial to the industrial and technological development in Hong Kong, the Industry Department will consider an earlier issue of invitation letters to allow interested bodies more time to prepare their submissions. The Department will undertake more briefings on the Fund to the ITOs.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, May 16,1996

Contents Page No.

Governor's statement on attacked journalist................................ 1

Possible trade sanctions against China announced........................... 1

Four pillars of HK's economic success: FS.................................. 3

Amendments to public entertainment regulations proposed.................... 5

Review on implementation of youth charter released......................... 6

1996-97 Land Sales Programme............................................... 8

Land for residential purpose in 1996-97................................... 10

Cargo working areas operating costs to be lower........................ 11

Statistics on trade involving outward processing in China................. 13

CS visits Stanley Prison and staff training centre........................ 17

Surveys on industrial production and real estate start................. 18

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 20

1

Governor's statement on attacked journalist ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, issued the following statement today (Thursday):

"I was shocked by the horrific attack on the journalist, Mr Leung Tin-wai, in his office yesterday.

"We have spoken to the Police Commissioner and I know that he is throwing in all of the resources necessary to track down the assailants.

"It is appalling to think that a journalist going about his business in a free society such as Hong Kong should be the victim of such as a brutal and senseless attack.

"I know that doctors and medical staff are doing everything they can to provide Mr Leung with the best of care.

"My thoughts and those of the community are with Mr Leung and his family."

End

Possible trade sanctions against China announced * ♦ * * *

In response to the announcement of the US Trade Representative (USTR) yesterday (May 15) that the US would impose Special 301 trade sanctions against China for not implementing satisfactorily the bilateral intellectual property rights (IPR) agreement reached in February 1995, the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, said she hoped the two sides would resolve their differences through dialogue.

"Since China and the US are our two largest trading partners, we are naturally concerned with any possible US Special 301 trade action against Chinese products. We would be very concerned with any adverse effect such measures might have on Hong Kong's economy," she said.

2

"Hong Kong does not support the use of sanctions. I note that the US has expressed willingness to continue discussion with the Chinese side. I remain hopeful that the issue couid be satisfactorily resolved through consultations."

When asked about the Government’s role in the matter, Miss Yue said: "This is primarily a bilateral trade issue between China and the US. Hong Kong does not have a direct role.

"However, we shall make an assessment of the possible impact on Hong Kong of the proposed US action against Chinese products. We shall convey the results to the US and Chinese Governments, emphasising our hope that Hong Kong’s interest would be taken into account in any decisions they may take.

"The results of the impact assessment will also be passed to relevant trade associations and chambers of commerce in Hong Kong.

"Traders may wish to consider whether they wish to make any representations to the US Administration. Traders wishing to have further information are welcome to contact the Trade Department," Miss Yue said.

Yesterday, USTR published a US$3 billion preliminary retaliation list targeting Chinese exports to the US. If China fails to take action to satisfactorily implement the 1995 IPR Agreement, prohibited tariffs will be imposed on June 17 on approximately US$2 billion worth of products drawn from the list.

USTR also announced that it is seeking public comments on the proposed action, which can be submitted to USTR on or before June 14. Following a review of the comments received, a final list of products will be selected and the amount of tariffs increases decided.

Last year, the US announced proposed sanctions against Chinese products under the Special 301 law, while continuing with discussions with the Chinese Government. China also announced a counter-retaliatory sanction list.

The two sides reached an agreement eventually and no US or China sanctions were implemented.

End

3

Four pillars of HK's economic success: FS

* ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, told a group of businessmen and professionals in Malaysia today (Thursday) that the rule of law, an enterprise spirit, a clean and efficient government and freedom of speech are the four pillars underpinning Hong Kong's economic success.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Tsang said the four pillars worked together to make Hong Kong one of the world's leading international financial centres.

He emphasised that the Basic Law guarantees that the common law system would be maintained in Hong Kong after 1997.

"We provide a stable and predictable legal environment in Hong Kong. Our laws are transparent; contract are respected and enforced," he said.

Mr Tsang said Hong Kong has a fine enterprise spirit whereby its laws and government policies ensure a level playing field for all.

"There is no exchange control, no distinction between indigenous and foreign interests and contracts are awarded on the ground of merits," he said.

He said Hong Kong was conscious of the need to maintain a small, efficient, open and accountable government which was free from corruption.

"Our public sector expenditure makes up about 18 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) only. And we make a conscious effort to ensure that it does not grow faster than the economy as a whole.

"This underlines our belief in market forces and minimum government intervention in the economy," he said.

He said free flow of information, in particular market and economic information, was guaranteed in Hong Kong.

"We have freedom of speech and a vigilant press in Hong Kong, and the market is highly transparent. This enables investors to know exactly what has happened in Hong Kong and else where in the world," he said.

4

"It is this unique combination of qualities in Hong Kong which make Hong Kong the success story we have today."

The Financial Secretary said Hong Kong would be the premier international financial centre for China.

"As the natural gateway to China and China's window to the outside world, Hong Kong has been the major capital raising centre for China, our largest trading partners," Mr Tsang said.

He said figures released by China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation showed that 56 per cent, or US$20 billion, of the total utilised foreign capital in China was Hong Kong's investment in and loans to China's non-banking institutions.

"In Hong Kong we have complete freedom of movement of capital. The Hong Kong dollar is freely convertible. There is no foreign exchange control whatsoever.

"We offer the whole range of financial services in Hong Kong, including the most advanced and sophisticated financial products.

"Hong Kong's capital and investment in China therefore contributes significantly to the economic development of China, especially the southern region," Mr Tsang said.

He said Hong Kong capital was particularly important for China's manufacturing industries, land and property, and infrastructure development.

It also facilitates the sourcing of foreign raw materials, equipment and technology for China and also marketing and exporting of Chinese products to other countries.

"In partnership with Hong Kong, China's economy hence becomes more open and closely linked to the rest of the world." he said.

He told the businessmen and professional attending the luncheon that a high degree of autonomy for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

"It will be business as usual in Hong Kong in and after 1997," he said.

5

"The two sovereign states are committed to ensure the full and faithful implementation of the Joint Declaration, and much as already been achieved.”

Before attending the luncheon, Mr Tsang visited the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange and had a very useful discussion with its Executive Chairman, Dato* Nik Mohamed Din, and other senior officials. He also called on YB Dato’ Ahmad Mohd Don, Governor of Bank Negara, the central bank of Malaysia.

Mr Tsang was leading a 62-member delegation to visit Kuala Lumpur. He will leave for Singapore this evening to begin the second leg of his ’’Building Strategic Partnership” visit to Southeast Asia.

End

Amendments to public entertainment regulations proposed ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Amendment regulations which seek to improve the operation of the Places of Public Entertainment Regulations (PPER) will be published in the Gazette tomorrow (Friday).

A spokesman for the Recreation and Culture Branch said today (Thursday) that the purposes of the Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Regulation 1996-are to improve the operation of PPER and to implement the amendments made to the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance (PPEO) in July 1995 which include limiting the power of the police and repealing the dual licensing system under PPEO.

’’The two municipal councils, being the sole licensing authority to regulate the safety and hygiene of venues for public entertainment in their respective areas, will be able to provide a comprehensive and user-friendly service to applicants of places of public entertainment licences.

"Licensees will no longer be required to make separate applications to the Building Authority," the spokesman explained.

Other amendments include limiting the police power under PPER to maintaining peace and good order as prescribed in PPEO, removing any duplication with provisions in other existing legislation such as the Electricity Ordinance, and updating provisions which have become obsolete.

6

"We have also taken this opportunity to make a few technical and consequential amendments to the Building (Planning) Regulations, Building (Construction) Regulations and Building (Standards of Sanitary Fitments, Plumbing, Drainage Works and Latrines) Regulations," he said.

The Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Regulation 1996 and the three Building (Amendment) Regulations will be tabled in the Legislative Council on May 22 and come into operation on June 28.

End

Review on implementation of youth charter released

♦ ♦ ♦ * *

Communication between family and school should be improved to foster a caring and open environment within which young people will develop a positive attitude towards life and become responsible individuals.

This is one of the recommendations contain in a report released by the Preparatory Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Charter for Youth, which was made up of members elected from organisation subscribers to the Charter.

The Commission on Youth promulgated in July 1993 the Charter for Youth, which enunciates the principles and ideals on youth development and acts as a point of reference for policy makers, youth service providers and other parties involved in promoting the welfare of youth.

A conference on the first biennial review of the implementation of the Charter was held on November 11 last year in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. More than 100 reports were submitted from organisation subscribers on their efforts in implementing the Charter.

The conference had attracted about 500 participants from different sectors, including subscribers to the Charter, representatives from the Government and youth organisations, teachers, students and individuals.

The panel discussions focused on four topics - family and youth, health and welfare, development and participation, and rights of youth. The main recommendations are as follows:

7

To encourage the establishment of parent-teacher associations in schools and to foster better communication among schools, parents and students;

To improve the provision of school social work service in schools;

To encourage parents to allow their children to undertake more family responsibilities and greater flexibility in making their own decisions, thereby helping their children to develop confidence in themselves;

To strengthen family ties through better communication, mutual trust and support among family members;

To provide more support services to enhance the physical needs and mental development of youth, for example, through the provision of a comprehensive medical service and fostering a caring attitude in dealing with the emotional needs of the young people;

To protect young people against the negative influence of obscene and indecent articles while strengthening sex education in schools, including AIDS awareness and proper understanding of marriage;

To encourage the youth to participate in community activities by providing more channels and opportunities;

To arouse the youth’s interest in and awareness of public affairs;

To develop a proper sense of social values among young people by organising more youth programmes through the concerted efforts of government, schools, parents and the media;

To encourage members of the community to give due recognition to the rights and interest of young people, particularly the rights to safety, protection and education;

To promote civic education in schools with particular reference to developing the concept of human rights among the younger age group, and to foster an environment which encourages young people to exercise their rights and assume responsibilities; and

To promote the concept of equal opportunities for all and to eliminate discrimination against handicapped youth in the school, workplace and social settings.

8

Recommendations arising from the conference have been endorsed by the Commission on Youth and incorporated into the review report.

The report is now being circulated amongst some 350 organisations and 2,000 individuals who are subscribers to the Charter, participants at the review conference and other interested organisations to enable them to take into account the proposals in developing their future work plans.

The recommendations will also be brought to the attention of the relevant policy branches and government departments for appropriate follow-up actions.

Free copies of the report are now available at Marketing Office of the Government Information Service, 17th floor, Siu On Centre, 176-192 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

End

1996-97 Land Sales Programme * ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Lands Department announced today (Thursday) that following the agreement of the Land Commission to the Government's Land Disposal Programme, the Land Sales Programme for 1996-97 would consist of 32 sites amounting to 32.22 hectares.

The breakdown of the sites, with a comparison of the actual figures for 1994-95 and 1995-96, is as follows:

User Sites Area (ha)

94/95 95/96 96/97 94/95 95/96 96/97

i Commercial/ Residential and Residential (high density) 20 13 13 14.95 9.39 7.98

ii Residential (low density) 4 3 4 4.46 4.35 2.83

9

iii Industrial ’ 2 4

5 2.01 1.39 1.67

iv Private Sector 1 4 5

Participation

Scheme (PSPS)

2.75 13.35 10.49

v Other Uses/Petrol 3

Filling Station

3 5 1.04 66.80 9.25

The acting Principal Government Land Agent, Mr Nigel Burley, said the approximate number of flats that would be produced from the Commercial/Residential and Residential high and low density sites would total 5,800 and Private Sector Participation Scheme 10,100.

In addition, he emphasised, about 10,000 flats will be generated from 23.93 hectares to be granted during 1996-97 for Airport Railway related developments.

A further 5,300 flats would be produced from two Letter A/B exchanges involving 4.5 hectares of land at Tseung Kwan O, with considerable additional flats also resulting from other land exchanges/modifications.

Compared with 1995-96 the figures were:

i Commercial/Residential and Residential 7,450 flats (13.74 ha)

(high and low density)

ii Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) 14,270 flats (13.35 ha)

*.

iii Airport Railway 12,280 flats (27.65 ha)

Of the 32 sites, Mr Burley said, only 13 were proposed for disposal by auction with the remainder to be sold by tender. This reflects the recommendations of the independent review panel set up in 1994 to report on auction arrangements as well as the nature of the sites concerned.

Mr Burley pointed out that in addition to the two Letter A/B Exchanges (sites in Tseung Kwan O) proposed for the traceable major holders of Letter A/B, two further sites would be tendered for Letter A/B (or Cash).

He noted that four sites amounting to 6.63 hectares had been tendered on this basis in 1995-96 but no tenders were received by Letter A/B and all sites were awarded on a cash basis.

10

The estimated land revenue to be received in 1996-97 compared to 1994-95 and 1995-96 is as follows:

Disposal Type 1994/95 (ActuaDSM 1995/96 (ActuaDSM 1996/97 (Estimate)SM

Auctions/Tenders 12,776 23,876 13,017

Private Treaty Grants 7,342 16,402 13,647

Exchanges/Modifications 11,239 4,603 9,234

Total 31,357 44.881 35,898

End

Land for residential purpose in 1996-97 *****

In response to media enquiries concerning a press conference on Lands Sales Programme for 1996-97 given earlier today (Thursday) by the Lands Department, the acting Principal Government Land Agent, Mr Nigel Burley, reaffirmed that out of the total 153.01 hectares approved by the Land Commission for disposal in 1996-97, 86 hectares would be partially or wholly earmarked for some forms of residential development.

Compared with last financial year, the amount for residential use, including those for auction, was 83.19 hectares.

End

11

Cargo working areas operating costs to be lower *****

The management reform to be introduced by the Marine Department at the public cargo working areas (PCWAs) is not designed as a fee increase measure nor will it lead to a rise in operating costs, the Assistant Director of Marine (Planning and Local Services), Mr Raymond Tang, said today (Thursday).

Briefing the Legislative Council members on the reform package this afternoon, Mr Tang reiterated that the reform was seek to improve the productivity at PCWAs and to remove the undesirable practices that associated with the existing mode of operation.

All berthing spaces in nine PCWAs managed by the Marine Department will be leased out by restricted tender under the management reform package instead of the current practice to hire out the berths each day on a first-come-first-served basis.

Some participants at today’s briefing as well as some operators at PCWAs believed that the operating costs will increase if the berthing spaces are leased by tender.

Mr Tang assured that the operating costs would be lower.

"The operators, as any businessmen, are naturally concerned about a rise in their costs," he said.

"We have incorporated measures to safeguard the interests of the existing operators in the new management system.

"The existing system is built on a first-come-first-served basis and under the current system an operator has to hire idle barges up to three each day in order to secure a berth.

"If he fails to mobilise a fleet of empty barges for the sole purpose of occupying a berth, he has to turn to those who are able to do so and of course at a price.

"The level of subletting fees is decided entirely by those who have secured berthing spaces and the subletting or black market fees are very costly and up to 40 times of the government fees."

12

Under the new system, an existing operator will be given the legal title of a berthing space through the tendering system. He will no longer be required to spend any costs to hire idle barges or to pay a subletting fee for the use of a berth.

Another advantage with a secure tenure of a berth is an operator can plan well ahead his business and does not have to worry about the availability of a berth.

Mr Tang stressed that the whole purpose of introducing the reform was not to generate additional money for the public purse but to remove the undesirable practices common in the PCWAs and to increase productivity.

"The operators themselves will be the ones benefited when productivity is improved," he added.

"Moreover, in a tendering exercise it is not the Government but the bidders who set the price."

Mr Tang described as groundless the claims that existing operators would be driven out of business and that they and their employees would lose their jobs as a result.

"Only existing operators are allowed to bid in the restricted tender to ensure none of them will be driven out of business because of the new measure," Mr Tang stressed.

Another built-in feature to protect the interests of current operators is that eligible bidders in the restricted tender are allowed to bid the same numbers of berths as they are currently occupying.

"This additional safeguard will give all existing operators a fair chance to take part in the allocation exercise through tender and also ensure that no single operator will be able to dominate a large number of berthing spaces," Mr Tang said.

End

13

Statistics on trade involving outward processing in China ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

In the fourth quarter of 1995, 49% of Hong Kong’s total exports to China were for outward processing; the figure was 72% for domestic exports, and 46% for reexports.

On the other hand, 73% of Hong Kong’s imports from China were related to outward processing, according to statistics released today (Thursday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Over the same period, 83% of Hong Kong’s re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China.

The corresponding proportions in the fourth quarter of 1994 were 48% for total exports to China, 68% for domestic exports to China, 45% for re-exports to China, 71% for imports from China and 83% for re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China.

Taking the year 1995 as a whole, 49% of Hong Kong’s total exports to China were for outward processing; the figure was 71% for domestic exports, and 45% for re-exports. On the other hand, 74% of Hong Kong's imports from China were related to outward processing.

Over the same period, 82% of Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China. Similar proportions figures were observed in 1994.

To provide a better understanding of the nature and importance of outward processing in China initiated by Hong Kong firms, the Census and Statistics Department has been conducting a sample survey as from the third quarter of 1988 to distinguish Hong Kong's exports to China into those which are for outward processing and those which are not.

The scope of the survey has been extended as from the first quarter of 1989 to segregate Hong Kong's imports from China into those which are related to outward processing and those which are not.

Starting from the first quarter of 1991, the scope of the survey has further been extended to cover Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China.

14

The results for the fourth quarter and the whole year of 1995 are now available.

In value terms, $57,024 million of Hong Kong’s total exports to China in the fourth quarter of 1995 were for outward processing, representing an increase of 15% over the fourth quarter of 1994.

The value of domestic exports to China for outward processing increased by 5% to $11,112 million whilst the value of re-exports to China for outward processing grew by 18% to $45,912 million.

Over the same period of comparison, the value of imports from China related to outward processing increased by 10% to $101,296 million.

On the other hand, $130,501 million of Hong Kong’s re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China, representing an increase of 11%.

For the whole year of 1995, $217,613 million of Hong Kong’s total exports to China were for outward processing, representing an increase of 20% over 1994.

The value of domestic exports to China for outward processing increased by 5% to $43,890 million while that for re-exports to China for outward processing grew by 25% to $173,722 million.

Over the same period of comparison, the value of imports from China related to outward processing increased by 13% to $399,567 million.

On the other hand, $492,461 million of Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China, representing an increase of 17%.

For the purpose of the survey, exports to China for outward processing refer to raw materials or semi-manufactures exported from or through Hong Kong to China for processing with a contractual arrangement for subsequent re-importation of the processed goods into Hong Kong.

Imports from China related to outward processing refer to processed goods imported from China of which all or part of the raw materials or semi-manufactures have been under contractual arrangement exported from or through Hong Kong to China for processing.

15

Re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China involving outward processing in China refer to processed goods re-exported through Hong Kong of which all or part of the raw materials or semi-manufactures have been exported from or through Hong Kong to China for processing with a contractual arrangement for subsequent re-importation of the processed goods into Hong Kong.

In interpreting the statistics, it should be noted that the value and proportion of imports from China and re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China involving outward processing in China refer to those of the entire goods instead of just the value added contributed by outward processing in China.

A sample of trade declarations in respect of Hong Kong’s trade with China (domestic exports and re-exports to China, and imports from China) as well as Hong Kong’s re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China is selected for enumeration to obtain the required information from the establishments concerned.

A spokesman for the Census and Statistics Department explained that under the internationally accepted system of recording trade flows, all movements of goods (except transhipments and goods-in-transit) across the border, whether for outward processing or not, were recorded as external trade.

Thus the movements of goods associated with outward processing are correctly included in the regular trade statistics.

The findings of the survey, however, facilitate a more informed analysis of the nature of Hong Kong-China trade. In this respect, the survey results are a useful supplement to the regular trade statistics.

The above survey results will be included in the March issue of the ’’Hong Kong External Trade”. This report will be on sale by the end of May at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, 66 Queensway.

It will also be available at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, at SI22 a copy.

Enquiries on the survey results may be directed to the Trade Surveys and Research Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2582 5037.

16

ESTIMATED VALUE AND PROPORTION OF TRADE INVOLVING OUTWARD PROCESSING IN

CHINA, 4TH QUARTER AND THS WHOLE YEAR of 1995______________________________

Percentage

4th change

qtr. over 4th 1995 otr. 1994

(HKD Mn.) (%)

1995 (HKD Mn.)

Percentage change over 1994 (%)

Total tirade value * :

Total exports to China Domestic exports to China Re-exports to China

Imports from China

Re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China

116,149 + 13.9 443,817 + 16.7

15,381 - 1.3 61,432 + 4.5

100,768 + 16.6 382,385 + 19-.0

138,580 + 7.1 536,903 + 14.8

156,689 + 11.5 599,116 + 16.2

Estimated value involving outward processing in China :

- j 1—» — —— ——— Total exports to China 57,024 + 15.4 217,613 + 20.1

Domestic exports to China 11,112 + 4.9 43,890 + 4.6

Re-exports to China 45,912 + 18.3 173,722 + 24.8

Imports from China 101,296 + 9.7 399,567 + 12.6

Re-exports of China origin 130,501 + 11.2 492,461 + 16.5

to all countries other than China

proportion involving cutward processing in C n i n a :

4 tn u -

• in >i in i > O’. । l“* ,Q <0 c l KO K >l-« * i • KO in ‘D KO iF-

’ % ’ (%: ; o, • *

• -J o < । p» i • d o ■ < i l </> 11 (j (’) :r । p> 4 ? . i — 8.4 49.0 47.7

Domestic exports to China 72.2 66.0 71.4 71.4

Re-excorts to China 4 5.6 3 .1 G 4 5.4 4 j . 3

«i S3 •rl .cl o u () >1 ’11 tn i» o P i-i 73.1 71.3 74.4 75.9

(D i • (U X •o o H ri UI O ih C) 1 -u p» o K P. Ui M- 83.3 83.5 82.2 Q 9 ?■ Kwr • W

f» ri o p> u Pi i • n i -• ;r 1 - o :i o p) r* p (i »< »-*■ <i> Ui o fl u* (b •<

and transactions not classified

* The value excludes commodities according to kind.

Ekid

17

CS visits Stanley Prison and staff training centre ♦ ♦ * * *

The Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, today (Thursday) visited the maximum security prison and Correctional Services Department (CSD) Staff Training Institute at Stanley to see the operation and management of the penal facility and the rigorous training programme for CSD recruits.

Accompanied by the Commissioner of Correctional Services, Mr Raymond Lai Ming-kee, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Pang Sung-yuen, Mrs Chan toured Stanley Prison where she visited several workshops, the kitchen, two accommodation halls and the prison hospital.

She was briefed on the prison’s management and operation by the Chief Superintendent, Mr Chan Kong-sang. At present, Stanley Prison, which has a certified accommodation of 1,609, houses 1,999 inmates.

Chief Officer, Mr Lo Huen, also talked to Mrs Chan on various aspects of work at the printing and envelope-making workshops.

During a tour of the shoe-making workshop, the Chief Secretary was told the prisoners helped produce leatherware for the discipline services; and at the silkscreening workshop, she saw inmates working on a number of road signs which are exclusively produced by the Correctional Services Industries of CSD.

She also visited the garment workshop complex where she saw prisoners working in the cutting section and the television repair workshop.

The Principal Officer (Catering), Mr Cheng Shun-yan, informed the Chief Secretary of the recent renovation of the kitchen where prisoners prepare all the meals for other inmates.

At one of the accommodation halls, Assistant Officer I, Mr Li Joi-yiu, briefed Mrs Chan on the various renovations made to the cells to provide individual sanitary facilities to inmates.

The Chief Secretary also visited an accommodation hall which houses inmates serving long-term sentences as well as the institution's hospital.

18

At the Staff Training Institute, Mrs Chan was briefed by the Principal, Mr Au Siu-hau, on the various training programmes recruits have to go through during their six-month induction into CSD.

In the gymnasium, Mrs Chan saw how recruits are trained in self-defence. She also visited the laundry, a mock court where recruits were being taught how to handle prisoners in the dock, the command room, a mock cell, the museum, the computer training room, staff canteens, the indoor firing range and the parade ground.

End

Surveys on industrial production and real estate start ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Census and Statistics Department today (Thursday) announced the commencement of the Survey of Industrial Production and the Survey of Building, Construction and Real Estate Sectors for 1995.

These annual surveys are part of a continuous programme to compile statistics on the structure and performance of various economic activities in Hong Kong.

They aim to obtain up-to-date statistical data for evaluating the contribution of the relevant economic activities to Hong Kong's gross domestic product and for ascertaining their cost structure, operating characteristics and output levels.

The survey results are useful to both the government and the private sector in formulating policies and making decisions.

The Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Frederick Ho, appealed to the managements of all sampled establishments to fulfil their legal and social responsibilities by returning promptly the completed questionnaires and co-operating with officers of the department in the course of the surveys.

He stressed that information pertaining to individual establishments would be treated in strict confidence under the Census and Statistics Ordinance. Only aggregated information, which does not reveal details of individual establishments, will be released.

Mr Ho also pointed out that audited accounts were not essential for the supply of income and expenditure data required in the surveys.

19

The Census and Statistics Department accepts figures based on preliminary accounts or estimates which are correct to the best of the respondents' knowledge at the time of submission of the questionnaire, if audited accounts are not yet available.

About 11,000 establishments will be enumerated in the two surveys. The Survey of Industrial Production covers manufacturing; mining and quarrying; and electricity, gas and water.

The Survey of Building, Construction and Real Estate Sectors covers building and civil engineering construction; real estate development; architectural, surveying and project engineering; and real estate leasing, brokerage and maintenance management.

In general, information to be sought in the surveys include type of ownership; compensation of employees; consumption of materials and supplies; payments for subcontract work; other operating expenses; gross output and business receipts; capital expenditure; and other related information on the business operation of the establishments.

The surveys are conducted under the Census and Statistics (Annual Survey of Industrial Production) (Amendment) Order 1995 and Census and Statistics (Annual Survey of Building, Construction and Real Estate Sectors) (Amendment) Order 1995 respectively, which were made under the Census and Statistics Ordinance and issued as Legal Notice Nos 76 and 77 in the Hong Kong Government Gazette on February 17 last year.

Survey questionnaires have been mailed to the sampled establishments which are required by law to complete and return to the Census and Statistics Department by July 31.

If required, officers of the department will visit individual establishments and assist them in completing the questionnaires. These officers will each carry a government identity card and a certificate for conducting the surveys while on duty, which are available for inspection.

Any enquiries regarding the Survey of Industrial Production may be directed to the Industrial Production Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2882 4167.

Enquiries concerning the Survey of Building, Construction and Real Estate Sectors may be directed to the Building, Construction and Real Estate Statistics Section on 2882 4684.

End

20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

$ million Time (hours.) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,992 0930 -33

Closing balance in the account 2,111 1000 -33

Change attributable to: 1100 -33

Money market activity -33 1200 -33

LAF today + 152 1500 -33

1600 -33

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.9 *+0.1* 16.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.99 2 years 2802 6.30 100.45 6.15

1 month 5.01 3 years 3904 6.30 99.50 6.59

3 months 5.15 5 years 5103 6.75 98.51 7.24

6 months 5.23 7 years 7302 6.02 92.09 7.67

12 months 5.57 5 years M502 7.30 99.92 7.45

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $16,376 million

Closed May 16, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Friday, May 17,1996

Contents Eage No.

Transcript of CS’s media session.......................................... 1

Legislative proposals to improve workers’ benefits........................ 1

Businessmen play leading role in economic transformation: FS.............. 6

Bill to amend hotel and guesthouse laws gazetted.......................... 8

Domestic export statistics classified by industrial origin........... 11

Tenders for Tung Chung and new airport bus routes received............... 14

Origin rule for cut and sewn garments to be revised.................. 15

Law Society meets AG on conveyancing fees................................ 16

Secretary for the Treasury speaks on serving the community............... 17

IBCA and JBRI ratings for LAF purpose recognised..................... 18

Building management seminar to be held tomorrow.......................... 19

Royal Marines host Children’s Charity Challenge.......................... 20

Dredging at East of Sha Chau............................................. 20

Fresh water cut in Ap Lei Chau and Sheung Shui........................... 21

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations..................... 22

1

Transcript of CS's media session * * * * *

Following is the transcript of the remarks (English) made to the media by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, after attending the International Women's Forum 1996 Global Conference this (Friday) afternoon:

CS: I was expressing great shock at the incident involving Mr Leung. I know that the entire journalist profession and newspaper profession are equally concerned about this. Of course, the Administration is clearly concerned that this sort of violence should take place in a civilised society; we condemn this sort of behaviour. The Commissioner of Police has already set up a special task force and it will be his top priority to apprehend those involved as soon as possible. In the meantime, I do wish to extend to Mr Leung and to his family our deepest sympathy and our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Mr Leung had undergone a very very long operation yesterday, but as far as we know he is resting and we hope that the operation will be a success. In the meantime, if Mr Leung and his family require any help in the way of assistance, in the way of help for the family, we will of course be very happy to consider it.

End

Legislative proposals to improve workers' benefits

*****

The Government today (Friday) proposed a package of improvements consisting of 15 items to enhance employees rights and benefits under the Employment Ordinance.

Two bills to amend the Employment Ordinance to this effect in respect of maternity protection, long service payment, definition of wages, wage protection, and end-of-year payment were gazetted today (Friday). They will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 29.

The bills have been drawn up to give effect to the results of several reviews the Government has recently completed of the statutory employees' rights and benefits concerned under the Employment Ordinance.

Introducing the bills at a press conference this afternoon, the Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said it was the Government's policy to improve employees' benefits in a way commensurate with the pace of Hong Kong's social and economic development.

2

"To this end, the Government conducts regular reviews of the various provisions on employees' benefits under the existing labour laws and introduces improvements, as and when appropriate," he said.

The reviews were conducted in the light of Hong Kong's socio-economic changes, views expressed by trade unions and employer groups, as well as international labour standards and practices in our neighbouring countries.

"The proposals under the two bills, which have been endorsed by the Labour Advisory Board, strike a reasonable balance between the interests of employers and employees," Mr Cheung said.

The Employment (Amendment) Bill 1996 proposes a series of improvements to the maternity protection provisions, including:

* removing the qualifying service requirement for unpaid maternity leave;

* removing the limitation on the number of surviving children for maternity leave pay;

* simplifying the provisions regarding the duration of maternity leave;

* providing flexibility in the allocation of the 10 weeks' maternity leave between the ante-natal and post-natal periods;

* removing the 12 weeks' qualifying service for employment protection;

* increasing the penal damages for wrongful dismissal of a pregnant employee;

* simplifying the requirements of maternity leave notice; and

* prohibiting the assignment of hazardous work to a pregnant employee.

The EmploymentAmendment)(No 2) Bill 1996 seeks to:

* remove the percentage reduction of Long Service Payment for employees under 45 years of age and with less than 10 years' service;

* revise the definition of wages to include commission, attendance bonus, attendance allowance, travelling allowance and overtime pay;

* require an employer to pay interest on outstanding wages due to employees;

3

* entitle an employee to deem non-payment of wages for over one month as termination of employment; and

* improve the provisions on end-of-year payment.

Explaining the details of the two bills in the same press conference, Deputy Commissioner for Labour, Mr Alfred Chan Wing-kit, said the improvements to the existing provisions on maternity protection were proposed having regard to the International Labour Convention (ILC) No 3 concerning the employment of women before and after child birth, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as well as the practices in other neighbouring countries.

"Under the bill, any pregnant employee who is under a continuous contract of employment (defined as four consecutive weeks of service comprising 18 hours of work per week under the Employment Ordinance), rather than having to complete 26 weeks of continuous employment under the existing requirement, will be entitled to 10 weeks' unpaid maternity leave.

"The present qualifying condition of having no more than two surviving children is also considered less and less tenable in view of the trend of reducing family size. We therefore propose to remove this restriction," Mr Chan said.

Mr Chan said to avoid confusion over the duration of maternity leave, the Government proposed that the 10-week maternity leave should count from the date of commencement of leave, with the possible extension of a period equivalent to the number of days of delay in confinement and another period of four weeks on medical grounds.

In case the actual confinement takes place before the leave commences, the 10-week maternity leave should count from the actual date of confinement.

To protect workers against dismissal on the ground of pregnancy, the Government proposes to remove the qualifying service requirement, so that any pregnant employee who has a continuous contract of employment under the Employment Ordinance will be entitled to such protection.

As for the penal damages for wrongful dismissal of a pregnant employee, the Government proposes to increase the amount of penal damages from an amount equivalent to seven days' wages to one month's wages, in addition to the 10 weeks' maternity leave pay (if the employee will otherwise be entitled to it).

This will impose a greater deterrent effect on employers and increase the compensation for the psychological and financial sufferings of the aggrieved employees.

4

The Government also proposes to legislate against the assignment of hazardous work to a pregnant employee upon her production of a medical certificate on her unfitness to undertake such work.

Any employer who fails to accede to the employee's request without reasonable excuse is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000.

Any change in the employee's earnings as a result of her transfer from hazardous work should not affect the basis for the calculation of maternity leave pay and penal damages if she is wrongfully dismissed.

With the proposed amendments, employees will no longer be required to specify the expected dates of confinement and commencement of leave when they give maternity leave notice to their employers.

This will address to the practical difficulties in providing such dates on the part of a pregnant employee.

Outlining the Government's proposal to improve the long service payment scheme, Mr Cheung said the scheme was introduced in 1986 to provide financial protection for elderly and long-serving employees who were dismissed through no fault of their own.

"Although all employees with a minimum of five years' continuous service will be entitled to long service payment (LSP), the amount payable to employees who have less than 10 years' service will be reduced according to their age in relation to their length of service.

"This prescribed scheme of percentage reduction in the amount of LSP was drawn up on the ground that younger employees would, upon dismissal, encounter less difficulty in obtaining alternative employment.

"This has, however, been perceived as a form of discrimination against younger employees.

"We propose to remove this provision by two phases. First, the percentage reduction for those younger employees who have seven years' service or more will be removed with immediate effect. A year later, those with less than seven years service will have the reduction removed.

"With this progressive improvement, the additional cost implications on employers can be staggered over a period of one year," Mr Cheung said.

5

On wage protection, the Government proposes to require an employer to pay interest on wages owed to an employee if the wages are not paid within seven days of the due date.

The rate of interest adopted should be the same as that fixed by the Chief Justice under the District Court Ordinance now being followed by the Labour Tribunal and the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board.

To strengthen protection for employees against non-payment of wages, the Government also proposes to entitle an employee who has been owed wages for over one month to deem his employment contract to have been terminated by his employer without notice.

The employee will then be entitled to all termination payments arising from this scenario under the Employment Ordinance.

Coming to proposals on the definition of wages, Mr Chan explained that although the existing definition of wages was fairly all-embracing, the issue of whether or not certain payments (like commission and overtime pay) were wages had cropped up in the context of labour disputes from time to time.

The Government therefore proposes to amend the definition of wages as follows:

♦ to include commission, attendance bonus, attendance allowance, travelling allowances and overtime pay, subject to some specified exclusions, such as payments or reimbursements which are of a noncontractual and gratuitous nature, or payable at the discretion of the employer; and

* to include regular overtime pay in the calculation of wages for the purpose of calculating accrued employment benefits and, in the case of irregular overtime pay, to include the average overtime pay in the last 12 months, which amounts to 20 per cent or more of the employee’s average wages.

"This will help prevent unscrupulous employers from reducing their liabilities for severance payment and long service payment by designating a substantial portion of wages as overtime pay, travelling allowance and attendance bonus," said Mr Chan.

He emphasised that the proposed amendments would not create a new liability on employers to pay commission, attendance bonus, attendance allowances, travelling allowance and overtime pay.

6

Rather, they seek to clarify the nature of these payments when they are already provided under the contract of employment to the effect that they should be reckoned as part of an employee’s wages when calculating the amounts of statutory entitlements under the Employment Ordinance.

Those statutory entitlements which are calculated on the basis of an employee’s wages include wages in lieu of notice to terminate employment, severance payment, long service payment, maternity leave pay and sickness allowance (plus penal damages for wrongful termination), holiday pay, annual leave pay and end-of-year payment.

Mr Chan pointed out that while end-of-year payment (EYP) was a widespread practice in many trades in Hong Kong, disputes often arose as to whether an annual payment was of a contractual or gratuitous nature and whether the employer had any statutory obligation to pay pro-rata EYP when dismissing an employee.

To remove doubts and to further improve protection for employees, the Government proposes to make the following amendments to the EYP provisions:

♦ to provide that any contractual annual payment shall be governed by the existing provisions on EYP, except when the employer has stipulated in writing that such payment is gratuitous and payable at his discretion; and

♦ to reduce the qualifying service for pro-rata EYP from 26 weeks to three months, not including the first three months of any probation period, in the payment period.

End

Businessmen play leading role in economic transformation: FS *****

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, said today (Friday) that the economic transformation of Hong Kong was started and was being led by the private sector without any formal government intervention..

Speaking at a business luncheon organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Singapore, Mr Tsang said this principal of minimal intervention by government in the business sector had been the linchpin of Hong Kong's economic success.

7

’’Some of our leading businessmen today were responsible for spearheading the development of the manufacturing base in Hong Kong in the 1950s.

"Many of those who helped develop Hong Kong’s economy some 30 years ago have not been idle. Instead, they have continued to take a leading role in the transformation process.

"Hong Kong businessmen can take much pride in the role they have played in transforming Hong Kong from a barren rock.

"Without their entrepreneurial skills and flair, their ‘can-do’ attitude, their foresight and above all their long-term confidence in Hong Kong, which they have continuously displayed over the past 50 years, Hong Kong would not be the success it is today," Mr Tsang said.

"As a community, Hong Kong looks to them for leadership," he added.

He noted that the transformation had not ushered in the demise of Hong Kong’s manufacturing industries, although a structural change in the sector had taken place at a fast pace.

"A strong manufacturing base has been and will remain a key feature of Hong Kong's economic activities," he said.

"The human resources released from the labour intensive manufacturing operations have fuelled naturally Hong Kong’s trade-related services to reach an ever rising plateau of prosperity and maturity."

Mr Tsang said there was much potential for an effective partnership between the professionals in Singapore and Hong Kong to be forged.

"There are many areas in which we have seen close ties between Singapore and Hong Kong," he said.

"Bilateral trade between Singapore and Hong Kong grown rapidly over the years and in 1995 was worth SS21.25 billion, representing an increase of an impressive 23 per cent over 1994."

Singapore is Hong Kong’s sixth largest export market and fifth largest source of imports.

Mr Tsang said Singapore companies had made their presence felt across a wide spectrum of commercial activities in Hong Kong.

8

"Singapore is Hong Kong's seventh largest external investor in the manufacturing sector, with total investment estimated at about SS190 million by end of 1994," he said.

He added that the close relationship between Singapore and Hong Kong was the reason why the Hong Kong Government had chosen to establish in Singapore the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) for the ASEAN region.

Mr Tsang is continuing the second leg of his Southeast Asian trip to Singapore.

He met with the Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong in the afternoon to discuss matters of mutual interest. He also visited the Economic Development Board of Singapore and had a useful exchange with its Chairman, Mr Philip Yeo.

The Financial Secretary will officiate at the opening ceremony of HKETO and Hong Kong Tourist Association office in Suntec City, Singapore, later this evening.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore, Mr Goh Chee Wee, will be the guest of honour of the grand opening reception of the Singapore office.

End

Bill to amend hotel and guesthouse laws gazetted *****

A bill to amend three ordinances concerning hotels and guesthouses to address their deficiencies was gazetted today (Friday).

A spokesman for the Home Affairs Branch said today (Friday) that the Hotel Accommodation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996 was introduced to amend some provisions of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance, the Hotel Proprietors Ordinance and the Hotel Accommodation Tax Ordinance.

The Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance, which was enacted in May 1991, provides for a licensing scheme to regulate hotel and guesthouse accommodation to ensure that these establishments comply with requirements on fire and building safety, health and hygiene.

The spokesman said in implementing the licensing scheme, the Home Affairs Department's Licensing Authority (LA) identified several deficiencies in the ordinance.

9

’’The definition of ’hotel’ and ’guesthouse’ under the ordinance has allowed establishments which offer accommodation to certain categories of persons, such as persons of a particular nationality or clients of one tourist agency, to operate outside the ambit of the Ordinance,” he said.

’’These establishments are in substance hotels and guesthouses and should be licensed so that their safety is under control."

He also said the interpretation of the term "any person presenting himself’ in the definition by a High Court judge in an appeal case in March had restricted the scope of application of the ordinance as the judge ruled that hotels which accepted guests with prior reservations were not within the purview of the Ordinance.

"This judgment has created a loophole whereby hotels could claim that they let rooms in response to prior reservations and should not be subject to licensing," he said.

"To address the deficiencies, we propose that the definition of ’hotel’ and ’guesthouse' be amended so that its scope includes establishments which offer accommodation to limited categories of persons; and that a person can present himself in person or through an agent or a representative, with or without prior booking."

On the period of licences issued to hotels and guesthouses, the spokesman said it was proposed that licences of up to three years’ validity be issued or renewed.

He explained that most hotels had been issued licences with schedules containing major safety works and timetables for completion, and LA would consider issuing to hotels which had completed the scheduled works licences valid for up to three years in order to obviate the need for annual licence renewal.

"However, three-year licences cannot be issued without amending the ordinance," he said.

"The approval of three-year licences will be considered on a case by case basis and be granted only for establishments that are fulfilling the fire and building safety standards and would not abuse the licensing control," he stressed.

"Guesthouses may also be considered for three-year licences provided that the above conditions are fulfilled."

The spokesman said another amendment proposed was that notices for remedial works and in relation to closure order could be served by posting them in a conspicuous part of the premises.

10

’’Under the ordinance, the notices may be served to the responsible person of a hotel or guesthouse personally or by registered post. However, serving of these notices would be difficult when the whereabouts or identity of the responsible persons are not known.

"It would assist operationally if these notices could be served by posting them in a conspicuous part of the premises without the need to state the name of the addressee,” he said.

Another amendment, the spokesman said, was to allow any person authorised in writing by the Secretary for Home Affairs to enter a hotel or guesthouse to execute remedial works while a closure order was in force.

The spokesman explained that under the ordinance, the premises, once closed by order, might not be re-entered for carrying out the remedial works required. Without these works, the premises cannot be made safe and cannot be reopened as a hotel or guesthouse.

To tackle the time limit problem faced by LA in taking prosecution action against an offender, a new Section was proposed to be added in the ordinance, the spokesman said.

’’Under the Magistrates Ordinance, LA is barred from initiating prosecution if an offence has been committed more than six months before the Authority issues the summons.

"This is unsatisfactory because an offence may occur immediately after an inspection of the premises by LA at the time of renewal of the licence and in these circumstances the offence will not be discovered shortly.

"The new Section will specify that the time bar for prosecution of offences shall be either six months of the commission of the offence or six months of the offence being discovered by or coming to the notice of LA, whichever is the later," he said.

The spokesman said the bill also proposes to amend the definition of "hotel" in the Hotel Accommodation Tax Ordinance and Hotel Proprietors Ordinance.

"As ’hotel' is similarly defined in the Hotel Accommodation Tax Ordinance as in the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance, the definition has also presented problems on the charging of Hotel Accommodation Tax on establishments which are in substance hotels.

5

- 11 -

’’Similar amendments to the definition are therefore made to plug the loophole,” he said.

The bill was endorsed by the Govemor-in-Council on May 14 and will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 29.

End

Domestic export statistics classified by industrial origin *****

In the first quarter of 1996, the four major industries of wearing apparel; textiles; machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components; and consumer electrical and electronic products together accounted for 68% of Hong Kong’s total domestic exports of manufactured goods, according to statistics released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

In the first quarter of 1996, domestic exports of machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components increased by 12% over a year earlier to $9.4 billion.

On the other hand, domestic exports of consumer electrical and electronic products, textiles and wearing apparel decreased by 23%, 7% and 3% to $6.4 billion, $7.9 billion and $8.6 billion respectively.

For the industry of transport equipment, although the change in absolute value was not large, there was a marked increase of more than 20 times. The increase was mainly in the category of motorboats, tugs and pusher crafts, and other vessels.

On the other hand, more notable absolute decreases in the value of domestic exports were recorded for professional and optical equipment (-$257 million or -7%); basic metals and fabricated metal products (-$216 million or -10%); chemicals and chemical products (-$206 million or -10%); and plastic products (-$197 million or -17%).

For the footwear industry, although the change in absolute value was not as large, a marked percentage decrease of 51% was recorded.

The above statistics of domestic exports classified by industrial origin are derived by re grouping the merchandise export items originally grouped under the external trade classification system according to the industries in which these merchandise items are normally produced. Transactions in gold and specie are excluded.

12

The industrial classification used is the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC). HSIC is to be distinguished from the United Nations Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) used in the regular trade statistics reports.

In comparison, HSIC is more related to production processes whereas SITC is more geared to end uses of products.

Caution should be taken when referring to these domestic export statistics classified by industrial origin. There may be several intermediate processing stages in the production of certain merchandise export items.

In compiling the above statistics, the total value of such an item has however been wholly related to the industry in which the item is finally produced. The above domestic export statistics of a particular industry may include products which are secondary products by establishments of other industries.

Further details of merchandise domestic export statistics classified by industrial origin may be found in the attached table which is obtainable from the General Economic Surveys Section of the Census and Statistics Department, Tel 2805 6642.

A table showing more detailed breakdowns of similar statistics for major manufacturing industries is also included in the report "Hong Kong External Trade, March 1996".

13

Domestic exports of manufactured goods classified by industrial origin for the first quarter of 1996

$ Million

Industrial origin of the commodities exported Merchandise domestic exports

1996 1st qtr. 1995 1st qtr. Value change % change

Food 620.2 650.2 -30.0 -4.6

Beverages 147.9 201.8 -53.9 -26.7

Tobacco manufactures 530.7 582.4 -51.7 -8.9

Textiles (including knitting) 7,948.3 8,550.5 -602.2 -7.0

Wearing apparel, except footwear 8,564.7 8,788.3 -223.6 -2.5

Leather and leather products, except footwear and wearing apparel 331.2 365.0 -33.8 -9.3

Footwear, except rubber, plastic and wooden footwear 9.4 19.2 -9.8 -51.1

Wood and cork products, furniture and fixtures 89.7 89.6 +0.0 +0.0

Paper and paper products, printing and publishing 1,808.9 1,781.0 +27.9 + 1.6

Chemicals and chemical products 1,779.0 1,985.3 -206.3 -10.4

Products of petroleum and coal 5.5 4.7 +0.8 +16.0

Rubber products 11.9 18.5 -6.6 -35.5

Plastic products 970.5 1,167.8 -197.3 -16.9

Non-metallic mineral products, except products of petroleum and coal 86.1 141.8 -55.7 -39.3

Basic metals and fabricated metal products 2,050.2 2,266.1 -215.9 -9.5

Machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components 9,359.4 8,354.5 +1,005.0 +12.0

Consumer electrical and electronic products 6,418.2 8,335.9 -1,917.7 -23.0

Transport equipment 68.0 3.1 +64.9 +2,086.4

Professional and optical equipment 3,560.8 3,817.9 -257.1 -6.7

Other manufacturing industries 3,036.9 2,951.0 +85.9 +2.9

Total 47,397.4 50,074.5 -2,677.1 -5.3

Notes: 1. Individual entries of a column may not add up exactly to the corresponding total due to rounding. All percentage changes are calculated from unrounded figures.

2. The statistics presented in the above table are derived by re-grouping the merchandise export items (except gold and specie) under the external trade classification system according to the industries in which these items are normally produced. As from 1992, the Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 3 (SITC R3) has been adopted in place of the Revision 2 (SITC R2) for the classification of trade statistics. The above statistics may not be strictly comparable with those published for earlier years due to the change in trade classification.

General Economic Surveys Section, Census & Statistics Department, Hong Kong.

Tel.: 2805 6642

May 1996

End

14

Tenders for Tung Chung and new airport bus routes received ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Transport Department received bids from three tenderers for the operation of the two packages of bus routes to serve the new developments in Tung Chung and the new airport at Chek Lap Kok.

A spokesman for the department today (Friday) said the two packages include a total of 25 bus routes and each package comprised a balanced mix of services.

All three tenderers bid for package 1 while only two of them bid for package 2.

The spokesman said of the 25 bus routes, 19 were conventional services comprising seven long-distance routes linking the new airport with other districts in the territory, eight shuttle routes serving Tung Chung and the Chek Lap Kok Island, and four overnight routes to cover the 24-hour operation of the new airport.

Some of these conventional bus routes are multi-functional and will have buses provided with luggage facilities.

In addition, there are six airbus routes connecting the new airport with major hotels and the commercial areas.

The spokesman said operators of airbus routes would be expected to provide a delicated premium service with upmarket air-conditioned vehicles and a wide range of customer-oriented facilities.

"Some of the routes will commence operation in mid-1997 to tie in with the first population intake in Tung Chung New Town and the build-up of airport employees.

’’The bus network will be fully operational upon the opening of the new airport,” the spokesman said.

The tender selection process would start immediately.

End

15

Origin rule for cut and sewn garments to be revised *****

Hong Kong's origin rule for cut and sewn garments will be revised with effect from July 1 from "cutting and sewing" to "assembly of parts into garments", the Trade Department announced today (Friday).

The revision will not deviate from the basic principle of "substantial transformation", which is an internationally accepted criterion for origin determination, and will not affect Hong Kong's obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Rules of Origin.

A department spokesman said: "The revision will in fact be a step towards bringing about greater harmonisation of origin rules before the conclusion of an ongoing international effort to align origin rules being undertaken by the WTO."

He said Hong Kong had all along been a staunch advocate of free trade and its policy was to provide a good trading and investment environment to the industry.

"The change of origin rule for cut and sewn garments will on the whole benefit our trade and industry as a broadly harmonised origin criterion will eliminate the need to invest in different modes of manufacturing to cater for the requirements of different markets, thus enhancing the competitiveness of the local industry," the spokesman said.

At present, divergent origin rules are being adopted by Hong Kong and its major trading partners for cut and sewn garments, that is, "cutting" for the United States (US), "complete making-up" for the European Union (EU) and "cutting and sewing" for Hong Kong.

The promulgation of the US Uruguay Round Agreement Act (URAA) has confirmed that US will revise its origin rule for cut and sewn garments from "cutting" to "wholly assembled" effective from July 1.

The revised US rule will, in effect, bring it into closer alignment with the origin rule currently adopted by the EU.

"With an emerging common international practice of using 'assembling' as origin-conferring process for cut and sewn garments, the Trade Department, after careful consideration, has concluded that there is no need to maintain a more stringent origin rule than our trading partners." the spokesman said.

"It is therefore decided to revise the current Hong Kong origin rule to 'assembly of parts into garments' with effect from July 1."

16

To cater for the revision of the origin rule, he said, a new set of certification arrangements would apply for cut and sewn garments effective from the same date.

’’The new arrangements are simple to administer and would not pose onerous burdens on local traders and manufacturers,” said the spokesman, adding that details of the arrangements have been incorporated in a Certificate of Origin Circular issued today to traders and manufacturers.

To familiarise traders and manufacturers with the new certification arrangements, the Trade Department will be conducting in mid-June a seminar to explain the implementation details of the new arrangements.

Interested traders should contact Mr H K Wu of the department’s Certification Branch on 2398 5542 to reserve their seats.

End

Law Society meets AG on conveyancing fees ♦ * * * ♦

The President, Vice President and other representatives of the Hong Kong Law Society met the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews, today (Friday) and presented a position paper setting out the Society’s proposals on fees for conveyancing work.

Mr Mathews said he would give their proposals very careful consideration. He would consider whether they were fair to consumers and not anti-competitive, and would take into consideration the considerable public support for the abolition of scale fees.

In February, the Attorney General announced that the Administration would prepare legislation to abolish scale fees for introduction to the Legislative Council this session.

In the meantime, if the Law Society wanted to come forward with alternative proposals that were fair to consumers and were not anti-competitive, the Administration would give them careful consideration.

End

17

Secretary for the Treasury speaks on serving the community ♦ ♦ * * *

The Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, said today (Friday) that the Government was changing its culture with the introduction of a caring touch in serving the community.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants’ Annual Dinner, Mr Kwong said the Government had spent considerable time over the past few years developing a serving the community programme and focusing on improving service to the community .

He said the aim of the programme was to foster stability and prosperity, improve the quality of life of the whole community, care for those who need help, protect the rights and freedoms of the individual, maintain the rule of law, and encourage people to play their part in their community.

’’Since the services we deliver are public services and involve spending public money, the community expects us to provide services in a proper and ethical way. Therefore, we have developed a number of common values which include propriety, integrity, efficiency, and openness,” he said.

The Government had identified four core principles in order to turn the aims into reality. These were: accountability, living within our means, managing for performance, and developing our culture of service, he added.

"All departments have now introduced performance pledges setting out in Very clear terms the level of service the community can expect from many thousands of different types of services and transactions that the Government provides on a daily basis,” he said.

"It has become apparent that the business community’s needs are more specific and we must focus more on these to enable this sector to remain competitive and continue to play its major role in generating the wealth that sustains the community as a whole.”

It was with this in mind that the Financial Secretary announced a 'helping business' programme in his budget speech, Mr Kwong said.

The programme has set the aim to cut red tape and eliminate over regulation, to reduce the cost of compliance and enforcement whenever possible, to transfer services out of the public sector to the business sector, and to improve existing services or introduce new services in response to reasonable demands from the business sector.

18

"To get things moving, we have commissioned a number of pilot studies that will test different types of improvements - service-wide, departmental^ and on a project basis," Mr Kwong said.

"We have set ourselves a fairly ambitious target of completing the pilot studies over the next six months. Where we go from there will depend very much on the results.

"I am hoping it will lead to our widening the range of studies and ultimately to integration of the concepts and ideas into the daily management process of Government departments"

End

IBCA and JBRI ratings for LAF purpose recognised ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) today (Friday) announced that the ratings of IBCA and the Japan Bond Research Institute (JBRI) will be recognised by HKMA in assessing the eligibility of Hong Kong dollar denominated debt issues as Repo securities for discounting under LAF with immediate effect.

The minimum requirements in respect of the ratings assigned by IBCA and JBRI for LAF purpose for the time being are as follows:

Debt instruments issued by:

.Banks Non-bank issuers

IBCA A- A

JBRI A+ AA-

HKMA reserves the right to make adjustments to the above minimum rating requirements from time to time.

Previously only the ratings of the S&P’s and Moody’s were recognised for LAF purpose. IBCA is a London-based rating agency set up in 1978. JBRI, which is based in Tokyo, was established in 1979.

End

19

Building management seminar to be held tomorrow

*****

More than 600 flat owners, office-bearers of owners' corporations and mutual aid committee members are expected to benefit from professional advice on building management at a seminar at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre tomorrow (Saturday).

Jointly organised by the Home Affairs and the Housing departments, the Building Management Seminar '96 is an annual event to promote effective building management among members of the public.

Five professionals in the field, including a solicitor, an accountant, a housing manager, a police superintendent and a representative of the Hong Kong Association of Property Management Companies will speak on various topics.

Subjects to be covered include the contracting out of public housing estate management, the security personnel permit, proper accounting of management fees and special funds, the role of property manager in building management and legal aspects of building management.

A question-and-answer session will follow each presentation to allow participants to raise questions. Concluding the seminar will be an open discussion in which participants and speakers can exchange views on various issues relating to building management.

About 60 district board members will share their experience in handling building management issues with participants at the seminar.

An exhibition highlighting the major aspects of the topic will also be staged at the venue.

End

20

Royal Marines host Children's Charity Challenge * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Royal Marines fast-roping from a helicopter, music from the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps, a Royal Air Force Wessex helicopter on display - these are just a taste of what is on offer at Kings Park Sports Ground, Kowloon, on Sunday (May 19), when the Royal Marines host a Children's Charity Challenge.

While the 10-man detachment from the Royal Navy's Base at HMS Tamar, Stonecutters Island, entertains over 80 children from local schools, members of the public are invited to join in the fun and help raise money for the Hong Kong Branch of the Save The Children Fund.

Admission to the event, which kicks off at 10 am on Sunday, costs $20 for adults, free of charge for children, and visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of entertainment including trampolining, a bouncy castle, paintballing, target golf and beat the goalkeeper.

Prizes of a "White-knuckle" ride in a Royal Navy Fast Pursuit Craft, a helicopter flight over Hong Kong and dinner in some of the territory's top restaurants will also be up for grabs in a grand prize draw.

The Royal Marines, who are based at 42 Cdo, Plymouth, in the United Kingdom, are nearing the end of their four-month detachment to Hong Kong and are following in the fund-raising footsteps of their predecessors who, earlier in the year, took part in Rent-A-Royal in aid of the Save The Children Fund.

End

Dredging at East of Sha Chau * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Civil Engineering Department (CED) is inviting tenders for dredging works at east of Sha Chau.

The works comprise the dredging of about nine million cubic metres of uncontaminated mud from pits Ilic, I lid and Ilie at east of Sha Chau.

These mud pits, when ready, will be used for the disposal of contaminated mud arising from the forthcoming reclamation and dredging projects.

21

The contract is expected to commence in July for completion in February next

year.

Designed by the Fill Management Division of the Geotechnical Engineering Office, the project will be supervised by the Port Works Division of the Civil Engineering Office, CED.

Tender forms and further particulars can be obtained from the Chief Engineer, Port Works Division, Civil Engineering Office, CED, fifth floor, Civil Engineering Building, 101 Princess Margaret Road, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon.

Tender offers will close at noon on Friday, June 7.

End

Fresh water cut in Ap Lei Chau and Sheung Shui ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Fresh water supply to some premises in Ap Lei Chau and Sheung Shui will be temporarily suspended between 11 pm on Monday (May 20) and 6 am the following day for waste detection work on water mains.

The suspension will affect premises in Ap Lei Chau Main Street, Lee Man Road, Lee Chi Road, Ho King Street, San Shi Street, Shui Sau Street, Shan Ming Street, Ping Lan Street, Wai Fung Street, Hung Shing Street and London Lane.

In Sheung Shui, the suspension will affect Ngau Tei and Kam Tsin (Kam Tsin Tsuen) of Kam Tsin Road, and Tsung Pak Long, Yin Kong of the Kwu Tung Section of Castle Peak Road.

End

22

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,111 0930 -154

Closing balance in the account 3,460 1000 -154

Change attributable to : 1100 -150

Money market activity +47 1200 -149

LAF today +1,302 1500 -149

1600 +47

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.9 *+0.0* 17.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.08 2 years 2805 6.30 100.32 6.22

1 month 5.08 3 years 3904 6.30 99.29 6.68

3 months 5.16 5 years 5103 6.75 98.24 7.31

6 months 5.25 7 years 7302 6.02 91.74 7.74

12 months 5.61 5 years M502 7.30 99.69 7.52

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $16,958 million

Closed May 17, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Saturday, May 18,1996

Contents PaggNo.

Age limit for one-way permit children to be lifted..................... 1

Closer relations with Guangdong rescue centre to be fostered........... 1

HAD steps up training to handle building management issues............. 3

New Wan Chai District Officer appointed................................ 4

Fresh water cut in Sha Tin.............................................

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operation.................... 5

Sunday, May 19,1996

Contents Eage.’So.

Governor's "Letter to Hong Kong"....................................... 6

HK to participate in textile council meeting........................... 8

DGT to attend APEC senior officials meeting in Cebu.................... 9

1996 voter registration to close on June 1............................. 10

Efforts to speed up restaurant licensing............................. 11

Placement service for redundant teachers............................... 12

44 new building plans approved in March................................ 13

Organisations reminded to apply for flag days.......................... 14

Fresh water cut in Tsuen Wan and San Po Kong........................... 15

1

Age limit for one-way permit children to be lifted

*****

In response to press enquiries, a government spokesman confirmed today (Saturday) that the age restriction for mainland children coming to Hong Kong under the one-way permit system will be lifted from July 1 but the daily quota of one-way permits will remain at 150 as at present.

The daily quota for one-way permits for Chinese nationals to come and settle in Hong Kong was increased from 105 to 150 from July last year.

Of the 45 additional places, 30 are given to mainland children who will have right of abode in Hong Kong after 1997, and the rest to persons separated from their spouses for 10 years or more.

It was agreed with the Chinese side last year that for the first year of increase, the additional quota for eligible children would only benefit those outside the schoolage range, that was those who were newly-born to five years old and those between 16 and 20 years old.

The spokesman recalled that the arrangement was introduced to match the entry of school-aged children with the decline in Hong Kong's secondary school population, due to begin in 1996-97.

The age restriction in the first year would ensure that school-aged children would only come at a time when there were vacancies in secondary schools, and would thus reduce the impact on education services, he added.

End

Closer relations with Guangdong rescue centre to be fostered

*****

To foster a closer working relation, the Marine Department will soon embark a programme to exchange search and rescue (SAR) controllers with the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Guangdong, the Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, said today (Saturday).

Speaking at a certificate presentation for the fourth Maritime Search and Rescue Mission Co-ordinator Course this morning, Mr Dale said during his recent visit to Beijing, an agreement was reached to exchange SAR controllers between the Guangdong and Hong Kong MRCCs.

2

"An exchange programme between the two neighbouring rescue co-ordination centres will enhance better understanding and eventually better deployment of resources on a regional level," Mr Dale said.

"My officers are already in daily contacts with their counterparts in Guangdong and they can just pick up the phone and call other by his first name.

"Nevertheless the exchange programme will enable the SAR controllers of the two centres to understand how the system work and team up better with each other."

The Hong Kong MRCC is responsible for the SAR operation both in Hong Kong waters and the area of South China Sea north of latitude 10 degrees north and west of longitude 120 degrees east, excluding the immediate coastal waters of neighbouring states.

Thirteen officers took part in the two-week course which is modelled on the United States Coast Guard Search and Rescue System. Among them are two marine officers from Macau while the others come from the Marine Department, the Police, Fire Services and the Government Flying Services.

Through regular training courses run by the Marine Department, Hong Kong maintains the necessary reserve of well qualified SAR mission controllers.

Besides keeping a pool of trained marine officers for MRCC, officers of the Marine Police, Government Flying Service and Fire Services on the course will find it useful as an additional tool in their professional activities.

The Hong Kong MRCC has full communications capability to undertake SAR missions for ships in difficulties within about 1,300 kilometres of Hong Kong and in handling of vessels emergencies within Hong Kong waters.

Hong Kong has done an excellent job in search and rescue operations which has earned praises from both the International Maritime Organisation and shipping companies.

End

3

HAD steps up training to handle building management issues

*****

The Home Affairs Department (HAD) has stepped up training for liaison staff to improve their skills in dealing with matters involving owners' corporations (OCs), the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau, said today (Saturday).

Officiating at the Building Management Seminar' 96, Mrs Lau said training courses on specific subjects had been designed and guidelines drawn up to help HAD staff handle public enquiries on building management issues.

Small group discussions and seminars were also organised to enable them to share their experiences.

Mrs Lau said: "The Home Affairs Department has all along been actively providing a wide variety of services to encourage and facilitate flat owners to incorporate themselves.

"The liaison officers of district offices will explain the formation procedures to the owners.

"To help them convene the formation meeting, district officers will issue exemption certificates to allow them to obtain free of charge information on the owners from the Land Registry.

"And after the formation of OCs, the officers will maintain contact with them and give them advice whenever they encounter problems in managing the building."

Mrs Lau pointed out that many of the over 4,500 OCs in the territory were formed with the encouragement and assistance of HAD.

Noting that OCs were legal entities established under the Deeds of Mutual Covenant and the Building Management Ordinance, Mrs Lau said the operation of corporations required the participation of owners in accordance with the law.

"In this connection, OCs or individual owners should seek legal advice from professionals in case of legal arguments, although HAD staff will endeavour to render general advice," she said.

To further owners’ understanding of effective building management, HAD has been organising seminars, workshops, training courses and exhibitions on a regular basis for flat owners, office-bearers of OCs and mutual aid committee members, in addition to an annual large scale building management seminar.

4

Booklets, leaflets, and videotapes on building management have also been produced to promote public understanding of the subject. Members of the public are welcome to obtain copies of the publications and borrow the videotapes at district offices.

Meanwhile, HAD has formed Building Management Co-ordination Teams (BMCTs) to help owners and occupants to resolve building management disputes.

Mrs Lau said: “Nine BMCTs have been formed since 1985. These teams work closely with other government departments to identify 'target buildings' with serious management problems for inclusion in an improvement programme."

Among the 1,000 target buildings identified, over 400 have seen promising improvements after joint action by various government departments, OCs and individual owners and residents, she noted.

The Building Management Seminar '96 was jointly organised by HAD and the Housing Department, with more than 800 flat owners, office-bearers of OCs and mutual aid committees participating.

Five professionals in the field talked on their respective specialities, including the contracting out of public housing estate management, the security personnel permit, proper accounting of management fees and special funds, the role of property managers in building management and legal aspects of building management.

End

New Wan Chai District Officer appointed ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Mrs Elaine Tang Tse Yuk-ling will take up the post of Wan Chai District Officer on Monday (May 20), replacing Mrs Karen Pong Leung Kwok-hing.

Mrs Tang, aged 35, joined the Government as an Administrative Officer in 1987 and was promoted to Senior Administrative Officer in 1994.

She has served in the former Medical and Health Department, Transport Branch and Civil Service Branch.

Her last posting was as a member of the 1996 Administrative Officer Recruitment Board.

End

5

Fresh water cut in Sha Tin ♦ * * ♦ ♦

Fresh water supply to some premises in Sha Tin will be temporarily suspended from 11 pm on Tuesday (May 21) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on water mains.

The suspension will affect all premises along Au Pui Wan Street, Wo Heung Street, Wo Shui Street, Wu Lui Hang Road and Min Fong Street in Fo Tan.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations * * * * *

SLmillian Time (hours) Cumulative change ($ million)

Opening balance in the account 3,460 09:30 -1,300

Closing balance in the account 2,082 10:00 -1,300

Change attributable to: 11:00 -1,300

Money market activity -1,300 11:30 -1,300

LAF today -78

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.8 *-0.1* 18.5.96

End

6

Governor’s "Letter to Hong Kong" ♦ * * * ♦

Following is the full text of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten's broadcast on RTHK's "Letter to Hong Kong" this (Sunday) morning:

I got home from Seattle last weekend reasonably pleased about how my trip to Canada and the United States had gone. I'd spoken to big and interested audiences everywhere. I'd met most of the leaders in both countries. In Canada, the government had made clear that they were prepared in principle to concede visa-free access for SAR passports holders, but they needed more reassurance from us about the retumability of any travellers who were breaking the rules, and from China they needed - we all do - more information about right of abode. In America, President Clinton's Administration - faced with considerable domestic criticism of China, whose standing according to the polls is lower today in the eyes of American people than it was in the aftermath of Tiananmen - members of the Administration told me that they greatly valued my help in pressing the case for unconditional renewal of China's MFN status on Capitol Hill.

Any reading of the Canadian and American press would have also told you that North American audiences regarded me as optimistic about Hong Kong after 1997 -"warily optimistic" in the "New York Times" headline phrases - but there was quite a bit of doubt about whether that optimism was justified by recent events.

The united front demonstrators who greeted me on my return had, however, another view of my visit, and that was reflected by some parts of the media which travel with them from time to time. As I accepted their petitions, recognising a number of familiar faces from other orchestrated "demos", I couldn't help wondering why they were shouting at me rather than having a good old rant down in Happy Valley. Consider, after all, what their main message was.

First, they accused me of "internationalising" Hong Kong. As I've said before, in the long history of nonsense this charge gets a chapter all to itself. Hong Kong is a great international city. It's future is a matter of huge interest.

International interest. That interest is going to grow, partly because all around the world people are going to regard the way Peking treats Hong Kong after 1997 as one of the acid tests of how China is going to behave internationally in the years ahead.

If you don't believe me on that, just listen to what some of China's most distinguished leaders themselves have said on exactly the same lines.

Second, those professional demonstrators also charged me with bad-mouthing Hong Kong, of selling Hong Kong short. Nothing could be further from the truth.

7

I put the case for Hong Kong as vigorously as I know how. I pointed out how we'd defied gloomy predictions in the past, how our economy continued to grow strongly based on secure foundations, how the natural entrepreneurialism and resilience of people in Hong Kong and their deep commitment to the values and institutions of what Americans call civil society - professions, charities, the rule of law, free newspapers, responsible democratic action, accountable and clean government - all that, I said, would see Hong Kong through any choppy waters in the next few years. No one, I said, repeating the old adage, had ever made any money out of betting against Hong Kong.

But what's all that about choppy waters? Unfortunately it's the stretch of sea on which the words and deeds of some Chinese officials and China's advisers have focused most international and conceivably domestic attention recently. You see what I and other defenders of Hong Kong find ourselves doing is trying to repair some of the damage done to Hong Kong and to our image by the events of recent weeks and months.

Typically, Americans - already worried about Taiwan, weapons proliferation, intellectual property theft, and human rights in China - asked about the closing down of LegCo, the threat to throttle the Bill of Rights, the political neutrality of the civil service and the independence of the judiciary. At every meeting I attended, question after question enquired about Hong Kong's autonomy, freedom and prosperity if the Legislative Council, the judiciary and the civil service were in Peking's pocket and if the protection of civil liberties here were to be scrapped. Why these questions? You know why they were asked. Just remember the newspaper headlines in March and April reporting on Chinese statements and actions. The damage to Hong Kong is done by those who make the threats not by those who do their best to answer them.

I repeat - if you don't believe me, read the reports of the people who were at those meetings, listening to the questions being asked. Hear what they have to say. It's the oldest trick in the book, to try to shift the blame for exceedingly ill-judged actions onto the shoulders of those who have to deal with their consequences.

There were two other criticisms on the united front charge sheet. First, that I'd accused big businessmen of - and I quote - "betraying" Hong Kong and its freedoms. Leave aside the fact, quite a big fact when you come to think of it, that I've never, ever used that word, and come to the nub of what I've actually said. And that is quite simple. I've said that it's a pity that those members of the Preparatory Committee who clearly have not underestimated the importance of the value of freedom and the rule of law for themselves seem reluctant to stand up for those things for Hong Kong as a whole. But I'll take that back, I'll do so with enthusiasm, when someone on the Committee - anyone - speaks out for dialogue with the democrats not confrontation, speaks up for human rights in Hong Kong, stands up to fellow members who in the last few weeks have called into question the neutrality of the civil service and the independence of the judges.

8

What do you think that American audiences make of the handful of Hong Kongers who have been there recently to say that no one in Hong Kong cares about democracy and human rights? What do you think they make of those who have said that America and the rest of the world should turn a blind eye to any problems in Hong Kong after 1997?

I hope there won't be any problems. That's what I said in America. And I said, too, that even if there were, Hong Kong would come through them, survive and prosper. This great city, created by individual men and women working within the law, a city which was built by business flair and acumen, will I'm sure take every challenge in its stride.

But it will be helped to do so by the interest and support of the rest of the world, including Britain. The Joint Declaration commits Britain by treaty to a special moral responsibility for 50 years after 1997 - not an extension of sovereignty, or of meddling in China's affairs - but a responsibility for speaking out if any of the promises made to Hong Kong are broken. I hope they won't be. I refuse to get drawn into the assumption that they will be. Some of my audiences this month have raised an eyebrow at that. But I believe that all will eventually turn out well, because as I've said over and over again, I believe in the people of Hong Kong - their energy, courage, commitment and talent.

That was my message in North America. And it will be my message in Europe and Japan when I visit later in the year. On those visits, I hope that the water won't have been muddied by others quite as much as it was over the last few weeks. But in any event I'll do my best to speak up and speak out for Hong Kong - now, then, and always.

End

HK to participate in textile council meeting *****

The Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mr Tam Wing-pong, will head a Hong Kong delegation to attend the council meeting of the International Textiles and Clothing Bureau (ITCB) to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, next week to discuss a common position on textile matters for consideration in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) first Ministerial Conference in Singapore in December.

Starting from tomorrow (Monday) and lasting for five days, the ITCB meeting will be of particular importance in view of the completion of the first year of the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC), which came into effect in January last year to integrate the textiles and clothing sector into the multilateral trading system, and in view of the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference.

9

The 23rd since its establishment in 1985, the meeting will discuss the formulation of integration proposals for the second stage, the functioning of the Textiles Monitoring Body (TMB), the operation of rules of origin, and preparation for the WTO Ministerial Conference.

Mr Tam will attend the second Senior Officials Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) in Cebu, the Philippines next Wednesday before joining the Hong Kong delegation at the ITCB meeting in Bangkok on May 23.

ITCB is an inter-governmental organisation established to achieve the elimination of discrimination and protectionism directed against the textiles and clothing exports of its members in the world market, to achieve the full application of GATT rules and principles, and to assist its members in ensuring that their rights under the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) are effectively enforced.

Membership of ITCB is open to all developing countries and territories exporting textiles and clothing. At present, there are 22 members, including China, Hong Kong and Macau.

As a major exporter of textiles and clothing, Hong Kong has benefited from its participation in ITCB which helped to unite the developing countries and territories during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and contributed to the conclusion of WTO ATC.

With the establishment of WTO, ITCB continues to play an important role in monitoring and pursuing the fruitful implementation of ATC in integrating the textiles and clothing sector into the WTO regime through a 10-year transitional period to phase out quantitative restrictions under MFA.

End

DGT to attend APEC senior officials meeting in Cebu * ♦ ♦ * *

The Director-General of Trade, Mr Tony Miller, will depart for Cebu, the Philippines, tomorrow (Monday) to attend this year's second Senior Officials Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) to be held between May 22 and 25 to review work progress in preparing for the implementation of the APEC goal of free trade and investment by 2010/2020.

Mr Miller will lead a Hong Kong delegation comprising officials from the Trade and Industry Branch, the Financial Services Branch, the Industry Department, the Customs and Excise Department, the Government Supplies Department, the Department of Health and the Trade Department.

10

Hosted by the Philippines, the 1996 APEC Chair, the second Senior Officials Meeting will be tasked to review work progress in the preparation of the individual action plans by APEC member economies, basing on the format agreed at the first senior officials meeting held in February, for implementing the Osaka Action Agenda in respect of trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation.

Another major task will be to prepare for the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting which will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, in July for APEC member economies to exchange views on the agenda of the World Trade Organisation Singapore Ministerial Conference in December.

The second Senior Officials Meeting will be preceded by a series of meetings including those of the Expert Group on Mutual Recognition Arrangements on Food Products, the Tariff Database Task Force, the Sub-committee on Customs Procedures, the Sub-committee on Standards and Conformance, the Expert Group on Government Procurement, the Economic Committee, and the Committee on Trade and Investment. The various APEC fora will report to the Senior Officials Meeting.

After the second Senior Officials Meeting and the Trade Ministers Meeting in Christchurch in July, APEC will hold the third Senior Official Meeting in August and the fourth Senior Officials Meeting in October before this year's Ministerial Meeting and Economic Leaders Meeting in November.

Member economies of APEC are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and the United States.

End

1996 voter registration to close on June 1 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The 1996 voter registration exercise will close on June 1, a spokesman for the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) said today (Sunday).

In order to update the register, he said, REO had since April made enquiries in relation to some 46,000 electoral records which had been identified as possibly outdated.

11

Enquiry letters have been sent by registered mail to the last known residential address of these electors and, where applicable, their business address, seeking updated information. The spokesman reminded those who had not responded to these letters should do so immediately.

If there are no replies from them by June 1, their names would, in accordance with the law, be included in the proposed omission list in the Provisional Register to be published before June 22.

Unless they raise a successful claim with the Revising Officer in accordance with the relevant statutory procedures, their names would be excluded from the 1996 final register to be published before August 8.

"Updating of our voter register relies, to a large extent, on the initiative of the electors themselves to report any changes of their particulars to us.

"Electors are requested to report any such changes to the REO promptly," said the spokesman, urging eligible persons to register as electors.

Voter registration forms are available at REO on the 10th floor. Harbour Centre, Harbour Road, Wan Chai, and they can also be obtained at district offices, housing estate offices, post offices, tertiary education institutions, secondary schools and youth centres.

For those who have not yet registered to be included in the 1996 register, their completed voter registration forms must reach REO on or before the June 1 deadline.

End

Efforts to speed up restaurant licensing *****

The Buildings Department has set up a special team of staff to speed up the vetting of premises proposed to be used as restaurants.

It is expected that all the outstanding applications for restaurant licence, currently standing at some 700, will be processed by the Department by the end of July this year. A total of 27 professional and technical officers have been temporarily redeployed from other units to assist the 11 officers in the Licensing Unit.

The acting Assistant Director of Buildings (Specialist), Mr Leung Shiu-hong, said today (Sunday) that the Department was determined to speed up the process.

12

Mr Leung explained that all applications were first submitted to the respective licensing authority - the Urban Services Department or Regional Services Department.

An application vetting panel will then be convened, where staff of the respective licensing authority, the Buildings Department and Fire Services Department will make joint site inspections and meet individual applicants to discuss their applications.

"For all the first-time applications, the Buildings Department is able to achieve a targeted standard of informing the applicants of the results and licensing requirements within 30 days of the application," Mr Leung said.

As to the re-submitted applications. Mr Leung pointed out that longer processing time would be needed, mainly because of the extra time required for vetting remedial proposals and verifying compliance with the requirements under the Buildings Ordinance.

"We have to be satisfied with the public safety standard of the restaurant premises before recommending the approval of the applications," Mr Leung said.

For a long term solution, the Buildings Department, in consultation with the licensing authorities, is reviewing the current system with a view to streamlining work practices and improving efficiency.

"Our primary concern is to protect building safety. We will not compromise this principle just for the sake of speeding up the vetting process time, but we will try our best to maintain the required safety standards while maximising our efficiency," Mr Leung added.

End

Placement service for redundant teachers *****

The Education Department's Placement Service to help redundant teachers in aided primary schools obtain new teaching posts has been re-activated this Month.

People's moving from urban areas to new towns and the decline of primary school-age population in individual areas are the major reasons leading to the reduction in the number of operating classes in schools.

13

The Placement Service Unit, which is re-activated for a few months each year, will assist teachers who will become redundant as a result of reduction of classes in September to seek employment in other aided primary schools where teaching vacancies exist.

Redundant teachers who require assistance by the department are invited to register with the Placement Service at Room 611, sixth floor, Kowloon Government Offices, 405 Nathan Road, Kowloon, from 9 am to 12.45 pm and from 2.15 pm to 4.45 pm on the dates as specified below:

Region of the Serving School

Date of Registration

Hong Kong Kowloon New Territories (West) New Territories (East)

May 27 (Monday)

May 28 (Tuesday)

May 29 (Wednesday)

May 30 (Thursday)

Redundant teachers should bring along the following documents for registration with the Placement Service:

* Education Department's letter to redundant teachers on the date of registration;

* Original and copy of the redundant teacher's registration form;

For enquiries on the Placement Service, teachers of the Hong Kong and Kowloon regions may call 2782 7038 while teachers of the New Territories should call 2782 7039 or 2782 7037.

End

44 new building plans approved in March *****

The Buildings Department approved 44 building plans in March - 13 for Hong Kong Island, nine for Kowloon and 22 for the New Territories.

They include 19 for apartment and apartment/commercial developments, seven for commercial developments, 10 for factory and industrial developments, and eight for community services developments.

14

In the same month, consent was given for work to start on 38 building projects, involving 49,232 square metres of usable domestic floor area and 104,349 square metres of usable non-domestic floor area. During the same period, the department also issued 26 Occupation Permits - seven for Hong Kong Island, seven for Kowloon and 12 for the New Territories.

Of the buildings certified for occupation in the month, the usable floor areas for domestic and non-domestic uses are 20,493 square metres and 78,244 square metres respectively.

The declared cost of new buildings completed in the month totalled about 1,407 million.

In addition, 12 demolition consents involving 18 buildings and structures were

issued.

The Buildings Department's Control and Enforcement Division received 662 complaints of unauthorised building works, and issued 523 Removal Orders on unauthorised works.

End

Organisations reminded to apply for flag days ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Charitable organisations wishing to hold flag days next year are reminded to apply to the Social Welfare Department (SWD) before the end of this month.

About 50 flag days will be allocated in 1997.

"Applicants must be bona-fide non-profit-making charitable organisations registered under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance," a spokesman for the department said today (Sunday).

"All applications will be considered by the Subventions and Lotteries Fund Advisory Committee on the merits of the service or the special projects for which fund-raising through a flag day is proposed, the applicant organisation's financial needs, and its ability to execute such fund-raising activities," the spokesman said.

15

He emphasised that expenses in connection with a flag day should not exceed 10 per cent of the gross receipts, and that successful applicants need to observe the conditions for holding flag days as laid down on a public subscription permit issued under the Summary Offences Ordinance.

Application forms can be obtained from the SWD Headquarters at Room 920, ninth floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, in person or in writing.

The completed form, together with a copy of the organisation's latest report and statement of audited accounts, must reach SWD on or before May 31. Late applications will not be entertained. Successful applicants will be informed by October.

Enquiries can be made on 2892 5315.

End

Fresh water cut in Tsuen Wan and San Po Kong

*****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Tsuen Wan and San Po Kong will be temporarily suspended from 11 pm on Wednesday (May 22) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on water mains.

In Tsuen Wan, the suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Tsuen Wing Street, Texaco Road, Tsuen Kwai Street and Tsuen Wah Street, including Kowloon Panda Hotel.

In San Po Kong, the suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Po Kong Village Road, Po Kong Lane, Shung Wah Street, Sheung Fung Street, Lung Fung Street, Shatin Pass Road and Fung Tak Road and Ying Fung Lane.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Monday, May 20,1996

Contents

Page No.

Comments in reponse to letter sent to Prime Minister.................... 1

Remarks by AG on Privy Council's ruling................................. 2

Unemployment and underemployment statistics............................. 3

Public cargo working areas management reform fair....................... 4

Bilingual education consultation pamphlet to be issued.................. 6

Improvement package for special education endorsed...................... 7

Parents' view on children's extra-curricular activities................. 9

Teacher recruitment information office activated........................ 9

Water storage figure............................................... 11

Tender for 3rd issue of 7-year exchange fund notes..................... 11

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................... 12

1

Comments in response to letter sent to Prime Minister ♦ * * ♦ *

In response to press enquiries about a letter issued this evening on behalf of a number of business organisations, the Governor's spokesman, Kerry McGlynn, made the following comments:

It is a pity that the businessmen who inspired the letter did not talk to the Governor before sending it to the Prime Minister because their criticisms seriously misrepresent the message of confidence in Hong Kong's future which the Governor consistently put across during his recent North American tour.

Their criticisms in fact have arisen from something the Governor never said.

Indeed, if the signatories had looked at all the media reports generated by the Governor's visit to the United States and Canada, and if they had asked any of those who had attended his speaking engagements in record numbers, they would have seen that Mr Patten powerfully argued the case for confidence in Hong Kong.

But he did so against a background of intense and sceptical questioning about decisions and statements made by Chinese officials and their advisers, particularly those in the Preparatory Committee, in the last month or two which had left the impression in the international community of threats to our human rights legislation, the independence of the judiciary, the political neutrality of the civil service and, of course, to our first fully democratically elected Legco.

The Governor has always been an admirer and an advocate of the great contribution the business community has made to Hong Kong's spectacular economic success. He has argued equally strongly that Hong Kong's future depends not only on the continuation of sensible economic policies, but on the maintenance of the freedoms and values which we enjoy today.

Our businessmen, particularly those with undoubted influence with Chinese officials, have as much responsibility to ensure the continuation of those values and freedoms as they do the economic fundamentals which have in equal measure allowed them to prosper.

The community will no doubt note that while a number of businessmen have chosen to criticise the Governor on the basis of something that he has never said, they did not band together to write similar letters of protest when threats were made to our human rights legislation, the independence of the judiciary, the political neutrality of the civil service and to our democratic institutions. There is still time for them to do so.

End

2

Remarks by AG on Privy Council's ruling ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to media enquiries, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Chambers said:

The Privy Council in a landmark decision delivered today (Monday) upheld the constitutionality of Section 30(1) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

Said the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews:

"This is a very important decision for the rule of law, as the Privy Council has recognised in its decision that S. 30(1) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance is an essential weapon in the ICAC's fight against corruption. "This decision should now put to rest any doubts that some members of the community may have had that S. 30(1) is contrary to the Bill of Rights Ordinance."

S. 30(1) provides:

"(1) Any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, discloses to any person who is the subject of an investigation in respect of an offence alleged or suspected to have been committed by him under this Ordinance the fact that he is subject to such an investigation or any details of such investigation, or discloses to any other person either the identity of any person who is the subject of such an investigation or any details of such an investigation, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of $20,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year."

In allowing the appeal by Ming Pao Newspapers Ltd & Others v. Attorney General of Hong Kong, the Privy Council construed the word "investigation" in section 30(1) to cover only an investigation into a particular suspect. Where, as in this case, no suspect had been identified but the investigation was general in nature, the section does not apply and the defendants had committed no offence.

However, on the constitutional question of whether S.30(l) is consistent with the Bill of Rights Ordinance, the Privy Council ruled in favour of the Hong Kong Government that this section was entirely consistent with the Bill of Rights. They noted that it was for the Hong Kong Courts and the Hong Kong legislature to decide whether the restrictions imposed by S. 30(1) were necessary under Article 16 of the Bill of Rights Ordinance. The Privy Council held "It cannot be denied that there is a pressing social need to stamp out the evil of corruption in Hong Kong. Investigation by the ICAC is an important means of achieving that end and the protection of the integrity of such investigation is essential."

The Privy Council decided that there should be no order for costs against the Hong Kong Government.

End

3

Unemployment and underemployment statistics ♦ ♦ * * ♦

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period January to March 1996 was 3.2%, and the underemployment rate was 2%, according to the latest labour force statistics released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department. The provisional seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period February to April 1996 was marginally higher, at 3.3%, while the provisional underemployment rate continued to edge lower to 1.8%.

Commenting on the latest figures, a government spokesman said labour market conditions remained generally stable. The slight increase in the unemployment rate was concentrated in the wholesale and retail trades and the transport sector. Meanwhile, decreases in unemployment rate were recorded in the manufacturing and construction sectors. As to the underemployment rate, the decrease was concentrated in the construction and transport sectors.

The growth in total labour supply and total employment was 5.5% and 5.1% respectively in the three months ending March 1996 over a year earlier. These were the fastest increases ever recorded since the General Household Survey was first launched in August 1981.

However, such rapid increases on a year-on-year basis could have been affected to a considerable extent by the low base of comparison in the same period last year, when the respective growth rates at that time were still low.

During the period January to March 1996, the number of unemployed persons with previous jobs was estimated at 87,800. Another 6,300 unemployed persons were first-time job-seekers. The number of underemployed persons was estimated at 62,000.

The unemployment and underemployment statistics were obtained from a continuous General Household Survey.

The survey for January to March 1996 covered a quarterly sample of some 17,900 households or 60,400 persons, selected scientifically to represent the land-based civilian non-institutional population in Hong Kong.

Data were obtained from the survey by interviewing each member aged 15 or over in the households sampled.

4

In the survey, the definitions used in measuring unemployment and underemployment follow closely those recommended by the International Labour Organisation.

'Seasonally adjusted' refers to adjustment for seasonal variations in the proportion of first-time job-seekers in the labour force.

Detailed analysis of labour force characteristics is given in the report on the General Household Survey which is published four times a year.

The next report covering the quarter ending March 1996 will be on sale at the Government Publications Centre at ground floor, Low Block, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, by the end of June.

End

Public cargo working areas management reform fair * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Only regular operators using the facilities at the Public Cargo Working Areas (PCWAs) for a reasonable period of time are eligible to bid for berthing spaces under Marine Department's proposed plans to reform management for these areas, Assistant Director of Marine, Mr Raymond Tang, said today (Monday).

Commenting on remarks made by some PCWA operators at a petition to the Governor yesterday, Mr Tang reassured them as well as all other operators that none of them would be driven out of business under the reform management package.

Contrary to the claims made by the protesters that the berthing spaces will be leased out by open tender, Mr Tang reassured the protesters that the berths would be leased out only by restricted tender. That is only to the existing regular operators.

He said the operators petition yesterday might be motivated by uninformed views or misunderstanding of the new proposals.

He reiterated that the objective of the proposed reform was to improve productivity of PCWAs and it was not designed as a means to generate more money for the Government. On the contrary open tender means the operators set the price and that it is open and fair.

"We hope the reform, apart from improving productivity, will also remove the known undesirable practices that associated with the existing first-come-first-served basis," said Mr Tang. "We have no hidden agenda," he stressed.

PCWAs when first introduced in 1975 were intended to give the public land base areas to work their cargo without interference from illegal element and road congestion.

Due to heavy capital investment and the need to man them, users of PCWAs have to pay a fee. The present level is $60 per day for an eight-metre space of waterfront.

"Some people exploit the low fee structure and the first-come-first-served basis to their advantage, thus the genuine operators are often paying far more on the secondary market," Mr Tang said. "A legal right to a berth granted under the tender system will remove any need to pay secondary market costs.

"We agreed with the operators that these berthing spaces should be leased out to the genuine users on a more permanent basis rather them on a daily basis.

"We propose a tender system to let the operators bid for what they believe is the right price for a berth. That is open and fair."

The Marine Department will inform the Economic Services and Transport panels of the Legislative Council on Wednesday (May 22) of its progress in carrying out the reform. The operators will also argue their case in the same forum. There are press reports that some operators will block the harbour with their barges if the legislators do not side with them.

Mr Tang urged the operators to refrain from taking such action as it would serve no one's interest, particularly the port as a whole on which everyone was replying on.

He said: "If they do choose to block the harbour, they must inform us as early as possible but at least seven days in advance of the protest as required by the law.

"We need to inform other port users in particular the shipping companies and ferry operators well in advance.

6

"In conjunction with the Marine Police, we have to deploy extra manpower and resources to direct traffic and to ensure maritime safety and to facilitate the protesters.

"We must put in place a system for PCWA management which is transparent, fair and to the benefit of the port and the community as a whole."

End

Bilingual education consultation pamphlet to be issued ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A Task Group on quality school education set up under the Education Commission (EC) is working on a bilingual pamphlet to be issued in June to invite public comments on the goals and targets of quality school education, the ways to relate funding to performance and the roles of key players in the school system.

This was said by the EC Chairman, Professor Rosie Young, at a media briefing after the Commission’s meeting today (Monday).

Professor Young said the Task Group would take into account public feedback before recommending to EC concrete proposals which would form the basis of the Education Commission Report No 7. ’’The EC will consult the public widely again on the Report later in the year,” she added.

At the meeting, members noted the progress made by the Task Group and the work carried out by the Administration to implement major recommendations of the EC Reports nos 1 to 5.

”We are pleased to see that the majority of the Commission’s major recommendations have been implemented on time.

”We will continue to monitor the implementation of the remaining recommendations,’’ Professor Young said.

At today’s meeting, members were also briefed by the Education Department on the development of the School Management Initiative, a measure introduced in 1991 to improve school performance.

End

7

Improvement package for special education endorsed ♦ * * * ♦

The Board of Education (BoE) today (Monday) endorsed a package of comprehensive measures proposed by the board's sub-committee to improve special education in the territory.

The recommendations, if fully implemented, carry a price-tag of over $108 million in the first year.

Public consultations are now under way. Members of the public may obtain copies of the sub-committee's report from the Education Department's Special Education Services Section, 10th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai. Views and representations on the suggestions should reach the Secretary, Board of Education, at Room 1123 on the 11th floor of the same building not later than July 8.

Meanwhile, two public consultation sessions will be conducted on June 12 at Grantham campus, Kowloon, and June 13 at Hong Kong Teachers' Centre, Pak Fuk Road, respectively to gauge public views on these proposals. Both sessions will be held between 6 pm and 8 pm.

Presenting the sub-committee's report at today's BoE meeting, Chairman of Sub-committee on Special Education, Professor Leslie Lo Nai-kwai, said the subcommittee has made 70 improvement recommendations, covering 10 areas in special education:

* *

* ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Administration and co-ordination of special education

Educational concerns in special education

Provision in the Code of Aid for Special Schools

The curriculum and related matters

Teacher education

Education for children with learning difficulties

Education of the gifted

Education for the maladjusted

Practical schools and skills opportunity schools and

Other measures for further improvement

Professor Lo said the financial implication of the recommended improvement measures will be $108.3 million in the 1997-98 fiscal year (seven months). It will increase to $203 million by 2000-01.

8

The Sub-committee on Special Education was established in the summer of 1994. Its main task is to advise the BoE on the further development of special education, both in the short and long terms, while taking into account the present situation and projected needs of local children and youths in the special education sector, existing government policies, views of practitioners in special education and related fields, findings of relevant research, and the development of special education in societies in comparable stages of development.

The Sub-committee met 39 times and visited several special schools. It organised three focus group discussions for teachers, school principals and representatives of school sponsoring bodies, and supporting and non-teaching staff of special schools and special education classes.

On a separate issue, BoE members noted that in the 1995-96 school year, there were 515 primary schools and 214 secondary schools which offered Putonghua as a subject in the formal curriculum. In addition, 30 secondary schools offered Putonghua as a special programme outside the formal curriculum.

The Assistant Director of Education (Curriculum Development Institute), Dr Julian Leung, told BoE members that there were currently some 1,900 serving Putonghua teachers.

’’There are plans to train up an additional 2,800 teachers in three years' time so as to ensure an adequate supply of teachers.

"This is estimated on the basis that three Putonghua teachers would be required for each of the 860 primary schools and four Putonghua teachers for each of the 466 secondary schools," Dr Leung said. Dr Leung said that summer courses would be organised this year and in the next two years for students of schools which did not offer the subject in their formal curriculum.

He said: "It is intended that schools implementing the new Putonghua syllabuses should be provided with a grant. Funding of $0.75 million has been preliminarily allocated for 1998-99 and $1.5 million for 1999-2000."

End

9

Parents' view on children's extra-curricular activities ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A survey commissioned by the Committee on Home-School Co-operation revealed that parents were more willing to spend money, rather than time, on their children’s extra-curricular activities.

The aim of the survey, conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) last October, is to improve the roles of parents in assisting schools to organise extra-curricular activities and to promote their values for the betterment of school life.

Some 7,000 parents and students from 60 primary schools and 30 secondary schools had been interviewed.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Tik Chi-yuen, will tomorrow (Tuesday) announce the findings of the survey at a press conference at the Education Department Headquarters.

Research team leaders from the CUHK, Dr Lam Chi-chung and Dr Wong Ngai-ying; Principal Curriculum Officer (Research, Evaluation and Planning) of the Education Department, Mr Law Hing-chung; and Mrs Canny Lau from the Working Group on Parents’ Views on Education will also attend.

Other findings of the survey, including the views of parents and students on the values of extra-curricular activities; the choice and the time spending on different types of activities; and the willingness of parents to assist in running extra-curricular activities, will also be announced.

End

Teacher recruitment information office activated ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Education Department has activated the Teacher Recruitment Information Office (TRIO) at its headquarters to help fill some 1,000 additional teacher vacancies in local schools in September 1996.

A Principal Education Officer, Mr C K Tam, said the vacancies arise from new schools, classes and posts in the next school year.

10

"Local teachers for primary and secondary schools, as well as native-speaking teachers of English in secondary schools, are required," he said.

The TRIO, which is now in the fourth year of service, is activated for several months each year to provide an information link between schools with teacher vacancies and people seeking teaching appointments.

Last year, the office attracted over 5,200 applications from teacher-applicants. Among them, some 3,000 were degree holders, 1,126 graduates from Hong Kong Institute of Education, and 312 were diploma holders of approved post-secondary colleges. The TRIO was approached by both primary and secondary schools for information on applicants to fill a total of 826 teacher vacancies between May and August last year.

"The mission of the TRIO is not only to recruit a sufficient number of teachers, but also to look for quality people to groom our next generation," Mr Tam said.

"Publicity will be conducted both locally and overseas. Career talks will be arranged for fresh graduates of local tertiary institutes to enhance their understanding of the teaching profession and to encourage them to choose teaching as a career." Mr Tam said that members of the public who wish to join the teaching profession can register with the TRIO simply by completing a registration form.

Their personal particulars will then be stored in a computer data bank. Schools with teacher vacancies may approach the TRIO for a computer printout of the applicants with the required qualifications.

The schools will then approach the suitable candidates direct and arrange for interviews. Whether or not the applicants are selected for interview or subsequently employed will solely be the decision of the schools concerned.

Registration forms are now available at District Offices of the Home Affairs Department, District Offices of the Labour Department and District Education Offices of the Education Department. Applicants from tertiary institutes including the Hong Kong Institute of Education may obtain the forms at their own campuses.

Enquiries may be made on 2892 6305 during office hours or by fax to 2892 6304.

End

11

Water storage figure ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Storage in Hong Kong’s reservoirs at 9 a.m. today (Monday) stood at 83.3 per cent of capacity or 487.93 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 376.673 million cubic metres of water, representing 64.3 per cent of capacity.

End

Tender for 3rd issue of 7-year exchange fund notes ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) today (Monday) announces that tender for the third issue of 7-year exchange fund notes will be held on May 27 for settlement on May 28.

An amount of $500 million 7-year notes will be offered. Another $100 million will be held as reserve by HKMA for supply to market makers in the secondary market.

The notes will mature on May 28, 2003, and will carry interest at the rate of 7.6% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears. Terms and conditions of the issue are described fully in the Information Memorandum.

Members of the public who wish to tender for the notes may do so through any of the market makers or recognised dealers on the published list which can be obtained from HKMA at 30th floor, 3 Garden Road, Hong Kong, Tel 2878 8150. Each tender must be for an amount of $50,000 or integral multiples thereof.

Tender information for the third issue of 7-year exchange fund notes:

Issue number : 7305

Tender date and time : Monday May 27, 1996, 9.30 am to 10.30 am

Issue and settlement date : Tuesday May 28, 1996

12

Amount on offer : $500 million plus an additional $100 million as reserve stock for the Monetary Authority

Maturity : Seven years

Maturity date : May 28, 2003

Interest rate : 7.60% per annum payable semi annually in arrears

Interest Payment Dates : Nov 28, 1996, May 28, 1997, Nov 28, 1997, May 28, 1998, Nov 30, 1998, May 28, 1999, Nov 29, 1999, May 29, 2000, Nov 28, 2000, May 28, 2001, Nov 28, 2001, May 28, 2002, Nov 28, 2002, May 28, 2003

Tender amount : Each tender must be for an amount of $50,000 or integral multiples thereof. Members of the public who wish to tender for the notes may approach market makers or recognised dealers on the published list

Other details : Please see Information Memorandum published or approach market makers or recognised dealers

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,082 0930 -119

Closing balance in the account 1,961 1000 -119

Change attributable to : 1100 -119

Money market activity -121 1200 -119

LAF today NIL 1500 -119

1600 -121

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.0 *+0.2* 20.5.96

13

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.06 2 years 2802 6.30 100.47 6.14

1 month 5.06 3 years 3904 6.30 99.45 6.61

3 months 5.14 5 years 5103 6.75 98.52 7.24

6 months 5.21 7 years 7302 6.02 92.21 7.65

12 months 5.57 5 years M502 7.30 99.89 7.46

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $15,959 million

Closed May 20, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Tuesday, May 21,1996

Contents Page No,

Transcript of Governor’s media session....................................... 1

Governor’s reply to James Tien on provisional legislature.................... 3

Sewage charge increase proposed.............................................. 4

STI welcomes renewal of China's MFN status................................... 7

FS speaks to service providers in Bangkok.................................... 8

Schools advised to keep pupils' health records............................... 9

New Government Flying Service Controller appointed.......................... 10

Role of recycling stressed.............................................. 11

Value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand in March............................. 12

120 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight............................... 14

Monitors' report submitted to CS............................................ 14

Tips for summer job seekers................................................. 14

Feature articles in statistical digest...................................... 16

73 convicted pollution cases in April....................................... 17

Hotel operator fined for making illegal alterations......................... 18

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results................................. 19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations........................ 20

1

Transcript of Governor's media session *****

Following is the transcript of the remarks made to the media by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after attending the ExCo meeting this (Tuesday) afternoon:

Governor: I'm very pleased with President Clinton's decision yesterday on MFN. It's an important decision for Hong Kong. But of course there's still a long way to go. I think as you know President Clinton made it clear to me when I saw him a couple of weeks ago that the administration remained committed to unconditional renewal of MFN. But of course it's now for Congress to make its views clear. I trust that the lobbying that we've done in the Senate and the House of Representatives will have some impact on that debate. I'm delighted that the American Chamber of Commerce has been working so hard on Hong Kong's behalf in the United States, and you've probably heard that the leaders of the Amcham group referring to the helpful visit which I paid to Washington a couple of weeks ago and before that which Martin Lee paid to Washington. So, so far so good, but still some way to go.

Question: (on letter from the chambers of commerce)

Governor: The letter which is placed in advertisements in some newspapers this morning is I understand an open letter to the Prime Minister, and I'm sure the Prime Minister will be replying in due course and I obviously wouldn't want to say anything before that. I think the only point I would add is these organisations having got involved in politics, I imagine people are going to be looking for their views on lots of issues like the protection of human rights, the independence of the judiciary, the political neutrality of the civil service, the development of democracy in Hong Kong, I guess all those issues are going to be put to them. But as far as the letter is concerned, I think I'll wait for the Prime Minister's reply.

Questions: (follow-up)

Governor: I've said what my view is on the issue at the moment. You can ask the question in different ways, but you'll get the same courteous, well-mannered, gentlemanly but reasonably forthright reply.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: I think on the same day that letters are being written on related subjects, my reaction is probably demoticly come off it. We've made our position absolutely clear on the Legislative Council and on threats to dismantle it, and I don't think anybody should be in any doubt about that. But I don't think that either of the attacks made on the government from one side or the other are either fair or well judged.

2

Question: There are reports saying that Mrs Anson Chan will go to Zuhai to meet Jiang Zemin at the end of this week. Can you confirm the report? Governor: No.

Question: Are you denying the report?

Governor: I haven't seen the report. Had I seen it, it would have surprised me because it's not true.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: We've had a discussion on sewage charges.

Question: What was the outcome?

Governor: I'm sure you will learn that in due course.

Question: Governor, with regard to the comments from the business community...

Governor: You get the same answer.

Question: I'm going to ask you in a slightly different way...

Governor: Well, you get the same answer.

Question: The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce has just issued a statement urging the Government to give some thought to the provisional legislature. Do you think that is a change of... in the business community?

Governor: I've heard them say that before. There is no question of us doing anything which would undermine the lawfully constituted Legislative Council and I am bound to say I think if they have said that it will come as a very considerable surprise to all those who voted in the Legislative Council Elections in record numbers about 60 per cent of whom, most likely more, I think, supported the Democratic Party.

Question: Has ExCo approved the sewage charges?

Governor: I'm sure you will be told in a very short order what the answer to that question is.

Question: Do you think those comments on the provisional legislature that undermined confidence..

3

Governor: I was interested in what Mr Raymond Chan, the Secretary of State for, I think, Asian Affairs in the Canadian Government said about threats to dismantle the legislature and the effect which he thought that would have on, inevitably on confidence, not least business confidence in the territory. I thought that was a very sensible observation on his part. You will also recall that a few weeks ago, Margaret Thatcher said, and I think she was right, that the problem about these threats to dismantle the legislature is that they raise questions inevitably about China's intentions in other areas.

Question: Any comments on the..

Governor: What I will say to you is that I think everybody in Hong Kong signs up to the polluter pays principle. But sometimes rather curiously when it actually comes to the polluter paying even very modest amounts, people oppose it. We are putting in place a first class sewage treatment strategy which will clean up the waters around our shores. In the first place which will reduce the pollution load in Victoria harbour by 70 per cent. That's important for our environment. It's a significant step forward in making Hong Kong a more decent city to live in. It costs money. A scheme like that doesn't, to borrow a phrase, fall off a tree, we have got to pay for it and if it's not paid for by a sensible system of charges, it has to be paid for out of general taxation, so I think polluter pays is very sensible and I think polluter pays actually not only helps to deter pollution but also helps to give us the costs, to deal with the costs to clear pollution up.

End

Governor's reply to James Tien on provisional legislature ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Following is the text of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten's reply to the Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Mr James Tien, on provisional legislature today (Tuesday):

Thank you for your letter of 17 May setting out the Chamber's views on the provisional legislature.

The corporate position of the British Government and the Hong Kong Government on the provisional legislature is clear. Let me, for the record, restate it once more. The current Legislative Council has been elected openly, fairly and by a record number of voters. These electoral arrangements are fully compatible with both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. We see neither the justification nor the need for a replacement or provisional legislature. If the Chinese Government were to set up such a legislature, it would be for them to explain to the community why such action is justified, how it is consistent with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law and how it is conducive to a successful transition.

4

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have made our position abundantly clear to Chinese leaders. I have explained our position on numerous occasions, including as recently as 18 April before the Legislative Council. I have also stressed that the Hong Kong Government is fully committed to continue to work with the cunent Legislative Council, which has a clear and legitimate mandate, and which is the only legally constituted legislature in Hong Kong.

It follows that the Hong Kong Government will not offer any assistance in relation to the provisional legislature. However, we are committed to co-operate with the Preparatory Committee and the Chief Executive (Designate) in other areas where both sides have identified common ground and on the basis of our three established parameters.

I have read with interest the transcript of Director Lu Ping's remarks made to your Chamber. I would like to make just one comment. Under the Joint Declaration, the British Government is responsible for administering Hong Kong until 30 June 1997 and the Chinese Government will co-operate in this regard. In the months ahead, we will continue to discharge our duties vigorously, conscientiously and in the best interests of Hong Kong. And we will not accept either a shadow government or a second centre of power.

End

Sewage charge increase proposed *****

The Government today (Tuesday) announced its intention to increase the sewage charge by $0.18 per cubic metre to $1.38 per cubic metre and to increase the trade effluent surcharge by the same proportion.

The increases will come into effect on August 1, seven months later than the original target date of January 1. Hence the need to make an adjustment to the increases originally forecast in November 1994 in order to allow for the inflation in the interim.

Even after the proposed increase, about 16 per cent of domestic households will still not be required to pay any sewage charge. A further 61 per cent will pay only $1 to $2.50 more per month.

The sewage charge allowance already payable to low-income families under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme will be increased to take account of the proposed increase.

5

In announcing the increases, a government spokesman explained that cleaning up the environment is essential to the health and quality of life of everyone in Hong Kong and hence it is in everyone's best interests. This is a major task and has a cost which must be met.

The spokesman also pointed out that the Stonecutters Island treatment plant now under construction and six related sewerage master plans in Tsuen Wan, Kowloon, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O would improve significantly the water quality in the harbour.

When the Stonecutters Island plant comes into operation in 1997, about 70 per cent of the pollutants currently discharged into Victoria Harbour will be diverted away and treated, leading to a daily removal of about 1,000 tons of sludge, currently dumped into the harbour.

The Stanley Secondary Treatment Plant is now in operation. This together with the Hong Kong Island South Sewerage Master Plan, now nearing completion, will bring great improvements to water quality on the south side of Hong Kong Island and make beaches there clean and healthy for bathers.

Other major projects include the Tolo Harbour Sewerage Master Plan and the Port Shelter Sewerage Master Plan which, when completed, will substantially improve the water quality of these major water-based recreational areas.

The spokesman said: "These and other sewerage infrastructure projects due to come on stream over the next few years will inevitably increase operating costs because much larger volumes of sewage and other wastewaters will be diverted and treated to a higher standards."

The increase proposed is required to meet rising operating costs as additional sewage treatment facilities come on stream to clean up and protect our environment by tackling the serious water pollution problem that currently exists in Hong Kong.

The proposed increase is in line with the Polluter Pays Principle which was accepted by the Legislative Council in December 1993.

The spokesman said: "In order to minimise the levels of increases necessary, the Administration proposes to waive the requirement for the Sewage Charge Trading Fund (SSTF) to take account of the depreciation of its assets in determining the charges."

He noted that the measure will reduce by $1,160 million the amount of revenue required in the five years from 1995-96 to 1999-2000.

6

As a further measure to ease the burden on the public, SSTF is not required to produce any return on the $20 billion capital investment being made by the Government in sewage infrastructure.

’’Thus users will only be charged as much as is necessary to recoup the costs of operating the sewage services provided by the SSTF," said the spokesman.

He noted that every effort had been made by the Drainage Services Department to contain operating costs. Staffing levels have been critically examined. Automation and energy saving equipment have been put in place to optimise efficiency and where appropriate, certain activities including maintenance and disposal have been contracted out.

He also noted that the latest expenditure projections were generally in line with those contained in the brief given to the Legislative Council in November 1994.

"However, experience gained in the first year’s operation of the Trading Fund shows that we are unable to achieve the revenue forecast in late 1994 due largely to the fact that the data base used in working out the charges was incomplete before the scheme was introduced.

"The reduction in the levels of pollutants discharged which has been brought about by the declaration of water control zones has also contributed to the reduction in revenue," he said.

Based on the updated information available, the plan for future increases necessary for the SSTF to break even, in terms of recouping its operating costs by 1999/2000 has been revised as follows:

* From $1.38 to $1.86 per cubic metre with effect from April 1, 1997;

* From $1.86 to $2.52 per cubic metre with effect from April 1, 1998; and

* From $2.52 to $3.22 per cubic metre with effect from April 1, 1999.

The spokesman said: "These rates of increases are for indicative purposes only.

They include allowance for inflation. The exact rates to be proposed each year will depend on a number of factors, including the actual performance of the SSTF, the budgets for each of the financial years concerned and the inflation rates. Once breakeven has been achieved, the levels of future increases will begin to reduce.

7

"By world standards, our sewage charges have been set at a very low initial level. Even after the series of increases have been implemented, the charges will only come to about one third to one half of the water charges for domestic users."

The proposed increase for this year has been approved by the Govemor-in-Council and the amending regulations to give legislative effect to the increase will soon be introduced into the Legislative Council.

End

STI welcomes renewal of China's MFN status ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, welcomed President Clinton's decision to renew unconditionally China's Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status for another year.

"President Clinton's decision to renew China's MFN status without attaching conditions is good news for Hong Kong. We are grateful to know that the President has taken Hong Kong's interests into account," she said.

"The United States and China are Hong Kong's two largest trading partners and good relations between them are a vital factor in our long-term success."

Yesterday, President Clinton announced his decision in a speech at the Pacific Basin Economic Council meeting. Under US law, he still has to submit his decision formally to Congress by June 3. Congress may pass a joint resolution disapproving the President's decision. This would have to be done within 60 days after July 3, the day when China's current MFN trading status expires. If Congress did pass such a resolution, the President would have 10 working days to veto the resolution, and Congress would have 15 legislative days to override the President's veto.

"We look forward to President Clinton's formal submission of his decision to Congress. We will continue with our lobbying efforts and keep Congress informed of Hong Kong's position, so as to enable Congress to take our interests into account when it deliberates on the matter," Miss Yue said.

End

8

FS speaks to service providers in Bangkok

* * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, is in Bangkok today (Tuesday) to begin the third leg of his Southeast Asia trip.

Speaking at the business seminar organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council in Bangkok, Mr Tsang said the service providers in Thailand and Hong Kong could forge effective alliances with each other in exploring regional business opportunities.

"The bilateral trade between Thailand and Hong Kong has grown rapidly in recent years. It reached $33.6 billion or Baht 107.5 billion in 1995, representing an increase of 24 per cent over 1994."

"Hong Kong is the third largest source of foreign investment in Thailand. Hong Kong's direct investment in Thailand totalled $15.5 billion (Baht 49.7 billion) from 1985 to 1994. In the other direction, Thai companies have invested a total of $2 billion (Baht 6.4 billion) in Hong Kong over the same period," Mr Tsang said.

Thailand is Hong Kong's largest supplier of rice, accounting for 77 per cent of our total consumption in 1995. It is also one of the favourite destinations of Hong Kong tourists.

"Since stepping up its liberalisation policies in 1987, Thailand has recorded spectacular economic performance with an average growth of 8.2 per cent a year. Heavy investment in infrastructure will be a key to sustaining this impressive growth rate," Mr Tsang said.

Mr Tsang left Singapore for Bangkok yesterday. Today he met with the Minister of Finance of Thailand, Dr Surakiat Sathirathai, and the Governor of Bank of Thailand, Mr Vijit Supinit, and discussed matters of mutual interest.

While in Bangkok, he will meet local politicians and businessmen over luncheons and dinners, and brief the media on his trip and the latest situation in Hong Kong.

Mr Tsang will call on Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Amnuey Viravan, tomorrow afternoon. He will depart for London in the same evening to continue with his duty visit in the United Kingdom.

End

9

Schools advised to keep pupils' health records ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Schools are advised to keep records on pupils' health problems for the reference of teachers, especially those teaching physical education or organising extra-curricular activities.

A Principal Education Officer of the Education Department, Mr Tam Chun-kit, said: "Parents are encouraged to report to schools any medical history of their wards which might affect their participation in physical education lessons or other extracurricular activities.

"Schools should issue a circular letter to parents to solicit their co-operation in reporting medical history of their children."

Mr Tam stressed that reporting of medical history of pupils by parents should be entirely on voluntary basis.

"School should ensure that such information should be strictly for school use only and not be divulged to other parties without the consent of the parents concern," he added.

Parents are also encouraged to enrol their children in the Student Health Service run by the Department of Health.

"Though the service only offers a general health assessment to pupils and not physical fitness assessment, it may refer pupils with known or suspected medical conditions to the public or private specialists for detailed assessment if indicated," Mr Tam said.

• •

He noted that in general the appropriateness of physical activity should only be a concern in pupils with cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, epilepsy, anaemia and diabetes mellitus.

"Medical certificate from the attending physician on the appropriate level of physical activity should be obtained from pupils suffering from these diseases as far as possible.

"Even if the pupils are no longer followed up for their conditions, they should be advised to seek medical advice and certification from their private practitioners or specialist clinics they previously attended," he said.

10

School heads and teachers are also reminded to be alert to the physical conditions of their pupils, in particular those with known history of diseases. Pupils should not be asked to do excessive physical exercises; and any pupil feeling sick should be asked to take a rest.

Since accidents and injuries are not uncommon in schools and school related activities, teachers, especially physical education teachers, are encouraged to attend first-aid training courses.

’’The prompt resuscitation measures could be life-saving before the emergency services are available,” Mr Tam said.

End

New Government Flying Service Controller appointed ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government announced today (Tuesday) that Mr Brian Butt Yiu-ming, will succeed Mr C B Cluer as Controller, Government Flying Service, on August 1. Mr Cluer will proceed on end-of-agreement leave on that date having served the Government for over three years.

Following are the brief biographical notes on Messrs Butt and Cluer:

Mr Brian Butt Yiu-ming

Aged 41, Mr Butt joined the Hong Kong Civil Service in May 1978 as an Inspector of Police in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. In April 1986, he was appointed as a Pilot in the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (renamed as Government Flying Service in 1993).

He was promoted to his present rank of Chief Pilot in January 1993. Mr Butt is presently undergoing training in the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, and will return to Hong Kong in June 1996.

Mr C B Cluer

Aged 58, Mr Cluer joined the Hong Kong Civil Service in April 1993 as Controller, Government Flying Service.

End

11

Role of recycling stressed

*****

Recycling plays an important role in the new Waste Reduction Strategy currently under consultation, the Director of Environmental Protection, Mr Robert Law, said today (Tuesday).

Addressing the general assembly of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) Convention, Mr Law said the increase in quantity of waste produced by a community correlated directly with the increase in gross domestic product (GDP). In Hong Kong, more than 20,000 tonnes of waste are produced every day, which are disposed of at three of the world's largest hi-tech landfills.

But these landfills would be exhausted in about 15 years, unless we adopted a new approach, Mr Law said.

The Waste Reduction Strategy includes proposals to minimise the amount of waste produced at source, and proposals for more efficient bulk waste reduction, such as the use of hi-tech waste-to-power incineration facilities.

"But recycling is a key element of the strategy. At present, we recover 38 per cent of municipal waste for recycling either here in Hong Kong, or overseas," Mr Law said.

In 1995, Hong Kong exported 1.6 million tonnes of waste for recycling and earned $3 billion in the process.

Noting that currently only eight per cent of the waste in the domestic waste sector were recovered. Mr Law said much more could and should be done to increase the recovery rates for recyclable materials.

Other than the physical constraints of Hong Kong's living conditions which partly accounted for the relatively poor performance in this area, Mr Law said the economics must be right in the first place to encourage and sustain the recycling business.

"We must, therefore, as part of our overall strategy, examine the various economic factors at play to see how greater impetus can be given to the recycling business," Mr Law said.

12

And one of the most effective ways, he said, would be to ensure that all costs associated with waste disposal were properly internalised.

There would be little incentive for waste minimisation or for additional recycling until those producing waste for disposal at landfills were properly charged for the costs involved in dealing with their wastes, he said.

End

Value of manufacturers’ orders-on-hand in March ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand for local production in March 1996 decreased by 3% over a year earlier, according to the provisional results of a monthly survey released today (Tuesday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Comparing March 1996 with March 1995, increases in the value of orders were registered in the fabricated metal products industry (+11%) and the electrical products industry (+3%).

On the other hand, decreases in the value of orders were recorded in the plastic products industry (-10%), the textiles industry (-9%), the wearing apparel industry (-3%), the printing and publishing industry (-2%) and the electronic products industry (-1%).

Compared with February 1996, and bearing in mind that this comparison may be affected by seasonal factors, the value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand in March 1996 increased by 5%.

The Monthly Survey of Orders-on-hand covers a sample of some 300 manufacturing firms engaging 50 or more workers.

Manufacturers' orders-on-hand refer to orders and parts of orders received earlier by manufacturers for local production which remain unfilled as at the end of the reference month.

Orders received by traders not engaged in production are included if such orders are further placed to manufacturers for production locally. However, orders placed to manufacturing firms for production in China and other places outside Hong Kong are not included in this series of orders-on-hand statistics.

13

A spokesman of the department said caution should be exercised in interpreting the manufacturers' orders-on-hand figures in a single month. Instead, the trend movement of the series as displayed over a wider span of time points should be looked at.

The survey report for March 1996, at $7 a copy, is now on sale at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, Queensway, and at the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit, 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

Enquiries about the survey results may be made to the Industrial Production Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6441.

The following table shows the year-on-year percentage changes in the value of orders-on-hand in different manufacturing industries.

Percentage changes in the value of orders-on-hand in

February 1996 over February 1995 (Revised) March 1996 over March 1995 (Provisional)

All industries covered in the survey +1 -3

Wearing apparel -3 -3

Textiles -8 -9

* Electronic products +5 -1

Electrical products +8 +3

Fabricated metal products +25 +11

Plastic products -3 -10

* Printing and publishing -4 -2

End

14

120 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

A group of 120 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Tuesday) on the 37th flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP). All of the returnees, comprising 55 men, 29 women, 19 boys and 17 girls, are from North Vietnam.

The majority of them arrived in Hong Kong in 1989, with the remaining in 1990 and 1995.

The group brought to 2,884 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

Monitors' report submitted to CS ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Tuesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The two monitors came from two non-governmental organisations. They were Mr Tai Kie-ying from Christian Action and Mr Christopher Stokes from Medecins Sans Frontieres.

End

Tips for summer job seekers *****

Students looking for summer jobs are advised to watch out for employment traps and familiarise themselves with basic labour and industrial safety laws for their own protection.

Senior Labour Officer (Employment Services), Mr Sam Lam, today (Tuesday) offered six tips to avoid falling into employment traps :

Be careful of dubious recruitment advertisements, especially those which require no skill or academic qualifications but promise a high pay;

15

* During a job interview, be alert of whether the offer is genuine;

* Avoid accepting jobs with possible immoral implications and which infringe the law;

* Be careful when signing any contract;

* Consider carefully before accepting any demand from the employer on monetary guarantee, or payment of cash either for training purposes or purchasing goods;

In case of doubt or problems, consult parents, careers teachers or appropriate authorities immediately.

He said that copies of a booklet on employment traps produced by the Labour Department’s Local Employment Service (LES) can be obtained at all LES offices.

Senior Labour Officer (Labour Relations Promotion), Mrs Ada Leung, said summer workers were also entitled to all the benefits and protection under the Employment Ordinance if they worked under a continuous contract.

"An employee who works continuously for the same employer for four weeks or more, prior to a given date, for at least 18 hours in each of the four weeks is regarded as working under a continuous contract," she explained.

Mrs Leung also reminded summer job seekers to note the restrictions governing the employment age, working hours and types of jobs which children could not do under the Employment of Children Regulations.

"While no children under 13 could be employed in any job or trade, children between 13 and 15 are only allowed to be employed in non-industrial undertakings under special conditions," she said.

"Those who are employed in industrial establishments and are between 15 and 18 years of age should note the employment conditions laid down in the Women and Young Persons (Industry) Regulations."

Copies of a booklet giving details of the employment restrictions and the labour law for summer job seekers have been distributed to all secondary schools earlier this year. They are also obtainable at all the branch offices of the Labour Relations Service, LES, and the two careers centres of the department.

16

The department has also produced a video on the rights and obligations of an employee under a contract of employment. Summer job seekers interested in the video can approach the two Careers Centres and the LES Office in Mong Kok.

Noting that most of the industrial accidents involving summer workers were related to the operation of machinery, fall of person and handling of hot or corrosive substances, Superintendent of Factory Inspectors (Training), Mr Yam Kwong-lun, urged students to stay away from these potentially dangerous jobs.

"Jobs which require the operation of wood-working machinery, the handling of chemicals, toxic substances or fire-related processes are not suitable for summer job students as they have no proper training," he said.

Young persons under 18 years of age are not allowed to operate any lifting appliances driven by mechanical power or give signals to the driver of the appliance. They are also prohibited from cleaning any dangerous part of machinery in notifiable workplaces.

Moreover, the law forbids untrained young persons to work on construction sites.

"Students who want to work in catering establishments should exercise extra care to avoid work injuries as they might be required to use sharp knives or hot cooking equipment on a potentially slippery floor," Mr Yam added.

End

Feature articles in statistical digest * ♦ ♦ * *

Two feature articles entitled "The Specification Price Survey of Imports and Exports" and "Hospitalisation" are published in the May 1996 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics.

The specification price survey of imports and exports for selected commodity items has been conducted by the Census and Statistics Department since August 1982.

Price data collected from the survey are used to compile specification price indices for selected commodity items. These specification price indices are incorporated into the Unit Value Index system of trade statistics to improve the precision and reliability of the measurement of price movements in external trade.

17

The article "The Specification Price Survey of Imports and Exports" introduces some recent developments in the compilation of the specification price indices for imports and exports and provides an analysis of the price movements of selected commodity items covered in the survey.

The article "Hospitalisation" was written in view of the rising public demand for hospital services in recent years as reflected in the increased number of Hong Kong residents having stayed in hospitals.

The article presents the characteristics of in-patients based on the findings of a statistical enquiry on "Hospitalisation" conducted during April to August 1995.

Analysis was made on the age, sex, activity status, industry, occupation and monthly household income of these in-patients. Information on number of admissions in the half year prior to the enquiry, type and location of hospital of their last admission and whether charges were covered by medical insurance or subsidised by employer was also presented.

The May 1996 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics is now on sale at $50 a copy. It contains the most up-to-date information on Hong Kong's situation regarding economic growth, the labour market, inflation and many other social and economic issues.

Purchase of this publication can be made at the Government Publications Centre, ground floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

The publication is also available for sale at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Regular subscription can also be arranged with the Publications (Sales) Office of the Information Services Department on 2598 8194.

End

18

73 convicted pollution cases in April *****

A total of 73 convictions were made in the courts last month (April) for breaching anti-pollution legislation enforced by the Environmental Protection Department.

Among them, 32 were convictions made under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance, 18 under the Noise Control Ordinance, 10 under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, 11 under the Waste Disposal Ordinance and two under the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance.

The fines ranged from $1,000 to $142,000. Hong Kong Paper Mills Ltd was fined $142, 000 for discharging polluted matter in the Deep Bay Water Control Zone.

End

Hotel operator fined for making illegal alterations

*****

The operator of the Century Hotel in Wan Chai was fined $15,000 in Eastern Magistracy today (Tuesday) after pleading guilty to changing the layout of the premises without prior approval from the Home Affairs Department's Licensing Authority.

The court heard that when officers of the Licensing Authority inspected the hotel at 238, Jaffe Road on July 6 last year, they found it had made alterations and additions to four areas without the Authority's prior approval, thereby contravening its licensing conditions and potentially endangering the safety of guests.

The operator was subsequently charged under section 21 of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance.

A spokesman for the department reminded hotel operators that they should observe the conditions stipulated in their licences and that the Government takes a serious view of cases in which the safety of guests is put at risk.

Enforcement action will continue to be taken to ensure all hotels meet the fire and building safety standards, he said.

End

19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results ♦ ♦ * * ♦

Tender date 21 May 96 21 May 96

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q621 H665

Issue date 22 May 96 22 May 96

Maturity date 21 Aug 96 20 Nov 96

Coupon - -

Amount applied HK$7,400 MN HK$4,060 MN

Amount allotted HK$l,500MN HKS800 MN

Average yield accepted 5.13 PCT 5.22 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.13 PCT 5.23 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 95 PCT About 20 PCT

Average tender yield 5.15 PCT 5.24 PCT Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tenders to be held in the week beginning May 27,1996 -

Tender date 27 May 96 28 May 96

Paper on offer EF notes EF bills

Issue number 7305 Q622

Issue date 28 May 96 29 May 96

Maturity date 28 May 2003 28 Aug 96

Tenor 7 years 91 days

Amount on offer Coupon HKS500+100MN 7.6 PCT HKD 1,500+300 MN

End

20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,961 0930 Nil

Closing balance in the account 1,941 1000 Nil

Change attributable to: 1100 Nil

Money market activity Nil 1200 +4

LAF today -20 1500 +4

1600 Nil

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.0 *+0.0* 21.5.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.07 2 years 2805 6.30 100.53 6.10

1 month 5.06 3 years 3904 6.30 99.58 6.56

3 months 5.15 5 years 5103 6.75 98.56 7.23

6 months 5.24 7 years 7302 6.02 92.26 7.64

12 months 5.57 5 years M502 7.30 99.93 7.45

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $8,766 million

Closed May 21, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES BEACONSFIELD HOUSE, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, May 22,1996

Contents Page

Transcript of the Governor's media session............................... 1

New measures on export of Chinese workers welcomed....................... 4

Public consultation on telephone services pricing launched...........

Banking (Amendment) Bill to be gazetted..............................

Financial assistance to drug treatment agencies......................

IPCC's work much appreciated............................................ 10

Security personnel urged to apply early for permits.................. 11

Governor visits health and elderly centres.............................. 13

124 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight........................... 14

Monitors' Report submitted to CS........................................ 14

First health competition for district boards............................ 14

Human rights teaching kit well-received.............................. 15

Tsing Yi lot to let..................................................... 16

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations.................... 17

1

Transcript of the Governor's media session *****

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after visiting the Lam Tin Polyclinic and the Wong Tai Sin Multiservice Centre for the Elderly this (Wednesday) afternoon:

Governor: I'm very pleased today to see the progress that we're making in implementing the pledges that I've made in the past to improve health care facilities for students, for women and for the elderly. I was interested to see the development of our student health care programme which I think will in due course make a major contribution to improvements in the health of people at every age in Hong Kong, and I'm especially pleased that parents have been involved in the programme.

Secondly, I was also delighted to see the woman's clinic. We'll have as you know three dedicated clinics for women by next year and I hope that we'll be able to encourage more women to refer themselves to these clinics so as to make a contribution to their own good health during middle years and beyond. It really is interesting to see the discussion groups that are taking place at the clinic on issues like diet and related matters. And I was very impressed by what I saw there.

Here, we've seen a very very good example of how we can reach out into the community and look after much better in particular the single elderly, people who are living on their own, and it was of course encouraging to see how many retired people themselves are volunteering to help with these programmes. So it has been a good look at the whole range of health care facilities and I'll be looking forward to seeing more of our implementation of pledges over the coming months.

Question: (on proposed increases in sewage charges)

Governor: I think that one of the surprising things, or perhaps one shouldn't be surprised about it, is that everybody is in favour of the principle of polluter pays until the bill comes in. The fact about the bill for sewage charges is that it is a pretty reasonable one. The increases we've proposed are about the same as those that we advised LegCo would be necessary in 1994 allowing for an inflation adjustment as well. About 16 per cent of households don't pay a charge at all; and about 60 per cent as a result of our proposals - just over 60 per cent - will only be paying between one dollar and two-and-a-half dollars more a month. So the charges, I don't think anybody is suggesting are hugely burdensome.

2

I understand of course why any charge people don’t much care for. But if we want a cleaner environment, and if we want cleaner waters around our shores, and we know the health risks involved in not cleaning up the water, then we’ve got to pay for it. And if you don't pay for it through charges, then it has to be paid for through taxation. We haven't yet discovered in Hong Kong despite our other many achievements a species of tree from which you can pick money. So the only alternative to charging is putting the burden on the taxpayer and then of course many people would understandably grumble about that. So I hope we'll have a serious discussion about these matters in the next few weeks and months.

It's obviously up to us to try to persuade the community that it is reasonable and up to us to try to persuade the Legislative Council that it is reasonable. We listen to what people say; I’ve been hearing one or two remarks about the issue today. We listen to what the Legislative Council has to say as well and we’re entitled, I think, when we respond to people’s questions to ask them what they would do themselves to pay for this very important environmental programme.

Question: (on whether Governor would give any advice to T S Lo who has been tipped as an HKSARCE candidate)

Governor: No.

Question: What criteria ... Chief Executive?

Governor: I've answered similar questions before and I think the criteria speak for themselves. I think whoever is Chief Executive will need to be somebody who will speak up for Hong Kong and for Hong Kong's interests, will need to be somebody who commands authority and respect in the community. It will need of course to be somebody who understands Hong Kong very well, somebody who understands our civil service and can work well with our civil service, and it will need to be somebody who can give their own vision of Hong Kong as it moves one of the greatest cities in the world into the 21st century. I don't think there would be very much difference between me and Director Lu or anybody else on what those attributes are, but it's inappropriate for me to speculate about who might best display those attributes.

Question: Have you spoken to John Major since ...?

Governor: No.

Question: (on assistance to the provisional legislature)

Governor: If there're problems, then you should look to those who've tied the knot to untie it, and those who’ve tied the knot are those who threaten to dismantle our fairly elected Legislative Council and to replace it with a provisional legislature. Those people have created the problem, they'll have to find the answer if they go ahead with it, but I still hope that they might see sense.

3

Question: What's your response to the MFN issue ...?

Governor: As you know, I went to the United States to campaign vigorously for unconditional renewal of MFN. I was pleased when I was there to have the assurance of both the President and Senator Dole that they themselves would be in favour of unconditional renewal. But obviously the action now moves to the Senate and the House of Representatives where the argument may be rather more, rather tougher and we can't yet relax. Obviously American politicians look very hard at what's happening in China and sometimes other events affect their attitude on this issue. But they know very well that we in Hong Kong continue to believe passionately in free trade and they know very well that I and Martin Lee argued very vigorously for Hong Kong and Hong Kong's interest, pointing out how much we would be damaged at a sensitive moment in our transition to Chinese sovereignty by any disruption to trade between our two largest trading partners. So it's fairly early days in this annual argument, but 1 hope the issue will be settled in a sensible way before the end of the summer.

Question: Are you surprised at the way the business groups react to the interview that you had with Newsweek?

Governor: I'm surprised at the way that business groups have reacted to things that I didn't say. I'm surprised to discover that articles have been written and things have been said without people ever reading the Newsweek article or the press that I received in the United States and Canada when I was there, which was uniformly extremely positive. I'd rather enjoy it, to tell you the truth. I'm also surprised at the extent to which one or two business leaders now seem happy to get involved in political issues, and obviously it means now the community will be looking to them for views on issues like human rights protection, the independence of the judiciary, the future of the civil service. I hope that some of these business leaders who've been making their views clear so liberally in the last few days will be speaking up for Hong Kong over the next year because it's important that some people speak up for Hong Kong. I'll continue to do so in Hong Kong and outside Hong Kong. Okay. Thank you very much.

End

4

New measures on export of Chinese workers welcomed ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Commissioner for Labour, Miss Jacqueline Willis, today (Wednesday) paid a courtesy visit to the Chinese Government’s Department of Foreign Economic Co-operation (DOFEC) under the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) after visiting the Ministry of Labour yesterday.

During her visit, Miss Willis briefed the Director of DOFEC, Mr Shi Heqiu, on new arrangements being implemented by the Hong Kong Government to safeguard the rights and benefits of workers imported to work in Hong Kong.

Speaking from Beijing, the Commissioner said today's visit followed Mr Shi's visit to the Education and Manpower Branch and the Labour Department at the end of March.

Miss Willis was told by Mr Shi that the Chinese Government would soon introduce new measures to improve the regulation of Chinese workers to be hired to work in Hong Kong and other countries.

"According to Mr Shi, the Chinese Government would allow a total of 21 labour service companies to handle the exportation of workers to Hong Kong.

She was aware that MOFTEC was going to make an announcement today about details relating to the new measures as well as the names of the labour service companies authorised to deal with recruitment of Chinese workers for overseas employment.

She was informed that the Chinese Government was preparing a standard system on fees chargeable in respect of the workers recruited for overseas employment and details of the system would be announced later.

"The Chinese Government will require the 21 authorised labour service companies to observe Hong Kong laws and is also positively considering to have these companies registered as employment agencies under the Employment Ordinance," Miss Willis said.

"Furthermore, the Chinese Government would prohibit the recruitment of workers to work overseas through middlemen in China.

"I also understand that the Chinese Government will enhance the training of workers before allowing them to work in Hong Kong.

5

’’Workers to be exported will be required to pass a test in China which covers various aspects such as Hong Kong employment laws. They will be issued with a certificate by MOFTEC after passing the test."

She was told the training scheme would be ready in June and only those with a relevant certificate would be eligible to come for work in Hong Kong.

The Commissioner for Labour welcomed various measures to be introduced by the Chinese Government and undertook to offer assistance and comments on the Chinese training scheme. .

End

Public consultation on telephone services pricing launched ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) today (Wednesday) issued a public consultation paper on the review of the pricing structure of local fixed telephone services.

Speaking at a press briefing, the Telecommunications Authority, Mr Alex Arena, said: "We wish to find out whether there is sufficiently strong justification and public support for changing the present pricing structure of local fixed telephone service.

"The consultation document gives a clear and full picture of the existing flatrate local fixed telephone tariff structure and the major reasons for the review.

"In recent years, we have seen rapid changes in the use of local telephone lines for new non-telephonic purposes especially computer or other machine based usages.

"If we continue to allow uncontrolled use by machines free-of-charge of the public telephone network, there is a danger that telephone charges could be pushed up significantly or service quality would deteriorate quickly. Other places such as the United States are facing the same problem.

"We have an obligation to bring the attention of the public to these changed circumstances and the latest developments in telecommunications here and abroad.

6

"Based on the findings of the review, four possible pricing options have been formulated, one of which being the status quo."

Mr Arena said he was open-minded on the four options.

"In fact, the flat-rate tariff has served Hong Kong well to-date.

"I do not wish to see any of the merits of the present system thrown away hastily and carelessly in moving towards any new pricing mechanisms. But the public should be aware of the problems facing the existing flat-rate pricing and that it is not cost free.

"What I hope to see is an informed public discussion on this matter, before Government takes a view as to the best way forward to serve the interest of the public," said Mr Arena.

The consultation will last until July 22, giving the public two months to submit their views on the four options set out in the consultation document or to suggest alternative pricing methods.

Copies of the document are available at OFTA, 29th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, or at Home Affairs’ Department’s district public enquiry counters.

The document has also been put on OFTA’s Internet Home Page http://www.ofta.gov.hk.

Submissions from the public should be sent to the following by July 22:

Office of the Telecommunications Authority

29th floor, Wu Chung House

213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai

[Attn: Senior Administrative Officer (Regulatory)]

Fax 2803 5112

Internet e-mail: Comments@ofta.gov.hk

End

7

Banking (Amendment) Bill to be gazetted * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Banking (Amendment) Bill 1996 will be published in the Gazette on Friday (May 24).

A government spokesman said the main purpose of the Bill was to introduce a legal framework for the regulation of the issue of multi-purpose stored value cards (MPCs) and of foreign exchange and deposit brokers (money brokers) operating in the wholesale foreign exchange and deposit market, and to effect a number of other changes designed to improve the workings of the ordinance.

The issue of prepaid MPCs was akin to the taking of deposits or, for certain types of MPC scheme, to the issue of bank notes, the spokesman said.

A proliferation of MPCs would also have significant implications for the payment system and might create new opportunities for money laundering.

For these reasons, it is considered necessary to introduce a legal framework to regulate the issue of MPCs.

The proposed legal framework, however, would not apply to single purpose stored value cards which are similar to prepayments for specific goods and services and are currently not subject to regulation.

Explaining the legal framework, the spokesman said the central issue was which entities should be eligible to issue MPCs.

"We need to strike the right balance between the broad public interest of product innovation and convenience that may be served by the application of the smart card technology and the need to maintain the stability of the payment system.

"Allowing non-bank entities to issue MPCs has the effect of opening up parallel payment systems which, if allowed to proliferate, would have significant systemic implications. Such extension of the payment system needs to be carefully controlled," said the spokesman.

The spokesman said having regard to the above and the business restrictions applicable to authorised institutions under the current three-tier structure of authorisation under the Banking Ordinance, the Bill proposed that:

(a) licensed banks would be deemed to be approved to issue or facilitate the issue of MPCs (i.e. they will not require specific approval under the Banking Ordinance);

8

(b) special purpose vehicles (SPVs) whose principal business consists, or will consist, of the issue or facilitating the issue of MPCs would be allowed to apply for authorisation as a restricted licence bank or deposittaking company for the principal purpose of being approved to issue or facilitate the issue of MPCs; and

(c) the Monetary Authority (MA) would be given a discretionary power to declare a stored value card not to be an MPC.

In applying these criteria, it is the MA’s intention that only licensed banks would be allowed to issue "general purpose" MPCs (i.e. those which are not related to the provision of particular goods and services).

The cards to be issued by SPVs would be more limited in scope under guidelines to be developed by MA in consultation with the various interested parties.

The proposal to restrict the issue of general purpose MPCs to licensed banks was in line with the regulatory inclination of other overseas countries including those in Europe and Singapore, the spokesman added.

On money brokers, the spokesman said the proposal to introduce a formal authorisation regime for the money brokers was in response to the request by the Hong Kong Foreign Exchange and Deposit Brokers Association (HKFEDBA) and the Hong Kong Association of Banks for a formal approval system to supplement self regulation by HKFEDBA.

"A formal approval regime will help ensure that the highest standards of integrity and fair dealing are observed by the money brokers.

"This is crucial for an orderly and efficient interbank foreign exchange and money market as befits an international financial centre like Hong Kong," said the spokesman.

The proposed framework would prohibit any person from acting as a money broker unless he is approved by MA under the ordinance.

MA would be empowered to approve or revoke the approval of a broker on the basis of a set of fit and proper criteria specified in a schedule to the Ordinance. The main approval criteria include fitness and propriety of the management, financial soundness, prudent conduct and adequacy of accounting and control systems.

9

The spokesman added: "The approval criteria will be of a continuing nature. This means that it would be a ground for revocation if the MA is no longer satisfied that the person is fit and proper to continue the brokerage business."

He said the Bill provided a right of appeal to the Govemor-in-Council for persons who were aggrieved by MA’s decision.

The spokesman further pointed out that the Bill contained a number of amendments to improve the workings of the ordinance and to consolidate the appeal and penalty provisions.

The amount of fines under the Ordinance, which have not been revised since 1986, would be doubled so as to retain their deterrent effect which has been eroded over the years by inflation.

The Bill is scheduled for introduction into the Legislative Council on June 5.

End

Financial assistance to drug treatment agencies

*****

The Administration fully acknowledged the contribution made by the Christian therapeutic agencies to the rehabilitation of drug abusers, a Government spokesman said following a meeting with eight Christian therapeutic agencies yesterday (Tuesday).

"The question of subvention needs to be approached in a systematic and structured way.

"In line with the established practice in subventing other social services, we need first of all to conduct a proper assessment of the service provided by the operating agencies and evaluate the effectiveness of their mode of service," he said.

"Whether subvention can be made available depends on the outcome of the assessment and the availability of funding."

The spokesman said during the course of the assessment which would take some time, additional interim assistance would be provided.

- 10 -

"In the interim, we have offered to recommend about $3.5 million from the Beat Drugs Fund for all non-subvented residential treatment agencies, to help them to employ social workers to strengthen their counselling services,” he said.

”In addition, the Social Welfare Department is prepared to recommend to the Lotteries Fund for any capital improvement projects submitted by these agencies.”

The spokesman added that the Government could not commit substantial proportion of the Beat Drugs Fund to meet the needs of the agencies fully as the Fund was open to applications for a wide spectrum of worthwhile projects which could help reduce the problem of drug abuse.

’’Dialogue with the agencies will go on,” he said.

End

IPCC’s work much appreciated * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A government spokesman today (Wednesday) said the administration is highly appreciative of the work completed by the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) over the past year.

IPCC is an independent body consisting of non-official members appointed by the Governor, which monitors the handling by the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) of complaints made against the Police. These non-official members come from a broad cross-section of the community.

In the past year, a lot has been done to further enhance the independent monitoring role of IPCC.

The spokesman said more cases were now dealt with under the Interviewing Witnesses Scheme, which enabled IPCC to interview any witnesses. In addition, IPCC could meet complainants and complainees.

On the power to make recommendations on any particular investigation, the spokesman said in addition to making recommendations to the Commissioner of Police, IPCC could also make recommendations to the Governor for a final ruling.

11

"This power, which is recognised in its terms of reference, ensures the complaints can be heard at the highest level," he said.

In practice, the Police would carefully consider the comments of IPCC over the handling of complaint cases and re-consider the cases in question.

To further ensure that complaints are handled by CAPO thoroughly and impartially, the administration had seconded a directorate Administrative Officer to IPCC to review CAPO procedures early this year. The report of the review is being finalised.

On IPCC's proposal to appoint some non-police officers to CAPO to investigate serious complaints, the administration maintained that as complaints usually alleged breaches of the criminal law, or of police discipline, it was difficult for non-police personnel to conduct investigations of such cases, the spokesman said.

End

Security personnel urged to apply early for permits

*****

The following is issued on behalf of the Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority:

Companies and employees in the security industry were urged to tender their applications for licences and permits without delay to comply with new legislation.

The call was made by the Chairman of the Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority (SGSIA), Mrs Miriam Lau, at a press conference today (Wednesday).

"The Security and Guarding Services Ordinance, which requires companies and individuals engaged in security work to hold licences and permits, will take effect on June 1 this year," she said.

Mrs Lau noted that since applications for licences and permits were invited from November 2 last year, 380 applications for security company licence had been received, of which 91 were approved.

12

As for security personnel permits, the Police received 19,593 applications, of which 4,485 were approved and 43 rejected.

"The Police is deploying additional staff to process the remaining applications," Mrs Lau said.

On the impact of the new ordinance on employment opportunities for elderly watchmen, Mrs Lau said the over 65 could continue to work in single private residential buildings if they passed a biennial medical examination.

"The ordinance also provides a transitional period for 130,000 holders of the existing watchman's permits, during which they can continue to guard all types of premises.

"They need not apply for the new security personnel permit until they receive notification from the SGSIA," she said.

"These measures will buffer immediate impact on the employment of elderly watchmen."

Mrs Lau stressed that although SGSIA did not encourage security personnel to take up part-time job, it was prepared to allow flexibility for such cases provided that the employee did not work in excess of 372 hours per month and 12 hours per day.

"We will not relax the restriction on working hours as security work requires a high level of concentration and alertness," she said.

"We can hardly expect competent performance from someone who works around the clock and is not given adequate rest time."

Referring to proposals put forward by some labour unions to suspend the ordinance, Mrs Lau said this would simply defer solutions to problems and hamper efforts to improve the quality of the security industry.

"The Police will adopt an understanding attitude during the first three months of enforcement, especially to those whose applications are being processed," she said.

Mrs Lau reminded those who did not hold any watchman's permits but wished to continue employment in security work to apply for such permits on or before May 31, or for security personnel permits as soon as possible.

End

13

Governor visits health and elderly centres

♦ * * ♦ ♦


The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, today (Wednesday) visited the Lam Tin Polyclinic to see for himself two new services provided by the Department of Health for students and women in recent years.

On arrival at the clinic, Mr Patten was met by the Director of Health, Dr Margaret Chan, and the Deputy Director of Health, Dr T A Saw.

He was first shown around the Student Health Service Centre and the Special Assessment Centre where he saw primary school students undergoing health screening tests.

He was told the service is popular among primary school students and will be extended to the secondary school students in the coming academic year.

The Governor then proceeded to the Woman Health Centre which provides preventive activities for women in the menopausal age group.

After that, Mr Patten called on the Sheng Kung Hui Wong Tai Sin Multiservice Centre for the Elderly. He was accompanied by the Director of Social Welfare, Mr Ian Strachan.

The centre provides a range of services for elderly people, including meals, home help, counselling, laundry and bathing services, and social and recreational activities.

It also runs an experimental volunteer workers programme since last October to recruit and train volunteers to serve individual elderly persons on a regular and longterm bases.

End

14

124 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight ♦ * ♦ ♦ *

A group of 124 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Wednesday) on the 38th flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

All of the returnees, comprising 43 men, 34 women, 20 boys and 27 girls, are from North Vietnam.

The majority of them arrived in Hong Kong in 1989, with the remaining in 1991, 1995 and 1996.

The group brought to 3,008 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

Monitors' Report submitted to CS

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Wednesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The two monitors came from two non-govemment organisations. They were Prof Japhet Law from Oxfam and Ms Nadine de Lamotte from Medecins Sans Frontieres.

End