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

 DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Monday, April 1,1996

Contents Page No.

Transcript of the Governor's media session.......................... 1

Recommendations made on hill fire fighting operation................ 2

Official Languages Agency established............................... 4

Governor's duty visit to UK......................................... 5

Squatters under threat of landslides urged to move out.............. 5

Hong Kong Note Printing Ltd......................................... 6

Informal get-together...........................................

Concession on business registration fee exemption................... 8

Technical support to manufacturers on environmental matters......... 9

Allegation of ambiguity in employment guide refuted................ 10

Vast majority satisfied with present situation: HAB poll........ 11

AIDS ambassadors to promote AIDS awareness campaign................ 12

Royal Navy searches for "old shipmates"............................ 14

Applications for cross-border coach services.................... 15

School dance performances in April.............................. 16

BN(O) passport application...................................... 1 $

Water storage figure............................................ 19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

19

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 opening the Regional Council 10th Anniversary this (Monday) afternoon:

Governor: I’m going to be answering questions after ExCo tomorrow, but I’ll answer a couple of questions.

Question: Is there a deal between Britain and China which would allow those who are permanent Hong Kong residents before 1997 to enjoy the same status?

Governor: No. No. There was a headline in one of the papers today saying there had been a deal. If you like to look at the transcript of what I said, 1 made it absolutely clear that these were extremely important matters and should be settled on their merits. So the decision by the British Government to allow visa-free access to SAR passport holders was taken on its own terms; there was no question of any linkage. What I did say was that that decision had been taken finally after Mr Rifkind’s meeting in Peking with Mr Qian Qichen. And obviously the reassurance that Mr Rifkind was given helped the British Government to make its decision. But there was no linkage and I think if you look at the transcript of what I said, I didn’t just say that implicitly, I said it explicitly. One more question.

Question: Should the statement issued by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office to try to clarify the neutrality of the civil service erase those worries that have been made by the unnamed source?

Governor: I didn't throw the rock into the pool. It's for those who caused these concerns to set them at rest. If people say things at tea parties which are unwise, then it's perhaps sensible that they say things on the record after tea parties which are more wise. But 1 know that the Chief Secretary has said how valuable it would be if next time he visits Hong Kong, Director Lu Ping could meet her and discuss what we should all want, which is a smooth transition for our civil service which is one of the reasons for Hong Kong's success and one of the best civil services in the world.

Question: That means you don't want to join two of them's meeting?

2

Governor: You know perfectly well that the Governor of Hong Kong would be delighted to meet the Director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. The fact that we haven’t met isn’t my responsibility; it’s for Director Lu to explain why we are not meeting as we are supposed to meet under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Airport. I will meet Director Lu whenever he wants. But it appears that he doesn't want to. Well, I think it’s sad for Hong Kong, but he'll have to justify that, he'll have to’explain that. We could have a meeting without either of us having to jump in the sea.

Question: Will you let Anson to take ... in charge ...?

Governor: Mrs Chan is Chief Secretary. She's the head of the civil service in Hong Kong and I would be delighted for her to meet Director Lu. It would be very good for Hong Kong. Director Lu, I am sure, knows that the Hong Kong Government speaks with one voice. We are all committed to the implementation of the Joint Declaration and I very much hope that that is an objective which Director Lu shares as well.

End

Recommendations made on hill fire fighting operation

*****

The inter-departmental investigation team looking into the Pat Sin Leng fire has put forward a number of recommendations to improve the Government's hill fire fighting and rescue capability to prevent the recurrence of a similar tragedy.

Releasing the recommendations today (Monday), a government spokesman said the investigation report had been submitted to the Secretary for Security through the Director of Fire Services.

"In view of the pending death inquest, we cannot disclose the full details of the report," he said.

The investigation team was commissioned to look into the cause of the fire which occurred on February 10, the circumstances leading to the large number of casualties; and to recommend measures to prevent the recurrence of this tragedy.

3

"Drawing from the experience of this incident, the team considered that something could be done to raise public awareness of safety during the conduct of hiking activities and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency responses," the spokesman said.

A total of 29 recommendations were made in the report, covering seven departments involved in the fire fighting and rescue operation.

"All the departments are beginning to take steps to implement these recommendations and we are confident that the majority of them would be implemented within the next few months," he said.

The more significant recommendations include updating safety guidelines for schools' extra-curricular activities; wider publicity on fire safety in the countryside; provisions of communication means for hikers and school parties on excursion; and more training on hiking safety and outings for hikers and teachers.

For casualty evacuation by helicopters, it is recommended that the Government Flying Service should review the deployment of resources during major emergencies and to acquire additional equipment.

Training for basic mountain rescue techniques should be provided for fire fighters by the Civil Aid Services, according to the report.

For prolonged incidents involving multiple casualties, the report recommends that the Auxiliary Medical Services should also deploy its Emergency Response Task Force to the scene to reinforce the Hospital Authority's Mobile Medical Team and to perform instant triage.

An action checklist has been produced of measures to implement the recommendations. The Security Branch will monitor the follow up actions to ensure that all the recommendations are implemented as quickly as possible.

"Actions to implement all these recommendations have already begun," said the spokesman.

"Of the 29 recommendations, nine have been completed or fully integrated into ongoing programmes. We expect action on 28 of the 29 recommendations to be completed within the coming six months."

End

4

Official Languages Agency established *****

The Official Languages Agency which has taken on an enhanced role to promote the greater use of Chinese in the Civil Service is formally established today (Monday).

The setting up of the new independent agency to replace the former Chinese Language Division under the Chief Secretary's Office is one of the recommendations of the Working Group on the Use of Chinese which released its report last September.

The Commissioner for Official Languages, Ms Choi Ying-pik, pointed out that the reorganisation would give the agency a clear identity and a more authoritative status to take the lead on the language front and effect a change in the culture and attitude of the Civil Service.

She said a proper institutional framework would facilitate the goal of achieving a biliterate (English and Chinese) and trilingual (in English, Cantonese and Putonghua) Civil Service.

"The work ahead will include producing more guidelines and reference materials to assist officers to draft documents in Chinese; to keep closer contacts with policy branches and departments about the progress on this issue.

"In addition, more departments will implement pilot schemes to try out the use of Chinese on a systematic basis when communicating with the public.

"The Agency will also oversee a three-year project to provide Chinese word processing facilities and training for secretarial, clerical and executive grades staff within the Civil Service," she said.

Ms Choi stressed that the move to improve Chinese capability of civil servants should not in any way minimise the importance of maintaining a good standard of English in the civil sendee.

"Proficiency in English and Chinese are equally important. However, in view that the use of Chinese has lagged far behind in the past, it is now a priority task of the government to introduce a package of proactive measures to implement the recommendations of the Working Group," Ms Choi said.

End

5

Governor’s duty visit to UK

*****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, will leave Hong Kong for London tomorrow (Tuesday) evening to spend the Easter break with his family prior to beginning one of his regular duty visits to the UK.

Mr Patten's duty visit will begin in London on April 10. He will return to Hong Kong on April 14.

During his stay in the UK, the Governor will hold discussions with Ministers and FCO officials on developments in Hong Kong. He will give two lectures in London - the Bank of England's Roy Bridge Memorial Lecture and at the Pacific Asia Programme Seminar organised by the Economic and Social Research Council - and will deliver a speech to the Institute of Directors in Belfast.

End

Squatters under threat of landslides urged to move out

*****

Residents staying in structures in the Lei Yue Mun Squatter Area that have been declared to be at immediate risk from landslides have to move out before April 25, a government spokesman announced today (Monday).

The spokesman stressed that prompt removal action has to be taken to ensure the safety of the residents before the arrival of the rainy season.

The Housing Department (HD), together with staff of the Kwun Tong District Office and the Geotechnical Engineering Office, will post notices tomorrow (Tuesday) on about 60 structures to notify the affected occupants of the decision. These structures have been assessed to be under the immediate threat of landslips in August last year.

A majority of the families involved have already accepted alternative housing offered by HD and have moved out.

The spokesman called on those who had repeatedly rejected HD's rehousing arrangements to reconsider the offers for their own safety.

6

"We shall continue to visit them in these three weeks to see if they need any help," he said.

As to the residents living in structures vulnerable to landslides, they are advised to move to Home Affairs Department’s temporary shelters during heavy rain and typhoon, and to accept HD’s rehousing offers on a voluntary basis as a long term solution.

End

Hong Kong Note Printing Ltd *****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) today (Monday) announced the completion of the acquisition of De La Rue’s banknote printing plant in Tai Po. The name of the new company operating the banknote printing business is Hong Kong Note Printing Limited (HKNPL).

The transfer of ownership of the company took place smoothly in accordance with the Agreement signed between the Hong Kong Government and De La Rue in January.

A meeting of the Board of Directors of HKNPL was also held today under the Chairmanship of the Chief Executive of HKMA, Mr Joseph Yam. The four other Directors are: three senior executives from HKMA, Deputy Chief Executive (Monetary), Mr Andrew Sheng, Executive Director (Monetary Policy and Markets), Mr Norman Chan, Executive Director (Reserves Management), Mr John Nugee, and the newly appointed General Manager, Mr Peter So Lai-yin.

"We are very pleased that the transfer of ownership of the note printing operation has taken place smoothly. We are also very glad that Mr Peter So has been appointed as General Manager of the company.

"Mr So has had a distinguished career in the Police Force and his experience in the area of management and security will, I am sure, contribute to the efficient operation of the company," said Mr Yam.

"Although we have taken over the ownership and management of the note printing operation, De La Rue will continue to provide technical support and assistance to HKNPL through a Technical Agreement.

"Moreover, we will continue to have the expert advice and services of three senior expatriate staff from De La Rue who are thoroughly familiar with the technical aspects of the plant," he added.

End

7

Informal get-together ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following consultation with the Xinhua News Agency (Hong Kong Branch), we are pleased to announce that the ninth and tenth informal get-together between senior Hong Kong civil servants and officials of the Chinese side will take place respectively on April 11 and 12, at the Voting Members’ Box, Happy Valley Racecourse starting at 10.30 am. It will end after lunch.

Participating officers will be :

April 11

Mr Peter Lai

Secretary for Security

Mr Hui Ki-on

Commissioner of Police

Mr Leung Ming-yin

Director of Immigration

Mr Raymond Lai

Commissioner of Correctional Services

Mr Peter Cheung

Director of Fire Services

Mr Li Shu-fai

Commissioner of Customs and Excise (designate)

Mr Peter Wong

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations)

Mr Tsang Yam-pui

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management)(designate)

They will be accompanied by Mr Patrick Lau, Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service and Mrs Philomena Leung, Principal Assistant Secretary for the Civil Service.

8

April 12

Mr Michael Leung

Commissioner,

Independent Commission Against Corruption

Mr Kwok Man-wai

Deputy Commissioner and Head of Operations

Ms Janet Wong

Director of Community Relations

Mr Chan Chi-sun

Director of Corruption Prevention (acting)

They will be accompanied by Mrs Philomena Leung, Principal Assistant Secretary for the Civil Service.

End

Concession on business registration fee exemption *****

Pursuant to the Public Revenue Protection (Business Registration Fees) Order 1996, the concession on business registration fee exemption proposed in the 1996 Budget has come into effect today (Monday).

"For the sale of goods, the average monthly turnover level below which businesses are exempt from payment of business registration fees and levies has been increased from $15,000 to $30,000.

’’For businesses which derive profits mainly from the sale of services, the exemption level has been increased from $4,000 to $10,000 per month,” a government spokesman said.

An explanatory leaflet on the exemption conditions and application procedures is available from the Inland Revenue Department and the district offices.

Similar information may also be obtained through the 24 hours telephone enquiry system of the Inland Revenue Department at 187 8088, then press "2" and "6".

9

The addresses of th^Inland Revenue Department are:

Hong Kong: ground floor, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Kowloon: first floor, Mong Kok Government Offices (adjacent to the Mong Kok KCR Station), 30 Luen Wan Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon

Tsuen Wan: first floor, Tsuen Wan Station Multi-storey Car Park Building, 174-208 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories

Any further enquiries relating to business registration matters can be made on 187 8088.

End

Technical support to manufacturers on environmental matters *****

The Industry Department has commissioned the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) to run an environmental hotline and a technical outreach programme, in a bid to give support to manufacturers on environmental matters.

HKPC will design, set up and operate the Environmental Hotline and to carry out the technical outreach programme consisting of a series of industry seminars, workshops, factory visits and analysis of effluent samples.

Speaking at a contract-signing ceremony today (Monday), Assistant Director-General of Industry, Mr Wong Hon-ho, said the project combined a previous hotline service by the Centre of Environmental Technology Limited (CET) and the technical outreach programme by the HKPC in 1994-95.

10

"HKPC, teamed up with CET, will now continue *the services to support industries in their compliance with environmental legislation and in upgrading their industrial processes for another year," Mr Wong said.

"The hotline is a telephone advisory service, providing information and advice on environmental legislation and standards," he said.

"Focusing on environmental issues affecting individual industrial sectors, the seminars and workshops will be organised in co-operation with industry associations," he added.

Mr Wong said factory visits will be conducted to assess factories' environmental performance and effluent samples will be taken. Problem areas and opportunities for improvement will be identified to assist manufacturers to introduce improved environmental practices into their operations.

Mr Wong also announced the publication of the 1996 edition of "A Guide to Pollution Control Legislation Affecting Manufacturing Industries".

"The fifth consecutive issue published every year by the Industry Department, the Guide assists manufacturers by providing basic information on environmental measures which may affect them, and where technical advice may be obtained", Mr Wong said.

The Guide will be distributed free of charge to over 5,000 manufacturers likely to be affected by environmental measures and to major industrial and trade associations.

End

Allegation of ambiguity in employment guide refuted

*****

A Labour Department spokesman said today (Monday) that contents of the Practical Guide for Employment of Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs) are not ambiguous.

11

Commenting on today's press reports which quoted the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association as saying that it found the publication "ambiguous" and could lead to more arguments between employers and FDHs, the spokesman noted that many guidelines published in the booklet are directly related to various provisions in the Employment Ordinance.

"As stated in the preface of the booklet, the Practical Guide intends to provide answers to some common questions received by the Labour Relations Service of the Labour Department during conciliation of disputes between FDHs and their employers.

"We have also reminded readers that they should refer to the relevant booklets published by our department if they require further information on the legal provisions," the spokesman said.

He added that guidelines contained in the booklet, if fully adopted by both employers and FDHs, would be practical in reducing many misunderstandings which might develop into undue labour disputes.

The spokesman disclosed that the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association had earlier expressed their views on the booklet and on the employment of FDHs through contacts with the Labour Department.

"We will consider their suggestions to see whether they are feasible in improving the labour relations between employers and FDHs.

"We advise employers and FDHs to call our enquiries hotline 2717 1771 or approach any branch offices of the Labour Relations Service if they encounter complicated problems relating to employment conditions," the spokesman added.

End

Vast majority satisfied with present situation: HAB poll *****

A public opinion survey conducted in March by the Home Affairs Branch (HAB) has shown that 73 per cent of the respondents were satisfied with the present situation in Hong Kong.

Releasing the latest findings of the bimonthly survey, an HAB spokesman said today (Monday) that the figure represented an 11 percentage points increase from 62 per cent in January.

Sixty per cent of the respondents expressed confidence that the territory would continue to be prosperous and stable, up from 55 per cent.

12

As to the overall performance of the Government, the number of people who expressed satisfaction rose sharply from 39 per cent to 52 per cent.

The survey also revealed that the number of respondents who believed the Government had taken public opinion into account when formulating policies and making decisions, and who considered that the Government had made satisfactory efforts in disseminating information on its policies and decisions to the general public, had both gone up to 63 per cent.

The corresponding figures in the last survey were 58 per cent and 56 per cent.

Of the three most often mentioned problems facing the territory, labour-related issues, although still topping the list, had dropped substantially to 40 per cent from 65 per cent in January.

"Social welfare-related problems" came second at 31 per cent while "housing-related problems" was third at 28 per cent, compared to 12 per cent and 24 per cent in the previous findings respectively.

The survey was the 63rd in the series to gauge the trend of public opinion on perceived problems in Hong Kong and the community’s views of the general situation.

Through a random sampling of residential telephone numbers, 1,520 persons aged between 15 and 64 were interviewed.

End

AIDS ambassadors to promote AIDS awareness campaign *****

Five famous radio programme hosts and hostesses - Mr Hung Chiu-fung, Ms Li Pik-sum. Mr Gary Ngan, Ms Pamela Pak and Mr Paul Tse - have been appointed AIDS awareness ambassadors by the Committee on Education and Publicity on AIDS (CEPAI DS) at a ceremony held today (Monday).

The ceremony also marks the official opening of the "10 Years of AIDS in Posters Exhibition" at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.

13

Speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman of CEP AIDS, Ms Carlye Tsui said: "The AIDS awareness ambassadors would exercise their charms and appeals to convey AIDS awareness messages.

"They include encouraging women to take initiatives to protect themselves from being infected, to remind people to practice safe sex and avoid sexual promiscuity, and to treat AIDS patients and HIV carriers fairly," she said.

The five AIDS awareness ambassadors will appear in a series of television announcements of public interests (TVAPI), posters and postcards to promote the prevention of AIDS.

"They will also disseminate messages on AIDS to their supporters and people from all walks of life in their own radio programmes and newspaper columns," said Ms Tsui.

Apart from involving the five programme hosts and hostesses in a variety of publicity activities to promote AIDS prevention, CEPAIDS, formed by the Government to advise on and co-ordinate publicity and educational campaigns on AIDS, will also organise a large scale two-day conference on AIDS in November.

Professionals from different fields of work, including medical experts, social workers, researchers, government officials, educators and students will participate in the conference to give their expert opinions on AIDS prevention, one of the most pressing issues of mankind.

The "10 Years of AIDS in Posters Exhibition", which will be until April 7 at the Pao Siu Loong Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre, is a showcase of publicity posters produced by the Government and voluntary agencies in the past decade.

"The posters mark the continuous effort of the Government and voluntary agencies on promoting the prevention of AIDS in the past 10 years.

"They also show how publicity strategies on AIDS prevention in Hong Kong have evolved in the past 10 years," Ms Carlye Tsui said.

People attending the exhibition are welcome to participate in a contest to select the best posters.

Admission is free.

End

14

Royal Navy searches for ’’old shipmates” *****

A Royal Naval presence in Hong Kong, lasting more than 150 years, will come to an end when HMS Tamar decommissions in March 1997.

To mark this final chapter in a long and illustrious association between the Royal Navy and the territory, a series of events has been organised for later this year to which "old shipmates" still living in Hong Kong will be invited.

The search is now on for these shipmates and the Chief of Staff and Senior Naval office in Hong Kong, Captain Peter Melson, will attend a press call tomorrow (Tuesday) at Prince of Wales Barracks during which he will invite former LEPs (Locally Engaged Personnel) and members of the Royal Navy to contact HMS Tamar so they may be included in any future guest list.

He will also be giving brief details of some of the events taking place to mark the Royal Navy's departure next year.

There has been a Royal Navy presence in Hong Kong since January 25, 1841, when Sir Edward Belcher, Captain of HMS Sulphur, landed at what is now known as Possession Point.

Towards the latter part of the 19th century, the original small invasion group of naval vessels began to grow both in number and capability, forming the East Indian Fleet. Royal Navy warships continued to be based in Hong Kong until the colony was invaded by Japan in 1941.

Liberation was later affected by Rear Admiral Harcourt's naval task force on August 30, 1945, after which the Royal Navy returned to establish a base in the territory.

Today the operational elements of the Royal Navy are based at HMS Tamar, on Stonecutters Island, where they moved in May 1993 from their former base in Central.

HMS Tamar, commanded by Commander Ross Thobum, controls and supports the operation of the Peacock class patrol craft, HM Ships Peacock, Plover and Starling, the three ships of the Hong Kong Squadron. Attention News Editors:

You are invited to attend the press call which will take place at 11.45 am tomorrow at Prince of Wales Barracks, Central.

15

Media representatives should arrive at the main gate no later than 11.30 am where they will be met by JSPRS officers.

End

Applications for cross-border coach services *****

The Transport Department is inviting applications from suitable operators to provide cross-border coach services between Hong Kong and China through the Lok Ma Chau Border Control Point.

A spokesman for the department said today (Monday) that to facilitate the processing of applications, applications should be submitted simultaneously to the Public Vehicles Section, Licensing Division of the Transport Department, Hong Kong, at third floor, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong and the Country Port of People’s Government of Shenzhen Port Office.

Applications should be made in writing giving the following information :

* Applicants' personal particulars, including name, identity document, address and contact telephone number. In the case of a company, the name of the person(s) to be contacted and information on company registration;

* Description of the nature of the service, the number and type of vehicles used, and seating capacity;

* The proposed daily number of crossings between Hong Kong and China, crossing time at the Control Point (the new coach services will not be permitted to cross the Border Control Point earlier than 10 am, this time will be subject to review as necessary), detailed routing and terminal facilities on Hong Kong side;

* Relevant experience in operating similar transport services;

* Details of partnership arrangements i.e. names and addresses of Hong Kong partners in China; and

16

* Approval-in-principle documents issued by acceptable Chinese authorities for providing cross-border coach services.

Unsuccessful applicants in response to the Transport Department Notice of October 16 need not reapply. Their applications previously submitted will automatically be reconsidered in this invitation exercise.

The closing date for applications on the Hong Kong side is April 30, 1996. Applications may be lodged in person or by post.

All applications are free of charge, and will be valid for one year with effect from the closing date of applications.

Applications are subject to approval at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint SubWorking Group Meeting on Cross Border Transport Services. Further enquiries can be made to Mr Tsoi Muk-fai on 2804 2578.

End

School dance performances in April *****

Members of the public can expect a treat when dancers from the School Dance Exchange and winners of the 32nd Schools Dance Festival give their performances in April.

Pickets at $20 (student ticket), $30 and $40 arc on sale at the URBTIX outlets and there will be a 10 per cent discount for any purchase of 10 or more tickets.

Student tickets are available for full-time students on a first-come-first-served basis.

The School Dance Exchange Performance, jointly organised by the Education Department and the Hong Kong Schools Sports Council, will be held at 7.30 pm on April 7 and 8 at the Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall.

A selection of Chinese, Oriental, modern. Western folk/national and children dances will be performed.

The School Dance Exchange between Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong and Fuzhou, is an annual event hosted by the four regions in turn. This is the second time Hong Kong hosts this function.

17

Apart from the performances, a dance workshop for promoting friendship and sharing the experience in choreography will be organised for all participating teams and local teachers on April 8 at Jockey Club Ti-I College, Sha Tin.

Meanwhile, the Schools Dance Festival Winners Performances cum Prize Presentation, jointly presented by the Education Department, the Urban Council, the Regional Council and the Hong Kong Schools Sports Council, will be held at the Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall, from April 6 to April 8 and at the Concert Hall, City Hall from April 17 to April 19, respectively, commencing at 7.30 pm each evening.

Over 4,000 students from 226 participating schools, including secondary, primary and special schools, took part in the dance festival in January.

Fifty-four teams were awarded honours, 125 high commendation, 136 commendation and 19 choreography.

Results of the Overall Challenge Award are:

Secondary School Section

Champion

1 st Runner-up 2nd runner-up 3rd runner-up

SKH Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School

Bishop Hall Jubilee School

Sacred Heart Canossian College

St Paul’s Convent School

Primary School Section

Champion 1st runner-up 2nd runner-up 3rd runner-up

Sam Shui Natives’ Association School (AM)

Yaumati Catholic Primary School (AM)

Dr Catherine F Woo Memorial School (AM)

Hong Kong Taoist Association Ng I ai Wo Memorial School (AM)

Most Progressive School Award

Secondary School Section: Sacred Heart Canossian College

Primary School Section : Sam Shui Natives’ Association School (AM)

End

18

BN(O) passport application *****

The final date for Hong Kong British Dependent Territories citizens (BDTCs) born between 1982 and 1986 to apply for British National (Overseas) (BN(O) passports will be June 29, a Hong Kong government spokesperson reminded the public today (Monday).

Hong Kong BDTCs (such as persons born, naturalised or registered in Hong Kong) must obtain a BN(O) passport if they wish to continue to travel on British passports beyond 1997. As specified in the Second Schedule to the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986, applications for BN(O) passports must be submitted on or before the final dates relevant to their age groups.

Parents or legal guardians of eligible children born between 1982 and 1986 must submit their applications on or before June 29. To avoid a last minute rush, they are advised to apply early.

Hong Kong BDTCs living, working or studying abroad, are also required to observe the cut-off dates if they want to apply for a BN(O) passport. However, they are not required to return to Hong Kong for their applications.

They should submit their applications to the nearest British passport issuing office either by post or in person. The required overseas application forms can be obtained at those offices or the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

Persons who do not comply with the relevant cut-off dates will not be able to travel on British passports beyond 1997. An application made after the final date will only be accepted if the applicant can show that there arc special circumstances which justify his late application.

A BN(O) Late Registration Appeals Advisory Committee has been established to advise the Governor on those late applications which have been rejected by the Immigration Department.

The spokesperson emphasised that those who already had a BN(O) passport, either the conventional hard-cover type or the burgundy red machine readable type, need not apply again.

To save time in queuing up at Immigration Offices, eligible applicants should send in their applications by post or make use of the drop-in box service. Drop-in boxes are installed at the Immigration Headquarters and branch offices throughout the territory.

19

Only persons who are not holding Permanent Identity Cards (including children under the age of 11), who have lost their previous passports, or who need the passport for urgent travel should apply in person.

For more information, members of the public may telephone 2824 1177 (English) or 2824 1717 (Chinese).

End

Water storage figure

*****

Storage in Hong Kong’s reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 79.4 per cent of capacity or 465.526 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 391.861 million cubic metres of water, representing 68.9 per cent of capacity.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,456 0930 +345

Closing balance in the account 2,551 1000 +345

Change attributable to : 1100 +345

Money market activity +345 1200 +345

LAF today -250 1500 +345

1600 +345

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.7 *+0.0* 1.4.96

20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.99 2 years 2802 5.16 98.70 5.99

1 month 4.98 3 years 3901 5.57 98.55 6.23

3 months 5.08 5 years 5103 6.75 100.38 6.77

6 months 5.16 7 years 7302 6.02 95.01 7.06

12 months 5.50 5 years M502 7.30 101.55 7.02

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $19,300 million

Closed April 1, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 2, 1996

Contents Page No-

Transcript of the Governor media session at Immigration Dept.............. 1

Transcript of the Governor's media session after ExCo..................... 5

214 VMs to be released tomorrow........................................... 8

New franchise to Citybus granted.......................................... 9

Statutory control of optometrists comes into effect...................... 10

Concrete collapse to be fully investigated........................... 11

STI concludes official visit to China.................................... 12

HK's IPR protection refers to in US trade report......................... 13

Report on Shum Wan Road landslide released............................... 14

Four Queen's Counsel appointed........................................... 15

Marine Department appeals for witnesses to collision..................... 16

Civil Service Training head appointed.................................... 17

Special traffic scheme on Island Eastern Corridor........................ 17

Advanced welfare payment for public holidays............................. 19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results.............................. 20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations..................... 21

1

Transcript of the Governor media session at Immigration Dept *****

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after visiting the Immigration Department this (Tuesday) afternoon:

Governor: I wanted to visit the Immigration Department today to express my gratitude and the rest of the Government's gratitude to all the officers who’ve worked here for the extraordinary job that they've done in recent weeks and months in processing so many naturalisation applications. It really has been a huge task. They've dealt, I think, with over 230,000 naturalisation applications since the beginning of the year. The numbers grew, or grew over short periods as the year went past. I think I'm right in saying that we got down to about 180,000 in the last month or so, 50,000 on the last day alone, 100,000 in the last week. So it's been a really enormous task for all our officers here. They've now got the job as you see of interviewing and carrying through the applications to I hope in most cases a successful conclusion. It's a very large job for them all and I'm sure that the whole community is very grateful for the work they're doing, for the long hours they're working in order to deal with these applications in the six-month period. It's important for us to get everything done in good time before the transfer of sovereignty in 1997. So I’m grateful to the Director and all his staff for the excellent job that they've done.

Question: Governor, why do you think there was such a huge spark towards the end? Do you think that things like the Preparatory Committee's vote to set up a provisional legislature might have triggered off some of the applications?

Governor: You'd have to speak to those who applied; there was plenty of time to talk to some of them in the queues and I'm sure that you managed to have one or two interviews. I don’t think I can easily speculate about the reasons. I think the main reason why so many people applied at the last rtiinute is because people do things at the last minute. I think it’s also true that people in Hong Kong are understandably very concerned about ease of travel after 1997. This is a truly international community. It's a very open society. As one of the greatest trading cities in the world, people perfectly naturally think about their prosperity being very directly related to their ability to move around from country to country, from continent to continent as easily as possible. So I would guess that the overwhelming reason was people's concern that they should have travel made as easy after 1997 as possible.

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Question: Mr Patten, you're going to London. Is it time to ask the Foreign Office or ask Mr Major to make good on his promise to mobilise international support should China break any of its promises re Hong Kong?

Governor: The commitment by the Prime Minister and by the British Government remains and there is no particular reason why I have to raise that again with the Prime Minister this Easter. Everybody knows what our position is. Everybody knows our strong determination to do everything we can to ensure that the Joint Declaration is fully implemented in the letter and the spirit. That commitment stands and that commitment will remain.

Question: When do you think that the Government will respond to the Preparatory Committee on the matter of co-operation with the PC?

Governor: Some of you alas weren't able to get up early enough this morning to ask me questions on this issue after the Executive Council meeting. But 1 answered a couple before. I slipped away to finish my work.

Question: But should we wait after your return from the Easter?

Governor: No. Let me answer the question because it's a good and important question. I don't say this in a provocative way, but we have been waiting since last October to hear from those who are working at the Preparatory Committee on things that they would like us to do to help them. So I don't think they will be expecting as it were a reply by return of post. It's equally true that there are issues on which we would like co-operation from them. There are things that would make our life a lot easier, for example, notice about when the Preparatory Committee and its subcommittees are going to meet and some indication of what their overall work plan is. Now there are some issues that have been raised with this which are urgent and which relate to meetings which are just the other side of Easter. So we'll want to respond on those issues as quickly as possible. But overall we'll respond when we'll have a chance of reviewing all the issues that have been raised with this. Some of them I have to say we want to go back and ask for more information from the Preparatory Committee about. But we'll give a comprehensive reply in due course and that will be within the parameters which we've laid down with which you are familiar and I don't need to repeat them. I imagine those parameters are acceptable to Chinese officials. For example, I recall Mr Xu last December making it absolutely clear that the Preparatory Committee wasn't seeking to challenge the authority of Government before 30th June 1997.

Question: Was the list presented an ultimatum or was it a request?

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Governor: No. How can you...? I said this morning and I'll repeat it that I saw one headline this morning which said: Chinese Co-operation Threat. Now I'm sure that was a sub-editor's imagination because how can you have a co-operation threat. If you want co-operation, you don't issue ultimatums, you don't make threats. You put out your hand and it's I hoped grasped warmly from the other side of the table. Of course, if Director Lu is able to come to Hong Kong, which we all hope he'll be able to do, we'd like to see him regularly, these are the sort of issues which I'm sure people would want to discuss with him. But I repeat, co-operation is a matter of give-and-take. This is co-operation, 1 hope, from both sides. Nothing we will do will first be contrary to the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Second, nothing we will do will undermine the authority of Government and I'm sure that's something warmly endorsed by Chinese officials. And thirdly, nothing we will do will put a strain on the loyalty and morale and integrity of our civil service.

Question: The Government is announcing the release of a number of Vietnamese boat people following the Privy Council ruling. What message will it send to the camps?

Governor: I think that not least now that American legislation has so clearly bitten the dust which was sending out a wholly incorrect message to people in the camps. I think Vietnamese migrants in Hong Kong know perfectly well that the only future for them is to return to Vietnam. That's presumably one reason why the figures of returnees have been going up. That's an extremely important trip by a British minister to Vietnam next week which will both be seeking to expedite the process of repatriation and will also be seeking to deal with one of the issues that's come up in this, or the main issue that's come up in the Privy Council judgement which we want to see dealt with. The question of those people who may have had their applications to return rejected or may be thought to be in a category where the applications will be rejected and we want to take those issues up with Vietnam. But it's important to remember that even though some people may have to be released because of the Privy Council judgement, they don't have a right to stay in Hong Kong. They are released on recognisance and should like the others return to Vietnam as soon as possible.

Question: Governor, would you please try to rectify me if I'm incorrect? You talked in a recent interview with a Chinese newspaper concerning the handover ceremony. You say that Chinese and British sides will be going to agree to disagree to hold the ceremonies themselves, isn't it?

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Governor: No, what I said was that it seemed to me that ideally, in a sensible world there would be a jointly agreed handover ceremony which would ensure that the SAR Government got off to the best possible start. The whole world will be looking at what happens in the middle of 1997 and I think frankly, the whole world as well as the community in Hong Kong will be somewhat surprised if we are not able to agree even on the mechanics of a handover ceremony. It’s not the biggest problem that we have to tackle. I went on to say that is what we all hope will happen and that’s what the British and Chinese Foreign Ministers presumably wish to see happen. I can certainly speak for Mr Rifkind in saying that’s what he would like to see happen. But we would all be, I think, a little surprised, if we have to spend month after month talking about this. There’re so many much more important issues for us to discuss. Still issues like right of abode which need to be sorted out. One of the issues which presumably last week's events here indicate that it is a very important one for people in Hong Kong. So the point I was making was that it would be very sad if we weren't able to agree a handover ceremony but we can't sacrifice everything else in order to have meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting. These things in any other circumstances would be very straight forward, would be very easy to resolve, would be settled in one or two meetings and I am sorry it proves so difficult with Chinese officials. One last question.

Question: On naturalisation ... These people will be placed in a very odd situation having to swear allegiance to the Queen in nearly a year before the territory reverts to Chinese rule. What advice do you have ...?

Governor: The advice I have for them is to look at the assurances which have been given on passport naturalisation and travel issues by Chinese officials, the assurances which have been given on a number of occasions not least in documentary form and to take those reassurances to heart when they fill out their application forms and when they go through the other processes of applying for naturalisation. I am sure that Chinese officials recognise what six million people in Hong Kong know perfectly well that this as I said earlier is an international community and that if it is to remain successful and stable and prosperous, it will remain an international community; an international community happens to travel rather a lot.

Question: Governor Patten, you said it's not the right time to bring it up with Mr Major about bringing international community in on the breaches of the Joint Declaration at this time...?

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Governor: No, what I said was I saw no particular reason to reiterate a commitment which Mr Major has made vigorously in Hong Kong. It is a commitment which I've made, it's a commitment which the British Government has made. There is no particular reason why we need to keep on figuring such a commitment.

Question: Do you think that this issue has become even more important because the civil service will be caught in between? What happens now if there is a Joint Declaration breach with the provisional LegCo, then it is actually sucking in Hong Kong's civil service in the whole issue?

Governor: No. I read what's apparently people said while taking tea and then I read explanations of what it'd actually been meant. And I read remarks which were said to be clearing up any confusions about what had been said. And I remain though I think a lot of people did a trifle confused. But I hope that the civil service itself won't be too bothered about what happened last week as I have said on many occasions that one of the reasons for Hong Kong's success is the integrity and morale and commitment and professionalism of our civil service and anybody who wants Hong Kong to remain as a greatest city as it is today will recognise the importance of those qualities continuing after 1997.

Question: Governor, are you still concerned about your visit to London? Will you step up security...?

Governor: I trust...

End

Transcript of the Governor's media session after ExCo

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Following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after attending the Executive Council meeting this (Tuesday) morning:

Governor: I'll save you the problem of going out to the airport this evening. As you know, I'm going to Europe and having a couple of days over the Easter weekend with my family, and then having meetings in London and Northern Ireland. And I'm back on the week on Sunday.

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Question: Could you tell us about the Preparatory Committee list and what you are going to do about it?

Governor: We’re studying the proposals on the list. We’ve been awaiting the list for some time and we'll want to give it proper consideration. As you know, we've set out the general principles within which we're very keen to co-operate. That is in compliance with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Secondly, the importance of maintaining the authority of Government and that was a proposition which I noted was confirmed by the Head of the Political Affairs Department of the Hong Kong and Macau Office, Mr Xu, back in December. So there should be no argument about that because he made it absolutely clear that there could only be one Government, only one power centre before 1997, 30th of June. And thirdly, the other criterion that we've made abundantly plain is that nothing should be done which would cause divided loyalties among our first class civil service whose morale and integrity and professionalism we're keen to maintain. So within those parameters we'll be considering the proposals on the list and we'll make clear to the Chinese side in due course what our own thoughts are on these matters.

Question: Does the list include the assistance to the provisional legislature?

Governor: If you start asking me "does the list include this" and "does the list include that", I might as well tell you what the list amounts to and that would be to breach the undertaking that we've agreed with the Chinese side.

Question: ... to the provisional legislature?

Governor: You know perfectly well what our position is on the legislature. I've made it clear again and again and again; and our position on that won't change. There is a Legislative Council in Hong Kong which was freely and fairly elected. It meets every Wednesday in a building not very far from here. And that continues to be the position.

Question: What can the British Government do to prevent the setting up of the provisional legislature ?

Governor: What can the British Government do? If the Chinese side are determined to set up a provisional legislature, then they have to explain why they're doing that and how that contributes to Hong Kong's well-being to the people of Hong Kong, to the British Government and to international opinion.

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Question: How could you reconcile a demand to give support to a provisional legislature and at the same time, as you say, it is a violation of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law?

Governor: But the assumption behind your question is one that bears no relation to the answers that I've given. I've made it clear again and again and again. You know perfectly well what my position is, what the Government's position is, that we'll do nothing whatsoever, that's nothing, spelt N-O-T-H-I-N-G, nothing whatsoever to take away from, to undermine, the authority, the legitimacy of Hong Kong's Legislative Council. And that has been our position; it's the position of the British Government; it's the position of the Hong Kong Government and it will remain our position.

Question: NCNA's vice director, Mr Zhang Junsheng, yesterday said he hoped the Government would not help anything in the list selectively. What is your opinion on that?

Governor: My opinion on that is that we're the Government, we'll co-operate according to the criteria that I've just mentioned. And those criteria should be wholly acceptable to Chinese officials. If you go through them one at a time, just tell me which ones Chinese officials may not be able to accept. That was a very' curious headline in one of the papers today which went something like this: Chinese Cooperation Threat. Seems to me to be rather a confusion of words to talk about threats and co-operation in the same breath. But I take it it was the sub-editors doing rather than any Chinese officials. On which note ... Yes, sorry.

Question: Do you define that assistance to the provisional legislature as a kind of act that will help demanding the authority of the Hong Kong Government...?

Governor: If you believe that as we all do, as Britain does, as international opinion does, that there is a Legislative Council in Hong Kong which is freely and fairly elected, which is doing its work within the terms of the Joint Declaration and that it's holding the Government to account as it's supposed to do, then it inevitably raises question marks in your mind about what on earth it is that a provisional legislature is supposed to be doing. And you also conclude, I'm sure, that since Chinese officials themselves have made it absolutely plain that the Hong Kong Government and its institutions are responsible for Hong Kong until 30th June 1997, that they too would have concerns about that matter.

End

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214 VMs to be released tomorrow *****

A government spokesman today (Tuesday) announced that as a consequence of the Privy Council judgment, it had been decided that 214 Vietnamese Migrants (VMs) would be released from detention tomorrow.

There may also be a need to release a further 40 VMs. Their cases are now being examined and a decision will be made as soon as possible.

Those released will be initially accommodated in the New Horizons Refugee Centre. They will be transferred to the Pillar Point Refugee Centre as soon as accommodation there is made habitable.

The appellants involved in the Privy Council case argued that in essence it was the policy of the Vietnamese Government not to accept back non-nationals of Vietnam, and that the Vietnamese Government regarded them as ’'non-nationals”.

Under the circumstances, they said, even if they volunteered to go home, they would not be cleared for return, the purpose of their detention (that is, pending removal) could not therefore be achieved and they could no longer be lawfully detained.

The Privy Council accepted these arguments and ordered the release of the four VM appellants.

The spokesman said in the light of the ruling, the Government had no option but to order the release of those VMs who, under the terms of the Privy Council judgment, could no longer be lawfully detained.

"We have to act in accordance with the law, as determined by the highest court of the land," he said.

"The release of these VMs does not mean that they will be settled in Hong Kong. We will continue to pursue with the Vietnamese authorities the question of their repatriation to Vietnam.

"If and when the Vietnamese Government agree to take them back, we will redetain them and effect their repatriation to Vietnam, under the voluntary return programme or under the Orderly Repatriation Programme."


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The VMs to be released have either been rejected for return by the Vietnamese Government or otherwise come within the terms of the Privy Council judgment. Each case has been carefully examined in the light of their individual circumstances.

The VMs will be released on recognisance, but they will have no residence rights in Hong Kong.

The spokesman said: "We shall continue to make every effort to secure their removal to Vietnam.

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"This issue will be at the top of the agenda of Foreign Office Minister, Mr Jeremy Hanley, when he visits Hanoi next week.

"As many of those released claim to have links with Taiwan, we are also urgently checking whether Taiwan will accept them," he said.

It is possible that unless the law is changed by legislative enactment, more VMs will fall within the terms of the Privy Council’s judgment and thus have to be released.

"We intend to bring forward urgent legislation, which will provide that a court should not find that a VM has been rejected for repatriation to Vietnam unless and until the Vietnamese Government has formally notified us of the rejection," the spokesman said.

"We hope to introduce this legislation into the Legislative Council later this month."

End

New franchise to Citybus granted *****

I he Governor-in-Council has approved the grant of a new franchise to Citybus Limited (Citybus) which confers upon the company the right to operate a public bus service for 10 years from September 1, 1996.

A government spokesman said today (Tuesday) that a number of changes and several new provisions were incorporated into the new franchise, including a new requirement for a mid-term review.

■is

"The mid-term review is to be conducted after the fourth year of the new franchise.

"Based on the outcome of such a review, the Govemor-in-Council may, if necessary, and with the consent of Citybus, amend the terms of the franchise," he said.

The spokesman said the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group reached a common view on the grant of this new franchise last month.

End

Statutory control of optometrists*comes into effect *****

Those who practise as optometrists are now required by law to be registered, a spokesman for the Secretariat of the Optometrists Board said today (Tuesday).

The enforcement and disciplinary provisions in the Supplementary Medical Professions Ordinance in relation to optometrists and the Optometrists (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) Regulation came into effect yesterday (Monday). It is now a criminal offence for a person to practise the profession of optometrists without being registered.

The spokesman said: "Registered optometrists are obliged to display their certificates of registration in a conspicuous position in their practising premises.

"Moreover, they should always comply with the provisions in the Code of Practice for optometrists and are advised to study the code carefully and to acquaint themselves thoroughly with its contents.

"This is to avoid the danger of inadvertently transgressing accepted codes of professional ethical behaviour which might lead to disciplinary action by the Optometrists Board."

Under the Optometrists (Registration and Disciplinary Procedure) Regulation, optical shops are required to submit to the Secretary of Optometrists Board the particulars of its directors, managers and employees who arc practising the profession of optometrist.

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Copies of the prescribed form can be obtained from:

The Secretariat of the Optometrists Board second floor, 182 Queen's Road East, Shun Feng International Centre, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Enquiries can be made on 2527 8363 or 2527 8360.

End

Concrete collapse to be fully investigated *****

The Buildings Department has launched a full investigation into the cause of a large piece of concrete falling from a building in Jordan Road last (Monday) night.

The Assistant Director of Buildings (Structural Engineering), Mr Cheung Kwok-ming. said today (Tuesday) that a preliminary inspection by the department's structural engineers confirmed that there was no signs of structural dangers to the building.

"Our staff will also carry out a full survey of the whole building to identify any further problems," Mr Cheung said.

I Ie said a government contractor was now erecting scaffoldings al the two sides of the building to facilitate the investigation. Any loosened materials will be removed and properly secured.

"If necessary, the Buildings Department will serve a statutory order on the owners requiring them to carry out repair works," he said.

Mr Cheung emphasised that the responsibility of maintaining the building in good condition rests with the owners.

1 le urged members of the public to pay attention to the most common defects in buildings, such as spalled concrete, cracks in building, bulged wall finishes, or loosened window frames.

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"If residents locate these problems in their buildings, they should immediately consult the Buildings Department for follow-up action. Our 24-hour hotline is 26261234.

"To protect their own life and property, residents should employ professionals to carry out timely repair and maintenance works to their buildings.

"The Government is drafting a legislation requiring property owners to carry out mandatory inspection to their buildings to ensure public safety. This will be released for public consultation when the proposals are finalised," Mr Cheung said.

End

STI concludes official visit to China

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The Secretary for Trade and Industry. Miss Denise Yue. returned to Hong Kong tonight (Tuesday) after a two-day official visit to Beijing.

"I have gained a better understanding of the work of those Chinese government bodies involved in trade and industry," Miss Yue said.

"I have also had very useful exchange of view on matters of mutual interest with Chinese officials in these organisations.

"We have discussed among other things, ways to strengthen co-operation between China and Hong Kong on, for example, protection of intellectual property rights and the industrial application of science and technology.

"We have also exchanged views on the renewal of China’s most-favourednation trading status in the United States."

This was Miss Yue’s first official visit to Beijing after she became Secretary for Trade and Industry last November.

Miss Yue led a delegation of six comprising officials from the Trade and Industry Branch, Trade Department and Industry Department.

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The Hong Kong delegation had called on the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, State Economic and Trade Commission, State Science and Technology Commission, State Planning Commission, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China Academy of Science.

End

HK’s IPR protection refers to in US trade report *****

The Hong Kong Government notes that a reference has been made to Hong Kong’s intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in the National Trade Estimates (NTE) Report recently published by the US Trade Representative.

The Report states that Hong Kong’s intellectual property laws are among the best in the world.

’’We arc also pleased to note that due recognition has been given to the recent initiatives taken by the Hong Kong Government in enforcing IPR protection in Hong Kong,” a spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch said today (Tuesday).

"We are, however, disappointed to see some claims have been made about the involvement of Hong Kong businessmen in copyright piracy activities on the mainland. We urge those who made such claims to come forward with substantiating hard evidence.

"Operating within the rule of law, the Hong Kong Customs will pursue every lead with vigour.

"Furthermore, to help tackle cross-border copyright piracy more effectively, the Government introduced a bill into the Legislative Council last October which, when enacted, would make it an offence for any person who procures, aids or abets any person, in Hong Kong or elsewhere, to manufacture outside Hong Kong or import into Hong Kong pirated copyright works.

"The bill has been thoroughly discussed by the relevant Bills Committee of LegCo and is expected to be passed later this month.

"In addition, the Hong Kong Customs will continue to step up co-operation and liaison with the relevant IPR enforcement agencies on the mainland."

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The NTE Report is an annual inventory of foreign trade barriers which the office of the US Trade Representative is required by law to prepare for submission to the US President and Congress.

While such inventory may facilitate the US Administration to identify trade barriers for negotiation on their reduction or elimination, the US law does not require any specific action, such as Section 301 actions, on those barriers covered by the report.

End

Report on Shum Wan Road landslide released *****

The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) today (Tuesday) released a report on the investigation into the landslide which occurred at Shum Wan Road in Aberdeen on August 13 last year.

Elaborating on the main findings, head of GEO, Dr Andrew Malone, said the landslide was triggered by the collapse of a small road embankment on Nam Long Shan Road.

’’This happened during a severe rainstorm and at the time when Nam Long Shan Road was carrying a large volume of running water.

’’The collapse allowed water to escape from the road causing an exceptionally large landslip in the natural hillside below the road.” he said.

Ihe report, comprising Volume I and Volume II. contains respectively the view s of an independent review er, Sir John Knill. and the findings of a comprehensive investigation by GEO into the incident.

"Sir John agrees with GEO's report on all essential matters," Dr Malone noted.

He said he shared Sir John's view on the need to highlight the role of roads in acting as catchments for collecting and channelling water into the upper part of potentially unstable slopes.

"Roads in hilly areas can turn into rivers during severe rainstorms. Drains should be designed with ample capacity and kept clear of rubbish." he said.

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Commenting on suggestions from members of the public that illegal dumping and construction traffic might have caused the failure, he said these factors were examined but not found to be significant.

Copies of the report are available at the reception counter of the Civil Engineering Department, ground floor, Civil Engineering Building, 101 Princess Margaret Road, Ho Man Tin, Kowloon.

End

Four Queen's Counsel appointed *****

The Chief Justice, Sir Ti Liang Yang, is pleased to announce that the Queen has appointed Mr Winston Poon Chung-fai, Mr Michael F Ozorio, Mr John A Scott and Mr Andrew A Bruce as Her Majesty's Counsel for Hong Kong.

A ceremony will be held at 10 am on May 11 in No 1 court of the Supreme Court to call within the Bar the four new Queen's Counsel.

The Court, which will include members of the Bench at all levels, will be presided by the Chief Justice.

Mr Poon, aged 49, was called to the English Bar in 1975 and admitted to the Hong Kong Bar in 1976. He has since been in practice in Hong Kong. His practice has been in the area of company law.

Mr Poon was also active in the Bar Council. He was the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Hong Kong Bar Association between 1992 and January 1996. He has also been a member of the Insolvency Sub-Committee of the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong since 1990.

Mr Ozorio, aged 42, was called to the Bar in the United Kingdom in 1976 and admitted to the Hong Kong Bar in 1977. He specialises in cases involving personal injuries, fatal accidents and medical negligence.

He was a member of the Hong Kong Bar Committee between 1990 and 1992. He has also been a member of the Personal Injuries Sub-Committee of the Hong Kong Bar Association since 1993.

Mr Scott, aged 38, was called to the Bar in the United Kingdom in 1982 and admitted to the Hong Kong Bar in 1986. His practice has mainly been concerned with commercial litigation. He specialises in building and engineering disputes cases and company law.

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Mr Scott is a part-time Chairman of the Building Appeals Tribunal and also a member of the Bar Council and the Civil Procedure Sub-Committee of the Bar Council.

Mr Bruce, aged 45, was admitted to practise as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1977. He joined the Attorney General's Chambers in November 1982. His practice has been mainly in the criminal sphere.

Between 1991 and 1994, Mr Bruce was head of the Extradition Unit of Attorney General's Chambers which involved the conduct as counsel of judicial review and habeas corpus application. At present, Mr Bruce is head of the Bill of Rights team of the Attorney General's Chambers.

End

Marine Department appeals for witnesses to collision

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The Inquiry Officer in charge of the investigation into a collision of a Zhuhai-bound catamaran and a tug boat off south Lantau Island near Shek Kwu Chau on March 8 is anxious to meet the passengers on board the ferry and other independent witnesses.

The collision occurred about 10 am when the catamaran, Hai Wai, with about 160 passengers and eight crew members, collided with a tug towing a barge off Shek Kwu Chau.

Three ferry passengers were slightly injured. They were treated at St John Hospital on Cheung Chau.

Of the 160 passengers, 36 returned to Hong Kong with the Hai Wai and the others continued their journey to Zhuhai by another ferry sent to the scene by the operator.

The Inquiry Officer, Captain Li Yiu-kwong, a surveyor with the Marine Department, is anxious to contact any passengers on board the ferry and any independent witnesses to the incident. They are advised to contact Captain Li on 2852 4513 or by fax on 2545 0556.

End

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Civil Service Training head appointed *****

The Government today (Tuesday) announced that Principal Training Officer, Mrs Mary Szeto Nguan Ming-hiang, has been appointed as Director of the Civil Service Training and Development Institute with effect from yesterday (Monday).

The Institute, a merger of the Civil Service Training Centre and Senior Staff Course Centre, was established on the same day.

The Director of the Institute is responsible to the Secretary for the Civil Service for the formulation and implementation of civil service training policy, and supervising and setting the strategic direction of the development of the Institute as a training centre of excellence.

Following is a brief biographical note on Mrs Szeto:

Mrs Mary Szeto Nguan Ming-hiang

Aged 53, Mrs Szeto first joined the Hong Kong government as an Examinations Officer in 1972.

She was transferred to the Senior Training Officer rank in 1981, and rose to her present rank of Principal Training Officer in January 1996. She was the Head of the Civil Service Training Centre between June 29, 1992. and March 31, 1996.

End

Special traffic scheme on Island Eastern Corridor *****

Special traffic management scheme will be implemented on the Island Eastern Corridor (IEC) during the coming Easter holiday to facilitate the re-construction of bituminous noise reducing surfacing works, the Transport Department announces today (Tuesday).

Resurfacing works will be carried out on a 900-metre section of the westbound carriageway between Provident Centre and North Point Estate along IEC from 8 pm on Thursday (April 4) to 8 pm on Monday (April 8).

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"To avoid severe traffic congestion in the area, partial lane closure and contraflow traffic management scheme will be implemented,” said a spokesman for the department.

During the works period, two of the three westbound traffic lanes of the affected section on IEC will be closed to vehicular traffic and the contra-flow lane is made available by opening up the gaps in the central divider and diverting some of the westbound traffic to use the fast lane in the eastbound carriageway .

"The contra-flow lane arrangement will provide two traffic lanes in each direction," the spokesman said.

The contra-flow lane, however, will be temporarily closed between 12 am and 7 am daily, therefore, the affected section of IEC will remain one lane for westbound traffic and two lanes for eastbound traffic during the closure.

To enhance road safety, the spokesman said the contra-flow lane of IEC will be designated a prohibited zone for all vehicles exceeding seven metres in length and the speed limit of the IEC in both directions between Provident Centre and North Point Estate will be reduced to 50 kilometres per hour.

In addition, a buffer area will be created on the middle lane of the eastbound carriageway of IEC near Man Hong Street Interchange to provide a cushion for cross over traffic into the contra-flow lane.

Therefore, the slip road leading from Man Hong Street to IEC eastbound will have to be closed for vehicular traffic throughout the works period.

As an alternative, motorists in Hong Kong heading for Shau Kei Wan direction could use Java Road and King's Road.

Vehicles on Man Hong Street heading for Eastern Harbour Crossing may use King's Road, Kornhill Road, Shau Kei Wan Road, Tai Hong Street and IEC westbound.

Meanwhile, from 8 pm on Thursday to 3 pm on Saturday (April 6), the slip road leading from Tong Shui Road to IEC westbound and the slip road leading from King's Road near its junction with Healthy Street Central to IEC westbound will be closed to facilitate the works on the westbound slow and middle lanes of the affected section.

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Vehicles on King’s Road westbound heading for IEC westbound may use King's Road and Tsing Fung Street flyover during the above road closure.

On public transport diversions, the spokesman said Cross Harbour routes 601, 680 and 690 heading for Eastern Harbour Crossing will be diverted via King's Road, Komhill Road, Shau Kei Wan Road, Tai Hong Street and IEC.

Furthermore, Cross Harbour route 118 on its journey to Siu Sai Wan will be diverted via Java Road, King's Road, Komhill Road, Shau Kei Wan Road and Chai Wan Road.

To facilitate preparation works associated with the affected road section, such as painting the road markings, setting-up of proper traffic signs, guarding and lighting, the fast lanes on both directions of IEC between Provident Centre and North Point Estate will be temporarily closed from 9 am to 8 pm on Thursday.

The spokesman appealed to motorists to drive with caution particularly along the affected section of IEC and to strictly follow the directions as indicated by the traffic signs and road markings.

"If the resurfacing works cannot be implemented due to inclement weather, the traffic management scheme will be terminated and traffic arrangement in IEC will be reverted back to normal," he said.

For enquiries and complaints, please call the Highways Department's site staff at 9483 2820

End

Advanced welfare payment for public holidays

*****

Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) under the bank payment system may receive their payments tomorrow (Wednesday) if their pay days fall on the coming public holidays (April 4 to 8).

"Special payment arrangements will also be made for recipients of Social Security Allowance whose pay days fall between this period," a Social Welfare Department spokesman said.

20

"Those who have bank accounts in Hongkong Bank or Hang Seng Bank can receive their payments on April 3 whereas those with accounts in other banks will receive their payments on April 9 after the public holidays," he added.

In case of doubt, recipients are advised to contact their respective social security field units.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

*****

Tender date 2 Apr 1996

Paper on offer EF bills

Issue number Q614

Issue date 3 Apr 1996

Maturity date 3 Jul 1996

Coupon -

Amount applied HKS6.630 MN

Amount allotted HK$ 1,500 MN

Average yield accepted 5.08 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.09 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 39 PCT

Average tender yield

5.15 PCT

21

Tenders to be held

Tender date

Paper on offer

Issue number

Issue date

Maturity date

Tenor

Amount on offer

Hong Kong Monetary in the week beginning 8 Apr 1996

9 Apr 1996

EF bills

Q615

10 Apr 1996

10 Jul 1996

91 days

HK$l,500+300MN

Authority

9 Apr 1996

EF bills

H662

10 Apr 1996

9 Oct 1996

182 days

HKS800+160MN

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

S million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,551 0930 +252

Closing balance in the account 2,483 1000 +252

Change attributable to : 1100 +252

Money market activity +252 1200 +252

LAF today -320 1500 +252

1600 +252

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.6 *-0.1 * 2.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.96 2 years 2802 5.16 98.74 5.97

1 month 4.97 3 years 3901 5.57 98.60 6.21

3 months 5.09 5 years 5103 6.75 100.47 6.75

6 months 5.17 7 years 7302 6.02 95.12 7.04

12 months 5.47 5 years M502 7.30 101.65 6.99

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $9,819 million

Closed April 2, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 3,1996

Contents PageJNo..

Improved subsidy rate for kindergartens.............................. 1

Wide-ranging recommendations in Waste Reduction Study.................... 3

Release of VMs from detention.............................................. 5

More agreements lodged with Land Registry in March................... 5

EMSD’s Energy Efficiency Label for two refrigerator models........... 6

Applications Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme invited................

Student Finance Scheme application arrangements announced............ 8

Blankets to warm up street sleepers.................................. 11

Tuen Mun lot to let.................................................. 11

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................. 12

Improved subsidy rate for kindergartens *****

Up to 90 per cent of all kindergartens in I long Kong will be eligible for subsidy under revisions to the Education Department’s Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme which were approved by the Governor-in-Council on Tuesday (April 2).

The revisions, which applied to the annual adjustments of the subsidy rate and the cut-off point for eligibility, will take effect from this September subject to approval by the Legislative Council's Finance Committee.

According to the revisions, the 1996/97 school year will see a 14 per cent increase in the annual subsidy rate to $790 per pupil per annum while the eligibility cut-off point for kindergartens will be raised to $11,700 per pupil per year. These compare with a subsidy rate of $695 and a cut-off point at $8,300 in the present Scheme.

Acting Assistant Director of Education, Mr Wai Kwok-bong, said the basis of subsidy had been revised to take account of both inflation and the annual increment of teachers.

Ue said that enhancement of the eligibility cut-off point would enable up to 90 per cent of kindergartens to join the Scheme.

"While a 90 per cent coverage is considered reasonable, the remaining 10 per cent of kindergartens are charging comparatively higher school fees, and they should be able to absorb through their school fee income the additional expenses arising from Government’s new regulatory requirements for kindergartens." he said.

"Therefore, it was considered that our available resources should not be directed to this group."

The revisions were proposed by an Education Department working group set up in October 1995 following an undertaking in the 1995 Policy Address to review the Scheme. The review was conducted in the light of operational experience of the Scheme and feedback from kindergarten operators and other concerned parties.

The revisions mean that kindergartens charging school fees not exceeding the cut-off point of $11,700 per pupil per year in the 1995/96 school year will be eligible to apply for a subsidy based on a rate of $790 per pupil per year in 1996/97, Mr Wai explained.

2

"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,” he said. t

Meanwhile, to streamline the operation of the Scheme, the working group has also proposed various other improvements which will be made to the administrative arrangements. These included the setting up of a Vetting Committee to decide on special and appeal cases, and an advancement in the timing for the second payment of the subsidy from May to April each year.

The Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme, introduced in September 1995, is aimed at improving the quality of kindergarten education and to minimise the impact of fee increases on parents as a result of Government's new regulatory requirements on kindergartens.

Mr Wai added that there is a three-year transitional period (school years 1995/96 to 1997/98). during which profit-making kindergartens can join the Scheme by converting to non profit-making (NPM) status.

"During the transition, profit-making kindergartens under the Scheme have to show to the satisfaction of the Director of Education that substantive progress has been made in the conversion to NPM status," Mr Wai said. "From the 1998/99 school year, the subsidy scheme will be restricted to non-profit-making kindergartens."

Under the current cut-off point, about 72 per cent of kindergartens were eligible to join the Scheme in the 1995/96 school year, with a total of 236 actually joining.

According to Government's regulatory requirements introduced in 1995/96, kindergartens are required to employ a minimum of 40 per cent trained teachers who have completed the basic training course by September 1995 and the advanced course by September 1997.

"We intend to conduct a comprehensive review in the 1998/99 school year, i.e., after the Scheme has been implemented for three years, to take stock of how well the Scheme has been operating." he said.

End

3

Wide-ranging recommendations in Waste Reduction Sind} *****

The Legislative Council Environmental Affairs Panel was briefed by the Government today (Wednesday) on the consultants' findings and recommendations in the Waste Reduction Study which reviews the municipal waste-related activities in Hong Kong and develops a long-term plan to reduce municipal waste.

The main recommendations made in the study, which was commissioned by the Environmental Protection Department, are:

(1) Producer responsibility schemes be set up to require manufacturers and importers of particular product groups to take responsibility for the management of the wastes generated from their products.

(2) Sectoral schemes be organised to encourage different establishments in a sector to adopt similar waste reduction measures.

(3) A waslewise scheme be set up jointly be industry and Government to facilitate and to monitor waste reduction initiatives adopted by participating companies.

(4) Potential for building incinerators to modern standards with energy recovery device - known as Waste Fired Power Generation (WFPG) should be assessed in detail. If proved appropriate, Wl PG plants which could reduce waste by 90 per cent in volume and by 70 per cent in weight should be constructed.

(5) A recycling scheme be set up by the Government with funding contributions from the private sector to encourage recovery of recyclable wastes. The scheme will involve payment to organisations, such as companies engaged in waste collection/recycling operations.

(6) Green labelling schemes be set up to help consumers select products with waste reduction implications.

(7) Building regulations be amended to encourage the provision of dedicated areas in new buildings for handling waste recycling. Such areas should be exempted from gross floor area calculations for computing plot ratio.

4

(8) Town plans should be revised to make available suitable sites for tendering or bidding only by waste recyclers to conduct their activities.

(9) A dedicated Waste Reduction ream within the Government and a Waste Reduction Task Force representing the wider views of the community be formed to drive the Waste Reduction Plan.

Other recommendations include dedicated publicity and education campaigns, preferential purchase, launching of a waste composting programme, and monitoring and review of the waste reduction strategy.

The consultants have also recommended that Hong Kong should achieve by 2005 the targets of stabilising the amount of municipal waste requiring treatment and disposal at 1996 levels and of reducing by 21 per cent municipal waste requiring landfilling through bulk waste reduction technology.

A government spokesman said: "We need to formulate an effective waste reduction strategy because municipal waste is expected to increase by 40 per cent in 10 years - from 4 million tonnes in 1995 to 5.6 million tonnes in 2005. "If the increase goes unchecked, Hong Kong will in the next few years need more new landfills. This is difficult and expensive in a compact place like I long Kong where land supply is always in great demand."

The spokesman emphasised that the Government has not taken a view on the consultants' recommendations.

"We are now seeking views from major commercial and industrial organisations, relevant advisory bodies and concerned groups.

"These views will help us formulate a Waste Reduction Plan for further consultation with the public later in the year," the spokesman said.

End

5

Release of VMs from detention * * * * *

A total of 207 Vietnamese migrants were released from detention today (Wednesday) as a consequence of the Privy Council judgment.

It was established this morning on further verification that seven had been cleared for return to Vietnam. They were not according released.

The group comprises 77 men, 58 women, 36 boys and 36 girls.

End

More agreements lodged with Land Registry in March

*****

A total of 11,917 sale and purchase agreements for building units, which include both residential and non-residential properties, were lodged with the Land Registry last month.

The figure represents, an increase of 29.9 per cent from that of February this year, and an increase of 59 per cent when compared with March last year.

The total consideration of these agreements in the month is $37.42 billion, up 43.8 per cent and 83.4 per cent as compared with the amounts for February 1996 and March 1995 respectively.

The figures are contained in the monthly statistics released today (Wednesday) 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 February 1996 and March 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

- 6 -

EMSD’s Energy Efficiency Label for two refrigerator models *****

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) announced today (Wednesday) that they have approved the use of the Energy Efficiency Label on two refrigerator models.

Accordingly, consumers will be able to find these labels displayed on participating products shortly. The label has been designed to provide easy, prepurchase information to consumers to assist them in choosing energy efficient appliances. It shows, among other things, the annual electricity consumption and the efficiency grading of the refrigerator.

The labels were granted under the Hong Kong Voluntary Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme for Household Refrigeration Appliances that was introduced by the Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee last year.

The Department is responsible for the administration of the scheme. Only products that have undergone the prescribed performance tests and having been admitted to the scheme can display such a label, which applies to household refrigeration appliances for distribution in Hong Kong, but does not cover units already in use.

A spokesman for the Department said more agents were expected to join the scheme in the future.

’’Energy label has become a global initiative for reducing energy consumption and green-house gas emission. Countries like Australia, Canada, United States and those in the European Union all have requirements mandating the display of energy label on specific types of appliances,” he said.

The spokesman explained that the label gave concise information on annual energy consumption, energy efficiency grading, and other important figure such as the volume of respective storage compartments. Relevant test data were determined in accordance with the international standards ISO 8187, and thus helped to dispel problems arising from the use of inconsistent test methods.

The energy efficiency grading of the product is assessed on a scale of one to five. Grade one is the most energy efficient and at least 35 per cent more efficient than average products of comparable volume.

7

"The Department will carry out random spot checks in distribution outlets to ensure that the label is correctly displayed on refrigerator units. Unauthorised use of the label would be liable to prosecution," he said.

Meanwhile, he added, the department was developing a similar voluntary energy efficiency labelling scheme for room-coolers, planned for launching in mid-1996. Other types of household appliances were also under investigation.

Information leaflets on the energy label are available from District Offices, Customer Services Centres of the electric power companies, and the Consumer Council. The leaflets are also obtainable from the EMSD Customers Services Centre located on ground floor, 98 Caroline Hill Road, Causeway Bay. For enquiries, please phone the EMSD Energy Efficiency Office at 2881 1562.

End

Applications Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme invited • *****

The Education Department is inviting eligible full-time employees holding subvented posts in aided schools to apply for assistance under the 1996-97 Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme (MISS).

Chief Executive Officer, Peter Kan Tat-sing, said today (Wednesday) that eligible staff are:

* those receiving a monthly basic salary equivalent to Master Pay Scale point 22 or above ($23,080 or more) and having a minimum of 10 years' continuous recognised service as at April 30; or

* those receiving a monthly basic salary' below Master Pay Scale point 22 who have a minimum of 20 years' continuous recognised service as at April 30.

"Priority for admission to the scheme will be based on the length of service in excess of the minimum qualifying service set out above," he said.

Where two applicants have the same length of service in excess of the minimum, priority will be given to the older applicant, he added.

8

Circulars, application forms and relevant information leaflets have been sent to schools.

Under the scheme, successful applicants will receive a monthly subsidy for payment of interest on their home mortgage loan.

The closing date for submitting applications is May 15.

Enquires about the scheme should be directed to the Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme Section on 2961 7406 or 2961 7409.

End

Student Finance Scheme application arrangements announced *****

The Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA) which administers the Government's Local Student Finance Scheme (LSFS) today (Wednesday) announces the arrangements for applications in respect of the 1996-97 academic year.

LSFS is a means-tested scheme, which provides financial assistance in the form of grant and/or loan to needy students attending full-time recognised courses at the City University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Lingnan College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Technical College (Chai Wan), the Hong Kong Technical College (Tsing Yi), the Prince Philip Dental Hospital (for students studying the course leading to Diploma in Dental Technology only), and the Hong Kong Institute of Education (for students studying full-time pre-service two-year or three-year courses or other full-time recognised courses.)

Applicants must either have the right of abode in Hong Kong or have resided or have had their homes in Hong Kong continuously for at least three years immediately prior to the commencement of their courses.

Current students may obtain application forms from their respective institutions. New students admitted by the above mentioned universities and colleges may obtain application forms from the institutions concerned at the time of registration.

- 9 -

Students should submit their applications to SFAA via their respective institutions. Applicants whose sibling(s) is/are also applying for LSFS (1996-97) at the same time should hand in their applications, together with those of their siblings, to the institutions of either of the siblings.

Applicants who wish to apply for student travel subsidy should do so by completing the appropriate section in the same application form.

Completed applications should be returned to the applicant’s institution before the deadline as specified below:

Current students

(The deadline for current students of the Hong Kong Institute of Education is June 21, 1996)

: April 26, 1996

New students

(1) Hong Kong University of Science and Technology : September 13, 1996

(2) Lingnan College

(3) Hong Kong Baptist University

(4) City University of Hong Kong

(5) Hong Kong Polytechnic University

(6) Prince Philip Dental Hospital

(7) Hong Kong Institute of Education

(8) Hong Kong Technical College (Tsing Yi)

(9) Hong Kong Technical College (Chai Wan)

(10) Chinese University of Hong Kong

: September 18, 1996

: September 20, 1996

: September 27. 1996

: October 11, 1996

: October 16. 1996

: October 25. 1996

: October 25, 1996

: October 25, 1996

: the second Friday after the commencement of the first semester (1996-97)

- 10 -

(11) University of Hong Kong : 21 days from the date

of offer of admission

(12) For postgraduate students newly enrolled to : The deadline is two

their courses in 1996-97 two months from

the date of registration (in any case not later then end of February 1997)

Financial assistance for applicants is assessed on the basis of their family income less permitted deductions and divided by number of family members to arrive at their annual disposable income, which will determine their grant/loan entitlements.

Applicants whose family assets exceed a set limit will have their assistance reduced.

If necessary, the applicant and/or an adult member of his/her household who is fully aware of the family's circumstances will be invited to attend an interview at SFAA to clarify information reported in the application.

Starting from the 1995-96 academic year, an extended loan scheme (ELS) has been established as an additional component of LSFS to help those applicants who fail the means test and those successful applicants with a low level of financial assistance under LSFS.

Under ELS. unsuccessful applicants of LSFS with annual disposable incomes exceeding the corresponding cut-off points but below certain maximum levels would be offered a special loan under a sliding scale at an interest rate of four per cent per annum.

fhe assistance level of ELS will be reviewed annually.

Furthermore, those successful applicants under LSFS with entitled loans below the ELS maximum level would be offered an additional loan at an interest rate of four per cent per annum to top up the difference.

The Agency's spokesman makes a special note of warning that incorrect or inaccurate information provided in applications not only would lead to their rejection but might also give rise to criminal proceedings against the applicants.

11

Applicants arc advised that they should make sure all supporting documents are attached to their application forms. Applications not duly completed or without full set of supporting documentary proofs may not be processed so expeditiously.

Enquiries should be directed to SFAA at ninth floor, National Mutual Centre, 151 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Tel 2802 1666.

End

Blankets to warm up street sleepers *****

The Social Welfare Department last (Tuesday) night distributed a total of 363 blankets to street sleepers throughout the territory to protect them from the cold weather. Of the total, 143 were given to street sleepers on Hong Kong Island. 40 in Kowloon East. 132 in Kowloon West. 22 in New Territories East and 26 in New Territories West. "It is a normal practice for the department to distribute blankets to street sleepers when the temperature drops to about 10 degrees Celsius," a department spokesman said. It was the sixth such exercise since the current winter season.

End

Tuen Mun lot to let

* * * * *

The Lands Department is inviting tenders for the short-term tenancy of a piece of government land in Area 16. Tuen Mun.

The site, with an area of about 10.900 square metres, is intended for use as a fee-paying public car park or parking of the tenant's motor vehicles and ancillary activities.

The tenancy wilI be for two years and renewable quarterly.

12

Tender form, tender notice and conditions may be obtained from the District Lands Office, Tuen Mun, sixth floor, Tucn Mun Government Office. 1 Tuen Hi Road, Tuen Mun; the Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, and the District Lands Office, Kowloon. 10th floor. Yau Ma Tei Car Park Building. 250 Shanghai Street, Kowloon.

Tender plan can also be inspected at these offices.

The closing date for submission of tender is noon on April 19.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations *****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change ($mi Ilion)

Opening balance in the account 2,483 0930 +316

Closing balance in the account 2.467 1000 +316

Change attributable to : 1 100 +315

Money market activity +314 1200 +315

LAF today -330 1500 +315

1600 +314

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.5 *-0.1* 3.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.13 2 years 2802 5.16 98.80 5.93

1 month 5.00 3 years 3901 5.57 98.66 6.18

3 months 5.09 5 years 5103 6.75 100.64 6.70

6 months 5.15 7 years 7302 6.02 95.28 7.01

12 months 5.44 5 years M502 7.30 101.83 6.94

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $28,138 million

Closed April 3, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, April 3, 1996

Contents Page No-

Legislative Council meeting:

FS's conclusion on the Appropriation Bill.................... 1

Government undertakes pro-business pilot projects......... 8

Speech by Secretary for Health and Welfare on Budget........ 14

Speech by Secretary for Recreation and Culture on Budget.... 20

$4B Tai Wai-West Kowloon road link being considered......... 23

S for S on Budget debate.................................... 27

Mortgage corporation vital to HK's financial system......... 32

Priority tasks on education and labour outlined............. 35

SEM on Budget debate........................................ 37

Probate and Administration (Amendment) Bill................. 40

/S for S..

Contents Page No.

S for S on withdrawal of committee stage amendment..................... 41

Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996...................................... 42

Firearms and Ammunition (Amendment) Bill............................... 43

Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill.................................... 45

Import and Export (Amendment) Bill..................................... 46

Control of Chemicals (Amendment) Bill.................................. 47

Reserved Commodities (Amendment) Bill.................................. 47

Toys and Children's Products Safety (Amendment) Bill................... 48

Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) Bill................................. 49

HK-Guangdong infrastructural developments.............................. 49

Reports of unidentified gas leakage incidents...................... 51

New Territories land categorisation.................................... 55

Stock Exchange and SFC corporate plans proposed........................ 56

Pilot scheme to bring in professionals from China...................... 58

Pets keeping problems in public housing estates........................ 60

Civil servants joining political parties............................... 61

Population forecasts................................................... 62

/Flight movement

Contents Page No,

Flight movement capacity of new airport.................................. 64

Residential care homes for the elderly................................... 65

Public housing security installation project............................. 67

Water sports facilities.................................................. 69

Penalties on environmental offences...................................... 70

Breakdowns on allocation of research grants.............................. 72

Financial impact of second runway under study............................ 75

British consulates’ services to HK residents............................. 76

Manpower at hospitals’ emergency units................................... 78

Non-Commonwealth degrees in civil service recruitment.................... 81

Measures to shorten patients’ waiting time............................... 83

Liaison group to review note issuing process............................. 85

FS’s conclusion on the Appropriation Bill *****

Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, the Hon Donald Tsang, in concluding the debate on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

Introduction

I would like to start by thanking the community, and Members of this Council in particular, for their generous remarks and the very positive way they have received my first Budget.

My Budget Speech bore the title of "Building Our Prosperous Future" for three reasons. First, I wanted to lift the community's sights above the immediate horizon of 1 July 1997. Second, I wanted to focus the community’s attention on Hong Kong's bright prospects over the next five years and beyond into the next millennium. Third, I wanted to offer the community a vision of Hong Kong’s prosperous future. To identify the opportunities, as well as the challenges, which lie ahead.

In describing my vision of the future, and developing a strategy to get us there, I emphasised that we must work together and have confidence in ourselves as a community. I said that the Government would strive to make itself more accountable and more business-friendly. My colleagues and I are grateful for the solid support Members have given us in developing our plans. Our proposals for a science park, a fourth industrial estate and the package for the promotion of the service sector have all received the full support of the Council. I have listened carefully to Members' contributions to the debate, and I am greatly encouraged by the recognition that our plans for the service sector are only the start of our work. They are the basis for a renewed consensus on Hong Kong’s economic development. A consensus involving the whole of our business community, the Government and this Council. Following this debate, I think we can go forward with confidence to build Hong Kong's prosperous future together.

While sharing my optimism for the future, some Members of this Council have expressed concerns about our immediate economic prospects and about the particular revenue and expenditure proposals I have laid before this Council. This is as it should be - before one can dream, one has to be able to sleep soundly. My colleagues covered many detailed issues at the Special Finance Committee meetings held earlier, and this afternoon they have again addressed all the key points raised. My task now is to respond to four general points of overriding importance.

2

The Revenue Base and The Tax Net

Many Members have expressed their concern about what they feel are the potential dangers of the narrowing of the tax base. We must be clear about what are the real issues here. We must make a sharp distinction between two separate concepts: the revenue base and the tax net. They are not the same thing. The revenue base is made up of the profits and salaries tax, the revenue from land sales and the full range of other taxes, duties and charges levied by the Government. We aim to keep this revenue base stable and productive. But the tax net is quite a different concept. It is, in essence, a description of the number of taxpayers. At a time of economic growth and rising real wages, we can maintain revenue while providing salaries tax concessions which may allow some taxpayers to drop out of the tax net. This means that we can reduce the tax net, that is reduce the number of taxpayers, without affecting the revenue base.

Growing prosperity has the effect of expanding the tax net over time. As incomes rise, more individuals find themselves drawn into the tax net. So despite the major concessions made in the past few years, salaries tax contributed 14% of total Government revenue in 1995-96, second only to profits tax. Even after the further concessions proposed in this year’s Budget, we still expect the contribution of salaries tax to total revenue to remain at about the same level in 1996-97. Salaries tax has remained a stable source in the revenue base even though the tax net has continued to vary in recent years. Our essential policy goals in this area are to ensure that Hong Kong has a stable and productive revenue base while at the same time adjusting the tax net to take account of economic growth and community aspirations.

I share Members’ views about the advantages of broadening the revenue base. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a way to do so without bringing in a large number of new taxpayers. My colleagues and I believe that it would be highly objectionable to Members, never mind the community at large, if we proposed any major revenuebroadening measures at present and expanded the number of taxpayers. Our unpleasant experience in protecting the revenue base of our fees and charges regime has illustrated this point clearly.

I am well aware of the technical or theoretical criticisms which can be made of our tax regime. But we must not let technicalities or theory obscure the basic facts. Our very simple, low-tax regime has been a key element in our economic success. It has enabled us to fund the dramatic improvements in our social services and our infrastructure over the past 30 years. It is the envy of many developing and developed countries. No competing economy can rival it. I will take a lot of convincing that our successful tax system needs systematic review or radical change.

3

Fiscal Reserves

My second general point concerns our fiscal reserves. Some members have urged us to use our reserves to boost spending. The Secretary for the Treasury has explained how the increase in government expenditure has matched economic growth over the last six years since we started the current planning cycle. Any use of our reserves to boost spending further would inevitably mean that government expenditure would be growing at a rate faster than the economy, thus breaching our long-established budgetary guideline. It would also mean another deficit budget for 1996-97, following a small one in 1995-96.

Since becoming Financial Secretary, I have clearly stated on several occasions my firm commitment to maintaining tight control of government spending. I want to repeat that commitment again today. We must not allow government spending to grow disproportionately and, as a result, deprive the private sector of the resources required to fuel our economic growth. To do so would put al risk our future growth prospects. It would also risk reversing the welcome and continuing reduction in inflation which we anticipate. I hope Members agree that these are, quite simply, unacceptable risks.

I said in my Budget Speech that the appropriate level of reserves, over the long term, could be a matter of debate. But, I repeat, this is not the lime to reduce the cushioi provided by these reserves. Maintaining confidence, both locally and internationally, in the soundness of our financial system is of paramount importance in the remaining months before the birth of the SARG. I et me emphasise this point. 1 believe that our strong fiscal reserves and our prudent approach to the management of I long Kong’s public finances have been fundamental to the stability of our financial system. I am not prepared to try any new approaches or take any risks which might undermine our financial system or our economic competitiveness. 1 may be labouring the point, but I feel very strongly that Hong Kong's future success depends above all on sticking to the economic and financial principles which have brought us our past success.

Our prudent approach to the management ol our public finances carries over into the management of the fiscal reserves. It is true, as one member stated, that our management is conservative, and that the Exchange f und normally achieves a higher rate of return. I lowevcr the risk profile of our fiscal reserves is significantly different. I’he fiscal reserves are immune to exchange rate and other risks as lar as possible, and the yields obtained are primarily determined by the prevailing interest rates. My priority is to ensure that the reserves arc safe and invested in a way that strengthens the Hong Kong dollar. The return we have achieved is quite satisfactory given the constraints under which we choose to operate.

4

Supporting Business

Next, I wish to respond to the point that the Government should not forget the interests of the non-business sectors of the community. To this, let me say (hat I agree entirely that the Budget must address all sections of the community. I hope that the details of the Budget demonstrate that we have done exactly that. Yes. we want to become more business-friendly, and we will devote resources to this aim. But the objective in doing so is to benefit everyone in the long run. I he whole community benefits through higher incomes, better public services, more investments in our infrastructure, if our business community is more successful.

We recognise that business drives our economy, that the private sector is the engine for generating wealth in Hong Kong. And, by and large, we let the wealth so generated find its own home. However, the Government has a responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to share in the prosperity created by our economy. We have done this by constructing a safety net below which nobody will be allowed to fall. We have managed to raise this safety net steadily and deliberately over the past few years, precisely because the private sector has generated the wealth, and provided the government revenue, to allow us to do so. This process must continue. Investing resources to create a more business-friendly government will in future produce dividends in which we can all share. This was a message I stressed in concluding my Budget Speech, and I will repeat it here. Wealth generated by the private sector provides the resources for the social improvements we wish to make.

This point is fundamental to what I have called the Hong Kong model of development and progress. We must first make sure that the engine of growth and prosperity is in good running order before we look to our social and infrastructure programmes. But the community wants fairness as well as economic efficiency. It demands that we help the disadvantaged. Let me say a few words here about our proposals for CSSA payments and services for the elderly, a subject of concern to many Members as well as to the public at large. My colleague, the Secretary for Health and Welfare, has spoken about this in some detail today. Let me emphasise what I think is the essential point of the Government’s approach to this issue. We have an open mind on the possibility of improving further the welfare system for the elderly. Our objective is to have a system that is effective, fair, affordable and acceptable to the community. We have been, and we will remain, open minded. We will not be complacent. We expect to commission soon a consultancy study on services for the elderly, and I can assure Members that we will consider the findings and recommendations from this consultancy carefully and seriously.

5

The Governor once said that while Hong Kong is not and never will be a welfare state, we do care about the state of our welfare safety net. But we care equally about rewarding enterprise, hard work and initiative. That is why I am doubtful about arguments for a more progressive tax system. The Hong Kong Government, like the Hong Kong people, believes in giving the most capable among us every incentive to succeed at a level comparable with the best in the world. Inevitably, this leads to some people being richer than the rest. As a capitalist society, we will always have a disparity of wealth between the richest and the poorest sections of our community. It is true also that the more highly-educated and better-skilled members of our community are enjoying faster income growth than the average. This is a healthy phenomenon in any dynamic economy where opportunities for advancement abound. That is why we have laid so much stress on better education, better skills training and equal opportunities for all our people, particularly the less well-off. Hong Kong is probably the most upwardly mobile economy in the world today, and the very essence of the Hong Kong way is that everyone should have their chance to succeed.

The simple fact is that we must first create the wealth before we can distribute it. Any move towards a more progressive system of taxation would risk undermining the incentive for wealth creation and, thus, weaken the driving force of the economy. Success must have its rewards. Other advanced economies have discovered that if a community obscures or frustrates this simple truth, it will pay a price in terms of lower economic growth and poorer standards of public service. We must set no ceiling on success.

Preparation of the 1997-98 Budget

Finally, I have taken careful note of Members' views on how we should proceed with the preparation of the 1997-98 Budget. You have expressed wide differences of opinion on the degree of Chinese participation in this process. I appreciate Members' deep concerns. I hope Members also appreciate the Administration's clear position on this matter and how we propose to undertake the transitional Budget.

6

Members understand that we have been fully responsible for our own annual Budgets for many years. The United Kingdom Government has played no role in this. Senior Chinese officials have assured us that, on the establishment of the SAR Government on 1 July 1997, the preparation of Hong Kong’s annual Budgets will immediately fall within the scope of the SAR Government's financial autonomy. The JLG or the Central People's Government have no role to play in their preparation. Indeed, thb Basic Law guarantees this autonomy. But in the unique case of the 1997-98 Budget which straddles 1 July 1997, clearly we need to co-operate with the Chinese side in order to achieve a full 12-month Budget which will cover the normal budgetary cycle from 1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998. The continuity of the entire range of public services through the transition will depend on this. And only with such a 12-month Budget will we have certainty over Hong Kong's fiscal system and policies before and after the handover.

We shall soon embark on the preparation of the 1997-98 Budget in full cooperation with the Chinese side, The Chinese side have agreed with us that this budget should cover the normal 12-month period with effect from 1 April 1997. Both sides have the same objective of producing a Budget which will be conducive to a smooth transition and Hong Kong's long-term prosperity. There is already a great deal of common ground on the basis and mechanisms for our co-operation. For example -

* the detailed compilation of the 1997-98 Budget will remain the responsibility of the relevant Hong Kong Government departments:

* the prudent financial principles and the system of financial management which the Hong Kong Government has followed in the past have proved effective and are consistent with the spirit of Articles 107 and 108 of the Basic Law. They should continue to be the guiding principles for preparing the 1997-98 Budget;

* the two sides will strengthen co-operation in order to ensure that the preparation of the 1997-98 Budget will proceed in an orderly manner. We view the two sides of the JLG expert group as equal partners in this joint endeavour;

* so far as possible we will aim to keep to the budget timetable by reaching an early consensus on each major issue as it arises;

* given the tight time-frame, the expert group will meet frequently, normally once a month (but more often if necessary); and

* the JLG confidentiality rule will continue to apply strictly to protect the market-sensitive budget deliberations.

7

Some have said that constructive co-operation in preparing the next Budget is not achievable. They fear that however good the intentions may be, we will have to sacrifice something vital to secure Chinese support and that Hong Kong's interests will consequently suffer. In short, that a satisfactory 1997-98 Budget is impossible. 1 do not share those gloomy predictions. Hong Kong people have a record of achieving what others regard as impossible. Indeed I sometimes wonder if the word "impossible" exists in our mind-set. With good will and hard work we, the Hong Kong people, will succeed.

I believe that in 12 months time, most of these doubts will have been long forgotten.

* We will have consulted the community, and in particular the Legislative Council, on our expenditure and revenue proposals.

* We will have held fast to our budgetary guidelines, which are fully consistent with the Basic Law.

* We will have prepared a Budget which will be prudent, fiscally sound and in line with the community's expectations.

* It will be a Budget which we will have discussed with the Chinese side at every step of the way, with a consensus on all the key issues.

* And it will be a 12-month Budget, acceptable to all, which -God willing - 1 will have the honour to present to this Council in March 1997 in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong.

Whatever uncertainties may lie ahead of us in the weeks and months to come, let this at least be clear and certain : we will get the money right.

Conclusion

The 1996-97 Budget before Members today is a Budget for the people of Hong Kong. The people of Hong Kong have already reached consensus on it. I urge the elected representatives of the people of Hong Kong - all the elected representatives of all the people of Hong Kong - to give it their support. Both in their votes today, and by their deliberations in the weeks ahead. Thank you.

End

8

Government undertakes pro-business pilot projects *****

The Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, today (Wednesday) told the Legislative Council at the Budget debate that the newly formed Task Force on Helping Business chaired by him was determined to ensure that the Government would play a positive and proactive role in making Hong Kong a place for business to thrive.

He said that the Task Force planned to undertake several pilot projects which would examine the present methods of payment and collection by Government for business transactions, the possibility of placing Government forms on the Internet, the feasibility of establishing a one-stop business licence information centre and the ways and means of improving the processing of land exchanges, lease modifications and the \ ated premium assessment and appeal procedures.

"We will also examine if we could provide an up-to-date Hong Kong Background Facts service to the business sector. In addition, there will be two departmental studies of the regulatory activities of the Marine Department and the Trade Department," Mr Kwong added.

Following is the full text of Mr Kwong's speech:

Mr President,

I have listened very carefully to the views expressed by Members both at the special Finance Committee meetings and on the resumption of the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill. I have noted in particular the concerns raised about the application of some of our budgetary principles. I believe that it is important that Members have a full understanding of both our philosophy and practice as set out in the Budget. So 1 will try to address this in some detail today.

Expenditure Guidelines

Let me start with something fundamental to the entire budgetary process - the expenditure guidelines that we have adopted to keep government expenditure under control. I am pleased to note that most Members of this Council and‘the community are very supportive of the principle underlying that guideline, namely that we should live within our means. I shall try to elaborate on the application of the guideline, and hopefully lay to rest any fears that our application of it is somehow not consistent with the principle.

9

As Sir Hamish Macleod said in this Chamber last year, it is important that we are all clear in our understanding of the key concepts involved. The first point I need to make clear is that when we talk about keeping our expenditure in line with the trend growth rate of the economy over time, we are talking about government expenditure. Government expenditure is the aggregate of spending from the General Revenue Account and the three Funds - the Capital Works Reserve Fund, the I oan Fund and the Disaster Relief Fund. Public expenditure, by contrast, is more broadly defined, and includes expenditure from the Lotteries Fund and a number of financially autonomous public bodies such as the Housing Authority, the Urban and Regional Councils and the Trading Funds.

As I said in a written reply to this Council on 14 February this year, we have over the past few years consistently adopted a fixed reference point based on projected spending in 1990-91 for setting the limits on government expenditure. Lach year, our expenditure guidelines are rolled forward to take account of the forecast trend growth of GDP, the effect of price changes and changes in the scope of government activities.

What has this meant in practice? Over the past six years since we adopted this fixed reference point, GDP has risen by 37.2% in real terms in total, and during the same period government expenditure has risen by 37.7% in real terms. We have thus tracked GDP very closely during this time. This is what we mean when we say that, over time, we keep our expenditure growth in line with the trend growth rate of the economy. There may be relative ups and downs on a year to year basis, but over the six-year time frame since our fixed reference point government expenditure has tracked GDP fairly consistently. So I hope that Members will be reassured that not only do we have a principle that is worth sticking to, but in practice we have stuck to it - firmly.

1 have also noted some Members' concerns that expenditure in particular areas, for example welfare, has been growing at a rate much faster than the average. Let me stress again that, insofar as fiscal discipline is concerned, the crucial question is whether we have effectively controlled overall government expenditure to within the levels permitted by our expenditure guidelines. The statistics which 1 have just outlined should have given a resounding "yes" to that question. Within this overall level, we will of course have to try to allocate the money available in such a way as to best respond to the changing needs of the community. It will be odd indeed if the growth rates in different policy areas were to be precisely the same as the overall average.

10

Spending on Infrastructure arid Capital .Works

Whilst on the subject of expenditure, much has been made by some Members of the apparent fall in capital expenditure on our "infrastructure". I think that this problem is more apparent than real, and concern has arisen due to confusion about what is actually meant by "infrastructure". We may have unwittingly contributed to this confusion by using a rather narrowly defined scope for this area in our publication "Introduction to the Estimates".

It is true to say that the Estimates do show a 5.3% fall in our expenditure on the "infrastructure" programme area. However, this expenditure relates mainly to transport, drainage and similar projects. It does not include expenditure on other capital works projects such as hospitals and schools, or port-related projects. Nor does it include the substantial contribution to the development of our transport infrastructure by the private sector as a result of our very successful efforts to promote build-operate-transfer projects, such as the Western Harbour Crossing and the Country Park Section of Route 3.

Even if we confine ourselves to Government spending only, total spending on capital works will be 9% higher in real terms in 1996-97 than 1995-96. Over the Medium Range Forecast period, the real increase in capital works spending will average 7% a year. We established this rate of growth after taking careful account of the capacity of the Lands and Works Group of Departments to undertake the capital works programme in the coming years. Although the total forecast expenditure is somewhat below the level allowed in our expenditure guidelines, it is what we believe to be achievable given our manpower constraints. It also allows a steady expansion of our capital works programme in the years ahead.

The list of capital works projects that require funding in the financial year is included in the Estimates books to give Members as much detail as possible of projects in the pipeline. This list is compiled on the basis of the best information available at the time. As Members suggested, we will try to advance other projects when certain projects cannot proceed as planned. Our intention remains, nevertheless, to provide Members with as much and as up-to-date information as possible so as to enable Members to be fully apprised of projects expected to start in the coming financial year. It will be misleading if we only include in the Estimates projects that have completed all necessary statutory or consultative steps in the planning process. However, we will strive even more in future to allow sufficient lead time for the projects, by bringing forward our planning and consultation wherever possible. This, I hope, will give Members greater confidence in the scheduled start-dates for the projects set out in the Estimates.

11

The Deficit

There are some suggestions that we might have deferred to 1996-97 the revenue proceeds from some land sales, so as to create a budget deficit for 1995-96 and a budget surplus in the subsequent year. I think there is some misunderstanding over this, so let me explain the sharing arrangement for land revenue and aim to clarify the matter once and for all.

In accordance with the arrangement agreed in the Sino-British Land Commission, land premium upon receipt will first be deposited in the Suspense Account of the Capital Works Reserve Fund. Each quarter, after deduction for the average cost of land production, the premium income received in the preceding quarter is shared between the Hong Kong Government and the future Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Thus, we will only receive in the first quarter of 1996-97 our share of the premium income from sites disposed of in the last quarter of 1995-96. In accordance with our accounting convention, such receipts are rightly counted as revenue for 1996-97. The same arrangement applied to the land premium received in the last quarter of 1994-95, and the year before and so on.

This sharing arrangement has been in use for many years and is well known. It is not the reason for the budget deficit in 1995-96, nor for the forecast surplus in 1996-97. Sir Hamish said in his Budget Speech in 1995 that only in 1995-96, when our investment in the Airport Core Programme peaked, would it be necessary to draw on our reserves. This has proved correct and our latest outturn forecast, announced by the Financial Secretary in his Budget Speech this year, merely reflects this.

Rates

I now turn to a number of revenue issues on which Members have commented on extensively. First, rates. There are two issues here which I wish to address : the routine general revaluation and the proposal of annual revaluation.

On the routine general revaluation, I should emphasise that our aim is to adjust the rateable value of properties on a regular basis in order to reflect up-to-date rentals in the market. This is necessary if we are to maintain rates as a stable revenue source and to keep a fair and equitable distribution of the rates charged. We will therefore conduct the normal three-yearly general revaluation in 1996-97, with any changes in rateable values to take effect from 1 April 1997. We will consider if it is necessary to introduce a suitable rates relief scheme in order to cushion the effect of the revaluation on those who may experience a large increase in the rateable value of their properties.

12

On the proposal for an annual revaluation, I should perhaps remind Members that we have put it forward in response to suggestions from some Members in previous Budget debates that it would be preferable to have more frequent, say annual, but smaller increases in rates than a large increase every three years following a general revaluation. Let me make one thing very clear: the aim of the proposal is to soften the impact of revaluation, not to raise additional revenue. The proposal, if adopted, would also enhance fairness in the assessment of the rateable value of properties, as changes in rentals, which can be up or down, would be more accurately reflected. We will carefully examine the views of Members and of the public in determining whether a revaluation should be conducted on an annual basis after the forthcoming general revaluation.

Tax Relief for Housing-Related Expenditure

Second, tax relief for mortgages. Some Members repeated their call for a new salaries tax allowance for expenditure on mortgage interest for first-time home buyers. I must point out that a tax concession of such a nature in favour of a particular type of investment would tend to distort the allocation of resources and investment in the private sector. It is also very costly to the public purse. We remain convinced that we should focus our resources and continue to invest in our public housing programme in order to provide direct assistance to those genuinely in need. We should also keep up our efforts to maintain an adequate supply of land to ensure the healthy and steady development of the private housing sector. The proposed concession on stamp duty for property transactions announced by the Financial Secretary in his Budget Speech will also help to alleviate the burden on home buyers at the lower to middle end of the market, including those who wish to purchase Home Ownership Scheme Hats and Sandwich Class Housing Scheme properties.

Fees and Charges

Third, fees and charges. There have been very thorough discussions on the subject of fees and charges in this Council in the last few months and I do not wish to repeat our principles and policies here today. However, I do wish to take this opportunity to respond to some of the points and suggestions made by Members.

We will continue our existing policy of keeping our fees and charges under regular review. Members may wish to know that we are planning to table in this Council a further 120 or so fee amending regulations, including the one on water charges, within this LegCo session.

13

A Member suggested that we should consider allowing longer renewal periods for certain licences, or indeed completely doing away with them where appropriate. This is a helpful suggestion. I will certainly ask my colleagues to examine the idea in the context of their fee reviews and take it forward as far as practicable.

Some members have expressed the view that the Administration ought to be flexible in bringing fees and charges to the full cost recovery level. Let me assure Members that, in determining fee levels, we always take public acceptability and affordability into consideration. We do not apply the full cost recovery principle rigidly, and indeed there arc many cases in which we are recovering full costs by phases.

There has been a call on the Administration to limit the fee increase this year to the rate of inflation. I would like to make it clear that the majority of our fee revisions are in line with inflation. There may be occasions where the fee increases need to be higher than inflation, for example where we are phasing in full cost recovery or where operating costs have increased substantially as a result of service improvements. Nonetheless, I can assure Members that whenever the revisions would be too high in percentage or dollar terms, we will carefully consider phasing them in over a reasonable period.

Helping Business

Last but not least, I would like to elaborate on the Financial Secretary's initiative to make the Government more user-friendly for business. I would like to thank Members who spoke on the subject for their support of our Helping Business initiative. Under my chairmanship, the newly formed Task Force on Helping Business has already met twice in the past month. We are determined to ensure that the Government will play a positive and proactive role in making Hong Kong a place for business to thrive. Our focus will be on cutting red-tape (including doing away with unnecessary licences and permits), streamlining regulatory activities and nurturing a pro-business Government culture and practice.

In the first phase of our programme of work, we plan to undertake several pilot projects. We will examine the present methods of payment and collection by Government for business transactions, the possibility of placing Government forms on the Internet, the feasibility of establishing a one-stop business licence information centre and the ways and means of improving the processing of land exchanges, lease modifications and the related premium assessment and appeal procedures. We will also examine if we could provide an up-to-date Hong Kong Background Facts service to the business sector. In addition, there will be two departmental studies of the regulatory activities of the Marine Department and the Trade Department.

14

I hope to complete all these studies in the next three to six months. 1 will, of course, aim to report progress to the relevant LegCo Panel from time to time.

With these remarks, Mr President, I urge Members to support the Bill.

End

Speech by Secretary for Health and Welfare on Budget *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare. Mrs Katherine Fok, at the Budget debate in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

This afternoon, before I address the main issues raised by Members in their speeches last week, 1 would like to reiterate that in this financial year. I have just over $39 billion in recurrent expenditure - $22.6 billion on health and $16.5 billion on welfare. These figures represent real increases, that is over and above inflation, of 4.4% for health and 14.7% for welfare over last year.

WELFARE

Taking welfare first, these figures arc impressive in themselves. But what is important is that they represent the funds that will enable us to expand and improve our welfare services on all fronts. That means the elderly, people with a disability, families, young people and children.

I should like to reassure those Members who are concerned that welfare spending is getting out of hand, that we are expanding our sen ices in a financially prudent way. We are not breaching our budgetary guidelines.

I will now move onto the two main issues which man) Members addressed during the budget debate : Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) and the Elderly.

15

CSSA

The first point to be made on CSSA is that the Scheme is a "safety net" which gives financial assistance to those who need it to bring their income up to a level where their basic and special needs can be met. The second is that it is noncontributory and means-tested. These points are not new, but they bear repeating. This is because it is important people understand that CSSA is not retirement protection. Schemes providing such protection are almost always contributory and are aimed at maintaining a lifestyle similar to that enjoyed while still working.

Neither is CSSA, as some Members have suggested, the means to address social relativities based on a comparison of the lifestyle of those on CSSA and that of the majority of the population.

CSSA payments are based on need. Pegging them to a certain percentage of the median wage, as some Members suggested, would mean that clients with greater needs would receive the same as those with lesser needs.

CSSA Review Methodology

I should also like to address views by some members on the methodology used in the CSSA Review. The answer to the question how much is ’enough’ cannot be totally objective. We sought to minimise subjectivity by using two approaches. First, we took data from the Household Expenditure Survey and compared the CSSA standard rates with what people in the lowest 5% to the lowest 20% income groups actually spend. Secondly, we drew up basic needs budgets, for goods and services in daily life for each category of CSSA recipient.

The findings of the two different approaches corroborated each other. We based our proposed increases on these objective findings.

Rejoining the Workforce

In contrast to the many Members calling for increases in CSSA, a few voiced a concern that we are being too generous and that increases, in particular, in the adult rate might create a disincentive for these recipients to go out and find a job. Those on CSSA, who are able to work, must sign on with the Labour Department. We are also keen to provide positive encouragement to them to rejoin the workforce. Hence our increase of 66%, since March 1995, in the disregarded earnings limit which sets the earnings they may retain without such income being offset against their CSSA payments. In addition, we allow certain categories of CSSA recipients, such as single parents, to retain in full their first month's income from a new full-time job in addition to their CSSA payment. We have undertaken to review this concession later this year to see whether there is a case for extending it.

16

To help CSSA recipients rejoin the workforce, the Employee's Retraining Board has agreed to give priority access to retraining courses for single parents on CSSA.

Portability

It is always pleasing when a Government initiative is welcomed, as happened with our proposal to allow elderly people to retire to China and receive CSSA payments while there. We are still working out the details but aim to have the Scheme up and running within twelve months.

Old Age Allowance

Some Members suggested that these new arrangements should also apply to the Old Age Allowance (OAA) and that the Allowance itself should also be reviewed. On the first suggestion. I think we can all appreciate that sending monthly payments to recipients in China presents some particular administrative challenges. I should like to proceed cautiously on this front and ensure that we succeed in addressing those challenges in the system we propose for the CSSA before considering if a case exists to extend it to the OAA. On the second, in contrast to CSSA, the OAA is not based on need. Neither is it contributory. Any increases, therefore, would be costly to fund. In the use of scarce public funds, I believe we must focus our efforts and resources on targetting improvements to help those in need.

Social and Recreational Grant for the Elderly

I note that our intention to introduce a new social and recreational grant for the elderly has also been welcomed, but concern has been expressed about our proposal to grant it on a reimbursement basis. Let me explain the background to this proposal. Our intention was to use the grant to supplement our other efforts to improve support through social networking for elderly persons living alone. We wanted pro-actively to encourage the elderly to join in with group recreational and social activities. In so doing they would benefit from a wider network of community support. The grant would have much less welfare value if spent on other things involving no community involvement. But we have now accepted that there is a need to balance the desirability of achieving this goal against the practical arrangements involved. We arc. therefore, working on a much simplified system for payment of this grant to minimize the burden both on those claiming it as well as on those who are to process it.

17

Elderly Policy

Now I would like to address comments made by Members on the elderly. Care for the elderly has always been one of my top priorities. And this year we shall provide another 43 social centres for the elderly, 1 600 more residential places, 12 more home help teams and four medical and psychogeriatric outreach teams for elderly persons. This year, we will spend $10.2 billion on health, medical, welfare services and social security for the elderly which represents an increase of 13% over 1995/96. That is just over a quarter of the budget for the whole of my portfolio on both health and welfare. 1 think Members would agree that this is a substantial sum which demonstrates our commitment to making life better for those who have played their part in building the Hong Kong of today.

Our policy for the elderly nevertheless, needs constant review as the demographic profile of our population and the nature of services needed to support the elderly change. That is why we expect to commission a consultancy within the next two weeks to study the needs of elderly people, review current services and recommend what services would best meet the needs identified. It will not be easy to meet the needs of our growing elderly population. But we are determined to ensure that our current services and our planning for future services are as effective as they can be.

Elderly Outreach and Social Networking

Several Members mentioned the need to enhance the outreaching service for the elderly. We already have a network of support provided by home helpers, caseworkers of family service centres and medical social services, medical staff in outreach medical teams, volunteers of all ages including elderly volunteers, mutual help groups and estate liaison officers in public housing estates. All of these, in one way or another, reach out to the elderly. And, of course, families and neighbours also play an important part.

To bring all these together in a more structured approach, we have announced a new initiative to mobilise professionals and volunteers in the districts to reach out to the elderly. Our District Social Welfare Officers will work with other relevant Government departments to draw up a list of vulnerable elderly people living alone in every district. Service providers and volunteers from local organizations /groups will be identified to establish a network for the purpose of maintaining regular contacts with the elderly persons, to provide them with support and assistance, including making referrals for formal services when necessary. More professional staff, at an extra cost of about $17 million, will be given to multi-service centres for the elderly for this two-year pilot project.

18

HEALTH

Let me now turn to the health side.

Health Centres for the Elderly

Several Members expressed concern about the utilisation of elderly health centres. We are conscious of the low utilization rate of this service, this is partly because of the newness of the concept of preventive care amongst the elderly. Nevertheless, recent enrolment figures show an increasing interest in the service. To boost this further, we have drawn up special publicity programmes to promote these centres. Moreover, elderly health centres and District Boards also jointly arrange health promotion activities which raise the centres' profile in the district.

Primary Health Care

In the area of primary health care, our focus is on health promotion and education. Some Members have raised concern as to whether we have sufficient allocation for this purpose. I wish to stress that the provision allocated under the "Health Promotion" programme area does not on its own reflect all the Government expenditure on health promotion and education. Health promotion and education is an integral part of the activities under the "Disease Prevention" programme as well. The increase in the provision of these two programme areas is 1 1.5% as compared to 1995-96. Spending in these areas represents about 33% of the total amount allocated to the Department of Health. Furthermore, the services under curative and rehabilitative programmes also contain a strong element of health promotion. In addition, we set up the Health Care & Promotion Fund in May 1995 with $80 million in May 1995 for the purpose of stepping up efforts on health promotion and disease prevent ion.

In the past few years, we have made new initiatives to enhance health promotion and disease prevention, such as the setting up of a District Health System. Woman Health Centres and Elderly Health Centres on a trial basis. Some Members have urged us to increase the number of these centres. Indeed, in 1996-97, we plan to extend the District Health System to two more districts in Kowloon and open one more Woman Health Centre, as well as three more Elderly Health Centres. As these are new initiatives, we shall be monitoring closely the delivery of these services and how best to extend these services to the remainder of the territory.

19

Oral Health and Denta) Eq) icy

Similarly, on oral health policy, our emphasis is on oral health promotion and the prevention of dental diseases. We have promotional and preventive services for both pre-school and primary school children. Together, they cover about 546 000 children. We believe that with oral health promotion and prevention of dental diseases, a solid foundation is being laid down for future generation of adult population with good oral health conditions and oral hygiene practices backed with sound oral health knowledge.

Public dental services are only provided for emergency treatment to general public; specialist treatment to patient in public hospitals (including those with special needs); and inmates of correctional institutions.

Health Care Financing

On the important issue of health care financing, some Members have highlighted the need to maintain an effective role performed by the private sector in complementing the services provided by public hospitals so that available resources can be focused on those in genuine need for subsidised medical care. While we have every reason to feel proud of the quality of our medical services, the community must make a decision how our health care system should evolve to meet the challenges of rising public expectations, escalating costs and ageing population within our low tax regime. We are examining the complex issues involved with a view to drawing up long-term strategies. Needless to say, we will take into account the points raised by Members and will look to this Council for support in implementing these proposals.

All in all, this year’s Budget provides us with a significant increase in funding to help us achieve our targets to the benefit of our community.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

20

Speech by Secretary for Recreation & Culture on Budget *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Recreation and Culture, Mr T H Chau, at the Budget debate in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Several Members have asked that the royalties paid by ATV and TVB be reduced or waived altogether. In the consultation document on our pay TV review which was issued recently, we concluded that the case for reducing royalty rates for ATV and TVB beyond the cuts already made in 1993 had not been established. But we have also made it clear that we are prepared to listen to the representations of broadcasters and others, and we shall of course do so in the current consultation exercise.

In both the consultation document on our pay TV review and the VOD consultation document which was published in February, we have stated very clearly that, because of the rapid development of technology, we will carry out a review of the TV market and our TV policies in 1998. The timing of this review explains why there is no provision in the 1996/97 estimates for the retention of a consultancy firm to undertake a study of the TV market. We do, of course, intend to commission such a study in the 1997/98 financial year and use it as the basis for the review scheduled for 1998.

Several Members have urged the Government to set up a publicly funded film commission to assist the development of the film industry. Mr Acting President, our film industry has grown and thrived in the past twenty years without such a film commission and without any subsidy from the public purse. The credit for this success, of course, goes entirely to our creative and entrepreneurial private sector, or if I may say, the film industry. And that is exactly the way that it should be, given the Government’s long-standing and well-proven economic policy of minimum intervention in market forces and leaving businessmen to have the freedom to make their decisions. But the Government for its part has also assisted by providing a business-friendly environment in which the film and other service industries can grow and prosper.

We have studied and considered the functions of the proposed film commission carefully. Some of these are already being carried out as part of our existing services; and others will be pursued in the context of the Financial Secretary’s Task Force on the promotion of the services sector. For example, we have started discussions with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council on the hosting of a film trade fair in Hong Kong next year. We will also be exploring with the TDC the possibility of their taking on the task of promoting our film industry overseas. We will of course continue to maintain an active dialogue with, and seek to improve our service to, the film industry. However, we do not believe that there is sufficient justification for the establishment of yet another organisation financed by public funds, especially in face of our many other competing priorities.

21

We have been criticised for not allocating more of the savings under my control to the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority for the setting up of more inspection teams to enforce the control of obscene and indecent articles. As I have separately explained in writing, only half of the amount involved was redeployable. Out of the available and re-deployable resources, we have had to make allocations to other equally justified activities falling under my policy responsibility, such as increasing the Arts Development Council’s subvention, providing resources to RTHK to subtitle its television programmes for the hearing impaired and enabling the Antiquities & Monument Office to step up education and publicity activities in respect of heritage preservation. But we have not forgotten the need to ensure that TELA's enforcement capabilities are adequate. In this regard, TELA's inspection teams will be increased from two to three this financial year.

The Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing has assured me that, with an additional inspection team, he will have adequate resources in the coming year to increase further the number and frequency of surveillance inspections. I must emphasise that TELA does not just respond to or act on complaints. TELA referred 510 articles to the OAT for classification during the period from 1.1.96 - 31.3.96. Out of these cases, 83% were results of TELA's own monitoring. Only 17% were cases arising from public complaint. As a matter of fact, a great deal of TELA’s staff time is devoted to ensuring that publishers, distributors and newspaper vendors alike are aware of the classification rulings handed down by the Obscene and Indecent Articles Tribunal and that these are duly complied with. Contraventions of OAT classifications or conditions will of course be liable to prosecution, which is also an integral part of TELA’s work.

I would now like to turn to criticisms made by two Members on funding for the arts. In this regard, I find it necessary to reiterate and emphasise the funding system involved.

As Honourable Members may recall, the establishment of an independent and statutory Hong Kong Arts Development Council was a direct result of the Government's positive response to strong demands made by the arts community and some members of this Council, during the course of our arts policy review conducted in 1993. The ADC is fully empowered under its own Ordinance, passed by this Council only last year, to disburse grants to organisations and individuals for the planning, development and promotion of the arts in ways which the ADC considers appropriate. It follows that, in accordance with that Ordinance, decisions on how funding support to individual artforms should be given are made by the ADC itself, having regard to the priorities and overall development strategy determined by the ADC itself. The ADC, which is supported by a fully independent Secretariat, has a membership of 24, almost half of which are representatives nominated by the various art forms and arts disciplines, following fair and open elections. The Secretary for Recreation and Culture is but one member out of the 24; and apart from his ability to influence the overall level of each year's Government subvention to the ADC, has little influence over the ADC's decisions on how to make specific allocations from that subvention.

22

I hope that this explanation makes it clear that my written answers to certain Members’ questions during the special Finance Committee meeting on funding of the arts accurately and fully reflected the factual position and were not designed to confuse Members or to dismiss their legitimate questions.

I now turn to the two Strategic Plans drawn up by the ADC and the Hong Kong Sports Development Board respectively. Prior to the production of those two plans, the ADC as well as the SDB were advised by my predecessor that, because of the Government’s annual resource allocation timetable, it was simply not possible to consider their additional funding requirements in the context of the 1996/97 budget and that therefore their Strategic Plans should start in 1997/98, and not in 1996/97. The SDB and the ADC both chose to ignore this advice and in October and December 1995 respectively submitted Strategic Plans starting in 1996/97, well after the deadline, i.e. June 1995, for the Government’s resource allocation exercise for the year 1996/97. It is therefore unfair to criticise the 1996/97 budget for not making provisions for the first year of the two Strategic Plans.

As for 1997/98 onwards, the Government is now considering the appropriate levels of subvention in the light of the two Strategic Plans. The recurrent subventions of the ADC and the SDB for 1996/97 are $56m and $78m respectively. The proposed expenditure for the year 1997/98 set out in their Strategic Plans are $218m and $156m respectively. These represent increases of 290% and 100% respectively over their subventions in 1996/97. It is of course incumbent on me as the responsible policy secretary to do my best to help them realise their plans as far as possible. However, given the budgetary guideline that each year’s overall growth in public expenditure should not exceed the medium-term trend GDP growth, which is 5%, and since there will be other competing claims for a share of this overall growth of 5%, it would not be realistic for the two bodies to expect to be able to increase their subventions significantly. They, and I, will have no choice but to find alternative sources of funding.

Members may wish to note that the two major organisations responsible for funding cultural, sports and recreational activities in Hong Kong are the Urban and Regional Councils. Together they manage the vast majority of our recreational and cultural facilities and enjoy the lion’s share of public funding for culture and sports. The Urban Council will in 1996/97 spend $90Im on the arts and culture and $ 1,846m on recreation and sports. The Regional Council has earmarked $524m for the former and $2,06Im for the latter. In 1996/97, the two Councils’ combined spending on the arts is 25 times that of Government's recurrent subvention to the ADC and their combined spending on sports and recreation is 50 times that of the subvention the SDB is going to receive from the Government. I leave Honourable Members to draw their own conclusions from these interesting comparisons.

Thank you.

End

23

$4B Tai Wai-West Kowloon road link being considered *****

The Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, said that the Government was considering the option of funding a $4 billion road project which would link Tai Wai in the New Territories and West Kowloon.

Mr Barma revealed the plan at the Budget Debate in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday).

He stressed that there was no question of the Government not proceeding with justified projects simply because it could not be proceeded by way of Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT).

On traffic management schemes, Mr Barma said the Government remained firmly of the view that Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) was an efficient, equitable and flexible way of dealing with traffic congestion.

The following is the full text of Mr Barma's speech:

Mr Deputy President,

May I begin by thanking all those Honourable Members who attended the special session of Finance Committee to discuss transport issues as well as those who have spoken during this budget debate. I am particularly grateful to the Hon Miriam Lau, the Hon Zachary Wong Wai Yin, the Hon Cheung Hon Chung and the Hon Law Cheung Kwok for reflecting the aspirations and views of the party to which they belong. This has provided us with a useful pointer regarding our transport policies and programmes.

The underlying message that has emerged is that the Administration must continue to invest in the transport infrastructure. This is precisely the approach that has been adopted by the Administration as evidenced by the $25.6 billion spent on capital projects on transport over the past 5 years. And let me assure Hon Members that in the years ahead the Administration will continue to invest in new roads and railways to provide a comprehensive network for an efficient transport system capable of meeting the economic, social and recreational needs of the community into the 21st century.

24

Some Members have been skeptical, citing the 9.1% reduction in total expenditure on transport in the 1996/97 estimates. But this needs to be put in perspective bearing in mind that expenditure on transport-related projects in the Airport Core Programme peaked in 95/96. If this is set aside, as it should be, and we focus only on expenditure on roads and other transport projects, this year’s estimates actually provide for an increase of $765 million over 1995/96. This represents a real growth of 8.7%.

Mr Deputy President, what has to be recognised is that infrastructural transport projects inevitably require a long lead time from inception to planning, to implementation and, ultimately, to completion. The amount of funding required for new projects should therefore be considered over a longer time span and, what is more, other factors must be taken into account in determining the actual amount of money that needs to be provided in any one financial year. For example, funds may not be required until we are ready to proceed with consultancies or engineering feasibility studies, and, thereafter, the provision spread over a number of years taking into account the actual construction timetable.

I am glad that the Honourable Miriam Lau supports private sector participation in the development of transport infrastructural projects. This is exactly what we have been doing. The Western Harbour Crossing and the Route 3 Country Park Section together cost over $14 billion, are two notable examples. But not all projects are suitable for private sector participation because they may not be commercially viable. Let me stress that there is no question of the Government not proceeding with justified projects simply because we cannot proceed by way of BOT. For example, in the case of Route 16, a major road project linking Tai Wai in the New Territories and West Kowloon, we are now considering the option of funding this project, estimated to cost over $4 billion, under the public works programme.

Mr Deputy President, the Administration’s determination to invest in the road infrastructure is reflected in our 5 year forecast with $28.7 billion earmarked up to the financial year 2000/2001. Many other administrations would be envious of this amount of funding for transport and, indeed, the business environment we have developed to attract BOT investments.

Turning now to the Railways, the blueprint for the future has been embossed in the Railway Development Strategy. I acknowledge the strong support for the implementation of our 3 top priority projects, namely the Western Corridor Railway, the Tseung Kwan O extension and the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai link coupled with the Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui loop. Hon Members have commented at length and, in particular, have urged the acceleration of these 3 railway systems.

25

Let me briefly re-cap the present position. What the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation did last November was to submit their outline proposal for building the WCR. The Corporation now needs to carry out more detailed studies to provide the necessary information to support in-depth consideration by and discussion with the Administration, so that a project agreement can eventually be drawn up. Likewise, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation is in the process of finalising their recommendations for building the Tseung Kwan O extension. We expect to commence dialogue with the MTRC within the next 2 months. Separately, the engineering feasibility study on the third priority is expected to be completed by the end of this year. We shall then be in a better postition to determine how best to take this project forward.

All these 3 priority projects present enormous engineering, legal, land, environmental and financial dimensions which will require detailed scrutiny and, in fact, much of 1996 will be taken up in examining these complex issues. This has been envisaged and included in the overall timetable. The Administration will also be drawing up the legislative framework and deciding how best to tackle the land resumption problem. However, this does not mean that the 2 railway corporations have to sit back and wait. There is plenty of preparatory work they can and need to undertake in tandem.

Some Members are concerned that apart from the $15 million that has been earmarked in the estimates for the provision of additional staff to handle the planning work involved the Administration has not provided any equity injection for the 3 railway projects, funding now will be premature since we have yet to agree on the final alignment, costs and financial parameters. But what is important and significant, is that the Financial Secretary has put down a specific marker in his budget speech, recognising the need for Government funding. Let me quote him. "One of the probable calls on these funds will be the need for capital injections into the KCRC and perhaps the MTRC towards the cost of the priority railway development projects. At the present time, the precise cost, timing and mode of financing of these projects are uncertain."

One final point on railways. We have kept the Chinese authorities up-to-date on the present state of play on these 3 projects, as is the requirement for all major projects straddling 1997, we shall need to consult them before firm decisions are taken.

Mr Deputy President, let me now deal with the other common points raised by Honourable Members. These relate to traffic management in general and Electronic Road Pricing and the parking problem in particular. These subjects have been discussed at recent meetings of the LegCo Transport Panel and, whilst I look forward to further exchanges of views in that forum, I would nonetheless like to provide a brief response now.

26

As for traffic management schemes, this is an on-going exercise. In 1995 Transport Department implemented over 1800 projects ranging from the introduction of no waiting and no parking zones in busy districts to the implementation of the bus-only lane on Tuen Mun road. Major road junctions on I long Kong Island, in Kowloon and Tsuen Wan arc already largely controlled by computerised traffic lights. In July this year, we will call for tenders to extend the area traffic control system to Sha Tin. On a broader front, subject to funding approval from Hon Members, we shall proceed with the consultancy study on major bus only lanes.

Electronic Road Pricing is, of course, another major traffic management initiative. I thank the Hon Zachary Wong for his confirmation that the DP supports our proposal for a feasibility study on introducing ERP. Having regard to the \iews expressed by Honourable Members, we are now giving further thought to what we should ask the consultants to do and will seek funding from finance Committee shortly. We remain firmly of the view that ERP is an efficient. equitable and flexible way of dealing with traffic congestion.

The other timely issue raised is the parking problem we face. Honourable Members will be aware that we have commissioned a Parking Demand Study to examine the problems and recommend remedial measures. 'Hie study has provided us with invaluable information on the supply and demand of parking spaces for private cars and goods vehicles. We arc now in the process of inviting and receiving comments on the findings and recommendations of the Study. My senior deputy in the Branch is leading an inter-departmental Working Group to develop a specific action plan by August this year.

Mr Deputy President, let me conclude by reiterating that we should not be shy in acknowledging that we have a good, efficient transport system in Hong Kong. More important is the fact that we can. by working together as partners, make it even better. The Administration is serious about tackling transport problems. Since the implementation of policy proposals and programmes often require legislation and funding, we need Honourable Members' full understanding and support if we are to achieve positive results.

Thank you.

End

27

S for S on Budget debate *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, at the resumption of the Budget debate in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

At the debate on the Governor’s Address in this Council on 2 November 1995,1 outlined the policy directions in the Security Branch’s programme areas, and the steps that we would take in the coming year to implement these policy directions. I am pleased to say that the provisions in the 1996/97 Budget enables us to fulfil our pledges.

To Meet the Community’s Aspirations

Combating Crime

There is no doubt that the community places particular importance on the maintenance of law and order. Violent crimes, and triad-related crimes are the two areas where the average men or women in the streets are most concerned about. We have achieved substantive success in reducing violent crimes : the violent crime rate has decreased by 6.4% in the past 3 years; more noticeably armed robberies have decreased by 44% during the same period. Triad-related crimes, however, have not shown a similar down-trend. We have, with the support of this Council, put in place the necessary tough legislation - the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance; we have last year strengthened the intelligence capability of the Organised and Triad Society Bureau; we have put in place a witness protection scheme, and are planning to introduce new legislation shortly on change of identity for witnesses. In the coming year, the Budget provides for a substantial increase in the strength of Police Regional and District anti-triad units. 1 am grateful for Honourable Members' support for this proposal. When all these elements are put in place, we should see results in our unrelenting war against triads.

We will also be giving relief to our hard-pressed Policemen at the front line, by taking a first (but by no means the only) step in providing leave and training reserves. Taking this and other proposals in the Budget into account, we will be increasing front-line Police strength in the coming year by 370 posts, which I also believe to be in line with the community's wishes and with this Council's wish.

28

I make no apologies for the fact that 56% of the recurrent expenditure allocated to Security Branch’s programme areas is earmarked for the Police. The Police Force is by far the largest disciplined department; the Police establishment is just over 56% of the total establishment of the disciplined services. Its remit is wide ranging, from dealing with street crimes, to protecting the integrity of our borders on land and at sea, to regulating traffic flow, to tackling complex and sophisticated commercial crimes. I believe it represents a fair balance in the allocation of resources. Nor are we neglecting the needs of the other disciplined services.

Fire and Ambulance Services

The protection of our citizens from fire hazards will be significantly enhanced in the next financial year :

* by providing 312 additional posts to strengthen the capabilities of 3 existing fire stations and for commissioning 5 new fire stations; and

♦ by providing the necessary resources to put into effect new legislation to improve fire safety in older commercial buildings, which will be introduced soon.

Members have expressed concern on the need to improve our ambulance service, which had fallen short of our performance pledge last year for a variety of reasons, some of which (such as congested traffic and unusually wet weather) are beyond our control. We have taken the initiative to engage a consultant to help us identity means of achieving better results. We have already put into effect those recommendations which require no or limited additional resources, e.g. redeployment of existing resources to meet critical shortages, and transferring non-emergency ambulance service to the Auxiliary Medical Services. Together with a modest increase in additional resources provided in the Budget, these recommendations, when fully implemented, should enable us to respond to 92.5% of emergency ambulance calls within a 1 O-minute travel time. Recommendations which require additional resources will be examined with vigour to determine how we can achieve the longer-term performance target of 95%; that will be high on my priority list for the coming year.

I note that some Honourable Members would like us to switch our performance target from ’’travelling time” to "response time". The strategy recommended by the consultant, with which we agree, is to first reach our longer-term target based on "travelling time" before switching to "response time". Changing to a target response time, by itself, does not improve our services to the public. But in preparation for the time when we are able to make the switch, I have asked the Director of Fire Services to begin collecting data on the current "response time" for the Ambulance Service, so as to provide the necessary information to enable us to draw up a meaningful "response time" target in due course.

29

Correctional Sendees

Honourable Members are well aware of the critical shortage of prisons accommodation, which increases pressure on our colleagues in the Correctional Services Department, makes it more difficult to maintaining discipline in the prisons, and erode the effectiveness of our rehabilitation programmes. Let me repeat once again : ceasing to prosecute immigration offenders is not a solution which the community will accept. Indeed, it is in response to the community’s wish that we have stepped up enforcement action against illegal employment. We need to increase the supply of prisons accommodation. Obviously the necessary staff will also be provided to the Correctional Services Department to run these additional prison facilities. Through redevelopment, we will provide 450 extra places in Chimawan and Stanley in the coming year; further redevelopment projects in Tai Lam and Stanley (Phase II) will provide another 760 places; we are pursuing the proposal of converting the exArmy Camp at Lowu into a minimum security prison in a way which will have minimum impact on nearby residents. We will of course continue to consult North District Board for this proposal. Although these measures together would bring significant relief in the coming three years, we will continue to search for other accommodation options to tackle prison overcrowding.

The Fight Against.Drugs

Drug abuse, especially amongst the young, remains a matter of grave community concern. Every effort is made to tackle this pernicious problem, through stepping up law enforcement, education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, international co-operation and research. I am grateful for Honourable Members' support for the establishment of the $350 million Beat Drugs Fund. Applications will shortly be invited, and the first disbursement from the Fund will take place later this year. We have not reneged on our pledge to increase subventions to nongovernmental organisations : two additional residential treatment facilities for young opiate abusers and one counselling centre for psychotropic drugs and substance abusers are provided for in the Budget. Meanwhile, we have begun preparations for the next Governor's Summit Meeting on Drugs, which is expected to take place in late-May. I look forward to new ideas and concrete action plans emerging from this Meeting, which will as before tap the expertise and the enthusiasm from a wide cross section of the community.

30

In Step with the Times: Improving Efficiency and Service

Immigration Services

Pressures on us to facilitate the movement of people in and out of Hong Kong efficiently have continued to increase. Over the last 5 years, passenger trips across our land, sea and air entry points have increased by 33%. Despite this, we have generally been able to maintain our performance pledge of clearing 92% of the passengers within 30 minutes, through a combination of additional resources, redeployment, efficiency improvements, computerisation and the use of advanced technology such as Optical Scanners. At the same time, we have through the application of information technology produced savings in the order of $190 million (or 613 posts). In this financial year, we shall see further improvements in the land border al Lok Ma Chau, with the increase of one vehicle kiosk and 5 passenger counters. We have also provided sufficient resources to cope with the additional workload arising from the increase of the One Way Permit Quota from 105 to 150 per day, and to extend the scope of the Direct Visa Application Scheme. We have just completed a consultancy study on how to improve efficiency further in the immigration control points at the Airport, and I look forward to improved performance in the year ahead. Let there be no doubt about the efficiency of the Immigration Department to respond to fastchanging developments : the tremendous response by the Department in recent days to cope with the flood of applications for naturalisation is a clear testimony of this.

Police Management Review' (PMR)

We have kept faith with our commitment to continue the task of implementing recommendations arising from the Police Management Review, which will ultimately enable us to have one of the world's most modern Police Force. We have already implemented 9 of the Review' Reports. In this financial year, we will begin to implement 12 more Reports which means that nearly half of the PMR Reports will have been implemented. Furthermore, through the increasing use of modern communication and information technology, we have been able to release a good number of professionally-trained police officers to front-line operational duties. In this financial year, we will be spending an extra $190 million in computerisation, and $31 million in modernising communication equipments.

Honourable Members will recall that the Commissioner of Police announced in March last year his commitment to the development of a Service Quality Strategy. The Strategy aims to ensure that the Force provides an effective, efficient sen ice of high quality to the public. It involves the development of a customer-based culture, and the provision of training in "quality management". As part of the Strategy, the Force has recently conducted an opinion survey on public perceptions of the Police and its performance. This was released yesterday. We will carefully’ study the findings of the Survey to determine what needs to be done to further improve the quality of service of the Police in order to keep up with the lime and the expectation of the public. We welcome constructive suggestions from Honourable Members and the public in this process.

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Looking Beyond 1997

As a forward-looking Administration, our planning horizon extends across 1997. Certainly our programme of implementing the Police Management Review extends across 1997; likewise our search for improvements in our Ambulance Service, our plans for increasing prisons accommodation, and the progress we are making towards providing the necessary security, safety and immigration back-up for the new Chek Lap Kok Airport. I wish, however, to highlight a particular area where we are making significant headway to tackle the challenge of a smooth transition. With the support of this Council, we have acquired $160 million for a computer system to produce the new SAR passport. The Budget provides for 60 new posts to take forward the planning and computerisation work, so as to enable us to begin issuing SAR passports from 1 July 1997. This is an important part of our work towards a smooth transition, but we will continue to press for early discussions with our Chinese colleagues to resolve the remaining problems of right of abode, and on how to achieve maximum travel convenience for Hong Kong residents post-1997, building on the British Government's decision to grant visa-free access to SAR passport holders.

Vietnamese Migrants

Like Honourable Members, I wish to pay tribute to the professionalism, courage and perseverance of our disciplined services, in particular our colleagues in the Correctional Services Department, who have been at the sharp end in coping with the Vietnamese migrants problem. We had a bad year in 1995; I believe we are now seeing the turning of the tide. In the whole of 1995, we had about 1,600 Vietnam migrants volunteering to return to Vietnam; in the first three months of this year, we already have 1,500 volunteers. That of course is still far short of the sort of figures which will enable us to clear the camps by mid-1997. Much remains to be done, in seeking the co-operation of the Vietnamese Government to clear all, I repeat, all the remaining Vietnamese migrant caseload, to step up the Orderly Repatriation Programme and to encourage more voluntary returns. The decision announced yesterday to release a small number of Vietnamese migrants from detention, as a consequence of the Privy Council's recent judgment, in no way affects our determination to achieve our goal. We will also do our best to enable our Correctional Services Department colleagues to better face their arduous tasks, to give as much protection to them against the possible dangers, and to seek to reduce the burden on them by speedy repatriation. Let me also take this opportunity to make it clear to the Vietnamese migrants in the camps : your only future lies in returning to Vietnam.

32

Security Wing

My colleagues in the Police Force have explained the role and functions of the Security Wing during a special close-door briefing to some Honourable Members held last Monday. I hope that Honourable Members would agree that it performs an essential service in protecting the public against threats to their safety and security that cannot be dispensed with. In addition, the work of the Security Wing is essential to enable us to meet our international obligations such as the fight against terrorism, trade in strategic goods and the protection of visitors who arc at risk to personal dangers. I appreciate that some Honourable Members may still have other points to raise on Security Wing; we can, of course, continue to discuss these in the appropriate forum, such as the LegCo Security Panel in a manner which protect the necessary degree of confidentiality that such sensitive issues deserve.

• Thank you. Mr President.

End

Mortgage corporation vital to 11 K's financial system *****

The Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui. said the proposed mortgage corporation would enhance Hong Kong's status and reputation as an international financial centre.

Speaking at the Budget Debate at the Legislative Council today (Wednesday), Mr Hui said the mortgage corporation would have a major role to play in the strength and stability of the Hong Kong financial system and therefore it was desirable for the Government to take a leading role to facilitate this venture.

Following is the full text of Mr Hui's speech:

Mr President,

I will mainly speak on two issues today, namely economic forecast and the mortgage corporation.

33

Economic forecasts

Some Members commented that our economic forecasts for this year arc too optimistic. I can appreciate how people look at forecasts against the usual uncertainties for the future, and particularly in periods where the economy is faced with the impact of significant extraneous events. Opinions about the likely performance arc bound to differ, and forecasts put out by the private sector are not necessarily the same as that of the Government. But this time I sense a 'consensus range' of private sector forecasts on the GDP growth rate for 1996 which is actually not much different from our own forecast figure of 5%. Most private sector analysts suggest a grow th rale in between 4.5% and 5%, and a few suggest an even better growth.

We do not make forecasts out of the air. Every lime when our economic forecasts are produced or updated, we deploy a comprehensive macro-econometric model which encompasses all the key aspects of demand in our economy which together constitute the overall economic performance. The trade sector covering both visible and invisible trade is one such key aspect. Domestic demand covering both consumption and investment is another. The model process is fully quantitative and is backed up by a wealth of data from the Census and Statistics Department. We also have a panel of representatives from relevant departments working together with our economists to appraise the model-run results against their knowledge of latest developments in the sectors under their purview. In short, we strive to produce forecasts which, as much as possible, are systematic and scientific, l ull details of our forecasts arc explained in the 1996 Economic Prospects, a standard document accompanying the Budget Speech.

On Hong Kong's economic outlook for 1996 I have grounds to be optimistic. Our export growth for the first two months of this year has remained satisfactory notwithstanding a high base of comparison in the same period last year. Locally, sentiment has turned for the better, as the unemployment rate has receded somewhat, and as the pick-up in both the stock market and the residential properly market is carried over into the current year. In line with an improved sentiment, consumer spending can also be expected to improve. Moreover, construction work on the Airport Core Programme is now progressing to its peak.J'he sen ices sector should receive a boost from our various promotion initiatives. Upon these positive factors it is not unreasonable to expect the growth pace of the economy to revive to its trend rate for the medium term. As for inflation, the Consumer Price Index (A) recorded a year-on-year increase of 6.2% for the first two months of 1996 combined, well below our forecast of 7.5% for the year as a whole. I see scope for a further moderation of inflation during the course of this year particularly on the domestic front, along with greater stability in the prices of our imports. Barring significant adverse developments such as non-renewal of China's Most Favoured Nation trading status in the United Stales, the economy should be able to attain a slightly faster growth this year, accompanied by a more distinct slow-down in inflation.

34

Mortgage Corporation

The Financial Secretary announced, as part of Government's endeavours to promote the financial services sector, that we were conducting a study into the establishment of a mortgage corporation in Hong Kong. I am very pleased to note that public response, including comments made by Members in last week's debate, has been favourable. I am very grateful for Members' very encouraging support and I am similarly grateful to some people who have, mostly through the media, expressed certain reservations, cautioning the Administration to heed certain potential risks and to examine critically how the corporation should be set up to serve Hong Kong's particular needs.

I can assure Members here that we are ever mindful that, like any type of financial intermediaries, the mortgage corporation will not be a completely risk-free endeavour. We have been advised that the corporation will be exposed to four main types of risks, namely credit risk (i.e. default by the mortgagors), interest rate risk (i.e. mismatch between the different interest rates on the asset and liability sides), prepayment risk (i.e. mortgagors repaying the loan in full or in part before maturity) and operational risk (i.e. risk arising from the internal operation of the corporation). So far, our consultation with market practitioners and experts both in Hong Kong and overseas suggests that these risks can be properly managed.

Some concerns have been expressed about problems associated with US mortgage corporations, savings and Ioans and the Japanese Jusen mortgage corporations. Let me clarify. The US mortgage corporations did experience some credit and interest rate risks in the early 1980s, but with improved risk management techniques, they are now very profitable and robust institutions. The proposed mortgage corporation will utilise the US experience to manage its risks professionally. As a wholesale institution, it will not function like the US savings and loan institutions which originate retail residential mortgages in competition with the banking system. Neither will the proposed mortgage corporation behave like a Japanese Jusen, because the Jusen mortgage corporations lent money directly to finance commercial real estate. May I repeat, as a wholesale financial intermediary, the proposed mortgage corporation is designed to spread the concentration and liquidity risks of the banking system more evenly in the financial sector. It will not compete with the banks, nor will it lend directly to finance commercial property.

35

As to the queries on why Government should play a leading role in the mortgage corporation business, Members may recall that development of the secondary mortgage market is a subject that has been under the close examination by both the private sector and ourselves since the early 1990s. A very limited mortgage securitisation market emerged then but the momentum was not sustained because of illiquidity of the issues. In a joint HKMA-private sector study, some of the leading players in the private sector argued that a government supported mortgage corporation would give the liquidity, homogeneity and necessary impetus to the development of the secondary mortgage market. Private sector issues lacked these qualities to get the market going. Hence, clear government support of the corporation at the outset is desirable, as this will greatly enhance its acceptance by the market. From a wider perspective, our analysis suggests that the corporation will offer many benefits in the banking, monetary and home financing spheres. We therefore conclude that it is desirable for the Government to take a leading role to facilitate this venture.

The mortgage corporation will have a major role to play in the strength and stability of the Hong Kong financial system. It will be a primary channel whereby long term savings are safely utilised to finance long term assets, namely, residential mortgages. From the savings point of view, the growth of provident and pension funds, aided by the Mandatory Provident Fund System, would want high quality assets to invest in. With the development of a deep and liquid secondary mortgage market, the mortgage corporation would enhance Hong Kong's status and reputation as an international financial centre.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Priority tasks on education and labour outlined ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Up to 90 percent of kindergartens will be eligible to join the revised Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme (KSS) and the rate of subsidy will be increased to take account not only inflation but also the annual salary increment for teachers.

Announcing this today ( Wednesday) at the resumed debate on the Appropriation Bill 1996, the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong said the revised Scheme was the result of a recently completed review of the . KSS.

36

Subject to the approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, the Administration proposes to implement the improved Scheme from the 1996/97 school year onwards.

Mr Wong emphasised that the 1996/97 Budget had made sufficient provision for implementing all the new initiatives in education set out in the Government’s 1995 Policy Commitments and that the ambitious programme of ongoing improvements was in good progress.

On special education, Mr Wong reiterated that the Government would consider carefully the outcome of the review undertaken by the Board of Education when it was completed in the middle of the year.

He pointed out that the Government had accepted all the recommendations of the Education Commission's Final Report No. 6 on enhancing language proficiency and had set aside the necessary resources in the Budget to implement the phase one programme.

In response to comments on the distribution of resources between tertiary education and basic education, Mr Wong stressed that the Government adopted a "total and building-block approach towards education."

"Given that we have achieved the target of providing 14,500 first-year-first degree places, thereby enabling 18% of our relevant age group to receive tertiary education, it should enter a period of consolidation.

"Our main emphasis now is to improve the quality of our graduates and to find ways to reduce costs. We will work closely with the University Grants Committee and 1 expect to receive their advice later this year," he said.

Mr Wong pointed out that one of his top priorities was to continue to seek new resources for basic education and to enhance its quality in a comprehensive manner. He noted that the Government also had to make the most cost-effective use of existing resources which were vast by themselves.

Turning to the manpower programme, Mr Wong announced that the Government would shortly commission a consultancy to review the strategy, direction, funding arrangements and management structure of the Employees Retraining Scheme (ERS).

"The study will assess the effectiveness of the various types of retraining courses in meeting the requirements of employers and the retraining needs of workers.

37

The review on the ERS and the consultancy study being conducted on the Vocational Training Council are expected to be completed this summer.

"Together, their findings should provide a solid basis for the Government to draw up a coherent and visionary blueprint for the development of our vocational training and retraining programmes into the next century," Mr Wong said.

On promoting industrial safety, he reassured the Legislative Council that the Government was committed to implementing the recommendations in the 1995 Consultation Paper on the Review of Industrial Safety in Hong Kong.

" We recognise the vital role of the Occupational Safety and Health Council. We will work closely with the Council to ensure that its expanded programme of activities in the coming years will complement the Government’s efforts in this important area," he said.

End

SEM on Budget debate

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, at the resumption of the Budget debate in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr Deputy President,

I am grateful for the interest expressed by Members in the education and manpower programme in the Budget Debate last week. 1 appreciate their supportive and constructive comments. I hope what I am going to say will address their main concerns.

Education

Let me first deal with education. 1 entirely agree with Members on the importance of education. Our fundamental aim in education is to develop the potential of every child so that he or she will become an independent-minded and socially-conscious person, to make positive contribution to the community, to possess knowledge and skills and at the same time, also to develop their different interests, guide them to love and lead a full life. Investing in our education is investing in our future - a continuing stable and prosperous future and a meaningful life.

38

This explains why education has always been the single largest item of Government spending. It will continue to account for over 20 percent of Government's proposed recurrent expenditure for 1996-97.

Let me emphasise one important point: this Budget makes sufficient provision for implementing all the new initiatives in education announced in our 1995 Policy Commitments. But we should also not overlook our ambitious programme of ongoing improvements in :

* enhancing teacher education through the courses offered by the Hong Kong Institute of Education and other institutions;

* providing additional graduate teacher posts in primary schools;

* assisting schools with a high proportion of low achievers;

* supporting the schooling of new immigrant children from China and their integration into our education system;

* extending the Target Oriented Curriculum to all primary schools;

* converting existing bi-sessional schools into whole-day operation;

* improving the teaching and learning environment in existing schools through the School Improvement Programme:

* phasing out the floating classes in secondary schools;

and in many other areas which are familiar to Members and which I need not repeat here.

On special education, I would like to reiterate that we will consider carefully the outcome of the review undertaken by the Board of Education when it is completed in the middle of the year.

But we are far from complacent. We act swiftly to tackle problems and address particular concerns. I want to give two examples. First, it was only last month that the Education Commission published its Final Report No. 6 on enhancing language proficiency. Not only have we accepted all its recommendations, we have also set aside the necessary resources in the Budget to implement the phase one programme.

39

Second, I am pleased to announce today that we have completed the review of the Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme. Subject to the approval of the Finance Committee of this Council, we propose to improve the rate of subsidy and the eligibility cut-off point from the 1996/97 school year onwards. Under our proposal, up to 90 percent of the kindergartens will be eligible to join the Scheme and the rate of subsidy will be increased to take account not only inflation but also the annual salary increment for teachers.

There have been a lot of comments on the distribution of resources between tertiary education and basic education. Let me assure Members that we adopt a total and building-block approach towards education. Given that we have achieved the target of providing 14,500 first-year-first degree places, thereby enabling 18% of our relevant age group to receive tertiary education, it should enter a period of consolidation. Our main emphasis now is to improve the quality of our graduates and to find ways to reduce costs. We will work closely with the University Grants Committee and I expect to receive their advice later this year.

As Secretary for Education and Manpower, my top priorities is continue try my best to seek new resources for basic education and to enhance its quality in a comprehensive manner. We also have to make the most cost-effective use of existing resources which are vast by themselves. In all these, I hope we can work closely with Members, the education sector, parents, employers and the community at large. 1 firmly believe that our investment in education and the fruit it bears are a key factor in deciding whether Hong Kong can continue to develop and remain stable and prosperous.

Manpower

Turning to the manpower programme. I am sure that Members are aware of the substantial additional resources allocated to enhancing employment services in the Budget. The provision will increase by a hefty 34 percent. The Government believes that helping job-seekers find jobs is the right way to tackle the problem of unemployment. Underpinning this are our training and retraining programmes to ensure that our students and workers acquire the most up-to-date skills to meet the needs of our ever changing economy.

Against this background, we have recently commenced a consultancy study on the Vocational .Training Council. Our aim is to review the system of providing technical education and vocational training and to map out its long-term direction and strategy. We will shortly commission a consultancy to review the strategy, direction, funding arrangement and management structure of the Employees Retraining Scheme. Specifically, the study will assess the effectiveness of the various types of retraining courses in meeting the requirements of employers and the retraining needs of workers. Both reviews arc expected to be completed this summer. Together, their findings should provide a solid basis for the Government to .draw up a coherent and visionary blueprint for the development of our vocational training and retraining programmes into the next century.

40

Industrial Safety

Finally, let me reassure Members that the Government is committed to improving industrial safety and to implementing the recommendations in the 1995 Consultation Paper on the Review of Industrial Safety in Hong Kong. We recognise the vital role of the Occupational Safety and Health Council. We will work closely with the Council to ensure that its expanded programme of activities in the coming years will complement the Government's efforts in this important area.

Thank you. Mr Deputy President.

End

Probate and Administration (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the Attorney General, the Hon Jeremy Mathews, in the second reading of the private member's bill, Probate and Administration (Amendment) Bill 1996, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

Subsection (1) of section 15 the Probate and Administration Ordinance provides that the Registrar of the Supreme Court, in his capacity as Official Administrator, may summarily administer estates which do not, in his opinion, exceed $50,000 in value. This provision alleviates the financial burden of undertaking a formal administration of such estates.

The Honourable Bruce Liu Sing-lee's Probate and Administration (Amendment) Bill provides for the limit to be increased to $150,000. This is a reasonable adjustment as it approximates to the real value in today's money of the current limit when it was set in 1983.

The Administration accordingly supports the Bill and commends it to this Council.

End

41

S for S on withdrawal of committee stage amendment *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in response to the withdrawal by the Hon James To of his committee stage amendment to the Appropriation Bill, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr Chairman,

I am grateful to the Honourable James To for agreeing to withdraw his committee stage amendment to the Appropriation Bill 1996. It means that we face no budgetary impediment in continuing the essential work of the Security Wing; it also means that the implementation of our important proposals to strengthen the Police capability to combat crime would not be adversely affected. 1 am sure that the community will also welcome Honourable Members' support in passing the Budget in its entirety, thus maintaining its careful balance.

We have taken great pains in preparing last Monday's briefing for the LegCo Security Panel to explain the work and functions of the Security Wing, without compromising our ability to protect the internal security of Hong Kong. I appreciate that some Honourable Members may have further points to make on the Security Wing. We will try our best to answer them in due course. As I have said earlier, the best way of resolving matters of concern to Honourable Members is through dialogue and discussions conducted in a spirit of mutual trust. We appreciate Honourable Members' wish to ensure that Security Wing performs its duties faithfully and lawfully. Let me assure Honourable Members that the Security Wing, like other formations of the Police Force, is governed by the Police Force Ordinance, and that all of its work is carried out strictly in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong. The Commissioner of Police and I are accountable to this Council for what it does, or does not do and how effectively it performs its role.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

End

42

Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996 *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Gordon Siu, in moving the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

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

In March 1995, safety requirements for plugs and adaptors came into effect. These requirements were widely publicised and were targeting the improvement of safety of plugs and adaptors and increasing public awareness of electrical product safety.

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill introduced today takes this process a step further, in paving the way for enactment of regulations stipulating safety requirements for all household electrical products.

The Bill has three main provisions.

First, it enables the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, to prohibit the supply of an unsafe electrical product, in the interests of safety.

Second, it provides for a product owner to claim compensation against Government for loss or damage resulting from the Director's seizure of a prohibited electrical product when that seizure is overturned on appeal and the appeal board has ordered that the product be returned.

Third, it increases the maximum penalty for supplying a prohibited product from a fine of $50,000 on a first conviction and $100,000 on a subsequent conviction for the same offence and in either case imprisonment for six months, to a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year on a first conviction and a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for two years on subsequent conviction.

After the Bill has been passed by this Council, the Government will introduce a new regulation prescribing safety requirements for household electrical products. The new regulation will require that all electrical products designed for household use should comply with essential safety requirements to protect the user from electrical shock and other dangers from hazardous materials or design.

43

Some products, for example, lampholders, flexible cords and extension units, which frequently bring the public into close proximity with live terminals or conductors, and unvented thermal storage type electric water heaters, will have to comply with specific safety requirements.

All of the safety requirements are based on well established and widely recognised international standards.

The supplier of a household electrical product will be responsible for ensuring that the product complies with the safety requirements. A product will have to be certified that it meets the relevant safety requirements before it can be supplied. This will be done by requiring issue of a certificate in respect of the product model concerned. The certificate may be issued by a certification body or a manufacturer recognised for that purpose.

Mr President, over the past four years, 28 severe electrical accidents relating to unsafe household electrical products and involving death or injury, were reported to the Government. While the majority of household electrical products available locally are safe, tests carried out by the Consumer Council have shown that some models of common household electrical products do not pass examination against, international safety standards. The proposals that I have outlined aim to ensure that all such products are safe to use.

I commend the Bill to this Council.

End

Firearms and Ammunition (Amendment) Bill

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in moving the second reading of the Firearms and Ammunition (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Firearms and Ammunition (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to tighten the existing licensing framework to ensure that firearms are used safely.

44

The Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance was enacted in 1981 to regulate the possession of, and dealing in, firearms and ammunition. At that time there was a comparatively low level of interest in the use of firearms for recreational and sporting purposes. The use of firearms for recreational shooting has, by and large, been left to self-regulation by individual shooting clubs. The relatively loose controls imposed at that time were judged to be adequate.

Since then, however, the use of firearms for recreational and sporting purposes has become more popular. The number of shooting clubs, for example, increased from 13 in 1988 to 22 now; the number of licences for the possession of firearms increased from 894 to 1,753 in the same period. We believe that the time has now come for us to take proactive and precautionary measures to ensure that the increasing number of gun clubs are run properly in the interest of public safety and security. The Bill seeks to implement these measures.

We propose to regulate shooting clubs by way of licences for the possession of firearms. The licence will be held by a "responsible officer", who is personally responsible for the management of the club. Tighter licence conditions will also be imposed to regulate the operation of shooting clubs, in particular, the possession and use of firearms and ammunition and the running of its firing range, armoury and other facilities.

We propose to require members of shooting clubs to complete a course on the safe handling of firearms before they can use firearms in the clubs, and that only a qualified person, approved by the Commissioner of Police, can instruct others in the use of firearms.

We also propose that the appointment of an agent by a licensee to handle firearms and ammunition be subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Police. This will preclude an untrained or unsuitable person from possessing or handling a licensee’s firearms in the capacity of his agent.

To address the possible threat to public safety when a large number of firearms or ammunition are carried in public places or stored at the licensees' premises, we propose to empower the Commissioner of Police to restrict the quantity of firearms and ammunition to be covered in a licence for possession.

As the use of low-powered air guns could be dangerous, we propose to make it an offence, under the Summary Offences Ordinance, to discharge any low-powered air gun in a public place to the danger or annoyance of any person.

We have consulted the shooting clubs and other interested parties, including the Security Panel of this Council, on our proposals. There is general support in principle for the tighter regulation of shooting clubs by way of licence.

45

Mr President, I believe that under our proposals, recreational shooting activities will be carried out in a safer manner while remaining as an active sport in Hong Kong. Subject to the approval of the Bill by this Council, the preparatory work for implementing these proposals will take about one year to complete. We will make use of this period to liaise with the clubs to ensure that the detailed licensing conditions are reasonable and practicable.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second

time.

The Bill seeks to amend the definition of’’goods in transit” in Section 2(1) of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. An anomaly exists in this definition and has hindered the Customs and Excise Department’s effort in combating smuggling from China by vehicle.

Goods in transit are defined as those which are brought into Hong Kong solely for the purpose of taking them out of Hong Kong and which remain on board the same vessel, aircraft or vehicle throughout their passage through Hong Kong. At present such goods are exempted from certain import and export controls stipulated ip the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. It is pointless to use resources to control goods that are neither destined for Hong Kong nor discharged in Hong Kong from the means of transport carrying them.

Since no place other than China is contiguous to Hong Kong, goods carried on a vehicle from China can only be destined to Hong Kong or transferred in Hong Kong to another country through other means of transport such as a vessel or aircraft. In the circumstances, such goods do not qualify as goods in transit.

46

In several court cases regarding falsely labelled goods found on incoming vehicles from China at the border points, the claims that the contraband was ’’goods in transit” were accepted by courts as defences. When seized at the border control point, the goods were still on board the vehicles and in such circumstances were considered to fall within the definition of’’goods in transit”. This interpretation makes it difficult for Customs officers to bring prosecutions against those who smuggle from China by vehicle.

To rectify the situation, we propose to delete the reference to "vehicle” from the definition of "goods in transit" in the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

Mr President, I move that the debate on this motion be now adjourned.

End

Import and Export (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the seconding reading of the Import and Export (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Import and Export (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second time.

This Bill seeks to remove a potential loophole in the Import and Export Ordinance by deleting the reference to "vehicle" in the definition of "article in transit" in Section 2(b) of the Ordinance.

The reason for the proposed amendment is identical to that which I have already explained earlier to this Council in moving the second reading of the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996. It is practically impossible for articles carried on a vehicle from China to qualify as being in transit through Hong Kong. Articles brought into Hong Kong this way can realistically only be destined for Hong Kong or re-exported by vessel or aircraft. They should therefore not qualify as articles in transit and be exempted from the controls under the Ordinance. The potential for abuse under the existing definition is real, as evidenced by the experience of the cases which I quoted for the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

Mr President, I move that the debate on this motion be now adjourned.

End

47

Control of Chemicals (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the Control of Chemicals (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Control of Chemicals (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second

time.

The purpose of this Bill is to delete the reference to "vehicle" from the definition of "a controlled chemical in transit" in Section 2(3) (b)(i) of the Control of Chemicals Ordinance. The Ordinance makes it unlawful, among other things, for a person to import or export any controlled chemical without a licence. Chemicals in transit are exempted from the controls under the Ordinance. The reason for the proposed amendment is identical to that which 1 have explained to this Council earlier in moving the second reading of the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996.

Mr President. 1 move that the debate on this motion be now adjourned.

End

Reserved Commodities (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry. Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the Reserved Commodities (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Reserved Commodities (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second time.

48

The Bill seeks to delete the reference to ’’vehicle" from the definition of "article in transit" in Section 2(1) of the Reserved Commodities Ordinance. The Ordinance, together with its regulations, provides for the control of the import and export of reserved commodities, such as rice. Articles in transit are exempted from the controls under the Ordinance. The reason for the proposed amendment is identical to that which I have already explained earlier in moving the second reading of the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996.

Mr President, I move that the debate on this motion be now adjourned.

End

Toys and Children's Products Safety (Amendment) Bill *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read a second time.

This Bill seeks to delete the reference to "vehicle" from the definition of "goods in transit" in Section 2 of the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance. The Ordinance makes it unlawful for any person to import or supply a toy which does not meet certain safety standards. Goods in transit are not subject to the controls under this Ordinance. The reason for the proposed amendment is identical to that which I have already explained in moving the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996.

Mr President, I move that the debate on this motion be now adjourned.

End

49

Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) Bill

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

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

This is the last of the six amendment bills which seek to amend the definition of an item in transit in the relevant Ordinances. In line with the amendments proposed in the five preceding Bills, this Bill also seeks to delete the reference to "vehicle" from the definition of "goods in transit" in Section 2 of the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance. The Ordinance imposes obligations on manufacturers and suppliers of certain consumer goods to ensure that the goods they supply are safe> Goods in transit are exempted from the controls under the Ordinance. The amendment is proposed for the same reason which I have already explained in moving the Trade Descriptions (Amendment) Bill 1996.

Mr President, I move that the debate on this motion be now adjourned.

End

HK-Guangdong infrastructural developments

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Ngan Kam-chuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Officials of the Guangdong Province have earlier announced that they would bring Hong Kong into the scope of their planning, and that they would commence the planning and construction of the Tucn Mun-Zhuhai Bridge and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bridge on their own. However, the results of the study on the impact of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Western Corridor (Santin to Wong Kong; Shekou to Yuen Long) and the Tuen Mun-Zhuhai Bridge on the development of the Northwest New Territories have yet to be announced by the Government. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :

50

(a) what progress has been made in the formal consultation channels between the Guangdong and Hong Kong authorities (such as the Infrastructure Coordinating Committee) on the Tuen Mun-Zhuhai Bridge and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bridge projects; and

(b) what positive measures the Government will adopt to strengthen the communication between the Guangdong and Hong Kong authorities on the question of co-ordination of infrastructural developments?

Answer:

Mr President,

Major cross-border infrastructure proposals, including the Lingdingyang Bridge and the Shenzhen Western Corridor which would link Hong Kong with Zhuhai and Shenzhen respectively, are being discussed in the Infrastructure Co-ordinating Committee (ICC). The ICC is a forum for exchange of views and information and for seeking to reach a common view on co-ordination and interface in respect of such major projects.

In respect of the Lingdingyang Bridge and the Shenzhen Western Corridor good progress had been made in the ICC. The two sides have visited the relevant sites in Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong and have had useful exchanges of views and information. The two sides have agreed that in view of the economic development of Hong Kong, Guangdong and the whole of China and from the perspective of long term development, there is a need to develop additional cross-border transport capacity. The two sides have further agreed that Hong Kong should conduct a study on the two proposals' impact on Hong Kong's environment, transport infrastructure and land use planning. The study will be completed in the middle of this year. The findings of the study will hopefully provide the necessary information for us to assess in detail the viability and feasibility of implementing these proposals.

Ihe establishment of the ICC in December 1994 is a major and significant measure taken by both sides to strengthen communication between Hong Kong and China in respect of co-ordination in cross-border infrastructure development. Both sides have taken this valuable opportunity to establish good working relationships with each other. Channels of communication and foundations for co-operation and coordination have now been well established. We will continue to support the ICC and work closely with the Chinese side in a positive manner.

End

51

Reports of unidentified gas leakage incidents

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Yum Sin-ling 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 respective numbers of cases of unidentified gases hitting residential areas and schools in the past three years as well as the districts in which such incidents occurred;

(b) whether the source and type of gases can be identified after investigation; if so, what are the sources and types of these gases, and whether such gases are harmful to human beings; and

(c) whether there is sufficient equipment for detecting unidentified gases, and what contingency measures will be taken in the event of unidentified gases being found?

Reply:

(a) The number of reported cases of unidentified gas affecting residential areas and schools during the period from 1 January 1993 to 27 March 1996 are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1 ; Reports of unidentified gas

Residential areas School

Hong Kong 228 5

Kowloon 835 10

New Territories 535 38

1598 53

(b) The result of our findings after investigation are shown in Tables 2 to 6 below.

Table 2 : Cases being reported with good intent but where no gas _______________was identified---------------------------------------------------

Residential areas School

Hong Kong 145 2

Kowloon 652 8

New Territories 329 30

1126 40

52

Table 3 : Cases of incident with gas being identified to be town ______gas/synthetic natural gas____________________________________

Residential areas School

Hong Kong 56 2

Kowloon 145 1

New Territories 138 4

339 7

Table 4 : Cases with gas identified to be liquefied petroleum gas

Reside.QtiaJ.ar.cas School

Hong Kong 20 0

Kowloon 31 0

New Territories 56 2

107 2

The sources of leakage of cases listed in tables 3 and 4 included underground gas mains, above-ground gas risers and domestic gas appliances.

Table 5 ; Cases with other gases identified

Residential areas School

Hong Kong 5 1

Kowloon 2 0

New Territories 2 1

9 2

The details of these incidents are given at Annex A.

Table .(i;___Casesjwhere the source or type of gas was unidentified

Residential areas School

Hong Kong 2 0

Kowloon 5 1

New Territories 10 1

17 2

Except for cases classified under Tables 2, the gases detected in these incidents could be regarded as harmful when they reach a significant concentration within a confined area.

53

(c) We have sufficient equipment to detect gases commonly found and used in Hong Kong. The Fire Services Department has contingency plans to deal with gas leakage incidents. These plans have been developed in consultation with concerned parties including the Police, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, Environmental Protection Department and the Government Chemist. The contingency measures involve :

(i) cordoning off the affected area and its nearby vicinity;

(ii) evacuating all people in the affected area and the vicinity;

(iii) rescue of casualties, if any, and convey them to hospital for immediate medical treatment;

(iv) locating the source of discharge and identify the type of gas; and

(v) with the assistance of the utilities companies or the advice of other

government authorities, stopping the discharge of gas by cutting off the supply or sealing up the gas container and removing it for proper disposal.

54

Annex A

Year Location Residential areas Schools

1993 Siu Lek Yuen Petrol vapour issuing from a goods vehicle

1994 Wanchai Petrol vapour issuing from a petrol filling station

1994 Pokfulam Leakage of acetylene from an acetylene cylinder

1994 Sheung Wan Fumes issuing from suspected hydrogen peroxide solution

1994 Hung Hom Gas evolved during the cleaning of drainage pipe using sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid mixture

1994 Shatin Leakage of nitrogen from a dangerous goods tanker

1995 Sheung Wan Fumes issuing from suspected ammonia solution

1995 Wanchai Unpleasant smell issuing from a putrefied body

1995 Shun Lee Unpleasant smell issuing from rubbish chamber

1993 Siu Lek Yuen Petrol vapour issuing form a goods vehicle

1996 Tsing Yi Island Vapour issuing from an underground fuel tank during replenishment process

End

55

New Territories land categorisation * * * * *

Following is a question by the Hon I ati Wong-fat and a written reply bx the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands. Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In his reply to my question regarding the categories of land in the New Territories raised at the LegCo sitting on 6 March this year, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands stated that land lots in the New Territories could be classified into two broad categories, namely old schedule lots and new grant lots. However, as stated in Annex III of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, (here are village lots, small houses and similar rural holdings in addition to old schedule lots in the New Territories. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council of all the land categories in the New Territories, as well as the definition of and differences between the three categories of land mentioned above?

Reply:

Mr President.

Land lots in the New Territories, as explained in my reply on 6 March 1996. can be classified into two broad categories, namely old schedule lots and new grant lots, based on the time they were granted. Old schedule lots can be further classi lied as "building" or "agricultural" land whereas new grant lots can be subdivided into prewar new grant lots and post-war new grant lots.

I'he lots in the New Territories can. however. be categorised in a different wax depending on the purpose for and the context within which such categorisation is required. With regard to Annex III to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the rent payable to the Government for old schedule lots, village lots, small houses and similar rural holdings will remain unchanged provided that the land in question meets the criteria set out in Annex III.

Under the New Territories Leases (Extension) Ordinance (Cap 150). the above categories of land are explained as follows:

* "old schedule lot" means land held under a block lease granted by, or on behalf of. the Governor to the persons described in the schedules to those leases;

* "village lot” means land granted before the operation of the Small I louse Policy, for the extension or improvement of an established village:

56

* "small house" means land held under a lease granted under (he Small House Policy; and

* "similar rural holding" includes land granted to an indigenous villager in place of other land previously held by him.

End

Stock Exchange and SFC corporate plans proposed *****

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng Kar-foo. and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui. in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that the Financial Services Branch, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited ("SEHK") and the Securities and Futures Commission ("SFC") have held meetings to discuss the corporate plans proposed by the SEHK and the SFC respectively and to strengthen the communication between the parties concerned. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether any agreement has been reached arising form the meetings mentioned above: if so. what are the details of such agreement:

(b) of the division of responsibilities and the respective roles of the SFC and the SEHK in regard to each of the 17 working plans proposed in the SFC's Corporate Plan: and

(c) of the number of staff in the Financial Services Branch deployed to deal with securities matters: and how it will strengthen the co-ordination between the SEHK and the SI C?

Answer:

(a) Following the publication of the SFC Corporate Plan in February 1996, the Financial Services Branch has held meetings with the SFC and the SEHK, and the two organisations have reached broad understanding of their respective roles in the work programme outlined in the SFC Corporate Plan. Both the SFC and SEHK have reaffirmed their commitment to working joint!} for the benefit of the securities and futures market.

57

(b) The Securities and Futures Commission has outlined under the Work Programme section of the Corporate Plan 17 items of new initiatives that will be pursued in the next three years as part and parcel of a strategy to maintain the competitive edge of the Hong Kong market, thereby enabling Hong Kong to retain the status as a leading regional market. The successful development and implementation of these initiatives will require full co-operation, co-ordination and communication between the SFC and the SEHK as well as the commitment and dedication of the people involved. As a general guideline, the SFC will be primarily responsible for the initiatives where the thrust is market regulation and the SEHK will be primarily responsible for the initiatives where the thrust is development of the stock market. For example, the SFC would take the lead in the study on the local over-the-counter derivatives market with a view to developing an appropriate regulatory regime, in further enhancing its market surveillance capabilities to deal with malpractices in the market, and in developing guidelines on internal control by market intermediaries. On the other hand, the SEHK would take the lead in the study on the feasibility of a second board, a depository receipts market or other trading facilities for regional stocks, in surveys of retail participation, and in organising industry training programmes related to the stock market. In practice, both organisations will be working jointly and closely on many of the initiatives, as market development and regulation often go hand in hand. Joint efforts are also required where cross-market issues are involved, e.g., in initiatives related to China in general, and to the study of the China capital and debt markets in particular, and in the development of an international promotion programme involving the key market participants.

(c) The Secretary for Financial Services is supported by one Deputy and two other officers in the Financial Sendees Branch in dealing with policy issues concerning the securities and futures market. The day-to-day supervision of the market is the responsibility of the SFC, the SEHK and Hong Kong Futures Exchange. There is on-going liaison and coordination between the Branch, the SFC and the two Exchanges. Such efforts will continue and intensify as necessary in response to the changing market environment.

End

58

Pilot scheme to bring in professionals from China

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Henry Tang Ying-yen and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Under the pilot scheme to bring in 1,000 professionals from China, 688 applications for allocation of quotas have been approved and 374 employment visas issued to date. At a meeting of the LegCo Panel on Manpower held earlier this year, the Government officials concerned stated that the Immigration Department had already invited companies on the reserve list to submit applications to fill the remaining positions in the scheme. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) how many companies which are successful in their applications have subsequently withdrawn from the scheme, and what are the main reasons for their withdrawal;

(b) whether companies on the reserve list meet the eligibility criteria for application, and if so, why; and how many applications from such companies are being processed by the relevant authority and what is the progress of these applications;

(c) how the remaining positions in the scheme will be handled; and

(d) whether the Government is able to ascertain from the applications received which types of professionals from China are equipped with the expertise and working experience which the territory is short of and which the territory needs most; if so, whether it will consider training up local professionals; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Pilot Scheme to bring in 1,000 professionals from China is a limited extension to the existing policy on the entry of overseas professionals who possess skills, knowledge or experience of value to, but not readily available in Hong Kong. All employers wishing to apply for quotas under the pilot scheme arc required to establish and substantiate their need for a particular professional from China and each application is carefully scrutinised by the Immigration Department before deciding whether it should be approved.

59

There were altogether 3.129 applications for the 1.000 quotas under the Pilot Scheme. Four quarterly ballot exercises were held and the Immigration Department subsequently invited all the 1.000 applicants whose applications were drawn up to submit formal applications under the Scheme. The 2.129 applications not drawn out in the ballot exercises were put on a computer-generated reserve list. \\ hen quotas left over from formal applications which were cither refused or withdrawn were available, the applicants on the reserve list would be advised, in the order of their position on the list, to submit a formal application.

In October 1995, in view of the slow utilisation rate of the quotas, the Immigration Department asked all the companies on the reserve list to confirm their interest in remaining in the Scheme. In the end. only 1.514 chose to remain on the list.

As of 20 March 1996, of these 1.514 applicants on the reserve list. 900 have been called up to submit their formal applications under the Scheme. Out of the formal applications for quotas from the total of 1.900 applicants (the original 1.000 successful companies in the four ballot exercises plus 900 from the reserve list). 712 were approved. 66 refused. 983 withdrawn, and 139 under processing. Applicants with approved quotas are normally given 4 months to arrange for the submission ol visa applications by the candidates. Of the 712 approved quota applications. 394 visa applications have been approved so far.

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

(a) There were 983 w ithdrawal cases. Of these. 629 were from applicants who withdrew before or when the Immigration Department called them up for submission of formal applications. We do not know the reasons for their withdrawal. As for the remaining 354. their reasons for withdrawal are as follows:

Unable to find the suitable candidate

Unable to provide sufficient information pertaining to the candidate for consideration by the Immigration Department Changes in the recruitment policy of the company

Total

295

7

52

354

(b) All formal applications are vetted carefully to ensure that they meet the criteria and objectives of the Pilot Scheme. Of the 900 reserve list cases. 282 were approved. 13 were refused. 466 were withdrawn, and 139 are being examined by the Immigration Department.

60

(c)& We will continue to process applications and closely monitor the (d) utilisation of the quotas under the Scheme. Our previous plan was to conduct a review of the Scheme when a sufficiently large number (say about 75%) of visa applications have been approved under the Scheme. However, in view of the slow utilisation rate, we plan to commence the review shortly with a view to completing it before the end ol this year.

We will also seek to ascertain from the review the expertise and working experience that these professionals from China possess which Hong Kong is short ol and needs most. In the light of the findings of the review, we will identify, il necessary, the need to train up local professionals.

End

Pets keeping problems in public housing estates *****

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing. Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Recently, a tragedy occurred in a public housing estate in which a baby girl was bitten to death by a dog. and this has aroused public concern over the problem ol keeping of pets by public housing tenants. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the tenancy agreement signed between the Housing Authority and a public housing tenant stipulates a ban on the keeping ol pets or a ban on the keeping of dogs: what are the reasons for such a stipulation: and

(b) if the tenancy agreement stipulates a ban on the keeping of all kinds ol pets, why the Housing Department's recent publicity efforts arc targeted only at those tenants who keep dogs: and w hat measures the Department will take to ban the keeping of other kinds of pets by public housing tenants?

61

Answer:

Mr President,

The tenancy agreement signed between the Housing Authority and its tenant specifies.that he is not allowed to keep pets, including dogs. The purpose is to keep the estate environment clean and quiet, and to avoid disturbing other tenants.

Public housing estate staff will tighten up enforcement action against tenants who keep pets of any kind. With effect from April 1996. only one written warning will be served on an offending tenant requiring him to dispose of the pel within 14 days, failing which his tenancy will be terminated.

Most offending cases involve dogs and some arc repetitive offences. It is against this background that the Housing Department has targeted tenants who continue to keep dogs.

End

Civil servants joining political parties

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Elizabeth Wong and a written reply bj the Secretary for Civil Services. Mr W K I.am. in the legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question :

Will the Government inform this Council whether civil servants are allowed to join political parties: if so. whether they must declare this so as to avoid a conflict of interest arising from the execution of their official duties?

62

Reply:

Mr President,

With the exception of disciplined officers of the Royal I long Kong Police Force who are prohibited from joining political organisations under the Police General Orders, all other civil servants may join political organisations in their private capacity subject to the provisions of civil service regulations governing outside work and participation in such activities as giving interviews and speeches, publishing or distributing political literature, or taking part in a public rally.

Whilst civil servants are not required to declare their membership of political organisations, they are advised that if their involvement in a political organisation is likely to give rise to a conflict of interest with their official duties, they should refrain from taking part in the related activities. If they are in doubt about their obligations, they are encouraged to seek guidance since each case has to be considered on its own facts. Our guiding principle is that the Civil Service should remain politically neutral in order to ensure that Government business is. and is seen to be. conducted impartially.

End

Population forecasts

*****

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:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has substantially revised its forecasts of the territory's population for the next ten to 20 years in view of the increase in the number of returning emigrants and new immigrants from China in recent years; and

(b) how the population growth in recent years will affect the Government’s long-term planning on various fronts?

63

Reply:

(a) It is the practice of the Census and Statistics Department to prepare and publish projections of the size and age-sex structure of the population for a period of 20 years following each census/by-census. The current set of projections was prepared and published in 1992, following the 1991 Population Census.

A new set of population projections will be prepared in early 1997 based on the results of the 1996 Population By-census. Duc consideration will be given to recent trends in the migration of the population, e.g. more former emigrants returning and more one-way permit holders from China, in making the new projections.

(b) Over the past few decades, the population of Hong Kong has grown by about one million every ten years. The Government has been responding by undertaking new town, public works and public housing programmes. All these have been carried out within the long term planning framework set by the Territorial Development Strategy.

We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Territorial Development Strategy. The public will be consulted on the findings of the review in mid-1996. Following a decision on the identified strategic growth areas and other proposals in the Strategy, we will carry out detailed planning and development programming to produce land and to provide facilities required to meet the needs of the community.

End

64

Flight movement capacity of new airport *****

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

Question:

The Government informed this Council recently that, owing to the need to impose a longer time interval between flight movements and the restrictions in China's territorial airspace, the anticipated capacity of the runway of the new airport had been revised to 37/38 flight movements per hour against the previous projection of 43 flight movements per hour. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council what will be the actual increase in flight movement capacity at the new airport after discounting the time needed for regular maintenance and repairs of the runway, as compared to the capacity at the existing airport?

Reply:

Mr President,

The runway capacity of the Hong Kong International Airport at Kai Tak by 1998 is expected to reach about 31 aircraft movements per hour. The daily available capacity will however be affected by noise abatement requirements currently placed on flight scheduling in the early morning and late night hours and the curfew between 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

The declared runway capacity for the new airport at Chek Lap Kok with one runway will be 37/38 aircraft movements per hour although the capacity at airport opening will be lower while air traffic control gains familiarity with the new operation. On the basis of 24 hours' operation and having regard to the fact that the new airport is not situated in the urban area, the daily runway capacity at the new airport is estimated to be about 50% above that of the Kai Tak airport on the assumption that the runway capacity would be reduced by an average of about 5% for daily maintenance requirements based on experience at other airports.

End

65

Residential care homes for the elderly *****

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

Question:

It has been published in the Government Gazette that the date of implementing section 6 of the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Ordinance (cap. 459), which was originally intended to come into effect on 1 April 1996, will be deferred to 1 June 1996. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the reasons for deferring the implementation date of the above-mentioned section of the Ordinance;

(b) what contingency measures the Government will adopt to deal with those residential care homes which are operated without a certificate of exemption or licence, in the event that the processing of applications for residential care home licences cannot be completed by 1 June 1996; and

(c) what specific measures will be put in place to ensure that the licensed residential care homes are operated in accordance with the statutory requirements?

Reply:

(a) The Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Ordinance, with the exception of section 6 i.e. the penalty section, came into operation on 1 April 1995. The reason for not bringing section 6 into operation at that time was to give operators of residential care homes sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the new legislation, to apply for licences and to make any improvements needed to comply with the prescribed standards. Social Welfare Department initially estimated that operators would need about 12 months to do this. However, it became clear by February 1996 that it would not be advisable to bring section 6 into operation as early as originally intended for the following reasons:

66

(1) As at 29 February 1996, there were still 38 residential care homes for the elderly (about 6% out of a total of 586) which had not yet applied to the Social Welfare Department for a licence or certificate of exemption. Of the 548 applications received, 182 (about 33%) had been received between December 1995 and February 1996. Because so many had been received in such a short space of time, more time was needed to process them.

(2) In the course of processing the applications, it was found that some of the information and floor plans submitted by the residential care homes were not acceptable. Progress was delayed while operators were required to provide supplementary information and revised layout plans and to clarify parts of their applications.

(3) A small number of residential care homes have structural, design and location problems which are impossible to overcome. Operators of such homes have been advised to reprovision their homes in alternative premises. More time is needed to allow for these reprovisioning plans to be carried out.

Taking the above into consideration, it was decided that section 6 should be brought into operation on 1 June 1996.

(b) As at the end of March 1996, only about 10 of the total 586 residential care homes had not applied for licences or certificates of exemption. The assessment of applications is now progressing well and staff of the Licensing Office are confident that all applications will be processed in time before 1 June 1996.

(c) Licences are issued to residential care homes which are able to comply with the statutory requirements while certificates of exemption may be granted to residential care homes already in operation before 1 April 1995 (i.e. before the commencement date of the Ordinance) which are unable to comply fully with the requirements so that they can make necessary improvements during the exemption period.

For the purpose of ensuring that residential care homes are operated in accordance with the requirements, the maximum validity period of a licence or certificate of exemption may not exceed 36 months and residential care homes need to apply for renewal of the licence or certificate upon its expiry.

67

If a licensed residential care home contravenes the law, the licence issued can be cancelled or suspended and the Director of Social Welfare may refuse to renew the licence or amend or vary any conditions of the licence. Similarly, a certificate of exemption can also be revoked. With no licence or certificate of exemption, a home must close down.

The Social Welfare Department Licensing Office of Residential Care Homes for the Elderly is obliged to conduct routine inspections of residential care homes to ensure that they operate in accordance with the statutory requirements and that the welfare of elderly residents is properly safeguarded.

End

Public housing security installation project *****

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

Question:

Although stage I of the public housing security installation project has been well-received by the residents since its implementation, there are some areas which they have queried as being inadequate, such as the unsatisfactory quality of security guards and blind spots of the closed-circuit TVs which fail to cover the side entrances. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the problems that have been identified in stage I of the security installation project and the measures which can be taken to address such problems; and

(b) of the specific plan and arrangement for implementing stage II of the security installation project?

Answer:

Mr President,

The Housing Department receives regular feedback from tenants on security facilities in public housing estates, and the points of concern include -

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(a) the coverage angle of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras;

(b) vandalism of CCTV cameras;

(c) the need to install CCTV cameras at side entrances and staircase exits of housing blocks; and

(d) the quality of security guards.

The existing cameras use wide angle lenses of a type commonly used in CCTV systems inside lifts, and are able to capture irregular or criminal activities in lifts. Nevertheless, the Housing Department is considering installing extra wide angle lenses to improve coverage.

Activities inside lifts are constantly recorded on CCTV. There have been several cases of vandalism where the Police have been able to arrest suspects based on video tape records. As a result, the incidence of vandalism has declined. To provide added protection, the Housing Department intends to provide strengthened protective covers for CCTV cameras.

The side entrances of Harmony and Trident blocks are already covered by CCTV cameras. The Housing Department is looking into the feasibility of extending this measure to other block types. Trials are being carried out to determine the practicability of installing CCTV cameras at staircase exits.

The Housing Department promises to offer a high quality security guard service. The performance of guards is supervised and recorded by estate management staff, and a merit point system has been adopted for performance appraisal. Penalty clauses, including early termination of service, are included in security guards' sendee contracts.

Stage II of the security camera installation project, covering 505 housing blocks, is progressing on schedule. Tenders are now being assessed by the Housing Department and will be awarded in May 1996. Installation work is expected to be complete by mid-1997.

End

69

Water sports facilities

*****

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:

In response to my question at the LegCo Sitting on 5 July 1995 concerning the pollution of beaches, the Government indicated that an inter-departmental committee was looking into various water sports facilities at the time and that it would also examine the need for the feasibility of developing new beaches. Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the progress of the committee’s study on developing and opening up new beaches; and

(b) whether consideration has been given to opening up new outing resorts, such as by developing more outlying islands and reinforcing the ferry services linking these islands to urban areas, so that people will have more places to go to spend their leisure in a healthy and inexpensive way?

Reply:

Mr President,

The working group looking into water sports development has identified over 20 beaches which might be suitable for further development. The group is now conducting research into the circumstances of the beaches, taking into account ease of access, water quality , texture of beach deposits and other related issues. The working group aims to complete its research this year, following which it will make recommendations on the development of potential new beaches.

Separately, the Regional Services Department is considering opening up beaches at Lung Mei (near Tai Po) and at Gordon Hard, which joins the Old and New Cafeteria Beaches at Tuen Mun.

70

As regards the development of recreational facilities on outlying islands and in other rural areas, we are currently looking at ways of maximising the recreational use of decommissioned landfill and former military land. The Country and Marine Park Board is planning marine parks at Hoi Ha Wan, near Sai Kung and at Yan Chau Tong, in Tai Po District to complement the 40,864 hectares of gazetted Country Park in Hong Kong - some 20% of which is on outlying islands. The Urban and Regional Services Departments are considering providing new recreational facilities at Stanley and Gordon Hard respectively.

In taking forward these developments we will consider the demand and potential for opening up outing resorts, as well as assessing the availability of public transport links.

End

Penalties on environmental offences *****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon John Tse Wing-ling and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that the fines imposed by the court on individuals or companies for repeated violation of environmental protection legislation may be lower than the cost of installing environmental protection facilities, and that such fines are regarded by some businessmen as part of the operating cost. As a result, the imposition of fines has had little deterrent effect. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of persons or companies prosecuted on more than two occasions in each of the past three years, together with the average fine imposed by the court in such cases and the number of cases in which the court has imposed a custodial sentence;

(b) of the criteria adopted by the Government for proposing the penalties prescribed in the relevant draft legislation before it was approved by this Council;

(c) whether the Legal Department will consider lodging an appeal in the event that the fine imposed by the court is deemed to be too low; if so, how many appeal cases have been lodged by the Department in the past three years, and what criteria are adopted for determining whether or not to lodge an appeal; and

71

(d) whether the Government has considered amending the legislation to raise the existing penalties so as to increase the deterrent effect; if not, what other measures does the Government have to combat the problem of repeated violation of environmental protection legislation?

Reply:

»

Mr President,

(a) The number of persons or companies convicted of environmental offences on more than two occasions in the past three years (1993-95) is as follows:

J993 1994 1995

126 119 123

No custodial sentence has been imposed in the past three years and the average fines imposed by the court on repeated offenders under the various pollution control ordinances are:

Ordinance Maximum Penalty Average Fines Imposed on Offenders with More Than Two Convictions

1993 1994 1995

Air Pollution Control Ordinance $500,000 $7,700 $10,251 $10,612

Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance $1,000,000 n/a (no repeated of fender)

Noise Control Ordinace $200,000 $27,356 $20,362 $30,210

Dumping At Sea Act 1974 (Overseas Territories) Order 1975 $5,000 $4,471 $46,429 (*) Order repealed

Dumping At Sea Ordinace (replaced DASA(1974) above) $500,000 legislation not yet in force n/a

Water Pollution Control Ordinace $400,000 $25,000 $47,414 $49,706

Waste Disposal Ordinance $500,000 n/a n/a $1,000

(*) The fines are higher than the maximum because some of the cases were tried at the District Court as indictable offences, and are hence not subject to the maximum which only binds the Magistrate Courts.

72

(b) The level of maximum penalties is determined on the basis of a number of factors including the degree of hazard to public health and safety, damage caused to the environment, and likely deterrent effect to offenders. Provision has also been made for a substantial increase in the level of fines for repeated offences and for daily penalties to be imposed for continuing offences.

(c) Yes. The Legal Department will, on the advice of the Environmental Protection Department, consider lodging an appeal if the fine imposed by the court is wrong in principle or manifestly inadequate. No appeal has been lodged against cases of low fines in the past three years.

(d) Yes. The levels of penalties are continually reviewed to ensure that they have sufficient deterrent effect. Except for the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinace, for which the level of fine is already high, the level of fines under pollution control legislation has been increased in the past three years. The fines under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance were increased 10-fold in 1993 and those under the Noise Control Ordinance, Waste Disposal Ordinance and Water Pollution Control Ordinance were doubled during recent amendment exercises. The Dumping At Sea Ordinance has a maximum penalty for second offences of marine dumping that is 100 times greater than the Dumping At Sea Act 1974 (Overseas Territories) Order 1975 which it replaced in 1995.

End

Breakdowns on allocation of research grants *****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon Law Cheung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Is the Government aware of the following information relating to the grant for academic research received by each of the local universities directly from the Government in each of the past three years:

the respective percentages of funds allocated for researches on theoretical topics, practical subjects and local policy issues;

73

(b) the respective percentages of funds allocated for researches on topics relating to the humanities, science, engineering, social sciences and business studies; and

(c) the number of research projects which have not been completed within the original schedules or in accordance with the staled objectives, and the percentage of funds allocated for these projects out of the total amount of grants for academic research.

Reply:

Mr President,

fhe Government is aware of the following information relating to the allocation of Earmarked Research Grants through the University Grants Committee during the past three years -

(a) The Research Grants Council (RGC), under the University Grants .Committee (UGC), receives applications for and approves awards of Earmarked Research Grants each year. In considering applications for research project grants, the Council does not make a distinction between theoretical topics (otherwise known as basic research) and practical subjects (otherwise known as applied research). A breakdown of the proportion of funding allocated for basic and applied research is not. therefore, available and, in any event, the distinction is tar from clear-cut in respect of many research topics. One of the criteria taken into account by the RGC in deciding whether a particular research project should be funded is potential local relevance in terms of its social, cultural or economic application. However, the extent to which research topics are relevant to local policy issues cannot always be identified before the research is completed.

(b) The RGC currently deals with applications for research project grants on the basis of four groups of subject disciplines : Physical Sciences. Engineering, Biology & Medicine, and Humanities, Social Sciences & Business Studies. The respective amounts and proportions of Earmarked Research Grants in these four subject disciplines in the past three years are shown in the following table :

74

Subject discipline 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96

$ m (%) No. (%) $ m (%) No. (%) $ m (%) No. (%)

Engineering1 Physical Sciences1 Biology & Medicine Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Studies ) ) 53 ) (53%) ) 34 (34%) 13 (13%) ) ) 1 10 ) (57%) ) 49 (25%) 34 (18%) 68 (35%) 34 17% 54 (28%) 37 (19%) 143 (38%) 69 (19%) 82 (22%) . 77 (21%) 67 (32%) 45 (?.M,o) 61 (30%) 33 (16%) 161 (35%) 98 (22%) 109 (24%) 86 (19%)

Total 100 (100%) 193 (100%) 193 (100%) 371 (100%) 206 (100%) 454 (100%)

Notes: 1 The Physical Sciences and Engineering Panel was split into two. as an Engineering Panel and a Physical Sciences Panel, in 1994-95.

2 Numbers/percentages rounded.

A more detailed breakdown of the funded research projects by subject discipline (and by institution) for the past three years is given in the tables at Annexes A - C. More information about the individual projects and their status can be found in the RGC Annual Report 1994 and supplementary information in respect of 1995 which were lodged with the Legislative Council Library in early March 1996.

(c) It is in the nature of research that the results and the time required for them to emerge cannot be precisely predicted. Research project grants awarded by the RGC are usually for two or three years' duration, but the researchers can apply for extensions of this period. Extensions of up to 12 months can be approved by the institutions concerned, but must be reported to the RGC: extensions of longer than 12 months require the RGC's approval which will normally only be given up to a maximum of two years including any extensions previously approved by the institutions concerned. The numbers of projects funded in the past four years for which extensions have been approved (mostly for 12 months or less) are shown in the table below. Details of unspent balances of grants in respect of these projects arc not available until after the projects are completed.

75

92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96 Total

No. of RGC funded projects approved in that year 172 193 371 454 1190

No. of these projects which have subsequently been given an extension 110 93 31 0 237

Percentage of projects granted extension 64% 50% 8% 0% 20%

End

Financial impact of second runway under study

*****

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

Question :

As the construction of the second runway and the expansion of the passenger terminal at the new airport will cost $5 billion, will the Government inform this Council what impact this investment will have on the overall financial position of the Airport Authority?

Reply :

Mr President,

The Airport Authority has estimated that the cost for the construction of the second runway and associated facilities will be between $4 to $5 billion. The actual cost will depend on the detailed design, scope of work involved and the timing of construction.


The financial projections in the Provisional Airport Authority’s Business Plan circulated to Finance Committee members on 14 July 1995 assume that the second runway will be constructed after airport opening and will be financed by the Airport Authority through internally generated resources and by borrowings. Under the Business Plan, the cost of the second runway only represents a relatively small portion of the Authority's planned future capital expenditure and should be well within the means of the Authority. When commissioned, the second runway will provide additional capacity at the new airport and in time can make a substantial contribution to the strength of the Authority's overall financial position.

The Government is currently discussing with the Authority with a view to determining, inter alia, the timing and financial implications for constructing the second runway and its associated facilities.

End

British consulates' services to HK residents

*****

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:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has any information on the assistance that British consulates can offer to Hong Kong residents who hold British National (Overseas) Passports or British Dependent Territories Citizen Passports when they run into difficulties overseas, and whether there is any difference in the treatment of such Hong Kong residents and British citizens in this regard;

(b) of the measures taken in the past to publicise the British consular services which Hong Kong residents can enjoy overseas; and

(c) whether the Government will follow the example of the British Government in publicising consular services of its nationals?

77

Reply:

Mr President, the answers to the Hon Member's questions, in the order they are raised, are as follows

(a) Like other British Nationals, BDTCs and BN(O)s can obtain the following consular services from British Consular Posts overseas. These services include:-

(i) assistance in rendering travel documents and other related services;

(ii) visiting British nationals who are under detention or serving sentences in overseas prisons;

(iii) helping British nationals to get in touch with local lawyers, interpreters and doctors;

(iv) arranging for messages to be sent to relatives or friends of British nationals who are in custody; informing next-of-kin of accidents or deaths and advising on procedures;

(v) pleading for clemency in death sentence cases; and

(vi) evacuation in cases of natural disaster or political upheaval.

(b) Information on consular services and assistance that Hong Kong residents can enjoy while overseas is available from the Immigration Department. The Hong Kong Immigration Department also acts as a point of contact for overseas consular posts and the family of Hong Kong residents who are under trial, serving prison sentence or otherwise in distress overseas.

(c) We are in the process of stepping up our activities to publicise consular services available to BDTCs and BN(O)s. Leaflets on "British Consular Services Abroad" currently being used by British Consular Posts can be obtained from Immigration Department. Steps are being taken to produce bilingual leaflets. The intention is to make new bilingual leaflets available to British passport holders upon issuance of passports.

End

78

Manpower at hospitals' emergency units

*****

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 of:

(a) the number of doctors on duty and the number of people who sought medical treatment at the Accident and Emergency Department in each of the hospitals under the Hospital Authority over the past three years;

(b) the average waiting time before a patient it given treatment;

(c) the reason why, at the Accident and Emergency Department of Tuen Mun Hospital, patients in emergency cases had to wait for more than three hours and whether such delay would put patients' lives at risk; and

(d) how the situation mentioned in part (c) above can be improved, and whether the Government will consider increasing the number of medical staff in order to shorten the waiting time?

Reply:

A breakdown showing the deployment of medical staff at different accident and emergency units and the number of attendance are provided at Annexes A and B respectively. The average waiting time is 30 minutes.

Accident and emergency service is designed to cater for patients in more acute conditions. To achieve this intended function, a triage system has been introduced whereby patients are screened by an experienced nurse with special training to determine the relative priority for treatment based on prevailing medical needs of each individual case. While it is inevitable that some non-urgent cases may have to wait longer, there is no question of patients being put at risk.

In the case of Tuen Mun Hospital, as with other public hospitals, deployment of medical staff at the accident and emergency unit should not be examined in isolation from supporting services provided by other clinical departments.

79

The Hospital Authority is aware of the impact on waiting time caused b\ additional demands and has responded by allocating funds to strengthen the accident and emergency unit at Tucn Mun Hospital in its annual planning process. The Authority will continue to work together with the hospital management to maintain the quality of patient service.

Annex A

Deployment of Medical Staff at Accident.and-Emergcp^^

Hospital Number of Medical Staff

1/94 1/95 1/96

Tuen Mun Hospital 23 23 25

United Christian Hospital 19 19 24.5

Yan Chai Hospital 1 12 26

Queen Elizabeth Hospital 33 34 33

Pamela Youde Nethersol Eastern Hospital 12 23 22

l ang Shui Kin Hospital (including Orthopaedics) 22 22 15

Caritas Medical Centre (including out-patient department) 15 16 15

Fanling Hospital (including out-patient department) 10 9 8

Kwong Wah Hospital 17 18 19

Princess Margaret Hospital 24 24 23

Pok Oi Hospital (including out-patient department) 10 10 9

Prince of Wales I lospital 26 30 30

Queen Mary Hospital 23 19 21

Total 235 259 270.5

80

h I 'J'.il ■ . • •■■■’ !• • ■ .

Number of Accident anti Emergency Attendance

Annex B

1993/94 1994/95 4 95 lo 1/96

Tuen Mun Hospital 156.659 179.567 164.954

United Christian Hospital 170,087 185,273 176.754

Yan Chai Hospital * 55.834 1 16,803

Queen Elizabeth Hospital 205.485 231.913 192.720

Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital 20.365 103.846 127,250

Tang Siu Kin Hospital 102.718 100.259 88.282

Caritas Mcdieal Centre 72.043 87.986 82.725

Fanling Hospital 46.930 53.460 49.136

Kwong Wah Hospital 156.924 1 70.492 154.546

Princess Margaret Hospital 163.660 153,993 1 17.624

Pok Oi Hospital 49.743 52,703 48.970

Prince of Wales Hospital 191.040 203.762 177.292

Queen Mary Hospital 123.426 127.308 1 13.664

Total 1.466.482 1.714.062 1.618.448

81

Non-Commonwealth degrees in civil service recruitment

*****

Following is a question by the Hon IP Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the progress of recruiting degree holders of non-Commonwealth tertiary institutions to positions in the civil service requiring an entry qualification of Matriculation level and above since the Government announced that it would recognise such degrees in civil service recruitments last year;

(b) whether there have been any degree holders of non-Commonwealth tertiary institutions recruited to such positions in the civil service in the three years preceding the implementation of the arrangement mentioned in (a) above; if so, what were the ranks of those recruited and to which departments did they belong; and

(c) in regard to the appointees referred to in (b) above, why their nonCommonwealth degrees were recognised for appointment?

Reply:

Mr President,

At present the minimum qualification requirements for entry to the civil service are set with reference to qualifications obtained from local institutions. Non-local degrees are assessed by the Qualifications Section in Civil Service Branch for the purpose of civil service appointments on the basis of whether they are comparable in standard to that of local degrees, having regard to the standing of the awarding institutions, programme of study and advice from accreditation authorities. No distinction is made between degrees obtained from the Commonwealth and nonCommonwealth countries.

82

The answers to the specific questions are as follows:

(a) Assessment of degrees obtained from non-English speaking countries has been difficult in the past because of the lack of information on institutions and qualifications in these countries. To tackle this, we strengthened our mechanism for qualifications assessment for appointment to the civil service in February 1995, by setting up more formal arrangements to make use of the considerable body of information and advice provided by the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (HKCAA). The HKCAA is a source of information on non-local institutions and qualifications and has connections with overseas accreditation authorities and international education specialists. Under the improved system, information and advice is sought from the HKCAA on the comparability of a particular non-local degree to a local degree where necessary. This has enabled us to assess and recognise qualifications obtained from many non-English speaking countries, in particular those obtained from the People's Republic of China (PRC), and take a more vigilant approach on the assessment of qualifications from English-speaking countries.

(b) We have recognised in the past a number of cases of non-local qualifications involving degrees from non-Commonwealth countries for civil service appointment purposes, particularly those obtained from the United States. Since the strengthening of our assessment mechanism, we have also been able to recognise a number of qualifications involving degrees from non-English speaking countries for civil service appointment purposes, including, for example, qualifications from China. Since February 1995 some 14 qualifications obtained in various academic institutions in the PRC have been accepted as fully comparable to a local degree. Another 10 qualifications obtained in the PRC have been accepted as equivalent to a local degree when taken into consideration with other qualifications (e.g. a master degree combined with a first degree).

We have not kept statistics on whether the holders of these non-local qualifications, after assessments, have actually applied for any civil service post or succeeded in such applications.

(c) For appointment to civil service grades requiring a local degree for entry, the key is whether the candidate possesses the academic qualifications required for the job. Non-local degrees are recognised for the purpose of civil service appointment if their standard is assessed as comparable to that of a local degree.

End

83

Measures to shorten patients' waiting time *****

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

Question:

According to a survey conducted by an organisation, over 40% of the elderly patients of the general out-patient department of public hospitals have to wait four hours for medical consultation and dispensation of drugs, and the waiting time for medical appointments in specialist clinics is as long as four months. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) it is aware of the situation described above; if so, what measures are in place to shorten the waiting time: and

(b) consideration will be given to extending the practice of providing "chips for the elderly" and the arrangement for the elderly to seek consultation by appointment, which are only available at the out-patient department of some public hospitals, to all public hospitals in the territory; if not, why not ?

Reply:

(a) The general out-patient clinic (GOPC) services operated by the Department of Health (DH) have adopted the following measures have to minimise waiting time of patients, including elderly patients, after obtaining consultation discs:

(i) Block appointment system

Same-day appointments are given to patients with episodic illnesses and their appointment times are printed on the back of the consultation discs. Patients are then free to leave and need only return to the clinics at the given appointment time. It is the pledge of DH for these patients to be seen within 60 minutes of the appointed time. In 1995, DH has fully achieved this performance pledge.

84

(ii) Advance appointment

Patients with chronic diseases are given advance appointment for their next clinic visit. They need not queue for consultation discs. It is the pledge of DH for these patients to be seen within 30 minutes of the appointment time. In 1995, DH has achieved an attainment rate of 99.7% for this performance pledge. We have observed, however, that only one-third of elderly patients with chronic diseases are willing to take advantage of the advance appointment system. More than 50% of the patients prefer to attend GOPC in the early hours of the morning to suit their own personal convenience. DH is considering ways to encourage greater use of the advance appointment system.

For the general out-patient departments operated within the Hospital Authority (HA), the queuing time for medical consultation is being monitored and is less than 90 minutes on the average. As for the specialist out-patient services, measures have also been in place to shorten the waiting time for first appointment and there is considerable improvement over the past few years. The measures include increasing consultation sessions and opening new specialist clinics through redevelopment of hospital complex. It is the performance target of HA that the average waiting time for first appointment at 90% of specialist clinics is less than three months.

After seeing the doctor, the patient spends a further 10-20 minutes at the clinic for the dispensation of drugs.

(b) Priority discs for the elderly are available in most GOPCs run by DH with the exception of a few smaller or more isolated GOPC’s where more than 50% of the patients are of the elderly age-group. In total, well over 10% of GOPC consultation capacity is set aside for priority discs for elderly patients.

Most of the out-patient clinics within HA institutions are for specialist medical consultation. Since these clinics would attend to all patients on an appointment basis, the practice of providing priority discs for the elderly would not be necessary. As for the GOPCs operated by HA hospitals, about 1/2 to 2/3 of the discs will be allocated to the elderly in some clinics. For those clinics without priority discs arrangement, most of the patients attending their GOPCs are already elderly patients.

End

85

Liaison group to review note issuing process *****

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, Andrew, and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In his reply to my supplementary question raised at the Legislative Council sitting on 31 January 1996, the Secretary for Financial Services stated that the Government would consider the setting up of a standing liaison group to constantly review the note issuing process as well as the process of minting coins. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it will expedite the implementation of the Bank Notes Issue Ordinance passed recently;

(b) of the timetable for setting up the proposed liaison group; and

(c) of the composition and objectives of the proposed liaison group?

Reply:

(a) The Bank Notes Issue (Amendment) Ordinance 1995 will be brought into effect as soon as the necessary preparatory work, which includes the drawing up of terms and conditions regarding bank note issues, is complete. These terms would cover such items as the design of notes, regular review of counterfeiting precautions, demagnetisation procedures, safe-keeping of unissued notes (e.g. location and type of vaults to be used), accounting procedures to record movements between issued and unissued stock and destruction procedures. These detailed and technical terms do require a fair amount of drafting and discussion with the note-issuing banks. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has been discussing these terms with the note-issuing banks since the enactment of the amendment ordinance and agreement is expected to be reached with them later this year.

(b) In connection with bank note issues, the HKMA has established two liaison committees, namely a HKMA-Police liaison group in January this year and the Bank Notes Issue Advisory Committee in March this year, to consider, inter alias, issues relating to the security and quality of the printing of bank notes and the enforcement of the provisions of the Bank Notes Issue (Amendment) Ordinance 1995.

86

(c) The HKMA-Police liaison group comprises representatives from the HKMA and the Commercial Crime Bureau of the Police. It will in future include the senior management of the banknote printing plant when acquisition of the plant by Government is complete. The group meets bi-monthly to discuss, inter alias, matters concerning the security and printing quality of bank notes. It also covers the question of the security of the coinage.

The Bank Notes Issue Advisory Committee comprises representatives from the HKMA and the three note-issuing banks. It meets on a regular basis and advises the Administration on the operation of the relevant ordinance and on all other matters relating to note issue.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Thursday, April 4, 1996

Contents

Page No.

Governor's message to US President................................... 1

Statement by the Deputy to the Governor.............................. 1

Prior work arrangements in times of rainstorms important............. 2

Medical seminar on growing up........................................ 3

Campaign against mosquito breeding................................... 4

Saturday, April 6, 1996

Contents

Page No,

Public warned against using illegal cordless phones............................ 6

Governor's message to US President *****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, has sent the following message today (Thursday) to the President of the United States:

Dear Mr President,

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragie death ol Secretary Ron Brown and his party in the Adriatic. 1 met Mr Brown on both the recent occasions he travelled to Hong Kong and China. His energy and enthusiasm, and his very warm sense of humour left a deep impression on us all. He was an outstanding member ol your administration and this sad news has shocked the community here.

I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife and family and to the families ol all those who died.

With warm regards.

Yours sincerely Chris Patten

End

Statement by the Deputy to the Governor *****

I he following statement is issued by the Deputy to the Governor. Mrs Anson Chan:

"We arc shocked and saddened to learn that the plane earning US Commerce Secretary, Mr Ron Brown, and a number of business leaders and military personnel, has crashed near Croatia.

"Mr Brown was a good friend of Hong Kong and the region. I Ie was a tireless trade promoter, and has inspired American business with a new focus on the big emerging markets. He was also a man of great charm, and w ill be missed by all who have met him.

"Our condolences go to his family and loved ones at this sad moment, as well as the families of others on the plane."

End

2

Prior work arrangements in times of rainstorms important

*****

The Labour Department today (Thursday) advised employers and employees to reach a prior agreement on work arrangements and contingency measures in times of rainstorms.

The advice came from the acting Assistant Commissioner for Labour, Mr Yeung Chi-kin, following a recent rainstorm which had caused traffic congestions in some districts.

Mr Yeung said making such an agreement was very important in preventing unnecessary misunderstandings and labour disputes.

"Statutory regulation of work arrangements in times of rainstorms would not be practicable because of the diversity in nature and requirements of jobs in different trades and industries.

"Therefore, employers are strongly advised to adopt a flexible approach in drawing up work arrangements during inclement weather.

"Due consideration should be given to employees' safety in workplaces as well as their journeys to and from work," he said.

The Labour Department has published a bilingual booklet entitled "Code ol Practice in Times of Typhoons and Rainstorms" which serves as a reference guide to facilitate employers and employees to make early work arrangements for inclement weather.

This publication is available at various Labour Relations Service branch offices throughout the territory.

An agreement on work arrangement should normall) cover rules regarding report for duty, release from work, resumption of work and calculation of wages.

"The agreement should also state clearly the colour code of rainstorm under which employees are not required to work and the time of issue of such signals when they are not required to work and the time of issue of such signals when they are not required to report for duty," Mr Yeung said.

Noting that some industries may require employees to work under the Black Rainstorm Warning. Mr Yeung said such a requirement should be clearly stated before employment commences and sufficient notice should be given to employees.

3

’’The work arrangements should also include instructions regarding (he release of employees when the Red or (Slack Rainstorm Warning is in force during working hours,” he said.

"Employers and employees should also make prior agreements on conditions under which employees should return to work when rainstorm warnings are lowered during working hours.”

However, employers are urged to adopt a flexible approach towards resumption of duty as some employees may have difficulties in returning to work.

”As rainstorms are a natural phenomenon, due consideration should also he given to employees who are absent from or late for work so that their earnings, including attendance bonus, are not adversely affected,” Mr Yeung said.

He said the existing Employees’ Compensation Ordinance provided compensation to workers who were injured while travelling between their place of residence and their place of work after the Red or Black Rainstorm Warning had been issued.

Employers or employees who require assistance are welcome to approach the nearest Labour Relations Service branch office.

End

Medical seminar on growing up *****

Secondary students, parents and teachers are invited to attend a medical seminar on Sunday (April 7) on common problems that children may face during growing up stage.

The seminar, "I have a date with doctors - the growing hearts", is jointly organised by the Education Department and the I long Kong Medical Association.

An identical seminar was held at Hong Kong Science Museum last month and the response was good.

Medical practitioners will give short talks on common concerns of students, parents and teachers - self-destructive tendency and sex education. They will also answer questions from the audience.

4

The seminar will be held at the theatre, Sheung Wan Civic Centre, 345 Queen’s Road Central from 3 pm to 5 pm.

A small number of tickets will be available al (he venue on that day for the public on a first-come-first-served basis.

End

Campaign against mosquito breeding

*****

With the approach of the summer season, the Health Education Unit of the Department of Health will launch a campaign in April against mosquito breeding.

During the month, the unit's 24-hour hotline 2723 0013 will carry a two-minute message in Cantonese on mosquito prevention.

"After listening to the taped message, callers may leave their questions with the answering machine and staff of the unit will call back," a spokesman for the department said today (Thursday).

Entitled "Remove stagnant waler to eliminate mosquito breeding", the campaign is sponsored by the Urban and Regional councils.

It aims al reminding building contractors and households to take preventive measures to reduce mosquito nuisance and prevent mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.

"To prevent mosquito infestation, it is important lo eliminate all stagnant water which is the potential breeding ground for mosquitoes," the spokesman said.

"Contractors should inspect their construction sites regularly lo ensure that there are no abandoned containers and empty tins holding water.

"They should pump and drain stagnant waler in holes, trenches and hollow spaces and fill them up with soil.

"Spray a thin layer of diesel oil on the water surface if draining of stagnant water is impossible."

I'he spokesman advised households to cover tightly all water containers, storage tanks and wells and leave no water in Hower pot trays.

"Keep all drains free from choking," he said.

"It is an offence under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance to allow the accumulation of water liable to mosquito breeding. The maximum fine for the offence is $10,000."

During the campaign period, exhibition boards will be put on public display at the unit's resource centre on the eighth floor of the Urban Council Fa Yuen Street Complex in Mong Kok.

"The centre also provides preview and loan service of educational materials like tapes and video tapes.

"A variety of printed materials such as posters, leaflets and stickers are also available free from the centre," the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the department will be sending advisory letters, and educational leaflets and posters to owners incorporations, mutual aid committees, management offices of large private housing estates and building contractors to enlist support.

Educational printed materials will also be sent to schools, district environmental hygiene offices of the Urban Services and Regional Services, Home Affairs and Housing department for distribution.

Members of the public seeking advice or help in mosquito prevention may also contact the respective District Environmental Hygiene Offices of the Urban Services or Regional Services departments.

During the campaign period, an announcement of public interest will be broadcast on radio and television to advise on the practical means of mosquito prevention. This will be supplemented by having vans broadcasting anti-mosquito messages throughout the territory.

6

Public warned against using illegal cordless phones *****

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) today (Saturday) issued a warning to the public that the use of illegal cordless phones is not only liable to prosecution but will also bring them more trouble than the convenience and relatively cheap price they intended to bargain for.

The warning was issued amid the growing popularity of cordless phones in recent years and indications that many users are not aware that under the Telecommunication (Cordless Telephone Apparatus) (Exemption from Licensing) Order, only certain types of cordless telephones are approved to be used in the territory.

Cordless phones which do not conform to the specifications in the Exemption Order are prohibited to be sold or used in Hong Kong except for export purpose.

"It is because such telephones have caused interference to other authorised radio services, like the emergency channels of the police and the fire services, and cellular phones," said a Senior Controller of Telecommunications, Mr Andrew Tang.

I

About 400 complaints of interference caused by illegal cordless telephones have been received over the past five years.

To prevent the situation from going out of control, OFTA conducts raids on stores suspected of selling such telephones regularly.

He said: "A total of 52 raids were conducted last year, resulting in the seizure of over 600 sets of illegal cordless telephones. The retail value is estimated to be about $500,000."

From the consumers' point of view, illegal cordless telephones are more attractive than the authorised ones because they are relatively low-priced.

However, he warned consumers not to risk prosecution for using such telephones.

"Any possession or use of illegal radio equipment is liable to fines up to $50,000 and two years' imprisonment," he added.

Mr Tang also noted how the illegal cordless phones were not really bargains because they were prone to all sorts of problems.

Normally, radio dealers and manufacturers do not offer any maintenance to illegal cordless telephones, users have to pay more for maintenance and repairs.

"Generally speaking, the quality of such telephones are poor and some even do not work at all as their specifications in most cases fail to conform with the local requirements," he said.

Mr Tang pointed out that there was often no redress for users of illegal cordless phones faced with these problems because they knew it was illegal to use such types of cordless phones.

He advised consumers to look for cordless telephones with authorised label issued by the Telecommunications Authority.

The label is attached on the outside surface of the base unit and the handset.

OFTA maintains a computer record of approved cordless phones which is open for public inspection.

"They can also check about a certain name and model by telephoning 2961 6333," Mr Tang said.

Further information on cordless telephones can be obtained from OFTA on 2961 6680 or by fax 2803 5110. Internet users may browse for the latest information at website http:Wwww.ofta.gov.hk.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Sunday, April 7,1996

Contents Page Nq,

Sewerage scheme recommended for environmental improvements............ 1

Continued decrease in occupational injuries............................... 2

Call for more foster parents..........................................

$ 17.9 million pay-out to charitable organisations.................... 4

ED staff awarded for "incentive"...................................... 6

Voluntary observers' contribution to weather coverage.................

Monday, April 8,1996

Contents EageNXL

Big saving in electricity consumption achieved........................ 9

Stamp albums from Chinese Post Office to be on sale................... 10

1

Sewerage scheme recommended for environmental improvements *****

Implementation of the proposed Ting Kau and Sham Tseng Sewerage Scheme will improve the environment in the area, according to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study commissioned by the Drainage Services Department (DSD).

One of the improvements would be the removal of the pollution significantly from the adjacent coastal waters, a spokesman for the DSD said today (Sunday).

"The cunent pollution includes effluent from industrial and commercial sources and a population of about 30,000 people. With the commissioning of the treatment works under the Scheme, the resulting water quality at the beaches will improve," he said.

Other benefits include improved sanitation to the local village and removal of the public health hazards and odour nuisance from the nullah.

"An ecologically better environment will be achieved with improved water quality in the local beaches in Tsuen Wan west area," the spokesman said.

The EIA Study concludes that it will be possible to construct and operate the scheme within the guidelines set for acceptable environmental conditions provided that careful note is taken of environmental impacts throughout the design.

"According to the findings, the proposed environmental improvement scheme can be constructed and operated with minimal impact on the surroundings," he said.

The proposed Ting Kau and Sham Tseng Sewerage Scheme was recommended under the Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung and Tsing Yi Sewerage Master Plan Study commissioned in 1989. It comprises the construction of sewerage and pumping stations at Ting Kau and construction of sewerage, sewage Treatment works and disposal facilities at Sham Tseng.

The sewage treatment works are expected to start this year for completion in late 1999.

For those who are interested in viewing the EIA Report and its Executive Summary, limited copies are now available free on a first-come-first-served basis at the DSD office, Room 4213, Revenue Tower, Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

End

2

Continued decrease in occupational injuries *****

The year 1995 saw a continued decrease in the number of occupational injuries reported to the Labour Department under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO).

Of a total of 59,375 occupational injuries reported in the year, 59,128 were non-fatal cases while 247 involved fatalities. Compared with 1994, the total figure represents a drop of 7.8 per cent. The number of fatal cases was six per cent and 13 per cent fewer than in 1994 and 1993 respectively.

The wholesale/retail and restaurants/hotel trade, with 15,592 reported cases, accounted for the largest share or 26.3 per cent of the cases reported in 1995.

Another 26 per cent of injuries were reported in the construction industry and 17 per cent in the manufacturing sector.

Senior Labour Officer (Compensation) (Administration & Assessment), Mrs Jenny Chan, said today (Sunday) that the distribution of injuries by economic sector was similar to that of 1994. In absolute numbers, there was a decrease in injuries in the manufacturing, construction, transport/storage and communication sectors.

The Employees' Compensation Division of the Labour Department assists injured employees and dependants of deceased employees in claiming compensation under the ECO.

A total of 42,239 or 71 per cent of the cases reported in 1995 were settled by the end of the year. The amount of compensation involved was $265.5 million.

Irrespective of the year of reporting, the total number of cases settled in 1995 was 61,887 with compensation payable amounting to $917.3 million.

"Under the ECO, the employer is required to take out insurance cover for all employees so that he can fulfil his legal obligations to pay compensation. The Labour Department takes a serious view on compliance with this provision and our Labour Inspectors conduct frequent visits to establishments to detect offences," Mrs Chan said.

In 1995, 529 summonses were heard and 513 were convicted for failure to take out insurance cover. The highest fine imposed for one summons was $20,000. Under the law, the maximum fine on summary conviction was $25,000 and one-year imprisonment. Compared to 1994, the number of convictions increased by 55 per cent.

3

Mrs Chan said that a number of amendments were introduced from February 1, 1995 to extend the coverage of the ECO.

Under the amendments, an employer is liable to pay compensation to employees who are injured in accidents while travelling for the purpose of employment between Hong Kong and any place outside Hong Kong or between any places outside Hong Kong. In 1995, 42 claims of this nature were received.

"For employees who are injured outside Hong Kong and received treatment outside Hong Kong, they are now entitled to claim medical expenses as laid down in the ordinance.

"Furthermore, an injured employee who is granted sick leave beyond 12 months and 24 months from the date of accident would have his earnings adjusted for the purpose of calculating compensation," she said.

The levels of compensation were revised on January 1, 1996. The maximum compensation for injuries and death under the ECO are $1.72 million and $1.52 million respectively.

End

Call for more foster parents *****

The Social Welfare Department (SWD) today (Sunday) appealed to civic-minded members of the public to join the team of foster parents.

"While many children are having fun with their family members during the festive season, there are some other unfortunate children who are in need of love and care," said the officer-in-charge of SWD's Central Foster Care Unit, Mr Simon Lai Yiu-chung.

"These children lack adequate family care because of neglect, illness of parents or other family problems.

"We therefore earnestly appeal to married couples aged between 25 and 60 to come forward to become foster parents."

4

Foster care is a form of non-institutional residential child care service which aims to provide a temporary alternative family for children in need. There are at present a total of 560 foster care places run by both SWD and non-governmental organisations.

"Through fostering, children can grow under a normal family setting and enjoy happy childhood. The ultimate goal of foster care is family reunion.

"Foster parents can, on the one hand, serve the community and on the other, polish their parenting skills," Mr Lai said.

They are entitled to a monthly incentive payment of $ 1,222 plus a monthly maintenance grant of $2,446 to cover the expenses of the foster child.

In addition, when a child is newly placed in a foster home, the foster family will receive an initial setting up grant of $1,222 for the purchase of bedding and toys for the child.

ii .

Married couples who are interested to become foster parents can call Central Foster Care Unit on 2852 4596 for further details.

End

$17.9 million pay-out to charitable organisations *****

The Sir Robert Ho Tung Charitable Fund has recently granted a total of $17.9 million to 57 charitable organisations in Hong Kong.

This was announced by the Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare and Chairman of the Allocation Committee, Mr Bob Wilson, today (Sunday). The committee is responsible for advising the Governor on allocations from the Fund.

Mr Wilson said major grants this year included a sum of $4.2 million injected into the Samaritan Fund, which is under the management of the Hospital Authority, to enable it to provide financial assistance to needy patients.

5

Other allocations include:

* about $1.3 million to the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, of which $0.67 million would be used to purchase equipment to carry out cardiopulmonary assessment and rehabilitation projects for the elderly at risk in Kwong Wah Hospital;

* $1.1 million to the Evangel Children's Home for large scale renovation

works;

* $0.9 million to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to

Animals to continue their mobile veterinary clinic service;

* about $0.6 million to the Hong Kong Red Cross and the St. John Council for Hong Kong each received for strengthening their various services;

* $0.5 million to the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society to improve their

services;

* $0.4 million to the Neighbourhood Advice Action Council to enhance

the productivity of its sheltered-workshop for people with a disability; and

$0.3 million to the Chai Wan Baptist Church to replace the furniture and

equipment damaged by a land slip last year in its Child Care Centre and Children and Youth Centre.

One of the largest charitable trusts in Hong Kong, the Sir Robert Ho Tung Charitable Fund was set up with a bequest of $0.5 million by the late Sir Robert Ho Tung in 1956.

In 1966, the capital of the Fund was increased through an injection of $4.95 million from the China Charitable Fund set up by him.

The Sir Robert Ho Tung Charitable Fund is managed by HSBC Trustee (Hong Kong) Ltd.

Applications are invited once a year in around June/July through the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority, the Social Welfare Department, the Education Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Agriculture and Fisheries Department.

End

6

ED staff awarded for "incentive" *****

The good services of five Education Department staff were paid off recently when they won the staff incentive awards.

The awards, comprised a meritorious certificate and a watch embossing with the logo of the department, were presented to the winners by Senior Assistant Director of Education, Mr Tsui See-ming, who praised them for their outstanding performance.

The five awardees are Education Officer (Administration) of Wong Tai Sin District Education Office, Ms Fong Hoi-wan; Assistant Master of the Intensive Remedial Services Section, Mrs Lam Sin Yuk-ching; Principal Assistant Master of Ho Man Tin Government Secondary School, Mr Lung Teung-siu; and clerical officers Mr Kan Tsung-to (Tuen Mun Government Secondary School) and Ms Yan Sau-mui (Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School(Sookunpo)).

Ms Fong was highly praised for her helpfulness and responsiveness in handling enquiries from school heads, teachers, students and parents.

She was known to talk with a parent over phone patiently for as long as three hours. This evidently showed she did her utmost to serve the public.

"I believe all district staff perform their duty well and render the best sen ice to the public," Ms Fong said.

Mrs Lam worked with the Resource 1 lelp Sen ice team of the Resource Teaching Unit. She helped to conduct intensive remedial teaching programmes for physically handicapped students in ordinary primary and secondary schools.

These programmes were held at their schools and at the resource teaching services centres.

A parent of a primary schoolboy with congenial heart disease complimented Mrs Lam for her dedication in helping students with special needs and offering counselling and advice to schools and parents.

Mr Lung had served the department for 32 years. I Ie was nominated for taking the initiative to improve the learning environment of his students.

He decorated each corner of the school with students' artwork. Besides beautifying the environment, it could also enhance students' appreciation of self and others.

7

As a member of the Parent-Teacher Association, he organised a parent-child calligraphy class to promote the relationship between schools and parents.

Mr Kan and Ms Yan were nominated for their effort to instil the idea of good customer service into their colleagues.

End *

Voluntary observers' contribution to weather coverage * * * ♦ *

To many people, five minutes always slip away easily without being noticed. But to Kelvin Lee, five minutes a day means a lot to him and to the Royal Observatory (RO).

Every morning at around 9 am, come rain or shine, Kelvin goes to the lawn near his office in the Chinese University to lake the temperature and humidity readings, as well as to change the recording chart on the autographic rain-gauge.

Kelvin is a technician helping in research in the Geography Department of the University and a member of a team of voluntary rainfall observers for RO.

He said: "1 am not a professional weatherman, but taking weather measurements has become part of my everyday life."

Kelvin's eagerness to help, his interest in the field, and his sense of responsibility have kept him in the role as a voluntary rainfall observer for more than 10 years.

"The job is neither difficult nor time-consuming. I lowevcr. one has to be meticulous and the figures have to be accurate.

"Satisfaction comes when I find myself keeping an unbroken record of data on weather and knowing that to a certain extent 1 have contributed to the accuracy and a wider coverage of the weather record of the territory.

"This was how' in fact the wealth of centuries of meteorological records of many observatories in the world have been built up." he said.

Although Kelvin is an old hand in taking weather measurements, he has his awkward and helpless moments.

8

"Changing the rainfall chart is a real challenge in a heavy downpour.

"You have to tackle a slippery and muddy lawn, an umbrella flipped over by the wind and the smeared ink on a soaked rainfall chart at the same time," he recounted.

At present, RO has a network of about 90 rainfall stations, with some 70 of them being operated manually. Apart from those at RO Headquarters and meteorological stations, manual rainfall observations at other stations are carried out by voluntary observers from all walks of life: government departments, schools, institutions, golf courses and building contractors.

Mr C II Au, a Scientific Officer of RO, said: "Such stations arc inspected regularly to ensure proper maintenance of the instruments and the required standard of reporting."

The voluntary observers are also asked to report any suspected fault with these instruments to the RO.

"Training is provided to newly recruited voluntary observers so that they can familiarise with the operation of rain-gauges."

The type of rain-gauge which most voluntary observers are using is the ordinary rain-gauge. It is read manually using a measuring cylinder.

The rainfall data collected by voluntary observers, proved to be very useful, serves a number of purposes.

"It helps RO to conduct hydrometeorological analysis and compile the 'Monthly Weather Summary' and 'Summary of Meteorological Observations in Hong Kong'.

"The information is also used by engineering consultants and academic institutions in planning of water resources, drainage design. Hood control and academic research." Mr Au said.

"Il is also for cross-checking with data collected by automatic rain-gauges.

"Only with the help of voluntary observers can we maintain a comprehensive record of rainfall data which is available to the Government and the public. Their help is very much appreciated," he added.

End

9

Big saving in electricity consumption achieved *****

The Government has saved $10 million in electricity consumption in 1995 from an 'energy audit programme' which has been introduced since 1993 to enhance the efficiency of air-conditioning, lighting and other electrical installations in selected public buildings.

Under the programme, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) identifies opportunities to reduce electricity consumption and takes action to enhance the efficiency of electrical and mechanical installations.

Saving has been achieved for example through resetting room temperature to higher values in summer, switching off lights and air-conditioning during period of non-uses and re-scheduling the operation of chiller plants.

It is expected the energy saving measures now in place in 21 public buildings will result in an additional saving of $1.2 million this year.

The success in energy saving leads EMSD to set aside $6 million to implement energy saving measures which require major capital investment on 20 government buildings in the next three years.

It also leads the Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee to produce a booklet entitled "Guidelines on Energy Audit" for wide distribution to related professionals, bulk tariff customers of power companies, property management companies and interested groups.

Based on experience gained in the Energy Audit Programme, the booklet aims to provide useful information to both the public and the professionals on how to achieve saving in electricity consumption.

The booklet is available at the EMSD Energy Efficiency Office at 11th floor, 111 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Tel 2881 1562.

End

10

Stamp albums from Chinese Post Office to be on sale

*****

The acting Postmaster General, Miss Nancy Law, today (Monday) announced that the 1995 Prestige Annual Album, the 1995 Annual Stamp Pack, and China’s Five Scared Mountain Album issued by the Chinese Post Office will be on sale at the following eight philatelic offices as from Wednesday (April 10):

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

The selling prices are:

1995 Prestige Annual Album - $200

1995 Annual Stamp Pack - $100

China's Five Scared Mountain Album - $90

A restriction of a maximum of two items per product per customer queuing will be imposed on Wednesday.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 9,1996

Contents Page N.Ox

Orderly repatriation to speed up......................................... 1

Legal study visit to Hong Kong......................................

DDGT to attend roundtable meeting in France.............................. 2

Accuracy of HIV test kit................................................. 3

Second quarter rates due on April 30..................................... 4

Post enumeration survey of 1996 By-census................................ 6

Man jailed for employment contract scam.............................

Organisers invited for Wan Chai Summer Youth Programme................... 8

Water storage figure..................................................... 8

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results.............................. 9

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

1

Orderly repatriation to speed up *****

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Jeremy Hanley is visiting Vietnam from April 8-10.

During the visit, he met the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Vice Foreign Minister, and Minister for Planning and Investment. Talks covered a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

On Vietnamese migrants, agreements was reached to accelerate the orderly repatriation programme in May with an increased number of flights. Both sides also agreed on the importance of clearing outstanding names for return to Vietnam as soon as possible. Priority clearance will be given to new arrivals and trouble-makers.

Following the Privy Council judgement, Mr Hanley asked his Vietnamese interlocutors to consider what solution might be found to the problem of nonnationals. They undertook to study the problem again.

Speaking after the talks, Mr Hanley said: "I am grateful for the understanding and cooperation the Vietnamese government have displayed on this difficult problem.

"We are working towards the same objective - to have the camps in Hong Kong cleared as soon as possible before July 1997."

This is Mr Hanley's first visit to Vietnam and first visit by an FCO Minister since Mr Douglas Hurd paid the first ever visit by a British Foreign Secretary in September 1994. He was accompanied by the Refugee Co-ordinator, Mr Brian Bresnihan.

End

2

Legal study visit to Hong Kong *****

At the invitation of the Hong Kong Government, Mr Wu Minying, Deputy Director of the Foreign Affairs Department, Ministry of Justice, People's Republic of China, will lead a delegation of eight officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Legislative Affairs Commission under the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Information Centre and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council to visit Hong Kong from tomorrow (Wednesday) to April 17.

They will meet Hong Kong Government officials from the Attorney General's Chambers, the Constitutional Affairs Branch, Correctional Services Department, Legal Aid Department, Immigration Department, Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Judiciary and Royal Hong Kong Police Force.

The visit is one in a series of reciprocal Legal Study Visits that provide opportunities for officials from the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments to meet on a regular basis to leam more about each other's legal system at a practical level.

Since the start of the Legal Study Visits programme in 1988, Hong Kong has sent five delegations to China, and three Chinese delegations have visited Hong Kong.

End

DDGT to attend roundtable meeting in France *****

The Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mr Tam Wing-pong, will leave Hong Kong tomorrow (Wednesday) to join 50 other senior officials and trade experts from Europe and East Asia for discussions on international economic organisation in the post-Uruguay Round era at a roundtable meeting to be held in Evian, France between April 12 and 14.

Organised by the European Institute of Japanese Studies in conjunction with the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute, the meeting will look forward to the first World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference scheduled for December in Singapore, with further multilateral negotiations in mind, aimed at increasing the global contestability of national markets.

3

The second in a series since March last year, the three-day meeting will feature the theme of "Strengthening the Weak Link: Agenda for Europe and Japan & East Asia".

Mr Tam will attend the meeting as an invited guest of the organisers. He will actively participate in discussions at various sessions on such topics as "The European Union and the APEC Process", "Further Multilateral Negotiations", "New Framework for Negotiations", and "Contestable Markets and Global Coherence".

Three sessions will be devoted to the third item when experts will initiate discussions on global contestability of national markets and extending the WTO system to investment issues. They will also talk about competition policies and regulatory trade measures, and regulatory reform and trade in services as well as proolcms for East Asia in the proposed framework.

As Hong Kong's representative, Mr fam will present the territory's position as a staunch supporter of free trade and a keen advocate of efforts in the multilateral arena towards freeing up the global flow of goods, services and capital.

The meeting will be chaired by Mr Ulf Dinkelspiel, President of the Swedish Trade Council and former Swedish Minister of European Affairs and Foreign Trade. The Deputy Director-General of WTO, Mr Chulsu Kim, will be one of the guest speakers.

End

Accuracy of HIV test kit ♦ * ♦ ♦ *

In response to media enquiries on HIV virus test kit (IMxHIV/HIV2 3rd generation plus kit) produced by the Abbott Laboratories which was found to have produced very small number of inaccurate results, a spokesman for the Department of Health today (Tuesday) said:

"The affected assay lMxlllV/HIV2 3rd Generation Plus had not been used by the Department of Health including its AIDS Unit and Social Hygiene Clinics.

"The Abbott Laboratories had notified all purchasers of the affected assay of the findings.

4

"Institutions and healthcare providers concerned are advised to contact their clients who had been tested by this affected assay to discuss any necessary follow-up actions.

"People who had taken HIV test in the past six months are advised to contact their attending physicians or handling organisations to ascertain if the affected assay had been used and whether re-test is necessary."

End

Second quarter rates due on April 30 * * * ♦ *

Rates for the second quarter of this year are payable on or before April 30, a spokesman for the Rating and Valuation Department said today (Tuesday).

Payment can be made using autopay under ratepayers' bank accounts, or the Payment by Phone Service, or by post addressed to the Director of Accounting Services. P O Box 8000, GPO, Hong Kong, or in person at any of the following offices:

* The Treasury Headquarters Collection and Payment Office. Immigration l ower, first floor, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong;

* The Central Sub-Treasury, Central Government Offices (West Wing), 11 Ice House Street, Hong Kong;

* The North Point Sub-Treasury. Max Share Centre, first floor, 373 King's Road, North Point, 1 long Kong;

* The Sai Wan Ho Sub-Treasury, Eastern Law Courts Building, ground floor, 29 Tai On Street. Sai Wan Ho. Hong Kong;

* The Yau Ma Tei Sub-Treasury. Kowloon Government Offices, fourth floor, 405 Nathan Road. Kowloon;

* The Kowloon City Sub-Treasury. Man Sang Commercial Building, first floor. 348-352 Prince Edward Road West. Kowloon:

5

* The District Office at Sai Kung, Sha Tin. Tai Po, North, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan or Kwai Tsing.

The spokesman said ratepayers who had not received their demand notes should bring along those for any previous quarter to. any of the Treasury collection offices.

Duplicate demand notes will be issued to them, he said.

If they cannot produce demand notes for any previous quarter, they should enquire at the Kates Accounts Section. Rating and Valuation Department. Hennessy Centre, 17th floor, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, or call 2881 1033.

t • . 4

Non-receipt of the demand notes does not alter the requirement that the rates must be paid by April 30 and unless so paid, ratepayers may be subject to a surcharge of five per cent under Section 22 ot the Rating Ordinance.

A further surcharge of 10 per cent may be levied on the outstanding amount (including the five per cent surcharge) which remains unpaid six months after the due date.

Ratepayers who have submitted a valid direct debit authorisation should note that if the wording ’’Payment To Be Made By Autopay" is shown, payment will be made by direct debit to their bank accounts on April 30.

They should then ensure that their bank accounts contain the necessary funds on that date.

If the above wording is not shown, they should pay according to the instructions as set out in the demand notes.

To save queuing time, the spokesman urged ratepayers to settle payment by autopay, under which their bank accounts will only be debited on rates due dates, or using the Payment by Phone Service.

Application forms for autopay are obtainable from Treasury collection offices, district offices and all major banks in Hong Kong or by telephoning 2881 1033.

For additional information regarding the Payment by Phone Service, please call 9000 0222 329.

End

6

Post enumeration survey of 1996 by-census * * * * *

The Census and Statistics Department will conduct a post enumeration survey to evaluate the completeness and accuracy of the results of the 1996 Population bycensus which has recently been completed, a spokesman for the department announced today (Tuesday).

A sample of households enumerated in the by-census will be re-visited by more senior field staff.

Households selected for the post enumeration survey will be informed by letter of the name of the census and survey officer who will visit them between April 11 and 26 to collect information on the number of persons in the household. The officer will carry a certificate issued by the department for proving his/her identity.

"The conduct of such survey follows standard international practices for evaluation census/by-census results," the spokesman said.

"The post enumeration survey, gazetted on April 3, is to be conducted under the Census and Statistics Ordinance. Like the by-census, all information collected in the survey in respect of individual households and persons is to be kept in strict confidence and will be used for statistical purposes only, as required by the ordinance," the spokesman added.

End

7

Man jailed for employment contract scam *****

The Immigration Department today (Tuesday) warned that all foreign domestic helpers are only permitted to perform domestic duties for their specific employers under an approved employment contract. They are liable to prosecution and upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for two years if they were found to have breached their condition of stay.

An immigration spokesman said: "Under the laws of Hong Kong, it is also an offence to furnish false information to immigration officers in obtaining visa for Hong Kong. Offenders arc liable to prosecution and upon conviction to a maximum fine of $150,000 and to imprisonment for 14 years. Aider and abettor arc also liable to prosecution and penalty."

The warning was issued following a court case at Wan Chai District Court in which a manager of an employment agent was jailed 20 months for preparing forged employment contracts to support applications by domestic helpers for extension of stay or re-entry visa.

According to the spokesman, the defendant made use of the copies of identity cards, tax returns and residential proofs of his clients without their knowledge to help a number of Philippines domestic helpers in such applications.

Those domestic helpers involved were eager to work in 1 long Kong but failed to find an employer in time to support their visa extension applications. The defendant received a reward ranged from $3,000 to over $ 15.000 in each arrangement.

A Filipina found working as a clerk in the defendant's company was also prosecuted earlier.

She was sentenced to four months’imprisonment for a count of breaching her condition of stay and a count of making false representation to immigration officers, to be run concurrently.

End

8

Organisers invited for Wan Chai Summer Youth Programme

*****

Non-profit making organisations in Wan Chai are invited to apply for funds to organise activities for young people in the district during the coming summer vacation, Chairman of the Summer Youth Programme District Co-ordinating Committee (Wan Chai). Dr Charles Koo, said today (Tuesday).

"Funds will be available for local groups to organise social, recreational and community activities for residents aged between six and 25.

"We hope the summer programmes organised can help young people to develop their potential, encourage them to serve the community and raise their sense of belonging," Dr Koo said.

The 1996 Wan Chai Summer Youth Programme Grant will come from the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's contribution and local fund raising activities. Last year almost up to $300,000 was allocated to 17 local bodies in organising more than 120 activities for 9,000 participants.

I •

Application forms and further details can be obtained from the Wan Chai District Office which will assist in processing the applications.

Enquiries should be directed to the Wan Chai District Office, 21st floor, 130 Hennessy Road. Wan Chai (Tel. 2835 1990).

Deadline for application is Friday. April 19.

End

Water storage figure

*****

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 a.m. today (Tuesday) stood at 80 per cent of capacity or 468.759 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 390.289 million cubic metres of water, representing 66.6 per cent of capacity.

End

- 9 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 9 Apr 96 9 Apr 96

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q615 H662

Issue date 10 Apr 96 10 Apr 96

Maturity date 10 Jul 96 9 Oct 96

Coupon - -

Amount applied HKS4,430 MN HK$2,160MN

Amount allotted HK$ 1,500 MN HKS800 MN

Average yield accepted 5.18 PCT 5.32 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.20 PCT 5.33 PCT

1 Pro rata ratio About 36 PCT About 97 PCT

Average tender yield 5.22 PCT 5.36 PCT Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tenders to be held in the week beginning April 15, 1996 -

Tender date 16 Apr 96 16 Apr 96

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q616 Y688

Issue date 17 Apr 96 17 Apr 96

Maturity date 17 Jul 96 16 Apr 97

Tenor 91 days 364 days

Amount on offer HK$ 1,500+300 MN HKS5OO+15OMN

End

10

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change ^million)

Opening balance in the account 2,467 0930 +337

Closing balance in the account 2,016 1000 +337

Change attributable to: 1100 +337

Money market activity +334 1200 +334

LAF today -785 1500 +334

1600 +334

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.7 *+0.2* 9.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.20 2 years 2802 5.16 98.20 6.30

1 month 5.14 3 years 3901 5.57 97.80 6.54

3 months 5.20 5 years 5103 6.75 99.05 7.10

6 months 5.32 7 years 7302 6.02 93.18 7.43

12 months 5.66 5 years M502 7.30 100.43 7.31

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $16,548 million

Closed April 9, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 10,1996

Contents Page No,

Dinner invitation from Mr Zhou Nan welcomed................................ 1

Transcript of remarks by Deputy to the Governor............................ 1

Stamp duty on flat sale agreements to become permanent..................... 1

2 Bills to enhance consumer protection..................................

Bill to streamline adaptation of shipping conventions...................... 4

Report on government statistical service published....................

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations....................... 6

1

Dinner invitation from Mr Zhou Nan welcomed ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, welcomed the invitation from Mr Zhou Nan, Director of Xinhua News Agency (Hong Kong Branch), to dine with him and Mr Lu Ping, Director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, on April 18 (Thursday).

"I hope we will be able to make use of the opportunity to discuss a range of transitional issues which are of concern to the community," Mrs Chan said.

End

Transcript of remarks by Deputy to the Governor

*****

The following is the transcript of what the Deputy to the Governor, Mrs Anson Chan, said to reporters before attending a concert at the City Hall this (Wednesday) evening:

Mrs Chan: I'll like, on behalf of the Governor and the people of Hong Kong, to welcome Director Lu to Hong Kong. I hope that during his stay here he will have an opportunity to seek the views of a wide cross section of the Hong Kong community. I am of course also very delighted that next Thursday there will be an opportunity to meet with Director Lu and Mr Zhou Nan at dinner. This will give us a very good opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest. I hope particularly to be able to discuss with Director Lu the concerns of the civil service.

End

Stamp duty on flat sale agreements to become permanent

*****

The Government is to introduce to the Legislative Council a Bill which seeks to make the charging of stamp duty on agreements for sale of residential property permanent.

The Bill also seeks to implement the proposal of the Public Accounts Committee to charge a foil cost recovery fee for voluntary adjudication service.

2

The Stamp Duty (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 1996 will be gazetted on Friday (April 12).

A government spokesman explained that the measure to charge stamp duty on agreements for sale of residential property was first introduced in early 1992.

It is temporary in nature and has to be extended from time to time, he said.

"After four years of operation, it has been proved that the measure could help curb speculation in the residential property market. Besides, it also ensures that stamp duty is paid for each individual residential property transaction and profits tax is charged when gains are made from trading transactions," the spokesman said.

"This enhances equity in our tax system. We therefore consider it appropriate and equitable to make the measure permanent," he added.

As for charging a full-cost recovery fee for voluntary adjudication service, the spokesman said the proposal was endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee.

He added that mandatory adjudication which was required for revenue protection purposes would be provided free-of-charge.

The Secretary for the Treasury will introduce the Bill into the Legislative Council on April 24.

End

Bills to enhance consumer protection *****

The Government will introduce two amendment bills on consumer goods and children's products to further enhance consumer protection.

The Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 1996 and the Toys and Children's Products Safety (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 1996 will be published in the Gazette this Friday (April 12) for introduction into the Legislative Council on April 24.

3

The Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment)(No.2) Bill seeks to enhance consumer protection by requiring all consumer goods covered by the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance to have all safety markings or labels provided in both English and Chinese (bilingual safety labelling requirement).

A Government spokesman said: "We recognise that safety labels in a language widely understood by the community - Chinese - is of paramount importance to ensure consumer safety.

"We also see the need to ensure that the English-speaking community in Hong Kong, including some 157,000 foreign domestic helpers, understand the safety labels on consumer goods.

"At present, there is no statutory requirement that safety markings or labels must be provided in both English and Chinese."

The spokesman said: "The bilingual safety labelling requirement will be confined to markings or labels relating to warning or caution phrases given for the safe keeping, use, consumption or disposal of the consumer goods.

"By doing so, we aim to strike a balance between enhancing consumer safety and avoiding imposing an undue burden on manufacturers, importers and suppliers."

He noted: "To allow the trade and industry sectors sufficient time to make necessary adjustments to their products, a 12-month grace period will be given after the enactment of the new requirement before it is brought into effect."

The Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 1996 provides for the adoption of multiple safety standards for children's products under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance.

The spokesman said: "Under the amendment, any alternative standards to be adopted will be equivalent to the existing British standards Institution (BSI) standards in terms of safety requirement.

"The proposal is made in response to recent requests from the trade and industrial organisations that multiple standards should be adopted for children’s products because adoption of the BSI specifications alone is considered too restrictive and would limit consumers’ choice," he added.

End

4

Bill to streamline adaptation of shipping conventions *****

The Government is introducing the Merchant Shipping (Safety)(Amendment) Bill 1996 to streamline the adaptation of international conventions on shipping safety to local legislation, a Marine Department spokesman said today (Wednesday).

At present, these internationally accepted standards are implemented in Hong Kong by regulations made by the Governor in Council under the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance.

The provisions of the International Maritime Organisation conventions, which are accepted world-wide as international standards by the shipping industry, is regulated by the Organisation.

"Most of those matters are highly technical in nature and, as such, are subject to regular amendment. Updating the legislation as a result of these amendments adds to the workload of the Executive Council as well as the Law Drafting Division of the Attorney General's Chambers," the spokesman said.

"Moreover, failure to implement international obligations in a timely manner adversely reflects on the credibility of Hong Kong within the international shipping community," he said.

The Bill seeks to transfer the regulation-making powers, except those pertaining to courts of surveys and to fees, from the Governor in Council to the Secretary for Economic Services.

It also provides that any international agreement applicable to Hong Kong, and relating to any matter in respect of which regulations may be made under the Ordinance, can be given effect by being set out in regulations or schedules together with provisions specifying the amendments, modifications or adaptations subject to which the agreements as so set out shall have effect.

Consequently the Merchant Shipping Ordinance will be amended to state explicitly that fees in respect of surveys under the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance can be prescribed in regulations made under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance.

The Bill will be gazetted this Friday (April 12) and will be presented to the Legislative Council on April 24.

End

- 5 -

Report on government statistical service published *****

"An Outline of Statistical Development", a report prepared by the Census and Statistics Department annually on the government statistical service, has been published and is now available on sale.

The bilingual report provides, among other things, useful information in summary form on the main lines of current statistical activities and the foreseeable developments.

A concise explanation is given on statistical legislation and data dissemination methods as well as the administration and organization of the Census and Statistics Department and its statistical units established in various government departments.

Details are also given on recent statistical development in various areas, including population, labour, industry, distribution and services, prices and expenditure, external trade, national accounts, money, banking and finance, strategic planning, education, housing, medical and health, social welfare, law and order, transport, community services, urban and regional services, water supplies and the environment.

The publication is available for sale at $36 a copy at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, and at. the Government Publications Centre, ground floor. Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, I long Kong.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

Opening balance in the account Closing balance in the account Change attributable to:

Money market activity LAF today

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (^million)

2,016 0930 +784

2,080 1000 +784

1100 +784

+784 1200 +784

-720 1500 +784

1600 +784

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.0 *+0.3* 10.4.96

I long Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.23 2 years 2802 5.16 98.38 6.19

1 month 5.12 3 years 3901 5.57 97.94 6.49

3 months 5.17 5 years 5103 6.75 99.31 7.04

6 months 5.30 7 years 7302 6.02 93.54 7.36

12 months 5.60 5 vears * M502 7.30 100.35 7.34

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $32,263 million

Closed April 10, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Thursday, April 11, 1996

Contents Page No.

Governor's press briefing after lecture in London......................   1

Governor's press briefing at London Office..........................

Lectures on Hong Kong legal system for Guangdong Procurators........ 13

AG to attend Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting......................... 14

Law to protect rights of plant breeders................................. 14

Against Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign launched.............. 15

Transfer of VMs from High Island Detention Centre....................... 18

107 VMs transferred to Victoria Prison.................................. 18

Monitors' report submitted to CS........................................ 19

Report on issue of Air Operator Certificate denied...................... 19

Investigation into sinking of pleasure vessel completed............. 19

/$! 10 million...

Contents

Page No.

$ 110 million saved in government purchases............................. 20

Opening of restored walled village in Fanling........................... 21

Practical school -- an alternative education system..................... 22

Secondary 6 admission procedure streamlined............................. 25

December 1995 employment and vacancy statistics released................ 26

External trade figures for January...................................... 31

Report on consumer price index for 1995 ................................ 37

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

37

1

Governor’s press briefing after lecture in London

*****

Following is the transcript of a press briefing by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, at 1215 hours BST, after his inaugural lecture for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London today (Thursday):

Question: You said in your last comment that China had to realise that Hong Kong could suffer greatly if they went ahead ... I am not saying that Hong Kong’s reputation would in any way be sullied, but what real hopes do you have that the kind of corruption that we see in China won’t spread to Hong Kong despite the various guarantees that China has undertaken?

Chris Patten: We have an extremely good and effective Commission against corruption which was understandably alarmed at a rising trend of reported corruption in the 1992-1994 period, but is a little more satisfied by a levelling off in the trend. I would refer you to a very good article in the Financial Times the other day. I think everybody realises the importance of Hong Kong retaining its reputation as a decent and clean place to do business. 1 have heard that remark made by Chinese officials and I am sure they understand the truth and importance of it. I do not think there will be too much difficulty in getting assurances from Chinese officials and commitments about the importance of continuing with the battle against corruption as one of Hong Kong’s highest priorities.

Question: It seems from what you said today, Governor, and indeed from what you said yesterday, that there is really no room for any compromise with China over, let me call it, the constitutional issue, in other words, what is will happen to LegCo and whether another one is going to be set up. In that case, how do you see yourself proceeding diplomatically in the next 15 months. Are there other steps they should be thinking of taking perhaps like bringing other people into this debate outside Asia such as the Foreign Secretary suggested when he was over?

••'i 'i , Chris Patten: I do not think there is anyone else who needs to be brought into this debate at the moment. Our objective and strategy remains clear, which is to do all that we can to safeguard the implementation of the Joint Declaration. We will not do anything which compromises that.

Question: The Chinese government have recently expressed a request for cooperation. Your office has suggested that cooperation will be provided. What sort of cooperation would you be providing and how extensive will that be?

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Chris Patten: We have received a series of requests from the Secretary of the Preparatory Committee. We will be responding to those requests reasonably soon. I do not think there is any pressure on us to do so, as it were, today. We have been waiting for the lists since last October and we only received it a week or ten days ago and we think it requires serious attention. I have made it abundantly plain - and there should be no doubt about this - that we can do absolutely nothing to compromise the credibility and legitimacy of the governing institutions of Hong Kong. We do not want to do anything which in any way corrodes the integrity or morale of our civil service and we certainly will not do anything which undermines the position of our freely elected Legislative Council, threats to demolish which were described by the British Foreign Secretary as being 'unjustifiable and reprehensible'.

Question: Are you suggesting that you are as wet as Tony Blair and how would you mark yourself in relationship to Mr Blair?

Chris Patten: I am saying that I'm the same as I always was, but as I have always have in the past learned from experience, so I have during my period as Governor of Hong Kong. As you know, Tony, that makes me a balanced, reasonably, moderate, sensible, all-embracing, father of three daughters, you know the rest!

Where does that put me in relation to Mr Blair? I am a Tory and Mr Blair is, I understand, Leader of the Labour Party. It is for Mr Blair to describe his socialism in its modem dress, but I am not new Labour, I am old Tory.

Question: You seem to be indicating in your answers to John a few moments ago that you would perhaps be in favour of internationalising issues should things go wrong. There have been suggestions that there might be some move towards getting some kind of international legal judgment if China should rip up the Joint Declaration after the handover. What are your own views on that? Do you think it could be effective?

Chris Patten: I think it's an interesting question, but it would be injudicious to answer what one would do in circumstances of China, which we hope won't happen, behaving badly. It is still our objective to encourage China to recognise the importance of abiding by the letter and the spirit of the Joint Declaration. What happens if that does not happen? It would be unfair to China and unwise of me to speculate about that.

But there is one aspect of the question - and I don't mean to be critical - with which I don't quite agree, and that is the suggestion that there is something called internationalising the Hong Kong issue. The Hong Kong question will be an international issue in the sense that Hong Kong is one of the greatest cities in the world and the way it is treated after the transfer of sovereignty will inevitably be a matter of great concern to the region and to the world. People wili recognise of course that, after 1997, China is sovereign, but they will also, I am sure and as I have said before, regard the way that Beijing handles Hong Kong as being a litmus test for the way China is going to behave on all sorts of other issues.

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There is nothing which Britain or China can do to stop Hong Kong being a matter of global concern and interest.

Question: The Director of the HKMAO, Lu Ping, was sent to Hong Kong to consult Hong Kong on the provisional legislature before it was set up. He has chosen to exclude members of the professional teachers union because they don’t support -

Chris Patten: Because they are democrats.

Question: - the provisional legislature. How do you feel generally about Lu Ping's consultation process and his choice of selective consultation?

Chris Patten: I am sure that people in Hong Kong and people outside Hong Kong will regard any institution as less credible if its establishment is on the basis of advice from all those people, or, only those people, who say what some Chinese officials want to hear.

What is the situation with which Chinese officials now find themselves dealing? It is a situation in which they know perfectly well that between 60 and 70 per cent of the people of Hong Kong vote for, support, the democrats. Are those 60 or 70 per cent of the people of Hong Kong so anathematised to be told that their opinions cannot be considered, to be told that they have to be locked out of the political process or the political dialogue? What sort of consultation is that? What sort of credibility or legitimacy would that sort of consultation have?

You cannot govern Hong Kong successfully, you cannot govern any community successfully on the basis that you will only listen to or talk to those people who will guarantee in advance to agree with whatever conclusions you reach. That is not a dialogue. So I very much hope that exposure to a variety of opinions in Hong Kong over the next week will encourage Director Lu to extend his hand to those who may disagree with him, but those who will undoubtedly play an important part in the development of Hong Kong in the years ahead.

What will Hong Kong be like in ten years' time? I am sure it will be an open and democratic community and those who will make it an open and democratic community cannot now be shut out of the debate and discussion about its future. Does it show great confidence in one's own views to say that you will not talk to people who might express a contrary view? I don't think it does.

I hope that the Director, who is an experienced public official, will make it clear that he will talk to anybody in Hong Kong who has a contribution to make to Hong Kong's future, and that means everybody in Hong Kong.

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Question: How do you feel about the issue on the civil service in Hong Kong? There seems to be some pressure there...?

Chris Patten: In a full and open society, the civil service is politically neutral. The civil service in Hong Kong is loyal to Hong Kong. It works for the interests of the people of Hong Kong. Not to understand that is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of a free society and the nature of public service in a free society.

As far as I am concerned, I have no doubt at all that the civil service will be loyal to the government before 1997 and loyal to the government after 1997, and if anybody didn’t feel they could give that loyalty, I am sure that they would reach the inevitable conclusions around their professional lives. But I have no doubt whatsoever that the Hong Kong civil service will remain as loyal in the future as it has been in the past. I think it is very dangerous to suggest otherwise.

Question: What effect have the Taiwanese presidential elections had, or what effect do you think they will have on the future of Hong Kong and the Chinese treaty?

Chris Patten: It's difficult to know for certain, but let me make one rather obvious point. It has sometimes been said by analysts that the way China treats Hong Kong will affect Taiwan's attitude to Beijing. It has often been said that the one country/two systems model, if successfully applied in Hong Kong, will send out appropriate signals to Taiwan. It has been said by analysts and it has actually been said by senior Chinese officials (I think I am right that President Jiang Zemin said it when he met a group of Hong Kong businessmen a few months ago). If that's true, it may well be the case that the relationship between Beijing and Taiwan has some effect on attitudes in Hong Kong. I merely pose the question and hope that Chinese officials think it true too.

Question: Are you confident that you will manage to find agreement over the handover ceremony? At the moment it seems that China is not going to listen to the British Government's desire and want to scale down the proposed handover ceremony that was suggested.

Chris Patten: It is inconceivable that we can spend the next year and a quarter arguing or debating with China about a handover ceremony. Mr Qian Qichen, when he met Mr Rifkind last autumn, said that we should have a handover ceremony which was 'grand, solemn and decent', and I think that such a handover ceremony would be in the interests of the future SAR government in Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong will be in the limelight next summer as never before and perhaps never again. The eyes of the world will be on Hong Kong. It would be valuably important to see it face its new age in a decent and civilised way.

Now, if Chinese officials wish to resile from the proposition that we should have a 'grand, decent and solemn' ceremony, not a triumphalist ceremony - that has never been one of our aims - if that’s their new position, then alas, so be it. I do not think it’s any individual British official who is hurt by that. I think it is bad for Hong Kong and it would be a missed opportunity to show to members of the UN Security Council, dealing with an issue left over from the last century in a way which, while not without its problems, was reasonably successful.

What I don't think any of us should do is to spend the rest of the year, or next year, arguing about these matters. There are far more important things to talk about. As far as I am concerned, if we cannot agree on something that makes sense, that looks decent, then we had better go our own ways, but I hope still, in Hong Kong's interest that we can manage to agree on a ceremony which is appropriate to the occasion. I just do not want anybody to think that this is going to be my or our fixation. There are many other issues that I want to see resolved. I want us to see us resolve the Vietnamese migrants’ issue, I want to see us, 1 hope, get as broad an international agreement for visa-free access for SAR passport holders as possible. There are all these important issues to get on with and not spend our time arguing about fireworks.

Question: If their taxation was such a good idea, why don't you think the British Government would want some?

Chris Patten: When I was Chairman of the Conservative Party, I would have responded to that with the honest, graceful urbanity which Tony Bevans will remember! But as I am the Governor of Hong Kong, you had better ask an active British politician about the Government's tax policies. I can tell you about Hong Kong's tax policies!

Question: You spoke about Tony Blair ... This is in stark contrast to the document issued by Central Office last night which poured speculation on Tony Blair's activities in the past... The document is slightly misjudged and would you ....

Chris Patten: It’s very tempting to mix it on the British political agenda, but it's easier for me to resist the temptation since, like I understand Mr Blair to be, I am a Christian and should place Christian charity high in my list of personal motivations. So, I'll be charitable all round and say nothing.

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But let me just say one thing. Every election campaign I've ever been involved in, I've been told, 'it's going to be, was, the dirtiest ever'. We have pretty clean election campaigns in this country and they involve robust exchanges of other people's points of view and philosophies and views on the world. I don't think anybody, whether Conservative or dare I say it, old Labour or new Labour, or Liberal Democrats, Nationalists, whatever, should get too worried about the ordinary cut and thrust of political debate. All of us have had experience of it. I have had experience of it myself.

Question: I know you don't want to get into hypothetical questions about Chinese breach of the Joint Declaration, but there is one announcement of an intending breach which is the setting up of a political legislature in Hong Kong which would start operating six months before the handover. That is clearly a breach of the Declaration. What courses of action would be open to you and the British Government? Is there anything in fact that you could do about it?

Chris Patten: We have it from one or two Chinese sources, though not officially, that the provisional Legislative Council which is threatened would be set up before 30 June 1997. But I have to say that that has not been stated by any, I think, Chinese official organs. I think it is a smoke signal from deep in the bush, but I don't think any of us knows whether it represents a real intention. The provisional Legislative Council before the middle of June 1997 is, to be frank, China's problem, and it would have no status in Hong Kong and explaining it away would be a matter for Chinese officials. The worry is that it would do damage to Hong Kong and damage people's confidence in the future of Hong Kong, confidence in Hong Kong and confidence outside Hong Kong. What we do if it happens falls into that unhappy category of the hypothetical, which I mentioned earlier.

The only thing I want to add is this. I do not think that a British Prime Minister and a British Foreign Secretary could have made it clearer than Mr Major and Mr Rifkind have, that Britian's interest in and commitment to Hong Kong does not end on 30 June 1997. We have, among other things, a clear moral commitment which goes well beyond 30 June 1997, and as signatories to a treaty which guarantees Hong Kong for 50 years afterwards, we have a treaty obligation to Hong Kong as well. I repeat that I don't think those matters could have been put more clearly by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister.

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What gives me additional confidence in reflecting on those views is that Hong Kong is one of the few issues in British politics that by and large there is cross-party agreement at Westminster. Of course, from time to time, there have been criticisms of our policies. One or two of the functional constituencies in the House of Lords have occasionally been critical, but by and large we have been able to look to understanding and support right across the political spectrum, from Liberal Dcmocracts, from Labour and Conservatives. Look at the support we have had from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. That persuades me that what I am saying is not true of individuals, but it is true of the political establishment in the United Kingdom, and I hope it is true of our media too.

On which happy note of blessed consensual unanimity, I will make my excuses and leave. Thank you very much indeed.

End

Governor's press briefing at London Office

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Following is the transcript of a press briefing by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, at Hong Kong Government Office in London at 1730 hours BST today (Thursday):

Chris Patten: I am sorry to keep you waiting, but my meeting at the Foreign Office went on rather longer than I expected. I am also sorry to be inviting you to the second press conference of the day. I have nothing new to say, though you might be able to squeeze something new out of me, and I do not know whether you have any new questions.

Just let me recap. I had a couple of days of useful meetings here in London with the Prime Minister yesterday and with Foreign Office officials today. I was also pleased to speak at two very well-attended occasions. I am going to Northern Ireland tomorrow; where the principal event is a speech at the Institute of Directors annual dinner, when I will be setting out for Northern Ireland businessmen the attractions of the Hong Kong economy, and also will be looking at one or two things with which I have been involved over the years, and I am going back to Hong Kong on Saturday. It has been one of my shdrter duty visits; the next one I am hoping to make in July, when among other things I will be attending the Royal Tournament, at which there will be a substantial Hong Kong representation.

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Question: You talked yesterday about policy issues with John Major, about the need to spread liberal visa regimes for SAR passport holders around the place. What different approaches might be being made at the moment to these countries, given that we still are in limbo over China's refusing to define right of abode at this stage?

Chris Patten: We are still to a degree in limbo. Obviously everyone is hoping that during his visit to Hong Kong Director Lu Ping will set out in detail what the Chinese are proposing on right of abode, and that he will recognise the importance of discussing that as soon as possible with the Hong Kong government, because we obviously have the expertise in managing immigration policy and it is the Hong Kong Immigration Department which will have to implement whatever proposals are finally put forward.

I also hope that Director Lu will make as liberal and generous a gesture as the British Government did with its decision on visa-free access.

Now, I think that what we are looking for is discussions with priority countries, and we are obviously looking for a range of possibilities. Some, one knows in advance, would be very reluctant to accept a visa-free regime, but one would be hoping for as liberal a regime as possible. It is a question of horses for courses.

I also believe that it is exceptionally important to avoid any suggestion of reciprocity when we talk about visa-free access. Hong Kong itself has, I suppose, as open access as anyone in the world, and if we were to start insisting that everybody else did exactly what we did or else had to accept a visa regime, we would find ourselves in the impossible position of, for instance, getting over one million Japanese tourists to apply for visas to come to Hong Kong. It would be very bad for us in business terms, and it would be very bad for Hong Kong and its reputation as an international city.

We need to pursue the objective energetically. It will vary from one country to another, and I think at all costs we should avoid wandering round international capitals with a blunderbuss called 'reciprocity' under our arm.

Question: Are you going to wander round international capitals in terms of a lobbying campaign per se?

Chris Patten: Yes, we will be pursuing things with the help of British Embassies around the world, and I am sure that it is an area where Britain and China should work in harmony.

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Question: You met with Foreign Office officials this afternoon; can you outline who you met. and possibly what you discussed?

Chris Patten: I met the Deputy Secretary responsible, Mr Bum. I met Graham Fry, and I met Sherard Cowper-Coles, the head of the Hong Kong department, plus some other officials, and we discussed broadly speaking the same sort of agenda that I discussed with the Prime Minister yesterday. We reviewed events since the Prime Minister's visit to Hong Kong. We looked in particular at the outcome of Mr Hanley's successful visit to Vietnam. We discussed some of the upcoming issues, for example on the human rights front, our future reporting to Geneva on the international covenants, and it was a useful meeting looking at the whole agenda - other matters too, but those are some of the main ones.

Question: On the UN issue, is that progressing at all, the reporting?

Chris Patten: I am thinking about our reporting, because we do not have any difficulty with reporting, and I hope that China will not have any difficulty reporting after 1997. Certainly the obligations on China to report are as clear as pikestaff.

Question: If 1 could come back to the human rights issue, perhaps with a more specific question than a general one, generally what might it be saying about long-term future of Britain as mother of the free if in 1998 Hong Kong ends up being somewhat less free and less democratic than Taiwan, and very specifically in that broad context and on the question of the human rights and the covenant, given that the newly-articulated - or fairly recently articulated - jurisprudential principles that human rights guarantees might require are permanent and involved with territory and not with sovereignty, will Britain join the 85 or so other signatories of the first optional protocol of the ICCPR so that individuals from Hong Kong - if one accepts that jurisprudential principle - will be able to appeal directly to its human rights committee after 1997?

Chris Patten: On the first point it would be sad for Britain and even sadder for Hong Kong if after 1997 Hong Kong was less free and less democratic than it is promised it will be by China and Britain, but as well as being sad for Britain and sad for Hong Kong, it would be extremely bad for China's international reputation, because what China has signed up to in the Joint Declaration is absolutely plain.

Secondly. I very much hope that we will be able to persuade China that what among others the Chairman of the relevant committee said about jurisprudence, and I hope we will be able to persuade the Chinese that this underlines the case for them recognising their obligations and reporting to Geneva. If they decline to accept those obligations then we will have to consider the consequences, but 1 remain as reluctant this afternoon as I was this morning, yesterday afternoon, yesterday morning and previous weeks, months and years, to answer hypothetical questions about what we will do if China breaks its word.

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Question: I have a question about the provisional legislature of Hong Kong. You have already said that the Hong Kong Government is not prepared to work with this legislation. On the other hand. China is ongoing. To what extent is an effective dialogue between the two governments on the transition of Hong Kong?

Chris Patten: The Foreign Secretary made it clear that in our view the announcement from the Preparatory Committee about the future of legislature was, and I quote "reprehensible and unjustifiable". That is the position, and as far as we are concerned there is one legitimate legislative council in Hong Kong. There will not be another one. There certainly won't be another one before 1997, and if the Chinese side go ahead with their threats to this Legislative Council, they will have to explain the consequences to the people of Hong Kong and to international opinion.

Question: But will this affect the agenda of the JLG on the series of issues you are discussing?

Chris Patten: Well, I do not imagine it will be very helpful, and of course the Chinese side under JD30 and elsewhere - I think I have remembered JD30 correctly - are committed to the proposition that we are responsible for the government and administration of Hong Kong until 30 June 1997. There are some very eloquent arguments about the importance of us retaining authority until the 30 June 1997 by some of the most pre-eminent members of the Preparatory Committee, although some of them, it is true, made those comments before they became members of the Preparatory Committee.

Question: I know you mentioned this this morning, and 1 know you are not averse to going over old ground -

Chris Patten: I always like to repeat myself if the question is the same as one 1 have answered before. 1 hate to be interesting!

Question: Would you comment on the withdrawal of the invitation by the Preliminary Committee of Cheung Man Kwong and Szeto Wah?

Chris Patten: I find it difficult to believe that any Chinese official can believe that it is in China's interest or Hong Kong's interest to take the view and act on the view that those who clearly represent majority opinion in Hong Kong should be frozen out of a dialogue about Hong Kong's future. I do not think that is the way to promote social or political stability in Hong Kong. 1 do not think that is the way to win hearts and minds in Hong Kong, and I do not think it is the best way of convincing Hong Kong opinion or international opinion that come hell or high water the Chinese are committed to making sure that the Joint Declaration is implemented as enthusiastically as possible.

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Apart from anything else, what are Chinese officials worried about? The gentlemen you mentioned would be horrified if they were to be patted on the back by colonial government, particularly since one of them attacked me in colourful and eloquent terms for my colonial credentials. But they are civilised, intelligent individuals with robust opinions which they express forcefully - I am told particularly forcefully in Cantonese. What is the problem? They don’t bite. They may argue back, but Hong Kong is a free society and people are allowed to argue back in Hong Kong - as I know.

Question: The two people concerned are apparently sitting outside the building from which they are debarred. Have you any message you can send them about their attitude?

Chris Patten: I hope the pavement is not too uncomfortable. 1 hope some generous-hearted official from the NCNA will bring them a cushion and a cup of tea. I hope even more that Chinese officials will be sensible and will think again and ask them in for a talk rather than seek to freeze them out.

What message does it send? Here is a great country, one of the great powers of the world, and in 1997, we see the resolution - successful, we hope - of an issue left over from the middle of the last century. That is what we are talking about. What sort of impression does it convey if you slap down anybody who might have a contrary opinion? That’s no way to behave. It’s certainly not very Confucian.

Question: I have two questions, one newsy and one less newsy about your speech this morning and about the handover ceremonies. You mentioned this morning that you are not prepared to let the discussion of the handover ceremonies drag on over 15 months, if the Chinese side know what elements are to be involved in a grand and solemn ceremony. I was wondering what the British Government’s idea of a grand and solemn ceremony was, and additionally what you think your role as Governor would be in that ceremony. The Chinese officials seem to think that you will be just a spectator of the whole thing and not a participant.

Chris Patten: Well. no. To be fair to them, Chinese officials during our discussions have not mentioned my role. One or two 'sources' have speculated about my role, but I am Governor of Hong Kong; I shall be Governor of Hong Kong - God willing - until midnight on 30 June 1997, at which time I will depart. I think it would be surprising if 1 was not part of whatever British representation took part in the final ceremonies.

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But, as I said this morning, there are more substantial issues to talk about. If Chinese officials want to resile from their previous objectives on the handover ceremoney, well, it's sad for the SAR Government, but in that case we will have to make our own arrangements. It would send the most awful signals to the world about the future of Hong Kong if we were to spend the next 15 months rattling sabres about this handover ceremony, about how we depart and how the Chinese arrive. People would think we were out of our senses. I think they are pretty surprised at the moment that Chinese officials won't talk to us about important issues, but it's for them to explain. It's not demeaning for us. it is rather demeaning for them.

Your second question?

Question: In your speech this morning about 'Asian Values and Asian Success' you said that Marx and Weber were correct in their analysis of the processes by which values do not change in respect of each other. It seems to'me that your account was very much a Marxian analysis -

Chris Patten: I'm a well known Marxist!

Question: I am interested to know whether all these years you have been working and thinking in this kind of materialistic framework, or is this something you found in the past few years when you were in Hong Kong? To put it simplistically, have you turned left or right?

Chris Patten: I thought what I was saying this morning - which some would say was all too typical of my political stance on other issues that 1 agreed with both Marx and Weber - I was trying to argue that values affected economic development, but economic development equally affected values and affected society broadly, so I was backing both horses. It was a quenelle - is that what I mean? Yes. I guess it would be difficult with the benefit of hindsight to regard a bet on March in a quenelle as necessarily a winner, but I thought I was taking a characteristically sensible and balanced approach to the issue.

Question: You mentioned this morning about freezing out people who have had changing views in the confrontation process. By doing that the Chinese would find it difficult to invest in the economy of Hong Kong. What sort of reply would you give to the Government if they froze those people out and what do you forsce?

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Chris Patten: 1 hope it doesn't happen, but if you try to freeze people out of the dialogue about their governance, particularly if they are people who represent 60 per cent or 70 per cent of public opinion, then you have a less successful, less prosperous, less decent, less open, less dignified, and conceivably less stable society, l et me remind you of something which was said the other day. Mr Liu Han [phonetic] a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, said, quoting Mao Zedong -and 1 paraphrase - that if you ask people to speak up. to give their opinions, it is not a disaster, but it is a disaster if they keep quiet and are not encouraged to speak up. 1 low does that admirable Maoist sentiment square with these decisions that we have been hearing about? I think it is very curious.

OK - thank you very much.

End

Lectures on I long Kong legal system for Guangdong Procurators *****

A series of four lectures on the legal system in Hong Kong are being given by senior members of the Legal Department this week in Guangzhou for Procurators in Guangdong province.

Details of the four lectures are as follows:

* "The Legal System of Hong Kong Now and Post-1997" by Solicitor General. Mr Daniel Pung. QC;

* "The Structure of the Attorney General's Chambers and the work of Crown Counsel" by Deputy Solicitor General. Mr Stephen Wong Kai-yi;

* "The Prosecution Policy and Criminal .lustice System in I long Kong" by Director of Public Prosecutions. Mr Peter Nguyen. QC .and

* "Bilingual Legislation and Localisation of Laws" by the Law Draftsman. Mr Tony Yen.

These lectures are part of a training course on the legal systems in Hong Kong and Macau organised for the first lime by the Guangdong Province People's Procuratorate. A request for contribution by AGC officers was made by the Chief Procurator of Guangdong Province People's Procuratorate. Mr Wang Jun.

End

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AG to attend Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting *****

The Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews will attend the next Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting from April 15 to 20 in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia. He will be accompanied by Deputy Principal Crown Counsel (International Law). Mr John Hunter, Senior Crown Counsel. Mr Peter Wong I ling-hong and by the Administrative Assistant to the Attorney General. Mr So Kam-shing.

The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is held every three years. Its objective is to broaden and enhance arrangements on mutual assistance and cooperation in the field of administration of justice amongst Commonwealth jurisdictions. The last meeting was held at Mauritius in 1993. Hong Kong attends as part of the UK team. w

The Crown Solicitor, Mr Ian Wingfield, will act as Attorney General during Mr Mathews' absence.

End

Law to protect rights of plant breeders *****

The Plant Varieties Protection Bill, to be gazetted tomorrow (Friday), will protect the intellectual property rights of breeders of plant varieties.

The World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) requires that every signatory, which includes Hong Kong, must provide for the protection of rights to plant varieties. The Bill will enable Hong Kong to fulfil that obligation.

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Under the Bill, the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries will be appointed as the Registrar of Plant Variety Rights and be able to consider applications for plant variety rights. A plant variety must be new. distinct, uniform and stable and have an acceptable name in order to be considered for protection under the new provisions.

The Bill defines the party entitled to protection and the period and scope of protection afforded. Generally, once rights to plant variety have been granted, the grantee will be able to control propagation and commercial exploitation of the plant for 20 years.

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The Bill provides for offenders relating to false declaration, false representation and misuse of the name of a protected plant variety, with a maximum penalty in each case of a fine of $100,000.

A spokesman for the Agriculture and Fisheries Department said that he expected the Bill to benefit a number of companies and individuals who are currently breeding ornamental plants and vegetables and encourage marketing of new plant varieties in Hong Kong by overseas breeders.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 24. 1996.

End

Against Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign launched *****

The first stage of an Against Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign, focusing on educating young children the need of self-protection against sexual abuse, was launched today (Thursday).

The publicity campaign was launched by the Assistant Director of Social Welfare (Family and Child Welfare), Mrs Patricia Chu, the Assistant Director of Information Services (Publicity), Mr Harold Yau, and the Assistant Director (Agency Service)of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Miss Virginia Chan on behalf of the Public Education Sub-committee of the Working Group on Child Abuse.

Speaking at a press conference on the campaign strategy. Mr Yau said that the Against Child Abuse Campaign had been running for a number of years to increase general awareness of the proble'm. The new phase will focus specifically on the problem of child sexual abuse.

"We intend to conduct this campaign in three stages. The first aimed directly al children under the age of 12 - the prime risk group - as well as (heir parents and minders. The aim is to help children protect themselves.

"The message is shout 'NO', run and tell someone. Certainly, no simple task when addressing young innocent minds. We have therefore been extremely careful to keep the message simple, so as to avoid causing fear or alarm." Mr Yau said.

He said the following publicity materials would be launched in the first stage:

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* A television announcement of public interest (TV API), presented in three-dimensional computer graphics featuring two friendly cartoon characters - Toto (penguin) and Bobo (dinosaur) to convey the message of the need for young children to protect themselves against sexual abuse.

A 32-page illustrated booklet, featuring Toto and Bobo again to provide more detailed information on self-proteclion.

* A radio announcement of public interest with similar message.

* An opinion survey by the Centre for Clinical Trials and Epidemiological

Research of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to gauge the public’s altitude towards child abuse, with special attention on child sexual abuse.

Mr Yau added that the second and third stage of the campaign would be targeted more on parents and minders, advising them how to identify and handle child sexual abuse cases.

Commenting on the problem itself, the Assistant Director of Social Welfare (Family and Child Welfare), Mrs Patricia Chu, said that child sexual abuse takes place when children are involved in sexual activity, both physical and non-physical, through force, deception, ingratiating acts or any other method to satisfy the sexual desire or other purposes of the perpetrator, who may be individuals closely related to the child or being total strangers.

With the publicity efforts of both government and non-governmental organisations, the public is more aware of the problem of child sexual abuse, Mrs Chu said.

"The number of active child sexual abuse cases has risen from 61 in 1993. to 'll in 1994 and 116 in 1995. The percentage of child sexual abuse cases as compared to the total number of child abuse cases has also risen from 14.7% in 1993. to 17.1% in 1994 and 20.1% in 1995.

"It is encouraging to find that, among the 116 active cases in 1995, 27 of them (23%) were reported by family members or the child. This reflected that the child victims and family members have become more ready to bring the problem to light and to seek help when child sexual abuse occurs," Mrs Chu said.

Apart from the territory-wide publicity campaign launched today, Mrs Chu said localised prevention programmes are organised by the District Committees on Child Abuse to strengthen prevention of the problem. These committees were set up to promote co-operation among multi-disciplinary professionals in combating the problem at district level.

17

In addition to the existing five Distriet Committees on Child Abuse founded in 1995 in Tuen Mun, Kwun Tong, Tai Po and North, Sham Shui Po, Eastern and Wan Chai , eight more will be set up in 1996 in Yuen Long. Tsucn Wan and Kwai Tsing, Sha Tin, Wong Tai Sin and Sai Kung, Kowloon City, Yau Tsim and Mong Kok, Central Western and Islands, and Southern Districts.

To tie-in with the amended Criminal Procedure Ordinance implemented in 1996 which enables child abuse victims to give evidence through video recorded interviews and to testify through a live television video link system in court. Mrs Chu said that the Police and Social Welfare Department had formed a Child Protection Special Investigation Team (CPSIT) on December 4, 1995.

Furthermore, she noted that to enhance handling of child sexual abuse cases by front-line professionals of different disciplines and different departments or organisations, a set of comprehensive guidelines, "Procedure for Handling Child Sexual Abuse Cases", had also been implemented with effect from March 1, 1996.

"Professional resources for the child protection service will he further strengthened by additional staffing provision to the Child Protective Services Unit in 1996/97 as well as continuing to arrange joint training programmes for the concerned professionals," said Mrs Chu.

Apart from initiatives taken by the Government, the Assistant Director (Agency Service) of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. Miss Virginia Chan noted at the press conference that the children abuse problem was also a prime concern of the nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

On the role of the NGOs. she said: "NGO workers in many service sectors, like family service centres, child care centres, outreaching teams, children and youth centres and integrated teams, will be involved in making referrals to the Child Protection Special Investigation Team.

"Some NGOs start to organise pilot treatment groups for adult survivors of child sexual abuse and parallel groups for parents and children on prevention of child sexual abuse."

"In addition, public education programmes including seminars, exhibitions, distribution of publicity materials and mass programmes have also been carried out by NGOs at the district level," said Miss Chan.

End

18

Transfer ofVMs from High Island Detention Centre

*****

The Government announced that a group of about 150 Vietnamese migrants will be transferred from the High Island Detention Centre today (Thursday) in preparation for their return 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 two groups within the next two weeks.

The transfer will be observed by independent monitors.

End

107 VMs transferred to Victoria Prison

* * * * *

In an operation which lasted one-and-a-half hours, 107 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) were transferred from the north section of High Island Detention Centre (HIDC) to Victoria Prison today (Thursday).

"The operation went smoothly and no large scale resistance was encountered," a Correctional Services Department (CSD) spokesman said.

The group was selected for return to Vietnam on two Orderly Repatriation Programme flights to be held over the next two weeks.

The operation started at 10 am. Passive resistance was encountered when a male VM was removed by CSD officers.

At one stage, eight VMs climbed onto the roof of a hut in the north section of the Centre. After repeated calls by CSD officers, these eight VMs came forward voluntarily.

No injuries were sustained. The operation ended at 11.25 am.

As is the practice, the whole operation was observed by independent monitors.

End

19

Monitors' report submitted to CS *****

The monitors appointed to observe today's (Thursday) transfer of Vietnamese migrants selected for the Orderly Repatriation Programme from the High Island Detention Centre to Victoria Prison have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The four monitors comprised two non-official Justices of the Peace. Miss Elsie Leung Oi-sie and Mrs Liao Yuen Ching-me; and representatives from two nongovernmental organisations — Mr Christopher Stokes from Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mr Stephen Tsui from Oxfam.

End

Report on issue of Air Operator Certificate denied

*****

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department stated that there was no foundation in a press report published today (Thursday) that an Air Operator Certificate had been issued to China National Aviation Corporation (UK) by the department.

The spokesman said: "At present the application is still being processed in accordance with Hong Kong rules and regulations."

End

Investigation into sinking of pleasure vessel completed

*****

The Marine Department has completed its investigation into the sinking of a pleasure vessel south of West Brother Island in Tuen Mun on December 25. 1995. a Marine Department spokesman said today (Thursday).

Four persons were reportedly on board of the vessel when she sank. One of them was rescued and the other three died.

The Director of Marine has accepted the findings of the report but on the advice of the Coroner the content cannot be published until the death inquest is held.

End

20

$110 million saved in government purchases

* * * * *

The Government Supplies Department has achieved savings of over $110 million last year through negotiations with suppliers of finished products.

The department also obtained nearly $58 million in sales of confiscated goods, surplus government property and unclaimed parcels. The amount is over 40 per cent above the figure for the previous year.

The achievement was highlighted by the department's director. Mr Nigel Shipman at a press conference today (Thursday).

In his briefing on government purchasing statistics for 1995, Mr Shipman noted that Government purchases of finished products last year exceeded $4.5 billion, an increase of 5.25 per cent compared with the figure for 1994.

He pointed out that in 1995, computer equipment and software constituted the largest category, with purchases exceeding $869 million.

"We also spent $848 million on pharmaceuticals. $452 million on hospital and medical equipment, $387 million on equipment for the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and $224 million on waterworks items.

"Total purchases of equipment for Chek Lap Kok airport have so far amounted to $928 million," Mr Shipman said.

He said that this programme was now nearing completion, with only some $200 million of planned purchases remaining.

"The Government Supplies Department has thus made a major contribution to ensuring that the new airport will be ready for opening in April 1998." Mr Shipman said.

He said his department supplied all Government departments and many nongovernment organisations, including the Hospital Authority, for whom the department arranged contracts worth $1,559 million and supplied common-user items worth $81 million.

Regarding larger contracts valued at $50,000 and above, Mr Shipman said over $1.5 billion was spent on products from the United States, accounting for over 34 per cent of total purchases.

21

"These purchases included telecommunications equipment, computer systems and software, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and a helicopter," he said.

Other important sources of supply were the United Kingdom ($534 million; 12 per cent); Germany ($422 million; 9.5 per cent); China ($363 million; 8.1 per cent); Japan ($209 million; 4.7 per cent), and Hong Kong ($152 million; 3.4 per cent).

The highest value contract signed during the year was with AEG Electrocom of Germany for a postal mechanisation system for the new air mail centre at Chek Lap Kok at $193 million.

The second highest value contract was with Hewlett Packard at $145 million for computerisation of the Land Registry records.

Mr Shipman noted that his department monitored price trends for many of the items that it bought regularly.

"Last year the price trend indicator rose by 2.4 per cent, which compares favourably with the rise of 9.2 per cent in the Consumer Price Index (B)," he said.

Mr Shipman explained that decisions on contract awards were normally based on tendered offers.

"We negotiate with tenderers to obtain a lower price only when there are special reasons for doing so. for example, when additional amounts are to be purchased or when the prices quoted appear out of line with current contract prices or with market information.” he said.

End

Opening of restored walled village in Fanling

*****

The restored Kun Lung Wai in Fanling. an authentic walled city, will be open to the public following a rehabilitation ceremony this Saturday (April 13).

The $4.8 million restoration project was carried out in phases since 1988 under the supervision of the Antiquities and Monument Office of the Recreation and Culture Branch and the Architectural Services Department.

22

The walled village was one of the live wais (walled villages) and six tsuens (villages) established by the Tangs who settled in Lung Yeuk Tau, Fanling in the 14th Century. Of the five walled villages, Kun Lung Wai is the best preserved one.

Built in 1744, Kun Lung Wai is surrounded by thick brick walls on four sides, with a watch tower at each corner and a communal shrine at the farthest end to the entrance gate. Embrasures on the walls and the watch towers were equipped with guns in the early years. Most of the walls had collapsed by 1980s but have now been restored. The moat which once surrounded the village is now filled up.

The uniqueness of the village lies in its gate tower, comprising two free standing halls which are rare in the territory. The tower was declared a monument in 1988 and the walls and watchtowers were also declared as monuments in 1993.

End

Practical school -- an alternative education system *****

"1 see gradual change of my son alter transferring to a practical school," Yeung Wai-kit's mother said.

Yeung Wai-kit joined S2 of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Practical School last September. He was originally studying at a grammar school.

"Changes are obvious seen." his mother said.

"Wai-kit seldom talked about school life of that grammar school. 1 felt that he was very unhappy and unable to catch up with the curriculum.

"He was not interested in learning and was reluctant to go to school."

"Everything has changed completely. Now. he is eager to tell me about his school and dormitory life.

"He enjoys it very much. It is a good beginning," his mother said.

"Yeung Wai-kit is just one of the successful examples of our school," a school social workers said.

We are glad to see his learning attitude and interpersonal relationship improve, he added.

In order to discover and develop potential of students, an alternative curriculum catering their interest in practical subjects is offered in practical school.

23

Students also have academic subjects like Chinese, English, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies.

"Graduates of practical school will attain same basic language level of those mainstream junior secondary students," head of TWGHs Practical School, Miss Ng Shuk- Ying noted.

At the same time, they have opportunities to learn computer studies, accommodation and catering services, commercial studies, fashion and clothing, hair styling and seamanship.

These subjects aim at arousing learning interest of students and providing basic knowledge to them, Miss Ng said.

They can pursue further development in future, she said.

Extra learning programmes are organised after school. They are interest groups and complimentary studies.

Interest groups including soccer, tennis, guitar and folk songs are organised.

On the other hand, students can choose complementary studies.

They are short courses supplementing formal curriculum which aims at developing students' potential and preparing them for vocational training when they leave school.

Courses like silk-screening, repair and maintenance of air-conditioners, car maintenance and bakery had been organised and were well-received by students.

Most of the students join these activities voluntarily according to their interest. However, teachers and social workers will encourage passive students to take part.

"Counselling is very important in school," Miss Ng said.

An innovative 'Sun Campaign' was launched in TWGHs Practical School in February last year.

Each student will be given a special passport. Whenever they do something right, they will gain credits.

They are free to choose whether to exchange these credits for awards or cancellation of bad points.

24

’’The sense of freedom to choose is cultivated,” the principal said.

They will also learn that if and only if they choose to do it, they will succeed; and nothing will be gained without efforts, Miss Ng added.

She noted that the students regard these credits as honours. Their behaviour and learning attitude improve after joining the campaign.

Dormitory life is also another major of practical school.

Under guidance of programme workers and house parents, boarding students will participate in various recreational programmes.

Apart from tuition, they may join interest courses on drama, handicraft and chess.

Organised outings will also be arranged. Students will not go out individually.

"It is just a misunderstanding that our neighbourhood will be affected by our students," Miss Ng said.

"Dormitory is a place to cultivate students' leadership and independence," the vice-principal of Hong Kong Sea School, Mr Kwong Lit-ming added.

Hong Kong Sea School is the first practical school in Hong Kong.

Our students are those less motivated by normal school curriculum. They are likely to benefit from our curriculum placing more emphasis on practical skill. Mr Kwong said.

It is our responsibility to provide a suitable education system catering the need of those students who cannot develop their potential in traditional curriculum, he added.

The range of subjects and skills provided will better stimulate students' interest in learning and eventually building up their self-confidence.

Upon completion of junior secondary education, students will choose to continue their studies in ordinary schools, further their vocational training, or start their career.

"Half of our graduates continue their secondary education in grammar schools and half of them choose technical institutes." Mr Kwong said.

25

"Only a small percentage of students seek jobs immediately," he added.

Practical schools provide students with an equal opportunity for proper schooling through a special curriculum and avert their tendency to drop out from mainstream education.

"Practical school provide students that cannot adapt with traditional curriculum with education opportunities. We should not discriminate against them," Yeung Wai-kit's mother said.

End

Secondary' 6 admission procedure streamlined

*****

The Education Department announced today (Thursday) that the Secondary 6 (S6) admission procedure for the 1996-97 school year will be shortened to 8-1/2 working days from nine in 1995-96.

A Principal Education Officer, Mr C K Tam, said that a total of about 24,060 places will be available in September 1996 for application by students, compared with 23,790 in the previous year.

He said the five-stage procedure for admission to S6 for the 1996-97 school year is basically the same as that for the 1995-96 school year, except that the duration of Stage V, which is for central allocation of places, will be shortened by half a day to 4-1/2 days.

"The shortening of the Stage V procedure is to tie in with the provision of a two-week pre-S6 Intensive English Programme for some students."

"In addition, three more centres will be made available for central allocation, bringing the total number of centres to eight," Mr Tam said.

The Education Department has produced a new leaflet and a summary table containing admission details, addresses and telephone numbers of the 19 District Education Offices to help students seek further information.

Mr Tam said schools are being asked to collect the leaflet and summary for distribution to S5 students.

26

Private candidates will receive the leaflet and summary table from the Hong Kong Examination Authority when it sends out the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) Identification Forms.

Additional leaflets and summary tables are available from District Education Offices and district offices throughout the territory.

A 24-hour telephone enquiry service will be operated in early August. Students who wish to hear S6 places admission procedures may dial 2891 0088.

In addition, a hotline will be set up when the results of the HKCEE are announced, to help students seek advice or clarification about admission procedures, and to handle any complaints.

Vacancy situations during the admission procedure will be announced at District Education Offices and through the media.

End

December 1995 employment and vacancy statistics released *****

According to the figures released today (Thursday) by the Census and Statistics Department, employment in most of the major service sectors increased between December 1994 and December 1995.

Meanwhile, employment in the manufacturing sector declined further. Employment at construction sites registered a further significant increase.

Vacancies in the manufacturing sector remained on a downtrend in December 1995 over a year earlier, while those in the various service sectors also recorded decreases of various magnitudes. Vacancies at construction sites, on the other hand, remained on a strong uptrend. As in December 1995, there were still around 41,300 vacancies for all major sectors taken together.

In terms of the number of persons engaged, the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector was the largest, employing 1,018,200 persons in December 1995. This was followed by the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector, with an employment of 378,200; the manufacturing sector, 375,800; the community, social and personal services sector, 302.000; the transport, storage and communications sector, 172,200; and the construction sites (for manual workers only). 68,500.

27

In terms of growth rate, employment at construction sites (for manual workers only) recorded the fastest increase, by 8.7% in December 1995 over December 1994; followed by the transport, storage and communications sector, by 4.9%; the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector, by 2.3%; and the community, social and personal services sector, by 0.9%. On the other hand, employment in the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector showed a marginal decrease of 0.4%, while that in the manufacturing sector fell by 1 1.2%. The respective employment figures are shown in greater detail in fable 1.

Vacancies at construction sites continued to record a substantial increase in December 1995 over a year earlier. The marked increases in both employment and vacancies at construction sites reflected the heavy demand for construction workers by the new airport and related projects. However, vacancies in the manufacturing sector and in all major service sectors decreased substantially. Job vacancy figures are shown in greater detail in Table 2.

Of the total of some 41.300 vacancies (other than those in the Civil Service) recorded in December 1995, the majority fell into four major occupation groups, viz. associate professionals; clerks; service workers and shop sales workers; and elementary occupations. They together accounted for over three-quarters of the total number of vacancies in all the major sectors surveyed. Vacancy figures broken down by major occupation group are shown in Table 3. As these figures are compiled starting from June 1995, year-on-year comparisons are not yet available.

The above statistics for December 1995 were derived from the Quarterly Survey of Employment and Vacancies, the Supplementary Survey of Job Vacancies and the Quarterly Employment Survey of Construction Sites conducted by the Department. In the former two surveys, some economic activities (e.g. those where self-employment are predominant, such as taxi operators, hawkers and freelance authors) are not covered and hence the respective employment and vacancy figures relate only to those selected industries included in the surveys. In the latter survey on the construction sites, employment and vacancy figures relate to manual workers only.

Detailed breakdowns of the above statistics are available from the Quarterly Report of Employment. Vacancies and Payroll Statistics. December 1995 and the Quarterly Report of Employment and Vacancies at Construction Sites, December 1995. They will be available at HK$44 per copy and HKJ20 per copy (both exclusive of postage) respectively at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong and at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

28 -

Table 1 : Employment figures and percentage changes bv selected major sector

Persons engaged /employment) Percentage change

Selected major sector Dec. 94 Sep. 95 Dec, 95 Dec. 95 over Dec. 94 Dec. 95 over Sep, 95

Manufacturing 423 000 386 100 375 800 -11.2 -2.7

Construction sites (manual workers only) 63 100 65 800 68 500 +8.7 • +4.1

Wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels 1 021 900 1 030 900 1 018 200 -0.4 -1.2

Transport, storage and communications 164 200 170 000 . 172 200 +4.9 + 1.3

Financing, insurance, real estate and business services 369 600 375 400 378 200 +2.3 +0.8

Community, social and personal services 299 300 298 300 302 000 +0.9 + 1.2

29

Table 2 . Vacancy figures and percentage changes by selected major sector

Number of vacancies Percentage change

Selected major sector Dec, 94 SeR. 95 Dec. 95 Dec. 95 Over Dec. 94 Dec. 95 over Sep, 95

Manufacturing 10 520 6 860 5 520 -47.5 -19.4

Construction sites (manual workers only) 860 2 550 1 040 +20.4 -59.3

Wholesale,retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels 29 650 21 950 17 710 -40.3 -19.3

Transport, storage and communications 3 260 3 120 2 310 -29.2 -26.0

Financing, insurance, real estate and business services 10 410 8 570 7 390 -29.0 -13.7

Community, social and personal services 9 700 7 810 7 300 -24.7 -6.5

30

Table 3 : Vacancy figures and percentage distribution by major occupation group

Major occupation group Number of vacancies in December 1995 Percentage distribution (%)

Managers and administrators 870 2.1

Professionals 2 850 6.9

Associate professionals 6 530 15.8

Clerks 9 150 22.2

Service workers and shop sales workers 9 440 * 22.9

Craft and related workers 2 730 6.6 4

Plant and machine operators and assemblers 3 400 8.2

Elementary occupations 6 340 15.4

End

31

External trade figures for January *****

The volume of re-exports in January 1996 increased by 20% over January 1995, while the volume of domestic exports increased by 2.8%, according to the statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department today (Thursday).

Taking re-exports and domestic exports together, the volume of total exports increased by 17%. Meanwhile, imports increased by 21% 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 1.9% and 1.7% respectively. Import prices increased by 2.2%.

Price changes are reflected by changes in unit value indices, which arc 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 0.3% in January 1996 over January 1995.

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.

Comparing the three months ending January 1996 with the three months ending January 1995, the volume of re-exports and imports grew by 13% and 12% •respectively. However, the volume of domestic exports decreased by 2.9%.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of re-exports by end-use category are shown in Table 1.

Comparing January 1996 with January 1995, the volume of re-exports of all end-use categories recorded increases of various magnitudes: capital goods (+38%), raw materials and semi-manufactures (+37%), fuels (+31%), foodstuffs (+18%), and consumer goods (+5.8%).

32

Over the same period of comparison, increases in the prices of re-exports were noted of most of the end-use categories: fuels (+21%), consumer goods (+2.2%), raw materials and semi-manufactures (+2.2%) and foodstuffs (+0.4%).

On the other hand, the re-export price of capital goods decreased marginally by 0.3%.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of domestic exports by principal commodity group are shown in Table 2.

Comparing January 1996 with January 1995, commodity groups which recorded significant increases in the volume of domestic exports included radios of all kinds (+606%); domestic electrical appliances (+74%); and textile made-ups and related articles (+58%).

On the other hand, the volume of domestic exports of footwear and metal ores and scrap decreased by 28% and 21% respectively.

Commodity groups which recorded increases in domestic export prices included textile yarn and thread (+11%); and metal manufactures (+8.5%).

On the other hand, the domestic export price of footwear and domestic electrical appliances decreased by 2.2% and 1.7% 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 increased by 11% in January 1996 compared with January 1995.

Significant increases were recorded in the import volume of soya bean oil. peanut oil, vegetable oil and lard; and wheat and flour. However, decreases in the import volume were noted of tea and coffee; and live poultry.

Over the same period of comparison, the import volume of consumer goods increased by 9.6%.

Increases in import volume were recorded in most of the consumer goods, especially in passenger motor cars; and miscellaneous made-up articles of textile materials. However, decreases in the import volume were noted of radios, televisionsets. gramophones, records, tape recorders and amplifiers; and cameras, flashlight apparatus and supplies for photography.

33

The import volume of raw materials and semi-manufactures increased by 32% in January 1996 compared with January 1995.

Significant increases in import volume were noted of yarn of man-made fibres; and man-made fibres. However, the import volume of silk fabrics; and woven fabrics of man-made fibres declined.

Imports of fuels increased by 6.2% in volume in January 1996 compared with January 1995.

As regards capital goods, the import volume increased by 34% in January 1996 over January 1995.

Notable increases were recorded in the import volume of office machines; and scientific, medical, optical, measuring and controlling instruments and apparatus. The import volume of transport equipment however declined.

Comparing January 1996 with January 1995, the import prices of all end-use categories increased : fuels (+11%), .raw materials and semi-manufactures (+2.5%), consumer goods (+2.5%), foodstuffs (+2.1%), and capital goods (+0.6%).

Details of the above statistics are published in the January 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong Trade Index Numbers".

The report will be available on sale around April 13, 1996 at HK$14 per copy at either (i) the Government Publications Centre on the ground floor. Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway; or (ii) the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th floor. Wanchai l ower. 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 (Tel 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade indices to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel 2582 4918).

34

Table 1 : Changes in re-exports by end-use category

Comparing JAN 1996 with JAN 1995

% changes

Unit

End-uae category Value Value Volume

Foodstuffs 17.4 0.4 17.7

Consumer goods 8.3 2.2 5.8

Raw materials and semi-manufactures 40.6 2.2 36.9

Fuels 40.7 20.6 30.6

Capital goods 33.8 -0.3 38.1

ALL COMMODITIES 21.7 1.9 20.4

35

Table 2 s Changes in domestic exports by principal commodity group

Comparing JAN 1996 with JAN 1995

% changes

Commodity group

Unit

Value Value Volume

Clothing 2.9 2.8 -0.4

Textile fabrics 13.1 0.2 11.1

Textile yarn and thread 29.0 10.6 17.5

Textile made-ups and related articles 49.2 0.2 58.3

Radios of all kinds 731.0 8.4 605.7

Electronic components 4.2 -1.4 4.6

Footwear -26.5 -2.2 -27.5

Metal manufactures 18.3 8.5 8.4

Metal ores and scrap -20.6 5.6 -21.1

Watches and clocks -2.4 -0.3 -1.9

Travel goodst handbags and similar articles 9.0 2.7 5.9

Domestic electrical appliances 70.0 -1.7 74.2

ALL COMMODITIES 4.5 1.7 2.8

36

Table 3 : Changes in imports by end-use category

Comparing JAN 1996 with JAN 1995

End-use category % changes

Value Unit Value Volume

Foodstuffs 13.7 2.1 11.1

Consumer goods 12.6 2.5 9.6

Raw materials and semi-manufactures 35.2 2.5 32.2

Fuels 16.7 10.6 6.2

Capital goods 33.3 0.6 33.8

ALL COMMODITIES 24.1 2.2 21.4

End

37

Report on consumer price index for 1995 *****

The Annual Report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1995 has recently been published by the Census and Statistics Department.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the movements of the CPI(A), CPI(B), Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI in 1995.

Charts and tables showing movements of the CPIs by individual commodity/service components, and their contributions to the overall change in the indices are also presented in the report.

Apart from statistics on the CPIs, the report also contains a detailed explanation of the concepts and compilation method of the CPIs so as to help readers gain a better understanding of those issues.

The report in bilingual version is now on sale, at HK$34 a copy, at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, 66 Queensway, and the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries concerning this report can be directed to the Consumer Price Index Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6403.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

s million Time (bouts) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 2,080 0930 +718

Closing balance in the account 1,878 1000 +718

Change attributable to : 1100 +718

Money market activity +718 1200 +718

LAF today -920 1500 +718

1600 +718

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.1 *+0.1*11.4.96

38

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 5.26 2 years 2802 5.16 98.18 6.31

1 month 5.15 3 years 3901 5.57 97.65 6.61

3 months 5.19 5 years 5103 6.75 98.69 7.19

6 months 5.35 7 years 7302 6.02 92.78 7.51

12 months 5.70 5 years M502 7.30 100.02 7.43

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $13,927 million

Closed April 11, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Friday, April 12,1996

Contents Page

Government to study speech on right of abode carefully.............. 1

COMAC's jurisdiction widened............................................... 1

Shenzhen and Hong Kong hold IPR discussion................................. 2

Draft map for Sha Chau Marine Park gazetted................................ 3

Closure of Section 2 of Whitehead Detention Centre.................. 4

Inquiry into boating accident ordered...............................

New licensing examination for doctors...............................

Road network planned for West Kowloon............................... 6

Noise abatement measures for aided schools.......................... 8

Construction of access to Wan Chai Reclamation...................... 8

Dredging works for Stonecutters Island Naval Base................... 9

Construction of dolphins at A Kung Ngam............................. 10

Proposed construction of Siu Sai Wan footbridges.................... 11

Business receipts indices for service industries.................... 12

Ambulance personnel praised for saving lives........................ 16

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................ 17

1

Government to study speech on right of abode carefully ♦ * * * *

In response to press enquiries on the speech by the Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, Mr Lu Ping, today (Friday) on the right of abode for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region residents, a Government spokesman said the Government would study Director Lu's speech carefully.

"The speech underlines the complexities of this subject," he said.

"As we have said before, we need to have early discussion with Chinese experts on the precise arrangements to implement the assurance, given by Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, that those who have a right of abode in Hong Kong now will be able to retain it after 1997.

"It is important that expert discussions take place early, since the Immigration Department will have to implement whatever arrangements will be decided."

The spokesman added that early resolution of the "right of abode" issue would be important for the confidence of those w’ho were affected.

End

COMAC's jurisdiction widened

*****

The Housing Society, the Land Development Corporation, the Airport Authority and the Vocational Training Council have been brought within the jurisdiction of the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints (COMAC) by an amendment order published in the Gazette today (Friday).

A Government spokesman said that the four public bodies constitute the second batch of statutory bodies to be included under COMAC’s jurisdiction since June 1994 when the COMAC Ordinance was amended after review. ’’This is in line with the Administration’s policy to underline the public accountability of public bodies,” he said.

2

Seven government departments have also been brought within COMAC's jurisdiction. They are the General Office of the Government House, Civil Aid Services (department), Auxiliary Medical Services (department), the Secretariat of the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service, the Secretariat of the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service, the Official Languages Agency and the Civil Service Training and Development Institute.

Of these, the Official Languages Agency and the Civil Service Training and Development Institute have become independent agencies on April 1 this year. As a result of their new status, they needed to be listed separately in order to remain within the purview of COMAC.

"To enable COMAC to continue to deal with complaints against these new agencies, it is necessary to include them in Schedule 1 to the COMAC Ordinance," the spokesman said.

The other five newly included departments have little interface with the public. "As COMAC is the independent review body under the Code on Access to Information, and as the Code is to be extended throughout the Government by the end of this year, we consider that it is now necessary to bring them within COMAC's purview," the spokesman added.

End

Shenzhen and Hong Kong hold IPR discussion * * * * ♦

A seven-member delegation comprising representatives from the various agencies involved in intellectual property protection work in Shenzhen arrived in Hong Kong for two days of discussions with their Hong Kong counterparts yesterday (Thursday).

Following discussions with Intellectual Property Department and the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau of the Customs and Excise Department, and a visit to the Judiciary, the Shenzhen delegation and the Intellectual Property-Department and Customs and Excise Department issued the following joint statement:

3

’’Representatives of various agencies involved in intellectual property protection work in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone met with representatives of the Hong Kong Government Intellectual Property Department and Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau of the Customs and Excise Department on 11 and 12 April 1996.

”At the conclusion of the two days of discussions, both sides affirmed their high level of commitment to the protection of intellectual property in their respective jurisdictions.

"Both sides held detailed discussions on protection, enforcement and public education concerning intellectual property. They agreed to enhance communication and co-operation between administrative and enforcement agencies in Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

"After discussions, both sides agreed:

to exchange information on legal and enforcement aspects of intellectual property protection on a regular basis;

* to hold regular meetings twice a year, alternating between Hong Kong and Shenzhen;and

* to establish a single contact point in each place to facilitate co-operation and exchange of information."

End

Draft map for Sha Chau Marine Park gazetted *****

In accordance with the Marine Parks Ordinance, the Country and Marine Parks Authority (Authority) has prepared a draft map for the proposed marine park at Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau for the purpose of designation.

A notice was published in the gazette today (Friday) informing the public that the draft map is ready for public inspection free of charge for a period of 60 days.

4

The draft map is available for inspection by the public at five offices of the Land Registry; the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) on 12th floor of Canton Road Government Offices, 393 Canton Road, Kowloon; the Marine Department on 21st floor of Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central; and the Home Affairs Department's public enquiry service centres.

Any person may in writing request the Authority to provide him with further information relating to the proposed marine park which has not already been made available for inspection.

The draft map is also available for sale at $35 for each uncoloured copy from AFD, at Room 1452 of Canton Road Government Offices, 393 Canton Road, Kowloon.

Any person aggrieved by the draft map may within 60 days from the date of gazetting, send a written statement of his objection to the Authority, stating the nature of and reasons for the objection, and if the objection would be removed by an alteration to the draft map, any alteration proposed.

The proposed Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park is situated in the open waters of the western part of Hong Kong. It covers a sea area of about 1,200 hectares, excluding the land area of Sha Chau, Lung Kwu Chau and Pak Chau (Tree Island).

This is the part of the sea area in Hong Kong where Indo-Pacific Hump-backed Dolphins, Sousa chinensis (also commonly known as the Chinese While Dolphins), are most often found. The area also supports a variety of fish and other marine organisms.

End

Closure of Section 2 of Whitehead Detention Centre *****

A Government spokesman announced today (Friday) that Section 2 of the Whitehead Detention Centre would be closed tomorrow.

The Vietnamese migrants (VMs) have been asked to co-operate with camp management in leaving Section 2 voluntarily.

5

The bulk of the VMs will be moved to the High Island Detention Centre. A small number will be transferred to other sections of Whitehead.

A transfer exercise, if necessary, will take place tomorrow (Saturday) and will as usual be observed by independent monitors.

"This is a further step forward towards the closure of all our camps," a Government spokesman said.

End

Inquiry into boating accident ordered ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, has ordered a Local Marine Inquiry into the boating accident which occurred in Sai Kung yesterday (Thursday) evening.

A water-jet ski carrying a woman and a man collided with a pleasure vessel at Tsam Chuk Wan, Sai Kung about 6.30 pm yesterday. The woman died in the accident and the man was seriously injured.

In accordance with the powers granted under section 58 of the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance, Mr Dale appointed Marine Officer and Master Mariner, Mr Lau Ka-kui, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collision.

End

New licensing examination for doctors *****

The Medical Council of Hong Kong today (Friday) announced that the first cycle of its new Licensing Examination would be conducted in September 1996, two months after the completion of its present Licentiate Examination.

The Council spokesman explained that the intention was to provide an early opportunity for eligible candidates to attempt the new Licensing Examination so that the first batch of successful candidates who can pass all three parts of the new examination in 1996 and then satisfactorily complete 12 months of internship training may be qualified for registration with the Medical Council as medical practitioners in early 1998.

6

Invitation to apply for registration as a candidate of the Licensing Examination has been published in the press and applications will close on April 30. 1996.

Candidates may, upon verification as being qualified to sit the examination, apply to sit either or both of the "Examination in Professional Knowledge" and the "Proficiency Test in Medical English" in September 1996. but they will have to. pass both these two parts before proceeding to the "Clinical Examination" in November/December 1996.

The spokesman also pointed out that to tie in with the timing of the first Licensing Examination, the commencement date for the new legislations relating to medical registration and the licensing examination had since been re-scheduled to September 1. 1996 correspondingly.

That means those registered medical practitioners from the U.K. and certain Commonwealth countries (such as Australia and Singapore) who would be affected by the change in relevant legislation will have until August 31. 1996 to apply to the Medical Council of Hong Kong for direct registration with the support of all necessary documents.

End

Road network planned for West Kowloon

*****

The Territory Development Department is planning a complementary road network in West Kowloon, as part of the West Kowloon Reclamation project.

The road network is designed to cater for the traffic growth at the Western Harbour Crossing. West Kowloon Corridor and West Kowloon Expressway as well as future developments on the new reclamation area.

The proposed works involved the construction of Roads NR1 branches off from the Container Port Road to provide access to the adjoining developments, a roundabout at Road NR2 to cater for future road connections. Road Pl (A) portion northbound and Pl(B)(portion) northbound to link up the road being constructed by the West Kowloon Expressway project. Road NR11 to connect the existing Road D4 and Lai Hong Street, and a footbridge No.33 at the junction of the Roads SR7. D12A and Western Elevated Road.

7

Footpaths, retaining walls, ancillary drainage and other associated works will also be constructed.

During the construction period, appropriate traffic and pedestrian accesses will be maintained to minimise any inconvenience to the public.

A notice listing details of the proposed roadworks was gazetted today (Friday).

The related plan and scheme can be seen at the following offices:

* Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Central Western District Office, ground floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong;

* Kowloon West District Lands Office, 10th floor, Yau Ma Tei Car Park Building. 250 Shanghai Street, Kowloon;

* Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Kwai Tsing District Office, second floor, Kwai Hing Government Offices Building, 166-174 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Chung;

* Sham Shui Po District Office, sixth floor, 290 Un Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon; and

* Yau Tsim Mong District Office, sixth floor. Mong Kok Government Offices Building, 30 Luen Wan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon.

Any person objecting to the proposal should write to the Secretary for Transport, Central Government Offices, East Wing, second floor, Lower Albert Road, no later than June 11. describing his interest and the manner in which he will be affected.

End

8

Noise abatement measures for aided schools * * * * *

The Architectural Services Department is inviting contractors to participate in a prequalification exercise for carrying out noise abatement measure works in about 140 aided schools.

The project comprises design and installation of aluminium windows, airconditioners, exhaust fans, electrical wiring and associated builder's work to the affected classrooms, special rooms, staff rooms. New transformer rooms and switch rooms are also required.

Features of the project are the large number of schools affected, their diversity in geographic locations and noise abatement works to be carried out in rigid time constraint and completed in time so as not to disturb class operation.

Contractors on the Approved Contractors for Public Works List 1 in Group C for Building Works can apply for prequalification.

Interested parties may apply for prequalification documents from the Senior Property Services Manager, seventh floor, APB Centre, 9 Sung Ping Street, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon.

The deadline for submission of applications is noon on May 10, and tenders will be invited from the prequalified contractors in July.

End

Construction of access to Wan Chai Reclamation

*****

The Highways Department is inviting tenders from approved contractors for Public Works for the construction of the access to Wan Chai reclamation.

The works comprise extensions and improvements to two existing footbridges across Gloucester Road at Percival Street and Fleming Road.

Works are expected to commence in June for completion in November 1997.

9

Details of the tender invitation is published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

Sealed tenders must be clearly marked on the envelope, addressed to the Chairman, Central Tender Board, and placed in the Government Secretariat Tender Box in the lift lobby on the lower ground floor of the Central Government Offices, East Wing, Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong before noon, Friday, May 3, 1996.

Late submissions will not be accepted.

End

Dredging works for Stonecutters Island Naval Base

*****

The Government intends to carry out dredging works to the south of Stonecutters Island to provide a military anchorage area of about 695,000 square metres for four mooring buoys.

The anchorage area will replace the existing Royal Navy anchorage area near the former Tamar naval base and will be used by the Chinese Navy in future as part of the agreement on defence lands reached in the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group on June 30, 1994.

The work will commence in September 1996 for completion in April 1997.

The extent of the 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 sea-bed involved may submit a written objection to the Director of Lands on or before June 12, 1996.

Such notice of objection shall describe the interest, right or easement of the objector and the matter in which he alleges he will be affected.

10

The notice (in English and Chinese) together with related plans can be seen on notice boards posted near the site.

The plans can also 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) and at the Public Enquiry Service Centre, Kwai Tsing District Office, second floor, Kwai Hing Government Offices Building, 166-174 Hing l ong Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories.

End

Construction of dolphins at A Kung Ngam

*****

Approval has been granted for the construction of two dolphins in the Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter for the protection of fish boats mooring at the New Wholesale Fish Market at A Kung Ngam.

A total area of about 465 square metres of foreshore and seabed in two locations north of A Kung Ngam will be affected.

Works will commence later this month for completion in July.

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 seabed involved will be injuriously affected may submit a written claim for compensation to the Director of Lands before April 12, 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), and at the Eastern District Office, ground floor, Eastern Law Courts Building, 29 Tai On Street, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.

End

11

Proposed construction of Siu Sai Wan footbridges

*****

The Highways Department proposed to construct two covered footbridges in Siu Sai Wan to improve pedestrian crossing.

The proposed works include:

* Construction of a covered footbridge across Siu Sai Wan Road with ramps, staircases and connections to the existing Cheerful Garden and Fullview Garden;

* Construction of a covered footbridge across two new unnamed roads (Road 22/3 and Road 22/4) in Siu Sai Wan with access ramps and staircases; and

* Construction and re-construction of associated footways, drainage and landscaping works.

Details of the proposal is published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

A plan showing the proposed works can be inspected during normal office hours at:

* Public Enquiry Service Centre, the Central and Western District Office, ground floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road. Central. Hong Kong;

* District Lands Office, Hong Kong East, 19th floor, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. Hong Kong; and

* Eastern District Office, ground floor, Eastern Law Courts Building, 29 Tai On Street, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong.

Any person who wishes to object to the works or the use, or both, should write to the Secretary of Transport, second floor, East Wing, Central Government Offices, Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong not later than Tuesday, June 11,1996.

End

12

Business receipts indices for sendee industries * * * ♦ *

According to statistics released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department, business receipts in most of the service industries showed increases in value terms in 1995 over 1994. The transport and storage industries registered the fastest growth, both by 18%. The hotels and banking industries also grew by 17%.

The strong growth in the transport industry was mainly attributable to increase in business of companies providing cargo forwarding services, while that in the storage industry was related to a rapid increase in imports and re-exports.

In 1995, business receipts in the hotels industry went up significantly. The surge in the banking industry was mainly brought about by an increase in net interest income, evidenced by growth in total loans and advances placed.

Continued increases in business receipts were also registered in the following service industries : import/export (+15%); insurance (+14%); communications (+13%) and business services (+8%).

On the other hand, business receipts in the financing (except banking) industry went down, by 17% in value terms. The decrease was mainly due to marked declines in stock exchange turnover and sales of investment funds in 1995 compared with a year earlier.

Comparing the fourth quarter of 1995 with the same quarter of 1994, business receipts in the storage and banking industries registered strong growth, by 20% and 18% respectively in value terms.

Notable increases in business receipts were also registered in the following services industries: transport (+14%); hotels (+14%); insurance (+14%) and communications (+13%).

Concurrently, the import/export, business services and restaurants industries also grew moderately, by 8%, 7% and 6% respectively in value terms.

On the other hand, business receipts in the financing (except banking) industry dropped by 6%, reflecting the sluggish performance in the stock and capital markets. This however represented an improvement from the 23% decline in the preceding quarter.

13

Compared with the third quarter of 1995, and bearing in mind that this comparison may be affected by the seasonal factor, marked increases of 25% and 18% were recorded in the hotels and financing (except banking) industries in the fourth quarter.

Table 1 presents the provisional business receipts indices for service industries for the fourth quarter of 1995 and the revised indices for the third quarter of 1995, with the quarterly average of business receipts in 1992 taken as 100.

Also tabulated are comparisons of the results of the fourth quarter of 1995 w ith those of the third quarter of 1995 and the fourth quarter of 1994. Comparisons of total business receipts in 1995 with 1994 are also given.

Table 2 shows the time series of quarterly business receipts indices. Annual indices are also included.

Statistics on banking are obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary' Authority; and those on retail and restaurants businesses are obtained from two existing surveys regularly conducted by the Census and Statistics Department.

The report "Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries, Fourth Quarter 1995" is now on sale at $7 per copy at the Government Publications Centre of the Information Services Department, Queensway Government Offices, Low' Block, ground floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. It can also be purchased from the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries about the survey results may be directed to the Business Services Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2802 1244.

14

Table 1 : Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries for 3rd Quarter and 4(b Quarter JL^^.5

(Quarterly average of 1992 » 100) - 100)

Type of Service Industry 3rd Quarter 1995 (Revised figures) -AAE* (nn«?) 4th Quarter 1995 (Provisional figures) -AAH^ ^23^ 4th Quarter 1995 compared with 3rd Quarter 1995 -AA35#BC»* -AAE^3=^tt1£ 4th Quarter 1995 compared with 4th Quarter 1994 -AAS^ZS^ -AAES^ttlS 1 st to 4th Quarters 1995 compared with 1 st to 4th Quarters 1994 -AAE¥WWtt®

Points Points Points % Points % Points %

(«) (fe) (K)’ («) (K)

Wholesale ata 122.4 136.5 4 14.1 4 11.5 4 1.7 4 1.2 4 4.1 4 3.4

Import / Export 144.6 154.7 4 10.0 4 6.9 4 12.0 4 8.4 4 18.1 4 14.6

Retail(,) 133.4 138.8 # 4 53 4 4.0 4 5.5 4 4.1 4 5.9 4 4.7

Hotels 144.9 181.3 4 36.3 4 25.1 4 22.5 4 14.1 4 22.5 4 17.1

Restaurants (2) 116.4 117.5 4 1.1 4 0.9 4 6.3 4 5.7 4 5.2 4 4.7

Transport 157.4 154.2 - 3.2 - 2.0 4 19.3 4 14.3 4 22.4 4 18.2

Storage 137.4 132.2 - 5.2 - 3.8 4 21.9 4 19.9 4 19.0 4 17.9

Communications 156.5 168.8 4 12.3 4 7.9 4 19.1 4 12.7 4 18.1 4 13.3

Banking (3) SSfT 144.1 161.2 4 17.1 4 11.8 4 243 4 17.7 4 20.9 4 17.0

Financing (except banking) (4) 122.2 144.6 4 22.4 4 18.4 ;• - 9.6 - 6.2 - 29.2 - 17.2

Insurance 168.5 169.6 4 1.1 4 0.6 4 20.6 4 13.8 4 20.1 4 13.6

Business services 137.9 139.8 4 1.9 4 1.4 4 9.5 4 7.3 4 9.6 4 7.5

Notes g :

(1) Based on the survey results of the Monthly Survey of Retail Sales

(2) Based on the survey results of the Quarterly Survey of Restaurant Receipts and Purchases

(3) Business receipts data are obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority

(4) Excluding investment and holding companies

# Revised figure

Tabk-2..LTimc Series of Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries

End

(Quarterly Average of 1992 =100)

' - 100)

Wholesale Import/Export Retail Hotels Restaurants Transport

m

Compared with Compared with Compared wilh Compared with Compared with Compared with

preceding year/same preceding year/same preceding year/same preceding year/same preceding year/same preceding year/same

Year Quarter Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ego Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago

* Ififi Ifitt W±<f-/±^PI»tttft ifitt

\ % % % % • % %

1993 106.3 ♦ 6.3 108.8 ♦ 8.8 112.7 ♦ 12.7 112.5 4 12.5 106.1 4 6.1 II 1.8 4 11.8

1994 121.0 ♦ 13.8 123.7 ♦ 13.6 126.1 ♦ 11.9 131.1 4 16.5 110.1 4 3.7 123.1 4 10.1

1995 • 125.1 ♦ 3.4 141.7 ♦ 14.6 132.0 U ♦ 4.7 153.6 4 17.1 115.2 4 4.7 145.4 4 18.2

1993 4 114.5 N.A. 115.1 N.A. 120.5 N.A. * 137.0 N.A. 115.5 N.A. 114.7 N.A.

1994 1 108.4 ♦ 10.2 108.0 ♦ 12.0 123.4 ♦ 17.9 121.3 4 19.9 114.3 4 15.2 112.2 4 10.4

2 II 1.6 ♦ 8.5 113.5 ♦ 7.8 119.1 ♦ 10.7 124.1 4 18.0 105.1 4 7.0 II 1.0 4 1.3

3 129.2 ♦ 17.9 130 4 ♦ 10.2 128.8 4 9.0 120.2 4 12.5 109.6 - 1.7 134.2 4 10.7

4 134.8 ♦ 17.7 142.7 ♦ 24.0 133.2 ♦ 10.6 158.8 4 15.9 II 1.2 - 3.7 134.9 4 17.6

1995 1 123.9 ♦ 14.2 128.7 ♦ 19.1 131.8 ♦ 6.8 142.8 4 17.7 116.1 “ 4 1.6 128.6 4 14.6

2 H7.5 ♦ 5.3 138.8 ♦ 22.2 124.0 ♦ 4.2 145.3 4 17.1 110.8 4 5.4 141.5 4 27.4

3 122.4 - 5.3 144.6 ♦ li.O 133.4 ♦ 3.6 144.9 4 20.6 116.4 4 6.2 157.4 4 17.3

4 • 136.5 ♦ 1.2 154.7 ♦ 8.4 138.8 H ♦ 4.1 181.3 4 14.1 117.5 4 5.7 154.2 4 14.3

Storage Communications Banking Financing (except banking) Insurance Business services

itriili iiTiin CtW iWllflFltt

Compared with Compared wilh Compared wilh Compared with Compared wilh Compared with

Year Quarter preceding year/same preceding year /same preceding year/same preceding year/same preceding year/same preceding year/isme

Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago Indices quarter a year ago

if. $ ffltt W±*f-/±<gR$Lttf IliK W±<r-/±«f-W$fttf Ki» W±«t7±<flnlT4tn ifi»

% % % % % ' %

1993 98.5 - 13 118.8 ♦ 18.8 116.6 ♦ 16.6 148.7 4 48.7 119.3 4 19.3 117.3 ♦ 17.3

1994 106.6 ♦ 8.2 136.1 ♦ 14.5 122.5 ♦ 5.1 169.4 4 13.9 146.9 4 23.1 127.4 ♦ 8.7

1995 • 125.6 ♦ 17.9 1542 ♦ 13.3 143.4 ♦ 17.0 140.2 - 17.2 167.0 4 13.6 137.0 4 7.5

1993 4 95.6 N.A. 130.9 N.A. 123.5 N.A. 221.5 N.A. 122.5 N.A. 142.1 N.A.

1994 1 95.1 - 9.5 129.5 ♦ 20.6 116.9 ♦ 6.9 219.6 4 101.0 150.2 ♦ 30.7 125.6 4 33.8

2 106.1 ♦ 14.8 129.4 ♦ 11.9 115.4 ♦ 3.5 145.7 4 24.5 141.9 4 20 3 123.0 4 9.9

3 114.8 ♦ 13.6 135.7 ♦ 11.8 120.6 - l.l 157.9 4 7.6 146.4 4 20.3 130.8 4 7.9

4 110.3 ♦ 15.3 149.7 4 14.4 137.0 ♦ 10.9 154.3 - 30.3 149.1 4 21.7 130.3 - 8.3

1995 1 105.8 ♦ 11.2 141.9 ♦ 9.6 • 129.3 ♦ 10.6 154.7 - 29.6 169.4 4 12.8 146.5 4 16.6

2 127.0 ♦ 19.7 149.6 ♦ 15.7 138.8 4.20.4 139.2 - 4.5 160.3 4 12.9 123.8 4 0.7

3 137.4 ♦ 19.7 156.5 ♦ 15.3 144.1 4 19.5 122.2 - 22.6 168.5 4 15.1 137.9 4 5.4

4 ♦ 132.2 ♦ 199 168.8 ♦ 12.7 161.2 4 17.7 144.6 . 6.2 169.6 4 13.8 139.8 4 7.3

N.A. : Not available : Provisional figure U : Revised figure

I

- 16 -

Ambulance personnel praised for saving lives *****

Ten ambulance personnel were today (Friday) highly commended by their Chief Ambulance Officer, Mr Mak Kwai-pui, for their efficiency and professional skills displayed in saving the lives of two patients while on duty.

The ambulance personnel had successfully restored the heartbeat and respiration of the patients in the nick of time before arrival at the hospitals by using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation patients in separate rescue operations in recent months.

In recognition of their remarkable performances, they were presented with commendation by Mr Mak at a ceremony held at the Cheung Sha Wan Ambulance Depot which was also attended by the two patients to thank the personnel for saving their lives.

The ten ambulance personnel were: Ambulance Officer Law Kam-ching; Principal Ambulanceman Wan Chau-hung; Senior Ambulancemen Lo Ka-ming and Kwan Kai-yuen; Acting Senior Ambulanceman Yung Kwok-wa; Ambulancemen Kwong Man-wai, Li Siu-hung, Ngan Sum, Li Chung-fu and Yeung To-sang.

On the expansion of services to the community, Mr. Mak Kwai-pui disclosed the ceremony that since March 1, the Fire Services Department's paramedic ambulance fleet, manned by qualified Emergency Medical Assistants, had been expanded to 33.

"In the coming months, we will analyse in detail the relevant information gathered to look into the public's demand for paramedic ambulance service," he added.

End

17

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

Cumulative

Time change

$ million (hours) (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,878 0930 +924

Closing balance in the account 1,939 1000 +924

Change attributable to: 1100 +924

Money market activity +906 1200 +924

LAF today -845 1500 +926

1600 +906

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.1 *+0.0* 12.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills Term EF notes Price Yield

Term Yield Issue Coupon

1 week 5.12 2 years 2802 5.16 98.36 6.21

1 month 5.08 3 years 3901 5.57 97.87 6.52

3 months 5.15 5 years 5103 6.75 98.90 7.14

6 months 5.28 7 years 7302 6.02 93.04 7.46

12 months 5.58 5 years M502 7.30 100.24 7.31

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $19,420 million

Closed April 12, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Saturday, April 13, 1996

Contents Page No,

STI welcomes Kantor’s nomination as Commerce Secretary............. 1

Hong Kong names representatives to APEC Business Advisory Council.... 1

Weather of March........................................................ 2

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations.................... 5

Sunday, April 14,1996

Contents Pa^_N<L,

Transcript of the media session by the Governor.................... 6

Meeting between HK and Guangdong Customs in Shantau................ 8

Wealth of information built up in Government home page............. 9

AMS better equipped with electronics life-saving device............ 10

Building management seminar........................................ 12

Employment exhibition at City Hall................................. 13

Fresh water cut in Mong Kok........................................ 14

1

STI welcomes Kantor's nomination as Commerce Secretary *****

The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, today (Saturday) welcomed the nomination of Ambassador Mickey Kantor as the US Secretary for Commerce following the tragic death of Secretary Ron Brown.

She also welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky as the acting US Trade Representative.

Commenting on the announcements, Miss Yue said: "Both Ambassador Kantor and Ambassador Barshefsky know Hong Kong and China well. They should ensure maximum continuity of policy in our bilateral relations."

Hong Kong names representatives to APEC Business Advisory Council *****

The Government announced today (Saturday) the appointment of three Hong Kong representatives to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council.

They are Dr Victor Fung Kwok-king, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Asia Capital Limited; Mr Gordon Wu Ying-sheng, Managing Director of Hopewell Holdings Limited; and Mr Victor Lo Chung-wing, Chairman and Chief Executive of Gold Peak Industries (Holdings) Limited.

The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue said: "We aim to foster closer co-operation and involvement of the business sector in APEC activities."

"With their rich business experience, Dr Fung, Mr Wu and Mr Lo will definitely make significant contributions to this Council."

Last November, APEC decided to establish a Business Advisory Council to provide insight and counsel to APEC. The Council has two main functions : to advise on the implementation of the Osaka Action Agenda adopted by APEC to achieve free trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, as well as on other business priorities; and to respond to APEC's requests for advice on business-related issues.

The Council will convene its inaugural meeting in June 1996, and will report its work to APEC Economic Leaders and Ministers.

End

2

Weather of March ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

March 1996 was slightly warmer than normal, the monthly mean temperature of 19.7 degrees was 1.2 degrees above the normal figure.

There was rain everyday from March 9 till the end of the month, and the total rainfall for the month amounted to 83.1 millimetres, 16.2 millimetres above normal. The hourly rainfall recorded between 8 and 9 a.m. on March 29 reached 37.8 millimetres, the fourth highest for March. However, the accumulated rainfall since January 1, 111.6 millimetres, was still 19 per cent below the normal figure for the same period.

Fine weather prevailed during the first seven days of the month. As winds became light and variable on March 7, coastal fog occurred on the early hours the next day. A high-speed catamaran collided with a tug boat off Shek Kwu Chau that morning injuring four people.

An easterly surge of the winter monsoon arrived early on March 9. Winds strengthened and the weather turned cloudy with light rain patches. A further replenishment of the winter monsoon brought northerly winds that evening and temperatures fell to 10.8 degrees the next morning, the lowest for the month. It remained cool and overcast till March 13.

A warm southerly airstream replaced the northeasterly on the evening of March J4. It persisted for the next four days and brought the temperatures up to 28.5 degrees, the highest in the month, on March 17. Coastal fog occurred that evening. This was quickly cleared by an easterly surge of the winter monsoon the next day. Temperatures fell to 16.4 degrees on the morning of March 19 from a maximum of 26.2 degrees the previous day and there was almost continuous light rain for the next couple of days.

Coastal fog returned on March 20 and continued up to March 22. In particular, the eastern part of the harbour was also affected by fog on the morning of March 22 and visibilities at the airport fell to 400 metres. Air and sea traffic were affected.

The arrival of a fresh easterly airstream brought brighter weather to the territory on March 24 and 25. Winds moderated#on March 24 but freshened again from the east on March 26. A scaffolding collapsed in Tsuen Wan damaging two buses and injuring two passengers.

3

An active trough approached from the northwest on March 29. Thunderstorms and heavy downpour associated with an intense rainband swept across the territory that morning. More than 100 shops were Hooded in Mong Kok and air traffic was once again affected. Southerly airstream took over again on March 30 and the weather remained cloudy with some light rain patches until the end of the month.

Only one tropical cyclone occurred in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea in the month. Details of the issuance/hoisting and cancellalion/lowering of various wamings/signals in the month arc summarised in Table 1.1. Monthly meteorological figures and departures from normal of February are tabulated in fable 1.2.

Table 1.1 Warnings and signals in March 1996

Warnings / Signals

Effective date and time

Flood Warning

29 Mar 0755 -29 Mar 1100

Thunderstorm Warning

29 Mar 0710 - 29 Mar 1110

Fire Danger Warnings

Yellow Red Yellow 1 Mar 0910 - 2 Mar 0600 2 Mar 0600 - 3 Mar 0600 3 Mar 0600 - 4 Mar 0600

Yellow 4 Mar 1115 - 6 Mar 0800

Gas Heater Alerts

9 Mar 1630- 11 Mar 1635

12 Mar 1630- 13 Mar 0600

4

Table 1.2 Figures and Departures from Normal-March 1996

Total Bright Sunshine 104.9 hours; 8.5 hours above normal

Mean Daily Global Solar Radiation 10.41 MJ/SQM : 0.83 MJ/SQM below normal

Total Rainfall 83.1 mm ; 16.2 mm above normal

Mean Cloud Amount 75% ; 1% below normal

Mean Relative Humidity 83% ; 2% above normal

Mean Daily Maximum Temperature 22.2 Degrees Celsius; 0.9 Degree Celsius above normal

Mean Air Temperature 19.7 Degrees Celsius; 1.2 Degrees Celsius above normal

Mean Daily Minimum Temperature 17.6 Degrees Celsius; 1.1 Degrees Celsius above normal

Mean Dew Point 16.6 Degrees Celsius; 1.6 Degrees Celsius above normal

Total Evaporation 70.7 mm ; 21.5 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

5

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ Million Time (Hours) Cumulative Change ($ Million)

Opening Balance in the account 1.939 09:30 +795

Closing Balance in the account 1.759 10:00 +795

Change Attributable to: 11:00 +795

Money Market Activity +795 11:30 +795

La f Today -975

LafRate 4% Bid/6% Offer TWI 124.1 *+0.0* 13.4.96

End

6

Transcript of the media session by the Governor * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, at the Airport on his return from London this (Sunday) afternoon:

Governor: Good afternoon, nice to be back in Hong Kong. I've had a good and useful visit to the United Kingdom. I had valuable discussions with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and two meetings with the Governor of the Bank of England, mostly to discuss the strength of the Hong Kong economy and the guarantees of Hong Kong’s autonomy in fiscal, economic and trading matters after 1997 and as you know, I made a number of speeches and had meetings with officials. There was one issue which caused a good deal of interest and which I know has been debated over the last few days in Hong Kong. And that was the whole question of right of abode which has been given a particular point in view of the decisions taken by the United Kingdom government about visa-free access for SAR passport holders. We've been studying both here and in London Director Lu's speech on the issue with considerable interest. I am bound to say we remain slightly puzzled as to why it's that this issue can't simply be resolved by a simple declaration of intent, but we obviously want to get into discussions with Chinese officials as soon as possible about what exactly they're proposing, because there are clearly quite a lot of questions which are unanswered. There are a lot of difficulties of implementation which I think we foresee, and many of the questions which are going to be asked by Hong Kong families including those who aren't at present in Hong Kong, are not questions that we can at present answer. So the sooner we can get into detailed discussions with Chinese officials the better and that frankly has been our position since last January when Mr Qian Qichen gave his undertaking to the British Foreign Secretary Malcom Rifkind during their meeting in Peking. I'd like to add my pleasure at the announcement we've heard from the courts in the Philippines about the imminent release of Mr Au and Mr Wong. I've asked the British Embassy in the Philippines to establish exactly when they are going to leave prison and I'll be writing urgently to President Ramos tomorrow, thanking him for the decision taken by the courts but just ask him for confirmation that it will be implemented as rapidly as possible, because 1 know that everybody will want to see Mr Au and Mr Wong home in Hong Kong as soon as we can get them here. Many of us have been involved in the effort to get them back to Hong Kong. And I am delighted that if it's going to end this satisfactory as now seems to be the case. Any questions?

Question: How do you work on the demonstration conflicts between the Police and demonstrators outside NCNA and the Grand Hyatt Hotel today?

7

Governor: I'll be answering questions on a number of subjects in the Legislative Council on Thursday, including questions on the handling of demonstrations here in Hong Kong which is of course one of the most peaceful, law-abiding, politically and socially stable places anywhere in the world. But perhaps I can make a couple of general observations about demonstrations and the showing of dissent in the context of the dialogue which appears to be taking place between the preparatory committee and Chinese officials and at least some representatives of opinion in Hong Kong. Clearly I think all of us believe that a dialogued discussion takes place best if everybody is involved in that dialogue and if everybody behaves in a rational and quiet and civilised way. That's my view, whoever's involved in the discussion and I think it's always better to try to win arguments than take your shirt off. I think that it always has more impact on people if you win a debate rather than feel that you have to employ more provocative or more demonstrative measures. We look in a free society and people have the freedom to set out their opinions in a peaceful way. I was pleased that some people have now been allowed to set out their views for the preparatory committee and for Chinese officials who's views may not accord precisely with those of Chinese officials. But I still think it's worrying that those who represent up to 70 per cent of opinion in Hong Kong are being excluded from the debate. 1 just repeat that I think that there are lessons for both sides. I think for Chinese officials, I think, one lesson is that this is a free and open society. We tolerate expressions of all sorts of opinion and it's a sign of strength and a sign of self-confidence it you try to embrace all shades of opinion in the debate and the message I suppose for people in Hong Kong is to make it clear to Chinese officials and to the world outside that we know how to conduct a debate on very important matters in a civilised way and don't need to break the law or flirt with breaking the law.

Question: What do you think about Raymond Ch’icn's comment on the provisional legislature ...?

Governor: I answered questions on that in London. You may not have seen the answers that I gave. Nobody is in any doubt the Government's view. Nobody is in any doubt about the Legislative Council's view. Nobody is in any doubt about British Government’s view. I think the community's view on the so called provisional legislature is also pretty clear. I've always taken a view that the Executive Council should reflect a broad sway of opinion in the community. I'd deliberately chosen an Executive Council which represents all shades of opinion, as intelligently and articulately as possible. And I am certainly not going to say that I can only work with an Executive Council which is a rubber stamp. I am certainly not going to try to exclude discussion and debate within the Executive Council when all of us are calling for wider discussion and debate with Chinese officials. Raymond Ch'ien is an extremely intelligent man. He's a very good and effective businessman and he’s been a very considerable contributor to the Executive Council over the last four years and I am certainly not going to insist that he or anybody else takes a Trappist vow of silence for the next year. But he knows and other members of the Executive Council know exactly what the views of the Government are.

8

Question:... The right of abode question. Is that on the agenda for discussion between ...?

Governor : It will cetainly be one of the issues which they will discuss. One of the important issues that they’ll discuss. I’ve seen lots of speculation about what they may or may not talk about. I can sssure that one very important issue for the British Foreign Secretary will be a follow-up the discussion that they had last January on right of abode, particularly in view of the British Government’s subsequent decision.

End

Meeting between HK and Guangdong Customs in Shantau ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A seven-member delegation of Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department led by Deputy Commissioner Li Shu-fai this (Sunday) morning left for Shantou, Guangdong to attend the 14th Annual Review on Customs Liaison Arrangements between the Hong Kong and Guangdong Customs.

The meeting to be held between April 15-19 is to review the current cooperative arrangements and to develop practical ways to enhance co-operation between the two customs authorities.

Both sides will discuss issues of mutual interest including drug trafficking, smuggling of general items and pirated goods between Hong Kong and China.

After the meeting, the Hong Kong delegation will travel to Fujian and visit the Customs set-ups and facilities there. The delegation will return to Hong Kong on Saturday (April 20).

End

9

Wealth of information built up in Government home page *****

A wealth of information on Government activities and services available to the public is gradually being built up on the Internet, according to Deputy Director of Information Services (Overseas) Mr Robin Gill.

This information can be found through accessing the Government home page known as the Government Information Centre (GIC).

Since the Government launched its GIC in December 1995, three policy branches, 15 government departments and agencies have set up their own home pages. Included is customised information unique to the branches and departments, specially arranged and edited for Internet purposes.

A special home page to promote the awareness of the AIDs disease was also launched in January by the AIDs Unit of the Department of Health.

Other government departments are also taking an active approach in making use of the Internet and at least 15 government agencies are preparing for the launch of their own home pages over the next few months.

In order to allow users to obtain general information on the Internet about departments which have not yet developed their own home pages, fact sheets related to the work of some of these departments have been put under the section "government and related information" within the GIC.

Press releases in both English and Chinese are now put on the GIC on a daily basis.

Mr Gill noted that the number of people accessing the GIC is increasing steadily. Since its launch, the site has been accessed on over 72,000 occasions.

The daily average of visitors to the site has increased from 521 in December 1995 to 765 in March 1996.

The number of visitors doubled on Budget Day to 1,168 and rose to 1,276 the following day as users were keen to access first-hand government information from the Internet about the Budget speech.

10

Mr Gill said that departments were designing their home pages with their "customers" requirements and interests very much to the fore. The Government Supplies Department's home page contains up-to-date information ^about tenders. The Royal Observatory, which launched its home page on March 23, has quickly attracted users with its frequently updated weather information and forecasts. The Labour Department's home page has also included considerable information on relevant legislation and its labour relations activities.

Other departments which are making good use of the Internet include the Marine Department, whose page has won awards from Internet users for being the maritime site of the week, the Civil Service Branch, which advertises civil service vacancies, and the Census and Statistics Department, which provides users with up-to-date statistical information about Hong Kong.

Mr Gill accepts that it will take some time before all government departments and agencies have set up their own home pages. But he is pleased with the positive start made and confirmed that the Information Services Department would monitor Government sites so as to ensure that the material is kept up-to-date and that high standards of accuracy and presentation are maintained.

Members of the public who would like more information on what is at present available on the Government home page are welcome to send e-mail enquiries to oprs@isd.gcn.gov.hk. The government home page can be accessed at http://www.info.gov.hk.

End

AMS better equipped with electronics life-saving device *****

The paramedic role of the Auxiliary Medical Services (AMS) in serving the community has recently been given a welcome boost with the purchase of 12 sets of automated external defibrillators (AED), thanks to a $1.08 million donation from the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

AED, with a size slightly bigger than a portable computer, is an electronic lifesaving device to provide first aid for people suffering from cardiac arrests.

Designed with the aid of latest computer technology, the device is a paramedic equipment which can generate electric-shock and monitor irregular heartbeat. It has been developed to increase the survival rate of cardiac arrest cases.

’’Complementary to the basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) technique, AEDs increase the chance of recovery of those who suffer from cardiac arrests due to cases such as heart attacks, drowning or electric shocks,” said Mr Chan Shing-wah, Operations and Training Officer of AMS.

"AEDs will help analyse the state of the heart. No electric shock will be needed if the heart is in normal sound rhythm. However, if ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardiac (abnormal sound rhythm) of the heart is detected, this new device will instruct medical staff that an electric-shock is required and give them indication to administer the operation."

"By using its electric charge to disrupt the irregular heartbeat (fibrillation) of the patients, the AED allows the heart's natural electrical activities to function correctly and helps it return to normal heartbeat.

"After providing the necessary medical treatment to the injured on the spot, AMS members will, with no delay, convey the casualties to hospitals," added Mr Chan.

"Speedy paramedic treatment on-the-spot to the injured, particularly for those suffering from heart problem, is very important to eliminate the chance of complication. In acute cases, it could be a matter of life and death as every minute counts."

At present, in addition to the 12 AEDs newly-purchased, AMS owns a total of 16 sets of AEDs.

Mr Chan noted that with the new acquisition, AED has become a standard equipment on all the AMS ambulances. Four sets have been assigned to the Emergency Response Task Force which provides on-the-spot paramedic service to the public round-the-clock.

Very shortly, all the six AMS motor-cycles will be modified to equip with such device for providing first-aid coverage for community events like the Walks for Million, Fireworks Display and for rendering better first-aid services to picnickers at country parks during weekends and public holidays.

12

To make efficient use of the new equipment, intensive training on defibrillation and the operation of the equipment has been stepped up.

Mr Chan noted that since 1993, after the initial purchase by AMS of four sets of AED, 165 AMS members have attended the one-day provider courses on AED jointly organised by the Hong Kong Society for Medicine and Surgery and the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

AMS has now a force of 218 volunteer members who have been trained and are proficient in the operation of such device, including 17 qualified instructors.

End

Building management seminar

*****

Building management professionals, flat owners, office-bearers of owners' corporations and mutual aid committees as well as other interested people are invited to take part in a seminar on May 18 to promote effective building management.

Under the theme of "Participation and Commitment", the Building Management Seminar '96 will be jointly organised by the Home Affairs Department (HAD) and the Housing Department at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

An HAD spokesman said today (Sunday) that the seminar will give participants an opportunity to acquire a good working knowledge of effective building management and to share their own experiences with others.

Topics to be covered include the contracting out of 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.

Speakers will include representatives of the Housing Department, the Police, the Hong Kong Association of Property Management Co. Ltd., an account and a solicitor.

13

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.

Admission is free. Seating is on a first-come-first-scrved basis. Application forms are now available at district offices.

Completed forms should be returned to the HAD headquarters, 29th floor, Southom Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai before April 30.

Enquiries can be made on 2835 1496.

End

Employment exhibition at City Hall *****

An ’’Employment Information Post” exhibition will be held at the Hong Kong City Hall on Wednesday (April 17) to help job-seekers find jobs and assist employers to recruit suitable staff.

Job-seekers can obtain the latest information on vacancies and retraining courses direct from representatives of the participating organisations.

A total of 23 employers from different trades including manufacturing, catering, department store, tourism, retail, property management, trade and community services as well as three retraining institutes will take part in the event.

Some 700 vacancies will be provided for application at the venue. Job interviews can be arranged by respective employers on the spot or on a later date.

Talks will also be given by retraining institutes and employers on their retraining courses and the most recent information on the labour market.

Visitors will be briefed on employment services being provided by the Labour Department's Job Matching Programme and they can register for the services on the spot.

14

The event is jointly organised by the Labour Department, the Employees Retraining Board, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

All Hong Kong residents looking for jobs are welcome to visit the Employment Information Post from 11 am to 6 pm at the Exhibition Hall, Hong Kong City Hall, Lower Block, Central. Admission is free.

End

Fresh water cut in Mong Kok ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Fresh water cut to some premises in Mong Kok will be temporarily suspended from 11 pm on Wednesday (April 17) to 6 am the following day for detection work on watermains to be carried out.

All premises in the area bounded by Lai Chi Kok Road, Shanghai Street, Mong Kok Road, Nathan Road and Prince Edward Road West including Concourse Hotel will be affected.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Monday, April 15, 1996

Contents Page No.

Consultation on mortgage corporation proposal............................... 1

Environmental achievements and challenges................................... 2

Consultations with Turkey on textiles restrictions.......................... 4

Four language projects awarded funding...................................... 6

Latest findings on cigarette tar and nicotine yields...................

Air quality report for March................................................ 8

Briefing sessions on Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme............................ 9

Monitors’ report submitted to CS........................................... 10

External trade figures for February........................................ 10

Agricultural study tour departs for Australia tomorrow..................... 20

Special definitive stamp series to be issued........................... 21

11th issue of three-year Exchange Fund Notes............................... 22

Salt water cut in Tai Po................................................... 23

Water storage figure....................................................... 24

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations....................... 24

1

Consultation on mortgage corporation proposal *****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has issued a consultation paper on the mortgage corporation proposal today (Monday).

A seven-month study conducted by the HKMA, with the consultancy support from the US Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), concluded that the setting up of a mortgage corporation in Hong Kong is both feasible and beneficial. The mortgage corporation is also expected to be profitable in the long term.

’’The mortgage corporation will play a strategic role in providing structural enhancement to the present mechanism of home financing. It will intermediate longterm savings such as insurance and pension funds to meet the rising demand for longterm mortgages. The corporation will assist in promoting home ownership, improving banking and monetary stability and facilitating the development of the local debt market," said Mr Joseph Yam, Chief Executive of HKMA.

Quoting from the Fannie Mae consultants, the consultation paper says that "Hong Kong is in an enviable position compared to many other economies as the development of the secondary mortgage market is driven by a long-term vision, not in reaction to a crisis in the housing market or credit system".

In the consultation paper, the HKMA proposes to set up a mortgage corporation along the following lines :

*

(i) Ownership : Initially 100% owned by Government through the Exchange Fund

(ii) Capital base : HK$1 billion

(iii) Structure of the corporation : Limited company registered under the Companies Ordinance, with participation from both the public and private sectors on the Board of Directors.

(iv) Business strategy : Business scope to be expanded in phases, starting with the purchase of mortgage loans for retained portfolio, followed by the issue of mortgage-backed securities.

The paper points out that initial government ownership will facilitate the acceptance of the mortgage corporation by the market. When the corporation has established a track record of profitability to command market confidence, a broadening of the ownership structure will be considered.

2

’’The use of the Exchange Fund is appropriate as the mortgage corporation will have significant contribution to banking and monetary stability, which is consistent with section 3(1 A) of the Exchange Fund Ordinance," Mr Yam said.

The paper also analyses in detail the potential risks to which the mortgage corporation may be exposed. They include credit risk, interest rate risk, prepayment risk and operational risk.

The HKMA and the Fannie Mae consultants believe that such risks can be effectively managed by introducing prudent risk management mechanism and measures. Stress tests have been conducted to assess the ability of the mortgage corporation to withstand high volatility in property prices and interest rates.

The analysis suggests that with a capital base of I IKS 1 billion, a capital-asset ratio of 5% and prudent loan purchasing standards, the corporation should be able to cope with extremely adverse market conditions.

In response to concerns about possible competition with the banking sector, the paper points out that the mortgage corporation will not be involved in loan origination business. It will operate only in the secondary mortgage market, and all the transactions between the mortgage corporation and the authorised institutions will be conducted on a voluntary basis.

The consultation exercise on the mortgage corporation proposal is expected to take about two months. The HKMA will seek comments from various industry associations in the banking, capital market and other relevant fields. In the light of the outcome of the consultation exercise, the HKMA will decide on whether it should proceed to set up the mortgage corporation.

End

Environmental achievements and challenges *****

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) enters this month its 10th year of serving the community and protecting the environment.

Speaking at the Department's 10th anniversary cocktail reception, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, said the EPD, looking back on a momentous decade, could certainly enumerate many significant achievements.

3

Among them are the introduction of comprehensive pollution control programmes and the policy backing for them contained in the 1989 White Paper on the Environment.

"All these programmes are now well underway. The Third White Paper Review reported that of the 132 targets we set for ourselves, we either have achieved or are well on our way to achieving 90 per cent of them," he said.

Looking ahead, Mr Leung said the EPD would have to champion an even more impossible mission in the years to come as the community had increasing expectations for a higher quality of life, both in economic and environmental terms.

"Finding a balance which meets these expectations in a sustainable manner will be a great challenge," he said.

The Department was already under pressure to tackle new and more challenging issues for promoting environmental sustainability - the development of waste reduction initiatives, strengthening of environmental impact assessment requirements, reduction in air pollution from diesel vehicles and promotion of an improved community environmental ethic, he said.

"I am confident that the department will face up to its future challenges bravely and will once again turn an impossible task into one to be proud of." he said.

Mr Leung paid tribute also to the green groups for their contributions on the environmental front.

He said he believed full co-operation and understanding between the green groups and the Government would be the more effective way to better achieving environmental goals in future, particularly in the area of sustainable development.

"I will ensure that the Government will listen carefully to the views of the green groups and involve them in our planning and discussion process.

"I would like to see that our environmental work and achievements are not that of Government alone, but of the entire community of Hong Kong," Mr Leung said.

Also speaking at the cocktail reception, the Director of Environmental Protection, Dr Stuart Reed, said he was optimistic that Hong Kong would be in a position to tackle the environmental challenges ahead because of the development of a substantial body of environmental professionals and technicians, both in the Government and the private sector, over the past 20 years.

4

Noting that they are now supported by a wide range of well-founded institutions and associations, Dr Reed said: ’’These all represent an assurance of continuing lively professional activity and development in the environment field."

Turning to cross-border pollution problems, Dr Reed said that to be able to tackle this type of problem, Hong Kong would have to develop close links and confidence between environmental professionals, and others working in the field, in the various geographical areas concerned.

"I think again we can be optimistic in facing problems caused by cross-border pollution, which comes from both directions, because we have established such an excellent working relationship with the environmental authorities in both Guangdong and Shenzhen," he said.

End

Consultations with Turkey on textiles restrictions *****

Hong Kong will hold two-day consultations with Turkey in Geneva tomorrow (Tuesday) and on Wednesday over the imposition of unilateral quantitative restrictions by Turkey on the imports of certain textiles and clothing products from Hong Kong, the Trade Department announced today (Monday).

"The Hong Kong Government considers that the unilateral quantitative restrictions imposed by Turkey are inconsistent with the principles of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GAIT) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC)," said the Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mrs Rebecca Lai, who will lead the 1 long Kong delegation to the consultations.

"While taking the opportunity of the consultations to seek clarification from Turkey on the legal and factual bases for such quantitative restrictions against textiles and clothing products from Hong Kong, we would urge Turkey to rescind its unilateral action and to explore other alternatives which are consistent with the GATT and the ATC."

Mrs Lai said important principles were at stake in this case although the volume of Hong Kong trade affected was small.

5

"The objective of the ATC which came into force last year is to integrate trade in textiles into the full discipline of the GATT over a period of ten years starting from 1995. The Agreement was reached only after long and protracted negotiations among the parties involved," she said.

"It represents a commitment by the signatories to bring international textiles trade back into the fold of the GATT. It is therefore of the utmost importance that Hong Kong should guard its access rights to the Turkish market under the relevant GATT/WTO provisions vigorously."

Other members of the Hong Kong delegation include the Assistant Director-General of Trade, Miss Emma Lau, and officers from the Trade Department and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices in Geneva and Brussels.

Hong Kong was first approached by Turkey in mid-August last year on entering into an agreement regarding the establishment of quantitative restrictions on export of certain textiles and clothing products from Hong Kong as from January 1 this year.

According to the Turkish authorities, quantitative restrictions arc necessary as Turkey has to align its textiles import regime with that of the European Union (EU) consequent upon the formation of the EU/Turkey Customs Union.

Hong Kong formally rejected the Turkish proposal in September last year as the proposal is unacceptable on grounds of principle. Instead, the Turkish authorities were urged to explore other alternative proposals which are consistent with the GA IT and the ATC.

As from January 1 this year, Turkey has implemented quantitative restrictions on imports of textiles from 25 suppliers including Hong Kong, unilaterally and without prior notification to the affected parties concerned.

Hong Kong's domestic exports of textiles and clothing products to Turkey is very small and has been declining in recent years. The volume of exports dropped from $61 million in 1991 to $13 million and $12 million in 1994 and 1995 respectively, roughly equivalent to 0.01 percent of Hong Kong's total domestic exports of textiles and clothing products to the world in 1995. The major item of exports was cotton woven fabrics.

End

6

Four language projects awarded funding *****

The Director of Education and Trustee of the l anguage Fund. Mrs Helen C 1’ Lai Yu, today (Monday) approved funds totalling $1.93 million for four language improvement projects in the second round of the Fund's third allocation exercise.

The projects were recommended by the Language Fund Advisory Committee after careful scrutiny of 11 applications.

The four successful projects aim at improving the language proficiency of students and members of the public. One is a Chinese language project, two I nglish language projects and one cross language project.

One of the projects is for the development of computer software in Cantonese to enhance language learning ability and communication skills for those with communication difficulties or with physical and mental handicap.

"The four projects combine research, reading programmes and computer software development. They should help raise language proficiency and improve motivation for language learning at the school/community level." Mrs Yu said.

Seven applications in this round of the allocation exercise did not receive support from the Language Fund Advisory Committee mainly because their objectives were not compatible with the aim of the Language Fund, the effectiveness of the project was in doubt, cost effectiveness was low or the project duplicated earlier or existing efforts.

The projects supported by the Language Lund now total 74. amounting to $97.08 million.

"We welcome fresh ideas and proposals." Mrs Yu said.

"All applications to the Language Fund are assessed by the Language Fund Advisory Committee on the same criteria: the feasibility, relevance, urgency, direct benefits and the duration of the project, the number of people who benefit from it and its cost-effectiveness.

"In addition, the committee also considers the track record of the personnel involved in the project as well as the provision for evaluation and financial accountability.

7

"Generally, the committee must be satisfied that the proposed project meets the objectives of the Language Fund," she added.

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

Latest findings on cigarette tar and nicotine yields *****

The Government’s latest Review of far and Nicotine Yields of Cigarettes has shown that the average tar and nicotine yields of the 105 best-selling cigarettes in Hong Kong in 1995 were 13.1 milligrams (mg) and 0.92 mg per cigarette respectively.

They were similar to the previous year's findings of 13.2 mg and 0.93 mg. a spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch said today (Monday).

According to the review. 23 brands of cigarettes were in the LOW TAR group (0 to 9 mg/cigarette), 31 brands in the LOW TO MIDDLE TAR group (10 to 14 mg/cigarette), 43 brands in the MIDDLE TAR (15 to 17 mg/cigarette) group and eight brands in the HIGH TAR group (18 to 20 mg/cigarette).

All 105 brands of cigarettes carried on their packets and cartons a tar group designation as claimed by their manufacturers. However. 14 brands were found to have been labelled with tar groups inconsistent with the test findings with six of them being under-reported and eight over-reported.

"Manufacturers may continue to sell the cigarettes using (he previous designation for a period of 12 months." he said.

Under the current legislation, if the determination of the Government Chemist for any brand of cigarettes differs by not more than one mg from the previous determination and has the effect of placing the cigarettes in a tar group other than that to which they would have belonged, the brand may continue to use its previous designation subject to the Director of Health's written approval.

8

The spokesman said that the Government is now proposing to amend the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance to lower the maximum permissible level of tar in cigarettes so as to reduce smokers' exposure to this harmful substance.

"We also propose to require the tar content in milligrams to be shown on cigarette packets and in advertisements so that the smokers are better informed." he added.

End

Air quality report for March *****

The Environmental Protection Department today (Monday) released air quality information for March 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/Western 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.

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 March, there was no exceedance of the relevant Air Quality Objective (AQO) values at any of three stations. And as usual, the Mong Kok station recorded the highest concentrations of all measured pollutants.

1 1 > , • , I

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.

9

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

Briefing sessions on Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme *****

The Education Department will hold three briefing sessions to explain the details of the Kindergarten Subsidy Scheme (KSS) this month.

They will be held at Hong Kong Teachers' Centre, Rooms G01 and G02 at 4 Pak Fuk Road. North Point, Hong Kong from April 17 to April 19.

The first session is organised for kindergartens located on Hong Kong Island and in the New Territories West while the second and the third sessions are for those in the New Territories and in Kowloon respectively.

Kindergartens arc invited to send representatives to attend the briefing sessions.

"The aims of KSS are to improve the quality of kindergarten education and to minimise the impact of fee increases on parents as a result of Government's new regulatory requirements," Senior Education Officer, Chan Chi-tak, said today (Monday).

He pointed out that to be eligible for joining the scheme in the 1996-97 school year, a kindergarten must be charging school fee at a level not higher than $11,700 per pupil per annum for a half-day session in the 1995-96 school year.

"The rate of subsidy will be $790 per pupil per annum," he added.

10

Mr Chan reminded kindergartens to submit their applications for joining the Scheme in the 1996-97 school year to the respective District Education Officers on or before May 10 (Friday).

Enquiry about the briefing sessions should be directed to the respective District Education Officers.

End

Monitors’ report submitted to CS

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the transfer of Vietnamese migrants from Section 2 of the Whitehead Detention Centre to the High Island Detention Centre last Saturday (April 13) have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary today (Monday).

The four monitors comprised two non-official Justices of the Peace, Professor Hsu Bay-sung and Mr Fan Kam-ping; and representatives from two non-governmental organisations, Mr Christopher Stokes from Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mr John Sayer from Oxfam.

End

External trade figures for February * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Census and Statistics Department today (Monday) released detailed statistics on external trade with breakdown by country/territory and commodity for February.

The value of re-exports increased by 8.9% over a year earlier to $76.2 billion in February 1996.

Comparing with the same month last year, increases were recorded in the value of re-exports to Japan (+55%), France (+44%), the United Kingdom (+43%), Germany (+30%), the Netherlands (+28%), the United States (+15%) and Singapore (+2.9%).

However, the value of re-exports to Taiwan, China and South Korea decreased by 12%, 12% and 5.1% respectively.

11

Changes in the value of Hong Kong’s re-exports to ten main destinations are shown in Table 1.

As the external trade figures usually display greater volatility in the first two months of the year owing to effects of the Lunar New Year Holidays, it is more meaningful to make comparisons for January and February combined.

The value of re-exports in the first two months of 1996 was $177.4 billion, 16% higher than that in 1995.

Comparing the first two months of 1996 with the same period in 1995, the value of re-exports to all main destinations showed increases of various magnitudes : Japan (+44%), France (+29%), the United Kingdom (+28%), Germany (+21%), the Netherlands (+20%), China (+16%), Singapore (+12%), Taiwan (+5.3%), the United States (+4.8%) and South Korea (+3.0%).

Table 2 shows changes in the value of re-exports of ten principal commodity divisions.

Comparing the first two months 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 clothing (by $3.5 billion or 27%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $2.7 billion or 17%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $2.7 billion or 38%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $2.4 billion or 14%); footwear (by $1.5 billion or 15%); and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $1.4 billion or 20%).

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 $951 million or 5.2%).

The value of domestic exports decreased by 3.9% over a year earlier to $14.2 billion in February 1996.

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, decreases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to China (-22%), Singapore (-22%) and Japan (-0.9%).

However, increases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to the United Kingdom (+28%), Germany (+15%), France (+10%), Taiwan (+9.0%), the Netherlands (+8.8%), the United States (+5.4%) and Canada (+5.2%).

12

Changes in the value of domestic exports to ten main destinations are shown in Table 3.

Comparing the first two months of 1996 with the same period in 1995, increases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to Taiwan (+21%), the United Kingdom (+15%), France (+5.0%), Germany (+3.2%), China (+1.3%), the Netherlands (+0.8%), the United States (+0.8%) and Canada (+0.7%).

However, the value of domestic exports to Singapore and Japan decreased by 12% and 5.2% respectively.

Taking all destinations together, the value of domestic exports in the first two months of 1996, at $33.2 billion, increased marginally by 0.7% over the same period in 1995.

Table 4 shows changes in the value of domestic exports of ten principal commodity divisions.

Comparing the first two months of 1996 with the same period in 1995, increases in the value of domestic exports were registered for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $891 million or 21%); clothing (by $730 million or 7.5%); textiles (by $118 million or 6.0%); and machinery specialised for particular industries (by $100 million or 25%).

Over the same period, decreases in the value of domestic exports were recorded for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $1.0 billion or 32%); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $380 million or 22%); and plastics in primary forms (by $133 million or 20%).

The value of imports decreased by 3.7% over a year earlier to $96.0 billion in February 1996.

Changes in the value of imports from ten main suppliers are shown in Table 5.

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, decreases were recorded in the value of imports from South Korea (-21%), Japan (-21%), Taiwan (-20%), Germany (-18%) and the United States (-0.8%).

However, the value of imports from China, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Italy and Malaysia increased by 14%, 8.5%, 4.9%. 4.7% and 4.1% respectively.

Comparing the first two months of 1996 with the same period in 1995, the value of imports from most main suppliers showed increases of various magnitudes : Italy (+35%), Malaysia (+30%), the United Kingdom (+19%), the United States (+17%), China (+15%), Singapore (+13%), Germany (+11%), Taiwan (+6.4%) and South Korea (+0.7%).

13

However, the value of imports from Japan decreased by 3.2%.

The value of imports in the first two months of 1996, at $226.3 billion, increased by 11% over the same period in 1995.

Table 6 shows changes in the value of imports of ten principal commodity divisions.

Comparing the first two months of 1996 with the same period in 1995, increases were recorded in the value of imports of most principal commodity divisions. More notable increases were registered for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $3.8 billion or 15%); clothing (by $2.9 billion or 23%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $2.7 billion or 32%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $1.5 billion or 12%); general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (by $1.2 billion or 20%); and footwear (by $1.1 billion or 14%).

Over the same period, a decrease in the value of imports was recorded for textiles (by $404 million or 2.2%).

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 February 1996 will be released in early May 1996.

Detailed trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country/ territory are published in trade statistics reports.

The February 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade" with detailed analyses on the performance of Hong Kong's external trade in February 1996 will be on sale at $129 per copy around April 26.

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).

14

TABLE 1 : RE-EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) FEB 96 OVER FEB 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 96 OVER JAN-FEB 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 22,739 - 11.9 60,009 + 15.9

UNITED STATES 15, 148 + 15.4 32,774 + 4.8

JAPAN 6,259 + 55.4 13,163 + 43.8

GERMANY 3,630 + 29.6 8,074 + 20.7

UNITED KINGDOM 2,369 + 43.2 5,173 + 27.6

TAIWAN 1,669 - 11.9 4,213 + 5.3

SINGAPORE 1,674 + 2.9 3,996 + 11.6

FRANCE 1,369 + 44.3 3,021 + 29.2

NETHERLANDS 1,321 + 28.3 . 2,964 + 20.2

SOUTH KOREA ’ 1,332 - 5.1 2,935 + 3.0

15

TABLE 2 : RE-EXPORTS OF TEN PR]NCI PAI . COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION ; FEB 1996 (HKD Mil.) ( FEB 96 OVER FEB 95 °<i CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1996 (HKD Nil.) JAN-FEB 96 OVER JAN-FEB 95 (% CHANGE)

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED f ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 8, 696 + 28.2 19,591 + 14.1

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 8,159 + 2.8 18,614 + 17.3

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 7,667 - 8.4 17,233 - 5.2

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 7,713 + 45.3 16,605 + 27.0

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 5,242 - 15.6* 14,005 + 9.6

FOOTWEAR 5,091 + 18.9 11,290 + 15.5

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 4,203 + 21.2 9,932 + 37.7

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 3,639 + 15.2 8,280 + 19.9

TRAVEL GOODS, HANDBAGS AND SIMILAR CONTAINERS 2,821 + 63.4 5,952 + 22.0

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 1,635 -14.9 4,496 + 17.5

16

TABLE 3 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS TO ‘JEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) FIB 96 OVER FEB 95 (°6 CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 96 OVER JAN-FEB 95 (?« CHANGE.)

CHINA 3,114 - 22.4 8,599 + 1.3

UNITED STATES 3,801 + 5.4 8,234 + 0.8

GERMANY 818 + 15.0 1,889 + 3.2

SINGAPORE 737 - 22.2 1,807 - 12.5

JAPAN 812 - 0.9 1,772 - 5.2

UNITED KINGDOM 834 + 28.3 1,723 + 14.6

TAIWAN 522 + 9.0 1,226 + 21.1

NETHERLANDS 339 + 8.8 800 + 0.8

CANADA 312 + 5.2 679 + 0.7

FRANCE 216 + 10.5 504 + 5.0

17

TABLE 4 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS OP TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION FEB • 1996 (HKD Mn.) FEB 96 OVER FEB 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 96 OVER JAN-FEB 95 (% CHANGE)

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 1,677 * 13.7 10,535 + 7.5

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 2,287 + 9.5 5,128 + 21.0

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY JEWELLERY, GOLDSMITHS' AND SILVERSMITHS’ WARES) 1,148 - 7.8 2,651 - 4.2

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 1,041 + 3.0 2,513 * *

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 966 - 35.9‘ 2,198 - 32.1

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 831 •- 4.9 2,082 + 6.0

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 504 - 38.7 1,334 - 22.2

MANUFACTURES OF METALS 304 - 0.3 697 + 10.1

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 218 - 36.1 546 - 19.6

MACHINERY SPECIALIZED FOR PARTICULAR INDUSTRIES 203 + 8.7 507 + 24.5

* DENOTES LESS THAN 0.05%

18

TABLE 5 : IMPORTS FROM TEN MAIN SUPPLIERS ••z

SUPPLIER FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) FED 96 OVER FEB 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 96 OVER JAN-FEB 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 35,191 + 14.2 83,221 + 14.6

JAPAN 14,143 - 20.8 30,761 - 3.2

TAIWAN 6,887 - 20.1 18,258 + 6.4

UNITED STATES 7,569 - 0.8 17,600 + 16.7

SINGAPORE 5,407 + 4.9 12,485 + 12.7

SOUTH KOREA 4,323 - 20.9 10,321 + 0.7

GERMANY 2.057 - 17.8 5,198 + 10.9

MALAYSIA 2,081 + 4.1 4,998 + 29.5

UNITED KINGDOM 2,267 + 8.5 4,986 + 18.5

ITALY 1,953 + 4.7 4,661 + 34.6

19

TABLE 6 : IMPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS "

COMMODITY DIVISION FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) FEB 96 OVER FEB 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 96 OVER JAN-FEB 95 (% CHANGE)

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL-PARTS THEREOF 12,666 - 4.1 29,167 + 14.8

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 9,647 - 9.4 22,050 + 1.3

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 6,827 - 25.5 J 7,804 - 2.2

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 6,817 + 30.1 15,660 + 22.9

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 6,122 + 5.8 • 14,259 + 11.7

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DAI A PROCESSING MACHINES 1,851 + 10.6 11,277 + 3J.9

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 4,357 - 0.3 9,624 + 4.8

FOOTWEAR 1,025 + J3.0 9,381 + 13.7

GENERAL INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, AND MACHINE PARTS 3,427 + 2.0 7,082 + 19.8

NON-METALLIC MINERAL MANUFACTURES 3,167 - 3.4 6,717 + 6.9

End

20

Agricultural study tour departs for Australia tomorrow • *****

A 23-member local agricultural delegation will depart for Australia and New Zealand tomorrow (Tuesday) to study farming techniques and wholesale marketing systems there.

The study tour is organised jointly by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD), Vegetable Marketing Organisation and Federation of Vegetable Marketing Cooperative Societies Ltd.

To mark the occasion, AFD's Director, Dr Lawrence Lee presented a banner to the study group’s leader, Mr Yung Tin-tack at a ceremony held at its headquarters this (Monday) morning.

Dr Lee said: "The objective of the annual event since 1977 was to enable local farmers to study cultivation methods and wholesale marketing for agricultural products in advanced countries as well as to share farming experience with their overseas counterparts."

Countries visited by previous study tours include Japan, United States, Australia, Israel, Britain and Holland, he said.

On this year's programme, Dr Lee pointed out that the delegation would visit farms, markets and agricultural research institutes in several cities in Australia and New Zealand including Brisbane and Wellington.

Major items to be studied will include vegetable seed selection and cultivation techniques, pest and disease control, post-harvest processing and packaging, as well as vegetable wholesale market facilities and operation.

He hoped that group members would make an effort to learn more about advanced agricultural production and wholesaling techniques and systems during their visit with a view to promoting Flong Kong's agricultural development.

Dr Lee also took the opportunity to thank the Queensland Government Office in Hong Kong and New Zealand's Horowhenua Growers Association for their assistance in making the study tour possible.

The study group is expected to return to Hong Kong on April 29.

End

21

Special definitive stamp series to be issued ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, announced today (Monday) that a full set of low value definitive reprint stamps tagged with phosphorescent ink would be issued on April 24 (Wednesday).

This is part of the sixth definitive stamp series issued by the Hong Kong Post Office during the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and also the first set of definitive stamps coated with phosphorescent ink to facilitate ordinary mail processing by Culler-Facer-Canceller (CFC) machines which will be installed in mid-1996.

The CFC will automatically segregated mail items into packets/flats and letters. They then cancel the postage stamps on letters with a date impression and further segregate them into local/surface mail and airmail.

For this purpose, postage stamps which are normally used for local/surface letters will be tagged with two vertical phosphorescent bars and those for airmail one bar. The phosphorescent bars are colourless but will give a yellow or green afterglow when activated by an ultra-violet lamp.

For the current definitive stamps, denominations up to and including $2 are tagged with two bars while those from $2.10 to $5.00 are tagged with one bar.

A presentation pack containing all the low value reprints, with denominations of 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1, $1.10, $1.20, $1.30, $1.50, $1.90, $2, $2.10, $2.60 and $5, will be put on sale on April 24 for $37 each at the following eight philatelic offices:

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

Customers may also place advance orders for special position of the definitive reprint stamps at the eight philatelic offices between April 17 and 19 and collect their orders on April 24 at the post office where they place their orders.

22

To commemorate the introduction of phosphorescent-tagged definitive stamps in Hong Kong, a souvenir cover will be issued on April 24. The souvenir covers will be placed on sale at all post offices at $2 each as from April 17.

Hand-back service will be provided at all post offices on April 24 to official and privately-made covers bearing an indication of the event. Advance Order Service for serviced covers will be provided at all post offices from April 17 to 22.

End

11th issue of three-year Exchange Fund Notes *****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority today (Monday) announced that the lender for the eleventh issue of three-year Exchange Fund Notes would be held on Monday. April 22, 1996 for settlement on Tuesday, April 23, 1996.

Similar to the previous issue, an amount of IIKS500 million three-year Notes will be on offer. In addition to that, another HK$100 million will be held as reserve by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority for supply to Market Makers in the secondary market. The Notes will mature on April 23, 1999 and will carry interest at the rate of 6.30% 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 Recognized Dealers on the published list which can be obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on 30th floor, 3 Garden Road, Hong Kong (or telephone 2878 8150). Each tender must be for an amount of HKS50.000 or integral multiples thereof.

Following is the tender information for the eleventh issue of three-year Exchange Fund Notes :

Issue Number : 3904

Tender Date and Time : Monday April 22, 1996, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Issue and Settlement Date : Tuesday April 23, 1996

Amount on Offer : HK$500 million plus an additional HKS100 million as

reserve stock for the Monetary Authority

Maturity

: Three years

23

Maturity Date

Interest Rate

Interest Payment Dates

Tender Amount

Other details

End

: April 23, 1999

: 6.30% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears

: Oct 23, 1996, Apr 23, 1997,

Oct 23, 1997, Apr 23, 1998,

Oct 23, 1998, Apr 23, 1999

: Each tender must be for an amount of HK$50,000 or integral multiples thereof. Members of the public who wish to tender for the Notes may approach Market Makers or Recognized Dealers on the published list.

: Please see Information Memorandum published or approach Market Makers or Recognized Dealers

Salt water cut in Tai Po * * * * *

Flushing water supply to some premises in Tai Po will be • temporarily suspended from 10 pm tomorrow (Tuesday) to 10 am on Thursday (April 18) for the checking of the flushing water supply system to be carried out.

The suspension will affect all premises in Kwong Fuk Estate, Wang Fuk Court, Nam Wan Road at the south of Tai Po Tai Wo Road, Plover Cove Road, Po Wu Lane, Tung Mau Square, Tung Sau Square, Tung Fat Square, Tung Cheong Street, Luk Heung Lane, Kwong Fuk Road, Po Heung Street, Po Yick Street, Sui On Street, Yan Hing Street, Fu Shin Street, Tsing Yuen Street, Hei Yuen Street, Yan Wo Lane, Pak Shing Street, Shung Tak Street, On Fu Road, Wai Yan Street, Nam Shing Street, Wai Yi Street, Po Heung Square, Tai Wing Lane, Heung Sze Wui Square, Heung Sze Wui Street, Kwong Fuk Lane, Kwong Fuk Square, Tai Ming Lane, Tai Kwong Lane, Wan Tau Street, Wan Tau Square, Wan Tau Kok Lane, Tai Po Market Station, Uptown Plaza, Elegance Garden, Pan Chung Road, Yat Nga Court, Wan Tau Tong Estate, Tak Nga Court, King Nga Court, Ma Wo Road, Ma Chung Road, Kam Shan Road, Kam Shek San Tsuen and Shek Lin Road.

End

J

24

Water storage figure *****

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 79.9 per cent of capacity or 468.453 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 388.311 million cubic metres of water, representing 66.3 per cent of capacity.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (IIQUIS) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,759 0930 + 1,039

Closing balance in the account 1,833 1000 +1,041

Change attributable to : 1100 +1,044

Money market activity + 1,044 1200 +1,044

LAF today -970 1500 + 1,044

1600 +1,044

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.1 *+0.0* 15.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield n..' Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.90 2 years 2802 5.16 98.68 6.01

1 month 4.97 3 years 3901 5.57 98.31 6.34

3 months 5.05 5 years 5103 6.75 99.63 6.95

6 months 5.16 7 years 7302 6.02 93.84 7.30

12 months 5.47 5 years M502 7.30 100.90 7.19

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $24,524 million

Closed April 15, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 16, 1996

Contents Page No-

Views on proposed privacy offences being sought............................. 1

Publication of consultation paper on privacy welcomed....................... 2

Government welcomes SFC consultative document............................... 3

Transcript of remarks by Governor........................................... 4

Opening of North East New Territories Landfill.............................. 4

Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996 to be introduced.......................... 5

119 VMs depart on Orderly Repatriation flight............................... 6

Monitors' report submitted to CS......................................

Exhibition on environmental protection................................

Macau delegation visits Civil Service Branch................................ 8

Provision of international school places.................................... 9

/71 pollution.....

Contents

Page No,

71 pollution convictions in March.................................. 11

Employment exhibition at City Hall tomorrow............................ 12

Unlicensed guesthouse operator fined................................... 12

Woman jailed for employment contract fraud............................. 13

Index of industrial production for 1995 ............................... 14

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................ 17

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

18

1

Views on proposed privacy offences being sought *****

The Privacy Sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission today (Tuesday) published a consultation paper on ’’Regulating Surveillance and Interception of Communications".

The Sub-committee, whose chairman is the Hon Mr. Justice Mortimer, Justice of Appeal, consider that there is an increasing need for privacy and security of telecommunications. They conclude that with increasingly sophisticated technology, existing laws need to be updated to provide adequate and effective protection to the privacy of communications and safeguards against arbitrary or unlawful interference with a person's privacy or correspondence.

The Sub-committee believe that physical surveillance is a sufficiently serious intrusion into a person’s privacy to warrant the use of criminal sanctions, and they recommend the creation of three criminal offences along the following lines:

* entering private premises as a trespasser with intent to observe, overhear or obtain personal information therein;

* placing or using in private premises a sense-enhancing, transmitting or recording device without the consent of the lawful occupier; and

* placing or using a sense-enhancing, transmitting or recording device outside private premises with the intention of monitoring the activities of the occupant without the consent of the lawful occupier.

As regards interception of communications, the Sub-committee agree that the integrity of the public communications systems should be protected. They recommend that it should be an offence intentionally to intercept or interfere with a communication transmitted by a mail or telecommunications system.

As the Sub-committee consider that private communications should also be protected, they recommend that it should be an offence intentionally to intercept or interfere with a communication by means of a technical device, whether or not the communication itself is mediated by means of such a device. However, this offence should be subject to a proviso that the interception concerned could not have been effected without the use of a device. This is to exclude communications which could in any event be casually overheard by a third party.

2

The Sub-committee acknowledge that there are circumstances where surveillance or interception of communications may be justified on legitimate grounds. They therefore recommend a warrant system which allows application to be made to the High Court for the issue of a warrant authorising intrusion for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime, or for the purpose of security, defence or international relations in respect of Hong Kong.

1’hey recommend that a Justice of Appeal should be appointed as the supervisory authority to review the issue of warrants. Any person who suffers loss as a result of an unauthorised intrusion should be able to claim compensation.

The supervisory authority is also expected to furnish annual reports to the Governor and the Legislative Council, covering such matters as the number of warrants authorised and their average length and extensions.

The consultation paper is issued to elicit comments on the preliminary recommendations made by the Sub-committee. The consultation period will expire on June 15, 1996. The Secretary to the Commission, Mr Stuart Stoker, stressed the importance of the consultation process in ensuring that any final recommendations by the Commission were workable and broadly acceptable to the community.

The paper is available on the Government home page http://www.info.gov.hk (under "topical information: - consultation paper"). Anyone who wishes to obtain a hard copy of the paper should contact the Secretary to the Commission, 20th floor, Harcourt House, 39 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. All submissions should reach the Secretary of the Privacy Sub-committee at the same address or by facsimile on 2865 2902.

End

Publication of consultation paper on privacy welcomed *****

The Government welcomes the publication of the consultation paper on "Regulating Surveillance and Interception of Communications" by the Privacy Subcommittee of the Law Reform Commission today (Tuesday).

"We will study the Paper carefully and consult within the Government, seeking the views of the departments concerned," a Government spokesman said.

3

"Particular attention will be paid to the operation implications of the Subcommittee's recommendations.

"Once our study is completed, we will pass on our views to the Sub-committee as soon as possible."

The spokesman noted that a lot of time and effort had been put into the consultation paper by the Sub-committee, the deliberation of which had included looking at the position in various countries overseas.

"We are looking forward to the final report by the Commission and will take it from there to form a view on what changes to existing legislation will be necessary," he said.

End

Government welcomes SFC consultative document ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

In response to media enquiries on a consultative document on a draft Bill which seeks to consolidate all securities and futures-related ordinances and introduce reforms to the regulatory framework, a Financial Services Branch spokesman said today (Tuesday):

"We welcome the publication by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of the consultative document.

"We see this as a final and very important step to implementing the recommendations in the Report on the Securities Review Committee.

"As some of the proposals in the draft Bill involve major policy changes which would have far-reaching implications for investors and the securities and futures industry, we therefore welcome the SFC's move to consult widely and substantively on these proposals.

"The Government will carefully assess the views and comments expressed during the consultation period before formulating proposals for the consideration of the Executive Council.

"We hope to introduce the Bill into the Legislative Council in the next legislative session."

End

4

Transcript of remarks by Governor

*****

Following is the transcript of the remarks made by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, to the media at Government House after meeting Mr Paul Au Wing-cheung and Mr Wong Chuen-ming this (Tuesday) afternoon:

I just like to say that I'm delighted to have been able to meet Mr Au and Mr Wong today. I know that the whole community is absolutely delighted that they've been released. We welcome them all back to Hong Kong and I think that it's not only their family and friends who are impressed by the strength which they've shown during this ordeal. We're delighted that it's now over and we very much hope that they'll be able to resume a normal life and put the experience of the last few years behind them. But I'm delighted to have been able to welcome them today and I'm obviously grateful to all those members of the community, in the Legislative Council, in the media and elsewhere who have taken such a great interest in their case. Thank you very much indeed.

End

Opening of North East New Territories Landfill

*****

North East New Territories (NENT) Landfill, the last of the Government's three strategic landfills, is officially opened today (Tuesday).

Situated in an uninhabited valley next to Wong Mau Hang Shan in Ta Kwu Ling on the north eastern part of the New Territories, the NENT landfill is capable of receiving a total of 35 million tonnes of waste from both public and private waste collectors over the next two decades.

The $2.6 billion landfill provides a large scale environmentally friendly disposal facility for municipal and construction waste in the northeast New Territories, following the closure of Shuen Wan Landfill.

State-of-the-art environmental protection technology has been engineered into the development of this landfill to prevent pollution to the environment.

5

Continuous monitoring of air, noise, groundwater and surface water quality within and near the landfill is being carried out to ensure that high environmental standards are met.

Officiating at the opening ceremony, North District Board Chairman, Mr Tang Kwok-yung, said the opening of the NENT landfill marked a milestone in the history of Hong Kong's solid waste management and environmental protection.

He said the North District Board had all along been committed to improving the environment.

Mr Tang said he hoped that with the co-operation of relevant government departments, environmental impacts of the landfill would be kept to the minimum.

Also present at the opening ceremony were the Assistant Director of Environmental Protection, Mr Mike Stokoe and the Chairman of Far East Landfill Technologies Limited, Mr Jean-Claude Lebel.

End

Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996 to be introduced

*****

The Government announced today (Tuesday) that a Bill will soon be introduced into the Legislative Council aiming at preventing Vietnamese migrants (VMs) from seeking release from detention in the wake of a Privy Council judgement, until they have been rejected by the Vietnamese authorities for repatriation.

The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996 provides that where a VM claims that he is not a Vietnamese national, that the purpose of his detentjon is spent and hence should be released, the court shall not find that the purpose of his detention has failed until the Vietnamese Government has formally rejected the return of such a person.

"The most important factor in any question of alleged rejection by Vietnam, must be the response by Vietnam in the individual case - until then it is an exercise in speculation," a Government spokesman said.

"The Vietnamese authorities give answers in every case. If they take too long the detainee can still apply for release by habeas corpus.

6

"There is no question of the Bill seeking to encroach on human rights principles, and the Bill is in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," he said.

Noting that there are still 7,000 VMs whose return has not yet been cleared by the Vietnamese Government, the spokesman said: "The longer the loophole remains unplugged, the longer we will be exposed to the possibility of having to release more migrants."

"We therefore hope the Bill will be studied by the Legislative Council and passed into law as quickly as possible."

The Bill will be made available to all Legislative Council Members this afternoon and will be published in the Gazette this Friday.

A meeting of the Legislative Council Security Panel has been scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the Bill.

End

119 VMs depart on Orderly Repatriation flight ♦ ♦ * * *

A group of 119 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Tuesday) on the 33rd flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

All of the returnees, comprising 77 men, 26 women, six boys and 10 girls, are from North Vietnam.

The majority of them arrived in Hong Kong in 1989 and 1995, with the remaining in 1988 and 1991.

The group brought to 2,398 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

7

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 monitors were Mrs Alice Lam Lee Kiu-yue. a Justice of the Peace, and Ms Harriet Sewell from Christian Action.

End

Exhibition on environmental protection

*****

A two-day exhibition on achievements made on the environmental front in the past 10 years as well as goals set for the coming years by the Government will be put up at the Landmark starting tomorrow (Wednesday).

The event is organised by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to mark its 10th year of service to the community.

"The exhibits will include environmental milestones made since 1986, when the department was set up," EPD's Assistant Director, Mr John Boxall, said.

Among the milestones are the declaration of water control zones, commissioning of various waste facilities, introduction of anti-pollution legislation and the setting up of Local Control Offices.

Also on display are issues that need to be addressed in the coming years, which include the enactment of environmental impact assessment legislation, further controls on vehicle emissions and formulation of strategies for waste reduction.

"We are certainly not being complacent as much more still needs to be done in tackling our environmental problems," Mr Boxall said.

The exhibition will also be staged in Empire Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on April 27 and 28.

Members of the public will also have an opportunity to understand pollution problems as well as work being carried out by the EPD in protecting their living environment through visits to the department's Local Control Offices (LCOs) on their open days.

8

"The LCOs are set up to serve local communities by controlling polluting activities, taking enforcement actions, and handling enquiries and complaints," the spokesman said.

Following is a timetable for the LCQ open days:

Name of LCO Address Date of open day

Territory North Units 1-10, 21.4.96 11/F, Grand Central Plaza Tower 1, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Shatin

Territory East 5/F, Nan Fung Commercial Centre, 28.4.96 19 Lam Lok Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon

Territory South 2/F, Chinachem Exchange Square, 5.5.96 1 Hoi Wan Street, Quarry Bay

Urban West 8/F, Tsuen Wan Government Office, 5.5.96 38 Sai Lau Kok Road. Tsuen Wan

End

Macau delegation visits Civil Service Branch *****

The Secretary' for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, today (Tuesday) received a delegation from the Macau Administration and Civil Service Department and the Macau Polytechnic Institute.

Welcoming the 12-member delegation headed by Mr Ho Veng On, Vicedirector of the Administration and Civil Service Department, Mr Lam said the visit was timely because the delegates would be able to see the two institutes under the Civil Service Branch which have just taken on a new identity as from April 1. They are the Civil Service Training and Development Institute (CSTD1) and the Official Languages Agency (OLA).

9

In their visit to CSTD1, the delegates were briefed on the merger of the former Civil Service Training Centre and the Senior Staff Training Centre to become the CSTDI in order to achieve better efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of civil service training.

During their visit to OLA, the delegates were informed that this set up evolved from the former Chinese Language Division. In addition to providing translation and interpretation services, the OLA has taken on the role of promoting wider use of Chinese within the civil service.

The delegation was also briefed on the government's policy regarding the management of human resources and the computer system to capture and retain the information regarding such resources.

End

Provision of international school places ♦ * * * *

The Deputy Director of Education, Mr Kwan Ting-fai, today (Tuesday) assured that Hong Kong will continue its proactive approach in the provision of international school places.

Speaking at an AmCham Education Luncheon Seminar, Mr Kwan said a team had been established to implement the recommendations of the Working Group on the Provision of International School Places.

"To meet the additional requirement for international school places in the next five years, we already have three projects in the pipeline. These can provide around 3000 additional places by the year 2000," Mr Kwan said.

"We are working closely with the Planning Department to find suitable sites for international schools. Some possibilities have been identified. We will further explore their feasibility."

Mr Kwan is confident that the additional requirement for international school places in the next five years will be met.

10

He added that the team is now working hard at establishing the procedures for providing the new package of government assistance which was recommended by the working group.

"We hope to have the procedures in place as soon as possible to enable the provision of interest-free loan for new international schools and extensions."

Mr Kwan noted that the working group in November 1994 had reviewed international school place provision from quantity and quality perspectives.

After studying the findings of three commissioned surveys as well as available material, the working group made recommendations on the provision of international school places, government financial assistance and admission.

According to the survey, the requirement for additional international school places is estimated to be 7,400 by the year 2000.

The Education Department will review such requirement annually to keep up with the latest development in the international school scene, he added.

Mr Kwan noted that the working group had also recommended a continuation of land grant at nominal premium, with an improved application procedure, and a new interest-free loan specially for international schools.

Under the improved procedure for land grant, the Planning Department will search for suitable sites for international schools and appropriate sponsoring bodies will be invited to apply for land grants.

The interest-free loan is intended to assist the building of new international schools or extensions. The Ioan will amount up to 100 per cent of the standard cost of building a standard design primary or secondary public sector school.

The working group considered that since international schools now have their own package of financial assistance, there is little justification for them to remain with, or join, the Direct Subsidy Scheme.

"The four international schools already admitted into the DSS will therefore phase out of the scheme when their affected students leave the school," he noted.

11

The working group recommended that to ensure these schools serve the target group of students, the Director of Education can exercise his/her powers to require international schools receiving government financial assistance to make rectification in their admissions.

Mr Kwan said that the Government's consistently proactive approach towards international school places provision, along with the improved package of financial assistance, reflect Hong Kong's commitment to become a "business-friendly Government", as mentioned in the Financial Secretary's pledge in his recent budget speech.

End

71 pollution convictions in March ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A total of 71 convictions were made in the courts last month (March) for breaching anti-pollution legislation enforced by the Environmental Protection Department.

Among them, 20 were convictions made under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO), 16 under the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO), 13 under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO), 20 under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and two under the Dumping At Sea Act 1974 (Overseas Territories) Order 1975 (DASO).

The fines imposed on the offenders ranged from $2,500 to $180,000. Fanta Construction Company Limited was fined $180,000 and $90,000 on a separate occasion for permitting the loading of substances for dumping at sea not in accordance with licence conditions.

End

12

Employment exhibition at City Hall tomorrow

*****

An "Employment Information Post" exhibition will be held at the Hong Kong City Hall tomorrow (Wednesday) to help job-seekers find jobs and assist employers to recruit suitable staff.

A total of 23 employers from different trades including manufacturing, catering, department store, tourism, retail, property management, trade and community services will participate in the event providing some 700 vacancies for application at the venue.

They will brief job seekers on their vacancies and can arrange job interviews on the spot or on a later date.

Three retraining institutes will be giving talks on their retraining courses and the latest information on the labour market.

Visitors will be briefed on employment services being provided by the Labour Department's Job Matching Programme and they can register for the services on the spot.

The event is jointly organised by the Labour Department, the Employees Retraining Board, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

All Hong Kong residents looking for jobs are welcome to visit the Employment Information Post from 11 am to 6 pm at the Exhibition Hall, Hong Kong City Hall, Lower Block, Central. Admission is free.

End

Unlicensed guesthouse operator fined *****

A guesthouse operator was fined $20,000 in the San Po Kong Magistracy today (Tuesday) after pleading guilty to running a guesthouse in Kowloon Tong without a licence.

The court heard that officers of the Home Affairs Department's Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA) inspected a premises at 18-20 Essex Crescent on December 11 last year and found it being operated as a guesthouse without a licence.

13

The operator was later charged under Section 5 of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance.

A spokesman for the department said that illegal guesthouses would not be tolerated and enforcement action would continue to be taken to eliminate such premises.

He said efforts would be stepped up to ensure all guesthouses met the required building and fire safety standards and were properly licensed.

He also appealed to the public to help in the effort to crack down on unlicensed guesthouses by reporting them to the OLA on 2881 7034.

End

Woman jailed for employment contract fraud

*****

The Immigration Department today (Tuesday) warned that all foreign domestic helpers are only permitted to perform domestic duties for their specific employers under an approved employment contract. They are liable to prosecution if they were found to have breached their condition of stay.

An Immigration spokesman said: "Under the laws of Hong Kong, it is an offence to furnish false information to immigration officers in obtaining visa for Hong Kong. Offenders, together with the aider and abettor, arc liable to heavy penalty."

The renewed warning was issued following a court case in which a Filippina was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment by Western Magistracy for preparing forged employment contracts to support domestic helpers' applications for entry visa and extension of stay.

The defendant, a manageress of an employment agent, was found guilty of two counts of aiding and abetting the making of false representation to an immigration officer and one count of conspiracy to defraud.

She was prosecuted for applying entry visa and extension of stay on two separate occasions in 1991 and 1992 for a Philippines domestic helper who had never actually worked for her.

14

In other cases, the defendant was found guilty of assisting in the entry visa applications of foreign domestic helpers with copies of Hong Kong identity cards and proof of income she obtained unlawfully from some Hong Kong residents.

She received a reward of between $1,500 and $8,000 in each case.

End

Index of industrial production for 1995 ♦ * * * *

The index of industrial production for the whole year of 1995 increased slightly, by 0.9% over 1994, according to the results of a survey released today (Tuesday) by the Census and Statistics Department. This represented a modest improvement from the decline of 1% in 1993 and virtually no growth in 1994.

The production in the industry group of electrical and electronic products, machinery, professional equipment and optical goods rose by 9%. Within this group, the production of machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components increased markedly, by 15%, but the production of consumer electrical and electronic products decreased slightly, by 1.1%.

Output of the wearing apparel (except footwear) industry and paper products and printing industry group increased slightly, by 1.3% and 0.2% respectively.

On the other hand, a decrease of 5.1% was registered in the industry group of chemical, rubber, plastic and non-metallic mineral products. Within this group, the production of plastic products decreased markedly, by 15.5%.

Output of the textiles (including knitting) industry decreased moderately by

3.9%.

Small decreases were recorded in the industry groups of basic metals and fabricated metal products (-1.5%) and food, beverages and tobacco (-0.4%).

The index of industrial production for the fourth quarter of 1995 decreased moderately, by 2.4% and 2.7% respectively over the same quarter of 1994 and the third quarter of 1995.

15

The index of industrial production reflects changes of local manufacturing output in real terms. In other words, it measures the volume of local production after discounting the effect of price changes.

More detailed information can be obtained from the "Quarterly Index of Industrial Production, 4th Quarter 1995" report, which is on sale at $11 a copy at the Government Publications Sales Centre, Low Block, ground floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, or at the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Regular subscription may also be arranged.

Enquiries about the survey result may be directed to the General Economic Surveys Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6643.

16

bidices of industrial production by industry group and selected component industry (1986= 100)

Industry group / Selected component industiy Index for 4th Qtr. 1995 % change over Percentage change in the index for 1995 as a whole

4th Qtr. 1994 3rd Qtr. 1995

1. Food, beverages and tobacco 172 -2.7 +6.1 -0.4

2. Wearing apparel (except footwear) 129 -3.2 + 1.9 +1.3

3. Textiles (including knitting) 113 -16.4 -15.0 -3.9

4. Paper products and printing 261 -3.3 -14.9 +0.2

5. Chemical, rubber, plastic and non-metallic mineral products 65 -2.7 +0.8 -5.1

within which : Plastic products (38) (-15.6) (-5.7) (-15.5)

6. Basic metals and fabricated metal products 94 -2.1 -2.9 -1.5

within which : Fabricated metal products (except machinery and equipment) (91) (-3.7) (-4.3) (-4.0)

7. Electrical and electron.c products, machinery, professional equipmen t and optical goods 199 + 10.8 +3.8 +9.0

within which : Consumer electrical and electronic products (107) (-6.6) (-14.4) (-1.1)

: Machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components (321) (+20.4) (+9.7) (+15.0)

8. Miscellaneous manufacturing industries 84 -3.8 -4.3

ALL MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES 134 -2.4 -2.7 +0.9

Notes : 1. Four selected component industries, which cany relatively large weights and are major components of their relevant industry groups, are also included in the above table. For easy reading, the figures of these selected component industries are shown in brackets.

2. As from the first quarter of 1992, the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC) is used to form the industry groups and selected component industries presented in the above table. For the exact coverage of the industry groups and component industries in terms of HSIC codes, please refer to the publication 'Quarterly Index of Industrial Production, 4th Quarter 1995'.

♦ Change within ±0.05%

End

- 17 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 16 Apr 96 16 Apr 96

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q616 Y688

Issue date 17 Apr 96 17 Apr 96

Maturity date 17 Jul 96 16 Apr 97

Amount applied HK$5,510MN HK$2,400 MN

Amount allotted HKS 1,500 MN HKS500 MN

Average yield accepted 5.06 PCT 5.48 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.08 PCT 5.49 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 31 PCT About 10 PCT

Average tender yield 5.09 PCT 5.51 PCT

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tenders to be held in the week beginning April 22, 1996 -

Tender date 22 Apr 96 23 Apr 96 23 Apr 96

Paper on offer EF notes EF bills EF bills

Issue number 3904 Q617 H663

Issue date 23 Apr 1996 24 Apr 1996 24 Apr 1996

Maturity date 23 Apr 1999 24 Jul 1996 23 Oct 1996

Tenor 3 years 91 days 182 days

Amount on offer HKS500+100MN HK$ 1,500+300 MN HKS800+160MN

Coupn 6.30 PCT

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

•A Smillion Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,833 0930 . +967

Closing balance in the account 1,358 1000 +967

Change attributable to : 1100 +967

Money market activity +960 1200 +965

LAF today -1,435 1500 +965

., i ' 1600 +960

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.1 *+0.0* 16.4.96

•..%c

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.93 2 years 2802 5.16 98.67 6.02

1 month 4.99 3 years 3901 5.57 98.28 6.35

3 months 5.07 5 years 5103 6.75 99.44 7.00

6 months 5.17 7 years 7302 6.02 93.68 7.33

12 months 5.48 5 years M502 7.30 100.56 7.28

Total turnover of FT bills and notes - $21,307 million

Closed April 16, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 17,1996

Contents PageNlL

Report on 'interviews' of civil servants clarified.......................... 1

Bills on Budget revenue proposals to be introduced.................... 1

Appointments to Housing Authority........................................... 3

49 industrial projects to be financed by Government................... 5

Property owners urged to ensure building safety....................... 6

Release of 47 VMs on recognisance..................................... 8

CSD heroism commended by Governor..................................... 8

Temporary intermittent road closures in Kwai Tsing.................... 9

Employment exhibition draws 2,500 visitors............................ 10

Payroll statistics for fourth quarter 1995 ........................... 10

Tsing Yi lot to let.................................................'• 12

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations.................. 13

Report on 'interviews’ of civil servants clarified

*****

In response to press enquiries on the Xinhua News Agency statement and Mr Zhang Junsheng’s comments, a government spokesman tonight (Wednesday) reiterated that there have been and will continue to be contacts between senior civil servants and officials of the Chinese side.

The spokesman went on to say that there was no question of these chats being interviews or of civil servants somehow being screened. "The Basic Law is very clear on what are the requirements for Principal Officials. It is also very clear that it is for the Chief Executive to nominate and report to the Central People's Government for appointment those persons whom he wishes to be the Principal Officials," he said.

The spokesman said that such contacts would enhance mutual understanding and communication between officials of the two sides.

End

Bills on Budget revenue proposals to be introduced *****

A total of 10 Bills, which are necessary to implement the Budget revenue proposals, will be gazetted on Friday (April 19).

The Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 1996 seeks to increase the salaries tax allowances as announced in the Budget, to introduce the new dependent brother/sister allowance and the tax deduction for training expenses, and to allow hotels to amortise refurbishment expenditure over a five-year period.

The Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 seeks to apply a concessionary tax rate at half of the normal profits tax rate to profits and interest income derived from qualified debt instruments registered, cleared and issued in Hong Kong.

The Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1996 seeks to provide certainty in law in respect of profits tax liability regarding offshore funds managed in Hong Kong, and that of stock brokers acting as agents for non-residents in share trading and fund investment.

2

The Business Registration (Amendment) Bill 1996 seeks to increase the maximum average monthly turnover level below which businesses are exempt from business registration fees. For sale of goods, the level is increased by 100% to $30,000, and for sale of services, it is increased by 150% to $10,000.

The Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 seeks to raise the exemption level of estate duty from $6 million to $6.5 million and widen the band widths of the two marginal duty rates from $1 million to $ 1.5 million.

The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 seeks to adjust stamp duty rales on property transactions to bring relief to home buyers of flats with value up to $3.5 million.

The Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax)(Amendment) Bill 1996 aims to plug the tax loophole whereby some motor vehicle dealers manipulate their first registration tax liability by artificially suppressing the retail price of the standard motor vehicle and over-declaring the value of lax exempted items like vehicle accessories and distributor's warranties. Besides, the Bill also provides sanctions against abuse to obtain first registration tax remission, which are essential to the implementation of the scrapping incentive scheme for the replacement of private vehicles of ten or more years old, as announced in the Budget.

The Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill 1996 seeks to increase the air passenger departure tax from $50 to $ 100.

The Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1996 seeks to increase the betting duty rate from 11.5% to 12% for standard bets and 17.5% to 18% for exotic bets. The increase will be offset by a corresponding reduction in the belling commission of the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Chib. The prize money pool will not be affected. The increase will take effect from September 1996.

The Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 seeks to increase tobacco and fuel duty by 9% which is broadly in line with inflation.

The increase on tobacco and fuel duty came into effect on March 6, and the proposals in respect of air passenger departure lax, estate duty, stamp duty on property transactions and business registration fees took effect on April 1 under Public Revenue Protection Orders signed by the Governor on March 5. The Orders are valid for four months.

- 3 -

The Secretary for the Treasury will introduce the Bills into the Legislative Council on Wednesday (May 1).

To implement the Budget proposal to waive stamp duty for market makers on stock transactions for the purpose of hedging options transactions, the Govemor-in-Council has made the Stamp Duty (Jobbing Business) (Options Market Makers) Regulation under the Stamp Duty Ordinance. The Regulation will also be gazetted on April 19 and tabled in the Legislative Council on April 24. It will come into operation on June 1.

End

Appointments to Housing Authority *****

The following supersedes GIS960417022 issued at 4.30 pm. Please note that the number of newly-appointed members should be 10 instead of seven.

The Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic S W Wong, announced today (Wednesday) that the Governor has re-appointed four serving members and appointed 10 new members to the Hong Kong Housing Authority for a term of two years with effect from April 1, 1996. The appointments were made on a personal basis.

The four re-appointed members are:

’ * Mr Fung Kin-kee (Legislative Councillor);

* Professor Yeung Yue-man (academic in housing development);

Mr Lee Wing-tat (Legislative and Regional Councillor);

Mr Joseph Chow Ming-kuen (civil and structural engineer).

The 10 newly-appointed members are:

* Mr Chan Bing-woon (solicitor and district board chairman);

* Mr Walter Chan Kar-lok (solicitor);

* Mr Cheng Kai-nam (public affairs consultant);

4

* Dr Anthony Cheung Bing-leung (academic in public and social administration and Legislative Councillor);

* Mr Lau Kwok-yu (academic in public and social administration, and adviser to Hong Kong People's Council on Public Housing Policy);

* Mr Ng Leung-sing (banker and member of Sino-British Land Commission);

Mr Ng Shui-lai (social worker);

* Ms Siu Yuen-sheung (district board member);

* Mr Wan Man-yee (estate surveyor);

Mr Peter Wong Hong-yuen (accountant and Chairman of Advisory Council on the Environment).

The new appointments will increase the non-official membership of the Housing Authority by seven, from 21 to 28.

"The Housing Authority needs additional members to cope with a substantial and continuing increase in the volume of work, which reflects the general expansion of issues dealt with, increased public expectations of the quality of service, and increased dealings with interest groups and the media," Mr Wong said.

"With the appointment of new members, there will be a good balance of professional expertise and community interests in the Housing Authority," Mr Wong added. "These include professionals, financial administrators, academies, an economist, social workers, public housing residents. District Board Chairmen and members, and members of the Executive Council. Legislative Council and Regional Council - all in their personal capacity."

Mr Edward Ho Sing-tin and Mr Hui Yin-fat, both having served for 10 years, and Ms Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, having indicated her wish to step down owing to other commitments, have retired from the Housing Authority.

Mr Wong thanked the three outgoing members and expressed the Government's appreciation of their contributions.

End

5

49 industrial projects to be financed by Government ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Industry and Technology Development Council (ITDC) today (Wednesday) approved 49 projects to be financed by the Government’s $250 million Industrial Support Fund this financial year.

The ftind, established in 1994/95 and provided on a yearly basis, aims at supporting industrial projects which can contribute to the overall industrial or technological development of Hong Kong and to the competitiveness of Hong Kong's manufacturing industries.

A total of 152 projects were approved in the last two financial years and 123 projects are continuing into this financial year and beyond. Industrialists generally find these projects useful.

The Secretary of ITDC and an Assistant Director-General of Industry, Ms Windy Kwok, said the objectives of the successful projects this year could be broadly categorised as infrastructural support, manpower training, environmental control, promotion of new technologies, and development of technology databases and application software.

If classified according to the relevant industrial sector, 15 are in the biotechnology sector, five in the electronics sector, eight in the information technology sector, seven in the metals sector, two in the plastics sector, six in the textiles & clothing sector and six in the general category.

"The vetting process was not easy because of the large volume and technical nature of the applications. Expert opinions from members of the various sectors of industry were sought in the vetting process, and the main criterion adopted by members of the Projects Vetting Committee of the ITDC was whether the application was market driven', i.e. whether there was a genuine need in the industry for the deliverables of the proposed project," she said.

The total project cost, amounting to some $177 million over a period of three years, would be disbursed to the applicant organisations according to the yearly cost estimates of individual projects.

Funds required in the 1996-97 financial year would be around $106.3 million, with a commitment of $48 million and $22.7 million for fiscal years 1997-98 and 1998-99 respectively.

6

"Of these successful applications, eight are from industrial support bodies such as the Hong Kong Productivity Council, 30 from higher educational institutions, nine from trade and industrial organisations, one from a research institute and one from the Industry Department," Ms Kwok said.

"The applicants will be informed of the decision of the ITDC shortly and funds will be disbursed as soon as possible to successful applications which cost less than $15 million each."

"However, one of the approved projects which seeks to establish an 'Manufacturing Technology Centre for Human Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals' will have to be submitted to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for approval because its project cost exceeds $15 million," she added.

End

Property owners urged to ensure building safety *****

Property owners should ensure that their buildings are kept in a sound condition and free from dangerous additional works, the Director of Buildings, Dr Choi Yu-leuk, said today (Wednesday).

Dr Choi made the appeal at a press conference this afternoon to announce the Buildings Department's publicity campaign to promote building safety.

He said that the campaign was aimed at educating property owners the danger of illegal structures and the importance of maintaining their buildings.

To promote the messages, the Department, with the help of Government Information Services, has produced a TV Announcement in Public Interest (API) and a series of printed materials for distribution to the public.

"The TV API serves to remind the public of the danger of illegal structures, which may collapse anytime and should be removed as soon as possible.

"With the assistance from the Rating and Valuation Department and the Treasury, we will be addressing all property owners direct by mailing a publicity leaflet together with the rates bills in the third quarter of this year," Dr Choi said.

7

On enforcement action, Dr Choi pointed out that the Buildings Department would continue its battle against dangerous buildings and illegal structures.

In 1995, the Department received some 2,000 public complaints on dangerous buildings and 9,000 on unauthorised building works, an increase of 38 per cent and 18 per cent respectively compared with 1994. The figures show that the community is becoming more aware of the problems.

”In the coming year, apart from regular enforcement actions, we will also identify more than 100 buildings for carrying out large-scale clearance operations.

"To tie in with the introduction of new legislation, a special team will be set up in the middle of the year to deal with the means of escape and fire safety installations in commercial buildings," Dr Choi said.

Regarding the maintenance of buildings, Dr Choi stressed that all buildings must be regularly maintained and repaired, otherwise their lifespan will be much shortened.

He said that the public can assist in identifying the most easily observable defects in buildings. These are spalled concrete with stains, structural cracks, bulging rendering, or loosen surface tiles.

"If members of the public detect these problems, they should immediately make a report to the Buildings Department for follow-up actions. Our two 24-hour complaint and enquiry hotlines are 2626 1234 and 2626 1313.

"I wish to stress that building owners have the obligation to ensure building safety and to employ professionals to carry out maintenance and repair works, so as to protect themselves, as well as the public safety" Dr Choi said.

End

8

Release of 47 VMs on recognisance *****

The Government announced that 47 more Vietnamese migrants (VMs) will be released from detention today (Wednesday).

On April 2, when 207 VMs were released in the wake of a Privy Council judgement, the Government also confirmed that the individual cases of about 40 other VMs were being considered.

"After completing the examination of these cases, the Government has decided to release 47 VMs from detention, since their position examined individually also falls under the terms of the Privy Council judgement," a Government spokesman said.

The 47 VMs will be transferred to Pillar Point Refugee Centre‘today. The migrants who were released on April 2 will be transferred to Pillar Point gradually.

End

CSD heroism commended by Governor *****

Two CSD Assistant Officer II have been commended by the Governor for their courage and professionalism in the face of a life-threatening situation during last month's hostage drama at High Island Detention Centre (HIDC) for Vietnamese migrants.

Assistant Officer II Wong Fu-shing, who was held hostage for more than 11 hours by a gang of armed Vietnamese migrants who attempted to break out of the North Section of HIDC. was commended for his exceptional courage, fortitude and professionalism in the face of grave personal danger on March 6.

Assistant Officer II Sun Yuk-lun, who sustained serious hand injuries when the VMs stormed the gate and tried to gain entry to the South Section of HIDC, was commended for his gallantry, exceptional dedication to duty and professionalism in thwarting the break-in attempt.

The Commissioner of Correctional Services, Mr Raymond Lai Ming-kee, today (Wednesday) presented to the two officers with the Governor's commendation and added his personal congratulations to them for composure and devotion to duty.

9

Meanwhile, the CSD Negotiation Team who successfully negotiated the release of the hostage was also praised by the Commissioner for the patience and skill during long hours of mediation with the VMs.

The Negotiation Team, led by Superintendent Ying Kwok-ching, included • Chief Officers, Yip Wing-tong and Yiu Chiu-kit. They were awarded the Commissioner's Commendation this morning.

End

Temporary intermittent road closures in Kwai Tsing ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Transport Department announces that the following roads in Kwai Tsing district will be temporarily closed for about five minutes intermittently during the time specified below from today (Wednesday) for about four months to facilitate the construction of Route 3 Kwai Chung Viaduct:

Location

Kwai Chung Road northbound Kwai Chung Road southbound Container Port Road South northbound Container Port Road South southbound Tsuen Wan Bypass northbound Tsuen Wan Bypass southbound

Time

8 pm - 7 am next day

8 pm - 7 am next day 7 pm - 7 am next day

8 pm - 7 am next day midnight - 7 am

11 pm - 6 am next day

Upon implementation of the road closures, the traffic will be stopped intermittently for not more than 10 closures per night and for an average of three or four nights per week. The intermittent road closure will only be carried out at one location concurrently.

All public transport services operating on Kwai Chung Road, Container Port Road and Tsuen Wan Bypass will not be diverted when the road closures are implemented.

End

10

Employment exhibition draws 2,500 visitors * * * * *

More than 2,500 people visited the "Employment Information Post" Exhibition at the Hong Kong City Hall today (Wednesday).

Twenty-two employers from different trades participated in. the exhibition providing a total of 852 vacancies.

The event is jointly organised by the Labour Department, the Employees Retraining Board, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

End

Payroll statistics for fourth quarter 1995

* * * * *

According to statistics released today (Wednesday) by the Census and Statistics Department, average labour earnings in all major sectors surveyed, as measured by payroll per person engaged, recorded an increase of 11.9% in nominal terms in the fourth quarter of 1995 over a year earlier. After discounting changes in consumer prices, the increase was 3.8% in real terms.

Analysed by industry sector, average payroll per person engaged in the manufacturing sector increased by 8.6% in nominal terms or 0.8% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 1995 over a year earlier. The slow-down in local manufacturing activity in the latter part of last year could have affected workers' pay in that sector.

For the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector, average payroll per person engaged increased by 13.7% in nominal terms or 5.5% in real terms. This significant increase was mainly underpinned by the rise in labour earnings in the import/export trades.

Average payroll per person engaged in the transport, storage and communications sector showed an increase of 10.2% in nominal terms or 2.3% in real terms. Increase in labour earnings was mainly concentrated in the transport industry. Labour earnings in the storage and communications industries showed a less rapid increase.

11

Average payroll per person engaged in the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector recorded an increase of 15.7% in nominal terms or 7.4% in real terms. This significant increase was attributable in part to a low base of comparison in the fourth quarter of 1994 when the securities and real estate businesses slackened along with consolidation in the stock and property markets.

As for the community, social and personal services sector, average payroll per person engaged recorded an increase of 10.7% in nominal terms or 2.7% in real terms.

Changes in the indices of payroll per person engaged between the fourth quarter of 1994 and the fourth quarter of 1995 for selected industry sectors, in both nominal and real terms, are shown in the table below.

Statistics on average payroll per person engaged are compiled at quarterly intervals based on the results of the Labour Earnings Survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department. Wage indices are also compiled from the same survey at half-yearly intervals for March and September of the year.

Average payroll includes wages as well as all other irregular receipts such as bonuses and overtime allowances. Statistics on average payroll tend to show relatively larger quarter-to-quarter changes, affected by the number of hours actually worked and the timing of payment of bonuses and back-pay.

Detailed breakdowns of the above statistics are published in the "Quarterly Report of Employment, Vacancies and Payroll Statistics, December 1995". The report will be available shortly at $44 per copy (exclusive of postage) at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong and at the Publications Unit of Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

For enquiries about the indices of payroll per person engaged, please contact the Census and Statistics Department on 2582 5076.

12

Year-on-Year Change in Indices of Payroll Per Person Engaged by Selected Industry Sector

% Change for 4th Quarter 1995

over 4th Quarter 1994

Selected Industry Sector (nominal terms) (real terms)

Manufacturing +8.6 +0.8

Wholesale, Retail and Import/Export Trades, Restaurants and Hotels +13.7 +5.5

Transport, Storage and + 10.2 +2.3 1-

Communications Financing, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services +15.7 +7.4

Community, Social and Personal Services + 10.7 +2.7

All Industry Sectors Above +11.9 +3.8

End

Tsing Yi lot to let * ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Lands Department is inviting tenders for the short-term tenancy of a piece of government land at Chung Mei Road, Area 4, Tsing Yi.

The lot, with an area of about 6,640 square metres, is intended for use as a feepaying public car park for the parking of motor vehicles excluding container tractors and trailers.

The tenancy is for 15 months, renewable quarterly.

The closing date for submission of tenders is noon on May 3, 1996 (Friday).

13

Tender form, tender notice and conditions may be obtained from the Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road and the District Lands Offices of Kwai Tsing and Kowloon.

Tender plan can also be inspected at these offices.

End

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

$ mil lion Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,358 0930 + 1.441

Closing balance in the account 1,779 1000 + 1,441

Change attributable to : 1100 +1,441

Money market activity +1,441 1200 + 1,441

LAF today -1,020 1500 + 1,441

1600 + 1,441

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 124.1 *+0.0* 17.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.93 2 years 2802 5.16 98.62 6.05

1 month 5.00 3 years 3901 5.57 98.19 6.39

3 months 5.10 5 years 5103 6.75 99.25 7.05

6 months 5.21 7 years 7302 6.02 93.37 7.39

12 months 5.55 5 years M502 7.30 100.38 7.33

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $23,870 million

Closed April 17, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Thursday, April 18,1996

Contents Page No.

Statement by Governor to Legislative Council............................... 1

Governor's question-and-answer session in LegCo............................ 2

Chief Secretary's media session at CGO.................................... 19

Information code to be extended........................................... 20

Textiles consultations with Turkey fail to proceed........................ 21

Purchase of office accommodation for HKETO in Washington.................. 23

Hotline for complaints of improper debt recovery actions.................. 24

Law to enhance safety of gas installations................................ 24

Marine safety campaign in busy fairway.................................... 26

Board dogs in licensed places............................................. 28

Second open forum for Conduct Council election............................ 30

Customs and Excise Department's performance pledges for 1996 ........ 31

Immigration officers awarded long service medals.......................... 32

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations...................... 32

1

Statement by Governor to Legislative Council * ♦ ♦ * *

Following is the statement by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, to the Legislative Council at his question-and-answer session today (Thursday):

I visited London from April 10 to 12 and Belfast from April 12 to 13.

I had usefill discussions with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, and two meetings with the Governor of Bank of England, during which we discussed the strength of the Hong Kong economy and the guarantees of Hong Kong’s autonomy in fiscal, economic and trading matters after 1997. I had meetings with Foreign Office officials and also gave three major speeches.

In my meeting with the Prime Minister, we followed up the subjects that were raised during his important visit to Hong Kong last month.

We discussed the actions that had been taken since then on visa-free access, right of abode and passports for war widows. We will be pressing for as many countries as possible to provide liberal visa regimes for SAR passport holders and we hope that we will be able to see countries declaring their hands in the coming months. Obviously the progress we make on this issue depends in part on China’s position on right of abode. We have noted the comments made by Director Lu during his visit to Hong Kong. These underline the need for Chinese officials to join us in expert talks as soon as possible so we can all be clear about what the detailed arrangements will be.

On passpons for war widows, I very’ much hope that we will be able to see a Bill coming forward before the end of this Parliamentary session. This will help to put people’s minds at ease and be a solid indication of Britain’s commitment to resolve that issue.

I also discussed with the Prime Minister my forthcoming visit to the United States to discuss the renewal of MFN status for China, and we are obviously working closely with the British Government on that issue.

The Prime Minister had been concerned to hear about the decision to establish a provisional legislature, announced by Chinese officials after the recent meeting of the Preparatory Committee in Peking. He noted that this decision, coupled with a number of remarks about the civil service, had alarmed civil servants and the community as a whole. We both hope that we will hear more in the way of reassurance from Chinese officials in the coming weeks and months.

2

We also discussed the position of Vietnamese migrants in Hong Kong. During his meeting in Bangkok with other Asian and European leaders, the Prime Minister had a good meeting with the Prime Minister of Vietnam. As a result of that meeting an official from the Foreign Office went to Vietnam to discuss how we could speed up the repatriation of Vietnamese migrants. That visit was followed by one by Jeremy Hanley which has produced good results. 1 hope that we will now see an acceleration in the rate of return of Vietnamese migrants.

We discussed a number of other matters as well, including Hong Kong's economy and Britain's continuing relationship with and commitment to Hong Kong after next summer.

I also visited Northern Ireland, where I stressed the attractions of Hong Kong to Northern Ireland in vestors and vice versa.

In all, a productive visit. I am now happy to take Honourable Members' questions.

End

Governor's question-and-answer session in LegCo *****

Following is a transcript of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten’s question-and-answer session the legislative Council today (Thursday):

Dr Leong Che-hung: Thank you Mr President. Mr President I would like to take this opportunity, with your permission of course, to thank the Governor on behalf of the House, and I am sure you yourself will join Members too, Mr President, for his effort in securing a speedy and fair appeal for the two Hong Kong residents, Mr Au Wing-cheung and Mr Wong Chun-ming, who were detained in the Philippines. We all know that they have now been released and have returned to their very relieved families.

May I, Mr President, with your permission, also ask the Governor to convey our gratitude to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary and all those in the British Government who have helped in this particular direction.

Mr President, many of us in this Council have done much, also, to help to bring this result about and I am sure we are all very happy to see this satisfactory outcome -including, even, the return of some $8,000 to both Mr Au and Mr Wong, and that the rule of law has been maintained.

3

If you will allow me the permission, Mr President, I would also like to ask the Governor a question - that is if you do not rule me out of order. And the question is that should this or similar events occur after the change of sovereignty, to Hong Kong people travelling with a BNO or BOC passport, what would be the British Government's action, if any, and how could we see the whole process being initiated?

Governor: I am grateful to the honourable gentleman for that expression of gratitude. I know that all our discussions together take place in that warm feeling of exchanges of gratitude from both sides, and I am sure this session will continue in that spirit.

I think it is fair to say that what we saw in the case of Mr AU and Mr WONG was very good teamwork between this Council - and it would be invidious to single out individual members but I know that there were many who took a very close personal interest in the case and went to considerable trouble to help Mr Au and Mr Wong - the Hong Kong Government - and I was pleased that I was able to raise the issue directly when I visited the Philippines, with President Ramos, last December -and the British Government as well, it was raised by a number of ministers and officials on a variety of visits to the Philippines and meetings with Philippines ministers.

There are two points I would just like to add on that particular case. The first is that having met Mr Au and Mr Wong myself, I am sure that like many honourable members I have been struck by their extraordinary fortitude in bearing the difficult conditions of the last few years with such strength of character. I was very impressed by my meeting with them and with their families. They can, of course, be absolutely certain that they will get all the help that is required as far as welfare benefits and other matters are concerned, as they re-establish themselves and prepare to re-launch themselves on what I hope will be successful business and professional careers.

Secondly, I think a reason why we are all pleased that this has at last been cleared up is that we do have a very good relationship with the Philippines. There is a large Filipina community here in Hong Kong which is making such a substantial contribution to our own well-being and welfare, and this issue, I think, was one of the very few difficulties in an otherwise excellent relationship and I would like to express my gratitude to President Ramos for his part in clearing it up.

The position as far as after 1997 is concerned is, I hope, clear - and was I think made clear by both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary during their visits. Those who travel on a British passport will have all the consular protection after 1997 that they could expect today. I hope that they will also be able to count on cooperation between the future sovereign power and the United Kingdom which provides them with the consular protection. I hope that that is the case and I am sure that Chinese officials would want to stress that it would be the case if they were sitting here in my position - which perhaps one day they may.

4

Mr Albert Chan (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. Mr Governor, when you were in the UK you told the public and the press that in Hong Kong there were people of different political views and there were also demonstrations in Hong Kong and they should be treated well.

Then when Director Lu Ping was in Hong Kong a lot of our members and others demonstrated but then your staff hit us and wrongly alleged that they were doing something that they never did. So your staff never treated the protesters well. Now I wonder if you could see this picture here, you can see here there are some of your staff who were holding onto protesters' necks and this was quite uncalled for.

So in the coming 400 days there will be a lot more protest actions I am sure. So how can you ensure that your staff will definitely well treat protesters instead of you resorting to such violent means?

Governor: Perhaps the Council will allow me to set out my views on this subject at some length.

We have in Hong Kong, which is a free and open society where people have the right to express their views, where they have the right to assemble and to demonstrate if necessary, we have a first class police force who, I think, manage to hold the balance between the rights of those who wish to protest and the rights of the rest of the community in an extraordinary firm but fair way.

I want to place on record now my gratitude to the police for the way they have handled events in the last few days and for the way they've handled events over the last years.

Hong Kong is an extremely tranquil community. We haven't seen many events like those of the last few days in my four years in Hong Kong. And when there are demonstrations or protests, they are handled with extremely good humour and good sense by our police. Very often young men and women recently joined the Force. Let me give an example: it's within all our knowledge that the headquarters of the New China News Agency is sometimes a focus for political argument and discussion. In 1994 and 1995 there were in all 139 meetings in the vicinity of the front entrance of the New China News Agency. There were nine marches to the New China News Agency. In all that time, with all those demonstrations, there was only one arrest. I think that's a tribute to the police and I have to say, I think it's a tribute to the way in which, by and large, people put their views in Hong Kong. Even when they feel strongly about them and even when they feel that they have to put those views in a demonstration or in a march.

5

We come to the events of last weekend and I want to say one thing which is pretty obvious straightaway. I think the euphemism is the 'united front press' have claimed that the Governor of Hong Kong, that I was responsible for the demonstrations and the arguments and those sad pictures that flashed around the world of people burning tyres and people marching. It's just another of the fabrications that we get from Wen Wei Po and others. I suspect that if they ever started being nice about me I'd have reason to think I was doing my job badly. It's only a matter of time, I can assure the honourable member, that the NCNA or those 'united front newspapers' will accuse me of being responsible for the demonstrations in 1989. It's, of course, complete and utter nonsense. I don't want in any way to ever excuse breaches of the law or rowdy behaviour because in my view arguments should always be carried on within the law and should always be carried on in as civilised a way as possible. But I don't think that those who refuse to listen should be very surprised if other people raise their voices and that's what I'm afraid we've seen in the last few days. I repeat, this is a very tranquil community. It's a community whose politics are extraordinarily moderate and it takes quite a lot to push people in Hong Kong into behaving in an immoderate way. It takes quite a lot to push them into raising their voices.

Let me offer one piece of advice and I take it from Ta Kung Pao, the edition of the 12 March, which reported extensively a speech by a Member of the Politburo, Mr Li Ruihuan who noted how important it was to allow people to have their say in relation to Hong Kong. That's what he was talking about quite explicitly and he quoted Chairman Mao. Now I don't want to comment on the context in which the Chairman's remarks were made. It's not my part to play the role of historian now but what he said was this; "the heaven's will not fall even if we allow people to speak their minds otherwise the heaven's will surely fall sooner or later." In other words if you don't allow people to speak their minds. An open and plural society should respect people's rights to speak their own mind but of course it must insist that they do that within the law. That is what our police ensure happens. They have all my sympathy for the pressure that they've been placed under in recent days.

Mr Albert Chan (in Chinese): Mr President, of course we fully appreciate that most police officers are just trying to fulfil their duty and most of our civil servants are doing very well but as we approach 1997, you cannot rule out this possibility that because of the change of sovereignty and change of masters some of these police officers are afraid that they will lose their job so that's why they are over zealous in protecting Chinese officials during the interim. That's why you see something like this happening in this picture. We are talking about a six foot tall police officer, security officer, using force against a much smaller person and that's clearly unnecessary.

So, Mr Governor, how would you instruct your staff that when they deal with such demonstrations, as you said, they must treat them well? How can you ensure there would not be abuse of force?

6

Governor: I don't want the honourable member, or anybody else, to think that I don't have strong views about the importance of policing demonstrations in a firm but fair way. But I have to say that 1 don't think the Commissioner of the Royal Hong Kong Police or his senior or junior officers need instructions from me about how to handle these matters. I think they handled them conspicuously well. I think they handled them with good sense. I think they handled them with good humour and I think they have managed to handle them, most of the time, with dignity.

I repeat what I've said before. I've been Governor of Hong Kong for four years. We've had remarkable social harmony during that period, despite the fact that we've had arguments on very important issues and we've very often found ourselves, I can look around this Chamber and see honourable members who've been vigorously on the other side of the debate, but we've had social harmony and we've had social harmony because we've had an open dialogue. If you try to exclude people, particularly those who can point to the fact that they represent the majority of opinion in Hong Kong, if you try to exclude people from the debate and the discussion about their own future, then you are going and I borrow again from Mr Li Ruihuan, you're going to risk social disharmony. You're going to risk a perpetuation of instances in which public officials feel obliged to leave meetings by the back door. I've never in four years left anywhere in Hong Kong by the back door and I never well.

The people in Hong Kong are extremely law abiding. The people in Hong Kong are decent and fair minded. The people of Hong Kong want to make a success of 1997. The people of Hong Kong would like to hear from Director Lu and his senior colleagues.

I'm delighted, just let me make this additional point. I'm delighted that this evening Director Lu will be seeing the Chief Secretary. I hope that he sees the Chief Secretary on many future occasions. I hope that he sees other secretaries and members of the Administration. I'd like to see him going to our hospitals with the Secretary for Health and Welfare. I'd like to see him going to our schools with the Secretary for Education and Manpower. I'd like to see him going to our public housing estates with the Secretary for Housing. If Chinese officials would do that, even though they will sometimes have to receive a petition or listen to people saying things that they don't much care for. If they do that they will find that the people of Hong Kong are extremely kind hearted, warm hearted and wish to ensure that Hong Kong remains as successful after 1997 as it is today. There is nothing in Hong Kong that anybody should be anxious about or frightened about.

Mr David Chu: Mr Governor, I have a question regarding the provisional legislature. I hope you do not answer the question by giving me a Chairman Mao quotation.

7

Regardless of our personal preferences, do you agree that at this point in time the establishment of the provisional legislature is a certainty? And if you agree, then would this Government recognise and co-operate with the provisional legislature so that its work can be better integrated with that of the Government and this Council, whereby help with a smooth transition?

Governor: I promise not to give the honourable member a quotation from Chairman Mao but what he says about a smooth transition reminds me very much of the story of the man who punched somebody else on the jaw and then blamed the other fellow for hurting his hand with his chin. Because the threat to a smooth transition comes from those who say they will dismantle this Legislative Council, elected by the largest number of people who have ever voted in Hong Kong's history, elected fairly and freely, entirely in line with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

Whether or not this Legislative Council is dismantled, 1 repeat what the British Foreign Secretary has said, that the proposal to dismantle it is reprehensible and unjustifiable. There is no justification under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law for dismantling it. We have had a tissue of fabrications suggesting that somehow the arrangements for electing this Legislative Council were not in line with the sacred texts. Nobody, as the honourable gentleman will know perfectly well, has ever been able to demonstrate that.

The only thing which is true is that the Chinese officials did not like the arrangements for electing this Legislative Council. And let me dwell for a moment on that point. We all know, Legislative Councillors with experience on the Executive Council know, Legislative Councillors who were here in 1992 and 1993 know perfectly well, that the reason that discussions on electoral arrangements broke down was that our side, Hong Kong Government, the British Government, refused to accept arrangements, refused to connive at arrangements, which would have specifically excluded some members of this Council from a future Legislative Council solely because of their views, and which would have attempted to dilute the number of prodemocracy politicians in the Legislative Council in future by the sort of arrangements that were made.

Now, we refused to go along with that. What Chinese officials are now doing is asking the Preparatory Committee to endorse precisely those sort of arrangements. And I don't think the 13 members of this Legislative Council who it appears are prepared to go along with that should be surprised if other members of this Legislative Council and other members of the community, and the international community, find that offensive. I don't know how honourable members can justify that.

8

The honourable gentleman asks about our attitude to the provisional legislature - if there is one. There is only one Legislative Council constitutionally in Hong Kong before 30 June 1997. There can only be one Legislative Council in Hong Kong. If there is a provisional legislature it may have some constitutional or legal position in China but before 30 June 1997 it has no constitutional or legal position here in Hong Kong. It can't make laws - though I concede this Chinese body could make recommendations.

The Joint Declaration is entirely clear on the point. I draw the honourable member's attention to Article 30 of the Joint Declaration which underlines who is responsible for the administration of Hong Kong until 30 June 1997 and which makes it clear that the Government of China should co-operate with us in our responsibilities for administering the territory.

So that is my position: there is one Legislative Council in Hong Kong while I am Governor and that is the Legislative Council here. And anybody who dismantles that, anybody who seeks to set up another Legislative Council, will have to justify that and will have to tell people why it is morally, politically and legally acceptable.

Mr Allen Lee: A point of order because the Governor said under his governorship there will be one Legislative Council. Yes, it is true. Yet the provisional legislature is the provisional legislature after 1997, July 1, and that is when the Governor leaves Hong Kong and that is the case, it is not confusing the issue the provisional legislature is here before July 1, 1997. It may be elected before but to make laws after 1997.

Governor: Well --

The President: Governor, please hold on a minute.

Governor: Can I —

The President: Mr Lee, you have not raised a point of order. I am not here to rule on law, I am here to rule on order only. But you have slipped in a question.

Governor: I assume that since that was a point of information, what we have just heard from a member of the Preparatory Committee is that no provisional legislature would operate before 30 June 1997. That is what the honourable gentleman has said. It is a confirmation, of course, of the position under the Royal Instructions, The Letters Patent and the Joint Declaration, and I am delighted to hear it.

Mr Allen Lee: Mr President, can I make one statement?

The President: Mr Lee, I am sorry.

9

Mr Allen Lee: I just want to clarify this point, a very important point which the Governor said.

The President: But I cannot let you ask the question because it is Mr David Chu's turn, not your turn. You raised a point of order and I ruled that was not a point of order but I allowed your question to slip through. So I should not allow you to ask a supplementary.

Mr Chu, do you have a short follow-up?

Mr David Chu: Yes. If the provisional legislature is constituted some time before 1 July 1997, which I believe is a reasonable assumption, would this Government, as I stated in the original question, recognise and co-operate with this body, Mr Governor?

Governor: The honourable gentleman is talking about a body which may have some legal status in China but has no legal or constitutional position in Hong Kong. That is undeniably the case. So if you're talking about, if the honourable gentleman is talking about winding up this body and if he's talking about putting something in its place, he'd better explain why that is legally justified and why it's morally justified. Let me say this, there is no reference to a provisional legislature in the Joint Declaration. There is no reference to a provisional legislature in the Basic Law. There is no reference to a provisional legislature in the NPC decisions of 1990 and 1994. At present, as I understand it, the arguments about a provisional legislature rest on the assumption that the NPC decisions give the Preparatory Committee carte blanche. I think that's a slightly worrying argument and a slightly dubious argument but it's not for me to say what is or is not legally justified so far as the provisional legislature is concerned. A point made very well the other day by Mr Denis Chang. All I'm saying is that there is only one Legislative Council here in Hong Kong before 30 June, 1997. Only one. And that is the Legislative Council the Executive Council is going to work with and that is the Legislative Council which the Government is openly accountable to.

Mr James To (in Chinese): Mr President, now whether the LegCo will be dismantled or not, we won't know yet but it seems that some are already dismantling some important constitutional principles of the ExCo. Mr Tung Chee-hwa voted to support the provisional legislature in the Preparatory Committee and another ExCo member, Mr Raymond Ch'ien said there was a legal basis for the provisional legislature. Both their words have already departed from the principles of the Government and the position of the Government. So I want to ask the Governor whether they have breached the collective responsibility system because this is something you have always stressed is important? And that's the reason why you kept out some members with a lot of public opinion backing from the ExCo. So is this collective responsibility system no longer in existence, in effect? Or are you afraid of them because some of them are tipped as potential candidate for the Chief Executive post? So are their words in breach of the principles of ExCo?

10

Governor: Let me, in these confidential surroundings, be very honest with the honourable gentleman. I was a member of two British Cabinets, I have a good deal of personal experience of the application of the principle of collective responsibility. Therefore the honourable gentleman has never and will never hear large numbers of lectures from me on the subject. I know that it's a principle which has to be applied with a degree of propriety by those who are collectively responsible and good sense by whoever is primus inter pares and that has always been the position and will remain the position.

Yes, we do have a position of collective responsibility in the Executive Council and it's exercised with I think the tolerance and generosity of spirit which are necessary in order to have as broadly based an Executive Council as possible which 1 believe to be in the best interests of Hong Kong. Honourable members will know that I deliberately chose an Executive Council which represented all shades of opinion here in Hong Kong. I hope that some of its members even represent the broad aspirations of the honourable member. Well there are going to be one or two members of the Executive Council, if I may say so, who will be broken hearted by the feeling that they don't represent the honourable member there. It's a broadly based Executive Council and I intend to ensure that it stays that way. I could hardly crack the whip and behave like the Spanish inquisition over the Executive Council when I've said and feel very strongly that others should be a little more open minded and generous of spirit in the way that they deal with disagreement and argument.

Having said that, the position of the Executive Council and the Government is absolutely clear and it's the position which I set out earlier and it's the position which others like the Chief Secretary and the Financial Secretary and senior officials have set out on other occasions. There's only one Legislative Council. It's the one which sits here and was elected here last Autumn and the Executive Council and the Government will work with it until 30 June, 1997.

Mr James To (in Chinese): Mr President, a question for the Governor. Are you concerned that the nearer we are towards 1997, if you keep liberalising this principle, relaxing this principle, then it's possible that there could be a massive defection of ExCo members and that may go against your principles. So Mr Governor, do you think that you have already relaxed the principle to the extent of being risky?

Governor: No I don't think I've relaxed the principle to the extent of being risky. I think I've applied it in my customarily sensible and civilised way. 1 believe in open discussion and debate. I think I've helped with some members of this Council to extend that important aspect of a free society here a little bit in Hong Kong and I certainly don't intend cracking the whip unnecessarily either with my colleagues in the Administration or with those whose advice I take in the Executive Council.

11

I think if the honourable member looks back he may find in history rather more examples of Executive Council members speaking out for themselves in years past than there have been in the last four years but what I've said about collective responsibility doesn’t mean that the principle doesn’t still apply. It has to be implemented in a sensitive and sensible way, that's how I'll continue to do it and I hope that we have as broadly based an Executive Council as long as possible because I think, particularly at this difficult and challenging period for Hong Kong, it's helpful to have as broad a base of advice as I can possibly get.

The President: And be fairly tolerant of the wits too?

Governor: And be tolerant of the ?

The President: Wits.

Governor: Wits, whips, tolerant of everybody.

Mr Ngan Kam-chuen (in Chinese): Mr Governor, as Governor of Hong Kong you face the provisional legislature that is to be set up by the future sovereignty; your criticisms, are they appropriate and are you barring your officials from co-operating with the provisional legislature?

Governor: The provisional legislature has nothing to do with me. If Chinese officials want to set one up as a Chinese institution, then it would be impertinent of me to involve myself in it. All I am saying to the honourable gentleman is that it has nothing to do with the Government of Hong Kong between now and the 30 June 1997. If Chinese officials, or others, wish to make preparations for the position after 1997 then that is their matter but the provisional legislature does not have a constitutional position in Hong Kong. If it has a legal position at all, that is for Chinese officials to justify. But I repeat, it is nothing to do with me.

Mr Ngan Kam-chuen (in Chinese): Well, you may have the team designate and they will have to work with the provisional legislature probably, and would you ask them to resign from the Hong Kong Government then?

Governor: I don't understand what the honourable gentleman means about them working with the provisional legislature. What is the honourable gentleman suggesting that the provisional legislature will do? Is he suggesting that before 30 June 1997 it will pass laws? It can't. What is he suggesting? What happens after 1 July 1997 isn't my business, though I have an interest in it.

12

Mr Szeto Wah (in Chinese): When the Constitutional Affairs Panel discussed with Government officials about the tenure of office for members in this Council, Government officials told us that our tenure of office would not necessarily be four years because you as the Governor are empowered to dissolve this Council any time. So, Mr Governor, before 30 June 1997, would you order on that day or before that day that this Council be dissolved to tie-in with the setting up of the provisional legislature?

Governor: Certainly not.

Mr Szeto Wah (in Chinese): In the last term of this Council a member passed away, unfortunately, and also another member was imprisoned, and they did not serve the four year term. So if Government officials use the example that the Governor has the power to dissolve this Council and say that we do not have a four year term, then is it equivalent to citing similar unfortunate examples of those who have passed-away or who have been imprisoned and who therefore did not serve the four year term? So do you think it is the same ridiculous logic if we use that?

Governor: I don't think the logic I am about to offer the honourable gentleman is ridiculous and I hope he won't think it ridiculous either. Honourable members are elected to this Council for four years and it is desirable that they should be able to serve their four years but nobody has ever suggested they have a legal entitlement, as it were, a four year contract. They don't.

One reason why they have not in the past and do not now has nothing to do with 1997 and it is the most important reason of all, and that is that, for example, the Hong Kong Governor could, I suppose, under the Royal Instructions and the Letters Patent, dissolve the Legislative Council and call for new elections. In those circumstances he would not feel obliged to pay everybody for the two years or three years or three-and-a-half years of service in the Legislative Council which they had been denied by an election.

In the United Kingdom we have five-year Parliaments but nobody has an entitlement to be paid as an MP for five years. It is exactly the same principle and I repeat, basically has nothing to do with 1997.

Mr Howard Young: Mr Governor, during your trip to London you said you raised the question of travel documents and of course right of abode which is linked to it, and I agree it is an issue which is imminent. It appears that this issue, now, is being tackled through a very perhaps should I say unique way by the Chinese Government, of rather than doing things with the Basic Law, to tackle it by some other sort of legal mechanism with regard to the Chinese Nationality Law.

13

Now although, Governor, you have called on discussions on these issues be taken up with China, you have done so for some time and there is still no result. But 1 believe that the National People's Congress is very shortly going to debate this explanatory or amendment or whatever to the Nationality Law which will become legally effective as Chinese Law.

If there is no route through diplomatic channels will you consider perhaps through another channel, say the Preparatory Committee members, some of which sit on this Council, including myself who I genuinely feel that I have been able to - to use your quotation of Chairman Mao "to speak my mind" in the Preparatory Committee -to through us to see whether we can do something to ensure that this result in explaining the Nationality Law is satisfactory and will dovetail with Hong Kong law in this regard. The time is so short and I believe the next opportunity will be towards the end of May at the next PC Meeting.

Governor: Not least because of his own experience in the functional constituency which he represents, the honourable member knows as well as anyone just how important this issue is to Hong Kong's self-confidence and to Hong Kong's continuing prosperity as an open society with the maximum freedom of travel.

Our position is quite simply this: in January, Mr Rifkind had a successful meeting with Vice Premier Qian Qichen during the course of which Vice Premier Qian Qichen confirmed that anybody who had permanent residency in Hong Kong before 1997 would have it after 1997, though both of them of course recognised that the precise way in which this was to be achieved had to be worked out in relation to the Basic Law and so on.

Now we very much hoped that that meeting could be followed by very rapid expert talks. It is not a question, or should not be a question, of high politics, it is a question of dealing with real administrative difficulties in a way which helps people in Hong Kong and helps people - the extended Hong Kong family in Canada, Australia and elsewhere. Unfortunately, those expert talks have not yet taken place though we have had leaks of what the Chinese position is and we have now had this interesting speech by Director Lu last week.

I don't know any more about the situation than that, nor do my officials, though they have - and this is not because we are carping it is because our Immigration Department is eventually going to have to make this work - they have literally dozens of difficult questions which we are being asked. Look at the newspapers. Look at the difficult questions which the newspapers are asking about these arrangements. Consider the questions which our Immigration staff are going to start having at ' Immigration counters before very long.

14

The sooner we can start addressing with Chinese officials these very difficult questions, the better. And if the honourable member and other members of the Preparatory Committee are offering their help in elucidating these matters, then we would very much welcome that assistance and welcome any information that we can get from them.

Originally, you may recall, we didn't think it was going to be possible to deal with the question of visa-free access for SAR passport holders to the United Kingdom until we had sorted out right of abode. I didn't think we could wait any longer on SAR passport visa-free access and I am delighted that the British Government reached a sensible decision on that. But there are all sorts of other countries which are going to be very reluctant to move on visa regimes for SAR passport holders until that question of right of abode is absolutely clear.

So however we achieve it, I think the sooner we can get our experts sitting down round a table with Chinese officials, the better, because nobody doubts that under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law it is going to be for our Immigration Department to try to make this policy work.

Mr Howard Young: Governor, as a demonstration that the Executive Council is not the only body that has problems of skirting around the edges of collective responsibility, could you bear in mind that all that has been said about the amendment to Nationality Law is not all that secretive, there has been an official decision by the Preparatory Committee and on that basis, plus what Mr Lu said which is also public, that there is a great deal of room within the next few months through whatever channel - private or personal capacity - for us to achieve a central solution to the right of abode.

Governor: Can I say something about that. I think it has been suggested during the last few days by one or two very senior Chinese officials that even though the Preparatory Committee have reached this view, discussions can't begin with Hong Kong Government officials because the NPC hasn't made a decision. I really find that difficult to accept as a sensible position but I assure the honourable member that it has been said.

We really have to clear up these matters very, very quickly. There are difficult problems, mainly problems of implementation. We think, and we have tried to sound positive, that the proposals are an advance on the previous position. 1 still happen to think that the best way forward would have been to allow people to make a simple declaration. But that is not acceptable to Chinese officials, so we must try to find some other way forward. But the way that they are proposing raises all sorts of questions and we had belter get on with sorting them out because otherwise there are going to be some very worried people come 1997. and some very confused Immigration Department officials.

15

Mr Chim Pui-chung (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. Mr Governor, now it's almost four years since you've come to Hong Kong to become our Governor. As you said, on political views maybe we differ but from other aspects of your work, personally 1 am very appreciative of the work you've done and effort you've put in it.

Mr Governor, 1 have a question about the Securities and Futures Commission.

The President: Mr Chim Pui-chung, this is not one of the six topics.

Mr Chim Pui-chung (in Chinese): Mr President, Mr Governor has agreed to answer the question because just now 1 have been heaping praises on him, that's why he has to return the favour.

Now on the check and balances of Government's work the I long Kong people are very appreciative of that but in the past when it comes to the work of the SFC it seems that it gives the impression to the public and investors there is not enough check and balance on the SFC. The Secretary for Financial Services and the Financial Secretary of course are empowered to monitor these bodies but these bodies just ignore their presence. So Mr Governor, 1 hope that something concrete will be done .

Now recently there is a company of which 1 am Chairman, the company has been suspended for trading for ten years. We have gone through the normal procedure to apply for trading again but then there were some Australian officials on the SFC....

Mr James To: Mr President, now is it because the Governor agrees to answer the question and then we could disregard all the rules and orders of this Council because we've already set the topics for today's sitting?

The President: I do think that I shouldn't allow that question but since the Governor is pleased to answer it, could we ... I think the intervention is appropriate in another sense in that, are you personally pecuniary involved, interested in the Company that you were talking about?

Mr Chim Pui-chung (in Chinese): No, not at all Mr President. Now I will be giving the Governor a letter just now and he could peruse it at his own time but I just want him to know whether there should be check and balances on the SFC. Now if there are any, what are they?

Mr Ronald Arculli: Mr President, I would like you to rule on the fact as to whether or not a member of this Council can properly put the Governor in that embarrassing position of putting a specific case to the Governor during Governor's Question l ime. Thank you very much.

The President: I rule that the question itself is inappropriate.

16

Mr Cheung Man-kwong (in Chinese): Mr Governor, now I agree fully with what our Chairman of House Committee, Dr C H Leong, said, that is you have put in great effort on Mr Au and Mr Wong's case. You have fulfilled your duty as the Governor of Hong Kong but the Au and Wong case leads us to think about Mr Xi Yang's case.

Mr Governor, when you were in London did you take up this matter with the Prime Minister, Mr John Major? The Ming Pao journalist Mr Xi Yang is detained in Beijing and have you taken up that case and what are the Hong Kong and British Governments doing to secure the release of Mr Xi Yang? As we know from press reports Mr Xi Yang is now ill and he has not seen the sun for ages so we are very sad to hear that. I wonder if the Hong Kong and British Governments will formally request the Chinese Government to release Mr Xi Yang on bail because of his ill health?

Governor: If I can, without breaching the rules of order, just apologise if I was in any way responsible for an earlier breach. I have on previous occasions, occasionally answered questions which weren't actually on the list in front of us. It doesn't necessarily mean that I'll always do it if people are flattering and kind to me but that does actually help. Should 1 resume a political career in the future I'll know where to turn for assistance.

On the sad case that the honourable member has mentioned, I can assure the honourable member that I always discuss that particular and related issues when I return to London. It wasn't actually on the agenda of my meeting with the Prime Minister but we did during the course of other discussions touch on it. The honourable gentleman will know the slightly more limited capacity for intervention where one is talking about somebody with resident's status rather than citizenship or a passport but we have at meetings between senior British Ministers and senior Chinese officials raised the case continually and will continue to do so. I think that it's a case which concerns everyone in Hong Kong in the same way perhaps as the case of Mr Au and Mr Wong did. There is a difference in what one is able to do in the two different cases but I appreciate that concerns will continue to be expressed, particularly if Mr Xi Yang is not in good health.

Mr Cheung Man-kwong (in Chinese): Mr Governor, tonight the Chief Secretary Mrs Anson Chan will be meeting with Director Lu Ping. So I wonder if you are aware of this Mr Governor? Would the Chief Secretary raise the Xi Yang case at tonight's meeting to secure the release of Mr Xi Yang? If the Governor is not aware of that, would you at least convey my view, that is in tonight's meeting the Xi Yang case should be raised?

17

And also Mr Governor, when you were in London did you also request the British Government to go through diplomatic channels? For example, send a special envoy to China to visit Mr Xi Yang? And have you also impressed upon China your hope that Mr Xi Ying should be released as soon as possible, at least on humanitarian grounds he should be released on bail so that he could seek medical treatment in Hong Kong?

Governor: I'm sure that reports of what the honourable gentleman has said will reach the Chief Secretary before her engagement this evening. I'm not sure whether Director Lu is the ideal, and I'm speaking in terms of administrative responsibility, recipient of the message but I will ensure that the message arrives at the Chief Secretary's office.

I didn't raise in London the suggestion of a special envoy but I will continue to raise the argument that British Ministers should keep in touch with their counterparts on an issue which I repeat has caused widespread concern, not only in this community but elsewhere too. It’s the sort of case which I dare say I will find myself answering questions on when I go in a couple of weeks' time to the United States to argue for the renewal of MFN status against a background of concern in the United States about matters such as the one the honourable gentleman has raised.

Mr Cheng Yiu-tong (in Chinese): I have often heard the Governor and his officials saying that our term will extend until 1999 but I do have with me a collection of legal articles by the PRC and it says that it will end on 30 June 1997. So under such circumstances, will the Governor fight for the interests of this Council or would you be on hunger strike, let's say, for 50 hours let's say?

Governor: Well, I could probably make more physical use of a hunger strike than any of the lean, perfectly formed— It is rather a pity when one pays people a compliment and they can’t recognise themselves.

Let me deal with the honourable gentleman's question seriously. Nothing I have ever said seeks to argue that 30 June 1997 does not see the end of British sovereignty in Hong Kong. Equally, nothing that I have seen justifies the derailing of the so-called through train on 30 June, which has nothing to do with decisions taken by this Council or the Hong Kong Government except that those decisions which were in line with the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law were not liked by Chinese Officials.

I think that this Legislative Council should continue until 1999. I think that it would be in the community's advantage for it to do so. And I repeat that anybody who garrottes this Council in the middle of 1997 will have to justify that to opinion in Hong Kong and I dare say, since there will be quite a lot of interest in the issue, to international opinion too.

18

Mr Cheng Yiu-tong (in Chinese): Well, I do hope that you Mr Governor will be able to meet with Director Lu. And last time I talked about your using your charisma to charm him to Hong Kong. Now that Director Lu is in Hong Kong but you won't be meeting him and this evening Mrs Anson Chan will be meeting Mr Lu and also Mr Zhou Nan would you make use of the charisma of Mrs Anson Chan? Or, the Foreign Office officials will be also meeting them at the weekend, and then would you make use of them so as to clarify the issues so that you can protect our interests, the interests of the Legislative Council that is?

Governor: I am not sure that my charisma or lack of it has anything to do with whether or no Director Lu will meet me. There is of course an obligation on us to meet, regularly, under the MOU on the airport. It is not me that is preventing that happening.

The South China Morning Post didn't like it when I said that I thought the civilised thing to do for people in Director Lu's position and mine was to meet and talk, as happened elsewhere in the world. Well let me put the point in another way. Everybody knows in this community that it would be in the interests of Hong Kong for us to meet and discuss matters. Everybody knows that there is hardly anything that would send a better signal to the community and the outside world. When I say hardly anything, there is one thing and that is if Chinese officials would bring themselves -which they will have to do sooner or later - to begin a dialogue with those who represent the majority of public opinion here in Hong Kong.

But in the absence of Director Lu or other Chinese officials meeting me, I hope that they will have many and increasingly frequent fruitful meetings with the Chief Secretary and other senior members of my Administration. I hope that that will be the pattern for the future, even if this Patten won't be part of it.

But nothing that has been said, nothing that will be said, no reflection of anyone's charisma, is going to change the fundamentals of the position on the Legislative Council, on the Bill of Rights, on the application of the International Covenants in Hong Kong and on the faithful and successful implementation of the Joint Declaration.

End

19

Chief Secretary’s media session at CGO *****

The following is the transcript of a media session by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, this (Thursday) evening after having dinner at the Xinhua News Agency villas in Stanley:

Chief Secretary: Good evening everyone. I'm sorry to keep you all waiting. I had a very good dinner tonight with Mr Zhou Nan and Mr Lu Ping. It was a very friendly and very relaxed affair. There was a good opportunity for us to have a very frank exchange of views on transitional issues. Both sides agreed that we should set aside our differences and concentrate on intensifying co-operation in order to achieve a smooth transition. I took the opportunity to outline to Mr Lu the specific concerns of the civil service. I stressed that stability and continuity in the civil service is crucial to a smooth transition. I also pointed out that civil servants have always been impartial in their work, loyal and dedicated to serving the community and it was imperative that this should remain so. Mr Lu assured me of the importance that the Chinese side placed on the civil service. He agreed with me that stability and continuity was important and he specifically reaffirmed that civil service should remain politically neutral and loyal and dedicated to serving the people of Hong Kong. I am sure that like me, my civil service colleagues will find this very, very reassuring.

I was also able to raise with Mr Lu the question of right of abode. I pointed out that there is a great deal of concern and many questions arising out of the proposals which he outlined in his speech earlier this week and I urged Mr Lu to agree to early expert talks so that we can sort out the detailed arrangements and then we can be in a position to answer the very legitimate questions that many people have, not only Hong Kong people, but also business people.

Finally I think I should perhaps say a word about how we can intensify cooperation. We have agreed that in so far as co-operation with the preparatory committee and with the Chief Executive Officer (Designate) is concerned that we should sit down and discuss specific areas of co-operation and I was very glad to accept Mr Lu Ping's invitation to continue our discussion in Beijing very soon. We have not yet fixed a date but clearly as soon as we have agreed a date, we will make a separate announcement about that visit. So, all told, I thought this was a very good discussion. I think that civil servants will find some of the topics that we discussed and Mr Lu Ping's statement very reassuring. But there will be a need to continue for us to be sensitive to civil service concerns. Clearly there is a will to try and co-operate and not to concentrate on our differences. So I very much look forward to our continuing dialogue not only with Mr Lu but also with other Chinese leaders.

Question: Do principal officials have to support the provisional legislature in order to get through 1997?

20

CS: Mr Lu reaffirmed that civil servants should remain politically neutral and should remain loyal and dedicated to serving the people of Hong Kong. This will be so before 1997. Of course, after 1997, civil servants will be loyal and will serve the SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong.

Question: Chief Secretary. Thank you very much for coming to see us. Can you first sum up for us please in English which you’ve already said and then I have a question?

CS: I thought I did the summing up already at the start of this brief press... Yes. Let me attempt a summing up in a different way. I thought this was a very useful discussion. It gave me an opportunity to put forward certain views frankly. I think that they were... that both Mr Lu and Mr Zhou listened very attentively to what I have to say. I think they are well aware of civil service concerns. They are anxious to explore with us and to agree with us the areas in which we can co-operate so that we can achieve a smooth transition and not make life difficult for civil servants. One question, you said.

Question: You said that you agreed to set aside the differences. But in the course of the discussion, were there some disagreements between you?

CS: I think clearly there is a difference of opinion on the provisional legislature. But as I said, both sides’ position is quite clear.

Question: Do you agree to co-operate selectively on certain matters?

CS: We have agreed to set aside our differences and to explore areas in which we can co-operate. And we both want to co-operate because that is ... that will help us to ensure a smooth transition. It is what the people of Hong Kong wish to see and that is what we will try and achieve. Okay. Thank you all very much.

End

Information code to be extended

*****

Seven more government agencies will be subject to the Code on Access to Information from Monday (April 22), the Government announced today (Thursday).

"This will bring the total number of government agencies covered by the Code to 82. The Code will be extended to the remaining agencies by the end of this year," a spokesman for the Efficiency Unit of the Government Secretariat said.

1 rli. >■■■

21

The additional agencies to come under the Code in April are the Auxiliary Medical Services (department), Civil Aid Services (department), Immigration Department, Official Languages Agency, Civil Service Training and Development Institute, Secretariat of the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service, and Secretariat of the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service.

Under the Code, anyone can seek access to information and records held by government departments. A department must provide access to the requested information unless there are specific grounds for refusal.

Anyone who thinks that a department has not complied with the Code may ask for a review, or complain to the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints.

The Code has been operating smoothly since its introduction in March 1995. A total of 855 requests for access to information were received by departments. Of these, only 27 have been rejected and 19 partially declined.

The spokesman added that the full text of the Code had been published on the Internet, together with its internal guidelines on application and interpretation and the contact details of departmental Access to Information Officers. Such information could be accessed at the World-Wide Web Government Information Centre on http://www.info.gov.hk/access/index.htm.

End

• I ’. .’(>

Textiles consultations with Turkey fail to proceed *****

The consultations originally scheduled to be held between Hong Kong and Turkey on April 16 and 17 in Geneva over the unilateral imposition of discriminatory quotas by Turkey on textiles and clothing imports from Hong Kong could not proceed as Turkey failed to respond to Hong Kong's request for consultations on the terms agreed between the two sides.

The Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mrs Rebecca Lai, who led the Hong Kong delegation to the consultations, said today (Thursday): "Hong Kong regrets that although the consultations proposed by Hong Kong had been accepted by Turkey on February 20, Turkey stated just prior to the commencement of the first session of the consultations on April 16 that it could not proceed on the basis as requested by Hong Kong and previously agreed by Turkey in accordance with the proper procedures under the multilateral framework."

22

She pointed out that the purpose of the meeting on April 16 was to engage in the proposed consultations under Article XXII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

However, she said, it proved impossible to conduct the consultations on the agreed basis and in accordance with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement procedures (DSU).

Article XXI 1.1 of the GATT provides for bilateral consultations between the requesting and responding parties (i.e. Hong Kong and Turkey in this case), and Article 4.11 of the WTO DSU allows for other members joining the Article XXII. 1 consultations if they are accepted by the responding party on grounds of their substantial trade interest.

"The consultations could not proceed because Turkey and the European Communities (EC) insisted at the outset of the meeting, contrary to Hong Kong's position, that the consultations could not be considered as being conducted bilaterally between Hong Kong and Turkey," Mrs Lai said.

"Instead, Turkey demanded that Hong Kong should hold consultations with both Turkey and the EC as a so-called 'joint exercise'. Turkey tried to argue that since the quantitative restrictions have been imposed arising from the formation of the EC/Turkey Customs Union, both Turkey and the EC should jointly participate at the consultations with Hong Kong."

Mrs Lai explained that while Hong Kong had no problem with the EC participating as an interested party under the proper WTO procedures, the Turkish position of a "joint exercise" with the EC was however a derogation from the framework previously agreed between Hong Kong and Turkey, and it also deviated from the multilateral rules, Hong Kong therefore insisted that the consultations be held in accordance with the agreed framework.

"But Turkey did not agree. The consultations therefore did not take place," she said.

The Deputy Director-General of Trade elaborated that the situation was reported to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body at its meeting on April 17.

23

The DSU provides that WTO members should try to resolve disputes within 30 days from the date of a complaint. Having been extended by mutual agreement between Hong Kong and Turkey to April 17, the consultation period in this case had expired.

"Hong Kong is now considering the way forward. We have reserved our rights to pursue the matter further in accordance with relevant provisions of the multilateral trade agreements, including a request for the establishment of a dispute settlement panel," Mrs Lai added.

End

Purchase of office accommodation for HKETO in Washington * ♦ * * *

A spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch regretted the sensational but incorrect report published today (Thursday) in a local newspaper that the Government was purchasing a permanent office for the Hong Kong Economic and Irade Office (HKETO) in Washington secretly without seeking the voting of funds from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council.

"It is publicly known Government policy to house HKETOs in owned premises. This is more economical in the long term and will ensure security of tenure not otherwise available in leased accommodation." the spokesman said.

The purchase of permanent accommodation for each overseas office has to be approved by the Finance Committee. To date, five HKETOs are already housed in owned accommodation and funds have already been voted for the purchase of accommodation for another four HKETOs.

"In the case of the HKETO in Washington, the purchase of accommodation was approved by the Finance Committee on July 28. 1995. As meetings of the Finance Committee are open to the public, there is no question of the matter being handled 'secretly' without public knowledge." the government spokesman said.

End

24

Hotline for complaints of improper debt recovery actions

*****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (Thursday) that with effect from April 22 (Monday), the public can make use of a hotline (2878 1378) set up by the authority to lodge complaints about improper behaviour (such as intimidatory, violent or illegal actions) of debt collection agencies appointed by authorised institutions.

"This complaint channel will ensure that any irregularities on the part of debt collection agencies employed by authorised institutions will receive the immediate attention of the HKMA so that appropriate action can be taken,” said Mr David Carse. Deputy Chief Executive (Banking) of the HKMA.

The HKMA, the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the Deposit-taking Companies Association have formed a working group to develop a Code of Banking Practice which aims to promote good banking practices and a fair and cordial relationship between authorised institutions and their customers.

Further guidance on the use of debt collection agencies in debt recovery actions will be considered by the working group. The HKMA has also used the occasion of the setting up of the complaint hotline to write again to the industry associations to stress the need for authorised institutions to exercise strict control over the agencies.

End

Law to enhance safety of gas installations *****

The Gas Safety (Amendment) Bill 1996, to be gazetted tomorrow (Friday), proposes that owners of fuel gas installations such as gas works, high pressure gas pipes and gas storage facilities, should have a statutory duty to maintain and operate the installations safely.

The existing provisions of the Gas Safety Ordinance enable the Gas Authority (the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services) to enter and inspect fuel gas installations and he does so annually.

If the inspector finds any faults, an improvement notice can be issued directing that they be remedied within a certain period.

25

The Bill improves on these arrangements by putting a statutory obligation on owners 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 (he Gas Authority's inspector points out faults before performing maintenance work.

A spokesman for the Gas Standards Office of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said : "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 proposals will not only improve the safety of gas installations but also give the Department 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 spokesman stressed that "the overall safety level of gas installations is good" and decommissioning of an installation by the Department would only happen "in unusual or extreme cases".

The Bill provides that 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.

The proposals in the Bill will apply equally to fuel gas installations owned by registered gas supply 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 (LPG) containers which have no valve to automatically close off the gas when the container is disconnected from a gas appliance. These containers are the sort used with camping stoves.

The spokesman said: "Experience has shown that accidents with disposable LPG containers without a closing off valve often result in the user sustaining burns."

"As the market will be adequately supplied with camping gas containers equipped with a closing off valve, we intend to prohibit the supply of those without a valve, in the interests of public safety," he said.

26

The Bill also enables the transfer of responsibility for the examination of gasholders from the Labour Department to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on May 1, 1996.

End

Marine safety campaign in busy fairway *****

The Marine Department and the Marine Police will jointly mount a safety-campaign in the Northern Fairway, one of the busiest waterways in Hong Kong, to remind vessel operators of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREG).

Briefing the media on the operations, the Marine Officer of the North Marine District, Mr Eric Lau, said today (Thursday) that the Northern Fairway, which runs from the western part of Victoria Harbour to the container port in Kwai Chung, is a popular thoroughfare for barges, container vessels, high-speed ferries.

The two government departments will deploy additional launches to issue warnings to those who defy the rules of the road during the first phase of the campaign which will begin next Monday (April 22).

This fresh round of marine safety campaign follows a similar operation conducted in January this year at the central part of Victoria Harbour.

Last year there were 41 marine casualties involving local craft and river-trade vessels in the Tsing Yi area of the Northern Fairway.

"Any accident occurred in the busy fairway will seriously affect the smooth operation of our port," Mr Lau said.

"For the sake of their own safety and also that of other port users, every operator should follow strictly COLREG, particularly in the Northern Fairway where traffic is heavy," he said.

Mr Lau said that two departments will deploy much of their attention to tackle speeding offences in the coming exercise.

27

"The Marine Department will use a 'radar gun', a portable speed detector for use in maritime environment, to gather evidence of speeding offences," Mr Lau said.

"In addition conventional methods will also be employed in the exercise," Mr Lau said.

Launches from the two departments will set up checkpoints at strategic locations along the fairway to monitor speed engaged by the vessels in the area.

Mr Lau hoped that the week-long educational exercise will drive home the safety messages to vessel operators.

"If they fail to follow the rules of the road strictly, officers from the two departments will take enforcement action as a final course of action," he warned.

Also briefing the media was the Assistant Divisional Commander (Operations) of the Marine Police Harbour Division, Mr Kong Sai-cheong.

Mr Kong said that offenders will be prosecuted when the operation enters its second phase on April 29.

Vessel operators found contravening COLREG will be summonsed and may face maximum fine of $25,000 upon conviction.

Masters, coxswains and persons-in-charge of vessels are advised to observe the following good practices of seamanship:

To maintain a constant and proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means to determine whether there is a risk of collision;

To proceed at a safe speed appropriate to the circumstances and not to exceed the maximum permitted speed;

Not to enter marine works areas;

To keep the Tsim Sha Tsui Light Buoy on the port side when proceeding along the Hung Hom Fairway;

To use proper sound signals whenever it is required to do so;

28

When vessels engaged in towing, the tow line should not exceed the length of the vessel being towed or two and a half times the length of the towing vessel, whichever is greater and in no circumstances other than in an emergency should a tow line be longer than 100 metres;

Appropriate lights and signals must be displayed; and

Not more than two vessels may be towed by a single tug at one time.

A pamphlet using cartoons to demonstrate the essential points of good seamanship will be distributed to vessel operators. Copies of the phamplet are also available from the Marine District Offices and from the Marine Department Homepage on the Internet at http://www.info.gov.hk/mardep.

End

Board dogs in licensed places *****

Pet owners who want to board their animals are advised to put them in licensed boarding establishments.

The appeal was made today (Thursday) by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) following media reports of advertisements in a public housing estate inviting tenants to put their dogs into a boarding place.

An AFD senior veterinary officer, Dr K.K.. Liu said that people putting pets in unlicensed boarding establishments could place their animals at risk of unnecessary suffering because of sub-standard facilities and services offered there.

"These unlicensed premises are, after all, already breaching the Public Health (Animals) (Boarding Establishment) Regulations," Dr Liu said.

He pointed out that the department is still investigating the reports to see if there are illegal practices involved.

Dr Liu also took the opportunity to remind public housing tenants who are unable to keep their animals to arrange for them to be placed in the care of others or humanely destroyed.

29

Under an existing arrangement between AFD and Housing Department, public housing tenants can surrender their pets at designated housing estate offices for collection by AFD staff for humane destruction.

Dog owners may also surrender their unwanted dogs to Government kennels in Shek Wu Hui, Sha Tin, Sung Wong Toi and Victoria Road direct.

Since the launching of the dog collection exercise in April 9, a total of 16 dogs have been handed over to AFD staff.

Those who want their dogs to be adopted by others can contact the RSPCA or transfer them to friends or relatives, he added.

In addition, Dr Liu gave several hints for people who want to keep dogs for pets. His hints are:

Select the right dog

Ensure that the dog you choose suits your home;

Avoid large, active breeds if there are young children or elderly people or if you have little room for the dog to exercise.

Avoid nuisances

* Prevent your dog from wandering. Put it on leash when taking it out;

Do not allow your dog to bark and disturb neighbours;

* Clean up after your dog and dispose of dog faeces in a sanitary manner;

Do not allow your dog to worry or attack other people or animals. If it is aggressive, muzzle it when taking it out.

Protect children from attack

* Do not leave children with dogs unless an adult is present;

Do not let children approach feeding dogs and bitches with puppies.

Desex the animal

Desex your dog to prevent unwanted breeding and aggression.

30

Dispose of unwanted animals properly

* Do not abandon dogs. Take them to the nearest Government kennel or

RSPCA.

End

Second open forum for Conduct Council election

*****

Teachers and principals of secondary and special schools will have a chance to meet candidates for the Council on Professional Conduct in Education election at a forum on Saturday (April 20).

Assistant Director of Education (Services), Mr David Pun, said the forum provided a good opportunity for candidates competing in the category of secondary and special schools to exchange views with their voters on promoting the professional status of teachers with the establishment of the Council.

Teachers and principals are urged to attend the forum on Saturday to show their support for the election, Mr Pun said.

"The Council on Professional Conduct in Education is set up in the interest of teaching profession. It is aimed at enhancing their professional conduct and status."

This forum on Saturday will be the second and last one for the election. It will be held at 9.15 am at the Lecture Theatre, Grantham Campus I, the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Gascoigne Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon.

A total of 12 candidates - eight from secondary schools and four from special schools - will contest in the election in the category of special and secondary schools. The candidates will in turn deliver a three-minute speech explaining their platforms and answer questions from the floor at the forum.

The Council on Professional Conduct in Education is a non-statutory body to advise the Government on measures to promote professional conduct in education, including the drafting of operational criteria defining the conduct expected of an educator, and to advise the Director of Education in resolving cases of dispute or alleged professional misconduct.

End

31

Customs and Excise Department's performance pledges for 1996 *****

The Customs and Excise Department announced today (Thursday) the publication of its performance pledges for 1996. It pledged to continue to provide an efficient, courteous and professional service to the public.

Included in the 1996’s edition are two new pledges in connection with the "Motor Vehicle First Registration Tax Assessment". These new pledges and their respective performance standards are: firstly, the target processing time for registration of applications for motor vehicle importers and distributors should be within seven working days; and secondly, the assessment of provisional taxable value on imported vehicles should be within five working days.

In addition, to tie in with the implementation of the pledges, a series of improvements to the existing services were made.

These included the installation of new signboards and electronic indicator panels to guide applicants submitting trade declarations in the collection offices; installation of new perforating machines and computer network for Customs kiosks at Man Kam To, Lok Ma Chau and Sha Tau Kok border crossings to facilitate processing of cross-border vehicles and the introduction of a 24-hour telephone enquiry service through a computerized Interactive Voice Response System to further improve the department's telephone enquiry service.

Over the past 12 months, the Department had fully achieved the performance standards in most of its targets set. However, due to incomplete information being provided by applicants, a slightly lower achievement rate of 84.38% was recorded in relation to the issuing of dutiable commodities import and export licenses.

The Department welcomes any comments or suggestions about the ways in which its services are delivered. These should be addressed to the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, eighth floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong. The performance pledge leaflets are available at all Customs Offices throughout the territory.

End

32

Immigration officers awarded long service medals ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Seventy-four Immigration Officers were today (Thursday) awarded the Hong Kong Disciplined Services Medals by the Director of Immigration, Mr Laurence Leung Ming-yin.

At the presentation ceremony held at the Immigration Headquarters, Mr Leung said the award of the long and meritorious service insignia was to honour those who have rendered long and meritorious service as members of the Immigration Service in Hong Kong.

He also congratulated all recipients and thanked them for their many years of loyalty and dedication to the Immigration Service.

At the ceremony, Assistant Director, Mr Davis Chan Ching-bor, and ten others, were awarded the second clasps to the medals for their 30 years of dedicated service.

First clasp, signifying 25 years of service, was presented to 17 Immigration Officers. Another 46 officers received the medal which marked their 18 years of service.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million lime (hours) Cumulative change (.Smillion..)

Opening balance in the account 1,779 0930 + 1.020

Closing balance in the account 1,779 1000 + 1.020

Change attributable to : 1100 + 1.021

Money market activity +1,021 1200 + 1,021

LAF today -1,021 1500 + 1,021

1600 + 1,021

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.9 *-0.2* 18.4.96

- 33 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Priee Yield

1 week 4.93 2 years 2802 5.16 98.59 6.07

1 month 4.98 3 years 3901 5.57 98.11 6.42

3 months 5.10 5 years 5103 6.75 99.08 7.09

6 months 5.22 7 years 7302 6.02 93.16 7.44

12 months 5.54 5 years M502 7.30 100.40 7.32

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $9,999 million

Closed April 18. 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Friday, April 19, 1996

Contents Page No.

HK to push for trade liberalisation at WTO conference.................... 1

Latest unemployment and underemployment statistics....................... 4

Construction output for 1995 ............................................ 5

Warning against using explosives or cyanide in fishing................... 7

Witnesses to ferry collision sought...................................... 8

Amendments to draft Tsim Sha Tsui Outline Zoning Plan.................... 8

Tenders invited for construction of Ma On Shan Park..................... 10

Tenders invited for QMH Radiotherapy Department extension........... 10

Tenders invited for slope upgrading works............................... 11

Proposed submarine cables at Tong Fuk Beach............................. 12

Health worker registration fee revised.................................. 13

Fire services personnel awarded long service insignia................... 14

Firing of 21-Gun Salute to mark Queen’s birthday........................ 14

Fresh water cut in Sheung Shui.......................................... 15

Firing practice......................................................... 15

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations.................... 16

1

HK to push for trade liberalisation at WTO conference ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Director-General of Trade, Mr Tony Miller, today (Friday) outlined Hong Kong’s aspirations for the first World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference which will be held in Singapore in December this year, under three broad headings.

He said: ’’The first is liberalisation and the need to accelerate it. The second is the need to revamp the rules for trade and investment. The third is the problem of the disadvantaged, those whom prosperity has left behind.”

Addressing the luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce, Mr Miller noted that various players had put forward ideas on the agenda for the Singapore meeting and that Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Yeo Cheow Tong, captured the current broad consensus at an informal conference in Brisbane in February.

Minister Yeo’s five-point agenda covered: Stock-taking, Unfinished Business, Trade and Environment, Further Trade Liberalisation and New Issues.

"Setting aside debate over which new issues will be eventually included, Hong Kong is happy to support this outline agenda. However, I think we face a bigger challenge in Singapore than these five headings suggest," Mr Miller said.

"Singapore is not just about whether or not we should have a new round of multilateral negotiations. Singapore is about whether we carry on plodding along in the same way, or whether we take a bold new look at what we are doing and how we do it. I think we would be foolish to pass up this challenge."

The Director-General pointed out that multilateral trade negotiations had often been criticised for their glacial speed, saying that one of the reasons they move so slowly was that they had become highly institutionalised.

"When process begins to block progress, I think the time is ripe for looking at new ways of doing things," Mr Miller said.

"So, at Singapore, you can expect us to push for more and more rapid liberalisation. We want to set targets for completely free trade, rather than only agreeing on the next limited incremental cut.

"We want to see several tariffs abolished immediately. We also want to see textiles and clothing removed more rapidly from their current quota straight-jacket.”

2

On trade in services, the Director-General said: ’’Assuming successful conclusion of initial negotiations in the four service sectors - Basic Telecommunications, Maritime Transportation, Financial Services and Movement of Natural Persons, we want both to build on these and to push ahead in other sectors, for example professional services.

’’Government Procurement offers further potential. We are a signatory to the old code, and our own practices are entirely open. We would like to have signed up to the new one, but cannot do so while it simply cements into place existing reciprocal restrictions.”

Noting that the United States' appeals in this area would continue to ring hollow for as long as the ’’Buy American" provisions remained in force and sub-federal agencies were excluded, Mr Miller said: "By all means, let’s put Government Procurement in the agenda, but let's talk turkey and not trimmings.".

Turning to the rules area, Mr Miller said: "We need global rules for a global economy. Currently, we have a complete mismatch between the way in which business is operating and the trade instruments, which we have developed and elaborated within GATT, now the WTO. When the rules become part of the problem, it is clearly time to re-examine the rules.

"Previous attempts at reform have tended to be piece-meal. They have also been adversarial and not particularly productive, as instanced by some of the haggling over relatively minor amendments to the rules during the Uruguay Round."

As business operates more multi-nationally, he said, the inter-relationship between trade and investment becomes more complex, as do the interlinkages between rules governing both, whether they apply to origin, anti-competitive practices, subsidies or incentives, domestic content requirements or preferential rules.

"There may not be a single solution," said Mr Miller, " there is, however, clearly a need for ensuring that the multilateral rules are coherent, mutually consistent and lend themselves to equitable and economically efficient outcomes rather than the reverse.

The Director-General said: " Hong Kong strongly urges that Ministers agree in Singapore to a broadly based, objective examination of the relevance of the current rules for a globalised economy.

"We accept that that sort of overhaul of the system is going to be difficult. There are huge vested interests in the current system. They will be very difficult to overcome. But unless we start the discussion in an intellectually honest way, we are never going to solve the problem."

3

He said there was a natural constituency in support of such an overhaul and this was the international business community.

"We need to mobilise that constituency. We need to mobilise also those others who are currently disadvantaged by the system, especially consumers." Mr Miller added.

Noting that the post-war trading system has facilitated the globalisation of enterprise, Mr Miller said it had also enabled many parts of the world, including Hong Kong, to reap quantum gains in prosperity. But prosperity has not been globalised.

"I think that we should examine the current rules and try to establish: are there things about the current rules which work to the disadvantage of the least developed? To my mind, some of the ’Special and Differential' treatment let-outs in the current creed actually inflict wounds rather than help heal them," he said.

"We also need to look at the current pattern of remaining trade barriers. Are there trade barriers or restrictions that are manifestly harming, preventing or inhibiting the least developed countries from beginning the process of industrialisation? Agriculture is clearly one. Textiles and Clothing restraints another

"However, I do not wish to pre-empt discussion. Instead, I urge that, as a priority, we commission a study aimed at identifying those areas of liberalisation that would help the least developed economies most and then act on it with all despatch."

In conclusion, Mr Miller said : "I think that we should aim to lift the level of debate and decision at Singapore. There is no points bringing Ministers together unless the intention is to take serious decisions about direction."

Summing up on Hong Kong’s stance, Mr Miller said: "Hong Kong suggests that there are three areas in which this sort of decision is needed.

"The first is to set a bold target for free flows of goods, services and investment world-wide and to agree to work together in building the political momentum needed to realise it. The second is to commence an immediate review of the rules to ensure that they are relevant in today's global economy. The third is to use liberalisation to spread prosperity by seeking ways to help the least developed economies past the takeoff point."

End

4

Latest unemployment and underemployment statistics * ♦ * * *

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period December 1995 -February' 1996 was 3.1%, and the underemployment rate was 2.2%, according to the latest labour force statistics released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

The provisional seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period January -March 1996 was marginally higher, at 3.2%, while the provisional underemployment rate continued to edge lower to 2.0%.

Commenting on the recent labour market situation, a Government spokesman observed that the growth in both total labour supply and total employment accelerated, to 5.3% and 4.6% respectively in the three months ending February 1996 over a year earlier. The increase in total labour supply was the fastest ever recorded since the General Household Survey was first launched in August 1981, while the increase in total employment was amongst the fastest ever recorded from that survey. But as employment was still not catching up with the corresponding labour supply, the unemployment rate thus remained high.

During the period December 1995 - February 1996. the number of unemployed persons with previous jobs was estimated at 86,100. Another 6,700 unemployed persons were first-time job-seekers. The number of underemployed persons was estimated at 69,400.

The unemployment and underemployment statistics were obtained from a continuous General Household Survey. The survey for December 1995 - February 1996 covered a quarterly sample of some 18,000 households or 61,000 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.

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.

5

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 1996.

End

Construction output for 1995 *****

The gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by main contractors (including general and special trade contractors) amounted to $99.8 billion in 1995, representing an increase of 11.9% over 1994.

According to the results of the Quarterly Survey of Construction Output released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department, the increase was mainly attributable to the intensification of work on major infrastructural projects.

When measured at constant (1990) market prices, the gross value of construction work performed by main contractors showed an increase of 4.2% over 1994.

The gross value of construction work performed at public sector sites rose substantially by 39.4% in nominal terms and 31.1% at constant (1990) market prices. On the other hand, the gross value of construction work performed at private sector sites decreased by 1.5% in nominal terms and 8.1% at constant (1990) market prices.

The gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by general contractors at locations other than construction sites recorded virtually no change. When measured at constant (1990) market prices, it recorded a decrease of 5.4%. Work in this category included minor new construction activities and renovation work at erected buildings and structures.

The gross value of construction activities, in nominal terms, performed by special trade contractors at locations other than construction sites, comprising mainly electrical and mechanical fitting work, increased by 5.6%. However, when measured at constant (1990) market prices, it showed a decrease of 6.0%.

6

Analysed by end-use, transport projects, which covered airport construction projects, accounted for the largest portion of the gross value of construction work performed at construction sites. The gross value of construction work performed in these projects rose substantially by 33.4%.

Residential building projects (including commercial and residential composite buildings) was the second largest category of construction site work. The gross value of construction work performed in these projects rose slightly by 1.0%.

Commercial building projects continued to constitute the third largest category of construction site work. The gross value of construction work performed in these projects decreased by 2.4%.

Comparing the fourth quarter of 1995 with the fourth quarter of 1994, the gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by main contractors increased by 17.8%. When measured at constant (1990) market prices, it represented an increase of 9.3%.

Compared with the third quarter of 1995, the gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by main contractors in the fourth quarter rose by 12.5%. The corresponding increase measured at constant (1990) market prices was 10.5%, and bearing in mind that the comparison may be affected by seasonal fluctuations.

The gross values of construction work at constant (1990) market prices are derived by deflating the nominal values with appropriate price indices to the price level of 1990.

Owing to the widespread sub-contracting practices in the construction industry, a construction establishment can be a main contractor for one contract and a subcontractor for another contract at the same time.

The gross value of construction work performed by main contractors, including both general and special trade contractors, covers only those projects in which the construction establishment takes the role of a main contractor, but not projects in which it takes only the role of a sub-contractor.

However, sub-contractors’ contribution to projects should have been included in the gross value of construction work performed by main contractors for whom they worked.

7

More detailed statistics on construction output are given in the "Report on the Quarterly Survey of Construction Output, 4th Quarter 1995". The report is now on sale at $11 per copy at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, or at the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit, Wanchai Tower, 19th floor, 12 Harbour Road. Wan Chai. Regular subscription may also be arranged.

Enquiries about the survey may be directed to the Building, Construction and Real Estate Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6426.

End

Warning against using explosives or cyanide in fishing * * * * ♦

Local fishermen are today (Friday) reminded again not to use explosives or poisonous substances while fishing at Hong Kong and other territorial waters to avoid breaking the law and damaging the marine environment.

The reminder was issued by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) following recent discovery of dead fish by department divers at the sea bed off Yan Chau Tong, Mirs Bay.

AFD's Senior Capture Fisheries Officer, Mr Joseph Sham, said the discovery was a result of the department's routine baseline studies around the area.

"Examination of the fish has indicated that they may have been killed by explosive substances." he said.

Mr Sham warned that under the Fisheries Protection Ordinance, any person using explosives or poisonous substances while fishing at Hong Kong waters ong KHHwould be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and six months' imprisonment upon conviction.

The department is actively considering the proposal to increase the maximum fine to $100,000 to have a more deterrent effect.

"Apart from breaking the law, fishermen using these methods in fishing could endanger their and other people's lives, cause serious damage to the marine environment and eventually reduce fish landings.

"The effects of the explosions would kill many juvenile fish, as was proven by recent findings, and these fish are left unharvested," he added.

8

To enforce the law and help protect the territory’s marine environment and fisheries resources, Marine Police and AFD have stepped up patrols in Hong Kong waters.

Mr Sham took the opportunity to call on fishermen not only to abide by the Fisheries Protection Ordinance, but to also observe marine regulations of neighbouring countries when fishing in their or international waters. The maximum penalty for people convicted of using dynamites or cyanide while fishing at waters in some Southeast Asian countries could be as high as life imprisonment.

End

Witnesses to ferry collision sought *****

The Marine Department is anxious to contact witnesses to a collision between a passenger catamaran ferry and a ferry operated by the Hong Kong Ferry Company off the Hong Kong and Macau Ferry Terminal in late March this year.

The accident occurred about 6.40 pm on March 27. A catamaran ferry, Lian Shan Hu, arriving from Panyu, Guangdong, collided with a Hong Kong Ferry off the Hong Kong and Macau Ferry Terminal. Three persons on board the Hong Kong Ferry. Man Loong, which was heading for Tuen Mun were slightly injured.

The investigating officer, Captain Ken Yeomans, is anxious to contact witnesses to the incident. Anyone who might have information on the incident is requested to contact Captain Yeomans on 2852 4576.

End

Amendments to draft Tsim Sha Tsui Outline Zoning Plan

*****

The Town Planning Board today (Friday) announced amendments to the draft Tsim Sha Tsui Outline Zoning Plan.

The amendments are mainly to impose building height restrictions for five piers and terminals zoned 'Other Specified Uses' (OU) at the western waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui to prevent excessive high-rise developments in these strategic locations from protruding into the harbour, a spokesman for the Board said.

9

’’These sites include Star Ferry Pier, Ocean Terminal, Kowloon Permanent Pier No. 7, Pacific Club and China Ferry Terminal.

"The building height is restricted ranging from one storey to four storeys and from seven metres to 38 metres above Principal Datum," he said.

Another amendment includes the rezoning of a portion of the 'Open Space’ at the junction of Ashley Road and Peking Road to 'Government/Institution/Community' to facilitate the development of a Consumer Education and Information Centre.

"The annotations of the ’OU' sites at Star Ferry Pier and Pacific Club and the Notes of the plan are also amended," the spokesman added.

The amendment plan (No. S/K1/9) is now available for public inspection until May 10 during normal office hours at:

♦ Planning Department, 16th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong;

.♦ Kowloon District Planning Office, 1 I th floor, Leighton Centre, 77 Leighton Road.

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; and

* Yau Tsim Mong District Office, Mong Kok Government Offices. Ground floor. 30 Luen Wan Street. Mong Kok, Kowloon;

Any person affected by the amendment plan may submit written objections to the Secretary' of the Town Planning Board, c/o Planning Department, 13th floor. Murray Building, Garden Road. Central, before May 10.

Copies of the draft plan are on 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

10

Tenders invited for construction of Ma On Shan Park *****

The Architectural Services Department is inviting tenders for the construction of Ma On Shan Park at On Chun Street, Area 100, Ma On Shan .

The park, with a total site area of about 49,000 square metres, will comprise service buildings, a light refreshment restaurant, a Ma On Shan Mining History display area and a marina plaza.

The project will also include the construction of landscape features and theme gardens, fitness, picnic, sitting-out and children's play areas, pergolas and pavilions.

Works will commence in June this year for completion in September 1997.

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

Tender offer will close at noon on May 10, 1996.

End

Tenders invited for QMH Radiotherapy Department extension *****

The Architectural Services Department is inviting tenders for the construction of the Radiotherapy and Oncology Department extension of the Queen Mary Hospital.

The project will comprise the construction of a new seven-storey extension block with a gross floor area of 3,102 square metres, together with refurbishment of the existing Radiotherapy and Oncology Department on the ground floor and first floor of the Professorial Block at the Queen Mary Hospital.

Works will commence in July this year for completion in October 1997.

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

Tender offer will close al noon on May 17, 1996.

End

11

Tenders invited for slope upgrading works *****

The Civil Engineering Department is inviting tenders for upgrading 19 slopes and retaining walls throughout the territory under its accelerated Landslip Preventive Measures (LPM) Programme.

The works are expected to commence in July 1996 for completion in 18 months.

Of these 19 slopes, nine are under the maintenance of Highways Department, seven are with Architectural Services Department, one is with Housing Department, one is with Water Supplies Department and the remaining one on unallocated government land.

The Chief Geotechnical Engineer of the department's Geotechnical Engineering Office, Mr Allan Watkins pointed out that the contract would be the first to be let under the current fiscal year and the sixth to be offered under the accelerated I.PM programme which commenced in April last year.

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

Under the accelerated LPM 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 that over 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 Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited. 56th floor, Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Tender offer will close at noon on May 17.

End

- i

Proposed submarine cables at l ong Fuk Beach *****

The Hong Kong Telecommunication Limited has proposed to lay four submarine cables within an area of about 360 hectares of foreshore and seabed from Tong Fuk Beach on Lantau Island southwards to Hong Kong border.

A Government spokesman said that the project would provide more international channel capacity to meet the rapid growth in international traffic demand for the company.

’’Work will commence in June and scheduled for completion by September 30 this year," he added.

The extent of the 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 sea-bed involved may submit a written objection to the Director of Lands on or before June 19, 1996.

The notice of objection should describe the interest, right or easement of the objector and the manner in which he alleges he will be affected.

1'he notice (in both 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); the Islands District Office, 20th floor. Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong and the Mui Wo Sub-Office of the Islands District Office, ground floor, Mui Wo Government Offices, 2 Ngan Kwong Wan Road, Mui Wo. Lantau Island.

End

13

Health worker registration fee revised ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The registration fee of health workers will be revised from $150 to $164 with effect from May 31, 1996.

The revision is set out in the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) (Amendment) Regulation 1996 which was published in the Government gazette today (Friday).

The Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Ordinance, with the exception of Section 6, has come into operation on April 1, 1995.

"The Ordinance aims at applying a uniform regulatory framework and a set of minimum standards to all residential care homes for the elderly, to ensure that these homes can provide services of a reasonable standard and that the welfare of the elderly residents is safeguarded." a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department said.

The Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Regulation stipulates requirements relating to the staffing, space, location, design, structure, safety precautions and quality of care to the residents.

"In relation to the staffing requirement, nurses or health workers have to be employed to render health care to the residents.

"Any person who has completed a course of training approved by the Director of Social Welfare in writing can apply to the department for registration as a health worker for the purpose of employment at a residential care home," the spokesman said.

A fee of $150 is now payable for the registration in accordance with Section 38 of the Regulation.

End

14

Fire services personnel awarded long service insignia *****

Seventy-six fire and ambulance services personnel were today (Friday) awarded long service medals and clasps for their distinguished performance in serving the public.

Forty of them received the Second Clasp to the Colonial Fire Brigades Long Service Medal for their 30 years of service, 27 the First Clasp for 25 years of service, and the remaining nine the long service medal for 18 years of service.

The recipients had altogether contributed 2,037 years of service in the Fire Services Department.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Director of Fire Services, Mr Peter Cheung, said the award of the medals and clasps was a recognition of the officers' diligent performance in providing dedicated services to the community.

Mr Cheung, in his pep talk, told the officers that: "The presentation of the medals and clasps is a solid evidence that you have all discharged your duties loyally and diligently, and that your performances have received the acclaim of your superiors, the department and the Government."

Mr Cheung urged the recipients to persevere the department’s tradition in providing efficient and quality services to the public.

End

Firing of 21-Gun Salute to mark Queen's birthday *****

To mark the anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth H's birthday, the Royal Navy will fire a 21-Gun Salute from HMS Starling at precisely noon on Monday (April 22), as she sails through Hong Kong harbour.

When HMS Tamar moved from Prince of Wales Barracks to Stonecutters Island in 1993, gun salutes were fired from a site on the south shore of that island. However, the site was unsatisfactory because it was invisible to the public and it has since been developed by preparatory work for the new naval base for the PLA Navy.

15

New saluting cannon were, therefore, brought out from the UK so that gun salutes could be fired from a sea-going warship, in full view of much of the city.

This year, the gun salute could be witnessed best from the waterfront, Queen's Pier, Central.

End

Fresh water cut in Sheung Shui *****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Sheung Shui will be temporarily suspended from 11 pm on Monday (April 22) to 6 am the following day for detection work on watermains to be carried out.

• ./VI f •• /

The suspension will affect all premises in San Fung Avenue, Lung Sum Avenue, San Fat Street, Fu Hing Street, Jockey Club Road and Shek Wu Hui.

End

Firing practice ♦ * * * *

Firing practice will take place at the Ha Tsuen/Castle Peak Range on three days next week.

The public is advised not to enter the area when red flags are hoisted.

Following are the dates and times for the firing practice:

Date

Time

April 23 (Tuesday)

April 25 (Thursday)

April 26 (Friday)

8.00 am - 4.30 pm

8.00 am - 11 pm

8.00 am - 11 pm

End

16

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

$ million Time (hours) Cumulative change (Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,779 0930 +1,019

Closing balance in the account 1,849 1000 + 1,019

Change attributable to : 1100 + 1,019

Money market activity + 1,024 1200 + 1,024

LAF today -954 1500 + 1,024

1600 + 1,024

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.8 *-0.1* 19.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.78 2 years 2802 5.16 98.68 6.02

1 month 4.95 3 years 3901 5.57 98.20 6.38

3 months 5.07 5 years 5103 6.75 99.24 7.05

6 months 5.18 7 years 7302 6.02 93.22 7.42

12 months 5.51 5 years M502 7.30 100.44 7.31

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $12,386 million

Closed April 19, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Saturday, April 20, 1996

Contents Page No.

Statement on meeting in The Hague.................................... 1

Hong Kong to attend ESCAP plenary session............................ 1

Meeting between Guangdong and HK Customs............................. 2

School heads polled on drug abuse problem............................ 2

Fund for elderly services invites applications....................... 4

Fresh water cut in Tai Po............................................

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations................. 5

Sunday, April 21,1996

Contents No.

Governor's "Letter to Hong Kong"..................................... 6

Textiles and clothing delegation on China visit...................... 9

Software design competition to promote healthy lifestyles............ 10

Schools reminded to vote in conduct council election................. 11

$346 million grant from Lotteries Fund approved...................... 12

41 building plans approved in February............................... 12

Fresh water cut in the New Territories............................... 13

1

Statement on meeting in The Hague ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to media enquiries on the meeting between the foreign ministers in The Hague, a government spokesman said this evening: "We welcome the reassurances on important civil service issues given by Mr Qian Qichen, the Chinese Vice Premier and Chairman of the Preparatory Committee, at his meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Mr Malcolm Rifkind, in The Hague today (Saturday).

"These reassurances provide a firm basis for the discussions the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, will be having with senior Chinese officials during her forthcoming visit to Peking."

End

Hong Kong to attend ESCAP plenary session ♦ ♦ * * ♦

Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry, Mr Francis Ho, will lead a Hong Kong delegation to Bangkok tomorrow (Sunday)to attend the 52nd Plenary Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

ESCAP is a subsidiary body established under the United Nations. Its major activities include conducting research and initiating measures to facilitate concerted action for the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region, sponsoring the collection, evaluation and dissemination of economic, technological and statistical information of the region.

Hong Kong is an associate member of the ESCAP, and has been actively participating in its various activities, such as the Typhoon Committee and the Committee on Statistics.

The theme topic for discussion at the 52nd Plenary Session of the ESCAP is "Alleviation of Rural Poverty and Sustainable Development". Mr Francis Ho will be delivering a statement on the topic at the Session.

The Hong Kong delegation to the ESCAP Session includes Director of the Royal Observatory, Mr Robert Lau, Assistant Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr H.W. Fung, Principal Assistant Secretary, Mr Kenneth Mak, Environmental Protection Officer, Mr S.M. Leung, and Assistant Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Monica Chen.

End

2

Meeting between Guangdong and HK Customs ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The 14th Annual Review Meeting between Guangdong Branch of the Customs General Administration of the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department was held in Shantou from April 15 to 19.

The Guangdong delegation comprising seven members was led by Director Liu Wenjie, Guangdong Sub-administration of Customs General Administration and Director Lin Futing, Shantou Customs of the People's Republic of China. The Hong Kong delegation also comprising seven members was led by Mr Lawrence Li Shu-fai, Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Excise. Representatives from the Foreign Affairs Office, People's Republic of China and the Foreign Affairs Department, Xinhua News Agency (Hong Kong Branch) also attended the meeting.

Director Liu Wenjie chaired the meeting. Both side exchanged views on the co-operation since the last meeting in anti-smuggling, anti-narcotics efforts and were satisfied with the results achieved.

Both sides also positively discussed further expansion of co-operation between the two Customs administrations, especially in anti-smuggling and intellectual property protection.

Members of both delegations were warmly received by the Shantou Customs. The Hong Kong delegation was greatly impressed by the great changes brought about by the rapid economic growth and city development of Shantou. The Hong Kong Customs delegation also visited other Customs offices outside Guangdong Province.

End

School heads polled on drug abuse problem *****

The great majority of secondary school principals and primary school heads in an Education Department questionnaire survey did not think that the problem of drug abuse in schools was serious.

A total of 770 primary school heads (99 per cent) and 410 secondary school principals (97 per cent) considered that the problem was not serious.

I

- 3 -

Releasing the findings of the survey today (Saturday), a senior Education Officer, Mrs Dorothy Chan, nevertheless noted that the schools showed grave concern over the drug problem.

’’Half of the secondary school principals and 84 per cent of primary school heads surveyed were interested in organising activities to beat drugs," she said.

The survey was to study the problem of student drug abuse and needs for support services to tackle the problem. It was conducted by the department between last October and this February.

Questionnaires were sent to 771 primary schools and 421 secondary schools. All were completed and returned, representing a total student population of 893.681.

All local schools were covered by the study while kindergartens, special schools, international and English Schools Foundation schools were not included.

"School heads were asked to estimate the number of students at risk of. occasionally or habitually abusing drugs," Mrs Chan said.

"They also indicated their preferences for support services needed to tackle the problem." she added.

Among 454,267 primary school pupils covered by the survey, 1.054 students, representing 0.23 per cent, were estimated by their school heads to be in the at-risk group; 153 students, or 0.03 per cent, were estimated to be occasional drug abusers and only 76 students, or 0.02 per cent, habitual drug abusers.

In secondary schools, school principals estimated that 9.194 (2.1 per cent) were at risk. 2,197 (0.46 per cent) were occasional and 588 (0.12 per cent) habitual drug abusers.

Mrs Chan noted that group sizes of estimated drug abusers grew from junior to senior classes in primary schools and shrank from junior to senior forms in secondary schools.

Among activities suggested to tackle the problem of drug abuse, the school heads preferred talks for teachers on knowledge of drug abuse (36%). issuing of guidelines on handling drug abuse in schools (21%) and training courses for teachers (14 per cent)." Mrs Chan said.

4

Mrs Chan suggested that schools should try to identify the at-risk groups with the assistance of the community, including parents.

"The Education Department will provide guidance and advice to schools whenever possible," she said.

End

Fund for elderly services invites applications *****

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) wishing to plan and organise nonprofit making self-financing welfare services for the elderly are invited to apply financial assistance from the Social Welfare Department.

"A sum of $200 million from the Lotteries Fund has been earmarked as an Elderly Services Development Fund to finance such projects," a department spokesman said today (Saturday).

In November 1993. the Governor appointed a Working Group on Care for the Elderly to conduct a general review of services for old people and to formulate proposals on the objectives and future development of such services.

Among the 71 recommendations of the Working Group, an Elderly Services Development Fund was proposed to provide grants to NGOs to help them introduce non-profit making self-financing welfare services for elderly persons of the "sandwich class".

"Many middle-class families are at present left out of the welfare services delivery system because priority is always given to low-income families and clients.

"To fill the service gap, the Working Group recommended that NGOs should be encouraged to operate services on a self-financing basis for the sandwich class who could afford to pay the services at reasonable rates," the spokesman said.

Fie said the Fund aimed at providing financial assistance, in the initial stage, to NGOs for providing new and innovative services for elderly persons and the level of support would be considered on individual merits of each application.

"In general, capital grants will be provided up to 80 percent of the approved capital costs.

5

"Recunent grants will be considered to meet operating costs for a period of not more than three consecutive years.

"Up to 50 percent of the operating costs of the first year of service could be granted for initiating a self-financing service and up 30 percent in the second and third years," he added.

NGOs interested to apply for the Fund are welcome to contact the SWD on 2892 5214 or 2892 5191 for further details.

End

Fresh water cut in Tai Po

*****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Tai Po will be temporarily suspended from 11 pm on Tuesday (April 23) to 6 am the following day for detection work on watermains to be carried out.

The suspension will affect all premises on Ting Kok Road between Tai Yuen Estate and Tai Fu Street, and Kau Shi Wai, Fung Yuen, Tin Sam, Yue Kok and Fung Yuen Lo Tsuen in Fung Yuen Road, Tai Po.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

***** Cumulative

9 Time Change

s Million (Hours) (S Million)

Opening Balance in the account 1,849 09:30 +910

Closing Balance in the account 1,784 10:00 +910

Change Attributable to: 11:00 +910

Money Market Activity +910 12:00 +910

Laf Today -975

Laf Rate 4% Bid/6% Offer TWI 123.9 *+0.1* 20.4.96

End

6

Governor's "Leiter 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:

In just over a week's time, I set out for Canada and the United States to talk about Hong Kong and to bang the drum for Hong Kong's interests. Just after my visit, Anson Chan will herself head for America. And both of us will, of course, be arguing the case in Washington to often sceptical audiences for renewal by the United States of Most Favoured Nation Status for China. What should we tell people? What should our message be?

One reason why I pose these questions is that my basic confidence about Hong Kong was described by one newspaper in Britain 10 days ago as "Panglossian". I was - according to them - far too starry-eyed about the future. It's worth reflecting on why many people outside Hong Kong take a similar view, and why (if for no other reason) Chinese officials should seek advice from a wider rather than narrower range of opinion when they come here.

A lot of the anxieties both outside and inside Hong Kong focus on the analysis which some Chinese officials have made of our city and which they have subsequently acted upon. We're not a political city, they say; we're an economic city - and we shouldn't bother our heads about anything other than making money.

What on earth does that mean?

Hong Kong is no more a political city than anywhere else, but no less either. It's a city where economic success and progress have produced a better educated, better informed, better travelled, better off population. A population with views on more issues than horse-racing. •

Hong Kong is also a city whose economic success is partly a result of things which you don't necessarily find in a list of economic variables. The rule of law. Good, clean administration. Personal liberty. Freedom of speech.

All those things are guaranteed under the treaty signed by Britain and China in 1984. If Chinese officials are now saying, "forget the politics and only bother about the economics", where does that place the guarantees given on all those non-economic issues? Does free speech come under the heading of politics or economics? What about freedom of assembly? Freedom of worship? Freedom of travel?

7

You can't pick and choose the bits of the Joint Declaration you like, and the bits you don't like. The Joint Declaration describes Hong Kong - economics and politics.

One part of the politics is the development of democracy - which is meant to underpin Hong Kong's freedom and give its people confidence that they have their own future in their hands. Remember - Hong Kong people running Hong Kong. Not 150, or 400, hand-picked people running Hong Kong.

This doesn't mean, to quote another senior Chinese official, aping western democracy. Il means developing open, accountable, representative government, just as is happening elsewhere in Asia. It is having a government which serves the people, rather than allowing things to happen the other way round.

We have the beginnings of democracy at the moment - as promised by China as well as Britain. And the question which is starling to singe confidence elsewhere, and maybe here too, even if it hasn't yet burnt it to a crisp, is whether that democratic development is going to be halted and reversed, and with it the best protection for • Hong Kong's human rights, rule of law and good and uncorrupt public administration.

For many people this question of the survival of a cleanly elected legislation isn't an optional extra, it's a litmus test of what else will survive. And the way the issue is handled by Chinese officials raises not only questions about their intentions, but also their understanding of the nature of Hong Kong. Do they understand how a free society works?

Our free society has been reasonably stable and remarkably moderate. One reason is that we've tried, by and large, to involve everyone in the management of the community. There aren't some who are locked out, excluded, anathematised. If you do that to people, it's a recipe for social turmoil not community harmony.

I prefer peaceful discussion to noisy demonstration. I hated that scene a week ago - flashed around the world - of a burning tyre and an angry * group of demonstrators. I will never condone and always condemn rowdiness in a political cause in a free society like ours. But it is one of the oldest lessons in history, that if you try to shut people up who have a good argument and a good reason for putting it. you'll bring trouble down on your head.

I hated seeing our police having to hold the line between those who want to be heard and those who won't listen. We should avoid putting our policemen and women under that sort of pressure unnecessarily.

8

Where does all this leave us? As I said, with a more difficult task in giving reassurance about the future. But at least I'm pleased, no, more than pleased, delighted, that Lu Ping ended his week in Hong Kong by meeting Anson Chan. They had a good meeting, and Anson has accepted an invitation to continue their discussion in Peking very soon.

I'll point to that meeting and that visit, when I go to North America, as two of the more hopeful signs we have seen recently - two candles of hope if you like. I’ll naturally speak up for the fundamental economic strength of Hong Kong. And I'll point to another fundamental strength as well.

I didn't bring democracy or the protection of human rights to I long Kong, as some United Front activists rather curiously suggest from time to time. Those values, those ideas, have taken root and begun to Hower here in I long Kong over many years.

And nothing, repeat nothing, can stop these plants flowering, and re-seeding and flowering again in the future.

Maybe Chinese officials can turn a deaf ear for a time to the views and voices of those who represent Hong Kong's majority. But those views and voices won't fall silent.

Maybe - shamefully and without a scrap of justification - this Legislative Council can be torn down in 1997 and our Bill of Rights be hamstrung. You can try to trample on institutions. But you can't just snuff out the spirit of democracy; you can't smother a growing civic consciousness in I long Kong. I long Kong people treasure their freedoms - and not just their freedom to make money. Thal spirit of liberty will survive in Hong Kong - whatever the short term threats or dangers.

Il's because I believe that passionately, that I'll be able to express my conviction about Hong Kong's future passionately, as well. I will set out our case to the world, not glossing over the problems or the mistakes, but staling, for as long as 1 have the breath and the energy, how this great city can continue to grow in freedom and prosperity.

Do I believe in a better Hong Kong tomorrow? Yes. because I believe in the people of Hong Kong. I wish that was true of everyone who claimed to speak in I long Kong's name.

End

9

Textiles and clothing delegation on China visit *****

A delegation of the Textiles and Clothing Committee (TCC) of the Industry and Technology Development Council set off today (Sunday) on a six-day visit to Beijing and Shanghai.

The 21-member delegation is led by the Chairman of the TCC, Dr Harn' Lee. The two deputy leaders of the delegation are Mrs Regina Ip, the Director-General of Industry and Mrs Sophie Leung, the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the visit.

Dr Lee said that the purpose of the visit was to enhance the ties between the textiles and clothing industries of Hong Kong and China, exchange views on matters of mutual interest and explore possible areas for future co-operation.

In Beijing, the delegation will visit the China National Textile Council. Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, State Economic and Trade Commission, State Administration of Taxation, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, State Science and Technology Commission, Chinese Academy of Sciences and State Bureau of Foreign Experts.

In Shanghai, the delegation will call on the Shanghai Municipal Offices. Planning Commission. Economic Commission, Science and Technology Commission, Shanghai Economic and Trade Commission, Shanghai Tax Bureau and Shanghai Textiles Holdings Corporation. They will also visit the Chao He Jing Science Park and two factories.

Dr Lee said that the Textiles and Clothing Committee is a key advisor to the Hong Kong government on issues relating to the textiles and clothing industries.

"The Committee has been a useful and effective forum of communication. Industrialists would like very much to see the establishment of a similar consultative arrangements between Chinese authorities and Hong Kong businessmen investing in the textiles and clothing sector in China", he said.

End

10

Software design competition to promote healthy lifestyles *****

The Department of Health is organising a computer game software design competition to promote the cultivation of healthy lifestyles, a spokesman for the Department said today (Sunday).

Entries for the competition should be able to bring out messages on the importance of healthy life practices and the methods of diseases prevention in general.

All students and members of the public are invited to participate in the competition which is organised jointly with the Hong Kong Computer Society and the Hong Kong Association for Computer Education.

The entries will be judged on their effectiveness in bringing out the messages, their attractiveness, creativity and visual effects, and whether they are user-friendly and be understood by the general public. Some of them may be selected for public display at the Department's Student Health Service Centres and Health Education Centres.

Attractive prizes will be given to winners of the two divisions, namely the student division and the open division.

The champion of each division will receive a laptop computer, while the first and second runners-up will be presented prizes worth about $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

Furthermore, two special prizes will be given for the most educational and the most creative entries. Each winner will get a cash coupon of $5,000.

All participating units, whether individual or group, will receive a souvenir.

Participants are free to make use of animation cartoon stories, still or motion image games, or question-and-answer format in designing their entries.

Application forms for the competition can be obtained from secondary' schools and government general out-patient clinics.

The completed form, together with the entry, must be submitted to the Student Health Service Division of the Department of Health, fourth floor, Lam Tin Polyclinic, 99 Kai Tin Road, Kwun Tong, by hand or by mail on or before July 8, 1996.

11

Enquiries can be made on 2349 2772. A briefing session will be held at the Student Health Service Division on May 25 to explain the details of the competition.

The competition is sponsored by the LECCO Consultants Limited.

End

Schools reminded to vote in conduct council election *****

The Education Department reminded all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and special schools to collect ballot papers tomorrow (Monday) for the Council on Professional Conduct in Education election.

Assistant Director of Education (Services), Mr David Pun, said: ”To ensure a smooth launching of the election for teacher-nominated categories, schools should collect the ballot papers from their respective District Education Officer or Senior Inspector (Special Schools Administration) tomorrow.”

Each school will be issued an exact number of ballot papers according to the number of teachers eligible to vote.

"If schools choose not to participate in the election, they arc not required to collect the ballot papers," Mr Pun said.

"But they should return a statement signed by all eligible voters in the school to this effect together with the blank Voting Results Return Form to their respective District Education Officer or the Special Education Administration Unit."

Mr Pun appealed to all full-time registered and permitted teachers, including school heads, regular and temporary teachers employed on a monthly basis to vote on Wednesday (April 24) to show support for the Council.

The Council on Professional Conduct in Education is a non-statutory body to advise the Government on measures to promote professional conduct in education, including the drafting of operation criteria defining the conduct expected of an educator, and advising the Director of Education on disputes or alleged professional misconduct.

End

12

$346 million grant from Lotteries Fund approved *****

A total of $346,494,500 has been approved from the Lotteries Fund to finance various social welfare service programmes during the first quarter of 1996, a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department said today (Sunday).

"Of the amount, $96,930,700 arc earmarked to family and child welfare services, $164,115,800 to elderly and medical social services, $71,483,600 to rehabilitation services, $13,029,400 to youth services, $651,000 to community development services and $284,000 to social welfare support programmes," the spokesman said.

The Lotteries Fund was established for the purpose of financing, by way of a grant, loan or an advance, the operation or development of social welfare services and medical or educational projects with a welfare content.

End

41 building plans approved in February

* * * * ♦

The Buildings Department approved 41 building plans in February this year.

Of the plans, 12 are for Hong Kong Island, 17 for Kowloon and 12 for the New Territories.

The approved plans include 22 for apartment and apartment/commercial developments, seven for commercial developments, three for factory and industrial developments, and nine for community services developments.

In the same month, consent was given for work to start on 42 building projects, which involve 90,881 square metres of usable domestic floor area and 149,513 square metres of usable non-domestic floor area.

During the same period, the department also issued 32 Occupation Permits -nine for Hong Kong Island, 14 for Kowloon and nine for the New Territories.

13

Of the buildings certified for occupation in the month, the usable floor areas for domestic and non-domestic uses are 150,491 square metres and 85,087 square metres respectively.

The declared cost of new buildings completed in the month totalled $2,472 million.

In addition, 13 demolition consents involving 21 buildings and structures were

issued.

The Buildings Department's Control and Enforcement Division received 553 complaints of unauthorised building works, and issued 321 Removal Orders on unauthorised works.

End

Fresh water cut in the New Territories *****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Sai Kung and Yuen Long will be temporarily suspended from 11 pm on Wednesday (April 24) to 6 am the following day for detection work on watermains to be carried out.

In Sai Kung, the suspension will affect Tai Chung Hau, Sai Kung Farm, Che Keng Tuk, Pak Sha Wan, Pak Sha Toi, Ta Ho Tun Sheung Wai, Tsiu Hang, Ta Ho Tun Ha Wai and Pak Kong.

In Yuen Long, all premises along Long Ping Road, Long Tin Road, Fung Chi Tsuen, Wing Ning Tsuen and Ha Mei San Tsuen will be affected.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Monday, April 22, 1996

Crnilnits Page No.

Government welcomes ROVR scheme.................................................. 1

Public consultation on quality school education.................................. 1

TELA launches biennial film classification survey................................ 2

New leaflet on education for Chinese immigrant children.......................... 3

Advanced course for Putonghua teachers........................................... 4

Conduct Council election to be held on Wednesday................................. 5

List of environmental reports released........................................... 6

Value of manufacturers’ orders-on-hand in February............................... 9

Data on business firms available for public retrieval........................... 10

Chinese version of annual report published.................................. 11

Water storage figure........................................................ 11

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results..................................... 12

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations............................ 12

1

Government welcomes ROVR scheme *****

The Government today (Monday) welcomed the announcement by the US Administration on the Resettlement Opportunity for Vietnamese Returnees (ROVR) scheme for Vietnamese migiants (VMs) returning to Vietnam from Hong Kong. A Government spokesman said: "We welcome this initiative and are co-operating closely with the US Consulate-General in putting in place the necessary logistical arrangements in the camps.

"We hope that as a consequence of ROVR, more VMs will apply for voluntary repatriation and we shall see a sizeable increase in the numbers returning to Vietnam," he said.

The spokesman pointed out that the Government understood that there would be no further US initiatives providing for the resettlement in the US of the non-refugees in the camps.

He appealed to all VMs to seize the opportunity presented by ROVR and to apply for voluntary repatriation as soon as possible.

"The international community, through the Comprehensive Plan of Action, has decreed that the only viable option for the VMs is return to Vietnam," the spokesman stressed.

End

Public consultation on quality school education

*****

A Task Group has been set up under the Education Commission (EC) to study the issue of quality school education and a consultation pamphlet will be issued in June to solicit public views on relevant broad principles, Chairman of the Education Commission (EC), Professor Rosie Yourg, said today (Monday).

Speaking to reporters after an EC meeting, Professor Young said that the views collated would help the Commission’s Task Group in finalising their proposals which would form the basis of a draft EC Report No.7 (ECR7). "Further consultation will be conducted later in the year on the draft ECR7 which will recommend more concrete proposals relating to school quality and school funding," she said.

2

During its meeting today, the Commission noted the progress made on the implementation of major recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 6.

"We are pleased with the swift manner in which the Administration implements the recommendations," Professor Young said.

"Actions are being taken to set up the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) and its Support Unit; to promote Putonghua and to recruit nativespeaking English teachers for secondary schools.

"Applications have also been made to the Language Fund for the employment of two professionals to support the work of SCOLAR, the introduction of intensive English courses for Secondary 6 and Secondary 7 students in English-medium schools, the setting up of a Task Force to develop extensive reading and writing schemes, the review of teachers’ workload and the establishment of a Language Resource Centre," she said.

Members also noted in today's meeting the general progress of the Working Group on General Teaching Council.

End

TELA launches biennial film classification survey *****

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) is conducting a large scale opinion survey to gauge public views on the current film classification system and the standard adopted by film censors in classifying different categories of films.

A professional company has been appointed to cany out the survey, starting today (Monday) until June 6.

"It will involve 540 members of the public of different age and sex reflecting the demographic characteristics of our community as well as some 280 public advisers on film censorship appointed by TELA," a spokesman for TELA said.

TELA conducts similar survey every two years. The last survey which was completed in 1994, showed that the public supported the 3-tier film classification system and generally considered the standards appropriate. They also suggested refinement to Category II film classification and the censorship of posters of Category III films which have since been introduced through an amendment to the Film Censorship Ordinance, effective November 1995.

The spokesman noted that out of the 713 films censored between November 1995 and March this year, 142 were classified as IIA and 156 as I1B films.

3

"The current survey will seek respondents' views on the revised Category II classifications, as well as the effectiveness of the new requirement for censorship of advertising material for Category III films," he said.

"Results of the survey will be known by the end of July and it is hoped that they will provide useful reference to us in our continuous effort to ensure that film censorship standards reflect fully the views of the public," the spokesman added.

End

New leaflet on education for Chinese immigrant children *****

Chinese immigrant children on arrival at the Lowu checkpoint will now receive a new Education Department leaflet in simplied Chinese characters which outlines their education opportunities in Hong Kong.

The leaflet has been distributed to entry checkpoints at Lo Wu and China Ferry Terminal, and to the Immigration Department's Registration of Persons Kowloon Office at Empire Centre, where Chinese immigrants obtain their Hong Kong identity documents.

The leaflet is also available at district offices and district education offices.

The Assistant Director of Education, Mr David Pun. said the leaflet asked the parents of Chinese immigrant children to fill in particulars about their school-age children. The completed part of the leaflet can then be cut out and folded into a prepaid envelope, which will be sent back to the Education Department.

"The department on receipt of the reply envelope will take the initiative to contact the parents concerned and offer assistance with education services, including placement of their children in Hong Kong schools," Mr Pun said.

"The move represents the department's effort to improve services for Chinese immigrant children."

The leaflet outlines the school education framework in Hong Kong, including the nine-year free compulsory education system and special and adult education services. There is also information on the department's induction and English extension courses for newly arrived Chinese immigrant children.

4

The addresses and phone numbers of 19 district education offices, where new immigrants can obtain assistance, are also given.

Mr Pun added that there will be radio publicity in Cantonese and Putonghua on education services for Chinese immigrant children.

END

Advanced course for Putonghua teachers

*****

Sixty teachers will attend an advanced course of Putonghua in Beijing this summer to further their studies in the subject and strengthen their confidence in teaching.

The Chinese and Chinese History Section of the Advisory Inspectorate, Education Department, will organise a four-week advanced course in Putonghua from July 20 to August 17 (tentative). The course will be conducted by the Chinese Common Speech Centre for Education and Examination of the State Language Committee.

After completing the course, participants have to attend an examination. Certificates will be awarded to those who have passed the examination.

Each participants will need to pay US$940 for the course with the remaining expenses of US$400 to be borne by the Language Fund.

The course is offered to Putonghua teachers in government, aided, caput secondary schools, all schools under the English Schools Foundation and special schools with a secondary section offering Putonghua within school hours.

Nominations should be made by school heads for submission to the Chinese and Chinese History Section, Advisory Inspectorate, Education Department by the end of this month.

For enquiries, please call 2892 6477 or 2892 6538.

End

5

Conduct Council election to be held on Wednesday ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Teachers will vote on Wednesday (April 24) to elect members of the Council on Professional Conduct in Education for another two-year term.

The Education Department appealed to all full-time registered and permitted teachers, including school heads, regular and temporary teachers employed on a monthly basis, to take part in the election.

The election will be held in individual schools under guidelines issued by the Education Department.

Arrangements have also been made for teachers attending day-time courses run by the Hong Kong Institute of Education. They may cast their votes at the polling stations set up in various campuses of the Institute. To avoid double voting, they are not allowed to vote in their own schools.

Assistant Director of Education (Services), Mr David Pun, called on teachers to exercise their right in electing candidates to represent them in the council, which is aimed at promoting the interest of teaching profession. Teachers who are eligible to vote arc reminded to study the instructions on the ballot papers before casting their votes.

Mr Pun said: "Voters should not put down their names or any other marks of identification on the ballot papers. Otherwise, the vote will be considered void."

Secondary school voters can choose candidates from any or both aided and private schools. They may each vote for a maximum of four candidates, three from aided schools and one from private schools.

Primary school teachers should vote for candidates from aided schools only. They may each vote for a maximum of three candidates.

Kindergarten voters should choose one candidate only while those of special school may each vote for a maximum of two candidates.

Teachers, however, are reminded not to choose more than the number of candidates as specified in the category. When this happens, the vote will be counted as invalid.

Mr Pun pointed out that candidates in any of the category would be elected not only by a majority vote, but also by the minimum number of votes.

In other words, candidates must receive at least 500 votes in secondary or primary schools, 300 in kindergartens and 200 in special schools in order to be elected.

6

"Teachers should not miss this opportunity to elect their representatives," Mr Pun repeated.

The Council on Professional Conduct in Education is a non-statutory body to advise the Government on measures to promote professional conduct in education, including the drafting of operation criteria defining the conduct expected of an educator, and to advise the Director of Education in cases of disputes or on alleged professional misconduct.

The council has 28 seats - 14 in the teacher-nominated categories. 11 in the organisation-nominated categories and three, including the Assistant Director of Education (Services) and two lay members, to be appointed by the Director of Education.

The Education Department has received a total of 35 nominations. Among them, 17 will run for seats in the teacher-nominated categories and 18 for seats in the organisation nominated categories.

Results of the election will be announced as soon as they are available.

End

List of environmental reports released ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Environmental Protection Department today (Monday) released a list of environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports of major development projects completed between January and March this year as well as those which will be completed in the coming 12 months.

A complete list of all ongoing EIAs is available for public inspection at the Environmental Resource Centre at 221, Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Following is a list of major EIA reports completed between January and March 1996 :

1. Backfilling of Marine Borrow Pits in North of Lantau and South Tsing Yi

( Civil Engineering Department)

2. Discovery Bay Development Master Plan 6.0 (A)

( Hong Kong Resort Co. Ltd.)

3. Initial EIA for North Lantau Refuse Transfer Station

( Environmental Protection Department)

4. Kam Tin Bypass

(Highways Department)

7

5. Tseung Kwan O Development Improvement to Ying Yip Road and .1/0 I lang I lau Road / Clearwater Bay Road

(Territory Development Department)

6. Reclamation Works for District Open Space and Government / Instil me I Community Facilities in North Tsing Yi

( Civil Engineering Department )

Major EI As that are likely to be completed in the next 12 months include:

I. Green Island Cement Manufacturing and Concrete Batching Area 17. Southwest Tsing Yi

( Green Island Cement Co. Ltd. )

2. Main Drainage Channel for Fanling. Sheung Shui and Hinterland

( Civil Engineering Department)

3. Main Drainage Channel for Ngau l am Mei. Yuen Long and Kam Tin

( Territory Development Department )

4. Route 16 : From West Kowloon to Shalin

( Highways Department)

5. Sham Tseng Link Feasibility Study

( Highways Department)

6. Sand Extraction and Backfilling of Eastern Walers Marine Borrow Areas

( Civil Engineering Department)

7. Central Reclamation. Phase III

( Territory Development Department )

8. Sha Lo l ung Revised Development Supplementary EIA

( Sha Lo l ung Development Co.. Ltd )

9. Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme Stage I. Implementation Stage 1 IA

( Drainage Services Department )

10. KCR Western Corridor Railway

11. MTR Tseung Kwan O & Quarry Bay Extensions

( Mass Transit Railway Corporation )

12. KCR Hung Hom Extension cum Ma On Sha Rail Link

( Highways Department )

8

13. Aviation Fuel Pipeline

( Airport Authority )

14. Central I Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link

( Highways Department)

15. Supplementary El A for dredging of Anchorage Area for Stonecutters Island Naval Base

( Civil Engineering Department)

16. Backfilling of Marine Borrow Area al East l ung Lung Chau

( Civil Engineering Department)

17. Wan Chai East and North Point Sewerage

( Drainage Services Department)

18. Tsuen Wan Bay Further Reclamation

( Territory Development Department )

19. Feasibility Study for Castle Peak Road Improvement between Ka Loon I suen and Tsuen Wan

( Highways Department)

20. Road DI5 Linking Lok Shun Path and l ai Po Road

( Territory Development Department)

21. Proposed 2nd 132 kV Submarine Cable Link to Shekou. China

( China Light & Power )

22. Kowloon Point Development Feasibility Sluds

( Territory Development Department)

23. I I i ram’s 1 lighway - Improvement between Nam Wai and I Io Chung and Upgrading Local Access Road

( Highways Deparmenl)

24. Engineering Works (Roads & Drains) - Aldrich Bay Reclamation

( Highways Department)

25. Kennedy Road Improvement and Queen's Lines Link

( Highways Department)

26. 1 our Potential Housing Development Sites - Chai Wan. Sham I seng. Canton Road, and Hollywood Road.

( Housing Branch )

End

- 9 -

Value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand in February *****

The value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand for local production in February 1996 increased by 1% over a year earlier, according to the provisional results of a monthly survey released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Comparing February 1996 with February 1995, a significant increase in the value of orders was registered in the fabricated metal products industry (+25%). Increases in the value of orders were also registered in the electrical products industry (+8%) and the electronic products industry (+6%).

On the other hand, decreases in the value of orders were recorded in the textiles industry (-8%), the plastic products industry (-4%). the printing and publishing industry (-4%) and the wearing apparel industry (-3%).

Compared with January 1996, and bearing in mind that this comparison may be affected by seasonal factors, the value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand in February 1996 decreased by 1%.

The Monthly Survey of Orders-on-hand covers a sample ol 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 al 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 I long Kong are not included in this series of orders-on-hand statistics.

A spokesman of the Department pointed out that 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 lime points should be looked al.

The survey report for February 1996, at $7.0 a copy, is now available for sale al the Government Publications Centre. Queensway Government Offices. Low Block. Ground Floor. Queensway, and al the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit. 19th Floor. Wanchai l ower. 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.

10

Percentage changes in the value of orders-on-hand in

January 1996 (Revised) February 1996 over January 1995 (Provisional) over February 1995

All industries covered in the survey +2 +1

• Wearing apparel -2 -3

• Textiles -8 -8

• Electronic products +7 +6

• Electrical products +9 +8

• Fabricated metal products +9 +25

• Plastic products * -4

• Printing and publishing + 1 -4

* Changes within +/-0.5%

End

Data on business firms available for public retrieval *****

A comprehensive database containing up-to-date particulars of about 400.000 active business establishments in Hong Kong is available for retrieval by members of the public from the central register of establishments of the Census and Statistics Department.

The register serves mainly as the sampling frame for various economic surveys conducted by the department. A sample listing containing 20 per cent of non-confidential records randomly selected from the Register is accessible by prospective users.

The records of the register is now widely used by many government departments and private organisations in their publicity, business promotion, survey and research work.

Application for the supply of information such as the name, address, major type of business activity and employment size class of all or part of the listed records can be made to the Central Register of Establishments Section of the department. Records kept in the Register is updated on a quarterly basis and information for the fourth quarter of 1995 is now available.

11

Information can be supplied in the form of photocopies or specially-run magnetic tapes with a service charge to be levied at the following rates:

$5.6 per page of photocopy for the first 20 pages and $1.3 for each additional page

thereafter;

a charge of about $1,000 for a job requiring special computer run (exact amount depending on the complexity of the job concerned); and

if the information is required on magnetic tapes, the magnetic tape can be provided by the applicant, or by the department at a charge of $ 105 per tape.

Further details can be obtained from the Central Register of Establishments Section on 2582 4760.

END

Chinese version of annual report published

*****

The Chinese version of the Annual Report 1995 of the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Registrar of Occupational Retirement Schemes has been published.

The English version of the report was published in March this year.

Copies of the Chinese version of the report, at $68 each, will be on sale from tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Government Publications Sales Centre at Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

End

Water storage figure

*****

Storage in Hong Kong’s reservoirs at 9 a.m. today (Monday) stood at 80.5 per cent of capacity or 471.813 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 389.849 million cubic metres of water, representing 66.5 per cent of capacity.

End

12

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 22 APR 1996

Paper on offer EF notes

Issue number 3904

Issue date 23 APR 1996

Maturity date 23 APR 1999

Coupon 6.30 PCT

Amount applied HKS3.36O MN

Amount allotted HKS500 MN

Average price accepted (yield) 100.05 (6.38 PCT)

Lowest price accepted (yield) 100.05 (6.38 PCT)

Pro rata ratio About 50 PCT

Average tender price (yield) 99.99 (6.40 PCT)

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

Opening balance in the account Closing balance in the account Change attributable to: Money market activity LAF today Cumulative Time change $ million (hours) ({million) 1.784 0930 +1.016 2,125 1000 4-1,016 1100 4-1,016 4-1,016 1200 4-1,016 -675 1500 4-1,016 1600 4-1,016

I.AF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.9 *+0.0* 22.4.96

13

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.81 2 years 2802 5.16 98.75 5.98

1 month 4.92 3 years 3901 5.57 98.38 6.31

3 months 5.03 5 years 5103 6.75 99.50 6.99

6 months 5.14 7 years 7302 6.02 93.62 7.34

12 months 5.45 5 years M502 7.30 100.64 7.26

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $12,932 million

Closed April 22, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 23, 1996

C ontents Page No.

Records still to set...................................................... 1

Scope of exclusive rights of HK Telecom clarified......................... 2

TAC endorses New Lantao Bus Company franchise renewal..................... 3

Licence of Mera Travel Services Ltd suspended............................. 4

DGT to attend World Trade Congress in Singapore........................... 5

DDGT to attend final telecommunications negotiations...................... 6

DHA to attend conference in New York...................................... 7

Consumer price indices for March.......................................... 8

Inter-school civic education competition................................. 10

Teachers and principals urged to vote tomorrow........................... 11

CYC tree planting ceremony in Sai Kung................................... 12

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results........................... 14

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

1

Records still to set

*****

Hong Kong people will scale new heights, break new records and set even higher standards in the coming century, according to the recently retired Senior Member of the Executive Council, the Baroness Dunn.

She makes these remarks in the latest edition of the Hong Kong Annual Report — Hong Kong 1996 — Which will be published next week.

A government spokesman said today (Tuesday) that one of the world’s most remarkable developments had taken place in Hong Kong since the end of World War II, when the first in the current series of yearbooks was written, and had involved some quite remarkable people.

"Prominent among them is the Baroness Dunn, who between 1976 and 1995, was in succession Senior Member of the Legislative and Executive Councils," he said. "She was also Chairman of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for nine years and achieved noted success in the private sector."

Before her departure from Hong Kong, Baroness Dunn was invited to write the yearbook’s Review Chapter, in which she picks out the key ingredients of Hong Kong's success.

She reflects on the qualities that have made Hong Kong the way it is and on the territory's prospects for "the first page of its next chapter".

As a community leader involved in major decisions from the 1970s to the ’90s, Baroness Dunn says strenuous efforts are made to achieve consensus on an issue. But, she says, Hong Kong has operated so that when general agreement is not possible, all people should feel that they have had a fair chance to put their point of view’ forward and that it has been considered.

Further, the existence of a structure for hearing appeals is a brake on ill-considered action by any authority, she says. Commercial life also operates within a system of rules ? the rule of law ? which Baroness Dunn says is a very important factor in facilitating the conduct of business and in attracting business to Hong Kong.

She added: "Our success has demonstrated that there is plenty of confidence in our society but that confidence is little use if we cannot have confidence in the rules of the game and that they will not be changed overnight."

2

Hong Kong benefited greatly from its established judicial procedure, she says: "The facts that our laws are published; that any action of government must have a legal basis; that all cases, criminal or civil, are normally heard in open court; and that there is an established body of statute and case law so that people know broadly what they can and cannot do ? all these contribute to a system that we sum up in the phrase 'the rule of law'."

Baroness Dunn also notes the contrast between the amount of talk conducted in most western countries about women's advancement and the actual achievements made by women in Hong Kong's otherwise traditional and quite conservative society.

Hong Kong 1996 records the facts and figures of 1995 in words and striking pictures, covering the economy, trade and industry, the new airport, culture, and other activities that made up the essence of the year just past.

From April 29, copies in English and Chinese at $80 each will be available from the Government Publications Centre, ground floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong; leading bookshops; and District Offices. Mail orders should be addressed to: Hong Kong Government Information Services, Publications Sales Office, 28th floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

End

Scope of exclusive rights of HK Telecom clarified *****

The Director-General of Telecommunications and Telecommunications Authority, Mr Alex Arena, today (Tuesday) issued a statement setting out his interpretation of the scope of the exclusive rights of Hong Kong Telecom International Limited (HKTI) in the provision of international telecommunications circuits and services.

Under a licence issued under the Telecommunication Ordinance in 1981, HKTI has exclusive rights to provide a number of international telecommunications circuits and services. This exclusive licence will not expire until the end of September 2006. The Government has announced that it will honour the exclusivities already granted under the HKTI's licence, but it would liberalise in areas outside the exclusivities.

"The exclusivities of HKTI are specified in a schedule to the licence. There are many doubtful areas in the interpretation of the exact scope of the exclusivities. Clarification of the Schedule is necessary in order to remove the uncertainties in the market,” said Mr Arena.

3

"I have confirmed in the statement that a number of areas are open to competition without breach of HKTI's exclusivities. These areas include simple resale of HKTI's international private leased circuits for fax and data services, virtual private networks for internal communications of companies and organisations, videoconferencing services and customer mobile terminals for mobile-satellite services."

"Confirmation that these areas may be liberalised will bring about benefits to consumers in terms of lower prices, better quality and wider choices."

"I have also re-affirmed my earlier statements that call-back services do not breach HKTI's exclusive rights and that the self-provided circuits licensed under the current form of "self-provision" licences also do not breach HKTI's exclusivities," continued Mr Arena.

"International simple resale of voice telephone services and video-telephone services connected to the public switched telephone networks arc within HKTI's exclusivities and competitive supply will not be permitted."

OFTA is now drafting guidance notes regarding the licensing of the services in the areas confirmed to be outside HKTI's exclusivities. These guidance notes will detail any appropriate licensing or safeguarding conditions and the eligibility of licensees where relevant.

Copies of the TA's Statement may be obtained by accessing the Bulletin Board services of OFTA on 2834 0119 or the home page of OFTA in the World Wide Web al URL http://www.ofta.gov.hk.

End

TAC endorses New Lanlao Bus Company franchise renewal *****

The following is issued on behalf of the Transport Advisory Committee:

At the meeting held this (Tuesday) afternoon, the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) endorsed the Administration's recommendation to grant a new 10-year franchise to New Lantao Bus Company Limited (NLB) subject to a mid-term review. The recommendation will be submitted to the Executive Council for consideration.

4

The new franchise, if granted, will take effect on April 1. 1997. In endorsing the grant, the TAC was satisfied that NLB provided a reliable and efficient service.

The committee also recommended a 10 per cent fare increase for Lantau taxis from July 1996. This is lower than the 19 per cent applied for by the Lantau Taxi Association. Lantau taxi fares were last increased by 11.1 per cent in July 1995.

Under the recommended fares, the flagfall charge for the first two kilometres will be increased by $1 to $11, while the fare for every subsequent 0.2 kilometre and the waiting time charge per minute will be increased by 10 cents to $1.1. The baggage surcharge will be increased by $1 to $5. and the telephone booking surcharge will remain unchanged at $5.

Members felt that the recommended fare rise was necessary to ensure the financial viability of Lantau taxi operations. It would also help maintain an acceptable level of taxi service on Lantau, and a reasonable fare differential between Lantau taxis and New Lantau Bus services.

Members also noted the outcome of Transport Department's consultations with District Boards on the proposed typhoon and night surcharges for taxi services and reiterated that such surcharges should not be introduced.

The Committee also supported the outline of the consultancy brief on Electronic Road Pricing feasibility study presented by the Administration.

End

Licence of Mera Travel Services Ltd suspended *****

The Registrar of Travel Agents has, with effect from today (Tuesday), suspended the travel agents licence (licence number 350102) issued to Mera Travel Services Ltd in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Travel Agents Ordinance (Cap 218).

Mera Travel Services Ltd notified the Registrar of Travel Agents of its temporary cessation of business as a travel agent on April 9. 1996. It was advised of the Registrar's intention to revoke its licence on the same day and was invited to make any representation by April 17, 1996.

5

Having considered the company's representation dated April 17, 1996 and sought legal advice, the Registrar decided to suspend its travel agents licence with effect from today to allow time for the company to restructure its business.

A spokesman for the Registrar said: "A decision will be made before the end of this month as to whether the travel agents licence granted to Mera Travel Services Ltd should be reinstated or revoked.

"It is understood that some outbound travellers have already reported their cases to the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong. Other clients of the travel agent are advised to get in touch with the company or the Council to ascertain their position in the meantime."

The Travel Industry Council is situated at Rooms 1706-1709, Fortress Tower, 250 King's Road, North Point, Hong Kong and its telephone enquiry hotline is 2969 8188.

End

DGT to attend World Trade Congress in Singapore *****

The Director-General of Trade, Mr Tony Miller, will attend a World Trade Congress to be held in Singapore tomorrow (Wednesday) and on Thursday.

Organised by the Singapore Trade Development Board and the International Trade Tribune, the two-day Congress aims to review and discuss various issues which are of particular significance to the growth and development of world trade and the future of the multilateral trading system.

It provides a good opportunity to bring policy makers, business leaders and academics together to keep each other updated on developments and to share their thinking on shaping the agenda for the first World .Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference scheduled for December, also in Singapore.

The Congress will comprise key speeches and six panel discussions split over in a two-day packed programme.

Mr Miller has been invited to speak on the panel on "Trade and Investment Liberalisation - The Road Ahead" on the second day to address the challenges and opportunities for global trade and investment liberalisation with the emergence of regionalism and the establishment of the WTO.

6

Mr Miller set out Hong Kong's agenda for the WTO Ministerial Conference in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce last Friday.

Hong Kong wants to set a bold target for free flows of goods, services and investment world-wide and to agree to work together in building the political momentum needed to realise it. Hong Kong suggests to commence an immediate review of the rules to ensure they are relevant in today's global economy and to use liberalisation to spread prosperity by seeking ways to help the least developed economies pass the take-off point.

The Congress' other five panel discussions will focus on the merit of free trade, the present and future agenda of the WTO, the regional trade arrangements and the future of the multilateral system as well as the practical implications of the post-GATT order, and look at the role of ASEAN in the 21st century.

The Congress will be opened by the Singapore Prime Minister. Mr Goh Chok Tong and the Singapore Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Yeo Cheow Tong will deliver a closing address.

In addition to business leaders, academics and senior trade officials from WTO member economies, senior dignitaries attending and addressing the Congress will include Mr Renato Ruggiero, Director-General of the WTO, Mr Donald Johnston, the Secretary-General Designate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Mr Rubens Ricupero, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and Mr Edgardo Boeninger, Chairman of the Pacific Economic Co-operation Council (PECC).

End

DDGT to attend final telecommunications negotiations *****

The Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mr l am Wing-pong, will leave for Geneva today (Tuesday) to attend the final round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)'s extended negotiations on basic telecommunications services.

Mr Tam, who will team up with the Director-General of Telecommunications, Mr Alex Arena, of the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, will join 36 other WTO members, including the United States, Canada. Japan, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, in the negotiations before the deadline of April 30.

7

The negotiations on basic telecommunications services is one of the four extended tracks of negotiations required by the Uruguay Round. The other three sectors are Maritime Transportation, Financial Services and Movement of Natural Persons.

The negotiation deadline for Maritime Transportation is June this year. An interim agreement on Financial Services was reached last year and the negotiation on Movement of Natural Persons was also successfully concluded last year.

Speaking before his departure, Mr Tam said : ’’Liberalisation of basic telecommunications services is important since it is a significant service sector in its own right and at the same time it provides the basic infrastructure for other service sectors to flourish."

Mr Tam noted that all major parties in the negotiations had worked very hard in an attempt to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

"However, there is still a lot of grounds to cover. Hong Kong will play its part in an effort to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion," he added.

End

DHA to attend conference in New York *****

The Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau, departed for New York. USA, this (Tuesday) afternoon to attend the International Conference on Policy for Sciencebased Development organised by the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS).

Mrs Lau is attending the conference in the capacity of International Council Member of the NYAS. She was appointed to the Council two years ago following her work in the Health and Welfare Branch in establishing a policy on traditional Chinese medicine.

Prior to the conference, she will deliver a speech on "Science and Technology in Hong Kong beyond 1997: Emerging Trends and Issues" at a luncheon meeting of the New York Science Policy Association tomorrow (Wednesday).

8

During the international conference in New York, which will be held between April 24 and 26, Mrs Lau will also chair a session on human resources development.

At that session, she will present a paper on the successful human resources development case study of the Hospital Authority, Hong Kong. The case study has recently won an award from the American Society for Training and Development. She will return to Hong Kong on April 30 (Tuesday).

End

Consumer price indices for March *****

The Consumer Price Index (A) was 6.7% higher in March 1996 than a year ago. This was marginally higher than the 6.6% increase in February.

The Census and Statistics Department released the latest Consumer Price Indices today (Tuesday).

The rates of increase in the Consumer Price Index (B) and the Hang Seng CPI, at 7.3% and 8.2% respectively in March, were the same as those in February.

The Composite CPI, which is compiled based on the combined expenditure pattern of all households, showed an increase of 7.3% in March 1996, also the same as that in February.

A Government spokesman said that the slightly faster increase in the CPI(A) in March than in February was mainly due to higher prices of some fresh food items such as live poultry and fruits, and higher charges for meals bought away from home. Adjustments in transport fares also contributed. On the other hand, the prices for most of the other components of the CPI(A), including notably housing and miscellaneous consumer services, showed slower increases in March than in February.

Analysed by component, relatively faster year-on-year price increase than the overall average was recorded in March for housing (9.9% in the CPI(A), 11.0% in the CPI(B), 13.7% in the Hang Seng CPI and 11.5% in the Composite CPI).

Meanwhile, those components with relatively slower year-on-year price increases than the overall average were durable goods (2.2% in the CPI(A), 1.9% in the CPI(B), 4.7% in the Hang Seng CPI and 2.8% in the Composite CPI); fuel and light (4.3%, 4.3%, 4.1% and 4.3%); meals bought away from home (4.5%, 4.4%, 3.3% and 4.2%); and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (4.7%, 4.8%, 4.3% and 4.7%).

9

Comparing March 1996 with February 1996, the CPI(A) and CPI(B) increased by 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were both 0.5%.

For the first quarter of 1996, the CPI(A) and CPI(B) were, on average, higher by 6.4% and 7.1% respectively over a year earlier. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 8.1% and 7.1% respectively. These increases were much lower than the corresponding increases of 7.7%, 8.1%, 8.7% and 8.2% in the fourth quarter of 1995.

For the 12 months ended March 1996, the CPI(A) and CPI(B) were, on average, higher by 7.9% and 8.5% respectively than the preceding 12-month period. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 9.1% and 8.5% respectively.

Seasonally adjusted series are also available for the CPIs. The seasonally adjusted monthly rate of increase in the CPI(A) and CPI(B) increased by an average of 0.7% and 0.8% respectively during the three months ended March 1996. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 0.6% and 0.7% respectively.

Further details are shown in Tables 1 to 2 and Charts 1 to 4.

More details are given in the "Consumer Price Index Report" for March 1996, which is available at $37 per copy from the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong; or from the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

For local and overseas mailings, contact should be made with the Information Services Department, 28th floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries about the indices can be made to the Consumer Price Index Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6403.

End

10

Inter-school civic education competition

*****

Primary and secondary schools are invited to participate in an inter-school civic education competition organised by the Advisory Inspectorate of the Education Department.

The theme for the competition is 'Let’s Know More About the Basic Law'.

Principal Inspector, Miss Yiu Wai Wan, said: "The competition aims at encouraging schools to promote students' understanding of the Basic Law through organising civic education activities.

"Students are welcome to enter different categories of competitions, including essay competition, drawing competition, motto design competition, lyrics writing competition and game stall design competition. "Schools are encouraged to organise an internal competition so as to select entries for the inter-school competition."

The theme for the essay competition is 'The Basic Law and I'. Competitors should also decide the titles of their own entries.

Entries for drawing competition should aim at exemplifying any article(s) of the Basic Law while mottoes designed, lyrics written and game stalls designed should focus on themes related to the understanding, importance and promotion of the Basic Law.

Prizes and certificates will be awarded to winners of the competition.

Schools wishing to participate in the competition are requested to return complete entry form to the Civic Education/Religious Studies Section, Advisory Inspectorate, Education Department at Room 1217. 12th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai on or before July 1.

Enquiries concerning the competition should be directed to the section on 2892 6514 or 2892 6517.

End

II

Teachers and principals urged to vote tomorrow *****

The Education Department appealed to all full-time registered and permitted teachers, including school heads, regular and temporary teachers employed on a monthly basis, to take part in the Council on Professional Conduct in Education election tomorrow (Wednesday).

The election will be held in individual schools under guidelines issued by the Education Department.

The department will conduct random inspections to ensure that the election is fair.

Teachers attending day-time courses run by the Hong Kong Institute of Education should cast their votes at the polling stations set up in various campuses of the Hong Kong Institute of Education. To avoid double voting, they are not allowed to vote in their own schools.

Assistant Director of Education (Services). Mr David Pun, called on teachers of primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and special schools to exercise their right in electing candidates to represent them in the council, which is aimed at promoting the interest of teaching profession.

If teachers teach in more than one school, they should opt to exercise their voting right in only one of the schools. Should they vote in more than one school, the ballot papers will be considered null. Teachers who are eligible to vote are reminded to study the instructions on the ballot papers before casting their votes.

Mr Pun said, "Voters should not put down their names or any other marks of identification on the ballot papers. Otherwise, the vote will be considered void."

Secondary school voters can choose candidates from any or both aided and private schools. They may each vote for a maximum of four candidates, three from aided schools and one from private schools. Primary school teachers should vote for candidates from aided schools only. They may each vote for a maximum of three candidates.

Kindergarten voters should choose one candidate only while those of special school may each vote for a maximum of two candidates.

12

Teachers, however, are reminded not to choose more than the number of candidates as specified in the category. When this happens, the vole will be counted as invalid.

"Teachers should not miss this opportunity to elect their representatives," Mr Pun stressed.

The Council on Professional Conduct in Education is a non-statutory body to advise the Government on measures to promote professional conduct in education, including the drafting of operation criteria defining the conduct expected of an educator, and to advise the Director of Education in cases of disputes or on alleged professional misconduct.

Results of the election for the teacher-nominated categories will be announced on Friday (April 26).

The first meeting of the new council will be held on May 1, 1996.

End

CYC tree planting ceremony in Sai Kung *****

The Director of Education, Mrs Helen C P Lai Yu, today (Tuesday) praised the devotion of teachers to education, regardless of heavy workload and great responsibility.

They should be respected, Mrs Yu said.

Speaking at the "Respect Our Teachers" Tree Planting cum Time Capsule Laying Ceremony of the Community Youth Club (CYC), Mrs Yu said: "The responsibility of teachers increases with the modernisation of the society."

"On academic side, teachers have to equip themselves with updated and relevant teaching materials. Also, they have to take care of students’ emotion and behaviour in order to adopt appropriate teaching approaches that fully develop their potentials.

13

"Besides, they have to assist in organising extra-curricular activities. By encouraging students to participate in various kind of activities, they will teach them how to get along with other people. "Teachers also have to set good examples for their students," she said.

Mrs Yu noted that the Education Department spared no efforts in promoting the message of respecting teachers.

The department and 14 education organisations had organised a multi-media 'Respect our teachers' campaign last year, she added.

Also, the message had been disseminated to Hong Kong students and all walks to life through the CYC with more than 120,000 members.

Under the theme 'respect our teachers; lead a healthy life', the CYC had organised various activities during the year.

With the support of Agriculture and Fisheries Department and the Lions Clubs International, District 303, the highlight of the campaign - Tree Planting cum Time Capsule Laying Ceremony - was taken place at the Pastoral Garden of the Lions Nature

Education Centre, Tsiu Hang, Sai Kung.

"The setting up of Pastoral Garden signifies the result of the efforts of teachers in educating young people.

"The laying of a time capsule aims at keeping details of the development of the campaign and information of different activities. "The time capsule will be opened in 2006," Mrs Yu said.

Mrs Yu ensured that the department would continue the promotion of the message of respecting teachers in future.

End

14

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results * * * ♦ ♦

Tender date 23 Apr 96 23 Apr 96

Paper on offer EF bills EF bills

Issue number Q617 H663

Issue date 24 Apr 96 24 Apr 96

Maturity date 24 Jul 96 23 Oct 96

Coupon - -

Amount applied HK$5,410MN HK$3,300 MN

Amount allotted HKS1.500MN HKS800 MN

Average yield accepted 5.03 PCT 5.18 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.03 PCT 5.18 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 100 PCT About 90 PCT

Average tender yield 5.06 PCT 5.20 PCT

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tenders to be held in the week beginning April 29 ,1996

Tender date 30 Apr 96

Paper on offer EF bills

Issue number Q618

Issue date 1 May 96

Maturity date 31 Jul 96

Tenor 91 days

Amount on offer HK$ 1,500+300 MN

End

15

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

Cumulative

$ million

Opening balance in the account 2,125

Closing balance in the account 1,599

Change attributable to :

Money market activity +654

LAF today -1180

Time (hours) change ($million)

0930 +675

1000 +675

1100 +675

1200 +654

1500 +654

1600 +654

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.8 *-0.1* 23.4.96

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.80 2 years 2802 5.16 98.71 6.01

1 month 4.89 3 years 3904 6.30 99.98 6.41

3 months 5.05 5 years 5103 6.75 99.45 7.00

6 months 5.18 7 years 7302 6.02 93.50 7.37

12 months 5.48 5 years M502 7.30 100.63 7.26

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $18,730 million

Closed April 23, 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 24, 1996

Contents EageJNiL

Transcript of Governor’s media session........................................ 1

Chief Secretary's visit to Peking............................................. 3

Transcript of Chief Secretary's media session.......................... 3

CSD on high alert after second incident of criminal damage............. 4

Study on conservation and management of Mai Po......................... 5

124 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight..........................

Monitors' report submitted to CS.......................................

Conduct council election completed today............................... 8

Feature articles in latest monthly digest of statistics................ 8

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

1

Transcript of Governor's media session *****

Following is the transcript of the remarks made to reporters by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after opening the Jockey Club Tuen Mun Home for the Aged Blind today (Wednesday):

Question: When will Mrs Anson Chan be visiting Beijing? In what kind of capacity, official visit or private visit?

Governor: There is an announcement being made this afternoon about Mrs Chan's visit to Peking.

Question: What is your expectation?

Governor: I hope it will be a successful visit. I hope it will help to take forward the dialogue between the Hong Kong Government and Chinese officials, and I hope that it will lead to further reassurance of the civil service.

Question: (on co-operation with Preparatory Committee)

Governor: We asked the Preparatory Committee last October what they would like us to do to help. We didn't actually get a list of requests until just before Easter. I don't think it is particularly surprising that we reflected on the list and took a little time to reply, but Mrs Chan will obviously be replying when she's in Peking.

Question: But what is her capacity, official visit or private visit?

Governor: I find this whole discussion which I've read in some newspapers baffling. Mrs Chan came to my office this morning for a meeting. Was she there officially or privately? Was she there as the wife of the Commandant of the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Police? Or was she there as the leader of Hong Kong's civil service and one of the most important figures in Hong Kong's public life? I ask you. I don't understand the argument. It is ridiculous.

Question: Will her travel expense be paid by Hong Kong Government?

Governor: Of course. What do you expect?

2

Question: Any other officials to go with Mrs Chan?

Governor: I think you'd better wait for the announcement this afternoon. But it's an important visit and I'm sure you will expect her to be accompanied by one or two other officials.

Question: Our trip to Washington ...

Governor: That's an official visit. Or private. I might be going as the husband of Lavender Patten, or I might be going as Governor of Hong Kong. I'm going as Governor of Hong Kong.

Question: Your expectations? ... focused on MFN ...?

Governor: Yes. My trip will focus on MFN. I'm going as you know first of all to Canada. I'm then going on to the United States where, after a couple of days in New York, I'll be spending most of my time in Washington. I imagine that I'll be asked other questions. I'll hope to have discussions with trade officials about issues like intellectual property and the measures that we've taken in Hong Kong to deal with piracy. I'll want to answer any questions which American Congressmen may have about Vietnamese migrants for example. But overwhelmingly the trip will be focused on MFN. And I'm pleased that two very senior members of the Democrats from Hong Kong have been in the United States over the last few days arguing very convincingly for renewed MFN without conditions. I think that they've done a great service to Hong Kong in putting the arguments so vigorously for unconditional MFN renewal.

Question: Do you think there is any clash between yourself and Mr Lee in terms of ...?

Governor: Not remotely. Mr Lee is a highly respected political leader from Hong Kong who can point out that he commands, or his party commands, between 60 and 70 per cent of support in Hong Kong. That gives him very considerable credibility in the United States. And I'm very pleased that he's used that credibility to speak up for economic freedom and to speak up as well for a good trade relationship between the United States and China. Not surprisingly when asked questions he's talked about other issues as well. That's his perfect right and he's done it with his usual courage and tenacity. Thank you very much indeed.

End

3

Chief Secretary's visit to Peking

* * * * ♦

A Government spokesman announced today (Wednesday) that at the invitation of Mr Lu Ping, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mrs Anson Chan, the Chief Secretary, will visit Peking this Friday (April 26) to discuss transition-related issues.

Mrs Chan will leave Hong Kong tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon and return over the weekend.

End

Transcript of Chief Secretary's media session

*****

Following is the transcript of the remarks made to reporters by the Chief Secretary. Mrs Anson Chan, at the Legislative Council Building this (Wednesday) afternoon:

CS: First of all. I'd just like to say that I'm sorry I haven't been able until this afternoon to make £ formal announcement that I'm very happy to accept Director Lu's invitation to continue our discussion on transitional issues in Beijing. I should be leaving tomorrow afternoon for Beijing and I will be having discussions with Lu Ping on Friday the 26th. I hope to be able to return to Hong Kong over the weekend.

Question: Mrs Chan, are you going in a private capacity?

CS: I don't really think that is an important consideration. What the civil servants and what the people of Hong Kong wish to see is improved communication and dialogue between Chinese officials and Hong Kong officials at all levels. I had some useful discussion with Mr Lu Ping the last time when he was here and I'm delighted so soon after that meeting to be able to go again to continue our discussions. We do have a number of very important transitional issues to discuss, not least those affecting civil servants. And I'm looking forward to this discussion with Mr Lu Ping and 1 very much hope that we will make good progress.

4

Question: Mrs Chan, what issues ...?

CS: We will be discussing the range of transitional issues, obviously those affecting civil service morale and confidence, co-operation with the Preparatory Committee and with the Chief Executive Officer (Designate).

Question: Mrs Chan, do you think that bearing the official title of Chief Secretary ...?

CS: I'm not going to say any more about this ....

Question: Why do you refuse to tell us whether it is a private or official visit...?

CS: What is important to the Hong Kong community and what is important to the civil service .... You asked me a question ....

Question: Why are you refusing to tell us?

CS: I'm not refusing to tell you anything. I'm simply just saying that the important thing is to concentrate on the fact that we have a dialogue between Mr Lu Ping and myself so soon after our last meeting in Hong Kong. This is clearly what the people of Hong Kong wish to see and what civil servants wish to see. I do not think that we should allow an issue over what capacity I go up to affect the atmosphere and the progress that we both hope to make at this discussion.

End

CSD on high alert after second incident of criminal damage *****

The Correctional Services Department has conducted a thorough security review and placed all staff on heightened alert, following a second incident in which the barrier gate to a maximum security institution was severely damaged.

At about 3 am this (Wednesday) morning, the sentry at the barrier gate of Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre noticed a yellow truck had stopped at a refuse collection point about 60 metres from the gate.

fhe vehicle then moved backwards toward the gate and the sentry noticed two men. wearing plastic bags as masks over their heads, on the road directing the truck. One of the men shouted at the sentry not to move and the vehicle then rammed into the hut of the barrier gate twice causing severe damage.

5

As the culprits were leaving they attempted to set fire to a rubbish bin near the visitors' waiting shed and as they ran off towards the refuse collection point where two cars were waiting, they smashed four vehicles that were parked along the road.

The culprits made good their escape and no-one was injured in the incident.

In the early hours of Thursday (April 18), a truck severely damaged the barrier gate at Stanley Prison.

A CSD spokesman said today the latest incident was not a co-incidcnce or an isolated incident as both attacks were identical in method of execution.

"The Department takes this very seriously," he said.

The case has been handed to the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau and all relevant information will be communicated to the police, the spokesman said.

"We are confident that the police will track down the culprits and bring them to justice," he added.

The spokesman said that barrier gates are not part of the security of a prison, pointing out that there had been no breach of security in both incidents.

"The barrier gates act as a reception to an institution whereby staff establish the identities and passes of visitors," he said.

However, the Department will take measures to strengthen the barrier gates to all penal institutions.

"We aim to provide better protection to all staff manning the gates, and any unauthorised encroachment will be taken very seriously," the spokesman said.

End

Study on conservation and management of Mai Po * * * * *

The Government has commissioned a consultancy study to develop a conservation strategy and a management plan for the Ramsar Site at Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay area.

Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Lawrence Lee, signed a contract, on behalf of the Government, with a consultancy firm responsible for the study at a ceremony held at the department's headquarters this (Wednesday) morning.

6

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Dr Lee said the study was aimed at formulating a planning strategy to promote the conservation of Mai Po, developing a management plan and providing adequate wardening for the area.

Dr Lee said: "The study is necessary to achieve the obligations under the Ramsar Convention and to make recommendations for the effective management of the area. These recommendations would include, inter alia, detailed options for habitat creation and restoration, ecological survey and monitoring, vegetation and wildlife management, establishment and maintenance of visitor centres and education facilities.”

The principal objectives of the study are to characterise the ecological value and function of each habitat type, to assess possible threats and land-use impacts on the wetland ecosystem and to identify environmental, socio-economic and other issues relevant to the conservation management of the site, he added.

The contract for the study has been awarded to Aspinwall Clouston Limited, which will lead a consultancy team composed of local and overseas wetland ecologists, ornithologists, zoologists, botanists, other professionals and management specialists.

The Aspinwall Clouston team will provide expertise on integrated land-use planning, environmental planning and management, landscape planning, ecological studies and urban design services. The team will be co-led by Wetlands International who will be responsible for the preparation of the conservation objectives, conservation strategy and the management objectives for the study.

The study, which will begin on May 1, is expected to be completed in nine months.

Covering an area of about 1,500 hectares, the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay was listed as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in September 1995. The Mai Po Marshes Restricted Area was extended under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance in January this year to cover the Inner Deep Bay intertidal mudflats.

At the Conference of Parties of the Ramsar Convention held in Brisbane last month, the Brisbane Initiative was adopted. The Initiative calls for the establishment of a network of listed sites along the East Asia-Australasian Flyway for migratory shorebirds managed to maintain their suitability for migratory birds.

- 7 -

The Network is known as the ’’East Asia-Australasian Shorebird Reserve network”, in which the Mai Po Ramsar Site has been included. It is a useful means to promote public awareness, training and information exchange and thus contribute to the long-term conservation of migratory shorebirds and their habitats along the Flyway.

End

124 VMs depart on orderly repatriation Hight *****

A group of 124 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Wednesday) on the 34th flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

All of the returnees, comprising 80 men, 26 women. 11 boys and seven girls, are from North Vietnam.

The majority of them arrived in Hong Kong in 1989 and 1995, with the remaining in 1990 and 1991.

The group brought to 2,844 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

Monitors' report submitted to OS *****

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Wednesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The monitors were Ms Nadine De Lamotte from Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mr Tai Kie-ying of Christian Action.

End

8

Conduct council election completed today *****

The Assistant Director of Education (Services), Mr David Pun, today (Wednesday) visited a special, a primary and a secondary school to sec how the voting sessions for the teacher-nominated candidates of the Council on Professional Conduct in Education were held.

He visited Caritas Magdalene School in Wan Chai. SKI I Kei Yan Primary School in Glenealy and Henrietta Secondary School in North Point.

The voting sessions were organised in a very smooth manner and that the response of teachers was enthusiastic.

District Education Officers also conducted random inspections to schools organising the voting sessions to ensure that election was fair.

About 52,300 teachers were eligible to vote in the election.

Results of the election will be announced on Friday (April 26).

End

Feature articles in latest monthly digest of statistics *****

Two feature articles entitled "Labour Productivity in the Manufacturing Sector of Hong Kong. 1982-1993" and "Standardization and Standardized Rates" arc published in the April 1996 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics now available for sale.

The labour productivity index (LP1) is compiled by relating an output index to an index of labour input. The LP1 for an industry in a year therefore reflects change in output of that industry over the base year, after discounting the effect of different amounts of labour input in the two periods. From another angle, it reflects the change in output per unit labour input.

Labour productivity indices for the major manufacturing industries have been published in earlier issues of the Monthly Digest of Statistics. The article "Labour Productivity in the Manufacturing Sector of Hong Kong. 1982-1993" updates the labour productivity indices for such industries and discusses the relevant factors affecting their variations.

- 9 -

Standardization is a technique often used in demographic studies to eliminate from the crude rates the effect of differences in the age-sex composition of the population. It is most useful when making comparisons between two populations, or for the same population over time. The article "Standardization and Standardized Rates" introduces the application of standardization, illustrated with the computation of standardized death rates, using the direct and indirect methods.

The April 1996 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics is now on sale at S50 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

Hong Kong Monetary Authority money market operations

*****

Cumulative

$ million Time (hours.) change (.Smillion)

Opening balance in the account 1,599 0930 +994

Closing balance in the account 2,616 1000 +999

Change attributable to : 1100 +1,001

Money market activity +1,017 1200 + 1,001

LAF today Nil 1500 + 1,001

1600 +1,017

LAF rate 4.00% bid/6.00% offer TWI 123.8 *+0.0* 24.4.96

- 10 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

EF bills EF notes

Terms Yield Term Issue Coupon Price Yield

1 week 4.88 2 years 2802 5.16 98.68 6.02

1 month 4.96 3 years 3904 6.30 99.96 6.41

3 months 5.11 5 years 5103 6.75 99.36 7.02

6 months 5.23 7 years 7302 6.02 93.36 7.40

12 months 5.50 5 years M502 7.30 100.55 7.28

Total turnover of EF bills and notes - $34,375 million

Closed 24 April 1996

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, April 24,1996

Contents Page No.

Legislative Council meeting: Motion on access to ExCo papers by PAC strongly objected.............. 1

Wide range of services available to chronically ill patients......... 3

Plant Varieties Protection Bill..................................

Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 1996 .................... 6

Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996................................

Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill...................... 10

Bill to ensure toys and children's products safety............... 11

Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996............................ 12

Medical Registration (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995 ................. 15

Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995 .................. 16

/Significant stride.

Contents

Page No-

Significant stride in intellectual property protection............... 19

Intellectual Property (WTO Amendment) Bill 1995 ..................... 20

Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995 ................................. 24

Road Traffic (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995 .......................... 26

Town Planning (Amendment) Bill 1995 ................................. 26

Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1995 .................................. 30

Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 1995 ... 31

Mass Transit Railway Corporation Annual Report 1995 ................. 32

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Annual Report 1995 ............... 33

Shortage of clinical psychologists................................... 35

Measures to ensure safe use of Chinese medicine...................... 38

Criteria for making appointments to advisory bodies.................. 39

Traffic accidents involving container vehicles....................... 41

Contents

Pag£_N*L

Causes of accidents involving container trucks.............................. 42

Funding to non-governmental social services explained....................... 43

Expanded functions and role of Occupational Safety Council.................. 44

Housing benefits to civil servants explained................................ 46

Existing law provision on food fair and practicable......................... 49

Move to facilitate widest circulation of Basic Law...................... 51

Plastics factory' safety and health guide............................... 51

Govt firmly committed to IPR protection..................................... 53

Measures to prevent property fraud.......................................... 55

Terms of employment of universities teaching staff.......................... 57

Criteria of land grant for charity and welfare purposes..................... 60

Number of applications for naturalisation................................... 62

Indebtedness of CSD officers................................................ 63

Pledge to expedite estate duty cases........................................ 64

Latest development of fixed telephone networks.............................. 69

Potential use of alternative fuel vehicles.................................. 70

1

Motion on access to' ExCo papers by PAC strongly objected * * ♦ ♦ *

Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, in response to tlib Hon Eric Li's motion oh access to ExCo papers by the Public Accounts Committee in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I have to make it clear from the outset that the Administration strongly objects to the Hon. Eric Li's motion. The allegation that the Administration has refused to cooperate with the Public Accounts Committee in the performance of its duties is simply not true. On the contrary, the Administration has always done its best to co-operate fully with the Public Accounts Committee and to assist it in its work, and we did so in the examination that the Committee carried out into the Director of Audit's report on 1 the review of the housing benefits provided by the Hospital Authority to its staff.

The motion refers to the paper presented to this Council on 19 November 1986 by the then Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, which set out the scope of the work of the Director of Audit in carrying out 'value for money' studies. The Administration did indeed accept the proposals in this paper. But nothing in the paper suggested that the PA should have access to ExCo documents, as the motion implies. Whether or not this is necessary is a wholly subjective judgment, and it is wrong to suggest by juxtaposition that it was accepted, either explicitly or implicitly in 1986.

Let me remind Members of this Council of the extent of the Administration's co-operation with the PAC during its recent inquiry into the Director of Audit's report; on the Hospital Authority staffs housing benefits. All officials involved, including the former Chief Secretary, the former Secretary for Health and Welfare, the former Secretary for the Civil Service, the present Secretary for the Treasury, the former Chairman of the Hospital Authority and the present Chief Executive of the Authority, attended the PAC's hearings several times to answer Members' queries. The Administration also provided the Committee with the relevant internal correspondence between the Hospital Authority and the Government. I myself gave detailed answers to the questions raised in a series of letters sent to me by the Chairman of the PAC, including full details of those parts of the relevant ExCo memoranda and discussions which related to this issue. The record is clear^ We did our best to give every assistance to the PAC in its deliberations. All relevant information was provided to the Committee. And I reject any suggestion that the Administration deliberately misled the PAC.

2

The Administration’s position on the confidentiality of ExCo memoranda and records is well known and I have stated it many times in my letters to the Chairman of the PAC. We believe that it is essential to uphold the long-standing principle of keeping ExCo proceedings confidential in order to ensure that there is no inhibition in the free exchange and presentation of views in ExCo. It would be against the public interest to compromise this principle. This view is not unique to Hong Kong. It is in line with the practice in the UK where the courts have, as a general rule, held that Cabinet papers are as a class immune from disclosure, and where I understand there is no precedent for Cabinet papers being made available to the UK PAC. As ExCo papers are equivalent to UK Cabinet papers, they should, by analogy, be immune from disclosure in Hong Kong. Indeed, this argument has been accepted on a number of occasions by the courts in Hong Kong. The suggestion that a claim of confidentiality for ExCo papers should be based on the contents rather than the class of the documents concerned is clearly not in line with this principle. Furthermore, this approach would be likely to lead to endless disputes between the government and this Council over whether the contents of particular documents were sensitive in nature. We believe that the public interest is fully protected by the fact that the Director of Audit is allowed access to ExCo papers and can form his own independent judgment as a result of this.

The Honourable Albert Chan had argued that the rule regarding confidentiality should be relaxed since the other cardinal rule regarding collective responsibility can be applied flexibility. I wish to clarify that whilst there is a rule of responsibility can be applied with flexibility that in no way reduces ExCo members’ commitment to collective responsibility. To ensure the proper functioning of the ExCo the confidentiality rule has to be maintained. We will continue to provide the PAC with full details of the relevant parts of ExCo papers but not the papers themselves. That already reflected flexibility in the exercise of the confidentiality rule.

Let me reassure Members that the Administration fully recognises the role of the PA as a 'watchdog' over public expenditure and that we will continue to co-operate with it fully in order to help it perform its duties efficiently and effectively. In the particular case of the Hospital Authority staffs housing benefits, the PA has produced its Report and the Administration will soon complete its review of the Hospital Authority remuneration package. Although the Honourable Emily Lau will not agree, I have to advice that in my view we should now point the way forward rather than dwell on what happened in the past. I hope Honourable Members will recognise the responsible and co-operative attitude that the Administration has taken in this case, and that you will reject the motion.

3

Finally, Mr President, although not domain to this motion, let me thank Honourable Members for the good wishes they have extended on my forthcoming trip to Beijing. Far from my spirit being affected, I can assure Mr Eric Li that 1'11 set off in good cheer and I look forward to good progress in my discussion with Mr Lu Ping.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Wide range of services available to chronically ill patients *****

Chronically ill patients who are requiring regular medical assessment and treatment from both the private or the public sector are provided with a wide scope of services - from medical care, health education and financial assistance to supporting services from voluntary agencies.

This was stated by the Secretary for Health and Welfare. Mrs Katherine Fok, al the motion debate on chronically ill persons moved by the Hon Mok Ying-fan al the Legislative Council today (Wednesday).

Mrs Fok told the Council that all the general clinics operated by the Department of Health provided a full range of preventive and curative services, including specialist treatment if necessary, to these patients.

"Our new unit medical record system which allows for the systematic storage and retrieval of clinical information, complemented by an appointment system providing for the advanced booking of follow-up consultations, has also served in many ways to enhance the continuity of care for chronically ill patients," she added.

Chronically ill patients also receive health education and counselling through group health talks and video shows on a variety of different topics. Those suffering from the same illness are encouraged to form patient groups to facilitate experience sharing and mutual support.

In addition, the Hospital Authority has set up two additional rehabilitation coordination teams and four additional specialist medical teams to provide outreach services as well as eight patients and carers resource centres to promote the concept of self-help.

Apart from infrastructural support, self-help groups may apply for grants from the Health Services Research Fund or the Health Care and Promotion Fund to implement projects aimed at promoting the welfare of chronically ill patients.

4

"We believe this is the best way to achieve the greatest impact in promoting the interest of chronically ill patients.

"The increased popularity of self-help groups and the rapport developed among patients will provide a useful forum from which the medical needs of chronically ill patients could be gauged in shaping our policy in the provision of medical services," the Secretary said.

On the role of voluntary agencies, Mrs Fok cited the Community Rehabilitation Network of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation as a successful example to show how they could complement the services provided by Government. She said the Government would evaluate the effectiveness of this new service in the light of experience before contemplating any expansion through injection of public funds.

To safeguard the interest of chronically ill patients, Mrs Fok said those who were in a position broadly equivalent to 100 per cent loss of earning capacity due to total disablement would be eligible to receive a Disability Allowance of $1,125 each month or a higher rate of $2,250 each month if in need of constant attendance. This allowance is a non-contributory and non-means-tested allowance aiming at assisting families caring for a disabled member.

For those in financial need, they will be eligible for the means-tested Comprehensive Social Security Assistance at a standard rate up to $3,545 a month to meet basic needs, such as food and clothing, as well as grants to meet other special needs such as accommodation and medical appliances. Others in need may apply to the Samaritan Fund for partial or full assistance.

The Secretary also spoke on the need to provide an equal social status for chronically ill patients.

Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, it is unlawful for employers to ask people with a disability for information they would not ask of people without a disability. An employer also cannot ask a prospective employee to provide information of a medical nature specifically unless it is necessary to determine if the candidate would be unable to carry out the requirements of the job concerned or would require special services or facilities to take up the job.

"Anyone who is facing discrimination may take their complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission, or direct to the Courts in the event that conciliation fails," Mrs Fok said.

End

5

Plant Varieties Protection Bill *****

Following is a speech by the acting Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Leo Kwan, in moving the second reading of the Plant Varieties Protection Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Plant Varieties Protection Bill be read a second time.

The World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights requires that every signatory - which includes Hong Kong - must provide for the protection of rights to plant varieties. The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to that obligation.

The Bill proposes that the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries be appointed as the Registrar of Plant Variety Rights and that he be able to consider applications for registration of such rights.

The Bill states the criteria to be satisfied before a plant variety can be considered for protection and defines the party entitled to protection and the period and scope of the protection afforded. Broadly speaking, it will be necessary for an applicant to show that the plant variety that he wishes to register is a new and distinct variety. In general, once rights to a plant variety have been granted, the grantee will be able to control propagation and commercial exploitation of that variety for 20 years. Such protection will be available to both local and overseas breeders of plants.

Unauthorized commercial exploitation of plant varieties will be deterred through provision made in the Bill for offences relating to false declaration, false representation and misuse of the name of a protected plant variety. In each case, the proposed maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $100,000.

The successful breeding and development of marketable new varieties of, for example, vegetables and ornamental plants requires substantial investment and the prospect of a reasonable commercial return. The proposals in the Bill will protect the intellectual property of companies and individuals currently breeding plants and vegetables in Hong Kong, and those of overseas breeders who wish to market new plant varieties in Hong Kong. This will be to the benefit of both the economy and consumers. I therefore commend the Bill to this Council.

End

6

Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 1996 *****

Following is the speech by the acting Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Leo Kwan, in moving the second reading of the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Amendment) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The safety of merchant ships is regulated by international conventions made under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation, the IMO. The provisions of IMO conventions are accepted world-wide as the international standards to which the shipping industry must conform. I long Kong is obliged to implement the standards provided under IMO conventions which have been extended to Hong Kong. Safety standards are at present given effect by regulations made under the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance. Most of the matters regulated arc highly technical in nature and are subject to frequent amendments. Our present procedures by which legislative backing is given to these amendments adds to the workload of the Executive Council as well as the Law Drafting Division of the Attorney General's Chambers. It is nonetheless, vital for Hong Kong to implement our international obligations in a timely manner; failure to do so would adversely reflect on the credibility of Hong Kong within the international shipping community.

In order to alleviate the workload of the Executive Council so that it can focus on major policy issues, and to provide a more expeditious means for giving effect to the provisions of international conventions, the Bill provides : first, for the transfer of most of the regulation-making powers from the Governor in Council to the Secretary for Economic Services; and, secondly, that the provisions of international conventions applicable to Hong Kong may be given effect by simply setting them out in regulations or schedules, together with any necessary modifications and adaptations as may be required for the circumstances of I long Kong.

We also need to amend the Merchant Shipping Ordinance to make it clear that fees in respect of survey services provided under the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance are prescribed in regulations made under the former.

7

Before the enactment of Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance, marine safety was regulated by the Merchant Shipping Ordinance. When the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance came into effect in 1981 to consolidate the local legislation relating to marine safety, certain provisions about survey services and requirements under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance were transferred to the former. Fees for survey services however continue to be charged under the Merchant Shipping (Fees) Regulation, which is the subsidiary legislation of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance. We intend this to continue, but believe it would be appropriate for there to be explicit reference to this arrangement in the main Ordinance. The amendment bill makes a minor amendment to the Merchant Shipping Ordinance to achieve this.

End

Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996 *****

Following is the speech by Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in moving the second reading of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the Second Reading of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1996.

The purpose of the Bill is to prevent certain Vietnamese migrants from seeking release from detention in the wake of a recent Privy Council judgment.

Since 16 June 1988, Vietnamese migrants arriving in the territory who request to stay are detained pending determination as to whether they are refugees and, if they are determined to be non-refugees, pending removal to Vietnam. They are encouraged to return to Vietnam through the UNHCR's voluntary repatriation programme. Otherwise, they are subject to the orderly repatriation programme run by the Hong Kong Government. Clearance by the Vietnamese authorities is required before a Vietnamese migrant can be repatriated. This applies to both the voluntary and the orderly return programmes.

8

In 1994, the UNHCR brought to our attention that a number of voluntary repatriation applicants had been awaiting clearance for return for some time. We examined these cases and concluded that there were 124 migrants who, because of their individual circumstances, had little prospect of being returned in the immediate future and thus their further detention might be unlawful. They were accordingly released on recognizance in November 1994.

Between early 1995 and March 1996, a habeas corpus action involving four Vietnamese migrants was considered successively by the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council. These Vietnamese migrants argued that the Vietnamese authorities had a policy of not taking back non-nationals, that they were non-nationals and, thus, if they applied to return they would be rejected; consequently, the purpose of their detention was therefore spent and they could no longer be lawfully detained. The Privy Council accepted these arguments in respect of three of the appellants. As for the fourth one, although neither the High Court nor the Court of Appeal found him to be a non-national, the Privy Council believed that given the time that he had been awaiting clearance, he would not be accepted for return and should also be released.

Consequent to the Privy Council judgement we have, after careful consideration, released 254 VMs to date who, in our judgement, fall within the terms of the Privy Council judgement and could thus no longer be lawfully detained.

The issue of "non-nationals” was raised with the Vietnamese Government during the visit of FCO Minister Mr Jeremy Hanley to Hanoi on 9 April. The Vietnamese authorities agreed to study this problem again. We have also sought clarification on whether Taiwan would accept those released migrants who claimed to have Taiwanese papers, and a response is awaited.

Although we have already released all the migrants who came to our knowledge to date as falling within the terms of the Privy Council judgement, we are obliged to continue to release any new cases brought to our attention which fall under those terms. There is thus a risk of further releases.

Against the background that the Vietnamese authorities had to deal with over a hundred thousand cases from Asia and from Europe for repatriation, we do not believe that the hitherto apparently lengthy period for obtaining a response from the Vietnamese authorities should in general be treated as evidence of refusal or rejection by them. We thus propose in the Bill that where a request has been made to the Vietnamese Government for the repatriation of a Vietnamese migrant, the court shall not find that the purpose of his detention has failed, or become spent, until the request has been rejected by the Vietnamese Government, or unless the court finds that, in all the circumstances, the Vietnamese migrant has been detained for an unreasonable period. We also propose an additional, minor amendment which seeks to put beyond doubt the power to enable the released migrants to enter into recognizance.

9

We believe that the longer the relevant provisions of the Immigration Ordinance remain unamended, the greater the risk of having to make further releases. This in turn could lead to an erosion of our detention policy and will not be welcomed by the community; it will also increase our difficulties should the Vietnamese authorities later clear them for return, and we then have to search for and redetain them pending removal.

Since we have made known our intention to legislate in this regard, there have been some unfounded criticisms, mainly centred on whether we are seeking to legislate for indefinite arbitrary detention. 1 should like to reiterate a few key points here. First, the need to detain Vietnamese migrants, even for long periods of time, is recognised by the courts as essential in order to maintain effective immigration control. Secondly, this detention policy is, of course, subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the courts, and we are not seeking to change this. In particular, we are not seeking to legislate to bar a Court from ordering the release of a Vietnamese migrant on the grounds that his period of detention is too long. Thirdly, we are only seeking to ensure that in deciding claims by Vietnamese migrants that they are nonnationals, the court may not assume that they will not be accepted back unless the Vietnamese authorities have rejected them. Fourthly, there are over 7.000 Vietnamese migrants in Hong Kong whose clearance is not yet obtained, and there is a real risk that fraudulently obtained documents may be produced by them to seek release from detention. In the Administration's view, this is a potential loophole which should be closed as quickly as possible.

In short, the Bill does not seek to provide for arbitrary or indefinite detention, nor does it set a precedent for such; in our view it is consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as applied to Hong Kong. It does not offend against the spirit of the Common Law. It should not be read across to other kinds of detention, as Section 13(D) of the Immigration Ordinance relates solely to Vietnamese illegal entrants and is there to deal with the massive influx of Vietnamese migrants that has occurred in the past. Once the Vietnamese migrant problem is completely resolved, that section of the law will have served its purpose and may then be repealed.

1 would also like to make it clear that the introduction of this Bill in no way indicates disrespect to the Privy Council. The role of the Judiciary is to decide what the current law is, and to apply it to the facts of the case before it. But it is incumbent on the Executive and the Legislature to decide what law is best for the community. If we decide that the law should be changed, we are merely fulfilling our roles as policymakers and as legislators. This is standard procedure in democratic societies subscribing to the basic concept of separation of powers, whether those societies be Hong Kong, the United Kingdom or any other common law jurisdiction. 1 trust honourable members will consider the Bill on its merits without fear of acting improperly towards the Judiciary.

10

Finally, the Administration urges honourable members to deal with the Bill expeditiously. We will be working closely together with the Sub-committee established to examine this Bill; indeed the Sub-committee has already begun its work this morning. I hope it will come to a conclusion speedily.

Thank you Mr President.

End

Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President.

I move that the Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to enhance consumer protection by requiring all consumer goods covered by the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance to have ail safety markings or labels provided in both English and Chinese, i.e. the bilingual safety labelling requirement. It seeks to do so by empowering the Secretary for Trade and Industry to establish safety standards or safety specifications which she believes will materially enhance the safety of consumer goods. The proposed bilingual safety labelling requirement may then be established by regulation made by the Secretary for Trade and Industry under the new provision. It will be enforced by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise.

The Bill is proposed in response to requests from the community for the imposition of mandatory product labelling requirement in Chinese for all consumer goods, regardless of what the original language of the labelling is.

Having carefully considered the requests, we agree that safety labelling in Chinese, which is a language widely understood by the community, is of paramount importance to ensure consumer safety. We also see the need to ensure that the English-speaking only community in Hong Kong understands the safety labelling on consumer goods. We therefore propose that all safety markings or labels on consumer goods covered by the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance must be expressed in both English and Chinese.

11

The bilingual safety labelling requirement will be confined to markings or labels relating to warning or caution phrases concerned with the safe keeping, use, consumption or disposal of the consumer goods. Such markings or labels should be legible and placed in a conspicuous position on the consumer goods, the packaging or a document enclosed in the package, as the case may require. By doing so. the proposed requirement will achieve the objective of enhancing consumer safety while at the same time avoiding imposing an undue burden on manufacturers, importers or suppliers.

Upon enactment of the Bill, 1 will table the Consumer Goods Safely Regulation in the Council for Members' approval by the negative procedure. Members may wish to note that a similar regulation on the introduction of requirement for bilingual safety labelling for toys and children's products covered by the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance will also be made. To give the industry and trade sufficient time to adjust, there will be a grace period of 12 months before the Regulations come into operation.

Mr President. I move that debate on this motion be adjourned.

End

Bill to ensure toys and children's products safety

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary lor Trade and Industry. Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading ol the toys and Childrens Products Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 be read the second time.

The Bill provides Ibr the adoption of safety standards other than the British Standards Institution (BS1) standards for children's products under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance. The Bill is made in response to requests from the trade and industrial organisations that multiple safety standards should be adopted for children's products because adoption of the BS1 standards alone is considered too restrictive and would limit consumers' choice.

12

At present, the Toys and Children’s Products Safety Ordinance only permits the adoption of the BSI safety standards for children's products. This is because when the Ordinance was enacted, the BSI standards were considered to be the most comprehensive in product range and safety aspects.

We have no objection in principle to the proposed adoption of multiple safety standards other than the BSI standards for children's products, provided that the alternative standards are equivalent in their safety requirements to the existing BSI standards already adopted in the Ordinance. Preliminary examination by the Government Chemist on a number of non-BSI safety standards applicable to children's products, including those suggested by the trade and industrial organisations, reveals that some of them are suitable for adoption as alternative standards. Clause 3 of the Bill seeks to empower the Secretary for Trade and Industry to adopt alternative safety standards other than the BSI ones for children's products. Clause 4 empowers the Secretary for Trade and Industry to amend the Schedule. This includes the addition of alternative safety standards and the updating of existing standards. In order to ensure that the level of safety requirement will not be compromised when alternative standards are adopted, the Secretary for Trade and Industry must be satisfied that any new standards intended to be adopted are equivalent to the existing BSI standards already adopted for that particular children's product in terms of safety requirements.

The proposed adoption of multiple safety standards for children's products will encourage competition in the Hong Kong market and hence increase consumers' choice.

Mr President. I move that debate on this motion be adjourned.

End

Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 *****

following is the speech by the acting Secretary for the Treasury, Mr Alan N Lai. in moving the second reading of the Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

< *

Mr President.

I move that the Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 be read the second

time.

13

The Bill covers two main proposals. First, to make the measure of charging stamp duty on agreements for sale of residential property permanent. And second, to charge a full cost recovery fee only in respect of the voluntary adjudication service.

Let me first deal with the stamp duty measure on sale of residential property. I will begin by setting out the background relating to the measure. As Members may recall, the measure first came into effect in January 1992 as one of a series of actions which aimed to curb speculation on residential property. The measure is temporary in nature and has to be extended from time to time. Its validity was first extended by this Council in December 1993 for two years until the end of 1995. In December last year, I moved a resolution in this Council, which Members approved, to extend the measure for a further two years until the end of 1997. In moving the resolution, I also made known that we intended to introduce an amendment to the Stamp Duty Ordinance within this session to make the measure permanent. The Bill before Members today seeks to implement this proposal. Now let me explain why the measure should be made permanent.

First, the measure has proved to be effective in helping to curb speculation on residential property. The property market has now stabilised and speculation has moderated. Making the measure permanent would provide a continuous disincentive to speculators, which is necessary notwithstanding changes in the market situation. This also demonstrates our long term commitment to tackle the problem of speculation in the residential property market.

Secondly, the measure is equitable because it can ensure that stamp duty would be charged on all residential property transactions, including intermediate ones. It also enables us to charge profits tax on profits gained from what essentially are trading transactions. From the taxation point of view, the measure should be made permanent.

Thirdly, I must also stress that whilst achieving the aim of tackling speculation and enhancing fairness in the taxation system, the measure does not affect genuine home buyers at all. They only have to pay stamp duty slightly earlier.

There are thus strong justifications for the measure to be made permanent. We cannot anticipate circumstances which would warrant the withdrawal of the measure at any time, whether on a long term or temporary basis. We therefore propose to amend the Stamp Duty Ordinance to make the measure permanent.

14

I am aware that some Members are concerned about the burden of stamp duty on home buyers. We have examined this matter and consider it appropriate and practical to review the stamp duty rate structure periodically in order to relieve the burden of home buyers. As Members may recall, we reduced stamp duty in 1994 to benefit buyers of flats with value up to $3 million. In this year’s Budget, we also propose to further reduce the stamp duty on property transactions to benefit buyers of flats with value up to $3.5 million. This will help those buying at the lower to middle end of the market, including those who purchase Home Ownership flats or Sandwich Class Housing Scheme properties.

Now, let me turn to the second main proposal in the Bill. Adjudication is a process whereby the Collector of Stamp Duty gives an opinion on whether a certain document is chargeable to stamp duty and assesses the amount of stamp duty, if any, chargeable on the instrument. There are two categories of adjudication. Mandatory adjudication is conducted on certain types of instruments for revenue protection purposes while voluntary adjudication is one which is requested by an applicant of his own volition. At present, a nominal fee is charged by the Inland Revenue Department on an adjudication service, regardless of whether it is a mandatory or voluntary one.

I

The Director of Audit completed an audit review of the adjudication services in early 1995 and recommended that the adjudication fee should be charged on a full cost recovery basis. Having reviewed the matter we concluded that a distinction should be drawn between mandatory and voluntary adjudication, and that mandatory adjudication, which is conducted primarily for revenue protection purposes, should be provided free of charge while a full cost fee should be charged only for the provision of voluntary adjudication service. Our approach was endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee. We therefore propose to amend the Ordinance to implement this limited charging proposal.

The opportunity is also taken in this amendment exercise to transfer from the Governor in Council powers in the Ordinance which will not involve major policy considerations to the Secretary for the Treasury in order to lessen the burden of the Governor in Council. Any such exercise of power would still of course be subject to the scrutiny of this Council in the usual way.

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

End

15

Medical Registration (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995 *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in resuming the second reading debate of the Medical Registration (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I should like to thank the Chairman and Members of the Bills Committee for their careful scrutiny of the provisions in the Bill.

The Bill, if passed by this Council, will lead to four major changes. First, the Medical Council will have an expanded membership to broaden its representation and to help the sharing out of the increasing workload. The addition of 14 members to the Council will bring the total number of members to 28. Of the 28, 14 will be elected -seven to be elected from all registered medical practitioners on the general register and the remaining seven to be elected by the Council members of the Hong Kong Medical Association. The introduction of elected members into the Medical Council will encourage greater involvement of the profession in its own affairs.

Secondly, the provisions regarding the introduction of a specialist register pave the way for the formal registration and control of medical specialists.

Thirdly, apart from the existing Licentiate Committee and the Preliminary Investigation Committee, three more statutory committees (namely the Health Committee, the Education and Accreditation Committee and the Ethics Committee) will be established to look after other important aspects of the Council's work.

Lastly, the Medical Council and its Health Committee will be able to prohibit the disclosure of information relating to an inquiry by the Council or a hearing by the Health Committee, if it is in the interests of the complainant, defendant or witness. In addition, for the protection of the public, the Medical Council’s disciplinary order will take effect on publication in the gazette.

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

End

16

Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995 * * * * *

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in resuming the second reading of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

1 should like to thank the Chairman, the Honourable Selina Chow, and other Members of the Bills Committee for their thorough and careful study of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Amendment) Bill 1995. I also like to thank the Honourable Margaret Ng for her speech supporting the Bill. All the Committee Stage Amendments which I am going to move have been discussed and agreed by the Bills Committee.

This Bill, which was introduced into this Council in November last year, seeks to expand the scope of the rehabilitation scheme under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance, so that more people who have committed minor offences can benefit. The current scheme provides that where a person, on a first conviction, is not sentenced to imprisonment or a fine exceeding $5,000, the conviction can be ’’spent" after three years so long as the offender has no further conviction. Now the person concerned is permitted to say nothing about his spent conviction in his business and social dealings, such as in application for jobs, hire purchase and the like. Moreover, the person cannot lawfully be refused employment or admission to a profession on account of his spent conviction.

We propose to expand the current rehabilitation scheme by raising the sentence limit, so as to cover any first-time offender who is sentenced to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three months. We also propose that persons who have been convicted of minor triad-related offences, but have subsequently renounced their triad membership under the Triad Renunciation Scheme, should be covered by the rehabilitation scheme if they meet the requisite criteria.

In the course of examining the Bill, the Bills Committee has expressed concern about the effect of a spent conviction on a. prospective emigrant. I should in this context wish to point out that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance does not have extra-territorial effect, and cannot seek to override any law of a foreign country which requires applicants for emigration to disclose all criminal convictions. Within Hong Kong, an applicant's failure to disclose a spent conviction would be lawful, but whether or not he would be protected in the foreign country concerned would depend on the law of that country.

17

At present, prospective emigrants are required by the immigration authorities of the major emigration destinations to produce Certificates of No Criminal Convictions (CNCCs) issued by the Police. In making an application for a CNCC, the applicant is required to authorize the Police to disclose any criminal conviction recorded against him to the relevant consulate and immigration authority. If the applicant has a spent conviction, the Police will issue him with a refusal letter, which contains details of the conviction, and is stamped with a chop stating clearly that the conviction is considered to be spent in Hong Kong by virtue of section 2(1) of Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance. It is then up to the applicant to decide whether he wants to present it to the consulate. The issue by the Police of refusal letters to applicants with spent convictions has been held by the courts to be consistent with the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance.

We have been advised by the consulates of major emigration destinations that a spent conviction is not necessarily a bar to emigration. Convictions of minor offences alone will not normally render a person ineligible for a visa, and convictions currently regarded in Hong Kong as spent are rarely considered sufficiently serious to cause rejection of an emigration application. However, if an emigration applicant fails to declare a spent conviction, and this fact comes to the consulate’s attention, his application may be rejected. If the person concerned has already emigrated, it could result in his eventual deportation back to his original place of residence. Depending on the nature of the undeclared conviction, such refusal or deportation could have been avoided had the conviction been declared at the time of application. Seen in this light, therefore, the current Police practice actually helps to protect the interests of emigration applicants. In response to the Bills Committee's request, we explained our position on the issue of CNCCs to the Administration of Justice and Legal Services Panel and the Security Panel at their joint-Panel meeting held this Monday.

1 would now like to turn to the major amendments which I will move at the Committee Stage. Clause 5 of the Bill proposes, among other things, the exclusion of certain proceedings under the Banking Ordinance and the Insurance Companies Ordinance from the rehabilitation scheme. Having consulted the insurance industry, we propose to move amendments to this clause, so as to expand the exclusion to cover proceedings under the Insurance Companies Ordinance in assessing a person's suitability to become, or continue to be, an appointed insurance agent or an authorized insurance broker. This proposal is made in the interest of the insuring public. Owing to the complicated nature of the insurance business, a potential policy holder relies heavily on the professional advice of the agent or broker, who may be handling substantial sums of clients' monies. To avoid any fraud or misappropriation of funds, it is necessary to ensure that an agent or a broker is a fit and proper person.

18

The proposed section 2(1B) under clause 3 of the Bill allows payments under the fixed penalty scheme to be spent immediately without the three-year waiting period. In the case of vocational drivers, we propose that, for the better protection of public safety, their payments under the fixed penalty scheme should only be spent after a period of three years, so as to enable transport operators to take into account such payments in determining applications for employment. However, the professions currently excluded from the rehabilitation scheme under section 4 of the Ordinance, and those proposed to be excluded under clause 5 of the Bill, cannot benefit from this "immediately spent" arrangement. We consider this arrangement unreasonable. While the public has the right to expect the highest standard of probity from these professions (such as barristers, solicitors and accountants), we do not necessarily think that the public would expect them to drive better. I therefore propose to move amendments to clause 5, so that except for vocational drivers who have to wail three years, other professions excluded from the rehabilitation scheme can have their payments under the fixed penalty scheme spent immediately.

In the course of its deliberation, the Bills Committee recognized that traffic conviction records were not only important for assessing a person's suitability for employment as a vocational driver, they were also important factors in assessing and in pricing a risk in respect of vehicle insurance policies. I will, therefore, move an amendment to clause 5(e) by adding a new subsection (6), so that an insurer, or a person acting on his behalf, can take into account fixed penalty payments in the previous three years when assessing and pricing a risk in respect of vehicle insurance. The amendments proposed would mean that while payments or orders to pay in respect of minor traffic offences are regarded as spent immediately for most purposes, they are not considered spent in the assessment of a risk in respect of vehicle insurance or a person's suitability as a vocational driver, unless a period of three years has elapsed.

Another area on which the Bills Committee expressed concern was the list of prescribed offices under clause 8(c), which are excluded from the rehabilitation scheme. As drafted, these include any posts in the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Securities and Futures Commission. The Bills Committee considered that minor staff, such as cleaners and office assistants in these four organizations should not be excluded from the rehabilitation scheme. We agree with the Bills Committee's view, and I will move an amendment to clause 8(c) so that minor staff, and staff who do not have frequent access to sensitive information in these four organizations, are not excluded from the rehabilitation scheme. This is in line with the objective of the Bill to enable more people to benefit from the rehabilitation scheme, while at the same lime ensures that public expectation of high probity in certain positions of trust will not be put at risk.

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

End

19

Significant stride in intellectual property protection *****

Hong Kong has made a significant stride in intellectual property protection with the passage of the Intellectual Property (World Trade Organisation Amendments) Bill by the Legislative Council today (Wednesday).

A spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch said : "We are pleased to see that the Bill was supported and passed by the Legislative Council today.

"It enables Hong Kong to meet its obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), of which Hong Kong is a founding member.

"The early enactment of the Bill, some three and a half years ahead of the stipulated deadline of the TRIPS Agreement, will help to demonstrate to other WTO Members Hong Kong's total and firm commitment to a high level of intellectual property protection.

"It shows that Hong Kong is living up to its international reputation as a staunch supporter of intellectual property protection, and is a responsible trading partner in the multilateral trading system. It reinforces our position as an international trading and services centre in the world." the spokesman said.

The main features of the Bill passed by the Legislative Council include -

(a) new copyright piracy offence provisions 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;

(b) new customs border measures to enable copyright and trademark owners to apply for court orders to detain suspected imports of pirated copyright or counterfeiting 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;

(c) new provisions to facilitate disclosure of information by the Hong Kong Customs to copyright owners for civil actions and border measures, and to other Customs authorities for international cooperation;

20

(d) owners of copyright in sound recordings and computer programs will be able to prevent such products from being rented out commercially without their permission; and

(e) the definition of "trade mark" widened to cover any sign that is visually perceptible and capable of being represented graphically. This will include the registration of shapes of goods, provided they fulfil the criteria of the Trade Marks Ordinance for registration.

"Two issues, namely, the treatment of parallel imports under the customs border measures and the rental right for films, have not been included in the present Bill.

"They will be considered in detail in the context of the new Copyright Bill to be introduced into the Legislative Council by the end of this year," the spokesman said.

End

Intellectual Property (WTO Amendments) Bill 1995

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the second reading of the Intellectual Property (World Trade Organisation Amendments) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I am most grateful to the Bills Committee for its careful and efficient examination of the Intellectual Property (World Trade Organisation Amendments) Bill 1995 under the chairmanship of the Honourable Ambrose Lau.

The objective of the Bill is to render the intellectual property regime in Hong Kong compatible with the standards and requirements in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or the TRIPS Agreement in short. This Agreement is one of the multilateral agreements under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Hong Kong, as a full member of the WTO, is obliged to comply with the Agreement.

21

I am gratified that Members of the Bills Committee have fully supported the Administration's initiative to implement Hong Kong's obligations under the multilateral TRIPS Agreement as soon as possible. The pragmatic and co-operative approach adopted by Members in examining the Bill has made it possible for the passage of the Bill today, some three and a half years ahead of the deadline for Hong Kong to implement its TRIPS obligations. The enactment of the Bill will help Hong Kong to demonstrate to other WTO members our firm commitment to a high level of intellectual property protection. It will also enhance Hong Kong's image as a responsible trading partner in the multilateral trading system and as an international trading and services centre in the world.

During the Bills Committee's deliberations, interested parties and the legal profession have commented on various technical aspects of the Bill as well as expressed concerns on a number of issues. These issues primarily stem from the divergent interpretations of certain Articles in the TRIPS Agreement and the different views over the consistency of certain clauses in the Bill with the existing legal framework in Hong Kong. After careful consideration of all the views expressed and the written submissions received, the Administration has agreed to modify a number of proposals in the Bill. The Administration has also agreed that some issues would need to be reconsidered in the context of the ongoing comprehensive law reforms on copyright and trade marks. I hope to be in a position to introduce a bill on copyright and one on trade marks later this year upon the completion of the law reform exercises and taking into account views expressed by the public, professional as well as interested groups.

At the Committee Stage later in this sitting, I will move a number of amendments to the Bill to reflect the agreements reached in the Bills Committee. I will also move other technical and minor amendments. All these have been set out in the paper circulated in my name to Members earlier. There arc four major amendments that I wish to highlight.

The first one is concerned with the scope of the new copyright piracy offence. In clause 5 of the Bill, we originally proposed a new offence to fulfil the TRIPS obligation of combating wilful copyright piracy on a commercial scale more effectively. We received general support of this policy objective but the legal profession expressed concerns over the scope and the application of the new offence as originally drafted.

22

To address these concerns, the Committee Stage amendment to clause 5 seeks to replace the original offence provision with a new clause. The new clause adequately addresses the concerns of the legal profession while achieving the policy objective of tackling wilful piracy on a commercial scale more effectively. It makes clear the criminal acts, done outside Hong Kong, which are actionable. Such acts relate primarily to the manufacture of pirated copyright products outside Hong Kong for export to Hong Kong. The new clause also makes aiding, abetting, procuring or counselling of such acts an offence. I believe this new legislative tool will greatly enhance the Customs’ capability in. tackling cross-border piracy activities and the masterminds of copyright piracy syndicates, thereby protecting the legitimate interests of copyright owners and overseas investors in Hong Kong.

The second major amendment relates to the treatment of parallel imports under custom border measures. The Administration originally proposed to provide new customs border measures to strengthen border controls in order to help prevent the importation of infringing copyright products into Hong Kong, and to facilitate copyright holders, including exclusive licensees, to initiate civil actions against pirated copyright products and parallel imports. The distinction between pirated copyright products and parallel imports is that the former generally refers to those copyright products manufactured without the copyright owners’ authorisation, while the latter generally refers to those goods which are lawfully manufactured outside with the authorisation of the copyright owners there but their importation into Hong Kong is illegal under the existing copyright regime.

The motion picture industry and the video rental business have expressed differing views on whether the new customs border measures should be applicable to parallel imports. They have also raised the broader issue of whether the existing criminal restriction against parallel imports should be maintained.

Having considered the various views on the interpretation of the requirement in the TRIPS Agreement and having assessed the importance of early enactment of the customs border measure provisions to enhance border control against pirated goods, the Administration has agreed to exclude parallel imports from the ambit of the new customs border measure provisions. The corresponding Committee Stage amendment will achieve this by amending the definition of ’’infringing copy” in clause 9 of the Bill.

Members may wish to note that the Administration has advised the Bills Committee that it is not our intention to change the existing law relating to parallel import in the present exercise. The Administration has undertaken to consider the broader issue of whether to maintain any restriction against parallel imports in the context of the comprehensive law reform on copyright. I can assure Members that before putting forward any legislative proposals relating to parallel imports, the Administration will examine carefully the views of interested parties and the public. We will seek to strike a fair balance between the various interests, including intellectual property protection, consumer welfare, free trade and competition.

23

Mr President, I would now like to turn to the third major amendment which is related to rental right for films. The Administration originally proposed in clause 10 of the Bill new rental right for computer programs, sound recordings and films. During the Bills Committee’s deliberations, divergent views have been expressed by the motion picture industry and the video rental business as to whether the new rental right is a requirement under the TRIPS Agreement and whether it would be in the consumers' interests to provide for rental right for films. Having considered the views expressed, the Administration has agreed .to exclude films from the rental right provisions in the present exercise and clarify the meaning of rental for sound recordings and computer programs so as to tie in with the language used in the TRIPS Agreement. The issue of rental right for films will be reconsidered in the context of the comprehensive law reform on copyright.

The last major amendment is concerned with the definition of trade mark for the purpose of registration. The proposed new definition of trade mark in clause 18 of the Bill has been criticised as being too wide because the word "sign" used in the definition of trade mark could be widely interpreted to include any sounds and smells. There have been concerns that such a piecemeal revision of the definition of "trade mark" might have undesirable implications on other areas of the existing trade marks law.

The Administration has explained to the Bills Committee the rationale for the proposal in clause 18 of the Bill, that is, to place it beyond any doubt that the new definition of "trade marks" would be fully compatible with the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. Indeed, there have been similar legislative amendments in other common law jurisdictions to allow sounds and smells to be registrable as trade marks. Nevertheless, in view of the need for an early enactment of this Bill and the opportunity to reconsider the drafting of the definition of "trade mark" in the ongoing comprehensive trade marks law reform, we have agreed to revise the proposed definition of "trade mark", as set out in the Committee Stage amendment to clause 18. to follow more closely the language used in the TRIPS Agreement.

Under the revised definition, any sign that is visually perceptible and capable of being represented graphically may be registrable as "trade mark". The question of whether a sound or smell might still be registrable as a "trade mark" would be something to be decided by the Registrar of Trade Marks. The Registrar's decision is subject to appeal in court. The definition of "trade mark" would be considered again as part of the comprehensive review of the Trade Marks Ordinance.

Mr President, with these remarks and subject to the amendments 1 intend to propose at the Committee Stage, I commend the Bill to Members. Thank you.

End

24

Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995 *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in resuming the second reading debate on the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr Deputy President,

I am grateful to Mrs Miriam Lau, the Chairman of the Bills Committee to study the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995 and the Road Traffic (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995, and other members of the Committee for supporting the Bills.

The Noise Control (Amendment) Bill is part of a legislative package which aims to control vehicle engine noise by requiring newly registered vehicles to meet specified noise emission standards. Adoption of noise standards will prevent vehicles with inferior noise performance from being imported into Hong Kong. The gradual phasing out of vehicles not meeting the standards will help keep noise levels down despite future increases in traffic volume.

When the Bills Committee considered the proposed controls, Members raised some concerns about the noise standards to be adopted and their enforcement.

Members have rightly suggested that we need very stringent noise emission standards to alleviate the problem of traffic noise, given that road traffic in Hong Kong is among the busiest in the world and that a lot of our major roads are very close to noise sensitive residential developments. We share this view wholeheartedly. Hence, we propose to adopt the European and Japanese standards, which are the most stringent standards in the world. It is also our intention to upgrade them in line with future international trend and technological advancement.

We expect that the implementation of the noise.emission standards will bring about a reduction in the overall traffic noise in a few years' time when the existing fleet is gradually replaced by vehicles w'hich are able to meet the stringent noise emission standards. Meanwhile, we would continue to address the problem of traffic noise through careful planning of roads and noise sensitive developments, and implementation of noise mitigation measures such as noise enclosures, noise barriers and quiet road resurfacing programmes.

25

On enforcement, the proposed standards will be integrated into the "Motor Vehicle Type Approval” process which currently covers road worthiness and exhaust emission requirements for new vehicles. Only those which meet the specified noise standards or other standards which are at least as stringent as the specified standards will be approved for first registration. Imported used vehicles not covered by the Type Approval process will be required to be individually tested at competent testing centres to ascertain that they .meet the specified standards. Vehicles which are designed to the required standards should be able to sustain its noise performance throughout its useful life.

In closing, Mr Deputy President, I would like to draw Members’ attention to the implementation timetable of the proposed controls. The Bill is originally scheduled to commence on 31 March 1996. However, because of the need to give time to the Bills Committee to be formed to consider the Bill, we now have to defer its effective date and I shall move the necessary amendments at the committee stage.

After enactment of the Bill, we shall table the Noise Control (Motor Vehicles) Regulation before this Council. In order to give sufficient time for vehicle suppliers to comply with the new standards and for the public to understand the new requirements, we intend to implement the standards two months after the Regulation is approved by this Council, which will be around August this year.

Thank you, Mr Deputy President.

End

26

Road Traffic (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995

* * * * *

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, in the resuming the second reading debate on the Road Traffic (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

' Mr Deputy President,

I have explained, in the course of the resumption of the Second Reading Debate of the Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1995, our proposal to alleviate traffic noise by imposing the most stringent international noise emission standards on vehicles at the first registration stage. The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill enables the Commissioner for Transport to refuse first registration of vehicles which do not meet the specified noise emission standards. I urge Members to support this Bill, which provides the enforcement mechanism for the proposed controls.

Thank you, Mr Deputy President.

End

Town Planning (Amendment) Bill 1995

* * * * *

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands. Mr Bowen Leung, in resuming the debate on the second reading of the Town Planning (Amendment) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr Deputy President,

1 am grateful to Members of the Bills Committee and in particular the I Ion. Albert Chan for their effort in studying the Town Planning (Amendment) Bill 1995. The Bills Committee has nevertheless raised a number of concerns on the Bill and I would like to take this opportunity to respond to them.

27

Clause 2

The comments made by some Members of the Bills Committee regarding the hearing of objections to draft amended town plans may, 1 am afraid, reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the town planning procedure. Under the Town Planning Ordinance, the plan-making function of the Town Planning Board is to prepare and publish draft town plans or draft amended town plans for public inspection and comments. The Town Planning Board is not, I repeat not, the plan approval authority. The power to approve town plans rests with the Governor in Council. The publication of draft town plans or draft amended town plans by the Town Planning Board functions very much like a public consultation exercise in this regard. Similar to other public consultation exercise, it is thus fair and reasonable that the body consulting the public should consider objections or comments to its proposals. This is indeed the spirit behind the existing Town Planning Ordinance which requires the Town Planning Board to consider objections to draft town plans. The Ordinance also goes one step further to enable the public to appear before the Town Planning Board to discuss their objections to draft town plans with the-Board, thus providing more transparency and public access to the town planning system. When all the hearings are completed, the Town Planning Board is required to submit the draft town plans together with any unresolved objections and a schedule of the amendments proposed by the Board to meet the objections, to the Governor in Council for a decision. The Governor in Council may then approve the draft town plan, refuse to approve it or refer it back to the Town Planning Board for further consideration and amendments.

The Town Planning Ordinance however requires the Board itself to hear the objections, and there is no provision for delegation of this duty. The large number of objections in recent years has created a considerable backlog of cases to be heard. In order to complete the hearings expeditiously, the intention of the Bill is therefore to enable the Board to set up committees from its Members and delegate the hearings of objections to them. When necessary, several hearings can be carried out concurrently to further expedite the procedure. Any unwithdrawn objections will still have to be presented to the Governor in Council for a decision. The intention is similar to a body which is consulting the public in setting up working groups to consider public comments. There is no question of the Town Planning Board judging its own cause.

28

The suggestion by some Members of the Bills Committee that the objection hearing committee should be an independent body from the Town Planning Board goes against the intention of the Bill. The Administration’s views to such a proposal, which is shared by the Town Planning Board, is that it will not assist the Board in hearing the outstanding objections quickly. Moreover, as I explained earlier, the Governor in Council is the plan approval authority. The consequences of having a body outside the Board to hear objections, its relationship with the Board and the Governor in Council and its operation in the context of the Town Planning Ordinance, let alone the likely financial implications, do not appear to have been thought through. The spirit of the extant legislation is to allow the Board to complete its ’’consultation” process through the consideration and hearing of objections, which are views of the public on its plans, before submitting the plans to the approving authority. The Bills Committee has been advised that these important issues require detailed and careful consideration, and should not be rushed through in the form of a committee stage amendment to the Bill.

In the event, the Bills Committee decided to move a committee stage amendment to delete clause 2. The consequence of the deletion is that the proposed means to quicken up hearing the backlog of* objections cannot be implemented and, hence, draft town plans cannot be submitted to the Governor in Council expeditiously for decisions, resulting in possible delays to development or redevelopment. We are disappointed at this outcome but would respect the decision of the Bills Committee.

Clause. .3 (a)

The Bills Committee supports it which clarifies that a judge may be appointed to the Town Planning Appeal Board. The Bills Committee also unanimously agrees that if in future a judge is appointed to chair the Appeal Board, he or she should come from the High Court or below. The Bills Committee considers that if the Appeal Board is chaired by a senior judge such as a Justice of Appeal, it would create difficulties for the Judiciary if Appeal Board decisions are challenged in the courts, because the senior judge’s decision, albeit in a non-judicial capacity, would be seen to be reviewed by a junior judge acting judicially. This situation could give rise to criticism that justice may not be done. We accept the Bills Committee’s view and 1 will move an amendment to clause 3(a) at the committee stage to reflect the Bills Committee’s proposal.

29

Clause 5

Clause 5 of the Bill seeks to validate the decisions made by the Town Planning Appeal Boards when a member was a judge, except when the appellant has questioned the validity of the judge's appointment to the Appeal Board and applied for judicial review to quash the decision on or before 31 October 1995 which was the date of the Executive Council meeting before publication of the Bill. This ensures that proceedings currently before the court will not be interfered with while providing a measure of certainty to the status of past decisions of the Appeal Boards.

The Bills Committee however maintains that it is not fair to impose a time limit on the right of interested parties to seek a judicial remedy against a Town Planning Appeal Board decision and has decided not to support the clause.

The Administration has reviewed the need for the clause in the light of the Bills Committee's decision, and the consequences if the clause is deleted. Since the validity of the appointment of the Chairman of the Town Planning Appeal Board was first called into question in May 1995, it is unlikely that a court would uphold a challenge to decisions taken by the Appeal Board before that time because the "de facto" doctrine would apply to such decisions. Under the doctrine the acts of an official may be held to be valid even though his appointment is invalid. Once the flaw in the appointment became known the official would cease to have the benefit of the doctrine. The May 1995 challenge was dismissed by the High Court in November 1995. An appeal was lodged by the applicant but was abandoned a few days before the hearing date. While two other similar challenges were filed in December 1995 and January 1996. the Administration has concluded that we could live without clause 5 for the time being and has agreed to move a committee stage amendment to delete it.

Thank you. Mr President.

End

30

Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1995 * * * * *

Following is the speech the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung, in resuming the second reading debate on the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

1 am grateful to the Honourable Howard Young and his colleagues on the "Bills Committee to Study the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill 1995" for their wise counsel and the time they have spent in examining the Bill.

The Bill has two main objectives. First, it introduces a Quinella Place bet and defines the rate of betting duty on that bet. The Quinella Place requires a punier to select two horses to finish in any order in the first three places to be eligible lor a dividend.

During the deliberations of the Bills Committee, some Members expressed concerns that the introduction of this bet might encourage gambling and therefore would have social impact on our community. I would like to explain that the Quinella Place bet is essentially an extension of the existing Quinella and Place bets. It should not have the effect of inducing non-punters to start betting and that its social impact would be minimal. The following figures will support this observation. The estimated annual betting turnover of this bet only amounts to about 9% of the total betting turnover for the 1994/95 racing season. The introduction of this bet would not have any significant impact.

The other main objective of the Bill is to impose betting duty on overseas bets on Hong Kong races into the Hong Kong pools at half of the prevailing rates. The other half would be allocated to the respective overseas governments, subject to the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club's negotiations and finalization of the details with them. This proposal will not affect Hong Kong, apart from the fact that Hong Kong will benefit from an increase in betting duty and an increase in the funds available for allocation from the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club to local charities.

1 understand that the Honourable Howard Young will move a Committee Stage Amendment to the effect that agreements between the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club and its overseas partners on setting up overseas betting venues should be subject to the approval of the Secretary for Home Affairs. 1 confirm that the Government has no policy objection to this Amendment. I take the opportunity to inform this Council that the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club has also confirmed its agreement to it.

31

Once again, 1 thank members of the Bills Committee for their dedicated efforts in scrutinizing the Bill. I also thank the Law Draftsman's valuable assistance and advice.

Mr President, 1 recommend the Betting Duty (Amendment) Bill to Honourable Members.

End

Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 1995 *****

Following is the speech by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung, in resuming the second reading debate of the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President.

I would like to thank the Bills Committee chaired by the Honourable Mrs Miriam Lau which studied the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 1995 for its work in scrutinising the Bill.

The Bill is the last substantive change to I long Kong's law of inheritance in the package of reforms proposed by the Law Reform Commission. It relates to the so-called "forfeiture rule". This is a legal rule of public policy that prohibits a person who has unlawfully killed another from gaining any beneficial interest as a result. The problem with the forfeiture rule is that it applies strictly even where a person who has unlawfully killed another is not morally blameworthy or there are mitigating circumstances that justify its relaxation.

The Bill addresses this deficiency by empowering the court to relax, or waive, the forfeiture rule in cases other than murder where justice demands this. Giving the court this discretionary power to modify the effect of the forfeiture rule will bring Hong Kong into line with other common law jurisdictions.

32

At the Committee Stage I will move one amendment, as agreed to by the Bills Committee, to extend the scope of beneficial interests covered by the Bill to include nominations, such as those of beneficiaries under insurance policies.

With these remarks, Mr President, 1 commend the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 1995 to the Council.

End

Mass Transit Railway Corporation Annual Report 1995

*****

Following is the speech by the acting Financial Secretary, Mr Gordon Siu, in tabling the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Annual Report 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

In accordance with section 16(4) of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Ordinance, 1 table the annual report and accounts of the Corporation for the year ended 31 December 1995.

In 1995 the MTR carried 813 million passengers. 1% more than 1994. Total revenue increased by 10% to $5,665 million, while total operating costs before depreciation increased by 13% to $2,521 million. Interest and finance charges were at $1,289 million. 2% higher than last year.

The Corporation has adopted a fare policy which offers a value for money service and generates sufficient funds to finance expenditure on upgrading and improving the existing system. Over the next five years the Corporation will spend $8 billion on capital improvement projects. •

The total debt outstanding at the end of 1995 was close to I IK$ 15 billion. To finance the Airport Railway, the Corporation's borrowings are expected to increase in the next two years. The Corporation continues to enjoy respect in worldwide financial markets. Its debut Yankee bond in the United States was executed well and established another benchmark.

33

During the year, Government injected equity totalling HK.S11.7 billion for the construction of the Airport Railway. Progress on construction is satisfactory. I am pleased to note that the Corporation is confident of the Airport Railway being completed within estimate.

The Corporation's net profit for 1995 was $1,196 million compared with $1,038 million in 1994. The accumulated losses of $99 million at the end of 1995 will not be extinguished until 1996. The Corporation has not therefore declared a dividend for 1995.

Mr President, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation is obliged under the law to operate in accordance with prudent commercial principles and, accordingly, must ensure that taking one year with another, its revenue is at least sufficient to meet its expenditure and interest payments. It is through annual fare adjustments that the Corporation generates the necessary funds to implement comprehensive maintenance and service improvement programmes. It is in fact the ability to determine its own fares that has enabled the Corporation to enjoy high credit ratings and to raise funds in local and overseas markets successfully to finance new railway projects and build for the future. Since these arrangements have worked well from 1979, when MTR services came into operation, we should treasure them, and not tamper with them.

The Corporation's annual report provides ample evidence of the corporation's very satisfactory performance. I congratulate the Chairman and the Corporation for their achievements in the past year.

V

End

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Annual Report 1995

*****

Following is a speech by the acting Financial Secretary, Mr Gordon Siu, in tabling the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Annual Report 1995 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

In accordance with section 14(5) of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Ordinance, 1 table the annual report and accounts of the Corporation for the year ended 31 December 1995.

34

In 1995, the KCRC carried over 1.1 million passengers each day, 5% more when compared with 1994. About two-thirds of the passengers travelled on the heavy rail and the remaining one-third on the light rail system.

The Light Rail system was extended to the centre of Tin Shui Wai new town in March 1995. The extension has provided an important transport service for the 85 000 residents of the new town.

Productivity improvements have made it possible for the Corporation to keep fares at an affordable level. Over the past five years, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's fares have in fact declined 13% in real terms. In 1995. the KCR and Light Transit System met or exceeded almost all their performance pledge targets, and successfully obtained ISO certification across an extensive range of functions.

The Corporation continued to develop and expand the container freight services launched in 1994. These services link the industrial centres of China with the port of Hong Kong.

The Corporation also aimed at strengthening and improving the quality of cross-border services. At a cost of $309 million, electric locomotives and rolling stock have been ordered for a new double-deck through train service between Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

In response to the Government's invitation, the Corporation has submitted proposals to Government for the design, construction and operation of a new railway-in the North-west New Territories. This will provide domestic and international passenger services and also carry freight from China to the container ports. The system will link up with the existing heavy rail and light rail systems, as well as the Mass Transit Railway and Airport Railway to enhance the existing rail network.

The Corporation maintained a satisfactory financial position in 1995. Total revenue rose to $2,973 million, representing an increase of 11% over 1994. Net profit for the year after lax was $901 million. Taking into account the Corporation’s cash flow requirements and investment needs in the year ahead, the Government has not asked for any dividends.

The Corporation will invest $5.7 billion over the next five years in service improvements, including major projects such as automatic train protection, renovation of Hung Hom Station, and noise barriers.

35

Mr President, under its remit the KCRC is obliged to conduct its business in accordance with prudent commercial principles. What I have just said about the MTRC equally applies to the KCRC. We must maintain the existing arrangements to enable the KCRC to benefit from capital markets, particularly for the Western Corridor Railway project which is in the pipeline.

The Corporation has continued to operate very successfully over the past year. I congratulate the Chairman, its Managing Board as well as the management and staff of the Corporation for their achievements during the past year.

End

Shortage of clinical psychologists * * * * *

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

Question:

In regard to the shortage of occupational therapists and physiotherapists in nongovernmental rehabilitation institutions, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the establishment, strength and vacancies in various ranks of the occupational therapist and physiotherapist grades in hospitals managed by the Hospital Authority and in the Social Welfare Department as at 31 December 1995;

(b) of the establishment, strength and vacancies in various ranks of the occupational therapist and physiotherapist grades in non-governmental rehabilitation institutions, including early education and training centres, special child care centres and special schools as at 31 December 1995;

(c) whether consideration has been given to granting a hardship allowance to occupational therapists and physiotherapists in non-governmental rehabilitation institutions in order to make the pay package offered by these institutions more attractive, thereby easing the manpower shortage?

36

Reply :

In view of the detailed figures being asked for, 1 thought it would be easier for members to refer to the tables in the written Annex to this answer which is laid before them today. The tables show the establishment, strength and vacancy of occupational therapists and physiotherapists in various sectors.

Moving now to the last part of the question, as Members may be aware, my Branch has set up a Working Group to address the shortage of clinical psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. The Working Group comprises representatives from both the government and the non-governmental sectors and representatives of the relevant professional bodies in Hong Kong. The Working Group has completed its study of the situation regarding clinical psychologists and is now nearing completion of its study of physiotherapists.

It has become clear that we must increase the supply of these professions and take steps to facilitate their retention in the non-governmental sector. The package of proposals under consideration for physiotherapists includes the expansion of student places, a more balanced exposure between the health and welfare sectors for physiotherapy students in clinical placements, the creation of senior physiotherapist posts in non-governmental organisations, revised planning ratios, more flexible transfer arrangements for staff between the various sectors and the provision of scholarships for further training. Also under consideration is the feasibility and likely effectiveness of creating an allowance, such as an Extraneous Duties Allowance, for physiotherapists working in non-governmental organisations.

The Working Group is now examining all of these proposals and will soon finalise its recommendations on physiotherapists. We have begun the necessary detailed background research on occupational therapists and the Working Group will commence its study of this profession once the study on physiotherapists is completed. The measures needed to address problems faced by occupational therapists are likely to be similar to those we have so far drawn up for physiotherapists.

37

Annex to the Answer given by the

Secretary for Health and Welfare to Question No. 1 raised by Pj-the_HonAAWX.bHcwo.ng_in3heAegtslatjy-e Council on 24 April. 1996

Manpower of.QcCupational Th'Wapists as_at 31A12..1.99S

Manpower of.P.hysio.therapXts as at 31.12,1995

• including special schools subverted by the ^Education Department aid rchaWitatien non-govemmcntnl organizations subvented by the Social Welfare Department

U The Social Welfare Department can only update the strength of con-governmental organizations once every 6 months based on the returns submitted by individual agencies. The latest figures available are those at 30.9.1995.

Note: The decimal points in the tables reflect the fractions of posts to which the non-governmental organisations are entitled

to based on approved manning ratios. If ao agency is not entitled to a full post, it may combine the fractions of a post fbr dficrent units in that agency into a fuO post, or top up th«x subvention in order to fin a post with someone full-time or employ part-time staff

Qccups.tipAOiPLlP^

SOT Senior Occupational Therapist

OTI Occupational Therapist I

OTU Occvpadcnal Therapist II

EbrssL&exy’&s

SPT Senior Physiotherapist

PTI Physiotherapist I

PTII Physiotherapist H

End

38

Measures to ensure safe use of Chinese medicine

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Michael Ho, and a rgply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that recently some people have been admitted to hospitals for treatment of intoxication resulted from the taking of the Chinese medicine ’gwai kuo’ (Podophyllotoxin) by mistake. As the formulation of legislation to regulate Chinese herbal medicines is unlikely to be completed in the near future, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of people admitted to hospitals for treatment of intoxication as a result of taking toxic Chinese medicines by mistake in the past three years;

(b) of the number of fatalities in the cases referred to in (a) above; and

(c) whether the Government will, before the enactment of the relevant legislation, consider requiring drug manufacturers to label toxic Chinese medicines as well as adopting other administrative measures to prevent people from taking such medicines by mistake ?

Reply :

(a) From 1993 to 1995, two persons were admitted to hospitals for treatment of intoxication as a result of taking Chinese medicines by mistake. In February and March this year, 9 persons were admitted to hospitals as a result of taking "wai ling sin” contaminated by ”gwai kou".

(b) No fatality was recorded among poisoning cases caused by consumption of Chinese medicine in the past three years.

39

(c) The Preparatory Committee for Chinese Medicine (PCCM) will publish a list of potent herbs for reference by members of the public. The Department of Health will work with the Committee to educate the public on the safe and proper use of Chinese medicine.

One of the terms of reference of the PCCM is to advise on the promotion, development and regulation of Chinese medicine. It is also tasked with the study on the import, distribution, manufacture and sale of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. The proposal of labelling toxic Chinese medicine will be one of the topics to be considered by the PCCM.

End

Criteria for making appointments to advisory bodies *****

Following is a question by the Hon Yum Sin-ling and a reply by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs. Mrs Stella Hung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether there are any criteria laid down for making recommendations to the Governor for the appointment of persons to various ’committees’, 'boards' and 'advisory committees' as unofficial members, and what are the procedures for making recommendations and what is the selection process;

(b) whether consideration will be given to requiring that grass-roots representatives (such as District Board Members) be recommended for appointment so that the views of people at the grass-roots level can be reflected in such committees/boards; and

(c) how the authority concerned assesses the performance of appointed members; and whether the term of office of any appointed member has been terminated on account of poor performance in the past three years; if so. what is the number?

40

Reply:

Mr President,

In making appointments to advisory boards and committees, and other bodies. Government seeks to secure the services of the best available persons to meet the requirements of the bodies concerned. The expertise, experience, integrity and commitment to public service of prospective appointees are carefully considered. Due regard is also given to the need to ensure a good balance of members in the body concerned. To achieve a reasonable turnover of membership, Government, as a general rule, tries to avoid re-appointing someone who has already served on the same committee for six years. In addition, to ensure a reasonable workload. Government normally does not appoint one person to sit on more than six committees at any one time. These are, however, general guidelines which may not be followed rigidly as some committees may find it necessary to retain the services of members who possess particular expertise and would provide continuity in the work of the committee concerned.

Recommendations to the Governor for appointments to advisory boards and committees, and other bodies are made by the relevant Policy Secretaries or Heads of Departments. Prospective candidates are selected in the light of the general criteria outlined above. In some cases, the individuals selected are already known to the concerned Branches and Departments. In others, they are nominated by professional bodies or other organisations in accordance with the relevant legislative provisions or established administrative practice. Where appropriate, suggestions are also sought from Home Affairs Branch and Home Affairs Department, in view of their close contacts with people from a wide cross-section of the community.

In recommending appointments. Government gives due consideration to the experience and background of people at the district level, including members of' local groups such as District Boards. 1 can assure the Honourable Member that this practice will continue.

Policy Secretaries and Heads of Departments are responsible for the assessment of performance of members of the boards and committees under their purview. In general, the performance of individual members is assessed against their contributions to discussions, their commitment to public service and the functions of the particular committees. It is not usual for us to terminate appointments prematurely. There is no record of any member of advisory boards and committees and other bodies whose term of service was terminated early on account of poor performance in the past three years. Any member who docs not perform satisfactorily would normally not be recommended for re-appointment.

End

41

Traffic accidents involving container vehicles *****

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Barma, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

With regard to the recent spate of traffic accidents involving the overturning of container vehicles which have resulted in injuries and deaths, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) of the number of such accidents, as well as the number of people who were injured or killed in these accidents, in the past three years; and

(b) whether consideration will be given to introducing legislation requiring that the trailer of container vehicles be subject to inspection annually as in the case of the tractor of such vehicles, in order to ensure that the trailer's braking system is in good working order?

Reply:

Mr President.

Over the past 3 years there have been an average of 21 accidents per annum in which container vehicles overturned. Details are given in the annex to my reply.

To put this in perspective, it should be noted that there arc over 13,300 licensed container trucks and 21.000 trailers. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to be complacent and the Hon Chan Wai Yip is quite right in raising the question of inspections and control.

Under section 78 of the Road Traffic Ordinance, the Commissioner for Transport has powers to require the examination of all classes of motor vehicles before they are licensed. All tractors are now subject to annual inspections. As for trailers, only those over 10 years old have to pass an examination before relicensing. This is not satisfactory and, to enhance roadworthiness of trailers, the Administration plans to introduce annual inspections as soon as the necessary facilities and staff can be provided. Such inspections will include a functional check of the braking system.

End

42

Causes of accidents involving container trucks *****

Following is a question by the Hon Ms Chan Yuen-han and a reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Haider Burma. in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question :

Recently, a traffic accident involving the overturning of a container truck occurred at the Route Twisk interchange. The accident has aroused concern over the safe driving of container trucks and road safety in various traffic accident blackspots. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) what are the main causes of accidents involving container trucks, and whether corresponding remedial measures will be adopted:

(b) whether consideration will be given to drawing up a set of guidelines on "the use of the road by heavy container trucks” so as to guide drivers on how to drive safely; and

(c) whether consideration will be given to improving road safety in various traffic accident blackspots, such as a review of the design of road surface and the installation of "Reduce Speed" signs al an appropriate distance before such blackspots?

Reply:

Mr President.

The results of Police investigations have indicated that the main causes of accidents involving container trucks are : - driving loo close to the vehicle in front, careless lane changing, loss of control of the vehicle, and defective brakes.

The first three causes relate directly to driving behavior. Container truck drivers have been reminded periodically of the dangers of tailgating and careless lane changing through their associations and al seminars. There have also been publicity campaigns and APIs on television. These will be repeated in the coming months.

As an experiment to further alert drivers, a trial road marking scheme will shortly be introduced on a section of Tolo Highway near Tai Po. in fact in July, later this year. Distinctive chevron markings, spaced apart, will be painted on the carriageway to help drivers judge what would be a safe and correct distance from the vehicle in front.

43

As I have indicated in my reply to the previous question, both trucks and trailers are subject to licensing checks to ascertain their roadworthiness.

As regards guidelines, the Road Users' Code provides advice on safety for all road users, including goods vehicle drivers. The Code is currently being revised and updated. Separate advisory booklets for goods vehicle drivers will be produced. In addition, advice on keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front will be highlighted in future editions of the Road Safety Quarterly which is published by the Transport Department.

Blackspots are defined as those where there have been 6 or more accidents involving pedestrians or 9 or more accidents involving passengers in a vehicle during a 12-month period.

Blackspots are monitored closely by the Administration in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents. The remedial measures taken include the provision of better signage, roadmarkings, more police spot checks as well as improving the layout of the roads and the laying of anti-skid road surfacing.

End

Funding to non-governmental social services explained

*****

Following is a question by the Hon David Chu and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok. in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It was mentioned in the Progress Report on Individual Undertakings in the Governor's 1992 Policy Address that a sum of $2.3 billion had been injected into the Lotteries Fund to meet the recurrent expenditure on various social welfare and rehabilitation services up to 1996-97. In this connection, will the Administration inform this Council what arrangements have been made to ensure that the voluntary agencies responsible for providing such services will receive adequate financial support so that they can continue to provide such services in the long run?

I

*

44

Reply:

To provide a secure source of funding to assist in implementing the significant expansion of social welfare and rehabilitation services announced in the Governor's Address to the Legislative Council on October 7, 1992, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved on November 6, 1992 an injection of $2.3 billion into the Lotteries Fund. This amount is principally being used to pay for the recurrent cost of services required to meet the key targets for the period from 1993-94 to 1996-97. This arrangement will come to an end in 1997-98. As I assured this Council on March 29 and November 2, 1995, the General Revenue Account will be able to absorb from that year onwards all the recurrent expenditure being met from the Lotteries Fund in 1996-97. Under this arrangement, non-governmental organisations providing services with recurrent subventions from the Lotteries Fund at that time will receive funds from the Government to continue such services beyond 1996-97.

End

Expanded functions and role of Occupational Safety Council

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Tsang Kin-shing and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, at the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

With regard to the Consultation Paper on the Review of Industrial Safety in Hong Kong published in July last year, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) what measures will be taken by the Administration to enhance the functions and the role of the Occupational Safety and Health Council ("the Council") in the coming year, so as to implement the recommendations set out in the Consultation Paper; and

(b) whether an estimate of the expenses required for enhancing the functions and the role of the Council as recommended in the Consultation Paper has been made by the Council and the Government; if so, what are the specific items of expenditure and plans; if not, why not ?

45

Reply:

(a) As envisaged in the Consultation Paper on the Review of Industrial Safety in Hong Kong published in July 1995, the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) is to undertake a leading role in the provision and coordination of safety training and the promotion of a safety culture in Hong Kong. The Government is working closely with the Council to map out the programme of activities and budgetary requirements of the Council over the next few years so as to enable the Council to take forward its important task of promoting safety at work in Hong Kong beyond 2000.

The OSHC's expanded programme of activities will cover the following areas:

* Taking over all general safety training responsibility from the Labour Department.

* Assuming overall coordination in the provision of safety training in the construction industry by various parties, such as developers and contractors.

* Educating small companies to raise their safety awareness.

* Providing impetus to award good safety practices at construction sites.

Spearheading research efforts on training and education.

(b) In response to the Government's invitation to take up greater responsibilities on promoting and publicizing occupational safety among employers, employees and the public at large, the OSHC has submitted an Estimate of Income and Expenditure for 1996-97 which provides for an expanded programme towards achieving these goals. The Government has approved the Council's Estimates for 1996-97 at an expenditure of $47,553 million, which represents an increase of some 55.8 per cent over the revised expenditure for 1995-96. The approved Estimates provide for significant increase in expenditure in the following main areas :

46

Approved Expenditure

Publicity activities

$ 11,600,000

Training/Research/Consultancy on Safety and Health

Publication, advisory committees and conference/seminars on safety and health

$ 19,600,000

$ 3,080,000

Information and library services on

S 700,000

safety and health

End

Housing benefits to civil servants explained ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Cheng Kar-foo and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that a large number of non-departmental quarters (NDQs) are left vacant, but on the other hand the Government grants a private tenancy allowance (PTA) to civil servants for renting private residential flats, which incurs expenses amounting to millions of dollars a year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total amount of PTA granted to civil servants in each of the past three years;

(b) how are NDQs left vacant by civil servants leaving the service dealt with;

(c) of the current total number of vacant NDQs;

(d) of the respective numbers of civil servants living in NDQs and those in receipt of PTA, as well as the ratio between the two sectors; and

47

(e) why the Government continues to grant PTA to civil servants while a considerable number of NDQs are left vacant?

Reply:

Mr President,

In October 1990 the Private Tenancy Allowance (PTA) scheme and NonDepartmental Quarters (NDQ) were withdrawn as housing benefits for new recruits and replaced by the Home Financing Scheme and a revamped Home Purchase Scheme, which are payable for a maximum of 120 months. This was done to promote home ownership amongst civil servants and to reduce government long term housing costs. Since then, demand for NDQ and the PTA has fallen as officers who are entitled to receive NDQ have left the service or opted to take up the HFS. The demand for NDQ will continue to fall; in due course we expect the NDQ and PTA to be phased out completely.

In recognition of the effect of the policy change, Government undertook a programme to dispose of surplus NDQ by deleasing leased units and the sale of sites. So far this has resulted in a reduction in the number of NDQ from 3,135 in October 1990 to 1,926 in March 1996. In parallel, the number of PTA recipients has also fallen substantially, from 2,428 in October 1990 to 778 in March 1996.

Government recently set up a Working Group to review the progress of the disposal programme, and to assess the demand for NDQ in future with a view to modifying the programme as necessary. The Working Group has already decided on a number of measures to revamp the programme, including the leasing out vacant quarters and the sale of individual units as interim steps to make better use of the surplus units before sites can be sold or converted to other uses.

Turning to the specific questions -

Expenditure on PTA in the last three years

Expenditure on PTA was $190 m in 1993/94, $222m in 1994/95 and $225 m in 1995/96.

48

Allocation of Vacant Quarters

There are two categories of quarters: non-departmental quarters and departmental quarters. The former are provided to civil servants who are eligible for them because of their conditions of service and are an entitlement for those who are eligible. The latter are provided to civil servants for operational reasons mostly in the disciplined services and are not an entitlement. They are managed by the relevant Head of Department. In answering this question I will limit my remarks to vacancies in the NDQ.

The Quartering Office in Civil Service Branch is responsible for the management of NDQ. All units vacated by civil servants are advertised for reallocation to other eligible civil servants by the Quarters Allocation Committee. Those units that are not allocated and become surplus to requirement will be designated for sale, leasing to the public or conversion to Governmcnt/Institution/ Community use, as appropriate.

NDQ Available for Allocation

130 NDQ units are listed in the current Quarters Allocation Circular as available for allocation to eligible civil servants.

Ratio of Non-departmental Quarters Occupants to Private Tenancy Allowance Recipients

At present, a total of 1,737 civil servants occupy NDQ. Some 778 officers receive the PTA. The ratio is about 1 civil servant receiving PT A to just over 2 civil servants occupying quarters.

Payment of Allowances to those Eligible for Quarters

Officers employed prior to 1 October 1990 retain their entitlement to the PTA as long as they do not join the HFS or the UPS. The PTA is payable once an officer reaches point 34 on the Master Pay Scale. Government is obliged to honour its contractual obligations to those officers who wish to take up this form of housing benefit.

49

NDQ are only allocated to civil servants who are eligible for them, i.e. officers employed before 1 October 1990 become eligible for NDQ once they reach point 45 on the Master Pay Scale. There are a number of officers who have chosen to take the PTA rather than move in to NDQ, even though they are eligible to do so. In January 1996, all those concerned were informed that Government will exercise its right not to pay the PTA. They have been given seven months notice to move out of the property rented using the PTA. They may choose to move into NDQ or to take up the UFA. Payment of the private tenancy allowance to those concerned will cease after the notice period. Already, some 34 officers have given up the PTA as a result.

We do not consider it appropriate nor cost effective to permit officers who are not eligible for NDQ, to occupy NDQ. It would of course be totally contrary to our policy. Rather, as indicated earlier, we intend to dispose of all surplus units by way of leasing out, conversion to other uses and sale. But we also continue to honour our contractual obligations to these officers below MPS 45 who remain eligible for PTA.

End

Existing law provision on food fair and practicable

*****

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

Question:

Despite the Government’s ban on the import of British beef. British dairy and canned beef products are not covered by the ban. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) how the public can ascertain that the non-British made canned beef products or other products for human and animal consumption with a beef constituent are not made from British cattle;

(b) whether the Government has any information on medical and chemical studies which show that the virus of mad cow disease can survive and incubate in canned food;

50

(c) given that the authority concerned will not recall British beef already brought in by restaurants, how it can prevent such restaurants from serving food made from British beef; and

(d) whether, given the current practice that no food product can be banned from sale unless it has been proved to have adverse effect on public health, consideration will be given to amending the existing legislation so that it can better meet the actual needs of the community?

Reply:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that there is no evidence of a link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and its human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). No connection has been established between consumption of British beef and CJD. The ban by the European Commission (EC) on the export of British beef on March 27 - and Hong Kong's suspension of imports of British beef the following day - were taken to avoid market confusion and to restore public confidence in beef from other countries, rather than on public health grounds.

While there is no way to tell from reading the label on non-British made products whether or not they contain British beef, a number of safeguards have been in effect since 1989. In that year, the United Kingdom Government prohibited Specified Bovine Offal (SBO) for human consumption or for export. (SBO is that part of cows most likely to contain BSE if the animal is infected.) In August 1995. the sale and use of SBO for animal feedingstuffs was also prohibited. Since the EC's total ban in March 1996. no British beef has been exported for use in other countries' products for human or animal consumption.

Currently available information indicates that (he causative agent for BSE may not be destroyed during the canning process, but it also shows that the latter can render the agent unable to multiply.

Restaurants have been advised to furnish information to their customers on the origin of the beef they serve.

Section 54(1) of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (C’ap. 132) makes it an offence for any person to sell or prepare for sale any food intended, but is unfit, for human consumption. Such provision is considered to be fair and practicable for the purpose of protecting public health. This provision will be kept under review.

End

51

Move to facilitate widest circulation of Basic Law *****

Following is a question by the Hon Erie Li and a written reply by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council whether copies of the Basic law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will be put on sale at the Government Publications Centre; if not, why not?

Reply:

In response to the enquiry, we confirm that action is in hand to make available copies of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the Government Publications Centre. These will be provided to members of the public free of charge to facilitate the widest circulation of this important document in the community.

End

Plastics factory safety and health guide

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Lau Chin-shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the application for an allocation of $1 million for the compilation of a code of industrial safety pertaining to the toys and plastics industries, which has been submitted to the Industry Department jointly by the Hong Kong Toys Council and the Hong Kong Plastics Manufacturers Association Limited, is still under consideration. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council :

(a) whether the application could be made available for examination by this Council and the public;

52

(b) of the criteria adopted by the Industry Department for determining whether funds would be allocated; and

(c) whether other bodies may apply for similar funding?

Reply :

Mr President,

The application from the Hong Kong Toys Council and the 1 long Kong Plastics Manufacturers Association Limited was for a sum of $0,568 million (not $1 million) from the Industrial Support.Fund (ISF) to compile a plastics factory safety and health guide. The application was approved in February 1996.

Regardin