Daily Information Bulletin - 1990s - 1997 - FEB - ENG

 DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Saturday, February 1, 1997

Contents Page N&

Governor’s statement.................................................... 1

CS: Hong Kong matters to the rest of the world.......................... 2

Report on CLP tariff increase incorrect................................. 4

Exchange of views on karaoke fire safety................................ 4

Occupational injuries reported in 1996.................................. 5

New Eastern District Officer appointed.................................. 6

Sunday, February 2,1997

Contents Page Nq.

All HK seafarers required to re-register...................................... 6

International Conference on Drug Education in Schools......................... 7

Four reports on basis of by-census results published.......................... 8

1

Governor's statement ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is a statement by the Governor the Rt Hon Christopher Patten:

During the last two days, the Preparatory Committee, sitting behind closed doors in Peking, has been taking crucial decisions about Hong Kong’s future. Decisions which go to the heart of what "one country two systems" will really mean. Will Hong Kong people really be able to decide for themselves, as promised, how to run their domestic affairs, or will the decisions which matter be dictated by others? Will tomorrow's Hong Kong, as promised, be exactly as free as today's, or will it be less free? Will the rule of law, on which all freedoms ultimately depend, remain supreme?

Hong Kong people have a right to full and authoritative answers to their questions. Those are still not forthcoming. But today's reports from Peking are very disturbing.

We are told that key provisions of the Bill of Rights Ordinance, the Societies (Amendment) Ordinance and the Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance are indeed to be scrapped. What we are still not told is why it is necessary to restrict Hong Kong's civil liberties; what provisions of the Basic Law are being contravened; how it can possibly be consistent with the Basic Law to replace, as still seems to be intended, legal provisions which are compatible with the International Covenant as guaranteed in the Basic Law itself with provisions which are not compatible with the Covenant. Once again we have the impression of legal arguments hastily thrown together, policies made up as we go along.

The community is not naiv-. Many will now be concluding that the freedoms protected by the provisions in question are deemed to be "against the Basic Law" because it has been decided for reasons which have nothing to do with the Basic Law that those freedoms should be reduced. If that is not the case, Hong Kong deserves a proper explanation now.

It is also reported that steps are now being taken to make the activities of the so-called Provisional Legislature more "legitimate". This looks like a belated recognition that this body has a legitimacy problem. But no amount of retrospective tinkering can change the reality that this is a questionable body established for questionable motives to do questionable work. Moreover, there is nothing that can possibly be done to make the activities of the PL before 1 July legitimate in constitutional terms. And any attempt to do so would be in defiance of the undertaking given last year by Vice Premier Qian Qichen.

End

2

CS: Hong Kong matters to the rest of the world *****

The Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, said in Houston on Friday (local time) that she is committed to do her utmost to see that the transition goes well, and that Hong Kong continues to grow and to prosper as a free society.

Speaking at a luncheon co-hosted by the Houston Forum and the Asia Society, Mrs Chan said: "I have to say that I am myself an optimist. And I am putting my career where my mouth is by opting to stay on after the handover in my present position as Chief Secretary, and head of the Hong Kong Civil Service.

”My senior colleagues in government, who are also staying on, share that commitment.”

In addressing her audience, Mrs Chan introduced by way of background Hong Kong’s economic backdrop. She said that in business terms Hong Kong was the preeminent international business services city in Asia.

"Hong Kong is where you will find the expertise and connections to develop business in China and in the rest of the East Asian region.

"Our 6.3 million population are responsible for a GDP equivalent to about a quarter of China’s GDP. Our per capita GDP is now US$25,000, about the same as the United States itself and more than Canada, Australia or Britain.

"Over 80 per cent of Hong Kong’s GDP now comes from the service sector. This is where Hong Kong's main growth has come from in recent years and it is the key to Hong Kong's future. It is the key to understanding why Hong Kong matters to China and to the rest of the world," Mrs Chan said.

In accounting for Hong Kong's success, Mrs Chan said there were more reasons than tight fiscal policies.

"Open minds are also important, as important as our open markets.

"Hong Kong has long had the rule of law and equality of all persons before the law. It has long had the freedoms that you expect here in America. Freedom of expression. Freedom of assembly. Freedom of worship. Freedom of the press.

"These freedoms are not luxuries. They are an integral part of Hong Kong's success, as a society and as an economy," Mrs Chan said.

Mrs Chan then took the audience through why she was optimistic about the wholly unprecedented handover scheduled for July 1997.

3

She said the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration had promised that life and business in Hong Kong could go on almost exactly as before. There were also clear assurances about the continuity of laws, rights and freedoms.

Mrs Chan also addressed the imaginary concerns raised in various commentaries on Hong Kong. She stated that there was no such thing as capital flight, nor were there any problems with brain drain and increase in corruption. Moreover, Mrs Chan also corrected another mistaken theme saying that mainland Chinese companies would be able to secure privileged treatment in Hong Kong after the handover.

On the last point, Mrs Chan said, ”1 can say categorically that we cannot and will not countenance a situation in which Chinese companies have an unfair competitive advantage over local or foreign companies doing business in Hong Kong.”

Turing to the real problems facing Hong Kong, Mrs Chan said the Provisional Legislature came at a delicate time in Hong Kong's transition when we needed continuity and certainty.

"We sincerely hope that the Provisional Legislature will not try to legislate in parallel or in competition with the existing, elected legislature of Hong Kong which will remain in being until June 30," she said.

Commenting on the recommendations by the Preparatory Committee Legal Sub-Group proposing amendments to a range of laws affecting civil liberties, Mrs Chan said it was important the Hong Kong laws must remain in compliance with the UN human rights covenants, the application of which was guaranteed in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

"The Preparatory Committee and China must address these concerns to reassure Hong Kong people and the international community that the 'one country two systems’ concept will be strictly adhered to," Mrs Chan stressed.

Mrs Chan is currently on her last leg of US visit in Houston. She will be receiving two awards on February 1. The first is the Annual Award from the Asia Society in recognition of her contribution to promoting international understanding.

The second is the Honorary Citizen/Goodwill Ambassador Award presented by the City of Houston.

Earlier. Mrs Chan had a private meeting with the former US President George Bush and called on Mayor Robert Lanier of Houston. She will be back to Hong Kong in the evening of February 3 (Monday).

End

4

Report on CLP tariff increase incorrect ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to press enquiries on a press report that the Government had approved China Light & Power’s application for a 6.7% tariff increase, a spokesman of the Economic Services Branch said that the report was incorrect.

He confirmed that the Energy Advisory Committee met yesterday to consider China Light & Power’s tariff proposal.

The Government has no comment at this stage except that China Light & Power will need to brief the Economic Services Panel of the Legislative Council if there is to be any tariff increase.

End

Exchange of views on karaoke lire safety *****

The Deputy Secretary for Security. Mr Alex Fong, and the Deputy Director of Fire Services, Mr John Tsang, met Legco Member Mr James I o and a group of Urban Council Members this (Saturday) morning to hear their views on how to improve fire safety for karaoke establishments.

The two officials also discussed the subject with representatives of the Hong Kong Association for the Rights of Karaoke Entertainment and Catering Business at a separate meeting today.

Mr Fong said that there was a good and frank exchange of views at the meetings.

’’The Government will take these views into account when considering measures to improve fire safety for karaoke establishments," he said.

End

5

Occupational injuries reported in 1996 * ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The number of occupational injuries reported to the Labour Department under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO) in 1996 was 59,465, very close to the figure of 59,375 in 1995.

Of all the occupational injuries reported in 1996, 59,187 were non-fatal cases and 278 involved fatalities.

The construction industry, with 16,861 reported cases, accounted for the largest share or 28.4 per cent of the cases reported in the year.

Another 27 per cent of the cases were reported in the wholesale/retail and restaurant/hotel trade.

Senior Labour Officer (Compensation) (Administration & Assessment), Mr Yiu Chak-lam, said that the distribution of occupational injuries by economic sector was broadly the same as that of 1995 except that the manufacturing sector, which accounted for 13.9 per cent of the reported cases, recorded a noticeable decrease of 3.2 percentage points compared with 1995.

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 41,287 or 69.4 per cent of the cases reported in 1996 were settled by the end of the year. The amount of compensation involved was $290 million.

Irrespective of the year of reporting, the total number of cases settled in 1996 was 59,039 with compensation payable amounting to $1,004 million.

"Under the ECO, employers are required to take out insurance cover for all their employees so that they can fulfil their legal obligations to pay compensation for work-related injuries. The Labour Department takes a serious view on compliance with this provision and our labour inspectors conduct frequent inspections to establishments to detect offences,” Mr Yiu said.

In 1996, 753 summonses were heard and 701 were convicted for failure to take out insurance cover.

Mr Yiu said that a number of amendments were made to the ECO in 1996.

"The main improvements, which came into effect on January 1, 1997, increased the rate of periodical payments for temporary incapacity from two-thirds to four-fifths of an injured employee’s normal earnings and eliminated the three-day qualifying period in respect of periodical payments,” he added.

End

6

New Eastern District Officer appointed *****

Mr Lee Kam-chung will assume the post of Eastern District Officer on Monday (February 3), replacing Mr Lui Hau-tuen.

Mr Lee, aged 53, joined the Executive Officer grade in 1970 and was promoted to Principal Executive Officer in 1995.

He has served in the Civil Service Branch, the former City and New Territories Administration, OMELCO and the Trade and Industry Branch.

His last posting was Registrar of Travel Agents in the Trade and Industry Branch.

End

All HK seafarers required to re-register *****

The Marine Department today (Sunday) reminded all Hong Kong seafarers that they must re-register under the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) Ordinance if they want to continue serving in the seafaring profession.

Following the implementation of the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) Ordinance on September 2, 1996 which replaced the Merchant Shipping (Recruiting of Seamen) Ordinance, all Hong Kong seafarers previously registered under the Merchant Shipping (Recruiting of Seamen) Ordinance and those unregistered seafarers now being employed on coastal-going ships must be re-registered if they intend to continue serving in the seafaring profession.

Seafarers should apply to the Superintendent, Mercantile Marine Office, Marine Department for registration by September 1 this year. If they are employed on foreign-going ships, they should apply within one month after being discharged from a ship returning to Hong Kong.

Since the re-registration started on September 2, 1996, 1,650 applications have been received by the Marine Department.

7

A spokesman for the department stressed that the re-registration is a must to keep the seafarers in the profession.

He said: "Employers and families of Hong Kong seafarers are advised to inform Hong Kong seafarers of the changes if they are now serving on board foreign-going ships."

Further details concerning the re-registration of Hong Kong seafarers are available at the Mercantile Marine Office of the Marine Department on 2852 3061 during office hours.

End

International Conference on Drug Education in Schools

*****

Schools heads, teachers and interested parties are invited to register for the International Conference on Drug Education in Schools to be held at the Hong Kong Science Museum on February 18 and February 19.

Organised by the Education Department, the conference provides local participants with opportunities to learn from their overseas counterparts.

Nine renowned experts from the Pacific Rim are invited to brief the conference on recent developments in drug education in schools in their countries.

They are Mr Peter Slattery from Australia, Professor Eric Single from Canada, Dr Sun Jiang-ping from China, Professor Shingo Katsuno from Japan, Mr Yoon Sung-tae from Korea, Dr Jit Singh from Malaysia, Dr Ong Teck-hong from Singapore, Mr Prasert Tanskul from Thailand and Professor Patricia Morgan from the USA.

Professor Chen Char-nie from Action Committee Against Narcotics and Mrs Jenny McGlynn from Life Education Activity Programme are also invited to give their views.

Participants will share their experiences with overseas and local speakers during the forum session.

Conducted in English, the two-day conference can accommodate some 300 participants. No fee will be charged.

8

Registration forms can be obtained from the Advisory Inspectorate of the Education Department, 12th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai.

Please call 2892 6541, 2892 6543 and 2892 6546 for details.

Completed form must be returned to the Advisory Inspectorate, Education Department by post or by fax: 2573 2805 on or before Tuesday, February 11.

End

Four reports on basis of by-census results published ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Four reports complied by the Census and Statistics Department on the basis of the results of the 1996 Population By-census will be published tomorrow (Monday).

They are:

Basic Tables for District Board Districts;

Basic Tables for Tertiary Planning Units: Hong Kong Island";

Basic Tables for Tertiary Planning Units: Kowloon; and

Basic Tables for Tertiary Planning Units: New Territories".

Their prices are $19, $28, $29 and $43 respectively.

These reports provide statistical data on the socio-economic characteristics of the population in Hong Kong by District Board District and Tertiary Planning Unit respectively.

The statistics are organised into two parts. The part on Summary Statistics provides 28 summary indicators reflecting the socio-economic characteristics of the population. The part on Basic Tables presents 14 tables providing detailed information on the population profile.

If reference to geographical delineations of the statistics provided in these reports is required, readers may refer to the two map packs showing separately the boundaries of Tertiary Planning Units and District Board Districts and Constituency Areas, which were published last December.

I

- 9 -

These four reports, all in bilingual form, will be on sale from tomorrow. Purchases can be made at the Government Publications Centre, ground floor, Lower Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. They are also available at the Publications Unit, Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

The four reports follow the report on Summary Results, four reports from the ’’Table” series and two map packs released in the latter part of 1996, as part of the publication programme of the 1996 Population By-census results.

Four more reports are forthcoming in the early part of this year.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Monday, Ferubary 3,1997

Contents Page No.

Chief Secretary's transcript............................................ 1

Estimates of GDP for third quarter of 1996 released..................... 2

New handbook for new arrivals &om China published....................... 6

Sai Kung park visitor centre re-opens with facelift..................... 7

Employees must be covered by insurance.................................. 9

Common code for Pay-per-call Recorded Information Service............... 9

Welfare payment arrangements for Lunar New Year holidays............... 10

Water storage figure................................................ 11

1

Chief Secretary's transcript * ♦ ♦ • ♦

The following is the transcript of a media session given by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, at the airport this (Monday) evening after her visit to the United States:

Chief Secretary: During this visit, I visited three American states and had the opportunity to meet with people in the business sector and also government officials. There are continuing to be very strong interests in Hong Kong and Hong Kong's future. But I have to say that the recent recommendations of the legal sub-group and the subsequent decision of the Preparatory Committee concerning the Bill of Rights Ordinance and repeal of legislation had sent an extremely negative signal to people in America and there is clearly concern about whether human rights will be protected after 1997 and in particular, there are doubts as to China's commitment to implementing the "one country, two systems" concept after 1997. Of course, I took this opportunity to try and put forward a positive side of Hong Kong. But I have to confess that the latest development has made my job rather more difficult. I clearly hope to be able to reflect the views and the feelings I have obtained on this trip to Mr Tung.

Question: You said you are in some delicate position of the legal issue....

Chief Secretary: I think that is a fact. Isn't it ? I am part of the current administration but I have promised Mr Tung that I will stay on as Chief Secretary and therefore will be very much a part of the SAR Government.

Question: If you are unable to reconcile your position with Mr Tung....

Chief Secretary: I haven't exactly said I can't reconcile. I am simply just stating, as you know, the Hong Kong Government's position on the provisional legislature and on anything to do with human rights has been made abundantly clear. I am personally I share the community's disappointment that the Preparatory Committee has not seemed fit to recognise the widespread concern that has been caused by the legal sub-group's recommendations.

End

2

Estimates of GDP for third quarter of 1996 released ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The preliminary estimates of the expenditure-based gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 1996 and revised estimates for earlier periods are released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

GDP grew by 5.1% in real terms in the third quarter of 1996 over the same quarter in 1995, following increases of 3.3% and 4.6% in the first and second quarters respectively.

Amongst the major GDP components, private consumption expenditure showed a year-on-year increase of 4.5% in real terms in the third quarter of 1996 over a year earlier. Government consumption expenditure increased by 5.3% in real terms.

- if ’s’

On investment spending, gross domestic fixed capital formation recorded a year-on-year increase of 5.8% in real terms in the third quarter of 1996.

Within this, construction output in the public sector decreased by 6.6%, reflecting the peaking of work on the Airport Core Programme. But construction output in the private sector continued to pick up, to a growth of 4.5%. Taken together, overall expenditure on construction registered a slight decrease of 0.7%.

Expenditure on machinery and equipment decelerated from a 15.1% growth in real terms in the second quarter to a 6.5% growth in the third quarter.

As to external trade in goods, .e-exports registered a year-on-year growth rate of 8% in real terms in the third quarter of 1996 over a year earlier, while domestic exports decreased by 9.9%.

Taken together, total exports increased by 4.9% in real terms. Imports of goods grew by 3.4% in real terms in die third quarter over a year earlier.

Exports of services increased by 7.1% in real terms in the third quarter of 1996 over a year earlier. The corresponding growth rate for imports of services was only 1.7%. '

The implicit price deflator of the GDP, as a broad measure of overall inflation in the economy, rose by 4.6% in the third quarter of 1996 over a year earlier.

Summaries of the latest expenditure-based GDP figures are presented in Tables 1 and 2.

3

More details on the annual and quarterly estimates of GDP are published in a report entitled Quarterly Report of Gross Domestic Product Estimates Third Quarter 1996. The preliminary estimates of the production-based GDP for 1995 and final estimates for 1994 are also published in the report.

This bilingual report is now on sale at $14 per copy at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, ground floor, Low Block, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. It may also be purchased at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries about this publication may be directed to the National Income Branch (1) of the Census and Statistics Department on 2582 5077.

- 4 -

Table 1 Expenditure-based GDP Estimates first quarter of 1994 to third quarter of 1996

GDP al Constant

Year/quarter w GDP at Current Market Prices (1990) Market Prices jyias (-aao^) ws

HKSMn % change over same period of the preceding year ttWKW HKSMn % change over same period of the preceding year

1994 1,010,885 12.6 727,506 5.4

1995 1,084,570 7.3 762,007 4.7

1994 1 231,931 14.8 169,621 6.5

2 244,549 13.8 174,073 5.5

3 263,814 11.0 190,727 4.3

4 270,593 11.5 193,085 5.4

1995 1 249,889 7.7 180,372 6.3

2 263,009 7.5 183,235 5.3

3 282,552 7.1 198,801 4.2

4 289,120 6.8 199,600 3.4

1996 1 271,699 8.7 186,270 3.3

2 289,971 10.3 191,688 4.6

3 310,662 9.9 208,940 5.1

- 5 -

Table 2 Expenditure-based GDP Estimates

Year-on-year growth rates, first quarter of 1995 to third quarter of 1996

% change over same period of the preceding vear _______________._____________________________________________________________________

Expenditure Components of GDP ____________________________________________________________________________________

Private Government Total Gross

consumption consumption exports of Imports of Exports of Imports of Domestic

expenditure expenditure Gross domestic fixed capital formation goods goods services services Product gWtBn

Total ofwhich: «8f*

Igh Sfr

Machinery and Construction equipment ._________________________________________«&&&&

At Current Market Prices

Ycar/quarter

1995 10.2 13.9 8.3 9.7 36.5 14.9 19.2 16.0 15.2 7.3

1995 1 10.5 15.2 6.9 3.8 48.4 20.1 27.5 14.6 17.9 7.7

2 11.5 12.4 11.4 18.7 34.7 16.7 21.5 17.1 17.4 7.5

3 10.4 14.6 12.3 10.2 52.2 15.3 18.9 17.7 14.6 7.1

4 8.4 13.4 3.0 7.9 17.4 8.9 11.3 14.8 11.1 6.8

1996 1 10.0 10.7 13.4 18.7 15.9 5.7 6.4 9.9 5.3 8.7

2 9.0 11.2 8.1 10.0 5.2 3.1 0.4 7.5 2.6 10.3

3 9.7 11.5 7.0 6.3 -0.6 3.5 1.3 8.9 3.3 9.9

At Constant (1990) Market Prices

J-UBJJg (-AAO3P)

Year/quarter

1995 0.8 4.4 9.6 1.8 25.1 12.0 13.8 11.3 5.8 4.7

1995 1 0.6 4.6 10.5 •1.7 37.9 17.6 21.7 9.7 6.9 6.3

2 1.3 2.3 8.6 10.3 16 0 12.7 13.6 12.2 6.5 5.3

3 1.0 5.6 15.3 1.3 40.4 122 13.5 12.9 5.4 4.2

4 0.4 5.0 ' 4.7 -0.9 12.3 6.8 8.0 10.2 4.6 3.4

1996 1 3.6 2.9 11.5 9.8 16.6 4.9 5.2 7.3 2.4 3.3

2 3.3 5.2 10.1 2.6 15.1 3.9 2.2 5.3 1.3 4.6

3 4.5 5.3 5.8 -0.7 6.5 4.9 3.4 7.1 1.7 5.1

End

6

New handbook for new arrivals from China published ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A total of 200,000 copies of a new service handbook for new arrivals from China will be available from today (Monday) for distribution to the newcomers to help them integrate into the local community, the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau, said.

Speaking at a press briefing to launch the second edition of the service handbook today, Mrs Lau said the handbook carried additional information on a wide range of services provided by government departments and non-governmental organisations.

"The first edition of the handbook prepared by the Home Affairs Department (HAD) last July received overwhelming response and newcomers found it very informative.

"We have therefore arranged to print more copies of the handbook with new chapters on vocational training, legal aid, consumers’ rights, recreational and cultural venues, postal services, and services for new arrivals by non-governmental organisations as well as additional information on the Housing Department's Rent Assistance Scheme, squatter and roof-top structures, the Hospital Authority's emergency casualty services, and academic qualifications and accreditation.

"We hope the handbook will be useful to the new arrivals in helping them to adapt to the local way of life and to obtain the services they need," she said.

Written in simplified Chinese characters, the 151-pagc handbook also contains concisely presented facts on immigration, HAD services, social welfare, housing, education, employment, medical care, family planning, corruption prevention, transport, and emergency services.

It will be distributed at the Lo Wu immigration checkpoint, Registration of Persons - Kowloon Office at Empire Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui and all HAD district offices.

Mrs Lau also released today the findings of an HAD survey conducted with the assistance of the Immigration Department last year on newcomers from China.

She said firsthand information on the group was essential in helping the Government identify their special needs with reference to their age, dialect spoken and the district in which they lived.

7

Of the 35,635 questionnaires distributed to new arrivals from February to December last year, 20,040 were successfully completed and returned.

Mrs Lau said the survey found that 92.3 per cent of the respondents were aged between 11 and 49 and 76.3 per cent were female.

The majority of them, 65.3 per cent, were of Guangdong Province origin while 18.2 per cent came from Fujian Province. More than 70 per cent could speak Cantonese, over 60 per cent Putonghua and about 16.5 per cent Fujianese.

"Since only a quarter of the Fujianese new arrivals could speak Cantonese, language problems are thought to be one of the major obstacles faced by them in the process of integration.

"We found that quite a sizeable number of them have settled in Eastern District (27 per cent), Kowloon City (14 per cent), Tsuen Wan (12.3 per cent), Kwun Tong (10.3 per cent), Kwai Tsing (7.1 per cent) and Central and Western District (6.2 per cent). We expect to have greater demands for Cantonese training in these districts," Mrs Lau said.

On educational attainment, over 60 per cent have completed secondary school education or above.

Almost all the respondents, 99 per cent, said they came to Hong Kong for family reunion. Most of them settled in old urban districts, including Sham Shui Po, Eastern, Kwun Tong, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City.

End

Sai Kung park visitor centre re-opens with facelift ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Sai Kung Country Park Visitor Centre is re-opened today (Monday) after being given a facelift with a wide range of new and attractive displays being added.

The centre was closed in January last year for a renovation programme to upgrade its facilities and exhibits.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the re-opening of the centre this afternoon, the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Lawrence Lee, thanked the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for its generous donation of $1 million towards the programme.

8

Dr Lee pointed out that the renovation was necessary because the original displays and exhibits in the centre had been there since the centre was set up in 1985.

"In addition , information has to be updated to cope with the latest development in nature conservation," he said.

New displays cover topics on marine parks, traditional customs in rural villages, change of landscape, computer data on hiking trails and other aspects.

He hoped all visitors to the centre could take the opportunity to gain a better insight into the natural environment of the Sai Kung Country Park.

Dr Lee also noted that visitor centres had been serving the purpose of providing information on country parks and as a base for the promotion of the countryside conservation message.

The Sai Kung centre is the largest among the six similar establishments in Hong Kong, he said, adding that it was very popular due to easy accessibility.

Its popularity is also attributed to the many displays there, including those on geological features, landscape, the High Island Reservoir, villages, flora and fauna habitats specific to the Sai Kung area.

The Director of Corporate Affairs and Charities, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Mr David Yau, said at the ceremony that the $1 million donation for the renovation programme was part of the club's continuing efforts in promoting nature conservation.

Apart from subsidising the annual AFD forestry work camp project, the club also donated $2.5 million last year for the production of five videos on Hong Kong's country parks to help promote the conservation message, Mr Yau added.

Also present at today’s ceremony were the Chairman of Country and Marine Parks Board, Professor Jim Chi-yung; and the Chairman of the board's Public Relations Committee, Mr Victor Hui.

All visitor centres are open to the public daily between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm, except on Tuesdays.

No advanced booking is required by individual visitors. However, availability for group visits may be confirmed with the Agriculture and Fisheries Department's Education Section on 2733 2121.

End

9

Employees must be covered by insurance

*****

Employers must take out insurance policies for their employees, otherwise they will face severe punishments.

Senior Labour Officer (Prosecutions), Mrs Tonia Leung, gave this warning today (Monday) following a recent court case in which the owner of Cheong Wan Shark's Fin and Seafood Restaurant in Tai Po was fined $20,000 for failing to provide insurance cover for employees as required under section 40(1) of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (ECO).

"Under the ECO. employers are required to take out insurance cover for all their employees so that they can fulfil their legal obligations to pay compensation for work-related injuries," said Mrs Leung.

"The Labour Department takes a serious view on compliance with this provision and our labour inspectors conduct frequent inspections to establishments to detect offences."

The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for 12 months.

End

Common code for Pay-pcr-call Recorded Information Service

*****

With the assistance of the Office of Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) and Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA), the four Fixed Telecommunication Network Services (FTNS) operators have agreed to adopt a Common Code of Practice for Pay-per-call Recorded Information Services.

The four operators are Hong Kong Telephone Company Limited, New T & T I long Kong Limited, Hutchison Communications Limited and New World Telephone Limited.

A government spokesman said: "The 'Common Code' works under a self-regulatory principle.

10

"It sets out the obligations of FTNS operators in the delivery of pay-per-call services so as to maintain a common industry standard for the benefit of the public.”

The code includes rules designed for the protection of consumers such as requirements for a pre-recorded announcement of the fees chargeable and an automatic mechanism to cut off the call after 10 minutes so as to avoid exorbitant bills arising from a caller forgetting to hang up his telephone.

The code also provides content control with measures to prevent children from accessing adult messages. All adult messages have to begin with a forewarning against accidental connection by children.

"In order to enforce the code, a Complaints Advisory Committee has been set up to deal with complaints. The committee is empowered to recommend disciplinary action ranging from warning, suspension to termination of the information provider’s connection with FTNS operators’ systems," the spokesman added.

The committee is chaired by Mrs Peggy Lam with Mr T L Tsim and Mr Paul Wong as members.

End

Welfare payment arrangements for Lunar New Year holidays *****

Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) under the bank payment system will receive their payments on Wednesday (February 5) if then pay days fall on the coming Lunar New Year public holidays (February 6 to Februar) 8).

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

"Those who have bank accounts in 1 longkong Bank or I lang Seng Bank can receive their payments on Wednesday (February 5) whereas those with accounts in other banks will get their payments next Monday (February 10)," he added.

In case of doubt, recipients arc advised to contact their respective social security Field units.

End

- 11

Water storage figure ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 78.1 per cent of capacity or 457.845 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 467.508 million cubic metres of water, representing 79.8 per cent of capacity.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Tuesday, February 4,1997

Contents Page No.

Statement by the Governor.................................................... 1

Good response to report on quality school education.......................... 2

$960,000 granted to fire victims............................................. 3

Volume and price statistics of external trade in November.................... 3

Land Registry statistics for January released............................... 10

Shortlisted sites to enter final of safety award scheme................. 11

21 -gun saluted by Royal Navy............................................... 12

Public reminded not to bring back endangered species........................ 13

Tunnels remain fully open during Lunar New Year holidays.................... 14

Twenty-eight new building plans approved in December.................... 15

Public consultation on special number arrangements...................... 15

Victoria Park lit up for Lunar New Year..................................... 17

HK trade and industrial organisations directory published................... 17

No flag selling on Saturday............................................. 18

Special topics report on social statistics now on sale.................. 18

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results................................. 19

1

Statement by the Governor • ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

Following is a statement today (Tuesday) by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopler Patten, on British Government's granting of British citizenship to members of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong who are solely British nationals:

I warmly welcome the announcement today by the British Government that it will grant British citizenship to members of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong who are solely British nationals. This is an excellent Chinese New Year present to Hong Kong. I am grateful to British Ministers and particularly to the Home Secretary who has listened carefully to those of us who have pursued this cause and who has recognised the strength of the arguments that have been made.

It has been widely acknowledged in Hong Kong that the group in question represents a very special case. Without this pledge, their status after 30th June 1997 would have been uncertain: entitled to right of abode in Hong Kong without Chinese nationality and to British nationality without the right of abode in Britain.

The decision today ends this uncertainty. It is a tribute to the patient and determined efforts of Legislative Council members; of members of both Houses of Parliament in Britain; of the Hong Kong Government and other senior figures here; and, above all, of the representatives of the ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. The case has been put with dignity and vigour; and today the right decision has been made.

The next step will be to bring forward as swiftly and efficiently as possible the necessary legislative measures to make it possible for those concerned to apply for British citizenship.

We campaigned actively to secure a British passport for war widows and equally hard for visa free access to the UK for SAR passport holders. I am delighted that this decision on the ethnic minorities gives us a hat trick.

End

2

Good response to report on quality school education ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦ •

The Education Commission is pleased with the clear public support to its consultation document on the Education Commission Report No. 7 (ECR7) on Quality School Education which was released last November for public consultation until January 15, 1997.

Speaking to the media after the meeting of the Commission today (Tuesday), the Chairman, Professor Rosie Young, pointed out that over 200 submissions had been received and about 20 briefings had been held for Legislative Councillors, District Board Members, school councils, sponsoring bodies, teachers, school heads, teacher education institutions, parents, employers, professional organisations and media.

"There is solid support for the main thrust of the consultation document and useful suggestions have been received on individual recommendations, including the proposed establishment of a Quality Development Committee, the incentive schemes, assessment of school performance and the proposed development of school-based management.

"The Commission plans to submit its final report to the Administration later this year taking into account views of the community collected during the consultation exercise," she said.

fhe meeting also noted the report on the Education Commission's delegation to the I Oth International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) held in the United States on January 5 to 8, 1997.

"The Commission's participation in the 10th ICSEI has been a most rewarding exercise. The Hong Kong delegates were able to promote a better understanding of I long Kong's development of education, as well as to gather a lot of useful ideas regarding quality school education.

"We will draw on these useful exchanges in finalising ECR7," Professor Young said.

The Commission also agreed at the meeting to adopt further measures to enhance the transparency of its work. These include the organisation of open forum on topical educational issues and the issue of a bulletin on Commission business on a regular basis.

End

3

$960,000 granted to fire victims *****

The Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation (CLEIC) Boards have approved more than $960,000 to victims and families affected by the arson case in Prat Avenue. Tsim Sha Tsui on January 25.

The money will be given to the families of 16 fatal cases and four injury cases. Applications from other victims are still being processed.

"The CLEIC scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to people and their dependants who are victims of violent crimes or are killed or injured in helping to prevent crime in Hong Kong," a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department (SWD) said today (Tuesday).

"It also provides for the payment of compensation where a person is killed or injured by law enforcement officers using weapons in the execution of their duties."

The scheme, which does not involve a means test and is non-contributory, has paid out about $10.5 million in 551 cases in 1996.

Enquiries on the scheme may be directed to the department's CLEIC Section on 2838 6079.

Meanwhile, SWD staff will continue to contact the victims and their families to offer appropriate assistance.

End

Volume and price statistics of external trade in November

*****

In the first 1 I months of 1996, the volume of Hong Kong's re-exports increased by 7.7% over the same period last year, while the volume of domestic exports decreased by 8.2%, according to the statistics released today (Tuesday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Taking re-exports and domestic exports together, the volume of total exports increased by 5%. Meanwhile, imports increased by 4.3% in volume.

4

Comparing November 1996 with November 1995, the volume of re-exports increased by 9.1%, while that of domestic exports decreased by 4.6%. Taken together, the volume of total exports increased by 6.8%. Concurrently, the volume of imports increased by 7.1%.

The growth in volume of trade is derived from the growth in trade value with the effect of price changes discounted.

As regards price changes in the first 11 months of 1996 over the same period last year, the prices of re-exports decreased by 0.4%, while that of domestic exports increased by 0.4%. Import prices on the other hand decreased by 1.4%.

Comparing November 1996 with November 1995, the prices of re-exports and domestic exports decreased by 1.2% and 0.3% respectively. Import prices also decreased, by 2.1%.

Price changes are reflected by changes in unit value indices which are compiled based on average unit values or, for certain commodities, based on specific price data.

The terms of trade index, defined as the ratio of total export price index to import price index, recorded an increase of 0.9% in the first 11 months of 1996 over the same period last year.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of re-exports by end-use category are shown in Table 1.

Analysed by end-use category, increases in re-export volume in November 1996 over a year earlier were recorded for all categories: capital goods (+22%); foodstuffs (+17%); raw materials and semi-manufactures (+11%); consumer goods (+2.2%); and fuels (+0.1%).

Over the same period of comparison, increases were recorded in the prices of re-exports of fuels (+38%); and foodstuffs (+0.6%).

On the other hand, re-export prices of raw materials and semi-manufactures; capital goods; and consumer goods decreased by 3.1%, 2% and 0.5% respectively.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of domestic exports by principal commodity group are shown in Table 2.

5

Comparing November 1996 with November 1995, commodity groups which recorded significant increases in the volume of domestic exports included domestic electrical appliances (+18%); and textile yam and thread (+17%).

On the other hand, the volume of domestic exports of textile made-ups and related articles; radios of all kinds; footwear; and travel goods, handbags and similar articles decreased by 67%, 64%, 58% and 51% respectively.

Commodity groups which recorded more notable increases in domestic export prices included radios of all kinds (+6.8%); and textile made-ups and related articles (+6.5%).

On the other hand, domestic export prices of electronic components decreased significantly by 6.7%.

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 5.4% in November 1996 compared with November 1995.

Significant increases in import volume were noted of soya bean oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil and lard: and sugar. However, decreases were recorded in the import volume of animals of the bovine species, live; and fruit.

Over the same period of comparison, the import volume of consumer goods increased by 1.3%.

Notable increases in import volume were noted of cameras, flashlight apparatus and supplies for photography; and footwear. However, significant decreases in import volume were recorded for watches; and tobacco manufactures.

The import volume of raw materials and semi-manufactures increased by 8.1% in November 1996 compared with November 1995.

Increases in import volume were recorded for most commodities in the end-use category of raw materials and semi-manufactures. Rapid increases in import volume were noted of base metals other than iron and steel; and cotton yam and thread. However, significant decreases were noted of raw cotton; and yam of wool and mixtures.

6

Imports of fuels decreased by 7.3% in volume in November 1996 compared with November 1995.

As regards capital goods, the volume of imports increased by 19% in November 1996 over November 1995.

Notable increases were recorded in the import volume of industrial machinery, other than electrical machinery and textile machinery; and office machinery. The import volume of construction machinery however decreased.

Comparing November 1996 with November 1995, import prices of fuels and consumer goods increased by 27% and 0.7% respectively.

On the other hand, import prices of raw materials and semi-manufactures; capital goods; and foodstuffs decreased by 5.7%, 3.3% and 1.3% respectively.

Details of the above statistics are published in the November 1996 issue of the Hong Kong Trade Index Numbers.

The report will be available on sale around February 10 at $14 per copy at the Government Publications Centre, ground floor. Low Block. Queensway Government Offices. 66 Queensway; 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 of the Information Services Department, 28th floor. Siu On Centre. 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Tel: 2598 8194).

Enquiries on trade indices can be directed to the Census and Statistics Department on 2582 4918.

Table 1 : Changes in re-exports by end-use category

Comparing NOV 1996 • with NOV 1995 Comparing JAN-NOV 1996 with JAN-NOV 1995 % changes

End-use category % changes

Value Unit Value Volume Value Unit Value Volume

Foodstuffs 17.5 0.6 16.5 16.4 0.1 16.5

Consumer goods 1.8 -0.5 2.2 5.3 0.6 4.2

Raw materials and semi-manufactures 7.6 -3.1 11.1 4.3 -2.2 6.7

Fuels 35.0 37.9 0.1 24.4 17.9 7.2

Capital goods 16.9 -2.0 22.5 13.7 -1.3 18.0

ALL COMMODITIES 7.0 -1.2 9.1 6.9 -0.4 7.7

- 8 -

Table 2 : Changes in domestic exports by principal commodity group

Comparing NOV 1996 Comparing JAN-NOV 1996 with NOV 1995 with JAN-NOV 1995

% changes % changes

Commodity group Value Unit Value Volume Value Unit Value Volume

Clothing 3.9 0.3 4.2 -6.0 0.6 -6.3

Textile fabrics 1.3 -0.2 1.5 -3.0 -0.3 -3.6

Textile yarn and thread 22.1 3.8 17.4 23.0 4.9 18.3

Textile made-ups and related articles -65.6 6.5 -66.7 -37.2 2.5 -38.1

Radios of all kinds -63.8 6.8 -64.4 -23.9 6.0 -31.3

Electronic components -15.8 -6.7 -12.7 -13.2 -3.1 -12.2

Footwear -56.3 -2.1 -58.0 -47.8 -3.4 -45.9

Metal manufactures -1.4 2.3 -4.4 -7.1 4.4 -11.2

Metal ores and scrap -16.2 6.0 -21.4 -8.9 9.3 -15.5

Watches and clocks -26.5 2.2 -27.2 -11.6 0.3 -11.9

Travel goods, handbags and similar articles -49.8 3.7 -50.8 -23.0 1.5 -24.5

Domestic electrical appliances 8.7 -3.3 17.7 25.4 -3.3 31.4

ALL COMMODITIES -4.4 -0.3 -4.6 -8.2 0.4 -8.2

- 9 -

Table 3 : Changes in imports by end-use category

Comparing NOV 1996 Comparing JAN-NOV 1996 with NOV 1995 with JAN-NOV 1995

End-use category % changes % changes

Value Unit Value Volume Value Unit Value Volume

Foodstuffs 4.2 -1.3 5.4 6.2 -0.2 6.3

Consumer goods 1.2 0.7 1.3 2.1 1.5 0.7

Raw materials and semi-manufactures 2.5 -5.7 8.1 -0.4 -4.0 3.6

Fuels 16.9 26.8 -7.3 18.0 12.6 4.3

Capital goods 15.3 -3.3 19.0 8.8 -3.3 12.3

ALL COMMODITIES 4.9 -2.1 7.1 3.0 -1.4 4.3

End

10

Land Registry statistics for January released *****

A total of 19,727 sale and purchase agreements for building units, including both residential and non-residential properties, were lodged with the Land Registry in January 1997.

The figure represented an increase of 17.1 per cent from that of December 1996 and an increase of 115.5 per cent compared with January 1996.

The total consideration of these agreements in the month was $86.5 billion, up 24.8 per cent and 280.4 per cent respectively when compared with the amounts for December 1996 and January 1996.

The figures were contained in the monthly statistics released today (Tuesday) by the Land Registry on deeds relating to property transactions received for registration in the urban and New Territories land registries in January 1997.

Relevant statistics for December 1996 and January 1996 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 related 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.

11

Shortlisted sites to enter final of safety award scheme ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A number of construction sites with good safety performance will be shortlisted to enter the final assessment to compete for the six awards under the Hong Kong Construction Safety Award Scheme.

The six awards are the Best Building Works Site Award, Best Building Works Contractor Award, Best Civil Works Site Award, Best Civil Works Contractor Award, Best Safety Team Award and Safety Workers Award.

"A total of 94 construction sites under 53 contractors have taken part in the scheme," Deputy Commissioner for Labour (Occupational Safety and Health), Mr Lee Kai-fat, said today (Tuesday).

"Factory inspectors have been inspecting all these sites to shortlist those for the final assessment. The results will be announced in mid-February."

Final assessment will be held between mid-February and early March by an assessment team which will visit the construction sites during this period to choose the winners. All participating sites will each be presented a large banner to be hung at the site to show their support for construction site safety.

The team, comprising representatives from the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA), the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees' General Union (HKCIEGU), the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) and the Labour Department, will assess both the physical conditions and safety management system of the sites.

For the Best Safety Team Award and the Safety Workers Award, assessment will be based on the participants' safety performance and safety knowledge.

"We are pleased that so many construction sites have been nominated to join the competition. We will also organise more activities to promote this industrial safety drive," Mr Lee said.

A gala evening will be held on March 24 at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay to present prizes to the award winners.

12

The Hong Kong Construction Safety Award Scheme is jointly organised by the Labour Department and Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and co-organised by the HKCA, HKCIEGU and OSHC. This is the first major award scheme which covers projects in both the public and private sectors.

To reinforce construction safety messages, RTHK has been broadcasting a series of 10 episodes of short dramas on construction site safety every Tuesday morning since January 21.

* -••a *. ’ i 'a   t '

End

z / ...

• •** . i . •

21-gun salutes by Royal Navy

♦ * * ♦ ♦

The following is issued by the Joint Service Public Relations Staff:

The Royal Navy's saluting guns will fire for the first time in 1997 at noon on Thursday (February 6) to mark the anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's Accession to the throne.

The 21-gun salute will be fired in Victoria Harbour from HMS Starling, one of the Peacock-class patrol craft of the Hong Kong Squadron.

f, .

Other 21-gun salutes to be fired in 1997 are:

April 21 (Monday) The Queen's Birthday

June 2 (Monday)

June 10 (Tuesday)

Anniversary of HM The Queen's Coronation

The Duke of Edinburgh's Birthday

All salutes take place at noon. Details of other gun salutes during 1997 will be announced in due course.

End

13

Public reminded not to bring back endangered species ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Members of the public are reminded not to bring back items of endangered species on their return from visits to other countries.

The appeal was made today (Tuesday) by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) as the Chinese New Year holidays approaches.

An AFD conservation officer, Mr Cheung Chi-sun, said some returning travellers were at times found by Customs and Excise (C&E) officers at control points to have brought in endangered species.

Statistics indicate that items seized from travellers at checkpoints include specimens of sea turtles, crocodiles, and monitor lizards, as well as corals, pangolins, ivory, parrots, eagles, owls and controlled medicines.

He stressed that any person importing, exporting or possessing any endangered species, including their parts and derivatives, without a licence issued by AFD, would have contravened the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance. This control measure also applies to all individuals including travellers.

Under the ordinance, any person found guilty of importing a highly endangered species item without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $100,000 and or e year's imprisonment. If the import is for commercial purpose, the maximum penalty could be a $5 million fine plus two years' imprisonment.

Highly endangered species include rhinos, tiger, most species of bear, all sea turtles and medicines containing or claiming to contain rhino or tiger ingredients.

Mr Cheung said C&E officers kept close watch on passengers at checkpoints and AFD inspectors conducted checks at retail shops to guard against any smuggling and illegal sale of endangered species.

He reiterated the Government's continued efforts to combat illegal import, export and possession of endangered species and to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Last year, there were 455 prosecutions instituted under the ordinance, resulting in total fines of more than $9 million.

End

14

Tunnels remain fully open during Lunar New Year holidays *****

The Transport Department announced today (Tuesday) that the five government tunnels will remain fully open during the coming Lunar New Year holiday.

A spokesman for the department said from Thursday (February 6) to February 9 (Sunday), no tunnel tubes would be closed for maintenance and radio broadcasts of safety measures would also be stepped up.

He added that these were additional control and safety measures on tunnel operations during the holidays.

The five government tunnels are: Aberdeen Tunnel, Lion Rock Tunnel, Airport Tunnel, Shing Mun Tunnels and Tseung Kwan O Tunnel.

The spokesman said operators of the three private tunnels - Cross Harbour Tunnel, Tate’s Cairn Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Tunnel - would adopt the same measures as far as they could arrange.

He said motorists also had a part to play in avoiding accidents inside tunnels by observing the following safety guidelines:

* Do not follow too close to the vehicle in front;

* Observe the speed limit;

* Keep in lane;

Observe traffic ahead;

* Use dipped headlights;

* Avoid wearing earphones or using mobile telephones when driving; and

* Do not drink any alcohol before and/or when driving.

The spokesman urged motorists to drive with care and patience when driving inside tunnels or on open roads.

End

15

Twenty-eight new building plans approved in December ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Buildings Department approved a total of 28 building plans in December last year - eight on Hong Kong Island, six in Kowloon and 14 in the New Territories.

The approved plans covered 11 for apartment and apartment/commercial developments, nine for commercial developments, four for factory and industrial developments, and four for community services developments.

Consent was given in the month for work to start on 45 building projects, which will provide 225,898 square metres of usable domestic floor area and 130,997 square metres of usable non-domestic floor area on completion.

The department also issued 40 occupation permits - six on Hong Kong Island, 12 in Kowloon and 22 in the New Territories.

Of the buildings certified for occupation in December, the usable floor area for domestic and non-domestic uses was 183,876 square metres and 111,227 square metres respectively.

The declared cost of new buildings completed totalled about $4,441 million.

In addition, 17 demolition consents involving 17 buildings and structures were issued.

The department's Control and Enforcement Division received 786 complaints of unauthorised building works in December, and issued 193 removal orders on unauthorised works.

End

Public consultation on special number arrangements ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ & K The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) today (Tuesday) released a paper entitled Special Number Arrangements to consult the public on a proposed new mechanism of allocating special numbers to operators and users of telecommunications services in Hong Kong.

"The proposed new arrangements enable an end customer to bid for the right to use a particular number which he or she values highly.

"At present, end customers do not have a choice over such numbers which are valuable public resources. With the proposed mechanism, the allocation of numbers to operators and consumers will be conducted in a more transparent and equitable manner," a government spokesman said.

16

The proposed new arrangements will cover all fixed network, personal numbering and mobile services in Hong Kong except the paging sector.

"This sector has long established practice of enticing customers with special numbers and giving them a degree of choice in number selection. Any changes to such practice in a highly competitive industry may prove unsettling," the spokesman said.

The consultative paper has identified 4 types of special numbers for allocation under the proposed arrangements. They are Primary Special Numbers; Secondary Special Numbers; Special Number Blocks and Access Codes; and Consumer Requested Special Numbers.

The proceeds from auctioning the designated special numbers or special number blocks will go to a Special Number Fund which will be used basically for charity donations to the Lotteries Fund, with a certain part allocated to telecommunications related educational and research projects.

"The Special Number Fund will be managed by a management committee appointed by the Secretary for Economic Services," said the spokesman.

>'. • * - •

The local telecommunications industry and concerned parties have been consulted on the proposed Special Number Arrangements and welcome OFTA’s initiative.

’’Nevertheless, we wish to consult the public on this matter before taking a final decision, especially in respect of whether private transactions of Special Numbers should be allowed and the usage of the proposed Special Number Fund," the spokesman added.

The consultation paper can be obtained from District Office and OFTA’s public enquiry counter, or by accessing OFTA’s Bulletin Board Service (at 2834 0119) and OFTA’s Internet home page (<http://www.ofta.gov.hk>).

Comments on the consultative document should be submitted to the following by Saturday, 22 March 1997 -

Office of the Telecommunications Authority

29/F, Wu Chung House

213, Queen’s Road East, Wanchai

[Attn. : Senior Administrative Officer (Regulatory)]

(Fax:2803 5112)

(e-mail: comments@ofta.gov.hk)

• >

End

17

Victoria Park lit up for Lunar New Year

*****

Victoria Park has been ablaze with Lunar New Year festive lights from this (Tuesday) evening.

The lighting, funded by the Eastern District Board, features several cartoon oxen sending New Year greetings to passers-by to mark the upcoming Year of the Ox.

The lights will be switched on from 6 pm to 6 am daily from today to the Lunar New Year's Eve (Thursday, February 6), and from 6 pm to 11 pm from the first day of the Lunar New Year (Friday, February 7) to the Lantern Festival which falls on February' 21.

Officiating at the switching-on ceremony this evening were the Chairman of the Eastern District Board, Mr Chan Bing-woon; Eastern District Officer, Mr Lee Kam-chung; and District Commander (Eastern) of Police, Mr Yeung Ying-wai.

End

HK trade and industrial organisations directory published ♦ * ♦ * *

The Industry Department today (Tuesday) announced the publication of the latest edition of its annual directory' - Hong Kong Trade and Industrial Organisations.

A spokesman for the Industry Department said: "Over 250 bodies covering government-funded/statutory organisations; chambers of commerce; representative bodies of various industries; plus other trade, industrial and service organisations arc listed in the directory.

"Key information on each of them, such as their addresses, telephone/fax numbers, principal office-bearers and membership size are included to provide a quick source of reference for those who wish to get in touch with these bodies."

Enquiries or requests for a copy of the directory can be addressed to the Development Support Division. Industry Department, 14th floor. Ocean Centre. 5 Canton Road. Tsim Sha Tsui, or by telephoning 2737 2597.

End

18

No flag selling on Saturday *****

The Social Welfare Department today (Tuesday) announced that there will be no flag day on Saturday (February 8).

A spokesman for the department said the flag day permit originally issued to Tuen Mun Hospital for February 8 had been given up by the hospital.

Tuen Mun Hospital has now decided to hold its flag day on August 16.

End

Special topics report on social statistics now on sale

*****

Special Topics Report No 14 on social statistics was published today (Tuesday). It contains the findings of four special enquiries conducted by the Census and Statistics Department via the General Household Survey in different periods between September 1995 and January 1996.

The four topics included in the report are Hong Kong residents working in China; labour mobility; taxi waiting time; and domestic helpers.

The report is now on sale at $42 per copy. It can be purchased at the Government Publications Centre, ground floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, and the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

End

19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 4 February 1997

Paper on offer EF bills

Issue number Q706

Issue date 5 February 1997

Maturity date 7 May 1997

Amount applied HK$10,660 MN

Amount allotted HK$2,000 MN

Average yield accepted 4.47 PCT

Highest yield accepted 4.49 PCT

Pro rata ratio About 26 PCT

Average tender yield 4.62 PCT

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tenders to be held in the week beginning

February 10, 1997:

Tender date : 10 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF notes

Issue number : 2902

Issue date : 11 February 1997

Maturity date : 11 February 1999

Tenor : 2 Years

Amount on offer : HK$500 MN + 100 MN

Coupon

5.66%

20

Tender date : 11 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF bills

Issue number : Q707

Issue date : 12 February 1997

Maturity date : 14 May 1997

Tenor : 91 days

Amount on offer : HK$2,000 MN + 500 MN

Tender date : 11 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF bills

Issue number : H758

Issue date : 12 February 1997

Maturity date : 13 August 1997

Tenor : 182 days

Amount on offer HK$ 1,000 MN + 300 MN

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, February 5,1997

Contents Eagfi-Nfl.

New Government badges and insignia.......................................... 1

Draft Trade Marks Bill for consultation..................................... 1

Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company appointment........................... 3

Places of public entertainment licenses to be exhibited............... 3

Governor to broadcast Lunar New Year's message........................ 4

AFD to deploy artificial reefs in marine parks

5

1

New Government badges and insignia

*****

The Government today (Wednesday)released the new designs of badges and insignia to be worn by uniformed officers after the transfer of sovereignty.

A government spokesman said that a working group had been set up three years ago to review badges and insignia worn on government uniforms.

"The purpose was to identify all badges and insignia bearing connotations of British sovereignty and to prepare new designs to replace them," he said.

The disciplined services were principally concerned in this exercise although several other departments were also involved. All new designs have been prepared by the departments themselves. The Chinese side have been consulted.

The Director of Government Supplies has issued a tender for the manufacture of the new badges and insignia. Over two million separate items are involved at an estimated cost of some $6 million.

The new badges and insignia will be worn with effect from midnight on June 30, 1997.

The Secretary for the Treasury has agreed that all uniformed officers may keep one set of their existing badges and insignia free of charge as souvenirs. The remaining badges and insignia will be returned to the Director of Government Supplies for disposal in accordance with Stores Regulations.

End

Draft Trade Marks Bill for consultation

*****

The Government today (Wednesday) issued a consultation paper on a draft Trade Marks Bill.

The consultation paper and the draft Trade Marks Bill were issued to a number of organisations, including trade marks owners and users, as well as those in the professional and academic fields for their comments. The consultation will last until 5 March this year.

2

A spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch said: ’’The draft Trade Marks Bill seeks to update the existing Trade Marks Ordinance to bring it in line with prevailing international standards on intellectual property protection, and to streamline the application procedures and examination process for trade mark registration.

Some of the main legislative proposals include -

The definition of a trade mark is broadened. The new definition of a trade mark as a sign capable of being represented graphically may permit a wider range of marks to be registered.

The existing Parts A and B of the Register for Trade Marks will be combined in order to streamline application procedures and the processing for trade mark registrations.

The grounds for prohibition of registration on the basis of conflict with earlier marks will be extended. This will include prohibition of registration of a later identical or similar mark for goods or services which are not similar to those protected under the earlier mark. Rights to sue for infringement will also be similarly extended.

Proprietors of well-known marks will be entitled to restrain by injunction the use in Hong Kong of identical or similar marks where such use is likely to cause confusion.

It will be possible to register a collective trade mark which indicates a trade connection of goods and services with a proprietor association.

Proprietors of registered trade marks may apply to court for orders for erasure, disposal or delivery up in respect of infringing goods, materials or articles.

’’The Government plans to introduce the Bill into the Legislative Council as soon as possible, after taking into consideration the comments received during the consultation period,” the spokesman added.

The text of the consultation paper and the draft Bill are also available on the INTERNET at http://www.houston.com.hk/hkgipd/

End

- 3 -

Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company appointment *****

A Financial Services Branch spokesman announced today (Wednesday) that the Financial Secretary had appointed Mr Peter Wong Hong-yuen as an independent director of the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (HKSCC) upon the resignation of Mr Derek Murphy with effect from January 31, 1997 until the 1998 Annual General Meeting of the HKSCC.

The spokesman added that Mr Murphy had made very valuable contributions to the Company and his work on the Board has been much appreciated.

Under the Articles of Association of the HKSCC, the Financial Secretary may at any time appoint not more than five persons as directors of the HKSCC to represent the public interest. In addition to Mr Wong, the other four independent directors are Professor Chan Yuk-shee, Messrs Denis M P C Ho, Stuart H Leckie and Michael Liu.

End

Places of public entertainment licenses to be exhibited *****

The Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Regulation 1997, which seeks to require a licensee to exhibit his places of public entertainment license in a conspicuous position at the entrance of the premises to which the license relates, was published in the Gazette today (Wednesday).

Under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance (PPEO) and its subsidiary legislation, the Urban Council and the Regional Council are the licensing authorities in their respective areas.

"To inform users of the licensing status and for the purpose of better enforcement of the PPEO and its subsidiary legislation, the Municipal Councils have decided that all licensees of places of public entertainment should be required to display their licenses at the premises to which the licenses relate," a Government spokesman said.

"While the Municipal Councils can require the display of licenses as aforesaid by imposing new conditions upon the grant of new licenses, they cannot do so in respect of those existing licenses.

"The amendment regulation which will come into effect on April 11, will enable the Councils to effect the policy on all licensed premises," the spokesman added.

Similar provisions already exist under bylaw 35B of the Food Business (Urban Council) Bylaws and bylaw 34B of the Food Business (Regional Council) Bylaws in respect of food premises.

End

Governor to broadcast Lunar New Year's message ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, will deliver his Lunar New Year Address tomorrow (Thursday) as scheduled in the following timetable:

Television Date Time

TVB (Jade) Thursday (February 6) 5.40 pm

TVB (Pearl) Thursday (February 6) 7.55 pm

ATV (Home) Thursday (February 6) 5.50 pm

ATV (World) Thursday (February 6) 7.25 pm

Wharf Cable (Chinese) Thursday (February 6) 6 pm

Wharf Cable (English) Thursday (February 6) 7.30 pm

5

Radio Date Time

Metro FM Select (English & Chinese) Thursday (February 6) 4 - 7 pm (exact time not yet fixed)

Commercial Radio (English) Thursday (February 6) 6.03 pm

Commercial Radio-2 (Chinese) Thursday (February 6) 6.05 pm

Commercial Radio-1 (Chinese) Thursday (February 6) 6.20 pm

RTHK 1, 2 and 5 (Chinese) Thursday (February 6) 7 pm

RTHK 3 (English) Thursday (February 6) 7.03 pm

Metro Hit Radio (English) Friday (February 7) 12 - 1 am (exact time not yet fixed)

End

AFD to deploy artificial reefs in marine parks

*****

The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) will deploy artificial reefs in Hoi Ha Wan and Yan Chau Tong marine parks this year to help conserve marine environment and enhance fisheries resources.

This was stated by the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Lawrence Lee, when he addressed the Fish Marketing Organization’s (FMO) annual prize presentations this (Wednesday) morning.

6

Dr Lee said that following the Finance Committee’s approval for a $100 million allocation last year, planning work had already begun for deploying artificial reefs in suitable locations within five years.

Affected fishermen, fishermen representatives and green groups would be consulted on the deployment strategy soon, he said.

Dr Lee noted that the consultancy study on fisheries resources and fishing operations in Hong Kong waters would be completed in the middle of this year.

’’Data obtained will enable the formulation of a long-term fisheries management plan for conservation, development and sustainable use of fisheries resources in local waters,” he said.

In addition, last year’s establishment of three marine parks and a marine reserve would certainly help long-term marine conservation and fisheries resources enhancement.

Turning to FMO, Dr Lee said the organisation had continued working closely with AFD on various fronts to assist local fishermen's fishery' development and production efficiency.

Among the FMO services are the provision of Ioan funds for the purchase of fishing equipment, training courses, scholarships and the promotion of moist pellet feed.

In order to provide a more comprehensive service, FMO is working closely with AFD on the feasibility of redeveloping the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market.

"It is also continuing working on the review and improvement of its wholesaling services, and bringing in new marine fish species to tie in with the increasing market demand," Dr Lee added.

At today’s ceremony, Dr Lee presented awards to 46 fishermen who had performed well in their catch last year.

Ten FMO staff, who have each served over 25 years, were given certificates in recognition of their long and meritorous service in the organisation.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, February 6,1997

Contents Page No.

Governor's Lunar New Year message...................................... 1

Friday, February 7,1997

Contents Page No.

Acting Governor's statement........................................... 3

Parade accident............................................................. 3

Sunday, February 9,1997

Contents

Page No,

Heavy penalties for offenders of labour laws in 1996

4

1

Governor’s Lunar New Year message * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the text of the Lunar New Year address delivered by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, this (Thursday) evening:

Another New Year. A very special one this, for every family in Hong Kong and for Hong Kong as a whole. We know the reason for that - this is the last new year before the transfer of sovereignty this summer. So, it's a poignant and exciting time for everybody. Particularly poignant for me and my wife and our youngest daughter, because we’ll be leaving Hong Kong, which has been our home for five years, at the end of June.

Unfortunately we haven't had our two elder girls, Kate and Laura, with us while I've been Governor. They've come on holidays. They've seen what a very special place Hong Kong is. But like so many of you, I've had children away from Hong Kong finishing their education, and starting their careers, and I’d be telling you a terrible untruth if I didn't admit that we’ve missed them a great deal from time to time.

But our youngest daughter, like my wife and myself, has greatly enjoyed living in Hong Kong. She's had a wonderful education. She's made marvellous friends, and I think it's going to be particularly difficult for her when she leaves the place which she regards as home.

When we leave we'll be looking back on many friendships made, and I hope that the friends we've made will be friends for life. I'd certainly like to think that, at a New Year.

I suppose when we look back in Hong Kong over the last months, we see once again a story of extraordinary success.

The Hong Kong economy is one of the best......best performing in the world.

We're the freest economy in the world, according to American think-tanks. We've been very happy to see our growth rate staying pretty high, and we've seen inflation come down.

We've seen unemployment figures fall. Any unemployment is too much, but at least we’re creating more jobs again. And we’ve seen our reserves - the amount of money that we've got as a community in the bank - we've seen our reserves increasing even more over the last months.

2

That economic strength has enabled us to do what a caring community like this wants to see the Government doing. Making better provision for the elderly, for the disabled, for the disadvantaged, for all those who don’t have as successful and prosperous a time in society as the majority.

It’s right to take care of them, and it’s right also -1 think - for us to have started to involve the community in a discussion of our long-term housing strategy, because the most important thing in every family's life, apart from the health and education of their children, is to have a decent roof over their heads. So housing matters to everyone.

Well, we look forward from this New Year to the challenging year ahead. I think we can do so with quite a bit of confidence. There aren’t many places around the world where you could say that the economy had doubled in strength over the last dozen or so years. There aren’t many places around the world, with such a fine civil service as we've got.

There aren't many places around the world where you can point to as great social stability as there is in Hong Kong. And what's one of the signs of that? Well, the fact that here in Hong Kong our crime has been falling and is now actually lower than it was in the early 1980's.

So Hong Kong is a successful and decent place for everyone to live in. I very much hope that it will continue to be even more successful, that it will continue to be a splendid place in which you can bring up your family, and that when you look back at the next Chinese New Year, when you look back on this year, you’ll be able to see another one which has been very successful.

I'll leave Hong Kong this summer, with - as I said - a good deal of nostalgia, a good deal of feeling for one of the finest places in the world, one of the greatest cities in the world, and I'm sure that Mr Tung - when he becomes Chief Executive of the SAR - will be committed to doing all he can to keep things that way.

So, to all of you watching at home - Sun Chun Fai Lok.

End

3

Acting Governor’s statement ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is a statement from the Acting Governor, Mrs Anson Chan:

"I was saddened to learn of the Lunar New Year Parade accident. On behalf of the community, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the victims and their families. I would also like to send my regards to our Police colleagues who risked their lives while carrying out duties. I wish all injured a speedy recovery so that they can celebrate the New Year with their family."

End

Parade accident ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

One person died and 31 others were injured in a traffic accident during the Lunar New Year parade in Tsim Sha Tsui East this (Friday) afternoon.

The deceased, a 46-year-old European woman was certified dead before arriving at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. A 32-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were admitted to the hospital in "critical" condition. Two men and three women aged between 37 and 60 were also admitted in conditions ranging from "satisfactory" to "poor".

The remaining 24 casualties, comprising eight men, six women, five girls and five boys, aged between three and 45, had been dischaged after treatment.

Meanwhile, Social Welfare Department’s Medical Social Workers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital had visited the injured at wards to offer counselling and financial assistance from the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme.

End

4

Heavy penalties for offenders of labour laws in 1996 ♦ * * ♦ ♦

There were 4,438 convicted cases in 1996 relating to employers breaching labour laws, according to figures released by the Labour Department today (Sunday).

These convictions resulted in a total fine of $10.1 million, representing an increase of 21 per cent compared with the figure in 1995.

Acting Senior Labour Officer (Prosecutions), Mrs Tonia Leung, said today that the department would continue to protect employee rights and benefits by prosecuting employers who did not abide by the labour laws.

"Employers should take the statutory provisions seriously. Otherwise, they will face prosecutions and have to pay heavy penalties for their malpractices," she said.

Among the convicted cases in 1996, 79.5 per cent were relating to the violation of the Employment Ordinance (EO) and its subsidiary regulations. The largest share of offences involved the failure to comply with provisions on statutory holidays and restrictions imposed on working hours of women and young employees in industrial employment.

"In recent years, the department has stepped up prosecutions against offences involving payment of wages. Employers should make sure that wages are paid not later than seven days after the due date. They will be prosecuted for violating this provision without a reasonable cause," said Mrs Leung.

A record high penalty of nearly $500,000 was imposed on a company in 1996 for not paying wages to imported workers within the prescribed statutory time limits and not granting a statutory holiday as provided under the EO.

In 1996, 120 cases of wages offences were convicted, showing a 100 per cent increase as compared with the figure in 1995. Also, the average fine for such offences also rose from $7,500 in 1995 to $13,000 in 1996, representing an increase by 73 per cent.

Mrs Leung also reminded employers that pregnant employees were protected from dismissals without justifiable causes.

In 1996, 13 employers were convicted for breaching provisions on maternity protection. In one of these cases, the fine imposed was as high as $30,000 plus $3,000 cost.

5

On the other hand, 874 cases were convicted under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO) in 1996. The total fines amounted to $2.8 million, representing an increase of 38 per cent.

Of these cases, 701 involved the failure of employers to take out compulsory insurance policies for employees and 73 were related to the failure to effect employee compensation payments.

In 1996, 58 employers were convicted for terminating the employment contracts of injured employees as prohibited under the ECO.

"The fine for violating the provisions under the ECO can be very high,” Mrs Leung warned.

She also cited one case in which an employer was fined $70,000 for failing to take out compulsory insurance, failing to report an industrial accident to the Labour Department and failing to pay periodical payments to the injured employee.

Mrs Leung reminded employers that the maximum fines for offences under both the EO and ECO were substantially revised in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

"Employers should refrain from contravening provisions of these ordinances, or they are liable to very heavy penalties," she said.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Monday, February 10,1997

Contents Page No,

Safety arrangements for parade........................................ 1

No plan to change policy on foreign domestic workers.................. 1

Applications invited for cross-border coach services.................. 2

Seminar to promote effective building management...................... 3

Water storage figure.................................................. 4

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results........................... 5

I

4

- 1 -

Safety arrangements for parade

*****

In response to press enquiries in relation to the accident during the Lunar New Year Day parade organised by the Hong Kong Tourist Association, a spokesman for the Transport Department said:

“At a meeting with the Transport Branch this (Monday) morning, it was decided that the following measures should be taken to strengthen the safety arrangements for similar activities:

* To draw up a set of guidelines for parade organisers in relation to floats and vehicles on parade in consultation with other government departments. To make the guidelines as comprehensive as possible, reference will be drawn from overseas experience.

* To consider dispatching an inspection team to check on floats and vehicles taking part in a parade.

As there may be similar activities over the next few months, details of the new arrangements would be announced as soon as possible.”

End

No plan to change policy on foreign domestic workers *****

In response to media enquiries on an English press report yesterday (Sunday) saying that the work door may open to maids from the mainland, a Goverrupent spokesman said today (Monday) that the Administration had no plans to change its existing policy on foreign domestic workers and allow mainland maids to work in Hong Kong.

End

- 2 -

Applications invited 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 Lok Ma Chau and Sha Tau Kok Border Control Points.

A spokesman for the department said: "Applications should be submitted to both the Transport Department and the Country Port of People's Government of Shenzhen Port Office.

"All applications are subject to approval at the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Joint SubWorking Group Meeting on Cross Border Transport Services."

Applications should be made in writing giving the following information:

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

Description of the nature of the service, the number and type of vehicles used, the seating capacity and position of the steering wheel of each vehicle;

The proposed daily number of crossings between Hong Kong and China, the name of hie control point, crossing time at the control point, detailed routeings and the tem.inal facilities on Hong Kong side;

Relevant experiences in operating similar transport services;

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

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

The closing date for applications is Wednesday, February 26, 1997. All applications are free of charge.

9

- 3 -

Those who are interested may submit their applications in person or by post to both the Public Vehicles Section, Licensing Division of the Transport Department, Hong Kong at 3rd Floor, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong and the Country Port of People’s Government of Shenzhen Port Office at Room 505, No.3 Fu Tian South Road, Shenzhen.

Unsuccessful applicants in response to the Transport Department Notice of April 1 last year should re-apply.

Members of the public can contact Ms Choi Hau-yee at Tel: 2804 2578 for further information.

End

Seminar to promote effective building management

***** i

Flat owners, office-bearers of owners’ corporations and mutual aid committees, building management professionals as well as other interested people are invited to take part in a building management seminar on March 15 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

Jointly organised by the Home Affairs Department (HAD) and the Housing Department, the Building Management Seminar ’97 is aimed at promoting good building management among residents, flat owners, and office-bearers of building management organisations to achieve a better living environment.

An HAD spokesman said today (Monday) that the seminar will give participants an opportunity to acquire a good working knowledge and proper concepts of effective building management, and to share their experiences with other participants.

Topics to be covered include the formation of owners' corporations in Home Ownership estates, building electricity maintenance, building repair and maintenance, the Building Safety Inspection Scheme, and legal aspects of building management.

Speakers will include a representative of the China Light and Power Company Ltd, an estate surveyor of the Housing Department, a chartered surveyor, a building surveyor and a structural engineer of the Buildings Department, and a solicitor.

4

An open discussion will follow each session to give participants the opportunity to raise questions and exchange views on various issues relating to building management with the speakers.

An exhibition on building management will also be held at the venue.

Admission on a first-come-first-served basis is free. Application forms are now available at district offices.

Completed forms should be returned to the HAD headquarters, 30/F, Southom Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai before February 25.

Enquiries can be made at 2835 1496.

End

Water storage figure ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 a.m. today (Monday) stood at 78.7 per cent of capacity or 460.987 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 466.628 million cubic metres of water, representing 79.6 per cent of capacity.

End

5

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

*****

Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Coupon Amount applied Amount allotted Average price accepted (yield) Lowest price accepted (yield) Pro rata ratio Average tender price (yield) 10 February 1997 : EF Notes 2902 11 February 1997 11 February 1999 5.66% HK$2,870 MN HKS500 MN 100.29 (5.58 PCT) 100.28 (5.59 PCT) About 20 PCT 100.21 (5.62 PCT)

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Tuesday, February 11,1997

Contents

Govt to examine CLP’s proposal on Black Point deferral.............. 1

New Central and Western District Officer appointed.................. 2

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results......................... 3

1

Govt to examine CLP’s proposal on Black Point deferral ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, said today (Tuesday) that the Government needed to examine China Light & Power’s (CLP) submission relating to the deferral of generating units 5 to 8 at Black Point Power Station in detail before forming any firm views on it.

Mr Ip stressed that the Government wished to pursue with CLP options which are in the best interests of consumers.

On 5 November 1996, the Executive Council reviewed the electricity generating capacity of CLP and CLP was urged to submit to the Government, by 5 February 1997, a detailed proposal on the deferral of Black Point units 5 to 8, each for five years.

A spokesman for the Economic Services Branch noted that CLP had advised that manufacture of units 5 and 6 was too far advanced to defer, but commissioning of these units could be deferred with additional costs and loss of warranties.

As regards units 7 and 8, CLP had advised that these could be deferred without loss of warranties and with benefits to consumers in the short term. However, CLP felt that the long term costs would outweigh the benefits.

Giving the Government’s initial reaction to CLP’s response, the spokesman said that CLP’s report lacked certain key information to enable the Government to assess whether the company's proposals were in the best interests of consumers.

In particular -

* CLP said that deferral would result in savings to consumers until at least 2008, yet had chosen to emphasise that deferral would result in additional costs to consumers by the very distant year of 2040. More information was needed on the potential savings to consumers.

* CLP had not spelled out the tariff implications of the different options.

The spokesman said that additional information would be sought from CLP and further advice sought from consultants, so as to ensure that any options pursued are in the best interests of consumers.

2

The spokesman noted that CLP had suggested that some older diesel-fired turbines at Castle Peak and Tsing Yi could be decommissioned so as to make an immediate impact on the company’s excess reserve capacity.

The spokesman said that the Government had been pressing the company for some time to take immediate steps to reduce its current reserve margin. The proposed decommissioning of these older units would be examined in that context and not as an alternative to deferral of units at Black Point.

The spokesman also noted that CLP’s report made reference to possible sales to Hongkong Electric from 2003 to 2005. The report also said that the possibility of such sales had not been discussed with Hongkong Electric.

He said that the Government had considerable doubts about whether reliability of supply could be maintained under any transfer of power arrangements without installation of an additional interconnector, which would be very expensive and required for only two or three years.

Copies of CLP’s submission have been sent to the Clerk to the LegCo Panel on Economic Services on 10 February for distribution to panel members.

End

New Central and Western District Officer appointed ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

Mrs Charlotte Li Chung Mee-yu will assume the post of Central and Western District Officer tomorrow (Wednesday), replacing Mr Philip Yung Wai-hung.

Mrs Li, aged 46, joined the Trade Officer grade in 1973 and was promoted to Principal Trade Officer in 1989.

She has served in the Industry Department, Trade Department and Financial Services Branch.

Her last posting was the Assistant Secretary of the Financial Services Branch, which she joined on attachment as an administrative officer in 1994.

End

- 3 -

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Amount applied Amount allotted Average yield accepted Highest yield accepted Pro rata ratio Average tender yield : 11 February 1997 : EF Bills : Q707 : 12 February 1997 : . 14 May 1997 : HKS8.570 MN : HKS2.000 MN : 4.53 PCT : 4.55 PCT : About 77 PCT : 4.64 PCT

4

Tender date : 11 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : H758

Issue date : 12 February 1997

Maturity date : 13 August 1997

Amount applied : HK$5,610MN

Amount allotted : HK$ 1,000 MN

Average yield accepted : 4.69 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 4.69 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 96 PCT

Average tender yield : 4.78 PCT

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tender to be held in the week beginning - 17 Feb 1997

Tender date : 18 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number Q070

Issue date : 19 February 1997

Maturity date : 19 March 1997

Tenor : 28 Days

Amount on offer

HK$5,000 MN

5

Tender date : 18 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q708

Issue date 19 February 1997

Maturity date : 21 May 1997

Tenor : 91 Days

Amount on offer : HKS2.000 MN + 500 MN

Tender date : 18 February 1997

Paper on offer EF Bills

Issue number : Y786

Issue date : 19 February 1997

Maturity date 18 February 1998

Tenor : 364 Days

Amount on offer HKS500 MN + 150 MN

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, February 12,1997

Contents EageJNp_._

JLG Budget expert group to meet tomorrow.............................. 1

Working Group set up to study registration of ADP in HK............... 1

Statistics on trade involving outward processing in China............. 2

Subvention for adult education courses................................ 7

1

JLG Budget expert group to meet tomorrow *****

The Sino-British Joint Liaison Group will hold their eighteenth round of Expert Talks on February 13 in Hong Kong to discuss the preparation of Hong Kong's transitional Budget and related matters.

The British team will be led by Mr K C Kwong, Secretary for the Treasury of the Hong Kong Government. The Chinese team will be led by Mr Chen Zuo’er, Chinese Representative on the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group. They will be assisted by experts.

End

Working Group set up to study registration of ADP in HK ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

A Working Group has been set up under the Dental Sub-Committee of the Health and Medical Development Advisory Committee (HMDAC) to study matters relating to the registration of Ancillary Dental Personnel (ADP) in Hong Kong.

The ADP includes dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental technicians and dental surgery assistants.

A report of the Dental Sub-Committee published in 1991 recommended that a statutory registration for ancillary dental personnel be introduced.

The Working Group would now review the 1991 report, the roles and practices of the ancillary dental personnel, and advise on implementation approach of the registration issue as well as on the education and training of ADP, a spokesman for the HMDAC’s Dental Sub-committee said.

In carrying out this job, the Working Group would take into consideration overseas experience and international practices, the suitability of a registration system in Hong Kong and concerns of both ADP and dentists on the system, he added.

Professor Peter Yuen Pok-man has been appointed by the Dental Subcommittee to be the chairman of the Working Group. Being a prominent member of the academic field, Professor Yuen has wide experiences in advising various committees and councils on health and medical development matters.

- 2 -

He stressed that the input solicited from all parties concerned would be carefully synthesised.

Members of the Working Group will comprise nominees from the ADP categories in both the private and public sectors, one representative each from the dental profession, the Dental Faculty and the Department of Health and two lay members.

The first meeting of the Working Group will be held in February. The Working Group is expected to complete its report and recommendations by the second half of this year.

Any persons or parties who wish to express their views on the matter may send in their submissions to the Secretariat, Working Group on the Registration of Ancillary Dental Personnel, Room 35, 21 st Floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Hong Kong or by fax to 2575 8944.

End

Statistics on trade involving outward processing in China *****

In the third quarter of 1996, 52% of Hong Kong's total exports to China were for outward processing; the figure was 75% for domestic exports, and 49% for reexports.

On the other hand, 79% of Hong Kong's imports from China were related to outward processing, according to statistics released today (Wednesday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Over the same period, 86% of Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China.

The corresponding proportions in the third quarter of 1995 were 49% for total exports to China, 75% for domestic exports to China, 45% for re-exports to China, 76% for imports from China and 80% for re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China.

3

In January - September 1996, 48% of Hong Kong’s total exports to China were for outward processing; the figure was 73% for domestic exports, and 45% for reexports. On the other hand, 80% of Hong Kong's imports from China were related to outward processing.

Over the same period, 86% of Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China.

The corresponding proportions in January - September of 1995 were 49% for total exports to China, 71% for domestic exports to China, 45% for re-exports to China, 75% for imports from China and 82% for re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China.

To provide a better understanding of the nature and importance of outward processing in China initiated by Hong Kong firms, the Census & Statistics Department has been conducting a sample survey as from the third quarter of 1988 to distinguish Hong Kong's exports to China into those which are for outward processing and those which are not.

The scope of the survey has been extended to cover Hong Kong's imports from China and Hong Kong’s re-expcrts of China origin to all countries other than China as from 1989 and 1991 respectively.

The results for the third quarter and January - September 1996 are now available.

In value terms, $62,122 million of Hong Kong’s total exports to China in the third quarter of 1996 were for outward processing, representing an increase of 11% over the third quarter of 1995. The value of domestic exports to China for outward processing decreased by 6% to $11,528 million whilst the value of re-exports to China for outward processing grew by 15% to $50,594 million.

Over the same period of comparison, the value of imports from China related to outward processing increased by 11% to $126,749 million. On the other hand, $163,124 million of Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China, representing an increase of 18%.

4

In January - September of 1996, $165,809 million of Hong Kong's total exports to China were for outward processing, representing an increase of 3% over January -September of 1995. The value of domestic exports to China for outward processing decreased by 5% to $31,293 million while that for re-exports to China for outward processing grew by 5% to $134,516 million.

Over the same period of comparison, the value of imports from China related to outward processing increased by 13% to $336,384 million. On the other hand, $410,904 million of Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China were produced through outward processing in China, representing an increase of 14%.

For the purpose of the survey, exports to China for outward processing refer to raw materials or semi-manufactures exported from or through Hong Kong to China for processing with a contractual arrangement for subsequent re-importation of the processed goods into Hong Kong.

Imports from China related to outward processing refer to processed goods imported from China of which all or part of the raw materials or semi-manufactures have been under contractual arrangement exported from or through Hong Kong to China for processing.

Re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China involving outward processing in China refer to processed goods re-exported through Hong Kong, of which all or part of the raw materials or semi-manufactures have been exported from or through Hong Kong to China for processing with a contractual arrangement for subsequent re-importation of the processed goods into Hong Kong.

In interpreting the statistics, it should be noted that the value and proportion of imports from China and re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China involving outward processing in China refer to those of the entire goods instead of just the value added contributed by outward processing in China.

A sample of trade declarations in respect of Hong Kong's trade with China (domestic exports and re-exports to China, and imports from China) as well as Hong Kong's re-exports of China origin to all countries other than China is selected for enumeration to obtain the required information from the establishments concerned.

- 5 -

A spokesman for the Census and Statistics Department explained that under the internationally accepted system of recording trade flows, all movements of goods (except transhipments and goods-in-transit) across the border, whether for outward processing or not, are recorded as external trade. Thus the movements of goods associated with outward processing are correctly included in the regular trade statistics.

The findings of the survey, however, facilitate a more informed analysis of the nature of Hong Kong-China trade. In this respect, the survey results are a useful supplement to the regular trade statistics.

The above survey results will be included in the December 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade". This report will be on sale by the end of February 1997 at the Government Publications Sales Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, and at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai at $129 a copy.

Enquiries on the survey results may be directed to the Trade Surveys and Research Section of the Census and Statistics Department on telephone 2565 7540.


6 -

The estimates for the third quarter and January - September of 1996 and the corresponding changes over the same period in 1995 are summarised in the following table:-

ESTIMATED VALUE AND PROPORTION OF TRADE INVOLVING OUTWARD PROCESSING IN CHINA. 3RD QUARTER AND JANUARY - SEPTEMBER 1996

Percentage Percentage

3rd change Jan. - change over

qtr. over 3rd Sep. Jan. - Sep.

1996 qtr.. 129-5 1996 1995

(HKD Mn.) (%) (HKD Mn.) (%)

Total trade value * :

Total exports to China 119,552 + 4.6 344,994 + 5.3

Domestic exports to China 15,397 - 6.3 43,115 - 6.4

Re-exports to China 104,155 + 6.4 301,879 + 7.2

Imports from China 160,216 + 6.5 419,444 + 5.3

Re-exports of China origin to 189,070 + 9.3 478,710 + 8.2

all countries other than China

Estimated value involving outward orocessina in China:

Total exports to China 62,122 +10.6 165,809 + 3.3

Domestic exports to China 11,528 - 5.8 31,293 - 4.5

Re-exports to China 50,594 +15.2 134,516 + 5.2

Imports from China 126,749 +11.4 336,384 +12.8

Re-exports of China origin to 163,124 +17.7 410,904 +13.5

all countries other than China

Estimated proportion involving outward processing in China :

3rd qtr. 1226 (%) 3rd qtr. 1295. (%) Jan. - Sep. 1926 (%) Jan. - Sep.

Total exports to China 52.0 49.1 48.1 49.0

Domestic exports to China 74.9 74.5 72.6 71.2

Re-exports to China 48.6 44.9 44.6 45.4

Imports from China 79.1 75.6 80.2 74.9

Re-exports of China origin to 86.3 80.1 85.8 81.8

all countries other than China

* The value excludes commodities and transactions not classified according to kind.

End

7

Subvention for adult education courses ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

Registered non-profit-making voluntary organisations are invited to apply for government subvention to run adult education courses for the 1997/98 school year.

’’These courses will complement and supplement the government’s activities in the field of adult education,” Senior Education Officer, Miss Y H Wong, said today (Wednesday).

"Areas eligible for subvention include basic Chinese literacy courses; general education for particular groups, such as factory workers and fishermen; social and moral education; labour education; pre-vocational training; special education for the physically or mentally handicapped adults; careers education; and pre-retirement/retirement education; and job-oriented courses.

"Other courses to be subvented are re-orientation and Cantonese courses for newcomers to Hong Kong from other parts of Asia; adult education courses conducted on an experimental basis; and courses in geographical areas not covered by the Education Department’s services," she added.

The subvention will cover mainly cost of staffing, basic teaching and office equipment, charges and rent.

Application forms, available at the Education Department’s Adult Education Section, 11th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, should be returned by April 30.

Applicants will be informed of the results in August.

For further enquiries, please contact the section at 2892 6671.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, February 13,1997

Contents Page No,

Princess Alexandra to visit Hong Kong.................................... 1

Changes to British citizens’ immigration status proposed................. 2

Expressways to open for traffic next week................................ 3

Year of Heritage set to get off to flying start.......................... 8

Hong Kong's external trade statistics for December 1996................. 10

Weather of January 1997 ................................................ 20

Widening of Castle Peak Road............................................ 23

Transfer of VMs from HIDC today......................................... 23

Monitors' report submitted to CS........................................ 24

Philatelic products to be put on sale at stamp exhibition............... 24

1 Black Watch replace 1 Staffords....................................... 25

1

Princess Alexandra to visit Hong Kong ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, will arrive in Hong Kong tomorrow (Friday) morning for a seven-day visit.

The Princess will arrive at the airport on board BA 25 at about 10.45 am and be greeted by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten.

During her stay in the territory, the Princess will attend a number of private and public engagements, including a series of police functions, which have been arranged in view of the close association of the Princess with the Hong Kong Police. Princess Alexandra has been the Honorary Commandant-General of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force (RHKPF) for over a quarter of a century.

On Monday (February 17), the Princess will visit the Police Headquarters in Wan Chai where she will be received by the Commissioner of Police and inspect a Guard of Honour.

The Princess will later view the "150th Anniversary Showcase" depicting the history of the Force.

Afterwards, the Royal visitor will unveil a commemorative plaque to mark the official opening of the Arsenal House West Wing - a $524 million tower block housing a number of police units and formations including the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, the Identification Bureau, the Interpol as well as the Crime Wing Headquarters.

On Tuesday (February 18), Her Royal Highness will visit the existing Auxiliary Police Headquarters at Gascoigne Road, Kowloon where she will tour its recreation club, meet civilian staff, watch an RHKAP band performance and meet trainees at the multi-purpose hall.

After that, the Princess will travel by car to the new RHKAP Headquarters in Kowloon Bay where she will unveil a commemorative plaque on the ground floor to mark the opening of the Headquarters.

The $70 million new headquarters is the first purpose-built headquarters for the Auxiliary Police whose history can be traced back to 1914 when the first Police Reserve in Hong Kong was formed.

In the afternoon of Wednesday (February 19), Princess Alexandra will visit HMS Peacock on Stonecutters Island.

End

2

Changes to British citizens’ immigration status proposed ♦ ♦ * * *

The Government is seeking legislative amendments and administrative changes in order to bring the immigration status of British citizens in line with that of other foreign nationals, a Government spokesman announced today (Thursday).

The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997, to be gazetted tomorrow (Friday), is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on February 19.

’’Subject to its enactment, the changes will be effective on April 1 this year together with the new administrative measures,’’ the spokesman said.

He said that in recent months, local labour groups, the British citizens themselves as well as their employers had expressed concern about possible changes to the immigration status of British citizens.

’’Currently, British citizens enjoy some special immigration status because of the special relationship between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

’’After an internal review, the Government concluded that changes should be in place before the transfer of sovereignty to remove any differences in the immigration status of British citizens and other foreign nationals,” he said.

One of the proposed changes is to require British citizens to apply for visa, just like other foreign nationals, when they come to Hong Kong for employment, study or settlement or to establish or join in a business.

This can be done administratively with the Director of Immigration issuing an order to withdraw the visa exemptions currently enjoyed by British citizens.

Another proposal, which is also an administrative measure, is to grant British citizens coming for visit a visa-free period of stay of six months, as compared with the present visa-free period of 12 months.

’’The British Government currently offers six-month visa-free visit to British National (Overseas) passport holders and will offer the same treatment to future Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport holders," the spokesman explained.

As for legislative changes to be effected through the Bill, one proposal is to remove the right to land in Hong Kong enjoyed by British citizens who had lived here continuously for seven years or more.

3

"With the removal of the right to land, it is intended that British citizens who enjoy this right in Hong Kong will be given unconditional stay in the territory automatically," the spokesman said.

’ O'

"Another change proposed by the Bill is to remove the special deportation arrangements enjoyed by British citizens so that the arrangements that apply to all foreign nationals will also be applicable to them," he added.

The spokesman noted that with the Basic Law coming into effect after the transfer of sovereignty on July 1, British citizens will be able to acquire the right of abode in the HKSAR just as other persons not of Chinese nationality provided that they fulfil the requirements of Article 24(2)(4) of the Basic Law.

"They will then be eligible for a Hong Kong permanent identity card," he said.

An information leaflet detailing the proposed changes is available at all Immigration Offices, District Offices and the British Trade Commission. It is also available on the Internet Hong Kong Immigration Home Page http://www.info.gov.hk/immd/.

Enquiries may be made by telephone on the hotline 2824 4055, by fax on 2598 8388 or by E-mail: roa@immd.gcn.gov.hk. They can also be made in person at the special enquiries counter, British Citizens Unit, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

End

Expressways to open for traffic next week

* * ♦ ♦ ♦

Two major access roads to the Chek Lap Kok new airport - West Kowloon Expressway (WKE) and Kwai Chung Viaduct (KCV) - will be opened for traffic on February 20 (Thursday) to provide an alternative route for motorists travelling between Tsim Sha Tsui and Kwai Chung along a segregated new road network.

On Hong Kong Island, the Sai Ying Pun Section of Route 7 between Sheung Wan and Belcher Bay is all set for opening on February 26 to provide a relief to the congested ground traffic in Sai Ying Pun.

4

The opening of these new roads was revealed today (Thursday) by Chief Engineer (Western Harbour Link) of Highways Department, Mr Adrian Ng, at a joint press conference with the Transport Department.

West Kowloon Expressway is a 4.2 kilometre-long dual three-lane expressway linking Kwai Chung Viaduct in the north and the Western Harbour Crossing in the south.

From WKE, motorists can connect to Lai Chi Kok area at the Lai Wan Interchange and to Jordan area at the Yau Ma Tei Interchange.

Kwai Chung Viaduct is a three kilometre-long dual four-lane expressway through Kwai Chung.

It links the Rambler Channel Bridge in the north and the WKE in the south with connection to Kwai Chung Road, Tsuen Wan Road, Ching Cheung Road and the Container Port Road.

Mr Ng said the two new expressways would serve as a direct road link between Kwai Chung and the South Kowloon area.

"The opening of these two new major roads will help relieve existing congestion on Kwai Chung Road and in West Kowloon.

"Their opening will also enable the public and motorists to familiarise themselves with the new road network before the opening of the Western Harbour Crossing (WHC) which is expected to commence operation later this year."

Construction of the WKE commenced in August 1993 while works for KCV started in May 1993. The total cost of the two contracts involved amounts to about $4,500 million.

On traffic arrangements, Chief Engineer (Kowloon) of Transport Department, Mrs Joanna Kwok, said WKE would serve as a direct road link between South Kowloon and Kwai Chung.

"Motorists can expect a smooth journey from Kwai Chung to Jordan Road. However, a number of slip roads at the Yau Ma Tei Interchange will not be opened at this stage. Pending the opening of the Western Harbour Crossing, these elevated roads at the southern end will only be connected to Jordan Road.

5

"The three-lane Jordan bound carriageway will be reduced to one lane before entering the Yau Ma Tei Interchange with speed limit reduced from 80 km per hour to 50 km. Motorists will experience some delay at this point when exiting WKE.

"The situation will be improved upon the opening of all the slip roads when WHC commences its operation.

"Furthermore, we expect that the queue-up would be confined to the southern end of WKE and will not affect the traffic of the local road network. The Transport Department will closely monitor the situation and make any necessary improvements."

Mrs Kwok noted that there are still road work along Canton Road, Ferry Street and Jordan Road.

"To avoid overloading these local roads, motorists from Kwai Chung/Lai Chi Kok heading for Cross Harbour Tunnel (CHT) or Hung Hom are advised to use the West Kowloon Corridor instead of the new WKE/KCV.

"The opening of the new roads will help enable some of the traffic for South Kowloon to bypass the traffic heading towards CHT and Hung Hom along the parallel routes such as West Kowloon Corridor and Nathan Road," she said.

Upon the opening of WHC, Mrs Kwok noted there would be a new network of access roads connecting to the tunnel on both sides of the harbour (Annex A) with appropriate road signs directing traffic.

As for the Sai Ying Pun Section of Route 7, it is a 1.7 km dual two-lane elevated structure along Connaught Road West linking Rumsey Street Flyover in the east and Belcher Bay Link in the west.

Near its western end, it links up with the existing Hill Road flyover serving as a connection for traffic from Pokfulam area.

Senior Engineer (Central and Western) of Transport Department, Mrs Sorais Lee, noted that the opening of this section would provide a bypass to the existing congested ground level road network at Sai Ying Pun and would help improve the local traffic situation in the area.

Mrs Lee said there would be five new or modified junctions opened at the same time when WHC starts operation (Annex A).

6

She noted that the local road network in Western has been adjusted since mid-1996 to gear up for the opening of WHC.

With the completion of Smithfield Extension in late 1997, WHC traffic will have an additional alternative route to and from Pokfiilam Road via Belcher Bay Link, she added.

To advise motorists of the most direct and shortest route to their destinations on the opposite side of the harbour, new logos representing these three crossings have been designed.

These new tunnel logos will be displayed on new and existing directional signs along the relevant major routes leading to the crossings.

The colour of the logos shown on direction signs on expressways will be white on green background whereas those on other roads will be white on blue background.

Annex A

Traffic arrangements for ths opening of Western Harbour Crossing (WHO

Kowloon

Upon the opening of WHC at a later date, all the slip roads at Yau Ma Ta Interchange will be opened. By then, traffic can access the WHC via the following routes:

* From Kwai Chung district via West Kowloon Expressway

* From Lai Chi Kok/Cheung Sha Wan area via West Kowloon Corridor

From Mong Kok/Tai Kok Tsui area via Cherry Street and Road Pl (S/B)

From Yau Ma Tei area via Waterloo Road/Ferry Street/Kansu Street

* From Jordan/Tsim Sha Tsui area via .Jordan Road/Canton Road

7

For the returning trip, traffic exit from the WHC can take up the following routes :

* WKE to Kwai Chung district

Yau Ma Tei Interchange, West Kowloon Corridor to Lai Chi

Kok/Cheung Sha Wan area

* Road Pl(NZB), Cherry Street to Mong KokZTai Kok Tsui area

Yau Ma Tei Interchange. Waterloo Road/Ferry Street for Yau Ma Tei area

* Yau Ma Tei Interchange, Jordan Road/Canton Road for Jordan/Tsim Sha Tsui area

Hong Kong

There will be five new/modified junctions opened at the same time as the opening of WHC, namely Connaught Road West/Water Street, Connaught Road West/Eastern Street, Connaught Road West/Hill Road, Des Voeux Road West/Hill Road and Connaught Road West/Des Voeux Road West/Tram Depot access.

Traffic can access the WHC via the following routes:-

From Pokfulam area via Victoria Road, Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town New Praya and Belcher Bay Link;

From Pokfulam area via Pokfield Road. Smithfield, Forbes Street, Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town New Praya and Belcher Bay Link;

* From Pokfulam area via existing Hill Road Flyover and Connaught Road West;

From Bonham Road via Pokfulam Road, Second Street, Water Street and Connaught Road West;

From Central via Rumsey Street flyover or slip road near Eastern Street and Route 7 at Sai Ying Pun.

8

For the returning trip, traffic exit from the WHC can take up the following routes:

* Route 7 and Rumsey Street Flyover to the east;

* Route 7, Belcher Bay Link. Sands Street, Rockhill Street Extension, Belcher's Street and Victoria Road to Pokfulam area;

Route 7, Belcher Bay Link, Sands Street, Rockhill Street Extension, Pokfield Road to Pokfulam Road;

Sai Ying Pun interchange, Connaught Road West, Western Street, Pokfulam Road to Bonham Road.

With the completion of Smithfield Extension in late 1997, WHC traffic will have an additional alternative route to/from Pokfulam Road via Belcher Bay Link. Sufficient signs will be erected to guide motorists the various routings.

End

Year of Heritage set to get off to flying start *****

The community has nowadays attached much greater importance to the preservation of cultural relics than it was 20 years ago. the Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB), Professor David Lung, said today (Thursday).

He said that since the establishment of the Board in 1976. it had made every endeavour in the preservation of the territory's culture and history.

"It is essential that this effort be sustained so that the message of heritage preservation could be further driven home," he stressed.

Speaking at a press conference to announce details of the "Year of Heritage". Professor Lung noted that Hong Kong had 6,000 years of heritage ranging from archaeological sites containing pottery and stone implements of the prehistoric era to the splendid traditional buildings of Chinese and Western styles of more recent times.

9

"Through the Year of Heritage project, we hope to raise the understanding and awareness of the general public to our marvellous heritage and thereby increase commitment to its protection for future generations," he added.

The Year of Heritage is jointly organised by the AAB, the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust and the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch. The event will be officially kicked off by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, at the Chater Garden, Central, next Friday (February 21).

This will be followed by a wide range of activities throughout the year for public participation such as lectures and talks, exhibitions, archaeological workshops and field camps, heritage tours and walks, mini-concerts at historical monuments, setting up a "Friends of Heritage", as well as an International Heritage Conference.

Also attending the press conference were the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, Mr Alexander Au; the Chairman of the Council of the Trust, Mr Edward Ho; and the Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport, Mrs Jenny Wallis.

Mr Au stated that the establishment and effective functioning of the Trust depended entirely on donations from various individuals and organisations. "It is the enthusiastic support from the community that enables the Trust to allocate over $3 million to sponsor the Year of Heritage project," he said.

To generate more resources for the Trust to promote the heritage work in Hong Kong, Mr Au said the Trust would organise a number of fund-raising activities including sale of souvenirs which are both educational and collectable; a Heritage Day in Lung Yeuk Tau, Fanling, followed by a basin meal; an Urban Heritage Walk at the Central and Western Heritage Trail; and a fund-raising dinner party.

Mr Ho also joined others to urge the public to participate in the well-designed activities and to work together with interested parties to promote the preservation and conservation of local heritage.

Television and radio APIs and posters have been produced to publicise the event ; quarterly newsletters and leaflets will also be published to keep the general public informed of the on-going programmes of the Year of Heritage.

Members of the public arc welcomed to call the AMO either on telephone 2721 2326 or by fax 2721 6216 for more information.

End

10

Hong Kong’s external trade statistics for December 1996 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

In December 1996, the value of re-exports grew by 3.5% over a year earlier to $98.4 billion, while the value of domestic exports decreased by 9.6% to $18.2 billion. Meanwhile, imports increased by 2.9% to $131.4 billion.

The Census and Statistics Department today (Thursday) released detailed statistics on external trade with breakdown by country/territory and commodity for December and the whole year of 1996.

Changes in the value of Hong Kong’s re-exports to ten main destinations are shown in Table 1.

Comparing December 1996 with December 1995, increases were recorded in the value of re-exports to Singapore (+22%), the United States (+9.9%), China (+9.1%), the United Kingdom (+3.8%) and the Netherlands (+3.8%).

However, decreases were recorded in the value of re-exports to Germany (-15%), South Korea (-7.3%), Japan (-5.6%), Taiwan (-1.0%) and France (-0.4%).

Comparing 1996 with 1995, the value of re-exports to most main destinations showed increases of various magnitudes : Japan (+14%), the United Kingdom (+12%), the Netherlands (+9.3%), Singapore (+9.1%), China (+8.8%), France (+7.9%), the United States (+4.9%), South Korea (+4.1%) and Germany (+3.2%).

However, the value of re-exports to Taiwan decreased by 4.0%.

Taking all destinations together, the value of re-exports for the whole year of 1996 was $1,185.8 billion, 6.6% higher than that in 1995.

Table 2 shows changes in the value of re-exports of ten principal commodity divisions.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, more notable increases in the value of re-exports were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $13.4 billion or 23%); clothing (by $9.6 billion or 11%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $9.1 billion or 8.0%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $7.3 billion or 5.1%); footwear (by $5.1 billion or 8.4%); and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $4.8 billion or 9.4%).

11

Over the same period, decreases in the value of re-exports were registered for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $3.0 billion or 2.6%).

Changes in the value of domestic exports to ten main destinations are shown in Table 3.

Comparing December 1996 with December 1995, the value of domestic exports to all main destinations showed decreases of various magnitudes : Singapore (-25%), Taiwan (-20%), the Netherlands (-17%), Japan (-17%), the United Kingdom (-16%), Canada (-14%), Germany (-13%), the United States (-8.6%), France (-5.5%) and China (-0.2%).

Comparing 1996 with 1995, the value of domestic exports to all main destinations showed decreases of various magnitudes : Singapore (-18%), Taiwan (-16%), the United States (-12%), Canada (-10%), the Netherlands (-9.3%), France (-7.1%), Germany (-6.5%), Japan (-4.6%), the United Kingdom (-3.1%) and China (-3.0%).

Taking all destinations together, the value of domestic exports, at $212.2 billion, decreased by 8.4% in 1996.

Table 4 shows changes in the value of domestic exports of ten principal commodity divisions.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, the value of domestic exports of most principal commodity divisions decreased. More notable decreases were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $4.8 billion or 27%); clothing (by $4.4 billion or 5.9%); photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $2.0 billion or 12%); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $2.0 billion or 19%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths' wares (by $1.8 billion or 9.0%); and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $1.5 billion or 4.8%).

Over the same period, an increase in the value of domestic exports was registered for professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (by $382 million or 13%).

Changes in the value of imports from ten main suppliers are shown in Table 5.

12

Comparing December 1996 with December 1995, increases were recorded in the value of imports from Malaysia (+24%), Germany (+16%), the United Kingdom (+12%), Singapore (+9.7%), Italy (+3.8%), China (+3.2%), South Korea (+2.1%) and Japan (+0.9%).

However, the value of imports from the United States and Taiwan decreased by 3.4% and 2.0% respectively.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, increases were recorded in the value of imports from Malaysia (+18%), Italy (+15%), the United Kingdom (+9.2%), Germany (+5.8%), China (+5.7%), the United States (+5.2%) and Singapore (+4.4%).

However, there was basically no change in the value of imports from South Korea while the value of imports from Japan and Taiwan decreased by 5.9% and 4.7% respectively.

Taking all sources together, the value of imports, at $1,535.6 billion, increased by 3.0% in 1996.

Table 6 shows changes in the value of imports of ten principal commodity divisions.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, more notable increases in the value of imports were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $12.6 billion or 18%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $10 billion or 5.4%); clothing (by $7.5 billion or 7.7%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $4.1 billion or 4.0%); and footwear (by $4.0 billion or 7.6%).

Over the same period, decreases in the value of imports were recorded for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $4.9 billion or 3.4%); textiles (by $2.7 billion or 2.1%); and non-metallic mineral manufactures (by $569 million or 1.3%).

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 December 1996 will be released in early March 1997.

Detailed trade statistics analysed by commodity and by country/territory are published in trade statistics reports.

13

The December 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade" with detailed analyses on the performance of Hong Kong’s external trade in December 1996 will be on sale at $129 per copy around 20 February 1997.

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, Wanchai, Hong Kong (Tel. No. 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade statistics to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No. 2582 4915).

14

TABLE 1 : RE-EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION DEC 1996 (HKD Mn. ) DEC 96 OVER DEC 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 96 OVER JAN-DEC 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 38,814 + 9.1 417,752 + 8.8

UNITED STATES 18,272 + 9.9 242,342 + 4.9

JAPAN 5,913 - 5.6 80,154 + 14.4

GERMANY 3,694 - 15.4 47,216 + 3.2

UNITED KINGDOM 2,831 + 3.8 35,991 + 11.6

SINGAPORE 2,731 + 22.4 28,388 + 9.1

TAIWAN 2,326 - 1.0 26,638 - 4.0

SOUTH KOREA 1,581 - 7.3 20,091 + 4.1

FRANCE 1,611 - 0.4 18,823 + 7.9

NETHERLANDS 1,605 + 3.8 18,261 + 9.3

- 15 -

TABLE 2 : RE-EXPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) DEC 96 OVER DEC 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 96 OVER JAN-DEC 95 (% CHANGE)

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 10,690 + 3.3 149,528 • + 5.1

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 10,446 + 3.0 123,764 + 8.0

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 8,835 - 6.4 115,959 - 2.6

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 7,961 + 5.7 100,524 + 10.5

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 7,241 - 3.0 95,719 + 3.1

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 7,053 + 21.8 70,757 + 23.4

FOOTWEAR 5,291 + 1.5 65,233 + 8.4

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 4,474 - 6.0 55,519 + 9.4

TRAVEL GOODS, HANDBAGS AND SIMILAR CONTAINERS 3,125 + 11.1 36,785 + 5.1

GENERAL INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, AND MACHINE PARTS 2,433 + 8.1 29,134 + 8.4

16

TABLE 3 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DEC DEC 96 JAN-DEC JAN-DEC 96

DESTINATION 1996 OVER 1996 OVER

DEC 95 JAN-DEC 95

(HKD Mn.) (% CHANGE) (HKD Mn.) (% CHANGE)

CHINA 5,264 - 0.2 61,620 o cn I

UNITED STATES 4,852 - 8.6 53,860 * - 12.1

GERMANY 1,150 - 12.8 11,388 - 6.5

JAPAN 813 - 16.9 11,335 - 4.6

UNITED KINGDOM 905 - 16.1 10,597 - 3.1

SINGAPORE 733 - 25.3 10,009 - 18.2

TAIWAN 501 - 19.9 6,705 - 15.9

NETHERLANDS 494 - 17.0 4,674 - 9.3

CANADA 333 - 14.2 3,885 - 10.2

FRANCE 287 - 5.5 2,947 - 7.1

17

TABLE 4 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS - -.U/U

COMMODITY DIVISION DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) DEC 96 OVER DEC 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 96 OVER JAN-DEC 95 (% CHANGE)

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 6,796 - 4.4 69,447 - 5.9

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 2,373 - 22.3 30,357 - 4.8

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY JEWELLERY, GOLDSMITHS' AND SILVERSMITHS’ WARES) 1,419 - 4.4 18,092 - 9.0

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 1,216 - 14.7 15,084 - 11.7

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 1,021 - 4.8 13,693 - 2.4

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 1,036 - 23.8 13,090 - 26.7

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 706 - 10.3 8,586 - 18.9

MANUFACTURES OF METALS 345 - 23.9 4,213 - 10.1

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 248 - 30.4 3,823 - 15.2

PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CONTROLLING INSTRUMENTS AND APPARATUS 294 + 10.6 3,298 + 13.1

18

TABLE 5 : IMPORTS FROM TEN MAIN SUPPLIERS

SUPPLIER DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) DEC 96 OVER DEC 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 96 OVER JAN-DEC 95 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 46,612 + 3.2 570,442 + 5.7

JAPAN 18,762 + 0.9 208,239 - 5.9

TAIWAN 10,759 - 2.0 123,202 - 4.7

UNITED STATES 9,709 - 3.4 121,058 + 5.2

SINGAPORE 6,965 + 9.7 81,495 + 4.4

SOUTH KOREA 6,039 + 2.1 73,302 *

MALAYSIA 3,283 + 24.0 33,994 + 18.0

GERMANY 3,271 + 16.4 33,884 + 5.8

UNITED KINGDOM 3,011 + 12.4 33,264 + 9.2

ITALY 2,919 + 3.8 31,799 + 15.1

* DENOTES LESS THAN 0.05%


19

TABLE 6 : IMPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION DEC 1996 (HKD Mn. ) DEC 96 OVER DEC 95 (% CHANGE) JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 96 OVER JAN-DEC 95 (% CHANGE)

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 16,784 + 6.9 195,942 + 5.4

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 12,115 - 3.9 141,033 - 3.4

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 9,993 - 3.8 127,730 - 2.1

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 8,379 + 9.3 108,193 + 4.0

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 9,117 + 7.5 105,419 + 7.7

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 7,598 + 12.3 81,382 + 18.4

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 5,113 - 0.1 62,745 *

FOOTWEAR 4,819 + 2.7 56,734 + 7.6

GENERAL INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, AND MACHINE PARTS 3,381 - 3.0 43,919 + 4.7

NON-METALLIC MINERAL MANUFACTURES 3,737 + 10.2 43,391 - 1.3

* DENOTES LESS THAN 0.05%

End

20

Weather of January 1997 * ♦ ♦ * *

January 1997 was on the whole wanner and wetter than normal. The monthly mean temperature of 16.7 degrees and total rainfall of 44.6 millimetres were 0.9 degrees and 21.2 millimetres higher than the normal figures of 15.8 degrees and 23.4 millimetres respectively.

The month also saw a total sunshine of 173.6 hours which was 21.2 hours higher than normal.

The fine and sunny weather at the end of 1996 continued into 1997. It turned cloudy and rainy on January 2 as winds freshened from the east. Winds changed to northerly gradually the next evening and rain eased off on January 4.

A weak cold front crossed the south China coast on January 5 bringing fresh northerly winds and drier air to clear the clouds. Winds became easterly on January 6 while the weather remained fine and dry for the next few days.

A hill fire broke out in Fei Ngo Shan on January 7 lasting for 15 hours. Trees in an area of 0.36 million square metres were destroyed.

A replenishment of the winter monsoon reached the south China coastal area on January 8. It remained fine and dry until January 12 when easterly winds returned. Cloudy condition set in and there were light rain patches on January 14. After the passage of a weak cold front on January 15, the weather became fine and sunny during the day.

Another weak cold front brought along generally cloudy condition to the territory again on January 18. It was misty or hazy at times inside the harbour during the next couple of days.

The weather became overcast with rain patches late on January 21. Meanwhile, an intense cold front formed over China and moved southwards.

Winds strengthened from the east early on January 22. A cargo vessel capsized near the Ninepin Group, fortunately all crewmen were rescued. In addition, a scaffolding collapsed in Lam Tin and a sign board in Jordan was blown down in strong winds injuring one person.

21

The cold front crossed the coast of Guangdong on January 23 with squally showers affecting Hong Kong. Temperatures dropped a few degrees in one hour. A minimum temperature of 10.2 degrees, the lowest in the month, was recorded on both January 24 and 25.

Drier air from the north cleared the clouds gradually on January 26. Apart from some cloudy periods on January 30, fine and dry weather prevailed until the end of the month. Temperatures rose to 23.9 degrees, the highest in the month, on January 31.

Only one tropical cyclone occurred in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea in the month. Details of the issuance/hoisting and cancellation/lowering of various wamings/signals in the month are summarised in Table 1.1. Monthly meteorological figures and departures from normal of January are tabulated in Table 1.2.

Table 1.1 Warnings and Signals in January 1997

Beginning Time Ending Time

Type of Wamings/Signals day/month hour day/month hour

Strong Monsoon Signals 21/1 2300 23/1 0630

Fire Danger Warnings 23/1 2115 24/1 1000

Yellow 1/1 0600 2/1 0615

Red 2/1 0615 2/1 1220

Yellow 5/1 0600 6/1 0600

Red 6/1 0600 6/1 1800

Yellow 6/1 1800 8/1 0600

Red 8/1 0600 8/1 1730

Yellow 8/1 1730 10/1 1800

Red 10/1 1800 12/1 0600

Yellow 12/1 0600 14/1 0600

Yellow 19/1 0600 19/1 1800

Yellow 24/1 0800 24/1 1615

Yellow 25/1 0605 27/1 0600

Red 27/1 0600 29/1 0600

Yellow 29/1 0600 31/1 0600

Gas Water Heater Safety Alerts 7/1 1630 12/1 1630

23/1 1630 27/1 1615

22

Table 1.2 Figures and Departures from Normal - January 1997

Departure from normal

Meteorological Element Figure of the month above normal below normal

Total Bright Sunshine (hours) 173.6 21.2

Mean Daily Global Solar Radiation (megajoule/square metre) 11.28 035

Total Rainfall (millimetres) 44.6 21.2

Mean Cloud Amount (%) 47 11

Mean Relative Humidity (%) 71 Normal

Mean Daily Maximum Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 18.9 0.3 ...

Mean Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 16.7 0.9

Mean Daily Minimum Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 14.7 1.1

Mean Dew Point (Degree Celsius) 11.1 0.9

Total Evaporation (millimetres) 70.9 ... 26.6

Remarks: All measurements were made at the Royal Observatory except sunshine,

solar radiation and evaporation which were recorded at King’s Park Meteorological Station.

End

23

Widening of Castle Peak Road

*****

Castle Peak Road between Siu Lam and So Kwun Tan will be upgraded and widened to dual-two carriageway.

The $243-million contract for the works was signed today (Thursday) by the Highways Department's Acting Assistant Director/Major Works, Mr Ma Lee-tak, and representatives of B + B Construction Company Limited.

Supervised by Babtie BMT (Hong Kong) Ltd, works will commence by the end of this month for completion in mid-1999.

On completion, the 2.5-kilometre road section will be of 7.3-metre wide in each direction and greatly enhance traffic flow as its capacity will be increased to 4,000 vehicles per hour (v/h) comparing to the present 1,100 v/h.

End

Transfer of VMs from HIDC today

* * * * *

A group of about 200 Vietnamese migrants in High Island Detention Centre, including more than 60 from the North Camp and 130-odd from the South Camp, will be transferred to the Centre's Security Unit today (Thursday) in preparation for their return to Vietnam under the Orderly Repatriation Programme.

They will go through pre-flight documentation and medical checks prior to their repatriation on February 18.

The transfer will be observed by independent monitors.

End

24

Monitors' report submitted to CS

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the transfer of Vietnamese migrants selected for the Orderly Repatriation Programme from the High Island Detention Centre to the Centre's Security Unit this (Thursday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The four monitors comprised two non-official Justices of the Peace, Professor John Leong Chi-yan and Mr Leung Sau-chi; and representatives from two nongovernment organisations, Mr Thierry Taveaux from Medecins Sans Frontieres and Mr Milton Arab from Caritas, Hong Kong.

End

Philatelic products to be put on sale at stamp exhibition

*****

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, said today (Thursday) that to commemorate the Hong Kong '97 Stamp Exhibition, the following products will be put on sale tomorrow:

Item

Availability

Sales. Quota

1992 and 1997 Definitive Stamps Twin Pack

Exhibition Venue only

Serviced Souvenir Covers for

Definitive Stamp Sheetlets "Hong Kong Classics" Series No. 7 to 9

Exhibition Venue only

"Hong Kong - Past & Present" Prestige Stamp Booklet

Exhibition Venue and all post offices

Definitive Stamp Sheetlets "Hong Kong Classics" Series No. 7 to 9

Exhibition Venue and all post offices

25

On the sale of the 1992 and 1997 Definitive Stamps in the form of twin pack in the Exhibition, Mr. Footman explained that this is not the last opportunity for the public to purchase the old definitive stamps as philatelic products.

He said there are plans to put on sale at selected philatelic offices on February 25, 1997, such stamps in the form of whole sheets for the latest 16 denominations, viz. 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $1.20, $1.30, $1.40, $1.60, $2, $2.10, $2.50, $3.10, $5, $10, $20 and $50. Details of sales arrangement will be announced later.

End

1 Black Watch replace 1 Staffords *****

The 1st Battalion The Black Watch have arrived in Hong Kong to replace the 1st Battalion The Staffordshire Regiment as the resident infantry battalion of the Hong Kong Garrison.

No strangers to the Territory, most of the 511 troops of the Battalion have already served here as the last military occupants of Stanley Fort between January 1993 and August 1994 and have now returned to be amongst the last military representatives of British sovereignty in Hong Kong. Like the Staffordshire Regiment, they will be unaccompanied by their families for the duration of their fourmonth tour.

The Black Watch were formed in 1725 as a result of the Scottish Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. After the Rebellion it became necessary to raise a force to oversee the warring clans. This force wore a tartan so dark it was almost black and as their role was to ’’watch” over the Highlands, they were nicknamed "Am Freiceadan Dubh" or "The Black Watch".

Famous for their kilts, bagpipes and fiercesome Highland Charge, The Black Watch have an illustrious battle history. Their first blooding occurred in Flanders in 1745 at the Battle of Fontenoy, where the French dubbed them the "Highland Furies". They subsequently saw action in the Americas, the Napoleonic Wars and 173 years after their first battle, they again fought at Fontenoy.

26

The French were so grateful for the stalwart assistance given to them in the Champagne region in 1918 that they honoured the regiment by erecting a cairn on the spot where The Black Watch soldier who had advanced the furthest had fallen, inscribed "Here shall flourish forever the glorious thistle of Scotland among the roses ofFrance".

The Black Watch lived up to their motto "nemo me impune lacessit", translated as "nobody provokes me without being hurt", during World War II where they were the first Regiment to cross the Rhine and saw service in every major theatre of war, except Norway and Malaya. Since the end of the war they have seen operational service in Korea, Kenya and Cyprus and have conducted 11 tours of Northern Ireland. ♦

Their duties during the final months of British rule in Hong Kong will be similar to those undertaken during their tour of the Territory in 1993-94. Assisting with anti-smuggling operations in conjunction with the Royal Hong Kong Police border observation duties and the guarding of key installations, will make up the daily tasks for 1 Black Watch. However their most high profile role will be as ceremonial troops during the handover ceremonies in June.

In July 1996, the Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alistair Louden, returned home to Scotland to be stationed in Fort George, Inverness, after an absence from the Highlands for over 50 years.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Friday, February 14,1997

Contents Page No,

Government opposes Bill on anti-union discrimination........................ 1

No place for aggressive dogs in Hong Kong................................... 2

Majority confident of HK’s continued prosperity: HAB poll................... 3

Land resumption at Sam Dip Tam in Tsuen Wan................................. 4

Domestic Export Statistics by Industrial Origin for 1996.................... 4

Conference on drug education to be held next week........................... 7

Construction sites shortlisted for safety award scheme...................... 8

Proposed flyover at Pok Oi Interchange...................................... 9

Air Quality Report for January released.................................... 10

Sewerage construction works in Sha Tin and Tai Po...................... 11

Infrastructure works in Tung Chung new town................................ 11

1

Government opposes Bill on anti-union discrimination ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government does not support the Employment (Amendment) Bill 1997 proposed by the Honourable LEE Cheuk-yan and gazetted today (Friday).

The Member’s Bill seeks to increase the existing penalties for offences against provisions on anti-union discrimination and to give the District Court extensive powers to make orders on employment matters.

A spokesman for the Education and Manpower Branch said today that the Bill sought to improve employees' benefits in respect of anti-union discrimination without considering the legitimate interests of employers.

"This will not be conducive to the maintenance of a harmonious employer-employee relationship in Hong Kong.

"The existing penalty for offences relating to anti-union discrimination is in line with that for dismissals of employees on the grounds of pregnancy and of sick leave which are also prohibited under the law. The penalty level was last revised in December 1995. We do not see the need for the substantial increase proposed under the Bill.

The Bill also proposes that the court may make, as remedies for civil proceedings relating to acts of anti-union discrimination, orders for, among other things, employment, reemployment and even promotion of the employee, without the consent of the employer.

"The Government considers this proposal inappropriate. For example, an order for reemployment will only work if it is mutually agreed by both the employer and the employee. Once an employment relationship has turned sour, it would be difficult for an employee to continue working under the same employer," the spokesman said.

The spokesman went on to say that the Bill represented a unilateral attempt to amend labour legislation without going through the process of tripartite discussion amongst Government, employers and employees at the Labour Advisory Board(LAB). As a matter of principle, the Government will not support any bill which has not been considered by the Board.

"The Government is planning to improve protection of employees against anti-union discrimination in the context of a legislative package to strengthen employment protection against unreasonable termination of employment and variation of terms of employment contract which was drawn up on the basis of a consensus reached by the LAB. The relevant legislative amendments will be introduced into the Legislative Council within the current session. This Member’s Bill contains provisions substantially different from the proposals agreed by the LAB and on which the LAB has not been consulted," he added.

End

2

No place for aggressive dogs in Hong Kong ♦ * ♦ * *

The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) today (Friday) advised that there is no place for aggressive dogs in Hong Kong.

The advice was made by an AFD senior veterinary officer, Dr Les Sims, following this morning's coroner verdict on a case in which a baby was killed by an aggressive dog in Wong Tai Sin last March.

Dr Sims said dog owners should choose their pets carefully, taking into account the living environment into which the animal would be introduced. They should also seek professional advice on training and care of their dogs.

He pointed out that potential owners should not keep a dog such as the one involved in this fatality, which was a Pit Bull Terrier cross.

"Dogs of this type are derived from stock that were bred for fighting.

"They are highly likely to attack other animals and when fighting, do not respond to normal cut off signals such as signs of submission - they fight to the death."

Infants should never be left unsupervised with dogs, even for short periods of time, he stressed.

"When a dog bites a young child there is a high risk of serious injury which may lead to permanent disfigurement or even death," he added.

On prevention of attacks by aggressive dogs. Dr Sims said that the Dangerous Dogs Regulation had been tabled to the Legislative Council.

Under the proposed Regulation, importing and breeding of fighting breeds would be banned, with the result that fighting dogs would be phased out eventually.

It is also proposed that those contravening the Regulation could face a maximum penalty of $50,000 fine and six months' imprisonment.

The Regulation includes provisions for owners of such dogs to surrender them during a transition period.

Those dogs that are not surrendered would be required to wear a muzzle and be kept on a leash when in a public place. They would need to be neutered, identified by a microchip and wear a bright collar to indicate that they are dangerous. Owners of the dogs would have to obtain a public liability insurance policy.

End

3

Majority confident of HK’s continued prosperity: HAB poll

♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

i

The latest public opinion survey conducted by the Home Affairs Branch (HAB) in January has shown that 73 per cent of the respondents are confident that Hong Kong will continue to be prosperous and stable.

This represented an increase of 13 per cent as compared with the situation in November last year, an HAB spokesman said today (Friday).

A similar percentage of respondents were satisfied with the present situation, which was about the same as in the last survey in November, 1996.

The number of respondents who expected the situation to improve in the next 12 months increased from 15 per cent in last November to 25 per cent while 45 per cent of the respondents believed it would stay about the same.

Civil servants’ working attitude struck 56 per cent as good while those who took the opposite view had gone down from 27 per cent to 23 per cent.

As to the overall performance of the Government, 48 per cent expressed satisfaction and 28 per cent thought otherwise. This compared with 54 per cent and 25 per cent respectively in the last survey.

Of the three most-mentioned problems facing Hong Kong, housing issues continued to top the list at 68 per cent.

Twenty-seven per cent of respondents expressed concern about labour-related problems while social welfare-related problems were mentioned by 25 per cent.

The survey was the 68th in the series to gauge the trend of public opinion on perceived problems in Hong Kong, the Government’s overall performance and the community’s view of the general situation.

Through a random sampling of residential telephone numbers, 1,506 respondents aged between 15 and 64 were successfully interviewed.

End

4

Land resumption at Sam Dip Tam in Tsuen Wan ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Government plans to carry out slope improvement works at Sam Dip Tam in Tsuen Wan for public safety.

A Government spokesman said today (Friday) that the slope was adjacent to a new access road to be constructed by the Civil Engineering Department under the San Tsuen Pai Northeast Platform Village Layout project.

"The new road together with car parking facilities will be built along the top of the slope at the southeastern edge of the village.

"Ground investigation and laboratory test have concluded that slope improvement is necessary to enhance safety," the spokesman said.

Works will begin in June for completion in a year.

To enable the works to be carried out, a notice was published in the Government Gazette today announcing the Government’s plan to resume two private agricultural lots at Sam Dip Tam.

The two lots have a total area of 539.2 square metres. Relevant plans can be seen at the Tsuen Wan District Lands Office, 10th floor, Tsuen Wan Station Multi-Storey Carpark Building, 174-208 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories.

End

Domestic Export Statistics by Industrial Origin for 1996

* * ♦ ♦ ♦

In 1996, the four major industries of textiles; wearing apparel; machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components; and consumer electrical and electronic products together accounted for 69% of Hong Kong's total domestic exports of manufactured goods, according to statistics released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

In 1996, domestic exports of consumer electrical and electronic products; and machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components decreased by 18% and 8% over a year earlier to $25.9 billion and $36.5 billion respectively. Those of textiles and wearing apparel both decreased by 5% to $43.2 billion and $40.0 billion respectively.

5

As for other industries, more notable decreases in the value of domestic exports were also recorded for professional and optical equipment (-$1,862 million or -11%); basic metals and fabricated metal products (-$815 million or -8%); an chemicals and chemical products (-$491 million or -6%). For the industries of footwear and non-metallic mineral products, although the changes in absolute value were not as large, marked percentage decreases of 42% and 31% were recorded respectively.

On the other hand, an increase in the value of domestic exports was recorded for food industry (+$148 million or +5%). For the industry of transport equipment, although the change in absolute value was not as large, a marked percentage increase of 67% was recorded.

The above statistics of domestic exports classified by industrial origin are derived by regrouping the merchandise export items originally grouped under the external trade classification system according to the industries in which these merchandise items are normally produced. Transactions in gold and specie are excluded.

The industrial classification used is the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC). The HSIC is to be distinguished from the United Nations Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) used in the regular trade statistics reports. In comparison, the HSIC is more related to production processes whereas the SITC is more geared to end uses of products.

Caution should be taken when referring to these domestic export statistics classified by industrial origin. There may be several intermediate processing stages in the production of certain merchandise export items. In compiling the above statistics, the total value of such an item has however been wholly related to the industry in which the item is finally produced. The above domestic export statistics of a particular industry may include products which are secondary products by establishments of other industries.

Further details of merchandise domestic export statistics classified by industrial origin may be found in the attached table which is obtainable from the General Economic Surveys Section of the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No. 2805 6642). A table showing more detailed breakdowns of similar statistics for major manufacturing industries is also included in the report "Hong Kong External Trade, December 1996".

- 6 -

Domestic exports of manufactured goods classifiedby industrial origin fQr.l_9.96

$ million

Industrial origin of the commodities exported Merchandise domestic exports

1996 1995 Value change % change

Food 2,918.2 2,770.0 +148.2 +5.3

Beverages 611.8 718.7 -106.9 -14.9

Tobacco manufactures 2,145.4 2,214.5 -69.1 -3.1

Textiles (including knitting) 43,240.5 45,716.7 -2,476.2 -5.4

Wearing apparel, except footwear 40,019.0 42,265.2 -2,246.2 -5.3

Leather and leather products, except footwear and wearing apparel 1,383.7 1,630.3 -246.6 -15.1

Footwear, except rubber, plastic and wooden footwear 43.7 75.1 -31.3 -41.7

Wood and cork products, furniture and fixtures 313.0 351.5 -38.4 -10.9

Paper and paper products, printing and publishing 8,240.3 8,448.6 -208.2 -2.5

Chemicals and chemical products 7,883.6 8,375.0 -491.4 -5.9

Products of petroleum and coal 27.7 23.0 +4.7 +20.2

Rubber products 62.4 72.9 -10.5 -14.4

Plastic products 4,471.1 4,803.2 -332.1 -6.9

Non-metallic mineral products, except products of petroleum and coal 338.5 493.2 -154.7 -31.4

Basic metals and fabricated metal products 9,043.2 9,858.1 -814.8 -8.3

Machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components 36,515.0 39,647.3 -3,132.4 -7.9

Consumer electrical and electronic products 25,903.7 31,567.6 -5,663.9 -17.9

Transport equipment 140.8 84.5 +56.2 +66.5

Professional and optical equipment 14,940.8 16,803.0 -1,862.2 -11.1

Other manufacturing industries 13,196.2 13,290.6 -94.3 -0.7

Total 211,438.6 229,208.9 -17,770.3 -7.8

Notes: 1. Individual entries of a column may not add up exactly to the corresponding total due to rounding. All percentage changes are calculated from unrounded figures.

2. The statistics presented in the above table are derived by re-grouping the merchandise export items (except gold and specie) under the external trade classification system according to the industries in which these items are normally produced. As from 1992, the Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 3 (SITC R3) has been adopted in place of the Revision 2 (SITC R2) for the classification of trade statistics. The above statistics may not be strictly comparable with those published for earlier years due to the change in trade classification.

General Economic Surveys Section, Census & Statistics Department, Hong Kong.

Tel. : 2805 6642

February 1997

End

7

Conference on drug education to be held next week * * * * ♦

Some 250 local educators, professionals, representatives of voluntary agencies and about 40 overseas participants will learn from the expertise of Pacific Rim countries on drug education next week.

First of its kind ever staged in Hong Kong, the International Conference on Drug Education in Schools is organised by the Education Department in support of the Beat Drug Campaign.

The Director of Education, Mrs Helen C P Lai YU, will officiate at the opening ceremony of the two-day conference at the Hong Kong Science Museum on February 18 (Tuesday).

On the first day of the conference, Professor Eric Single from University of Toronto will give an account on new developments in drug education in Canada.

Professor Shingo Katsuno from Hyogo University of Teacher Education, Japan will deliver a speech on school-based drug abuse prevention in his country.

Ms Thelma Guerrero-Santos from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Philippines will introduce health promotion and drug abuse prevention in schools there.

Dr Jiang-ping Sun from State Education Commission, China will giv ■ a speech on dealing with school drug use in China.

Local experts, Professor Chen Char-nei from Action Committee Against Narcotics and Mrs Jenny McGlynn from Life Education Activity Programme, will give presentations on perspectives of drug education in schools in Hong Kong and life education approach in primary schools respectively.

On the second day of the conference, Dr Jit Singh from Malaysia, Dr Teck-hong Ong from Singapore, Mr Sung-Tai Yoon form Korea, and Mr Prasert Tanskul from Thailand will brief the participants on recent developments on drug education in schools in their countries.

Professor Patricia Morgan from University of California, Berkeley will introduce ways to build relations between community-based youth drug prevention programs and schools in the USA while Mr Peter Slattery from Australia will focus on drug use and drug education.

Participants will also have opportunities to share their views and experiences on further initiatives to improve drug education in schools during the forum session.

End

8

Construction sites shortlisted for safety award scheme ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A total of 37 construction sites were shortlisted from 94 participating sites to enter the final assessment to compete for the six awards under the Hong Kong Construction Safety Award Scheme.

Factory inspectors of the Labour Department have inspected all the sites during the preliminary assessment period to select those with good safety performance for the final assessment. The preliminary assessment was completed earlier this month.

Final assessment will start next Monday (February 17) and will be concluded in early March. An assessment team comprising representatives from the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA), the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees' General Union (HKCIEGU), the Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC) and the Labour Department will visit the shortlisted sites to choose winners of the six awards.

The six awards are the Best Building Works Site Award, Best Building Works Contractor Award, Best Civil Works Site Award, Best Civil Works Contractor Award, Best Safety Team Award and Safety Workers Award.

The assessment team will base on the physical conditions and safety management system of the sites to select the winners.

In addition, the team will review the safety program records of the sites and test participants' safety knowledge during the visits. Contractors should, therefore, keep their records and documents readily available at the sites for inspections.

Deputy Commissioner for Labour (Occupational Safety and Health), Mr Lee Kai-fat, today (Friday) extended his appreciation to the construction industry's support of the scheme.

"We will continue to organise more activities to promote industrial safety and we look forward to having their continued support in the future," he said.

Mr Lee noted that a gala evening will be held on March 24 at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kowloon Bay to present prizes to the award winners.

The Hong Kong Construction Safety Award Scheme is jointly organised by the Labour Department and the Radio Television Hong Kong and co-organised by the HKCA, HKCIEGU and OSHC. This is the first major award scheme which covers projects in both the public and private sectors.

End

9

Proposed flyover at Pok Oi Interchange *****

The Highways Department has proposed to construct a flyover at Pok Oi Interchange linking Route 3 Country Park Section in the north and Yuen Long Highway in the south.

Upon the opening of Route 3 Country Park Section in mid-1998, all southbound traffic along Route 3 heading for Yuen Long and Tuen Mun and along Yuen Long Highway for Route 3 will have to go through the Pok Oi Interchange.

On the project, a spokesman for the department said: "The proposed flyover will serve as an alternative route of through traffic for motorists and provide relief to the ground traffic at the interchange.”

The proposed construction works will include:

* construction of a dual-two lane trunk road of about 400 metres in length linking Route 3 Country Park Section and the proposed slip roads, including a flyover of about 130 metres in length above the existing roundabout at Pok Oi Interchange;

* construction of a two lane slip road on each side of the proposed road to connect it

with the district distributor roads of Yuen Long Highway;

* reconstruction of part of the existing district distributor roads of Yuen Long Highway; and

* ancillary works including drainage, landscape works, erection of noise barriers and slope works.

A notice of the proposed works was gazetted today (Friday).

A plan showing the extent of the proposed works can be seen at the following government offices:

* Central and Western District Office, Public Enquiry Service Centre, ground floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong;

*

District Lands Office, Yuen Long, 9-11th floor, Yuen Long Government Offices, 2 Kiu Lok Square, Yuen Long, New Territories; and

10

Yuen Long District Office, Yuen Long District Office Building, 269 Castle Peak Road, Yuen Long, New Territories.

Any person objecting to the works should send the objection in writing to the Secretary for Transport, Central Government Offices, East Wing, second floor, Lower Albert Road, Central not later than April 15, 1997 describing his interest and the manner in which he will be affected.

End

Air Quality Report for January released * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Environmental Protection Department today (Friday) released air quality information for January, 1997.

The information shows no violation of air quality objective values in the month.

The report includes the monitoring results from Mong Kok, Central/Westem and Kwai Chung, which represent three important land use types in the territory:

* locations close to road traffic in built-up urban areas;

* combined commercial and residential districts; and

* districts close to industrial areas.

Air pollutants reported sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, total suspended particulates, and the respirable suspended particulates. All these pollutants can affect respiratory health in sufficient concentration.

Air pollution originated from various sources, including combustion, industrial and construction processes. In terms of impact on local air quality, motor vehicle exhaust is the most important source of nitrogen dioxide and airborne particulate matter, especially the smaller respirable particles.

End

11

Sewerage construction works in Sha Tin and Tai Po

*****

Sewerage construction works will soon begin in Sha Tin and Tai Po as part of a Drainage Services Department project to improve water quality in the Tolo Harbour.

When completed in 2005, the Tolo Harbour Sewerage of Unsewered Area Scheme will improve the sanitary condition of the existing unsewered areas as all sewage from 165 locations within the Tolo Harbour Catchment will be collected and treated before disposal.

The department is inviting tenders for construction of a gravity sewerage system, a pumping station and three interceptor chambers in six unsewered areas in Tai Po and Sha Tin.

These areas include Tai Po Kau, Lai Chi Hang, Shek Kwu Lung, Pan Chung and San Uk Ka in Tai Po as well as Heung Fan Liu in Sha Tin.

Works will start in May this year for completion in November 1998.

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

End

Infrastructure works in Tung Chung new town

*****

Construction will begin in May to provide infrastructure facilities in northern Tung Chung new town.

The works will include the building of roads, footpath, cycle track, a highway bridge, a pedestrian or cycle bridge, a public works regional laboratory, stormwater and sewerage systems, waterworks and landscaping.

Construction is expected to take 39 months.

The Territory Development Department is inviting tenders for these works. Details of the tender are published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Saturday, February 15,1997

Contents Pa^eNih

ACP projects head towards completion................................. 1

Warning to people smuggling articles into prisons.................... 3

Opening of Legal Aid Department’s new office......................... 4

Sai Wan Ho Fire Station open day..................................... 4

Three Committees set up under AAB.................................... 5

Souvenir cover for Singapore Stamp Exhibition on sale................ 6

Sunday, February 16,1997

Contents PageJNxL

HK welcomes conclusion of basic telecom negotiations................. 7

Treasury Secretary to make duty visit to New Zealand................. 8

The 7th Education & Careers Expo..................................... 9

Sixth activity centre for overseas domestic helpers opens............ 10

Prompt collection of BN(O) Passports................................. 11

Fresh water cut in Sai Kung.......................................... 11

1

ACP projects head towards completion *****

The Airport Core Programme (ACP), one of the world's largest infrastructure projects, is on schedule for progressive completion, the Director of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, Mr Billy Lam, said today (Saturday) at an international conference which is being held in San Francisco.

He told the Worldwide Infrastructure Partnerships Conference sponsored by Forbes Magazine that eight of the 10 ACP projects will be open for public use in the coming months starting next week. More than 500 international experts are attending the conference.

These eight projects include the world’s largest road and rail suspension bridge, cross- harbour and road tunnels as well as expressways. Together they will form a 34-kilometre transport corridor linking Hong Kong Island to the new town at Tung Chung near the replacement airport at Chek Lap Kok.

’’The opening of the transport corridor marks a major new chapter in the history of Hong Kong’s infrastructure development. To commemorate the occasion, the Hong Kong Government is planning to hold a series of exciting events.

"A number of opening ceremonies will be held to commemorate the completion of the projects. These will culminate in a ceremony at the Lantau Link to symbolise the completion of the entire transport corridor.

"The first two projects to open are the West Kowloon Expressway and Kwai Chung Viaduct. They will be opened to traffic on Thursday following an opening ceremony on the previous day. This will be followed by the opening of the Sai Yin Pun section of Route 7 on February 26 following an opening ceremony on the day before.

"On May 21, the other components of the ACP transport corridor, that is the Rambler Channel Bridge, Cheung Ching Tunnel, North Lantau Expressway, Western Harbour Crossing, and Lantau Link, will also open to traffic," Mr Lam added.

Mr Lam said celebration events would include an international marathon race. There would also be charity walks along the Lantau Link and the Western Harbour Crossing. He invited participants of the conference "to come and join us in celebrating this important milestone for Hong Kong".

2

Mr Lam said that at the end of December 1996, the Government's seven ACP projects were 94 per cent complete, while the new airport, the airport railway and the Western Harbour Crossing were 74 per cent, 65 p r cent and 97 per cent complete respectively.

"The three reclamation projects at Tung Chung, West Kowloon and Central under the ACP will all be completed by June 1997 as scheduled. The airport and the airport railway remain on target for completion in April and June 1998 respectively," he added.

Mr Lam described the ACP as "a solid example of international partnership and co-operation in one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world".

He said that in line with Hong Kong's traditional free trade and "open door" policy as an international centre of trade, finance, aviation and communications, the Government encouraged international participation in ACP projects.

The ACP had drawn participation from 18 countries around the world, including Japan, UK, China, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, South Africa and Austria. By the end of December 1996, a total of 170 major contracts valued at more than $95.8 billion had been awarded.

"We have operated on the basis of a level playing field in the award of contracts. No country or company is given preferential treatment, and no restrictions of any kind are imposed on grounds of nationality. This approach stems from the basic principle of fair and open competition which is fundamental to Hong Kong's economic success.

"The level playing field approach will continue after the change of sovereignty on July 1, 1997," he noted.

Mr Lam pointed out that rigorous cost control on works and an effective project management system had ensured that the ACP would be completed on time and within budget.

"While many major infrastructure projects overseas have been hit by massive cost over-runs, we have been able to reduce costs and to have done it twice. We also have managed to reduce the ACP budget from $163,730 million to $156,364 million," he said.

- 3

The Government has invested $111,000 million , representing about 71 per cent of the total cost, while the rest has been financed either in the form of direct investment by franchisees in airport services and the Western Harbour Crossing, or loans for the construction of the new airport and the airport railway.

"The ACP is a sound investment in the future of Hong Kong and it is also the key to ensuring that Hong Kong's success story will continue into the next century. It is also a solid example of partnership between the public and private sectors," Mr Lam said.

End

Warning to people smuggling articles into prisons ♦ ♦ * * *

A former prisoner who smuggled unauthorised articles into a prison on Lantau Island has been jailed for eight months. This was the first time someone had been sent to prison for such an offence.

■ ' / • 4 y ♦ '

The incident occurred on January 15 during a visit to Tong Fuk Centre where he passed three $500 notes to an inmate inside the visit room. The money was discovered by Correctional Services Department staff during a routine search and the case was reported to the police.

The former prisoner, Leung Shui-cheung, pleaded guilty to a charge of Introduction of Unauthorised Articles into Prison when he appeared in Eastern Magistracy On February 4 and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.

A spokesman for the Correctional Services Department said today (Saturday) that the case is a serious warning to people who think they can smuggle items to prisoners.

End

4

Opening of Legal Aid Department's new office

*****

Starting from Monday (February 17), the Legal Aid Department will have an office on the ground floor of the Mongkok Government Offices, adjacent to the Yau Tsim Mong District Office.

The Kowloon Branch Office Extension is necessary to cope with the increase in the number of civil legal aid applications. The number of legal aid criminal and civil applications in 1996 has increased by 17.6% to a total of 30,000.

The department’s Kowloon Branch Office on the 3rd floor of Mongkok Government Offices at 30 Luen Wan Street has been established for some years to serve the population in Kowloon and the New Territories.

To meet the increased demand for legal aid services, the department has recently acquired an additional office space of about 115 square metres on the ground floor of the same building.

The new office will be used entirely to serve new applicants who need not go up to the 3rd floor office for enquiries and processing of their applications.

For general enquiries, members of the public may continue to make use of the telephone hotline which will remain unchanged at 2537 7677.

The new office will be opened by Chairman of the Legal Aid Services Council, Mr Lee Jark-pui, and Director of Legal Aid, Mr Chan Shu-ying, at 11 am.

End

Sai Wan Ho Fire Station open day *****

Sai Wan Ho Fire Station will be open to members of the public from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm tomorrow (Sunday).

The event, being part of the Fire Services Department’s effort to promote the 1996/97 Fire Prevention Campaign, is the last one of a series of open days held throughout the territory.

5

Members of the public visiting the fire station will have a chance to learn more about fire prevention.

They can see various types of modem fire appliances such as Hydraulic Platform, Turntable Ladder, Major Pump, Light Rescue Unit, Mobile Command Unit, Emergency Tender and Mobile Casualty Treatment Centre.

They can also see various kinds of fire-fighting and rescue equipment, including rescue cushion, slice cutting set, power lifting bags, fireman’s chemical protection suit, survivor detection system, thermal imaging camera and defibrillator.

Two fire-fighting and rescue demonstrations by firemen will take place at 11.20 am and 2.30 pm respectively.

There will be a set of display boards on fire safety advice. A video tape on fire prevention in industrial premises will also be shown.

Officers from the Department’s Fire Protection Bureau will be on hand to give fire safety advice and to distribute information leaflets to visitors.

Sai Wan Ho Fire Station is located at 20 Wai Hang Street, Sai Wan Ho, Hong

Kong.

End

Three Committees set up under AAB ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Antiquities Advisory Board agreed at its first meeting for the term 1997-98 today (Saturday) to establish three Committees to carry out the work of the Board.

They are the Historical Buildings and Structures Committee, the Archaeological and Palaeontological Committee, and the Education and Publicity Committee, to be chaired by Dr Elizabeth Sinn, Dr Michael Lau and Ms Jane Cheng respectively.

The meeting also agreed to recommend two applications for licences to conduct archaeological surveys, one at Yuen Long by Mr Au Ka-fat and the other at Hong Kong Island by Mrs Pamela Rogers.

End

6

Souvenir cover for Singapore Stamp Exhibition on sale *****

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman announced today (Saturday) that a prestigious souvenir cover will be issued next week to commemorate Hong Kong Post Office's participation in Singapore ’97 National Stamp Exhibition (Singpex'97).

The Singpex’97 will be held from February 21 to 23 in Singapore, he said.

The souvenir cover will be placed on sale at all post offices at $2 each as from February 17 (Monday).

On February 21, a hand-back service will be provided at all post offices to official and privately made covers bearing an indication of the exhibition.

A special postmark and a cachet for general cancellation purpose will also be introduced on the same day.

End

7

HK welcomes conclusion of basic telecom negotiations *****

The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, today (Sunday) welcomed the successful conclusion of the negotiations on basic telecommunications services conducted under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The agreement reached in Geneva yesterday (February 15) will open up a huge market globally, estimated at US$600 billion per annum, for basic telecoms services. A total of 69 member governments have made various levels of binding commitments to open up their telecoms markets, accounting for over 90% of the global value of basic telecom services. The commitments made will come into effect on January 1, 1998.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations. The package of offers presents substantial market access opportunities for our service suppliers, and provides a greater degree of certainty and predictability for telecoms investors," Miss Yue said.

Consumers will also benefit significantly from the liberalisation of the basic telecoms market. More competition in the market place is bound to foster more rapid technological advancement, reduce service charges and bring about improvements to the quality of services.

"The negotiations on basic telecommunications were protracted and difficult. We are therefore particularly pleased that the negotiations were concluded with a substantially improved package of offers and a broad level of participation from both developed and developing members of the WTO," Miss Yue said.

She said the successful conclusion of the negotiations demonstrated WTO members' commitment to the progressive liberalisation of their telecoms market. It also set a good example for the financial services negotiations to be resumed in April this year, and injected further impetus into the global liberalisation efforts.

Hong Kong's commitments under the agreement include the opening of its local telecoms services and a range of international telecoms services which have been ruled to be outside the licence of the Hong Kong Telecommunications International. The latter include, among others, call back services and international simple resale of fax and data services.

8

In addition to market liberalisation undertakings, the majority of participants to the negotiations, including Hong Kong, have committed to observe a common set of regulatory principles to ensure fair competition among all suppliers of telecom services.

The basic telecoms negotiations were originally scheduled to end last April. To allow more time for further consultations on outstanding issues, participants agreed to set a new deadline of February 15, 1997. Participants were also allowed to make adjustments to their commitments made last April during a one-month period between January 15 and February 15, 1997.

End

Treasury Secretary to make duty visit to New Zealand

*****

The Secretary for Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, will depart for New Zealand this (Sunday) evening for a duty visit to study the country's public sector reform programme.

He will lead a high-level delegation, comprising the Director of Accounting Services, Mr Brian Dagnail, the Deputy Secretary for the Civil Services, Mr Patrick Lau, and the Deputy Head of the Efficiency Unit, Mr Joseph Lai. They will stay in Wellington from February 18 to 21.

During the four-day visit, Mr Kwong and his delegation will hold meetings with the New Zealand Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon W. F. Birch, senior government officials as well as chief executives of the country’s major public utilities to exchange views and experience on their public sector reforms.

Mr Kwong will return to Hong Kong on Sunday (February 23) evening.

End

9

The 7th Education & Careers Expo ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The public are given a golden chance to get the most comprehensive and updated information on careers, education and training opportunities at the 7th Education & Careers Expo to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 20 to 23.

Jointly organised by the Labour Department and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the Expo is the largest of its kind ever held in Hong Kong. It consists of an education section organised by the HKTDC and a careers section staged by the Labour Department.

Senior Labour Officer (Careers & Employment Agencies), Mrs Louisa Poon, said today (Sunday) that the Expo provided a forum where the young people could gain a better understanding of the labour market by having face-to-face contacts with experienced professionals from various fields and by attending seminars and video shows on different industries.

"We hope to assist the young people in mapping out their future career and the members of the public in further enhancing their career planning," Mrs Poon said.

She noted that the response from schools to the Expo was overwhelming as around 12,000 students from over 120 schools had enrolled for the group visit programme.

"The Labour Department occupies a total of four booths and adopts an integrated approach in the presentation of its various employment services including Job Matching Programme, employment service for the people with a disability and careers education for the youth," Mrs Poon added.

The Expo is participated by about 183 exhibitors from various trades, government departments, professional bodies as well as local and overseas educational institutes.

It opens from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm on February 20, 10 am to 7.30 pm on February 21 and 22, and 10 am to 6 pm on February 23. Admission is free.

End

10

Sixth activity centre for overseas domestic helpers opens *****

A new activity centre for overseas domestic helpers (ODHs) to spend their rest day is opened today (Sunday), bringing to six the total number of Sunday-only activity centres.

Located at the King George V School at 2 Tin Kwong Road in Ma Tau Wai, Kowloon, the centre will provide a venue for GDI I groups to organise educational, sports and recreational activities for about 370 participants.

The other five Sunday-only activity centres are at Clementi Secondary School and Po Leung Kuk Yu Lee Mo Fan Memorial School in North Point; Ho Tung Technical School for Girls in Causeway Bay; Jockey Club Government Secondary Technical School in Kowloon Tong; and Kowloon Technical School in Sham Shui Po.

Two full-time service centres arc also operating in Kennedy Town and Mong Kok.

All the ODH Centres are set up under a Government scheme implemented in September 1994 by the Home Affairs Department to provide alternative venues for ODHs to gather on their day off.

All the centres are managed by The Hong Kong Bayanihan Trust which is a non-profit making organisation founded in 1993 by a group of Filipino businessmen in Hong Kong with the objective of providing sheltered facilities for organising social, cultural and vocational activities for ODHs.

Officiating guests at the opening of the King George V School activity centre were the Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs, Ms Linda So; the Executive Director of The Hong Kong Bayanihan Trust, Mr Juan Ignacio Ramos; and the Deputy Principal of King George V School, Mrs Elizabeth Muscroft.

End

11

Prompt collection of BN(O) Passports ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Applicants who have been notified to collect their British National (Overseas) passports should pick up their passports promptly from the date when the passports are ready for collection at their chosen immigration offices, a spokesperson of the Immigration Department appealed today (Sunday).

Currently, there are around 54,400 prepared BN(O) passports ready for collection by applicants at various immigration offices.

With effect from April 1997, the British Trade Commission will take over from the Hong Kong Immigration Department responsibility for application and issuing of BN(O) passports. All uncollected passports at the immigration offices by then will be transferred to the Passport Section of the British Trade Commission.

For their convenience, applicants are reminded to pick up their passports in time at the immigration offices which have been chosen by them upon application. They will be required to collect their passports at the British Trade Commission if they do not do so before the transfer of passport functions in April 1997.

For enquiries, members of the public may telephone 2824 1177 (English), 2824 1717 (Chinese) or use fax line 2877 7711.

End

Fresh water cut in Sai Kung *****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Sai Kung will be suspended from 11 pm on Wednesday (February 19) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect Fu Yiu Ha Village and all premises in the area bounded by Yi Chun Street, Po Tung Road, Hiram’s Highway, Sai Kung Road and Sai Kung seafront.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Monday, February 17,1997

Contents Page No.

Business Prospects for 1997........................................... 1

New Government office building in Cheung Sha Wan...................... 2

International workshop on archives to be held......................... 3

Tender for the Sixth Issue of 7-year Exchange Fund Notes.............. 3

Water storage figure.............................................. 5

1

Business Prospects for 1997

*****

Manufacturers generally expect a slight increase in volume of orders in 1997 over 1996, according to the results of a recent Half-yearly Business Prospects Survey released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Analysed by manufacturing industry, manufacturers in the electronic and electrical products, the electrical machinery and the printing industries generally expect a mild increase in volume of orders, while manufacturers in the wearing apparel and the fabricated metal products industries anticipate a fairly stable volume of orders.

On the other hand, manufacturers in the textiles industry expect a mild decrease in the volume of orders.

In general,.manufacturers expect capacity utilisation to remain stable in 1997 compared with 1996. Profit margins, however, are foreseen to be lower in 1997 compared with 1996.

Exporters anticipate a moderate increase in both the values of domestic exports and re-exports in 1997 compared with last year. Similar views are held by bankers, who expect that the value of total exports will increase moderately.

Looking ahead, construction firms generally expect a moderate increase in the volume of construction output in 1997 compared with 1996.

The survey is held on a halLyearly basis, covering about 300 firms from major manufacturing industries, the import/export trades, the banking industry and the construction sector. It collects views of firms on the short-term prospects of the various major business sectors covered and aims at providing a quick reference, with a minimum time lag, for assessing the short-term future economic performance of Hong Kong.

A spokesman of the department cautioned that, in a survey of this nature, the results should be interpreted with care as it is difficult to establish precisely the extent to which respondents' perception of the future accords with the underlying trends.

- 2 -

The survey results are published in greater detail in the "Report on Half-yearly Business Prospects Survey, January 1997". The report is now available for sale at $10 a copy at the Government Publications Sales Centre, Low Block, G/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, or at the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit, 19/F, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Regular subscription may also be arranged.

Enquiries about the survey results may be made to the General Economic Surveys Section of the Census and Statistics Department at telephone number 2805 6642.

End

New Government office building in Cheung Sha Wan ♦ * * * *

The Director of Architectural Services, Mr Kenneth Chan, today (Monday) signed a $1,097 million contract with Hip Hing Construction Company Limited for the construction of a new Govemnr’nt office building in Cheung Sha Wan.

Speaking after the signing of the contract, Mr Chan, said the new building would help to meet the current and expected demand for Government office accommodation.

"It will also make possible the redevelopment of the site where the Canton Road Government Offices building is located," he said.

Located at the junction of Cheung Sha Wan Road and Yen Chow Street, the Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices building will be a 21-storey multi-purpose complex with a gross floor area of about 55,800 square metres.

When completed in August 1999, the building will house the Sham Shui Po District Office, a primary health care centre and a licensing office of the Transport Department.

End

3

International workshop on archives to be held

*****

The Public Records Office will hold a five-day workshop on ’’Archives Descriptive Standards” from tomorrow (Tuesday) for the East Asian Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (EASTICA).

Focusing on the understanding and use of the standards in archival description recently developed and adopted by the Council, the workshop will feature discussions, lectures, reports from participating countries/areas and visits to archival facilities in Hong Kong.

It will mark the first attempt of co-operation among EASTICA members in the standardisation of archival descriptions to facilitate future exchange of information.

More than 30 representatives, including Director-Generals and senior Archivists, from national and regional archives of China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Macau and Hong Kong will participate in the workshop which is co-hosted by the Museum of History of the Urban Council and the Centre of Asian Studies of the University of Hong Kong.

Keynote speakers include Dr Hugo Stibbe of the National Archives of Canada and Ms Guo Siping of the State Archives Bureau of China.

The workshop will be held at the Museum of History, Kowloon Park. Tomorrow's programme will begin at 10 am.

End

Tender for the Sixth Issue of 7-year Exchange Fund Notes

*****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announces that the tender for the sixth issue of 7-year Exchange Fund Notes will be held on Monday, 24 February 1997 for settlement on Tuesday, 25 February 1997.

An amount of HK$500 million 7-year Notes will be offered. Another HKS100 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 25 February 2004 and will carry interest at the rate of 6.46% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears. Terms and conditions of the issue are described fully in the Information Memorandum.

4

Members of the public who wish to tender for the Notes may do so through any of the Market Makers or Recognised Dealers on the published list which can be obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority at 30/F, 3 Garden Road, Hong Kong (or telephone 2878 8150). Each tender must be for an amount of HK$50,000 or integral multiples thereof.

HONG KONG MONETARY AUTHORITY EXCHANGE FUND NOTE PROGRAMME TENDER INFORMATION

Tender information for the sixth issue of 7-year Exchange Fund Notes

Issue Number : 7402

Tender Date and Time : Monday 24 February 1997, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Issue and Settlement Date : Tuesday 25 February 1997

Amount on Offer : HK$500 million plus an additional HKS100 million as reserve stock for the Monetary Authority

Maturity : Seven years

Maturity Date : 25 February 2004

Interest Rate : 6.46% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears

Interest Payment Dates : 25 Aug 1997, 25 Feb 1998, 25 Aug 1998, 25 Feb 1999, 25 Aug 1999, 25 Feb 2000, 25 Aug 2000, 26 Feb 2001, 27 Aug 2001,25 Feb 2002, 26 Aug 2002, 25 Feb 2003, 25 Aug 2003, 25 Feb 2004

Tender Amount

Other details

: 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 Recognised Dealers on the published list

: Please see Information Memorandum published or approach Market Makers or Recognised Dealers

End

Water storage figure ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 a.m. today (Monday) stood at 78.7 per cent of capacity or 461.155 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 465.711 million cubic metres of water, representing 79.5 per cent of capacity.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Tuesday, February 18,1997

Contents Page No,

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

Feasibility study on Electronic Road Pricing................................. 4

Hong Kong still needs industrial land........................................ 5

Princess Alexandra visits HMS Peacock........................................ 7

198 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flights............................... 8

Monitors' Report submitted to CS............................................. 8

International Conference on Drug Education in Schools........................ 8

Site safety urged after Lunar New Year holidays......................... 10

EPD to render new service for licence applications...................... 11

New District Officer for North District..................................... 12

Hong Kong Garrison welcomes Gurkha improvements............................. 13

Good response to stamp exhibition....................................... 15

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results................................. 17

1

Transcript of Governor's media session ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after attending the SHA’s reception this (Tuesday) evening:

Governor: Kung Hei Fat Choi. Two questions.

Question: Mr C H Tung will go to Beijing tomorrow for the appointment of the main secretaries after 1997, how confident will... that all those 24 secretaries will remain in office after 1997?

Governor: It is not a matter for me, it is a matter for Mr Tung. I would only say two things. First of all, I have had the benefit of working with an outstanding team of officials, of public servants who, as we all know, have been one of the main reasons for Hong Kong’s extraordinary success and stability. I very much hope that Mr Tung will have as good a team because there are very fine public servants here in Hong Kong.

The second thing I would say is that I think that the whole community hopes that the best people will continue to be able to serve Hong Kong and will continue to be asked to serve Hong Kong. Mr Tung, as a member of the Executive Council for a number of years, knows how good our Civil Service is and I have no reason to doubt that he won’t want the very best people to work with him in the interests of Hong Kong.

Question: Mr Tung has said that he would like to request policy secretaries to work with him before the handover. Do you think that would be acceptable?

Governor: If Mr Tung has any particular requests for support I am sure he will want to raise them with me and with the Chief Secretary and we will want to be as helpful as possible. It is my task to see that Hong Kong is as well-governed as possible until 30 June, and as you know there is an obligation on the Chinese side in the Joint Declaration, in Article 30, to co-operate with the existing government until 30 June. So my task is clear. But in discharging that task I want to be as helpful to Mr Tung as possible and I think that we can honestly say that we have extended the hand of friendship and co-operation very effectively.

I said only two questions. I’m being so generous.

2

Question: I want to ask you about ... C H Tung and you having consensus that the Director of Monetary Affairs Authority should be chosen by him or he can just (be) appointed by the Financial Secretary?

Governor: I don't want to comment on individual appointments.

Question: One more please, 1 understand that ... what do you think who is the best candidate for the AG post?

Governor: Well, I understand why you ask the question - because you are journalists and journalists like to ask interesting questions and to get answers that will get them headlines in newspapers. But you would be literally amazed if I answered the question. You would know that it would be wholly inappropriate for me to answer that question. We have obviously got very distinguished law officers at the moment who give me and give the Executive Council good advice. Hong Kong is full of good lawyers and I am sure Mr Tung will want to have a good lawyer running the Attorney's Chambers, or a Secretary of Justice, and will want to have a good lawyer to make sure that the advice he gets is as excellent as possible and that the rule of law is in good hands. But I really wouldn't be sensible to comment on the different names that have been speculated about in the newspapers.

One more question.

Question: Mr Patten, do you have any response about Mr Martin Lee being criticised by Mr Tung as saying things against the image of Hong Kong? What do you think about that?

Governor: Let me say this. Sometimes Mr Lee has said things that I disagreed with and sometimes I have said things that Mr Lee disagreed with. Sometimes Mr Tung has said things that I disagreed with, sometimes I have said things that Mr Tung has disagreed with. But I don't think when we express our various points of view we are damaging Hong Kong.

Look at the last few years. People all over the world have said all sorts of things about Hong Kong. People have said rude things about the Governor of Hong Kong in other countries. People have said rude things about the Governor of Hong Kong in Britain, in America. Some of those who would support Mr Tung have said critical things about me in the United States and in the United Kingdom. And what's happened in Hong Kong? Hong Kong has gone on prospering, it's continued stable, it's continued successful.

3

So I don't think free-speech is a problem. I think the problem is actions rather than words, and if things are done which appear to damage Hong Kong's chances of success then inevitably that will cause concern around the world. So I think that what has been a worry in the last few weeks isn't anybody making speeches, I think what has been a worry is some of the decisions announced about the Bill of Rights and about our civil liberties protection, and I think what has worried people elsewhere is some of the things that have been said by and about the provisional legislature.

Now, I hope that that damage can be limited and I hope that we can put all that behind us because nobody wants Hong Kong to have a bad international press. But Hong Kong doesn't have a bad international press because of speeches that are made by people, it has a bad international press - when it has one - because of the things that are done or threatened in Hong Kong.

Now overall, when people look at Hong Kong from elsewhere, from other places around the world, they see one of the greatest cities in the world, they see one of the greatest economic forces in Asia or in the world, they see a free society and they see a decent society and they see a society, still, in which they want to invest, they see a society which they think can teach them some lessons. You look at the European press - full of articles by people saying what can we learn from Hong Kong? I want things to stay that way. I'm sure everybody wants things to stay that way. And the best way of ensuring that things stay that way is by making certain that Hong Kong stays this way: a very free society, as free as anywhere in Asia, but also a very stable society and a very prosperous society.

But having disagreements from time to time doesn't, I think, itself, do any lasting damage. And I hope that whatever the disagreements that there may be over the next few weeks or months, if there are any, we can all remember that what has made Hong Kong such a successful and great place is what we have to hold on to and what we have to defend and protect in the years ahead.

That was more than I meant to say. I said two. The very last one.

Question: Do you see that there is still continuity even that not all the principal officials can stay in office?

Governor: I have answered two or three questions on that and I don't think I can very usefully add anything to what 1 have said. I repeat, I have had the great fortune of working with an outstanding team of civil servants, led by Mrs Chan, but very good civil servants at every level, and I hope that Mr Tung will have the same support from a very fine public service.

End

4

Feasibility study on Electronic Road Pricing ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Transport Department today (Tuesday) commissioned WSA-Hyder, a consortium of Wibur Smith Associates Limited and Hyder Consulting Limited, to carry out a $30.8 million feasibility study on the implementation of electronic road pricing in Hong Kong.

The study is prompted by the recommendations of the Report of the Working Party on Measures to Address Traffic Congestion published in November 1994.

A spokesman for the department said: "The Working Party considered pricing the use of roads as an efficient, equitable and flexible way of dealing with traffic congestion in the long term.

"Instead of restraining the growth in the number of vehicles, road pricing helps improve efficiency of road use by charging variable fees for entry into congested areas or the use of overloaded roads at busy hours."

The proposals put forward by the Working Party are generally supported by the public.

The consultant commissioned will examine the need and practicability of introducing electronic road pricing in Hong Kong.

They will also make recommendations on the essential component, cost effectiveness and the possible consequences of such a system, giving due consideration to issues concerning transport planning, system technology and public acceptance.

"A field trial will be conducted in early 1998 for about six months to confirm the reliability of the system," the spokesman added.

The feasibility study will take about 27 months for completion in 1999.

A public consultation exercise on the findings of the study will be carried out before finalising the recommendations.

End

5

Hong Kong still needs industrial land

* ♦ * * ♦

Consultants commissioned by the Planning Department have recommended that a sufficient stock of industrial land should be maintained to facilitate Hong Kong's long-term development.

The consultants, who have completed two studies on the provision of new industrial land and premises and on the restructuring of old industrial areas, have found that Hong Kong's manufacturing industry is still performing an important economic role.

Speaking at a press conference today (Tuesday) on the findings of the consultancy studies, the Director of Planning, Dr Peter Pun, said that despite the structural changes in Hong Kong's economy, the manufacturing industry employed 18 per cent of the workforce in 1995.

"The industry also accounted for 9.2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

"The studies show that a wide range of new industrial and industry-related activities have emerged in recent years.

"These activities require land and premises of new planning standards to suit the diverse and management- and business-oriented nature of their operation/ Dr Pun said.

The consultants have therefore recommended that new industrial areas be developed on the basis of up-to-date planning standards and guidelines. They have also suggested that the choice of premises and uses permitted in industrial areas be broadened.

"These cover a new industrial use typology for planning and reservation of industrial land, as well as planning and development parameters such as minimum lot sizes, site coverage, plot ratios, road widths, standards for the provision of parking and loading/unloading facilities, support facilities and provision of amenities," he said.

Turning to existing industrial areas, Dr Pun said the consultants had found many of them require restructuring to meet new planning standards and market demands.

6

"We will need to resolve problems in these areas, such as outdated layout, unsatisfactory traffic conditions, overloaded sewerage and waste disposal facilities, obsolete building design, and poor building maintenance and management," he said.

"The consultants have suggested that planning and financial incentives be provided and an agency be set up to encourage restructuring of these areas."

On the supply and demand of land, Dr Pun said there were about 560 hectares of existing and planned industrial land for "general industrial uses", half of which had been developed.

"Our consultants have forecast that the requirement by the year 2001 will be around 260 hectares, decreasing to around 250 by 2011," Dr Pun said.

"On the face of it, we will have a surplus of 300 hectares of land for ‘general industrial uses' but most of it is undeveloped land.

"And if we take into account the additional land required for new industrial developments which will be more land-intensive, additional land to meet new planning standards, and the general industrial land being considered for conversion to special industrial uses, the surplus will be between 115 and 140 hectares," he added.

"On the other hand, the consultants have forecast a deficit of about 185 hectares of land for 'special industrial uses' by the year 2011 to meet longer term demand.

"Special industrial uses" relates to purpose-designed, owner-occupied premises. Demand for these premises has been increasing in the face of emerging high-value-added and high-technology industries, such as video telephones, cordless telephones, computers and related products.

"In this respect, the Government is actively planning the fourth industrial estate and a Science Park. We are also looking into the concept of a Business Estate. All this is in line with the consultants' recommendations," Dr Pun said.

Meanwhile, the consultants have recommended a number of measures to enhance the financial viability of redevelopment projects, including amalgamation of sites.

These measures include up-zoning, bonus plot ratio, deferred premium, linked projects and low interest loans or grants. An organisational framework for industrial area upgrading has also been suggested as part of the Government's wider Urban Renewal Strategy which is being formulated.

7

The consultants have also recommended amendments to the statutory planning system to:

* update the definition of ’’industry”

* relax the percentage of total floor area permitted to be used for ancillary

office in industrial premises from 30 to 50 per cent

* broaden the commercial uses to be permitted in industrial areas

* facilitate the development of more industrial/office buildings.

"We are submitting the consultants’ findings to relevant boards and committees, such as the Town Planning Board, Industry and Technology Development Council, International Business Committee, Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and Land & Building Advisory Committee, for comments before formulating a planning strategy for the provision of industrial land," Dr Pun said.

End

Princess Alexandra visits HMS Peacock ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

During her short stay in the Territory, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra will visit HMS Peacock, one of the three Peacock Class Patrol Crafts of the Hong Kong Squadron, on Wednesday (February 19).

Princess Alexandra became the ship’s sponsor in 1983 when she officially named HMS Peacock at a ceremony at Aberdeen, Scotland. On that occasion she met with the first ship’s company and now, before the departure of the Royal Navy from Hong Kong, she has made a personal request to visit what will be her last ship's company.

On arrival at HMS Tamar, the Princess will be escorted to the ship by Commander British Forces, Major General Bryan Dutton, where she will be met by HMS Peacock’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Will Worlsey. Once on board she will then meet the ship’s company and take tea with their families on HMS Peacock's quarter-deck.

End

8

198 VMs depart on orderly repatriation flights *****

Two groups totalling 198 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Tuesday) on the 95th and 96th flights under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

The majority of the returnees, comprising 127 men, 38 women, 19 boys and 14 girls, were from North Vietnam. Fifty of the returnees were from Central and South Vietnam.

Many of the returnees arrived in Hong Kong in 1996, with the remaining in 1988, 1989,1990,1991, 1994 and 1995.

The two groups brought to 9,700 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

Monitors’ Report submitted to CS

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Tuesday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The two monitors comprised a non-official Justice of the Peace, Mr Michael Cheng Tak-kin; and representative from a non-govemment organisation, Miss Amy Chak from Oxfam, Hong Kong.

End

International Conference on Drug Education in Schools

*****

The Director of Education, Mrs Helen C P Lai Yu, today (Tuesday) shared Hong Kong’s experience on drug education in schools with representatives from the Pacific Rim countries at the International Conference on Drug Education in Schools.

Organised by the Education Department, the two-day conference is the first of its kind ever held in Hong Kong.

9

Mrs Yu said that the department had taken steps to promote preventive education in support of the multi-facet campaign mounted by the Government to beat drugs.

"We have integrated elements of drug education into our school curriculum to bring out the harmful effects of drug abuse.

"We have trained at least one teacher in every secondary school on drug education. We have issued guidelines to schools on handling drug abuse to help youngsters at risks.

"We operate a Drug Education Resources Centre to give schools advice and support," Mrs Yu said.

Furthermore, the department has mounted roving exhibitions to enhance the awareness of the problem of drug abuse and provided grants for schools and Parent-Teacher Associations to organise drug education projects.

She also noted that the department had sponsored two educators for the Life Education Activity Programme for two years to conduct drug education programmes for school children from five to 12 years of age.

Educational camps for students and young people have also been organised to spread anti-drug messages and to provide healthy pastimes, she added.

For general reference, research on the value of peer support and the role of life skills counsellors had been commissioned by the department.

The department has the duty to train the young to learn to live and guide them towards a healthy and meaningful life, Mrs Yu said.

"This includes steering them away from drug abuse and strengthening drug education in schools," she said.

With experienced experts on drug education from 10 territories gathered at the conference, Mrs Yu was confident that the two-day conference would provide much food for thought and follow-up action, and for co-operation.

End

10

Site safety urged after Lunar New Year holidays *****

The Labour Department today (Tuesday) urged contractors and construction site management staff to be more vigilant and take special safety precautions at their construction sites after the long Lunar New Year holidays.

Chief Factory Inspector (Operations), Mr Tse Ming-sing, said that site conditions might have been changed after long holidays, especially because of the rainy weather in the past two weeks. Safety alertness of both the site management and workers might also have diminished.

’’Site management and workers should take precautionary measures to ensure safety and health at work before resuming construction activities,” Mr Tse said.

”In particular, all scaffolds, working platforms, lifting appliances and excavations should be inspected by competent persons to ensure that they arc in safe conditions before putting them into use again.

’’Workers should also be fully advised and instructed to follow safety precautions on working at heigh- and other hazardous situations."

To prevent accidents from occurring, Mr Tse urged contractors to exercise more vigilant control of their sites to make sure that the sites were still safe places of work after long holidays.

Under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance, contractors are required to provide and maintain a safe system of work as well as to provide instruction, supervision and training to their workers. They are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months for non-compliance.

Workers who fail to take reasonable care of themselves and others will face a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment.

End

11

EPD to render new service for licence applications *****

» ft*

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has recently launched a "one-stop-shop Service" for the application of licences and permits for construction sites.

A service counter has been set up at each of the six EPD Local Control Offices (LCO) to accept applications for any environmental licences or permits relatihg to construction sites irrespective of location.

"This service is to bring a step forward of the ‘Serve the Community’ principle," EPD’s Assistant Director (Local Control), Mr John Boxall said.

"Instead of approaching different offices, applicants can now go to the nearest LCO to subnlit their applications," he said.

"Later this year, the service will be extended to all other environmental licences and permits, and to all other EPD offices,” Mr Boxall added.

The public can visit or telephone any of the LCOs to obtain licence and permit application forms and information packages related to construction sites. They can also enquire about application requirements and the status of the applications already submitted.

The addresses and telephone nilmbers of the LCOs are listed below :

Local Control Office (Territory' East)

5/F., Nan Fung Commercial Centre,

19 Lam Lok Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon.

Telephone 2755 5518

Local Control Office (Territory South)

2/F., Chinachem Exchange Square,

1 Hoi Wan Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.

Telephone 2516 1718

Local Control Office (Territory West)

7/F., Chinachem Tsuen Wan Plaza,

455-457 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, N.T.

Telephone 2411 9621

12

Local Control Office (Territory North) Room 1101 -1110, 11/F., Grand Central Plaza, Tower 1, 138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Shatin, N.T.

Telephone 2634 3800

Local Control Office (Urban East) Suite UGO 1-02, Ho Fai Commercial Centre, Block 2, 222 - 224, Sai Lau Kok Road, Tsuen Wan, N.T.

Telephone 2402 5200

Local Control Office (Urban West) 8/F., Tsuen Wan Government Offices, 38 Sai Lau Kok Road, Tsuen Wan, N.T.

Telephone 2417 6116

End

New District Officer for North District ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

Mr Wong Hon-ho will assume the post of District Officer for the North District from tomorrow (Wednesday), replacing Mr Tommy Yuen.

Mr Wong, aged 51, joined the Administrative Service in 1979 and was promoted to Administrative Officer Staff Grade C in 1990.

He has served in the Civil Service Branch, the Urban Services Department, the Housing Department, the Education and Manpower Branch, the former City and New Territories Administration and the Home Affairs Department.

His last posting was an Assistant Director of Industry.

End

13

Hong Kong Garrison welcomes Gurkha improvements ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Hong Kong Garrison today (Tuesday) welcomed improvements in pay and conditions of service for British Gurkhas which will, for the first time, permit accompanied service in the United Kingdom.

Other improvements include an adjustment of financial allowances to give all Gurkhas roughly the same level of take-home pay as their British counterparts, no matter where in the world they may be serving.

"These improvements are much to be welcomed," Major General Bryan Dutton, Commander British Forces Hong Kong said.

"They will correct the anomalies which have developed over the years in the Gurkhas’ terms and conditions of service. They are an appropriate and thoroughly justified response to the loyalty shown by all Gurkhas during a particularly difficult period.

"The Brigade of Gurkhas has shrunk by over 50 per cent in recent years and yet they have maintained their morale throughout.

"This has been a lengthy and complex review covering all aspects of Gurkha terms and conditions of service. It was unfortunate that it could not be completed before the bulk of the Brigade of Gurkhas moved to the United Kingdom, but many departments of States had to be consulted in addition to the Governments of India and Nepal.

"What was important was that the final package should be the right one. I believe that it is," Major General Dutton said.

After the announcement of the changes in the House of Commons yesterday, Gurkhas will be allowed accompanied service in the United Kingdom on the same basis that it previously existed in Hong Kong.

Under arrangements here, officers and senior non-commissioned officers with the longest service were able to have their families with them on a permanent basis, while sergeants and junior soldiers received "family permission" for at least three years during their first 15 years of service.

14

Gurkha pay is governed by the Tripartite Agreement, signed in 1947 between the British, Indian and Nepalese governments. This aimed to ensure that employment of Gurkhas within both the British Army and the then newly-independent Indian Army were broadly similar.

All Gurkhas, wherever they serve, are paid at Indian Army rates, supplemented by an additional allowance, called the ’’Gurkha Addition”, which takes account of the cost of living in any given country.

While this allowance has always ensured that Gurkhas serving in the United Kingdom received a take-home pay package similar to that of a British soldier, anomalies have grown up over the years between the rates of allowance paid in other parts of the world.

These anomalies have now been rationalised so that the level of take-home pay for all Gurkhas, where they serve, will be similar to that of British soldiers, through the payment of a new allowance to be called the "Universal Addition".

Other changes to the terms and conditions of service include:

* A reduction from six months to five months in the period of "long leave" which Gurkhas are entitled to take in Nepal every three years. This reflects the greatly improved internal communications infrastructure in Nepal while still ensuring that individual Gurkha remain in touch with their home environment.

* Resettlement training for ex-Gurkhas in the United Kingdom before repatriation to Nepal. Re-training in UK allows much greater scope for training than is possible in Nepal.

* For Gurkha families living in Britain, the option of sending their children to British schools, or of taking advantage of a new Gurkha Education Allowance to enable them to enjoy the benefits of continuity of education within the Nepali system.

End

15

Good response to stamp exhibition ♦ ♦ * * ♦

HONG KONG ’97 Stamp Exhibition was closed on Sunday, (February 16), with a record attendance of 260,000 visitors.

"The exhibition aimed to promote philately in Hong Kong and to reinforce Hong Kong's position as one of the world’s major centres of philately," the Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman said today (Tuesday).

He noted with delight the HONG KONG '97's success in achieving the following objectives:

* Some 20,000 visitors viewed some of the best exhibits in the world, including the Royal Collection and the first Penny Black cover of 1840.

* More than 2,000 entries for a stamp and Christmas card design competition were received and the prizes were presented to the winners during the exhibition period.

* Some 15,000 visitors patronised the Youth Comer and participated in various games based on the theme of stamp collecting.

* Philatelic classes introducing the hobby were held for some 4,000 members of school philatelic clubs and three seminars were held for the serious collectors on the subjects of thematics, postal history and traditional philately.

Over 50 philatelic marketing managers from 32 postal administrations took part in a marketing symposium , the first of its kind of this scale in Asia.

" The large number of people visiting HONG KONG '97 has indicated that stamp collecting has increasingly become a popular hobby in the territory, especially the youngsters."

"In view of the great success of the event, the Hong Kong Post Office will seriously consider organising a similar event at the turn of the century.

"This was the first international stamp exhibition ever organised by the Hong Kong Post Office. It had the support of the Federation of International Philately and the patronage of the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately and was designated as the 11th Asia International Stamp Exhibition," Mr Footman added.

16

The exhibition was held from February 12 to 16 at both the upper and lower halls of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with a total area of 18,000 square metres. Admission to the event was free of charge. There were over 200 trading booths operated by postal administrations, stamp dealers, philatelic publishers and stationery suppliers.

Mr Footman also announced that the very popular "Hong Kong - Past and Present” Prestige Stamp Booklets are still available at most post offices and will continue to be sold while stock lasts.

Also the following items previously on sale only at the Exhibition Venue will be put on sale again as from Thursday (February 20) at the 19 philatelic offices viz. Aberdeen, Airport, Cheung Chau, Cheung Sha Wan, General Post Office, Granville Road, Harcourt Road, Hennessy Road, Kowloon City, Kowloon Central, Mong Kok, Peak, Shatin Central, Shau Kei Wan, Tai Po, Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun Central & Yuen Long

Postage Pre-paid Picture Cards:

(A) Hong Kong Mountains ;

(B) Hong Kong Urban Heritage;

Hologram Postcards Series Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

Rural & Urban Heritage Twin Pack

1992 & 1997 Definitive Stamps Twin Pack;

HONG KONG ’97 Definitive Stamps Sheetlets No. 4 &5 Twin Pack.

In addition, the following items will be put on sale at the Postshop on the ground floor of General Post Office on Thursday (February 20) :-

Postage Pre-paid Picture Cards :

(A) Hong Kong Mountains;

(B) Hong Kong Urban Heritage;

Hologram Postcards Series Nos. 3,4, 5, 6, 7 &8

1992 & 1997 Definitive Stamps Twin Pack.

End

17

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Tender date : 18 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q070

Issue date : 19 February 1997

Maturity date : 19 March 1997

Amount applied : HK$10,130MN

Amount allotted : HK$5,000 MN

Average yield accepted : 4.83 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 4.90 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 83 PCT

Average tender yield : 4.91 PCT

.....; t'JU:. <

• *'- * '<r

•-•b.J I ,.U. .y

18

Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Amount applied Amount allotted Average yield accepted Highest yield accepted Pro rata ratio Average tender yield Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Amount applied Amount allotted Average yield accepted Highest yield accepted Pro rata ratio Average tender yield : 18 February 1997 : EF Bills : Q708 : 19 February 1997 : 21 May 1997 : HK$4,628 MN : HK$2,000 MN : 4.78 PCT : 4.80 PCT : About 54 PCT : 4.87 PCT 18 February 1997 : EF Bills : Y786 : 19 February 1997 : 18 February 1998 : HK$2,170MN : HKS500 MN : 5.14 PCT 5.15 PCT : About 60 PCT : 5.23 PCT

19

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tender to be held in the week beginning - 24 Feb 1997

Tender date : 24 February 1997

Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Tenor Amount on offer Coupon Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Tenor : EF Notes : 7402 : 25 February 1997 : 25 February 2004 : 7 Years : HKS500 MN + 100 MN : 6.46% : 25 February 1997 : EF Bills : Q071 : 26 February 1997 : 26 March 1997 : 28 Days

Amount on offer

HK$5,000 MN

20

Tender date : 25 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q709

Issue date : 26 February 1997

Maturity date : 28 May 1997

Tenor : 91 Days

Amount on offer : HK$2,000 MN + 500 MN

Tender date : 25 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : H759

Issue date : 26 February 1997

Maturity date : 27 August 1997

Tenor : 182 Days

Amount on offer : HK$ 1,000 MN + 300 MN

End


DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, February 19,1997

Contents Page No.

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

Governor visits Sham Shui Po District.................................. 4

Hong Kong reaps first harvest of the ACP............................... 5

HAB launches Public Consultation on Racial Discrimination.............. 8

Legal study visit to China............................................ 10

Pension scheme for local veteran volunteers proposed............... 11

Schools invited to join the Character Achievement Scheme.............. 12

Relocation of AMO.................................................. 13

1

Transcript of Governor's media session ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the transcript of a media session given by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, following his visit to Sham Shui Po District this (Wednesday) afternoon:

Governor: Good afternoon. The last time I came to Sham Shui Po I came unannounced so it was interesting, today, to see some of the problems that I saw unannounced a few months ago. And there are some of the biggest housing and social problems that we have in Hong Kong in this district and I was pleased to meet so many members of the District Board and the District Committees who are working so hard to try to tackle those problems.

Question: Governor, did Tung Chee Hwa pass to you the list of important officials ...?

Governor: I think that Mr Tung will be showing his list to Chinese leaders and that is the correct thing to do. Obviously, I think we share with Mr Tung, as I said last night, the desire that there should be the greatest continuity for the Civil Service. I would like to see as much as possible of a through-train for the Civil Service. We are, today, served by an outstandingly good Civil Service which is very well led and I hope that Mr Tung will benefit from that advantage in the future. So I think that the whole community wants to see the maximum continuity and that would be clearly in the interests of Hong Kong.

Question: Have his team actually seen the list?

Governor: I'm not sure there is a list in Hong Kong.

Question: But Mr C.H. Tung has told you ...

Governor: We have regular discussions and contacts between the Administration and Mr Tung but I don't want to go into details about exactly what he has said at every occasion.

Question: ... Chinese sources say that Beijing has indeed approved the list --

Governor: Good.

Question: ... What is your response to that?

2

Governor: Well, I think it would be injudicious of me to respond to a rumour that Chinese leaders have already given the thumbs-up to appointments which haven't been announced. I have been in politics a few years nov, and I think it would show quite a lot of inexperience and quite a lack of wisdom were I to respond in the those circumstances.

Question: What effect do you think reports of Deng Xiaoping's deteriorating health will have...

Governor: There have been similar reports on a number of occasions in the last few years. I have always said that it is, in my judgment, inappropriate for me or other public officials to speculate about the health of Mr Deng Xiaoping. Chinese officials, I don't imagine, speculate about my health and I think it would be unwise for me to speculate about theirs. I have noted what spokesmen have said in Peking and I very much hope that what they say is correct. I think, myself, that the strategy for Hong Kong, based on Mr Deng's concept of 'one country, two systems' is now clearly laid out and the health or otherwise of any individual should not have too much affect on the successful implementation of that strategy. But obviously, I hope that if there are rumours about anybody being in ill-health that those rumours are untrue.

Question: Has Tung Chee Hwa or anybody consulted... opinion on how civil servants ....and could you ...?

Governor: I think it is a question which is slightly beside the point. Mr Tung was a member of my Executive Council for almost four years and had the opportunity of seeing at first-hand the competence of a Civil Service which at the senior levels - as with the exception of the post of Attorney General - have been entirely localised while I have been Governor of Hong Kong. So Mr Tung has been able to see for himself how outstanding is the quality of the Hong Kong Civil Service. I have noted that he has said publicly how good he thinks our Civil Service is and it was a point on which we both agreed when we met in December.

Question: So, has he ever asked you for your opinion on anything like that?

Governor: I don't think he needs to ask my opinion on whether or not the Hong Kong Civil Service is of high quality. I have said that publicly and he has seen me working with the Hong Kong Civil Service at first-hand. Don't forget that at every Executive Council meeting we have we see a range of Hong Kong civil servants presenting papers and justifying particular Bills or courses of political action. So during the course of four years Mr Tung will have seen, I would guess, most of the senior members of the Hong Kong Civil Service actually working with the Executive Council in the interests of Hong Kong.

3

Question: Tung Chee Hwa has said today that he has cancelled his March trip to the US and Canada. How important do you think it is for him to get himself familiar with the international scene?

Governor: He is familiar with the international scene. Mr Tung, as the Chairman of a large shipping company is well-known and well-connected in the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Europe. He has got a number of distinguished friends in the United States. One of the senators that I know best in the United States, who has recently retired from the Senate, is also a good friend or acquaintance of Mr Tung and he has many other senior members of the Administration and senior members of the business community who he is well acquainted with. He was, as you know, Chairman of the Committee which helps to strengthen links between Hong Kong and United States businessmen, so he knows the world very well.

It is up to Mr Tung to decide on what should be the priorities in his diary. Of course what all of us know is that the rest of the world is watching what happens in Hong Kong and is reporting what happens in Hong Kong, and I hope the story that goes out from Hong Kong to the world will be a positive one. There have been things that have happened in the last few weeks which have disturbed people in Hong Kong and the concerns of people in Hong Kong have not been very surprisingly reported overseas. If the Bar Association in Hong Kong say that particular proposals would undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong, none of us should be surprised if that causes a certain amount of concern in other countries.

Question: What do you think of Amnesty International’s suggestion that a Human Rights Commission...

Governor: We have had many exchanges with Amnesty over the years on that particular subject. I have always believed that the Bill of Rights, that the independent Judiciary, that our legal aid system, that the legislation we have put into place on equal opportunities, that the Commission we’ve set up to deal with equal opportunities, that the complaints procedures as far as the police are concerned, that the strengthening of the powers of the Ombudsman, that all those things gave us as much civil liberties protection as we required.

It is very unusual -1 think there are one or two examples but no more than that -to think of countries which have both a Bill of Rights and a Human Rights Commission. Usually, if countries have either they have one or the other not both. So I haven’t believed it was necessary for Hong Kong, but obviously, if it is going to look as though Hong Kong’s legal protection of civil liberties is being taken apart then it is not surprising that Amnesty and others will return to the argument that there should be a Human Rights Commission.

4

I had a brief discussion on that point with representatives of Amnesty International yesterday, but obviously we talked about other things more than that.

Question: The provisional legislature ... holding meetings in Hong Kong, so do you think it is a challenge to the ...

Governor: I think some of the Shenzhen Saturday people have taken tea together in Hong Kong. I don't think that represents a challenge to anyone. The real problems are going to be if in Shenzhen on Saturday mornings they start purporting to legislate because that will raise all sorts of problems - not for me or not for the Hong Kong Government today but for the SAR Government after 1 July.

We all know that one of the reasons why concerns are being expressed, not just in Hong Kong but around the world, about Hong Kong's prosperity and freedom is because of the threat to trash, to dismantle the Legislative Council which has been freely elected and to replace it with this appointed Shenzhen body. That has caused, I think, a ripple of disquiet around the world and I hope those who meet next Saturday morning or who occasionally meet for tea, whether or not in the comer of clubs or elsewhere, I think that is something they should think about. I think that their activities are a challenge to a successful and smooth transition in Hong Kong and that is obviously a matter for considerable public disquiet. Thank you very much.

End

Governor visits Sham Shui Po District

*****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, was given an update briefing on the general situation in Sham Shui Po district during his visit today (Wednesday).

Mr Patten first visited the Geriatric Day Hospital and the Developmental Disabilities Unit of the Caritas Medical Centre (CMC) where he was briefed on the services being provided for the elderly and severely mentally handicapped children under 16.

The CMC was founded in 1964 and joined the Hospital Authority in 1991. It provides a comprehensive range of acute, extended, ambulatory and community care services, including a 24-hour accident and emergency service.

5

The Governor then visited a family on the top floor of Chew Onn Building in Yen Chow Street to see the improvements made by various Government departments in tackling the problems of water seepage and unauthorised building works since his visit in 1995.

The Governor also visited the Dragon Centre, which is the winner of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects 1994 Certificate of Merit. It is the largest shopping complex in West Kowloon with the first indoor rollercoaster in Asia.

Before concluding his visit, Mr Patten attended a reception at the Kwan Ho Restaurant to meet local district board members and community leaders.

Accompanying the Governor were the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau, and the Sham Shui Po District Officer, Mr John Leung.

End

Hong Kong reaps first harvest of the ACP *****

The Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, today (Wednesday) officiated at the first in a series of major ceremonies and public events to mark the completion of eight of the 10 Airport Core Programme (ACP) projects.

"After several years of hard work, we are reaping the first harvest of the ACP.

"This is an important day and a very happy day for Hong Kong," said Mrs Chan while officiating at the opening ceremony of the West Kowloon Expressway and Kwai Chung Viaduct.

The Chief Secretary said: "The magnitude and complexity of the ACP are unprecedented in Hong Kong. The fact that we will have been able to deliver eight of our 10 projects within budget and ahead of schedules is something which we can be justifiably proud of.

"Indeed, from my overseas visits, I know that many of our overseas friends stand in admiration of our achievements."

6

The Chief Secretary said the West Kowloon Expressway and the Kwai Chung Viaduct were the first two of the seven Government projects under the ACP which would be available for public use. They will be opened to traffic tomorrow at 10 a.m.

The two highways form part of the 34-kilometre ACP transport corridor linking Hong Kong island with the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and the Tung Chung New Town.

In addition, the two expressways will serve Kwai Chung and the South Kowloon areas and will come as a timely relief to the heavy traffic in West Kowloon, Mrs Chan said.

She said that on February 26 another ACP road project, the Sai Ying Pun section of the road network linking Western District and Sheung Wan, will also be opened to traffic.

In April, the first dual three-lane cross harbour tunnel, Hong Kong’s third crossharbour tunnel, will be opened to traffic. A private sector company, the Western Harbour Tunnel Company Limited, is building the tunnel under a ’’build, operate and transfer” franchise agreement with the Government.

And finally on May 21, the Lantau Link will connect the North Lantau Expressway to the road network of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. This will enable the public to drive all the way from Hong Kong Island to Tung Chung New Town and it marks the completion of the ACP transport corridor.

To commemorate the completion and opening of the transport corridor, Mrs Chan said the Government was planning a series of opening ceremonies and public events.

"The opening ceremony of the Lantau Link, Hong Kong’s new landmark, on April 27 is particularly important as it symbolises the substantial completion of the entire ACP transport corridor and is itself solid proof of our capability to deliver one of the world’s greatest infrastructure projects, amidst other pressing priorities in the run-up to the transition," she noted.

Before the Lantau Link is actually opened for public use, two community participation events are being organised under the co-ordination of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, namely an international marathon and a 10-kilometre run on May 4 organised by the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association and a charity walk on May 11 organised by the Community Chest.

7

"These will offer our community, as well as our overseas friends, a prime opportunity to have first experience of the Lantau Link, either by running or walking across it," she said.

Turning to the progress of the ACP as a whole, Mrs Chan said that about 76 per cent of the programme had been completed at the end of January this year.

Not only was there no programme delay, the Government had twice been able to reduce the overall outturn budget by a total of $7,366 million, thus reducing the total estimated cost from $163,730 million in December 1993 to the present estimate of $156,364 million.

This was made possible principally as a result of rigorous cost control and Hong Kong's open and non-discriminatory tender system which encouraged international participation and ensured fair play and "value for money".

In conclusion, Mrs Chan said that while the Government was planning for the smooth opening and efficient operation of the ACP transport corridor and the reclamation works, it would not loose sight of the important mission of completing the new airport in April 1998 and the Airport Railway soon after.

After unveiling a commemorative plaque and dotting the lion's eyes, Mrs Chan was driven away in car in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Highways, Mr K. S. Leung, said that apart from forming a key part of the ACP transport corridor, the West Kowloon Expressway and the Kwai Chung Viaduct were important sections of the new strategic Route 3 which would provide a direct link to the northwest New Territories and the border with China.

Locally, the two new roads will provide a direct road link between Kwai Chung and South Kowloon and will relieve existing traffic congestion on Kwai Chung Road and in West Kowloon.

End

8

HAB launches Public Consultation on Racial Discrimination ♦ * * * * ' J' ’

The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Michac. Suen, has urged members of the public to participate in discussions and express their views on a consultation document on racial discrimination released today (Wednesday).

Speaking at a press conference to launch a ten-week public consultation period, Mr Suen said the document summarised issues identified in a study undertaken by the Home Affairs Branch (HAB) and outlined possible measures to address them.

He called on members of the public to participate actively in the discussions, adding that the document was simply a basis for public debate of the issues concerned.

"We have no preconceived ideas and will welcome suggestions. The public response will guide us in determining our future course of action," he said.

Noting that any measures taken will have direct implication for every member of the community, Mr Suen said that it was therefore imperative that the public should consider these issues thoroughly and make their views known.

"Findings will be reported to the Legislative Council after we have analysed the views put forward during the consultation period," he added.

Turning to the contents of the document, Mr Suen said that like the earlier studies on discrimination, it set out the findings of HAB's research into local and overseas experiences of racial discrimination.

"This comprised a "desk study" of relevant scholarship and jurisprudence, correspondence with Consulates-General on their nationals' experience in Hong Kong and meetings with interested organisations and individuals.

"We have met with over 70 groups, including academics, chambers of commerce, employers' associations, trade unions, representatives of ethnic minorities, women's groups, religious organisations, social service groups, educational bodies and financial institutions," he said.

On the findings of the study, Mr Suen said respondents had mentioned isolated incidents that might indicate racial discrimination. These concerned ethnic minorities, overseas domestic helpers, migrant workers and new arrivals from mainland China.

"These incidents were reported in the areas of education, employment, health services, housing and in the enforcement of law and order.

9

"There were also indications of street level discrimination, especially in the use of racial epithets that local people often use without thinking and usually without intent to offend or cause harm," he said.

The document also outlined existing measures against racial discrimination. These include legislation such as the Bill of Rights Ordinance which outlaws racial discrimination by the Government and public authorities, and other laws such as the Television Ordinance and the Telecommunication Ordinance.

Other measures include substantial efforts by the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education to address attitudes underlying discrimination through the school curriculum and a comprehensive programme to help new arrivals integrate into Hong Kong society.

On the possible options to address the issues, Mr Suen said that almost everyone who contributed to the compilation of the study considered education to be the best way to change the attitudes underlying discriminatory behaviour.

The document set out both sides of the argument for and against adopting legislative measures.

Essentially, those against felt that racial discrimination was not a significant problem in Hong Kong and that legislation could be counter-productive and engender vexatious litigation.

Those in favour of the legislative option argued that anti-discrimination laws were the hallmark of a civilised society. They would protect and reassure the ethnic minorities, and would demonstrate Government's commitment to eliminating discrimination.

In addition, other measures proposed by respondents included the following :

sheltered accommodation for domestic helpers in distress;

a dedicated body to assess the skills and qualifications of new arrivals;

handbooks in various languages for visitors and foreign workers;

dedicated schools for speakers of minority languages.

Reiterating the Government's firm commitment to promoting equal opportunities for all, Mr Suen said the issues were complex and a measured and prudent approach was required in Hong Kong's circumstances.

10

He said the approach taken in addressing the issue of racial discrimination through the present study had the support of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

"In March last year, in its concluding observations on the 13th report on Hong Kong under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Committee said that the study was a ’constructive means of determining the extent of problems’ in this area. Where discrimination is found to exist, CERD had said ’the study could serve as an important basis for the development of solutions'.

"The Government considers that it is for members of the public to judge whether, on the basis of their own experience and of their assessment of the total picture the findings presented in the consultation paper, racial discrimination is a problem in Hong Kong," he added.

Copies of the consultation paper are now available at District Offices and the Marketing Office of the Information Services Department on the 17th floor, Siu On Centre, 176-192, Lockhart Road, Wan Chai.

The document is also available through the HAB home page on the internet from which it can be downloaded. The address is:

■ * *?.. >.

http://www.info.gov.hk/hab/index.htm

Members of the public are invited to submit their views in writing to HAB on 31st floor, Southom Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, or fax number: 2591-6002 by April 30.

End

Legal study visit to China *****

The Solicitor General, Mr Daniel R Fung, QC, will lead a delegation from the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to visit Beijing, Dalian and Kunming between February 21 and March 1 at the invitation of the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China.

This visit is organised under a continuation of a reciprocal Legal Study Visit programme agreed between the AGC and the Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China and implemented in 1987 to promote and strengthen contacts between legal officials in the AGC and their counterparts in China. A delegation from the Ministry of Justice last visited Hong Kong under the programme in April last year.

11

It is intended that through such visits, delegates from Hong Kong will acquire a better understanding of the structure and operation of the various legal institutions as well as the legislative and judicial processes in China.

During the visit, the delegation will meet officials of the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate in Beijing, and legal and judicial authorities in Dalian and Kunming.

The delegation includes Counsel from all units of the Legal Policy Division of the AGC and a representative from the Constitutional Affairs Branch of the Government Secretariat.

End

Pension scheme for local veteran volunteers proposed ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions (Amendment) Bill 1997 will be gazetted on Friday. The Bill seeks to establish a local pension scheme for those members of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps and the Hong Kong Naval Volunteer Defence Corps who suffered disablement or death due to their service in defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War.

At present, the Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions Ordinance already provides for the payment of pensions, gratuities, and allowance in respect of these groups of people.

Enacted in 1950, the Ordinance makes reference to a UK Naval. Military and Air Forces Etc. (Disablement and Death) Service Pensions Order in prescribing the conditions, eligibility and rates of payment.

"Given the evolving differences in the socio-economic conditions between UK and Hong Kong and that the UK Order mainly caters for the various UK forces, only provisions of the Order that are applicable to the veteran volunteers would be adopted," a spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch said today (Wednesday).

"The objective of the amendment Bill is to establish a local pension scheme. Provisions of the UK Order which are inapplicable would not be adopted.

12

"Suitable provisions are made to ensure that existing beneficiaries will continue to draw pensions and allowances at no less favourable level," he said, adding that the rates of payment would be adjusted in future in line with local inflation rate and the civil service pension increase.

The Legislative Council Panel on Welfare Services, the Social Welfare Advisory Committee and the Chairman of relevant veteran associations have been consulted and they are all in support of the proposals.

The Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions (Amendment) Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on March 5.

End

Schools invited to join the Character Achievement Scheme *****

All kindergartens, primary and secondary schools are invited to participate in the Character Achievement Scheme 1997 jointly organised by the Education Department, the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong and the Cable Children Channel.

I he aim of this award scheme is to encourage schools to promote moral education with best endeavours; to enhance the spirit of love and the sense of responsibility of pupils upon themselves and on other people; and to encourage them to develop a positive attitude towards life so that they may find their own contribution towards society.

Participating schools can directly recommend one pupil as the prize winner of the school or select one pupil out of many nominees within the school and make a final recommendation.

The pupil recommended should have outstanding performance or distinctive progress in conduct.

The nominator can be the principal, teacher, parent or schoolmate of the nominee. Reasons for recommendation should be given by the school.

Nominees from secondary and primary schools will be invited to attend a prize presentation ceremony jointly organised by the Education Department and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong on April 29 at Queen Elizabeth Stadium.

13

Nominators and parents will also be invited to accompany the prize winners to the ceremony. Winners of kindergarten will be awarded prizes at their own schools.

Participating schools are requested to return completed recommendation forms to the Organising Committee on the Character Achievement Scheme 1997, Catholic Education Office, at Room 513, St Margaret's Parish Centre, 2A Broadwood Road, Happy Valley or fax it to 2881 5960 on or before March 22.

Enquiries on the scheme should be directed to the Catholic Education Office at 2881 6163.

End

Relocation of AMO *****

The Antiquities and Monuments Office of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch has been relocated to 40th Floor, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Following the removal, its offices at 136 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, will be converted into a heritage resource centre shortly while the gallery there will remain open to the public.

The telephone number for general enquiries is 2594 5690 and the faxline remains to be 2721 6216.

Enquiries regarding the Antiquities Advisory Board and the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust should be directed to Ms Catherine Leung and Mr Neil Fung at 2594 5673 and 2594 5678 respectively.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, February 19,1997

Contents Page No_.

Legislative Council meeting: Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997: second reading........................ 1

Bill on Nurses Registration.............................................. 4

Bill on Midwives Registration............................................ 5

Supply and demand of hospital beds reviewed regularly.................... 7

Compulsory retirement for civil servants................................. 8

Efforts made to help unemployed teenagers............................... 10

Research postgraduate residential halls at HKUST........................ 12

Information on magnetic resonance imaging scanner....................... 14

Parking spaces for motorcycles...................................... 15

/Residential care.....

Contend


Residential care homes for the disabled............................... 17

Provision of libraries in primary schools............................. 18

Employment of children................................................ 20

Arrangements for surrender of fugitive offenders explained............ 22

Noise abatement grant rates kept under regular review................. 25

MTRC paying dividend to the Government................................ 27

No plan to close off Victoria Park in June............................ 28

Data on intensive care units.......................................... 30

Stock market dealings................................................. 32

ISD press releases.................................................... 33

Mortgage repayment terms.............................................. 34

Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997: second reading *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in moving the second reading of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the Second Reading of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997. The Bill seeks to remove the right to land of resident British citizens, to grant them the unconditional stay status in lieu, and to abolish the procedures applicable only to the removal or deportation of British citizens.

The immigration status of British citizens in Hong Kong is at present different from that of other foreign nationals. This reflects the special relationship between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. As this special relationship will change on 1 July 1997, it is natural to expect that there will be a change in the immigration status of British citizens. British citizens themselves, as well as their employers, have also expressed concern about such changes; in particular, they would wish such changes to be clarified, decided, and put in place in advance of 1 July 1997, so that those affected would be given a reasonable, but not overly long period within which they can make adjustments.

In November 1996, we consulted the public, including the British community in Hong Kong on a package of changes. Our proposals are based on three considerations:

(i) First, any change should put British citizens broadly on par with, but not in a disadvantaged position vis-a-vis other foreign nationals;

(ii) Secondly, reference should be made to how Hong Kong residents will be treated by the United Kingdom; and

(iii) Thirdly, there should be transitional arrangements to minimise the disruption caused to British citizens in Hong Kong.

2

Briefly, we proposed, first, that with effect from the implementation date, British citizens coming to Hong Kong should have conditions imposed on their stay. Those coming for visits would enjoy a visa-free period of six months and be given visitor conditions, i.e. they cannot work, study or take up long-term residence in Hong Kong. British citizens coming to Hong Kong for employment, to establish or join in a business, to study or for settlement would need to apply for the appropriate visa. Secondly, the right to land status now enjoyed only by British citizens who have resided in Hong Kong continuously for seven years or more, should be abolished and replaced by the unconditional stay status. Thirdly, British citizens should no longer be subject to special removal and deportation arrangements. Fourthly, we proposed transitional arrangements whereby British citizens already residing in Hong Kong but are subject to a limit of stay should be able to continue to reside in Hong Kong without conditions until their limit of stay expires, after which the current policy applicable to foreign nationals should be used to assess their applications for extension of stay at that time. Finally, we also proposed that these changes should be implemented from a common date in advance of the change of sovereignty so as to allow time for those persons affected to adjust to the new arrangements.

Imposing conditions of stay on British citizens and requiring those who wish to come to Hong Kong to work, study or settle does not need legislative changes. At present, British citizens are exempted from conditions of stay and visa requirement by the Director of Immigration. By simply withdrawing this exemption administratively, the privileged treatment of British citizens in this respect will be removed. Abolishing the right to land of British citizens, replacing this right by unconditional stay and deleting the special removal and deportation arrangements of British citizens do require legislative changes, as the right to land and the special removal and deportation arrangements are provided for by law. To avoid confusion, however, we proposed that both legislative and administrative changes should be implemented from a common date.

The consultation period lasted for about two months. We put our proposals to the Manpower Panel of this Council, the British Chamber of Commerce, the General Chamber of Commerce, civil servants and other British citizen groups. We are also grateful to the British Trade Commission, which looks after the present and future interests of British nationals in Hong Kong, for helping with reaching out to British citizens from different walks of life.

We received considerable response on the proposed changes during the consultation period. Most of the respondents from the British community accepted the need for such changes. The majority of their concerns centred around the implementation of actual changes and adjustments which British citizens living here would face. To address their concerns, we have fine-tuned the transitional arrangements to avoid disruption to their normal life in I long Kong as much as possible.

3

The majority view of the British community, including their employers, is that these inevitable changes should be implemented well before 1 July 1997, so that they would have sufficient time to adjust to the changes before the transfer of sovereignty. We appreciated the need for the required legislation to be scrutinised carefully by this Council. We have therefore taken action to finalise our proposals and put forward the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 as soon as we possibly could. We hope that this Council would give priority to this Bill, and have it enacted before 1 April 1997 so that the changes can be implemented on that date - a date which we believe strikes the right balance.

We believe that the Bill, coupled with the administrative changes we proposed, is the simplest and the most precise way to achieve our objective of removing the privileged immigration status of British citizens. We do not think that it is desirable to complicate the matter by introducing amendments to the Immigration Ordinance which will fundamentally change our approach to immigration control in Hong Kong. We hope that this Council would focus attention on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997 first, since the privileged immigration status of British citizens is our more immediate concern. The Immigration (Amendment) No. 2 Bill 1997, which I understand will be introduced later today by the Hon. Chan Yuen-han, affects a different and much bigger issue of the Director of Immigration’s discretion, which forms the fundamental basis of our long-established system of immigration control. There may be a time and a place to debate the wider issue of the fundamental basis of our immigration policy. But given the need to remove the privileged immigration status of British citizens well before the change of sovereignty, I hope Honourable Members would appreciate the uncertainties that would arise if the implementation of proposals, which have been accepted by the majority of those affected, were to be delayed by being drawn into a wider and more complicated debate.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

4

Bill on Nurses Registration *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in moving the second reading of the Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997 be read the second time.

The Nurses Registration Ordinance (’’the Ordinance") was enacted in 1961 to provide a legislative framework for the registration of nurses and the practice of nursing in Hong Kong. Though various provisions in the Ordinance, such as the restriction on the use of the title "nurse" and the introduction of a practising certificate have been amended in the past two years, certain legislative provisions of the Ordinance have to be amended to meet current day needs. The proposals of this Bill cover matters including the naming, the composition and the operation of the Nursing Board, as well as matters concerning the disciplinary power of the Board.

A proposal of the Bill is to expand the membership of the present Board. Currently, the Board comprises 17 members, most of whom are appointed by the Governor. In order to broaden its representation, we propose to increase the number of lay members from one to two, and six members shall be elected from all registered and enrolled nurses. To encourage a greater involvement of the profession in the affairs of the Board, we also propose to select two members from each of the tertiary institutions which have a nursing programme. In addition, the number of appointed registered nurses should be reduced from ten to six, and the appointment of State registered nurses of the United Kingdom to the Board will be cancelled. The above changes will bring the number of members on the Nursing Council of Hong Kong to 20.

The existing Nursing Registration Ordinance does not provide for limited registration. In order to enable nurses who have have engaged in the training of nurses overseas and those trained outside Hong Kong to practise nursing while undertaking short term post-registration training courses in Hong Kong, we propose to provide for this registration arrangement.

5

Another proposal of this Bill is related to the existing penalties. In order to maintain the deterrent effect and reflect better the seriousness of the offences, we propose to increase the level of fines and imprisonment prescribed in the Ordinance.

Under the existing Ordinance, the regulation-making power is vested with the Governor in Council. In order to encourage greater involvement of the profession in its own affairs, we propose that the power to make regulations for registration and disciplinary procedures should be transferred to the Secretary for Health and Welfare and the Nursing Council, subject to the approval of the Secretary for Health and Welfare. The power to make regulations on duties of the Legal Adviser and the Secretary to the Nursing Council should be transferred to the Secretary for Health and Welfare. The Governor in Council will continue to make regulations related to fees and charges.

End

Bill on Midwives Registration *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in moving the second reading of the Midwives Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Midwives Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997 be read the second time.

The Midwives Registration Ordinance (’’the Ordinance") was enacted in 1960 to provide a legislative framework for the registration of midwives and the practice of midwifery in Hong Kong. Certain legislative provisions of the Ordinance are outdated as a result of changes in circumstances over time. The proposals of the Bill cover matters including the English name, composition and disciplinary power of the Midwives Board of Hong Kong.

One of the proposals of the Bill is to expand the composition of membership of the Midwives Council of Hong Kong. The present Board comprises 14 members. Currently, only the midwives training schools established in private or previously subvented hospitals are represented. In order to broaden its representation, we propose to increase the number of members of the Council to 19 to include the representation for all hospitals (including public hospitals) with training schools for midwives and to increase the number of lay members from one to two.

6

Another proposal is related to the current level of fines and length of imprisonment. In order to maintain the deterrent effect and reflect the seriousness of the offences, we propose to increase the level of fines and the length of imprisonment. Meanwhile, we also propose to provide penalties where a person makes use of any certificate of registration with intent to deceive.

In order to maintain an up-to-date record, we propose to require registered midwives to obtain practising certificates before they can practise midwifery in Hong Kong. We also propose that an applicant for a practising certificate should supply information on any criminal conviction that is punishable by imprisonment. This is in line with the practice of other medical and related professionals.

The Midwives Registration Ordinance prohibits persons without suitable qualifications from attending a woman in childbirth for profit-making. We propose to amend relevant provisions to make it clear that only registered medical practitioners or registered midwives can attend a woman in childbirth. The only exceptions would be in the case of an emergency or when the person attending the woman in childbirth is undergoing training with a view to become a registered medical practitioner or a registered midwife, and is under the direction and personal supervision of a registered medical practitioner or a registered midwife.

At present, the regulation-making power is vested with the Governor in Council. In order to encourage a greater involvement of the profession in its own affairs, we propose that the power to make regulations for registration and disciplinary procedures should be transferred to the Secretary for Health and Welfare and the Midwives Council, subject to the approval of the Secretary for Health and Welfare. The power to make regulations prescribing for the functions of the Legal Adviser and the Secretary to the Council should be transferred to the Secretary for Health and Welfare. The Governor in Council will continue to have the power to make regulations in relation to fees, including those prescribing for the disposal of fees paid or recovered under the Ordinance.

End

7

Supply and demand of hospital beds reviewed regularly

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Ho Mun-ka, Michael and a reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to the estimate of the Territorial Development Strategy Review, the population of Hong Kong will be close to 8.1 million by the year 2011, which represents an increase by one-third over the present population. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the plans in place to expand the local medical services, so as to meet the demands from the future population;

(b) whether any proposals has been submitted by the Hospital Authority to the Government regarding the provision of medical services to tie in with the increasing populations; if so, what the specific details are; and

(c) when it will publish the estimated figures on the distribution of population in various districts, and whether the Hospital Authority will implement its plans to build new hospitals after the publication of such information?

Reply:

Although population projections are central to our planning process, the provision of public medical services is affected by a number of other factors such as geographical distribution, demographic profile, disease pattern, primary health care and ambulatory care developments, alternative service providers and historical trend of service utilisation.

The Hospital Authority will regularly review the supply and demand for hospital beds in the light of changing community aspirations. Two exercises for this purpose were conducted in 1992 and 1995 to project the hospital bed requirements by the year 2000. In submitting its annual resource bids for capital projects, the Authority will also examine the latest information available such as utilisation statistics, population estimates and demographic profile, rationalisation of services both within and between hospitals. These on-going planning mechanisms have resulted in our decision to go ahead with the construction of two new hospitals in New Territories -North District Hospital and Tseung Kwan O Hospital - as well as a number of other major improvement or redevelopment projects which will provide 30 100 beds by the year 2000, an increase of over 4,600 beds compared with the end of 1996.

8

The Department of Health adopts a similar mechanism to ensure the timely provision of facilities to meet projected population growth or movement. For example, a general out-patient clinic is planned for every 100,000 persons and the Student Health Service will cover all the students in Hong Kong. In the next three years, the department will provide 17 new polyclinics and health centres, bringing the total number of service units to 341.

Apart from existing services, we are also exploring new programmes to meet changing needs of the community. The introduction of elderly services centres and the setting up of outreach medical teams, i.e. the community geriatric asscsment team and the psychogeriatric team, are some examples of this approach.

The Hospital Authority will take into account results of the Territorial Development Strategy Review and population distribution forecasts in reviewing the need for hospital services. We understand that the population distribution forecasts by the Planning Department will be available in late 1997.

End

Compulsory retirement for civil servants * $ * * *

Following is a question by Dr the Hon Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and a reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam. in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to the Civil Service Personnel Statistics published annually by the Civil Service Branch, within the eight year period from 1987/88 to 1994/95, a total of 844 civil servants were required by the Government to go on compulsory retirement under Colonial Regulations (the Regulations). Of these 844 civil servants, 812 (96%) were local officers and 32 (4%) were overseas officers. Moreover, more than 200 officers were on compulsory retirement each year from 1990/91 to 1992/93. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the main reasons for the comparatively greater number of civil servants required to go on compulsory retirement from 1990/91 to 1992/93 than those in other years within the above mentioned period;

9

(b) which salary groups the above mentioned 800-plus officers on compulsory retirement were in mostly, and how many of them were of directorate and disciplined grades respectively; and

(c) of the major factors taken into consideration when applying the Regulations to ask these officers to go on compulsory retirement?

Answer:

Mr President,

The number of civil servants required to retire fluctuates from year to year as they may be retired for disciplinary, administrative or other reasons. The larger number of civil servants required to go on compulsory retirement from 1990/91 to 1992/93 was mainly the result of officers who were retired in the interests of localisation and in connection with constitutional change during this period.

Of the 691 officers who were compulsorily retired from 1990/91 to 1992/93, 38 were retired on disciplinary grounds under Colonial Regulations 57, 58 or the respective Disciplined Services Legislation, comprising 13 officers in 1990/91; 13 officers in 1991/92; and 12 officers in 1992/93. The number of officers required to retire on disciplinary grounds during this period was therefore relatively stable.

The officers who were compulsorily retired from 1990/91 to 1992/93 were from various grades. The main groups were remunerated on the Police Pay Scale Points 1-28 (from $13,330 to $30,165 per month), and the Master Pay Scale Points 1-25 (from $7,630 to $28,490 per month). There was 1 directorate officer; 600 disciplined grades officers; and 90 civilian grades officers.

Civil servants may be compulsorily retired:-

(a) under Colonial Regulations 57, 58 or the respective Disciplined Services Legislation if they are found guilty of serious misconduct or convicted of criminal offences;

(b) under Colonial Regulation 59 if their retirement is desirable in the public interest; and •

10

(c) under Colonial Regulation 93 in the interests of localization and in connection with constitutional change.

Officers who are compulsorily retired under Colonial Regulations 57, 58, 59 or the respective Disciplined Services Legislation will receive deferred pensions payable on their respective normal retirement dates. Officers who are compulsorily retired under Colonial Regulation 93 will receive their pensions immediately on leaving the service. I wish to stress that there are no adverse, disciplinary, or misconduct implications relating to retirements under Colonial Regulation 93. This regulation simply provides the formal covering authority to direct an officer to retire.

End

Efforts made to help unemployed teenagers

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Cheuk-yan and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

As revealed in the findings of the General Household Survey, the problem of unemployment is particularly serious among young people, with an unemployment rate as high as 12% for the 15-19 age group. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council, whether it has formulated any comprehensive plan to solve the problem of high unemployment rate among young people?

Reply:

Mr President,

Although the unemployment rate of those aged 15 to 19 is higher than the overall unemployment rate, this should not be taken to mean that the unemployment problem is particularly serious for this group. In fact, this is not the most vulnerable group of unemployed persons for the following reasons -

First, this group consists of a higher percentage share of first-time job-seekers than that for other groups. For example, for the three months of September to November 1996, such job-seekers account for 51% of this group.

11

Second, the majority of this group have been unemployed because they leave the job of their own accord. For the three months of September to November 1996, such unemployed persons account for 64%, compared with the corresponding rate of 40% for the total number of unemployed persons.

Third, the duration of unemployment for this group is significantly shorter than that for other groups. For the three months of September to November 1996, 70% of this group have been unemployed for less than three months and only 7% have been jobless for six months or more. These compare with the corresponding rates of 59% and 23% respectively for those unemployed above the age of 30.

In tackling the unemployment problem, the Government’s objective is to help the unemployed workers re-enter the labour market through the provision of both employment services and appropriate training in the skills required of the labour market. These services are available to unemployed workers of all age groups, including those of the 15-19 age group.

For employment services, the Local Employment Service (LES) of the Labour Department provides free employment assistance and counselling service for jobseekers of all ages. While we do not have separate statistics on LES registrants of the 15-19 age group, our statistics show that out of a total of 118,844 job-seekers registered at the LES in 1996, 55,507 belonged to the age group of 15-29, and 12,185 job offers were secured for them, representing a placement rate of 22% which is broadly in line with the overall placement rate for all registrants.

The Labour Department also provides advisory and guidance service specifically for teenagers through a variety of programmes such as the Careers Information Centres and Careers Expos.

As regards the provision of manpower training, the Vocational Training Council, the Construction Industry Training Authority and the Clothing Industry Training Authority offer a wide range of courses to provide skills training to prepare those with secondary educational standard for employment. They also provide skills upgrading courses so that the trainees can meet the changing demands of their jobs and sustain their employment.

End

12

Research postgraduate residential halls at HKUST

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learned that the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) solicited bank loans to build residential halls for renting to postgraduates. It has also made new arrangements that postgraduates receiving the grants of studentship are required to reside in such halls and the University will later deduct monthly hall fees from the grants of studentship. For those postgraduates who refuse to reside in the residential halls will receive less amount of grants of studentship. In this connection, does the Government know:

(a) whether the University Grants Committee (UGC) has monitored the loans raised by tertiary institution from outside organisations for construction of campus facilities and residential halls, as well as the manner in which the debts concerned will be repaid; and

(b) given that the deduction of hall fees from the grants of studentship might be regarded as a disguised move to subsidise the institution to repay its debts incurred from bank loans for building residential halls at the public expense, whether the authority concerned will regulate such practice so as to avoid the abuse of resources for higher education.

Reply:

Mr President,

The University Grants Committee (UGC) has well-established practices and procedures for monitoring the financing and construction of campus facilities and residential halls, including such projects totally financed through private sources such as bank loans. In the case of the research postgraduate residential halls at HKUST, the University sought prior approval from the UGC by providing detailed information on the projected supply and demand of residential units, the design of the residential halls and the source of finance. Having carefully considered the proposal, the UGC endorsed the proposal in principle subject to the following conditions:

13

(a) should the University decide to secure a bank loan for the project, it may not assign any interest in the site and the superstructure for the loan;

(b) the University should be responsible for repaying the loan, but may not do so using the public funds which the University receives from the UGC or Government;

(c) the University may not charge the recurrent costs of the residential halls to the recurrent block grants provided by the UGC to the University; and

(d) in accordance with the UGC Notes on Procedures, the University has to submit sketch plans and other documents relating to the building design and finishes of the project to the UGC for information and comment.

The UGC subsequently received an assurance from HKUST that it accepted these conditions. A bank loan of $250 million was then raised and the proposal implemented. The practice and procedures followed in this case were in line with other capital projects financed from private sources by other UGC-funded institutions.

Student hostels in the UGC-funded institutions, whether they are constructed by means of public funds or private funds, have to operate on a self-financing basis, through rent charged to students. The level of rent is determined by the institutions themselves. In the case of the research postgraduate residential halls at HKUST, the level of rent is set by the University having regard to both the loan repayment schedule and operating costs.

How rent should be collected from students is for the institutions themselves to determine. In this case, HKUST, which on academic grounds, wishes to encourage students to live on campus, arranges, for the sake of administrative simplicity and with students' agreement, for the amount of rent to be deducted from the studentship received by each postgraduate student who occupies a residential hall unit. For students who choose not to occupy a hostel unit, they will still be eligible for studentship. The number and amount of studentships awarded by the institutions may vary according to different circumstances taking into account academic objectives and the availability of resources. But these are matters within the autonomy of institutions.

End

14

Information on magnetic resonance imaging scanner

*****

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

Question:

Is the Government aware of the following:

(a) the total number of magnetic resonance imaging scanners in public hospitals and their distribution;

(b) the respective percentages of time when these scanners were in operation, inactive, under maintenance and out of order in the past year;

(c) the average and longest waiting time in-patients and out-patients have to wait for scanning service respectively in the past year;

(d) the number of patients scanned in the past year, together with the number of scannings identified to have been inappropriately utilised; and

(e) of the plans put in place by the Hospital Authority to improve its scanning service?

Reply:

The Hospital Authority is currently providing three magnetic resonance imaging scanners in Queen Mary Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital to serve the patients in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories respectively. The percentages of time when these scanners were in operation, out of order and under maintenance in the past year are at Annex. Our present plan is to provide two new scanners in Tuen Mun Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital this year, and the sixth one at Kwong Wah Hospital in 1998/99.

The priority of patients referred for magnetic resonance image scanning is determined in the light of their clinical needs. While all emergency cases will be handled immediately, the average waiting time for urgent cases is less than two weeks, while that for non-urgent cases ranges from eight to 24 weeks, depending on prevailing circumstances. The condition of all patients awaiting scanning service will be monitored and assessed to ensure that they are accorded with the necessary medical treatment without delay.

15

A total of 22,709 magnetic resonance image scans were performed in the past year. All cases of referral are vetted by the attending doctor and senior medical staff at the diagnostic radiology department involved to prevent inappropriate service utilisation.

Annex

QMH QEH EWH

(A) in operation 84.75% 96.01% 96.53%

(B) out of order 2.47% 2.75% 1.84%

(C) under maintenance *13.78% 1.24% 1.63%

* inclusive of 11.2% (ie 480 hours) for equipment upgrading works

End

Parking spaces for motorcycles ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Following is a question by the Hon Mrs Lau Kin-yee, and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Gordon Siu, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In its report on the "Parking Demand Study", the Government forecast that the number of motorcycles would still be on the rise and that there would be an acute shortage of parking spaces for motorcycles. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

t.

(a) whether; given that motorcycles are generally not accepted by private car parks at the moment, it will specify the proportion of parking spaces for various categories of vehicles when land is granted for vehicle parking purpose in future; if not, why not; and

16

(b) whether, in reviewing the standards for the provision of parking and loading/unloading facilities laid down in the "Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines",

(i) it will increase the number of motorcycle parking spaces in both public and private residential developments and specify the minimum number of motorcycle parking spaces in commercial developments; if not, why not; and

>

(ii) it will revise the standards for the dimensions of parking spaces for motorcycles so as to accommodate larger motorcycles; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

In processing future land grants for carparks, we will specify the proportion of parking spaces for various categories of vehicles, taking into consideration parking demand in the district and the size and layout of the lot concerned.

As recommended in the report on the "Parking Demand Study’, the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) was revised in November 1996. The new HKPSG sets out that, as a general guideline, in all types of developments, whether residential, commercial or industrial, additional parking spaces should be provided for motor cycles at a rate of 5 - 10% of the total provision for private cars and no fewer than 5 motor cycle parking spaces should be provided at any one location.

The existing standard dimension of motor cycle parking spaces is 2m by Im. We have just completed a survey on the size of motor cycles used in Hong Kong. In the light of the survey findings, we are considering increasing the length of motor cycle parking spaces to suit current requirements.

As pointed out in the report on the "Parking Demand Study", parking for motorcycles is not a major problem because, due to their relatively smaller size and manoeuvrability, they can be accommodated in different locations without causing obstruction. The additional provision mentioned above should further improve the situation.

End

17

Residential care homes for the disabled

*****

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

Question:

Regarding residential services provided for disabled persons in residential care homes, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether residential services such as the community assessment service and the provision of visiting medical officers - which are provided in the majority of care and attention homes for elderly people - will be extended to residential care homes for disabled persons, including aged blind homes, care and attention homes for severely disabled persons and long-stay care homes for ex-mentally ill persons; if not, of the reasons for the disparity between the service provision in residential care homes for disabled persons and that for able-bodied persons;

(b) whether the disabled persons in residential care homes are required to receive annual medical examination as stipulated under section 34 of the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Regulation, if so, of the measures taken by the Government to facilitate the disabled persons in residential care homes receiving such examination; and

(c) of the plans in place to strengthen community assessment and medical support services for disabled persons in residential care homes?

Reply:

(a) Subject to resources being available, the Administration is seeking to extend the community assessment services and the provision of visiting medical officers to residential care homes for disabled elderly persons, including care and attention homes for the aged blind and long stay care homes for ex-mentally ill persons.

(b) In respect of disabled persons in residential care homes, residents of homes for the aged blind, care and attention homes for the aged blind and long stay care homes for ex-mentally ill persons are subject to Section 34 of the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Regulation.

18

Arrangement has already been made for residents of the Wong Chuk Hang Long Stay Care Home to receive medical services, including medical examination, from visiting medical officers (VMOs), a community geriatric assessment team (CGAT) and a psychogeriatric team (PGT) on a regular basis.

For homes for the aged blind, care and attention homes for the aged blind and long stay care homes other than the Wong Chuk Hang Long Stay Care Home, staff of the homes make appointments for residents to receive treatment at out-patient clinics of the Department of Health, Hospital Authority or any clinics with which the homes have connection or prior agreement. The residents are transported by vans with facilities for people with a disability and escorted by staff of the homes for such visits.

(c) To strengthen the community assessment and medical support services for disabled elderly persons in residential care homes, the Administration is, subject to resources being available, seeking to extend VMO, CGAT and PGT services to all care and attention homes for the aged blind and long stay care homes for ex-mentally ill persons.

End

Provision of libraries in primary schools

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Upon the completion of the consultation period of the Education Commission Report No. 5, the Education Commission proposed that there should be a library' in every primary school. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the following:

(a) the number of primary schools provided with a library at present;

19

(b) whether the Government still maintains that the above proposal is necessary and worthwhile;

(c) whether consideration will be given to formulating policy to implement the above proposal; if so, of the estimated amount of funds to be allocated for this purpose, and whether sufficient funds will be provided for each primary school; and

(d) whether a relevant programme for the implementation of this proposal has been drawn up; if so, what the details are?

Reply:

Mr President,

In the light of the public response to the Education Commission Report No. 5, the Education Commission recommended and the Government accepted in 1994 to provide a library/leaming centre in new primary schools and, where possible, in existing schools.

(a) 45 public sector primary schools have been provided with a

library under Phase 1 of the School Improvement Programme (SIP). Another 57 public sector primary schools have used private funds to set up a library in their school premises.

(b) As mentioned above, it has been the Government's policy to

provide a school library in all public sector primary schools where possible. We believe that school libraries play an important role in improving the quality of education by promoting good reading habits in pupils, improving pupils' language proficiency, widening pupils' knowledge base, and fostering pupils' ability to study independently.

20

(c)&(d) Starting from 1995, a library has been incorporated in the

schedule of accommodation for standard design primary schools. The first batch of four standard design primary schools which have a library will be completed in August 1997. For a new standard design primary school, the cost of constructing a library forms part of the school building project estimates for which adequate funding will be provided as a package.

Also starting from 1995, and where technically feasible, a number of existing public sector primary schools have been provided with a library under the first two phases of the SIP. About $65 million was spent on constructing 45 libraries in Phase I of the SIP and another $110 million has been approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for constructing 70 libraries in Phase II. Subject to availability of funds, the Government plans to extend the SIP to cover all public sector schools. If the plan is implemented, a further 470 libraries would be provided in existing primary schools in the subsequent phases of the SIP. The additional funds required are estimated to be $ 1,044 million.

End

Employment of children * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Mon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

To take advantage of the recent boom in the property market, many real estate agents step up publicity by hiring children of ten or so to distribute promotional leaflets to passers-by in busy districts during holidays. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it is in breach of law for the real estate agents to hire children under the age of 13 to distribute promotional materials; if so, of the number of prosecutions brought against real estate agents for such offences in the past year together with the number of successful prosecutions; and

21

(b) of the measures will be taken to prevent employers from hiring children under the age of 13?

Reply:

Mr President,

According to regulation 4(1 )(a) of the Employment of Children Regulations (the Regulations) under the Employment Ordinance, no person shall employ a child who is under the age of 13 in any establishment or a child who is under 15 in any industrial undertaking. However, non-industrial establishments, which include property agencies, may employ children aged 13 or 14, provided that they comply with a number of conditions stipulated under the Regulations. These conditions include the requirements that the child must have completed Form 3 secondary education (as certified by his parents), or that the child has a valid School Attendance Certificate from his parents and that his employment is consented in writing by his parents.

My reply to the specific parts of the question is as follows:

(a) It is in contravention of regulation 4(1 )(a) of the Regulations for any real estate agent to employ children under the age of 13 for distribution of promotional materials. Any person who contravenes this regulation commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000. In 1996, no prosecution was taken against any property agent for employing a child under the age of 13 for distributing publicity materials.

(b) To prevent employers from employing children under the age of 13, the Government has been taking a series of enforcement, education and publicity measures.

The Labour Department has been enforcing the Regulations vigorously through conducting site inspections and paying visits to employers. In 1996, the Labour Department conducted 149,769 inspections, of which 33,892 were made to establishments in the non-industrial sector. Prosecutions were taken against illegal employment of children resulting in 16 convictions. Visits to targeted employers such as real estate agents have also been conducted recently.

22

As regards education and publicity, the Labour Department maintains regular contacts with the Education Department to ensure that schools are well aware of the Regulations, especially in respect of employment of school children. The Education Department issues an advisory circular to all schoc's annually drawing their attention to the Regulations.

In addition, the Labour Department disseminates publicity pamphlets near the summer vacation each year to warn employers against employing children under the age of 13, and to remind students as well as their parents of the conditions governing the employment of children aged 13 to 14 as stipulated under the Regulations.

End

Arrangements for surrender of fugitive offenders explained

*****

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

Question:

Hong Kong has arrangements with some 90 countries for the surrender of fugitive offenders, and these arrangements will lapse on 1 July this year. It is learnt that the Government has set a target of establishing 20 bilateral agreements with the countries concerned before that date, but so far only 6 such agreements have been signed and the remaining 14 are still under negotiation. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the progress of the on-going negotiations with the 14 countries concerned, and the number of bilateral agreements expected to be signed before 1 July this year;

(b) of the reasons for the delay in completing the negotiation with the United Kingdom which is among the 14 countries mentioned above; and whether the Government will give an assurance that the negotiation will be successfully completed; and

(c) whether the existence of a bilateral agreement for the surrender of fugitive offenders after 30 June 1997 is a pre-condition set by some countries before they would consider granting visa-free entry status for British National (Overseas)ZHong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders; if so, which countries are these?

23

Reply:

Mr President:

With the agreement of the Chinese side in the Joint Liaison Group (JLG), we are now negotiating a network of bilateral agreements for the surrender of fugitive offenders which will remain in force after 30 June 1997. To date, we have signed agreements with six countries (the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines and the US), and are awaiting signature with India and Indonesia. The agreement recently signed with the US is of particular importance because the great majority of requests for surrender received by Hong Kong comes from the US (10 out of 11 in 1995 and 13 out of 17 in 1996). Other negotiating partners are Singapore, New Zealand, Germany, France, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the UK.

The specific answer to the three parts of the question is as follows:-

(a) We are pressing ahead with negotiations with other negotiating partners. Negotiations are well advanced with some of them. We hope to conclude as many bilateral agreements as possible before the handover, and will make known the initialled agreements once they have been approved by the JLG for signature.

We will give effect to the new bilateral agreements once the Fugitive Offenders Bill, which is being examined by a Bills Committee, has been enacted. The Administration will propose a minor amendment to the definition of ’'arrangements for the surrender of fugitive offenders" in the Bill at the Committee Stage. The purpose of the proposed amendment is to permit arrangements to be made with a jurisdiction with which Hong Kong does not have a bilateral agreement, for the surrender of a particular person (an "ad hoc surrender").

24

The provision of ad hoc surrender in the Bill would increase the number of jurisdictions with which we can cooperate on surrender of fugitive offenders. First, it would enable us to bridge a gap on surrender of fugitive offenders immediately after the handover and before the comprehensive network of agreements is in place. It will enabie action to be taken on requests by any jurisdictions, in particular those with which we have signed agreements but which are not yet ratified, and those with which we at present have arrangements for surrender of fugitive offenders but are not able to conclude agreements before the handover. Secondly, many jurisdictions do not require the existence of an agreement and are prepared to extradite if they receive assurances that the requesting jurisdiction is able to reciprocate. Examples are Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Republic of Ireland, and the Scandinavian countries. If Hong Kong were to request surrender from such a jurisdiction, it would be in a position to give an assurance of reciprocity based on its capacity to grant ad hoc surrender. For practical proposes therefore the number of jurisdictions from which Hong Kong could request surrender will be increased.

(b) An agreement between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the UK cannot enter into force whilst Hong Kong is still part of the UK. However, we recognise the importance to the HKSAR of having an agreement in place with the UK on this important subject as soon as possible after 30 June 1997. We are confident that we can achieve that as we have made good progress in our negotiations with the UK. Once an agreed text is settled with the UK, we will then proceed with the necessary consultations in the JLG.

(c) We are not aware that having extradition arrangements is a pre-condition for any country before visa-free status for BNO and/or SAR passport holders can be considered.

End

25

Noise abatement grant rates kept under regular review

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that in order to abate the nuisance caused by noises, the Education Department has installed air-conditioning systems in the affected primary schools and provided a limited amount of subsidy for such schools to pay the electricity charges. Despite the ever increasing electricity charges, the authorities concerned have neither reviewed the situation nor raised the amount the subsidy. As a result, measures such as cutting back on air-conditioning time and even abandoning the use of air-conditioning have been adopted by the management of some primary schools so as to avoid excessive payment on electricity charges. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council whether it will consider:

(a) reviewing the amount of subsidy for paying the electricity charges in connection with the use of air-conditioning in the above-mentioned primary schools so as to solve the financial problem brought about by the adjustments of electricity charges; and

(b) increasing the amount of the subsidy on a temporary basis so as to alleviate the financial burden on schools due to the adjustments of electricity charges if the review mentioned above cannot be completed before this summer?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Under the Noise Abatement Programme, the Government has been installing air-conditioners and double glazed windows in the classrooms, ) staff rooms and special rooms of public sector schools exposed to

aircraft or traffic noise above 65dB(A). These schools are given a recurrent Noise Abatement Grant to pay for electricity charges and routine maintenance. Approved in 1988, the existing rates of the grant are as follows:

Type of room Rate per room per annum

Classroom and staff room $ 3.950

Special room $13,890

26

The rates of the grant are kept under regular review to ensure that the relevant schools, by and large, have sufficient funds to meet the necessary electricity and maintenance expenses. However, despite periodic adjustments of electricity charges, our record shows that the average utilization rates of the grant have been consistently below 100% by a significant margin. For example, the average utilization rates for primary schools from 1990/91 to the 1995/96 school years were as follows :

Average Utilization Rate(%)

90-91 91-92 92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96

64.3 81.3 91.8 86.7 79.6 80.4'

As regards the minority of primary schools whose actual expenditure exceeded the grants2, the deficits were covered by their General Funds3. We are not aware of schools encountering financial problems in this respect.

The Government will continue to review the rates of the grant annually and will make necessary adjustments where justified.

(b) From past experience, we do not expect schools to have financial difficulties in meeting the electricity and maintenance expenses relating to the use of air-conditioners. Where necessary, expenses in excess of the Noise Abatement Grant can be met from the schools’ General Funds. In exceptional cases, the schools can also apply for special approval to charge the expenses to their School and Class Grant. Pending the findings of the next review which is expected to be completed before this summer, we do not see the need to revise the rates of the grant on a temporary basis.

1 Not all of the schools have submitted their accounts. The average utilization rate is based on the accounts submitted by 77 out of 132 schools.

2 To illustrate, in 1994/95 where the average utilization rate was about 80%, the actual expenditure of 25 schools (or 26%) exceeded the grant.

3 General Funds are income of aided primary schools derived from non-government sources, e.g. rental income from the operation of a tuckshop, donation from sponsoring/outside bodies, etc. Schools have full discretion in the use of the General Funds for educational purposes.

End

27

MTRC paying dividend to the Government *****

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong, and a written reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) plans to pay a dividend to the Government this year. In this connection, does the Government know:

(a) whether the decision to pay a dividend was made by the MTRC on its own initiative or in response to the Government’s request, and what the major reasons for such decision are;

(b) of the total amount of the dividend to be paid; and

(c) in view of the plan of the MTRC to spend more than a billion dollars on

a phased refurbishment of its train cars in the middle of the year, to carry out improvement works to ease congestion at the Quarry Bay station, to raise funds for the construction of the Tseung Kwan O extension, as well as to repay the loan for the Airport Railway, whether the decision to pay a dividend to the Government this year will result in additional financial burdens on the MTRC and cause the company to run into greater debts ?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) is a statutory body required by law to operate in accordance with prudent commercial principles. As with other commercial organisations, the decision on the declaration and payment of a dividend is made by the MTRC Board, under the MTRC Ordinance, having regard to its operating results, overall financial position as well as its immediate and long term funding requirements. This also takes into account the rational expectation of MTRC's shareholder of an acceptable level of return on the public investment in the Corporation. It is expected that dividend payments would be made to the Government, starting 1997, now that the accumulated losses of MTRC are fully eliminated. This expectation is also recorded in Clause 2(J) of the Financial Support Agreement between the MTRC and Government, which forms the basis for financing the Airport Railway project.

28

(b) It is premature at this point in time to discuss details of the amount of dividend payment when the 1996 accounts for the MTRC are still being audited for review and approval by the Board in March this year. However, the provisional figure in the Financial Support Agreement's cashflows is for $700 million to be paid as dividend in 1997.

(c) On the basis for its financial projections, we anticipate that the decision to pay a dividend to government will cause the MTRC no additional financial burden, as it has prudently taken into account this requirement in its overall financial planning, which includes the potential commitments for the capital projects mentioned.

End

No plan to close off Victoria Park in June *****

Following is a question by the Hon Lau Wai-hing, Emily and a written reply by the Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport, Mr Chau Tak-hay, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council whether there are plans to close off Victoria Park, other parks and open areas in June this year prior to the transfer of sovereignty; if so, of the details of such plans and the justifications for the closure?

Reply:

The management of Victoria Park and other public pleasure grounds falls outside the Government's direct policy responsibility and is the direct responsibility of the two Municipal Councils. I have obtained the information sought by the Honourable Member from the two Councils' executive departments, i.e. the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department.

According to the Urban Services Department, there is no plan to close off Victoria Park in June this year. According to the two Departments, out of a total of over 1,300 parks and open spaces managed by the Urban Council (UC) or the Regional Council (RC), four are closed and another seven will be closed in June this year; and these closures are necessitated by improvement/maintenance works or public works and the details are at Annexes A and B respectively.

27

MTRC paying dividend to the Government *****

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong, and a written reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) plans to pay a dividend to the Government this year. In this connection, does the Government know:

(a) whether the decision to pay a dividend was made by the MTRC on its own initiative or in response to the Government’s request, and what the major reasons for such decision are;

(b) of the total amount of the dividend to be paid; and

(c) in view of the plan of the MTRC to spend more than a billion dollars on

a phased refurbishment of its train cars in the middle of the year, to carry out improvement works to ease congestion at the Quarry Bay station, to raise funds for the construction of the Tseung Kwan O extension, as well as to repay the loan for the Airport Railway, whether the decision to pay a dividend to the Government this year will result in additional financial burdens on the MTRC and cause the company to run into greater debts ?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) is a statutory body required by law to operate in accordance with prudent commercial principles. As with other commercial organisations, the decision on the declaration and payment of a dividend is made by the MTRC Board, under the MTRC Ordinance, having regard to its operating results, overall financial position as well as its immediate and long term funding requirements. This also takes into account the rational expectation of MTRC's shareholder of an acceptable level of return on the public investment in the Corporation. It is expected that dividend payments would be made to the Government, starting 1997, now that the accumulated losses of MTRC are fully eliminated. This expectation is also recorded in Clause 2(J) of the Financial Support Agreement between the MTRC and Government, which forms the basis for financing the Airport Railway project.

28

(b) It is premature at this point in time to discuss details of the amount of dividend payment when the 1996 accounts for the MTR.C are still being audited for review and approval by the Board in March this year. However, the provisional figure in the Financial Support Agreement’s cashflows is for $700 million to be paid as dividend in 1997.

(c) On the basis for its financial projections, we anticipate that the decision to pay a dividend to government will cause the MTRC no additional financial burden, as it has prudently taken into account this requirement in its overall financial planning, which includes the potential commitments for the capital projects mentioned.

End

No plan to close off Victoria Park in June *****

Following is a question by the Hon Lau Wai-hing, Emily and a written reply by the Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport, Mr Chau Tak-hay, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council whether there are plans to close off Victoria Park, other parks and open areas in June this year prior to the transfer of sovereignty; if so, of the details of such plans and the justifications for the closure?

Reply:

The management of Victoria Park and other public pleasure grounds falls outside the Government’s direct policy responsibility and is the direct responsibility of the two Municipal Councils. I have obtained the information sought by the Honourable Member from the two Councils’ executive departments, i.e. the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department.

According to the Urban Services Department, there is no plan to close off Victoria Park in June this year. According to the two Departments, out of a total of over 1,300 parks and open spaces managed by the Urban Council (UC) or the Regional Council (RC), four are closed and another seven will be closed in June this year; and these closures are necessitated by improvement/maintenance works or public works and the details are at Annexes A and B respectively.

29

Annex A

Venues Currently Closed

Venue Closure Dates Justifications

Pokfulam Road Playground (UC venue) 1 March 95 - 31 March 98 Partial closure for construction of an underground road

Sycamore Playground (UC venue) 1 September 96 - 30 June 97 Closure for improvement works

Ap Lei Chau Bridge Road Playground (UC venue) 15 January 97 - 15 June 97 Closure for slope works

Tung Chung Playground (RC venue) 17 February 97 - 15 June 97 Closure for improvement works

AnnexB

Venues to be Closed

Venue Tentative Closure Dates Justifications

Moray Road Children’s Playground (UC venue) 20 February 97 - 30 November 97 Closure for improvement works

Tin Hau Temple Road Park (UC venue) 1 June 97 - 31 March 98 Partial closure for slope works

Wan Tsui Lane Sitting-out Area (UC venue) 1 June 97 - 30 June 99 Partial closure for construction of a footbridge

Hong Kong Stadium (UC venue) 14 April 97 - 7 June 97 Closure of grass pitch for maintenance

Wo Yi Hop Road Sports Ground (RC venue) 1 June 97 - 31 August 97 Closure for improvement works

Hin Tin Playground (RC venue) 1 June 97 - 30 June 97 Closure for maintenance

Tsuen Wan Riviera Park (RC venue) 1 June 97 - 31 July 97 Closure of grass pitch for maintenance

End

30

Data on intensive care units *****

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

Question:

Is the Government aware of the following data in respect of intensive care units (general and specialist services) in public hospitals:

(a) the respective number of beds in each of these units and the number of patients admitted into these units in each of the past three years;

(b) the establishment and strength of medical practitioners and nursing staff in each of these units respectively;

(c) the year of service of the electronic monitoring system in each of these units, and

(d) which of these units are not provided with separate officers and storerooms?

Reply:

The number of general intensive care beds in the last two years and the staffing position of these units as at end of March 1996 are summarised at Annex A. Similar information on other types of intensive care beds such as those in coronary care units, neonatal care units, special care baby units and paediatric intensive care units is not readily available and is being collated. Since the computer system in the Hospital Authority captures statistics covering general as well as other types of intensive care beds, the total number of patients admitted into all these units is provided at Annex B.

The staffing level of intensive care units will vary according to the service scope, delineated role and mix of facilities available at individual hospitals. While the expected life span of electronic monitoring equipment is seven to 10 years, most of such equipment being used at the intensive care units of public hospitals have been in service for less than seven years. The need for new and replacement monitoring equipment will be reviewed by each hospital in the context of its annual planning. All public hospitals with designated intensive care units are provided with separate offices, storerooms or storage facilities.

31

Annex A

General Intensive Care Beds and Staffing Position

Hospital ICU beds as at end of 3/1995 ICU beds as at end of 3/1996 Doctors as at end of 3/1996 Nurses as at end of 3/1996

QMH 16 16 10 64

PYNEH 8 8 4 33

RH 4 4 1.75 19

GH 16 20 5 49

QEH 16 18 12 71

KWH 16 16 6 50.5

UCH 13 14 6 53

PMH 12 14 6 51

CMC 8 8 4.5 31

YCH 6 8 5 35.5

PWH 14 14 12 80

TWH 9 10 6 42

AnnexJi

Patients Admitted into All Types of Intensive Care Beds

Hospital Patients Admitted in 1994/95* Patients Admitted in 1995/96*

QMH 791 1,040

PYNEH 305 560

RH 28 232

GH 776 890

QEH 555 673

KWH 953 1,304

UCH 1,229 1,161

PMH 460 592

CMC 392 488

YCH 159 381

PWH 1,055 1,104

TWH 374 411

* include patients admitted into other types of intensive care beds such as those in coronary care units, neonatal care units, special care baby units and paediatric intensive care units.

End

32

Stock market dealings *****

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

Question:

Does the Government know:

(a) whether all dealings in the stock market transacted with "legal tender in cash" would not be considered by the Securities and Futures Commission as manipulating the market;

(b) of the currencies regarded as "legal tender in cash"; and

(c) whether there are legislation or regulations which allow dealings in stock and shares not being transacted with "legal tender in cash"?

Answer:

(a)&(c) The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has advised that the term "legal tender in cash" is a colloquial term and has no legal definition. It is normally used in general discussion to express the view that transactions should be honest and not fraudulent. Sections 135 and 136 of the Securities Ordinance, Cap. 333, prohibit the intentional creation of false and misleading appearances of active trading in the Stock Exchange and the use of fraudulent devices in the purchase and sale of securities. The SFC has further advised that all dealings in the stock market which fully comply with the Rules of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and all relevant laws are recognised by the SFC as lawful transactions.

(b) The SFC considers acceptable any currency which may be legally

used in Hong Kong for the purpose of payment.

End

33

ISD press releases *****

The following is a question by the Hon Ho Mun-ka, Michael and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday).

Question:

Regarding the unfounded press release issued by the Information Services Department on January 21 this year concerning the Hospital Authority, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the ranking of officers in the Information Services Department who are usually responsible for issuing "press releases" and "service items";

(b) how the mechanism monitoring the dissemination of information by the Information Services Department operates;

(c) whether, in order to avoid mistakes and omissions during the process of information dissemination which could cause public alarm, the Information Services Department has arranged for reports on certain sensitive or important events or news to be examined by higher ranking officers before their release; and

(d) whether it has investigated the above-mentioned incident; if so, when and in what ways the investigation results will be published?

Reply

Mr President,

A press release was issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority through the facsimile network of the Information Services Department on January 21, 1997, announcing the death of a member of the Hospital Authority Board. The release reached the media accurately and in good time.

To facilitate the work of the media, the department sends out at the end of each day an index through its computer network listing the headings of press releases issued earlier so that editors can confirm if all items have been received. A mistake was made in the index of January 21, 1997 with regard to the heading of the press release in question. Subsequently, a correction was made over the same network and a letter of apology was sent to the Chairman of the Hospital Authority.

34

Although those indices are not meant for publication but as a checklist for editors, experienced officers, usually at Senior Information Officers level, are assigned to check them before dissemination.

I can assure members that every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of all press releases issued through the department for publication, be they government releases or announcements issued as service items. All copies are processed by experienced officers on behalf of other institutions. They are checked by proofreaders and cross checked by editors before release. Particularly sensitive and important press releases are referred to more senior officers, up to and including the Director.

End

Mortgage repayment terms

*****

Following is a question by the 1 Ion Sin Chung-kai, and a written reply by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that some banks are offering 40-year mortgage loans to property buyers. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) the Government has laid down any guidelines on mortgage repayment terms offered by banks to property buyers; if so, of the longest mortgage repayment term at present; if not, of the longest mortgage repayment terms offered by banks in each of the past three years;

(b) it has information, on the longest mortgage repayment terms offered by banks to property buyers in countries like Britain, the United States and Japan;

(c) the offering of a 40-year mortgage repayment term will increase the risks of banks; if so, what the risks are; if not, why not; and

(d) the offering of a 40-year mortgage repayment term will give rise to more speculations on newly completed fiats?

35

Reply:

(a) There is no guideline issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on the term (i.e. duration) of mortgage loans in Hong Kong. In the past three years, most banks offered mortgage loans with a maximum term of 20 to 25 years. The recent offer of 40-year mortgage Ioans for a specific new property development by an individual bank is an isolated case so far.

Banks generally set a cap, ranging from 30 to 40 years in most cases, on the sum of the loan term and the age of the property in question. For example, if the bank sets the cap at 40, it will normally offer a maximum of a 25-year mortgage to an applicant if the property is 15 years old. Most banks also take into account the age of the applicant in determining the maximum mortgage term. Normally, the loan term will not extend beyond the retirement age of the applicant.

(b) Our understanding is that the bank mortgage repayment terms offered in the United Kingdom, United States and Japan mostly fall within the range of 25 to 40 years. Individual non-bank institutions are understood to have offered mortgage terms of 45 years or longer.

(c) All other things being equal, the risk of a loan will in theory increase with the length of the term. More uncertainties will come into play during the life of a longer term mortgage loan, e.g. the borrower's financial position may change, interest rates may be subject to wider fluctuation, maturity mismatch may be more significant, etc.

(d) It is unlikely that the offer of a 40-year mortgage repayment term will give rise to more speculations on newly completed flats. Borrowers who apply for a 40-year mortgage loan tend to be genuine home-buyers who cannot afford a large amount of monthly repayment in the early life of the mortgage loan. In general, speculators are believed to be less dependent on long-term bank financing.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, February 20, 1997

Contents Page No.

Statement by the Governor on Deng’s death................................... 1

Transcript of Chief Secretary’s media session on Deng’s death............... 1

Flags flying half-mast...................................................... 2

Governor's statement on appointment of Principal Officials.................. 2

Transcript of Chief Secretary's media session............................... 2

Warmest congratulations for appointment of Ms Elsie Leung................... 4

। *

Transcript of the Governor's media session.................................. 4

Transcript of the Governor’s question and answer session.................... 7

Transcript of remarks by Financial Secretary................................ 9

CS to open Year of Heritage................................................ 10

/Fire officers...

Contents

Page No,

Fire officers display high standard of professionalism................. 11

First aircraft landing at Chek Lap Kok..................................... 12

Gazettal of Copyright Bill................................................. 13

Bill to tidy up habeas corpus laws proposed................................ 15

Voters urged to support Tai Po DB by-election.............................. 16

Latest study and careers information for Expo visitors..................... 17

Unemployment and underemployment statistics................................ 18

Estimated population as at end of 1996..................................... 20

BOE members visit the HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School.................... 20

Customs' intellectual property unit to open new office..................... 21

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results................................ 22

1

Statement by the Governor on Deng’s death

*****

Following is the statement by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, this (Thursday) morning:

I learned with regret this morning of the death of Mr Deng Xiaoping.

Deng Xiaoping has been the principal architect in recent years of China's modernisation and opening to the outside world. He will be regarded by future generations as an historic figure. His concept of "one country, two systems" helped to make possible the successful negotiation of the Joint Declaration, and thus to lay the foundation for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity after 1997.

End

Transcript of Chief Secretary's media session on Deng’s death ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, at CGO this (Thursday) morning:

Chief Secretary: I'd just like to say that I learned with deep regret the passing of Mr Deng Xiaoping. Mr Deng Xiaoping is, of course, a distinguished leader of China, also the creator of the "one country, two systems" concept. This concept has, of course, led to the successful, as the Governor said, the successful conclusion of the Joint Declaration and therefore laying a very strong foundation for Hong Kong’s future prosperity and stability. 1 would just like to represent and say on behalf of the entire Hong Kong civil service to send our deepest condolence to Mr Deng's family.

Question: Will this affect the smooth transition?

Chief Secretary: I think it won't affect the smooth transition.

End

2

Flags flying half-mast *****

Flags on all government buildings will be flown at half-mast for one day at noon today (Thursday) as a mark of respect for Deng Xiaoping, who passed away yesterday (Wednesday).

End

Governor’s statement on appointment of Principal Officials * * * * *

The following is the statement by the Governor, the Rt Flon Christopher Patten today (Thursday):

”1 have been most fortunate during my time as Governor to be supported by an outstanding Civil Service, and I am pleased that Mr Tung Chee Hwa will continue to be served by an excellent team of senior officials. The whole community wanted to see a through train for the Civil Service, and will welcome the reassuring news of the reappointments of all the current serving Policy Secretaries as Principal Officials in the Special Administrative Region Government."

End

Transcript of Chief Secretary's media session

*****

Following is the transcript of a media session given at the CGO by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, following the announcement of the appointment of SARG Principal Officials this (Thursday) evening:

Chief Secretary: I am sure the entire community is very saddened today by news of the death of Mr Deng Xiaoping but we have to continue with our work.

3

The Chinese Government has announced the appointment of all eligible serving officers as Principal Officials of the SARG. In other words, Mr Tung Chee Hwa's nominations have been accepted by the Chinese Government. I am personally very encouraged by this news. As you know, these officials have been my colleagues for many many years, and 1 have every confidence in their ability and in their loyalty to Hong Kong. The appointment as Principal Officials will ensure that there is continuity at the top of the civil service during the transition period. And I am sure that this will be welcomed both by the Civil Service and by the entire community.

I wish also like on behalf of my colleagues to congratulate Miss Elsie Leung on her appointment as Secretary of Justice (Designate) and to extend to her a very very warm welcome. This is a very responsible post as it will be responsible for upholding the rule of law impartially and fearlessly. Miss Leung has considerable experience both of the law and of public service. My colleagues and I look forward to working with her and we will cooperate and give her every possible assistance.

1 would also like to congratulate Mrs Lily Yam on her appointment as Commissioner of the ICAC. As we all know, the ICAC plays a vital role in Hong Kong, and the Basic Law specifically provides that it will continue to function independently after July 1. Mrs Yam is an experienced civil servant who has previously worked in the ICAC, and I am sure she will maintain the fine tradition that previous Commissioners have established. Thank you.

Question: (on provisional legislature)

Chief Secretary: Mr Tung has made it quite clear that all the freedoms guaranteed under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law will continue after 1997. Insofar as a certain proposals by the Legal Sub-group., our concern.. Mr Tung has already said that he will widely consult the public and I am sure Mr l ung will soon announce how this public consultation will be conducted.

End

4

Warmest congratulations for appointment of Ms Elsie Leung

*****

The following statement is issued by the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews today (Thursday):

"I am pleased to learn of the appointment of Ms Elsie Leung Oi Sie as the Secretary of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. She will be taking on one of the most challenging and satisfying jobs that any lawyer can have.

"The Attorney General, and the Secretary of Justice after July 1, play a crucial role in the maintenance of the rule of law and in upholding justice in Hong Kong fearlessly and without bias. These values underpin our society and are essential for our continued success. I am sure that Ms Leung will serve Hong Kong well and with distinction.

’’She will have the support of a department of dedicated and professional officers. She can be assured of the fullest assistance from my colleagues and me in taking up her new responsibilities.

"I offer Ms Leung my warmest congratulations on the appointment.”

End

Transcript of the Governor’s media session

*****

The following is the transcript of the media session given by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten after attending a luncheon hosted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce this (Thursday) afternoon:

Question: ... (on Mr Deng Xiaoping’s death)

Governor: Perhaps I can set my reply in context. On behalf of the Government and people of Hong Kong. I would like to offer my condolences to Mr Deng's family and to the Government and people of China. Mr Deng is one of the historic figures of this century and of course his role in opening up and modernising China's economy has helped to shape the last years of this century and will help to shape the early years of the next century as well.

5

We obviously have particular reasons for looking with great interest at Mr Deng’s career because it was his concept of’one country, two systems’ which provided the framework for Hong Kong’s future after 1997; it provided the framework for the guarantees that Hong Kong’s way of life would continue the same after 1997.

So I suppose the simple answer to your question is that the world will remember Mr Deng most because of his contribution to the opening up of China’s economy. And Hong Kong will remember him most not only for that reason but also because of the concept of'one country, two systems’.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: I said in my speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce that I thought it was unwise to speculate about the precise implications of Mr Deng’s death. What I can more usefully do is to describe what Hong Kong is today - a strong and prosperous and robust city and society well able to take any events in its stride. The outlines of the strategy for Hong Kong have been set out for many years in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law and I don't think that should be changed.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: I imagine that it was part of Mr Deng's wisdom, in enunciating the concept of 'one country, two systems', to try to ensure that Hong Kong was insulated from events elsewhere and that Hong Kong was able to preserve its way of life and its system while being part, in sovereignty terms, of China. It is, I think everybody concedes, a concept both imaginative and difficult to implement, and the challenge for the years ahead will be to ensure, in the interests of the people of Hong Kong, that it is implemented successfully.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: I think the things they could do to give greater confidence in Hong Kong, not least, judging by recent polls, are not related to Mr Deng's death but are related to decisions taken recently about the protection of human rights and about the provisional legislature. I think that people are anxious, in Hong Kong, about their liberties in the future, about their way of life and the rule of law in the future. Those worries are not exaggerated. You only have to see, for example, what the leaders of the legal profession have said. So I think that the reassurance should best come by Chinese officials changing the view they have taken of those issues and by them showing that they trust Hong Kong and are prepared to stand back and let Hong Kong get on with its own life peacefully and with the success and stability that we have seen in recent years.

6

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: No, I am not saying that. And even if I were to say it, it would be, of all the things that the Governor of Hong Kong has ever said, the one which was most widely and comprehensively ignored. What I am saying is that there are others, doubtless like you, who are paid adequate salaries to speculate about the future of the world and the future in particular of China. I am a public official. I am responsible for the good government of Hong Kong. I don’t think that it helps for me to speculate, with no more success, I would judge, than you would have.

It is difficult enough for me to speculate about the future of British politics without speculating about the future of Chinese politics. We all know, of course, that in the next few weeks and months all sorts of people, expert and less expert, will speculate more or less imaginatively about the future of China and we all know that many if not most of them will be wrong. And I would just prefer not to join in that speculative endeavour, and I would prefer to go on concentrating on what I know rather than can speculate about. And what I know is that Hong Kong is a terrifically successful and very decent city and that as long as we hang on to Hong Kong’s values and Hong Kong’s way of doing things it will remain decent and successful.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: I think given that ’one country, two systems’ - whether or not it was his intellectual invention, certainly the concept with which he was so closely associated politically -1 think it is a pity that he was not able to see not just the actual transition to Chinese sovereignty but I hope in the years beyond, the successful protection of Hong Kong’s system even when Hong Kong becomes in sovereignty terms part of China, just as it has been geographically part of China all along.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: 1 don’t think you have heard me be critical of those comments. I think what you may have done, if you have had the ill-fortune to hear many of my speeches, is hear me make exactly the same points again and again and again, as I was doing today. I have spoken consistently and I hope from time to time vigorously about the defence of Hong Kong's civil liberties over the last few years. The worry is that because of decisions taken in recent weeks, our friends in other countries - our friends in other countries who wish us well - have come to share exactly the same worries and anxieties which people in Hong Kong have. They are not making these things up.

7

When the leaders of our legal profession write to the Chief Executive and say that proposals on the Bill of Rights and related matters would undermine the rule of law, you can't be very surprised if legislators visiting Hong Kong from other free and plural societies express their worries as well. So far from believing that those anxieties are misplaced, my view is that those anxieties can best be addressed in Hong Kong and outside Hong Kong by changing policies, not by putting gags on people.

Question: Will you go to his funeral service ?

Governor: As I understand it, the committee which is organising Mr Deng's funeral has made it clear already that it is not going to invite foreign dignitaries. I am certainly foreign. Whether I am a dignitary or not I leave to you to decide.

Question: Will you send flowers ?

Governor: I don't think that would be appropriate but I have written to Director Zhou Nan, the head of the New China News Agency, expressing my condolences. And of course if there is a condolence book opened, I will want to sign that with the senior members of my Administration.

Question: (inaudible)

Governor: Yes, I had an excellent question from the young journalist in red, to my left, and I am not sure that I could do better than the reply I gave her.

End

Transcript of the Governor's question and answer session

The following is the transcript of the question and answer session given by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten after his luncheon speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong this (Thursday) afternoon:

Question (David Barton Lee - Asian Commercial Research): Sir, you have described the facts of Hong Kong's triumphant development over the last few years. You have not referred to what perhaps to many here is your failure in implementing a wider base for democratic institutions in Hong Kong which at the moment we see are being steadily dismantled by our new Chinese overlords. Does it surprise you that this is happening considering what Her Majesty's Government declared in 1984 about the Agreement being unalterable and the various clauses about 'no change' in economic and social circumstances in Hong Kong. In short, is Hong Kong in fact better-off or worse-off for your valiant attempts to widen the electoral basis?

8

Governor: I try, I try so hard to be uncontroversial, but people do lead me on. We had, in the past, interesting exchanges about market research and opinion poll evidence but I think it would be injudicious of me today to talk about opinion polls, save to say that I don't think we could have managed to get through our agenda in the last four and a half years without the steady support of the great majority of people here in Hong Kong. And it is a matter of surprise but gratification that that support has remained as constant as it has.

I think I only want to say one thing in response to your question and it is this. I think it is rather offensive to the people of Hong Kong and perhaps a good deal too complimentary to this Governor or to the Hong Kong Government or the British Government for anybody to give the impression that the democratic institutions that we enjoy today - the Legislative Council, the Municipal Council, the District Boards -are somehow an imposition by the departing colonial power on Hong Kong. Those who have campaigned and argued for democratic institutions in Hong Kong, representing the majority of public opinion in doing so, those who have represented the growing aspirations of civic consciousness in Hong Kong should get the credit.

I was aware when I came to Hong Kong in 1992 that I had to find some acceptable middle-ground between the aspirations of Hong Kong and its political representatives - some of whom, admittedly, have since then changed their minds - I had to find some middle-ground between those representatives' aspirations and what was set out in the sacred texts - in the Joint Declaration to which you referred, sir, and the Basic Law - which prescribed a modest, moderate, cautious process of democratic development.

I think we did that. I think we did that with arrangements which were genuine and which were fair. And I suspect that history will record that that was the problem -that they were genuine, that they were fair, and that they did therefore give people in Hong Kong the opportunity to see that their own political ambitions were properly and faithfully represented in the Legislative Council.

Now, I think all that argument, all that debate over institutions, has been accompanied by something else. I think Hong Kong has become, over the last four and a half years, a far more open, a far more plural society. So even if I deplore what may or may not be done with some of Hong Kong's institutions, I don't believe that the increased openness and pluralism of Hong Kong which has been accompanied as I said in my remarks, by greater economic success and by greater social stability, are things that can be simply rolled-up and put back in the cupboard. Were that to be attempted, I think the consequences would be extremely damaging for social harmony in this community.

9

I suspect that when the historians open their account on the story of these years they may well conclude that the Governor of Hong Kong far from having gone too far, hadn’t perhaps been sufficiently robust in what he did. But I will leave that for the historians, of whom I was once one but my expertise was in the 12th century.

Any more? That will give the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth State more opportunity afterwards to invite me to answer questions on subjects which I didn’t discuss in my speech and have no intention of discussing with them.

I just throw that in so that I won’t disappoint them too much when I go outside and repeat what I said in my speech, that there will be a great deal of speculation in the next days and weeks and months, wall to wall speculation, speculation which will often be imaginative and frequently fictitious, speculation which is I think less fruitful and less helpful for Hong Kong than just pointing out what a spectacularly successful and decent place this is and how this city has managed to take great events in its stride over the last few years because of its natural resilience and because of its value system. I think it is perhaps more useful for the Governor of Hong Kong to talk about those things than to join the speculation of the professional and amateur Sinologists, most of whom have this at least in common - that they have usually been wrong.

End

Transcript of remarks by Financial Secretary *****

Following is a transcript of the remarks by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, after attending the First Landing at the Chek Lap Kok Airport this afternoon (Thursday):

FS: Good morning. It was indeed a very exciting and moving day for us. We manage to fly, although for a very short while, slightly over fifteen minutes. But it was a very historical event. We took off from one commercial airport in Hong Kong and landed on another commercial airport also in Hong Kong. I think this is the first time we had ever done it. I found it exceedingly moving, and the occasion, of course marked another milestone in the construction of our Airport Core Programme, we are well ahead. And from tomorrow onwards, I understand that the Airport Authority and the Civil Aviation Department which had done enormously for this project would start a series of test including the Instrument Landing System and then there would be other tests as well. We are now on schedule. I am pretty confident that the Airport Authority together with all the government departments concerned would be going to deliver this Airport to the people of Hong Kong on time, in Easter next year, and within costs. Thank you very much for coming. Well, it is a very bright and sunny day which is very appropriate for this occasion. Thank you.

10

Q: Did you expect there would be some turbulence here?

FS: No, I do not think that would happen at all although the community has enormous respect for Mr Deng and feel very sorrowful about his passing away. But I think the community is equally psychologically prepared for the event and the markets, in particular, had already been discounted any turbulence effect resulting from his passage. Another thing that you know is we have very strong economic fundamentals, our markets are robust, our reserves are also equally resourceful. And I am quite sure that whatever minor disruption might occasion by his passage would not be enduring. I am sure we would overcome this very shortly.

Q: What are the (inaudible) for the airport?

FS: Very good indeed. Very good indeed. I think we are going to have the airport, I think we are going to have the first commercial take off in Easter next year. Thank you very much indeed.

End

CS to open Year of Heritage *****

A ceremony marking the opening of the Year of Heritage will take place at the Chater Garden, Central, at 4 pm tomorrow (Friday).

It will be officiated by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan. Other guests include the Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, Professor David Lung; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, Mr Alexander Au; and Chairman of the Council of the Trust, Mr Edward Ho.

An exhibition featuring excavations dated back to the Neolithic Period, the Bronze Period, the Qin-Tang Dynasty and the Song-Qing Dynasty, will be put on display. The Television Broadcasts Ltd. will also stage a variety show to put across the message of heritage conservation to the public.

End

11

Fire officers display high standard of professionalism *****

Fire Services personnel had displayed high standards of professionalism, perseverance and efficient co-ordination with other disciplined services in tackling the Garley Building fire and the No. 3 alarm karaoke fire, the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai said today (Thursday).

Speaking at a passing-out parade, Mr Lai said the hard work and dedication Fire Services personnel displayed were much appreciated.

Mr Lai called on recruit officers on parade to display a great sense of commitment, determination and courage in serving Hong Kong and its community.

He said: "You have been taught the professional skills for saving life and extinguishing fire. Equally important are the need for discipline and team work.”

Mr Lai said he was confident that the recruit officers would perform their duties with courage and determination and live up to the high standards and reputation of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department.

On the new Chek Lap Kok airport, Mr Lai said the Fire Services Department had undertaken a well-planned strategy to provide fire fighting and rescue services.

"The new fire stations will be equipped with the most modem equipment and appliances to cover rescue both on land and at sea," he said.

Mr Lai said more challenges and changes were anticipated to come in the "Year of the Ox" and the community would continue to rely on Fire Services personnel's professionalism and high standard of performance.

On parade were eight Probation Station Officers and 42 Firemen who had completed their respective basic training courses and who would soon be posted out to various fire stations to gain more field experience.

End

12

First aircraft landing at Chek Lap Kok *****

A fixed wing Super King Air aircraft of the Government Flying Service (GFS) carrying the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, made a historical landing at the new airport at Chek Lap Kok this (Thursday) afternoon.

This landing is the first ever landing by a fixed wing aircraft at the new airport, and it marks a significant milestone in the progress of its construction.

The Financial Secretary was accompanied by the Chairman of the Airport Authority, Mr Wong Po-yan; Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip; Director of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, Mr Billy Lam; and Director of Civil Aviation, Mr Richard Siegel.

After disembarking from the aircraft, Mr Tsang unveiled a plaque commemorating the first aircraft landing at the new airport in front of guests from various government departments, the Airport Authority, airport committees and aviation industries.

The first landing was made in preparation of the commencement of calibration flight checks for the newly installed Instrument Landing System (ILS) to be conducted by the Civil Aviation Department.

On the calibration flight checks, a Civil Aviation Department spokesman said that a specially equipped aircraft of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States would calibrate the ILS for the first runway of the new airport.

”As FAA aircraft will have to make a number of approaches and landings on the runway during the process of calibration which will last for six to eight weeks, we have arranged for the GFS aircraft to perform the first landing, prior to the commencement of calibration flight checks," the spokesman said.

The spokesman pointed out that the ILS was now ready for calibration flight checks.

The ILS is a navigational aid which provides accurate azimuth and descend guidance information to pilots to ensure a safe landing on the runway under all weather conditions.

13

’’Compared with the one installed at Kai Tak, the ILS at Chek Lap Kok can allow aircraft to land on the runway even under poorer visibility condition,” the spokesman noted.

The purpose of calibration is to ensure that the guidance signals generated by the ILS were within the stringent tolerance limits specified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

"To meet the airport opening in April 1998, there is a need to commission the new ILS for the southern runway in May this year so as to allow sufficient time for evaluation and validation of the air traffic control procedures developed for the new airport.

’’During the calibration procedures, the FAA aircraft will fly on the nominal flight path and compare the ILS signals against the ICAO limits. Should there be any deviation detected, the ground equipment will be adjusted accordingly until its radiation is within the acceptable tolerance," the spokesman added.

End

Gazettal of Copyright Bill *****

A copyright Bill, which establishes a comprehensive and independent copyright regime in Hong Kong for the protection of intellectual property rights in line with prevailing international standards, will be gazetted tomorrow (Friday).

A spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch said : "The Copyright Bill is in line with prevailing international standards on intellectual property rights protection, such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) under the World Trade Organisation, and the relevant international intellectual property conventions.

"The Bill largely follows the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in its Report on Reform of the Law relating to Copyright, which was published in January 1994 after extensive consultations. The Bill also reflects the agreement reached in the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group in November 1995 on localisation of law proposals.

14

’’Copyright protects original literary works (such as books, magazines, newspapers and computer software), musical works, dramatic works and artistic works (including technical drawings and photographs). Copyright also protects sound recordings (such as compact discs and cassette tapes), films (including videos, video compact discs (VCDs), published editions, wireless broadcasts and cable programmes).

’’With an effective copyright regime, the achievements and the lawful rights and interests of the authors will be protected. Creativity and international trade, which are crucial to the prosperity of Hong Kong, will be encouraged.

’’The Government issued a draft Copyright Bill to about 100 organisations, including copyright owners and users in the relevant sectors as well as those in the professional and academic fields during a consultation exercise in November 1996. We have as far as possible incorporated the comments received into this Bill.

”We are aware of the need to ensure that copyright owners and exclusive licensees are adequately protected so that they can enjoy the full benefits of their copyright products in Hong Kong. At the same time we need to ensure that consumers of copyright products continue to enjoy access to a wide range of genuine, legal products at reasonable prices.

’’The Basic Law provides that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government shall formulate its own policies on and protect by law intellectual property rights. This Copyright Bill will provide a modern, local and independent copyright regime in Hong Kong which caters for technological advances and suits local circumstances,” the spokesman added.

Some of the main legislative proposals arc -

A level playing-field for copyright protection worldwide - any copyright works created or published by any person anywhere in the world would qualify for protection in Hong Kong.

* Additional legal tools to facilitate I long Kong Customs’ enforcement and co-operation with copyright owners and enforcement authorities in other jurisdictions.

* The maintenance of customs measures at the border and a further increase in maximum penalties against pirated copyright works.

15

Decriminalisation of parallel importation; maintenance of civil remedies

against parallel import. Exclusive licensees may take civil action against those who arrange for parallel importation in breach of exclusive licence agreements.

Protection of rental right for sound recordings and computer programs, but not for films, through civil remedies.

* The provision for permitted acts, including those for fair dealing, educational purposes, copies kept by or provided by libraries and archives, public administration, limited re-transmission of broadcasts and transient copying for viewing or listening, on the INTERNET.

* Protection of the legitimate interests of copyright owners for copyright works on the INTERNET, as well as the interests of those who provide physical facilities.

Registration on a voluntary basis for collective copyright administration societies to ensure essential information such as scales of royalty charges will be available to public.

* Clarified and expanded jurisdiction for the Copyright Tribunal to encourage aggrieved parties to seek redress.

"The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on 26 February 1997. The Government has accorded priority to the Bill in the legislative programme as it is necessary to have the new copyright legislation put in place before 1 July 1997," the spokesman said.

End

Bill to tidy up habeas corpus laws proposed * ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill 1997, which seeks to provide for applications for and the issue of writs of habeas corpus, will be gazetted tomorrow (Friday).

A Government spokesman said today that the legislative amendments were basically an exercise to tidy up existing laws on habeas corpus.

16

The UK Habeas Corpus Acts 1679 and 1816, on which the modem rules on habeas corpus are based, are currently applied in Hong Kong by virtue of being listed in the Schedule to the Application of English Law Ordinance, it is likely that this Ordinance will cease to apply to Hong Kong after the transfer of sovereignty.

"The two UK Acts are important in giving statutory recognition to the writ of habeas corpus and in extending certain procedural protections in relation to it.

’’Since there are considerable benefits in retaining the remedy of habeas corpus in a statutory form that is familiar, well-tried, procedurally clear and expeditious, the Government proposes to re-enact in an updated form those provisions of the two UK Acts which are relevant to Hong Kong,” he added.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on March 5.

End

Voters urged to support Tai Po DB by-election *****

The Tai Po District Officer, Mr Frankie Lui, today (Thursday) urged registered voters of Shuen Wan Constituency, Tai Po to cast their ballots in the Tai Po District Board by-election for the Constituency on Sunday (February 23).

Mr Lui said district boards had played an essential advisory role on district matters and had made important contributions towards matters affecting the well-being of local residents.

"In particular, the Tai Po District Board has made substantial efforts towards improving the living environment and the provision of services and facilities in the district," he added.

The balloting will be held from 7.30 am to 10.30 pm on February 23.

Three polling stations will be set up, namely, Kai Chi School, Ta Po Tau; Tai Wo Neighbourhood Community Centre, Tai Wo Estate; and a temporary office at the open space outside 2B, San Tau Kok Village, Ting Kok Road, Tai Po.

Three candidates - Mr Chan Mei-tak, Mr Roger Li Kwok-keung and Mr Man Chen-fai - will be competing for the seat.

17

The Shuen Wan constituency, covering all villages along Ting Kok Road, Hong Lok Yuen and its nearby villages, has an electorate of4,857.

Registered voters are reminded to bring along their identity cards and poll cards to the polling stations.

Enquiries can be made to the Tai Po District Office on 2654 1237.

End

Latest study and careers information for Expo visitors ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Tens of thousands of students, young people and working adults visited the 7th Education and Careers Expo today (Thursday) to acquire the latest information on opportunities for further study and career choices.

The Expo, featuring over 180 exhibitors from a wide range of trades, government departments, professional bodies, local and overseas educational and training institutes, is open today until Sunday (February 23) at Level 5 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. Admission is free.

The opening hours are as follows:

February 20 (Thursday):

February 21 (Friday):

February 22 (Saturday):

February 23 (Sunday):

10.30 am to 7.30 pm;

10 am to 7.30 pm;

10 am to 7.30 pm; and

10 am to 6 pm.

The Expo, jointly organised by the Labour Department and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), was officially opened today by the ’ Chairperson of Equal Opportunities Commission, Dr Fanny Cheung; the Executive Director of HKTDC, Mr Michael Sze; and the Commissioner for Labour, Miss Jacqueline Willis.

A series of careers video shows and seminars introducing a wide range of careers and the work of professional bodies and public utilities, will be presented to further enhance visitors’ understanding of the world of work.

18

To encourage secondary school students to visit the Expo and collect careers information, the Labour Department's Careers Advisory Service has arranged group visits for about 12,000 students from over 120 schools.

. 4 *

"To introduce its employment services, the Labour Department has set up a booth at the Expo. An integrated approach is adopted in the presentation of the multidimensional employment services provided by the department for different client groups such as young people, people with a disability and the unemployed," Senior Labour Officer (Careers and Employment Agencies), Mrs Louisa Poon said.

"Colourful displays in the booth carry information on the Job Matching Programme, Job Matching Centre, careers advisory, employment and selective placement services," she added.

Moreover, there are computer games to test participants’ knowledge of career options and services provided by the Labour Department as well as video shows on principles in choosing suitable career, summer job traps and support services to the employers employing people with a disability.

End I • i .

Unemployment and underemployment statistics ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period October - December 1996 was revised marginally downwards to 2.6%, 0.1 of a percentage point lower than the provisional figure released last month. No revision was made to the underemployment rate, at 1.6%. These latest labour force statistics are released today (Thursday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

For the period November 1996 - January 1997, both the provisional seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the provisional underemployment rate edged lower, to 2.5% and 1.4% respectively.

Commenting on these figures, a Government spokesman said that labour market conditions showed further improvement in the most recent months. Reflecting this, the unemployment rate fell back to the 2.5% level, which was also that for the three-month period ending October 1996. Such level was the lowest since the threemonth period ending February 1995. Concurrently, the underemployment rate also fell back to the low level in early 1995.

19

Comparing the latest period November 1996 - January 1997 with the period October - December 1996, declines in the unemployment rate were observed in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, import/export trade, restaurants and hotels, and financing and business services sectors. As to the underemployment rate, the decrease was across-the-board.

Total employment continued to show robust growth, at a faster pace than total labour force. In the three months ending December 1996, total employment increased by 4.2% over a’year earlier, while total labour supply increased by 3.2%.

During the period October - December 1996, the number of unemployed persons was estimated at 81,200, and the number of underemployed persons at 49,500.

The unemployment and underemployment statistics were obtained from a continuous General Household Survey. The survey for October - December 1996 covered a quarterly sample of some 23,100 households or 77,600 persons, selected scientifically to represent the land-based civilian non-institutional population in Hong Kong. Date 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.

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 December 1996 will be on sale at the Government Publications Centre at ground floor, Low Block, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, by the end of March 1997.

End

20

Estimated population as at end of 1996 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

* s- 4" ». . : ।

The estimated population of Hong Kong at the end of December 1996 was 6,421,300, according to figures released by the Census and Statistics Department today (Thursday).

This represents an increase of 151,300 persons or 2.4 per cent as compared with end-1995 when the estimated population was 6,270,000.

During 1996, there were 63,500 births and 30,700 deaths in Hong Kong. The balance of births and deaths thus amounted to 32,800 and accounted for 22 per cent of the population growth.

During the same period, the balance of total arrivals and departures showed a net inflow of some 118,500 persons.

End

BOE members visit the HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Two members of the Board of Education (BOE), Mr Michael Hong Man-hoi, and Mr Isaac Tse Pak-hoi today (Thursday) visited the HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School in Sau Mau Ping, Kwun Tong.

On arrival, they were greeted by the school head, Mr Hong Yit-kiu.

During the visit, they toured the school and were briefed on how Chinese was introduced gradually as the medium of instruction in the school. ■

The school, founded in 1985, is operated by the Hong Kong Taoist Association.

In the 1996/97 school year, it has appointed 55 teachers and enrolled over a thousand students.

With the increasing common use of Chinese, the school has started adopting Chinese as the medium of instruction for most of the subjects in its junior forms since the 1992/93 school year.

21

To take a step forward, Chinese is used as the medium of instruction for all subjects in Secondary Four with effect from the 1996/97 school year.

Students have made marked improvements in the overall examination results since Chinese is used as the medium of instruction.

The school aims at giving an all-round education to students. A wide range of extra-curricular activities ranging from academic and interest groups to sports and services are provided for the students.

Civic and moral education is promoted through various means such as talks, discussions and reading reference books.

Sex education is also introduced to students with the support of social workers and nursing personnel.

Under the leadership of the principal, Mr Hong Yit-kiu, the school is keen on promoting staff development.

End

Customs' intellectual property unit to open new office * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau (IPIB) of the Customs and Excise Department will open a new Kowloon office tomorrow (Friday).

Situated on the ground floor of the Middle Road Multi-Storey Carpark Building, Tsim Sha Tsui, the new office is the first branch office of the IPIB, signifying its commitment to vigorous enforcement operations against piracy and counterfeiting activities in Hong Kong.

The new office will accommodate the operational arm of the IPIB and the Copyright Seizure Identification Team.

The telephone and facsimile numbers of the new office are 2731 4602 and 2739 9826.

End

22

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results * * * * *

Tender to be held on 27 February 1997:

Tender date : 27 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q072

Issue date 28 February 1997

Maturity date : 1 April 1997

Tenor : 32 Days

Amount on offer : HK$5,000 MN

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Friday, February 21,1997

CxmisKis Page No.

Transcript of the Financial Secretary..................................... 1

Hong Kong to hold textiles consultations with US.......................... 1

Proposals to give effect to judgement on AECS court case.................. 3

110 convicted pollution cases recorded in January......................... 5

Government lawyers to be trained on China Law............................. 6

Town Planning Board amends Tai Po OZP..................................... 7

School works in new towns................................................. 8

HAD urges early enrolment in building management seminar.................. 9

Public invited to join Fire Services monitoring body..................... 10

Trial scheme for cycling in country parks............................. 11

Hong Kong’s re-export trade statistics in 1996........................... 12

Value of manufacturers’ orders-on-hand in December 1996.................. 16

Electors reminded to vote in by-election tomorrow........................ 17

Deadlines for applications of AIDS Trust Fund......................... 18

Application for part-time teachers invited............................... 19

Electronic postage label changed to Ox design............................ 20

Water cut in Yuen Long and Fanling....................................... 21

1

Transcript of the Financial Secretary ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is the transcript by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, at the media session at the opening ceremony of the Chinese University of Hong Kong MBA Town Centre at East Ocean Centre today (Friday):

Question: Mr Tsang, how do you feel about retaining in your position in the future Government and what are your thoughts about your future relationship with Mr Tung?

Tsang: Well, I am a very good friend of Mr Tung and to whom have my considerable respect. And I of course feel very honoured that I will be able to continue to serve the SAR Government, that has been my ambition throughout my working career. And I am very happy and honoured that, that aspiration has been realised. And together with my colleagues, we’ll continue to work to the full of our ability in the years to come.

Question: What’s your response to speculation that your responsibility might be considerably reduced? For example with the head of, speculation of the head of the Monetary Authority having to report to Mr Tung instead of you in the future?

Tsang: Well, there are lots of speculations around. And 1 am quite sure Mr Tung will take the wise, wisest counsel. And whatever decision he’s made, ever made is in the best interest of Hong Kong.

End

Hong Kong to hold textiles consultations with US

*****

A Hong Kong delegation, led by the Deputy Director-General of Trade, Mrs Rebecca Lai, will leave for consultations on a range of on-going textile issues with the United States (US) to be held on February 24 in Washington, D.C.

The US side will be led by the Deputy Chief Textile Negotiator, Ms Caroyl Miller, from the Office of the US Trade Representative.

The consultations will mainly cover three on-going issues as follows:

Matters arising from the US decision in April 1995 to use their import data instead of Hong Kong’s export data for quota accounting purposes;

2

The change in the US origin rules for textiles and clothing products which took effect on July 1, 1996; and

* Notification of administrative arrangements for submission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as required by the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC).

"On the question of import data for quota accounting purposes, we will focus on making practical arrangements to minimise discrepancies between the data of the two sides," Mrs Lai said.

"We have given the US a number of cases where their data is different from ours, and in some of these cases the US have found their data is wrong and have corrected their records.

"We are pleased with the efforts of the US side in this regard, but the two sides still need to continue to work on a number of cases.

"Such work is important in order to make sure that any differences in the data of the two sides do not lead to inconveniences for the trade," Mrs Lai noted.

So far, there have been no cases where discrepancies between the data of the two sides have led to undue US embargo on Hong Kong's imports.

"We will also brief the US side on the latest development of our Electronic Data Interchange service for restrained textiles export licence," Mrs Lai said.

"Another issue we will discuss is the US origin rules introduced on July 1, 1996 for a range of textiles and clothing products as the new rules could have impact on Hong Kong's trade.

"We will also try to finalise a notification of administrative arrangements with the US for the implementation of the ATC for submission to the WTO," Mrs Lai added.

End

3

Proposals to give effect to judgement on AECS court case *****

The Government put forward to the Senior Civil Service Council today (Friday) a package of proposed measures that will give effect to the Court of Appeal judgement on various arrangements to implement the localisation policy.

The Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service, Ms Sandra Lee, met members of the council at a special meeting this afternoon.

The Association of Expatriate Civil Servants (AECS) sought a judicial review in late 1994 of various arrangements introduced by the Government to implement the localisation policy. The case was eventually brought before the Court of Appeal which handed down its judgement on November 22, 1996.

"The package of measures has been drawn up against four basic principles - we need to comply with the Court’s judgement, we should balance the interests of different groups of officers; the measures should not create disproportionate management problems or set undesirable precedents; and the resources required should be realistic and reasonable," Ms Lee said.

The proposals cover, amongst others, the lifting of the promotion restriction on overseas agreement officers who transferred to local agreement terms ("the transferees") a few years ago; the granting of personal salaries and increments to transferees who had been demoted upon transfer ("the demotees") until their promotion back to their original rank; allowing the transferees to apply for further transfer to local permanent and pensionable (P&P) terms and introducing modified criteria for transfer to P&P terms that feature, inter alia, a Chinese language requirement and more detailed specification on the existing criteria.

The Government had considered carefully whether it should reinstate demotees to their original rank and re-promote those transferees who had been affected by the promotion restriction, but concluded that these would not be practical as they would give rise to resource and management problems.

"Reinstatement involves the creation of posts in the absence of a functional need. This will be a major departure from existing policy and will complicate the management structure in departments. To promote demotees automatically when the next vacancies arise also creates practical problems and is not entirely consistent with our established principle of promotion through fair competition between eligible contenders," Ms Lee said.

4

"But our proposals will ensure that demotees will be given a fair chance to compete for promotion on their own merits. We also propose to mitigate their financial loss by granting them personal salaries, increments and other conditions of service as if they had not been demoted," she explained.

"And we propose to reconvene promotion boards where the results have not yet been announced to re-consider the claims of transferees who have previously been excluded because of the promotion restriction. But promotion results which have already been announced will remain intact. Indeed, the Court of Appeal has stated that those promotions are lawful."

The Government also took the opportunity to propose modified arrangements for the transfer of agreement officers serving on local terms to local P&P terms. According to the proposals, applications from all agreement officers on local terms, including transferees, will in future be considered against criteria which include Chinese language proficiency, long-term service need, performance and conduct as assessed by a formal board, and physical fitness.

"Transfer to P&P terms means committing oneself to a long-term career in the civil service. Accordingly, an applicant must convince us that he/she will be able to meet the needs of the service not only within the span of a few years, as in the case of agreement officers, but in the many years ahead.

"And that is why we need to specify a Chinese language requirement for transfer to the permanent establishment. This is in line with our policy commitment to develop a biliterate, trilingual civil service and to meet our operational need in the long term. Exactly what the level of proficiency should be will be determined by the individual Heads of Departments/Grades and Civil Service Branch will provide guidelines to them," Ms Lee said.

The new arrangements for transfer to P&P terms will not apply to applications received from local agreement officers before October 31, 1995 when transfer to local P&P terms was temporarily suspended. Transferees who transferred to local terms before October 31,1995 can also apply to transfer to P&P terms under the criteria prevailing before the suspension.

For agreement officers who wish to renew their agreement on local terms, the existing policy will remain unchanged. Heads of Departments/Grades will continue to be given the discretion to decide whether or not a Chinese language requirement should be specified having regard to job requirements over the period of the agreement.

5

"The Government remains firmly committed to the localisation policy of the civil service. What we need to do now is to put in place administrative arrangements to implement the policy in a manner compatible with the Court's judgement,” Ms Lee said.

"We hope the package of proposed measures will be accepted by the Staff Side as practical and constructive measures. The Court Case went on long enough. We look forward to having constructive discussions with the Staff Side with a view to resolving the outstanding matters as soon as possible," she added.

End

110 convicted pollution cases recorded in January * * * * *

A total of 110 convictions were recorded in the courts in January for breaching anti-pollution legislation enforced by the Environmental Protection Department.

Among them, 37 were convictions made under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO), 36 under the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO), 18 under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (APCO), 14 under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO), three under the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance (OLPO), and two under the Dumping At Sea Ordinance (DASO).

The fines ranged from $200 to $125,000. Wan Siu-yi was fined $125,000 for discharging polluting matter into the Deep Bay Water Control Zone.

Four offenders were fined for the first time for offences under the new noise controls which came into effect on November last year in respect of prescribed construction work. The prescribed works include loading, unloading or handling of rubble and steel bars; erection or dismantling of formwork or scaffolding; and hammering.

End

6

Government lawyers to be trained on China Law *****

Eight government lawyers will attend a short course on Chinese law tailor-made for them at Fudan University Law School in Shanghai next week.

The lawyers include six counsel from the Legal Department and two legal aid counsel from the Legal Aid Department.

Joining the course from the Legal Department are Miss Vivian Fung and Mr Danny Yuen, senior crown counsel of the Civil Division, Mr Frank Poon, senior crown counsel of the International Law Division, Mr Llewellyn Mui, senior crown counsel of the Legal Policy Division, Mr John Wong, senior crown counsel of the Law Drafting Division and Mr David Leung, crown counsel of the Prosecutions Division.

Lawyers from the Legal Aid Department are Ms Nina Lee and Miss Jenie Wong, senior legal aid counsel.

The seven-day course, which is the second of its kind to be held and organised by the China Law Unit of the Legal Department, will commence on Monday (February 24).

A spokesman for the Legal Department noted that in accordance with the Basic Law, from July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will continue to adopt a common law system in contrast to the civil law system in the rest of China.

"It is essential that in order to ensure the two different systems coexist smoothly and interact efficiently, there must be mutual understanding of each other’s legal system," he said.

He pointed out that the China Law Unit of the department has been taking steps, through briefings and visits, to enhance understanding of the Hong Kong Legal system in China. Steps have also been taken by the Unit to promote knowledge of PRC law in the Hong Kong government through organising seminars on PRC law for counsel in the department as well as other government lawyers.

For the Fudan University course, the spokesman said there would be a balance of classroom teaching and visits.

The course contents cover Chinese constitutional law, nationality law, administrative law, as well as the Basic Law of Hong Kong, lawyers’ law, civil law and criminal law.

End

7

Town Planning Board amends Tai Po OZP ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Town Planning Board announced today (Friday) several amendments to the draft Tai Po Outline Zoning Plan.

The existing Regional Council temporary market site at Po Heung Street in Planning Area 1 has been rezoned from "Government/Institution/Community" to "Commercial/Residential" for commercial/residential development upon the relocation of the market to a permanent site at Heung Sze Wui Street. The site has an area of about 0.32 hectare.

To meet the longer-term demand for small houses at Ha Hang Village, an area of about 3.5 hectares to the east of the village and north of Tai Po Industrial Estate in Planning Area 31 has been rezoned from ’’Green Belt” to ’’Village Type Development".

An area of about 0.09 hectare to the north of Tai Po Kau Lo Wai in Planning Area 12 has been rezoned from "Residential (Group C)" to "Residential (Group C)2" to increase the development intensity to a plot ratio of 1.5.

Two developed residential sites to the south of Tolo Highway in Planning Area 10, with a total area of about 0.7 hectare, have been rezoned from "Residential (Group C)" to "Residential (Group C)3" to reflect their development intensity.

Meanwhile, the Notes of the plan have been amended to include the schedules of uses for the new "Residential (Group C)2" and "Residential (Group C)3" zones.

The amendment plan (No. S/TP/8) is available for public inspection until March 14 during office hours at:

* Planning Department

16th floor, Murray Building,

Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong;

♦ Sha Tin, Tai Po and North District Planning Office

Ground floor,

Sha Tin Government Offices,

6 Tung Lo Wan Hill Road, Sha Tin, New Territories; and

8

♦ Tai Po District Office

Tai Po Government Offices Building,

Ting Kok Road, Tai Po, New Territories.

Any person affected by the amendments may submit a written objection to the Secretary of the Town Planning Board, c/o Planning Department, 13th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong, before March 14.

Copies of the draft plan are available for sale at the Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong and the Kowloon Map Sales Office, ground floor, 382 Nathan Road, Kowloon.

End

School works in new towns

*****

The Architectural Services Department will begin work in May to build a practical school and two skills opportunity schools in three new towns.

The projects, scheduled for completion in July 1998, is part of the Government’s plan to provide respectively 1,800 and 2,100 practical and skills opportunity school places in the territory.

The practical school in Ma On Shan will make available 450 places while the two skills opportunity schools in Tuen Mun and Tsing Yi will each provide 300 places.

All three contracts for these projects will include construction of classrooms, special rooms, assembly hall, covered playground, car park, basketball court and facilities for the disabled.

Works on the Ma On Shan practical school will also comprise boarding facilities for 120 students.

The Architectural Services Department is inviting separate tenders for these projects.

9

Meanwhile, tenders are being invited for the extension and conversion works, including associated drainage works, for four aided schools.

Details of the tender invitations are published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

End

HAD urges early enrolment in building management seminar * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Members of the public who would like to participate in a building management seminar to be held on March 15 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre are reminded today (Friday) to send in their enrolment forms before February 26.

The "Building Management Seminar '97", jointly organised by the Home Affairs Department (HAD) and the Housing Department, is aimed at promoting effective building management among residents to help them achieve a better living environment.

"The seminar will give participants an opportunity to acquire a good working knowledge and proper concepts of effective building management, and to share their experience with other participants," a spokesman for HAD said.

"Flat owners, office-bearers of owners’ corporations and mutual aid committees, building management professionals, as well as other interested people who want to join in the seminar should submit their enrolment forms to HAD before next Wednesday."

Topics to be covered include the formation of owners’ corporations in Home Ownership estates, building electricity maintenance, building repair and maintenance, the Building Safety Inspection Scheme, and legal aspects of building management.

The spokesman said that there would be an open discussion following each session to give participants an opportunity to raise questions and exchange views on various issues relating to building management with the speakers.

10

"A booth on fire prevention in buildings will be set up by the Fire Services Department at the venue to disseminate fire prevention concepts to the participants. Staff from the department will also be on hand to provide professional advice and answer participants’ enquiries on fire prevention,” he said.

Admission to the seminar, on a first-come-first-served basis, is free. Enrolment forms are now available at district offices.

Completed forms should be returned to the HAD headquarters, 30/F, Southom Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries can be made at 2835 1496.

End

Public invited to join Fire Services monitoring body

*****

Members of the public who wish to monitor and improve the delivery of fire and ambulance emergency services are urged not to miss the chance to join the Fire Services Department’s Public Liaison Group (PLG).

A spokesman for the department said the deadline for application is 5 pm on February 28 (next Friday).

He said the PLG was formed to foster better understanding between the public and the department with a view to improving the quality of emergency services.

Members of the public aged 18 and above are invited to apply.

Application forms and information sheets are available at all fire stations, ambulance depots and District Offices.

The spokesman said the PLG would have 30 members, comprising 10 residents from each of the territory’s three regions - Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

"If the number of applications for each region exceeds 10, a random draw will be held," he said.

11

’’Applicants will be informed of the results before the end of March,” he added.

Selected members will serve for one year and the Group will hold at least two meetings annually.

For further enquiries, please telephone 2733 7772.

End

Trial scheme for cycling in country parks *****

The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) will start a six-month trial scheme from next Monday (February 24) to allow cycling in some country park areas under a permit system.

Making the announcement today (Friday), AFD’s Senior Country Parks Officer, Mr Lai Ching-wai said two areas would be covered under the scheme. These two areas are Sai Kung West Country Park (Wan Tsai Extension) and the catchment area from Tung Chung Road to Kau Ling Chung in Lantau South Country Park.

Mr Lai pointed out that cycling by people with valid permits would be allowed for a period of six months in these two areas.

Any person interested in cycling in these areas is required to apply for a permit from the Director of Agriculture and Fisheries. The application, in the form of a letter, should be addressed to the Director at Canton Road Government Offices, 14/F, 393 Canton Road, Kowloon or by fax 2311 3731.

’’The department will not accept any group applications nor applicants under the age of 12,” he said, adding that applicants aged between 12 and 18 should seek endorsement from their parents or guardians on their application letters. No permit fee will be charged.

Furthermore, permittees should observe the code of practice for cyclists and comply with the safety equipment requirement including ANSI or similar standard helmet, colourful jerseys, suitable shoes, sturdily built bike with effective braking system, horn or bell and tyre of not less than 4.5 cm in width.

12

After all, these practices and measures are to ensure the safety of both cyclists and hikers in permitted areas, he said.

Mr Lai was pleased to note that there are many locations in country parks where no permit is required for bicycle riding. Among the areas are Plover Cove Main Dam and its access roads, Hok Tau Road, Kam Shan Road, Lau Shui Heung Road, Shing Mun Road, Tai Mong Tsai Road, Pak Tam Road, Hoi Ha Road and the cycling track at Tai Mong Tsai.

Other than areas mentioned above, cycling is strictly prohibited in country parks or special areas.

’’Except with the consent of the Country and Marine Parks Authority, any person who brings into a country park or special area any vehicle or bicycle, or who drives, uses or be in possession of any vehicle or bicycle within a country park or special area is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $2,000 and to imprisonment for three months,” he added.

End

Hong Kong’s re-export trade statistics in 1996 * ♦ * * *

Re-exports accounted for 85% of the value of total exports and 40% of the total value of external trade of Hong Kong in 1996. In 1995, the corresponding shares were 83% and 39% respectively.

These figures, affirming the importance of re-export trade, are amongst the detailed re-export statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department today (Friday).

China remained the largest partner for Hong Kong’s re-export trade. As a source, re-exports originating in China accounted for 58% of Hong Kong’s re-export value in 1996. As a destination, China’s share was 35%. Taking the two directions of trade flow as a whole but counting only once the value of merchandises of China origin re-exported to China, 90% or $1,062.3 billion of the total $1,185.8 billion of reexports going through Hong Kong in 1996 involved China.

It is noted that much of the re-export trade involving China is related to outward processing, as a large proportion of raw materials and semi-manufactured goods are exported to China for processing, with the final products subsequently returned to Hong Kong, and re-exported to overseas markets.

13

Other main origins of Hong Kong’s re-exports in 1996 included Japan (accounting for 11%), Taiwan (6.9%), the United States (5.2%) and South Korea (3.2%).

The main destinations in 1996, besides China, included the United States (accounting for 20%), Japan (6.8%), Germany (4.0%) and the United Kingdom (3.0%).

Table 1 shows the changes in the value of re-exports from the ten main origins in 1996 compared with 1995.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, increases of various magnitudes were recorded in the value of re-exports from most main origins: Malaysia (+27%), Singapore (+17%), the United Kingdom (+16%), Italy (+16%), the United States (+12%), Germany (+10%) and China (+7.4%). A slight increase of 1.2% in the value of re-exports originating in South Korea was also recorded. However, slight decreases of 1.4% and 0.9% were recorded in the value of re-exports originating in Taiwan and Japan respectively.

Of the value of re-exports originating in China in 1996, 33% went to the United States, 10% to Japan and 6.5% to Germany.

For goods of Japan origin, 73% of the value of re-exports through Hong Kong in 1996 went to China, 4.1% to the United States and 3.2% to South Korea.

For re-exports originating in Taiwan, an overwhelming proportion (92% of the value in 1996) went to China.

As regards re-exports originating in the United States, 73% of the value in 1996 were shipped to China, 3.9% to Taiwan and 2.7% to South Korea.

Table 2 shows the changes in the value of re-exports to the ten main destinations.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, increases of various magnitudes were recorded in the value of re-exports to most main destinations : Japan (+14%), the United Kingdom (+12%), the Netherlands (+9.3%), Singapore (+9.1%), China (+8.8%), France (+7.9%), the United States (+4.9%), South Korea (+4.1%) and Germany (+3.2%). However, a decrease of 4.0% was recorded in the value of re-exports to Taiwan.

14

Analysed by commodity, increases in the value of re-exports to China were recorded for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $5.9 billion or 19%); textiles (by $4.9 billion or 7.6%) and iron and steel (by $3.3 billion or 21%).

However, decreases in the value of re-exports to China were recorded for plastics in primary forms (by $1.7 billion or 5.7%) and road vehicles (by $1.2 billion or 12%).

As regards re-exports to the United States, increases in value were recorded for miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $3.3 billion or 5.5%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $2.4 billion or 20%) and clothing (by $2.2 billion or 10%).

However, decreases in the value of re-exports to the United States were recorded for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $418 million or 1.8%) and general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (by $363 million or 11%).

Detailed statistics of Hong Kong's re-export trade are published in the December 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade" report which is now available for sale at $129.00 per copy.

The report can be purchased at either (i) the Government Publications Sales Centre on the Ground Floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong; or (ii) the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

Enquiries regarding subscription to this report may be directed to the Publications (Sales) Office, 28th Floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong (Tel. No. 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade statistics to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No. 2582 4915).

15

TA3LE 1 : RE-EXPORTS FROM THE TEN MAIN ORIGINS

ORIGIN JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 1995 (HKD Mn.) (J- YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

IKD Mn. ) (% CHANGE)

CHINA 683,514 636,392 + 47,122 + 7.4

JAPAN 129,292 130,511 - 1,219 - 0.9

TAIWAN 82,177 83,307 - 1,130 - 1.4

UNITED STATES 62,192 55,636 + 6,556 + 11.8

SOUTH KOREA 38,049 37,615 + 434 + 1.2

SINGAPORE 25,464 21,678 + 3,786 + 17.5

MALAYSIA 16,951 13,334 + 3,617 + 27.1

GERMANY 16,448 14,886 + 1,562 + 10.5

ITALY 12,619 10,899 + 1,720 + 15.8

UNITED KINGDOM 12,392 10,661 + 1,731 + 16.2

TABLE 2 : RE-EXPORTS TO THS TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION JAN-DEC 1996 (HKD Mn.) JAN-DEC 1995 (HKD Mn.) YEAR-ON'YEAR CHANGE

(HKD Mn.) (% CHANGE)

CHINA 417,752 384,043 + 33,709 + 8.8

UNITED STATES 242,342 230,997 + 11,345 + 4.9

JAPAN 80,154 70,081 + 10,073 + 14.4

GERMANY 47,216 45,770 + 1,446 + 3.2

UNITED KINGDOM 35,991 32,257 + 3,734 + 11.6

SINGAPORE 28,388 26,011 + 2,377 + 9.1

TAIWAN 26,638 27,758 - 1,120 - 4.0

SOUTH KOREA 20,091 19,292 + 799 + 4.1

FRANCE 18,823 17,452 + 1,371 + 7.9

NETHERLANDS 18,261 16,702 + 1,558 + 9.3

End

16

Value of manufacturers’ orders-on-hand in December 1996

*****

The value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand for local production in December 1996 decreased by 7% over a year earlier, according to the provisional results of a monthly survey released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Comparing December 1996 with December 1995, increases in the value of orders were recorded in the fabricated metal products industry (+17%) and the electrical products industry (+3%). The value of orders for the textiles industry was virtually unchanged.

On the other hand, decreases in the value of orders were recorded in the printing & publishing industry (-16%), the electronic products industry (-15%), the plastic products industry (-12%) and the wearing apparel industry (-1%).

Compared with November 1996, and bearing in mind that this comparison may be affected by seasonal factors, the value of manufacturers’ orders-on-hand in December 1996 decreased by 3%.

The Monthly Survey of Orders-on-hand covers a sample of some 300 manufacturing firms engaging 50 or more workers.

Manufacturers’ orders-on-hand refer to orders and parts of orders received earlier by manufacturers for local production which remain unfilled as at the end of the reference month. Orders received by traders not engaged in production are included if such orders are further placed to manufacturers for production locally. However, orders placed to manufacturing firms for production in China and other places outside Hong Kong are not included in this series of orders-on-hand statistics.

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 time points should be looked at.

The survey report for December 1996, at $7.0 a copy, is now available for sale at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, Queensway, and at the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit, 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

Enquiries about the survey results may be made to the Industrial Production Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6441.

17

The following table shows the year-on-year percentage changes in the value of orders-on-hand in different manufacturing industries.

Percentage changes in the value of orders-on-hand in

November 1996 over November 1995 (Revised) December 1996 over December 1995 (Provisional)

All industries covered in the survey - 5 - 7

- Wearing apparel + 2 - 1

- Textiles + 1

- Electronic products -11 - 15

- Electrical products * + 3

- Fabricated metal products + 9 +17

- Plastic products -11 - 12

- Printing and publishing -15 - 16

* Changes within +/-0.5%

End

Electors reminded to vote in by-election tomorrow *****

The Registration and Electoral Office (REO) today (Saturday) reminded the 4,857 electors of Shuen Wan constituency to vote in the Tai Po District Board byelection in respect of their constituency tomorrow (Sunday).

Three polling stations will be set up. the first in Kai Chi School, Tai Po Tau, the second in Tai Wo Neighbourhood Community Centre, Tai Wo Estate, and the last one in a temporary office at the open space outside 2B. San Tau Kok Village, Ting Kok Road, Tai Po. They will be opened from 7.30 am to 10.30 pm.

18

An REO spokesman said an elector must bring along his identity card to the polling station as specified in the poll card sent to him earlier. But it would facilitate polling proceeding if he could also bring along the poll card.

For enquiries, please call 2827 1122.

End

Deadlines for applications of AIDS Trust Fund

* * * * *

The Council for the AIDS Trust Fund announced today (Friday) that four rounds of applications for funding support would take place in 1997/98.

The deadlines for the submission of applications are March 14, May 30, August 29, and November 28 respectively. Completed application forms should be sent to the Secretary for the Council, c/o Health and Welfare Branch, 19-20/F, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong.

Applicants are advised to adhere to the appropriate deadlines as it will normally take two to three months for processing.

A new application form has been devised to facilitate the planning and processing of applications. They are available from the Secretary for the Council as well as the Red Ribbon Centre, 2/F, Wang Tau 1 lorn Jockey Club Clinic, 200 Junction Road East, Kowloon.

Further enquiries can be made at telephone 2973 8136 and 2973 8117, or by fax to 2840 0467 and 2869 4376.

The AIDS Trust Fund was set up in March 1994 to provide assistance to HIV-infected haemophiliacs and generally to strengthen medical and support services and public education on AIDS.

End

19

Application for part-time teachers invited

*****

The Education Department is now inviting qualified teachers to fill the evening part-time teaching vacancies in various courses in 1997/98 school year.

The department’s Adult Education Section organises a number of courses, including English course, government evening secondary school course and adult education course (general background) in centres throughout the territory.

Applicants should be qualified teachers with a genuine interest in teaching adults in the evening.

Experience in teaching arts, science, social or commercial subjects at senior secondary levels and/or possession of a Diploma/Certificate in Education or Advanced Certificate in Teacher Training would be an advantage.

The pay scale for part-time teaching is as follows:

* $395 per hour for G.C.E. 'O’ Level or Secondary 6 level subjects;

$325 per hour for senior secondary level subjects;

* $260 per hour for junior secondary level subjects; and

$235 per hour for primary level subjects.

Application forms can be obtained from the Adult Education Section at Wu Chung House. 11th floor. 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai and completed forms should be returned on or before March 22.

If applicants are not called for interview by May 1, they should assume that their applications are unsuccessful.

For further information, please contact the section at 2892 6669.

End

20

Electronic postage label changed to Ox design *****

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, announced today (Friday) that the label paper and machine die plate impression of the electronic postage label (Frama label) vending machine at the General Post Office and Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office will be changed from the Rat design to the Ox design on March 12, 1997.

No official first day covers will be issued in connection with this change. However, for the convenience of customers, an advance order service for prepackaged sets of Frama labels bearing machine codes ’01' (General Post Office) and '02' (Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office) will be available as follows:

(a) from 100 to $2.30;

(b) from $2.40 to $5; and

(c) the most common postage denominations of 100, $1.30, $1.60, $2.50, $2.60, $3.10 and $5.

Advance orders will be accepted at all offices in the territory from February 24 to February 26, 1997. Customers may collect the labels on March 12 from the post office where they placed their orders.

A limited quantity of pre-packaged Frama labels bearing the most common postage denominations will be made available for sale on March 12 at the following 19 philatelic offices:

Airport Post Office Aberdeen Post Office Cheung Chau Post Office Cheung Sha Wan Post Office General Post Office Granville Road Post Office Harcourt Road Post Office Hennessy Road Post Office Kowloon Central Post Office Kowloon City Post Office

Mong Kok Post Office

Peak Post Office

Sha Tin Central Post Office

Shau Kei Wan Post Office

Tai Po Post Office

Tuen Mun Central Post Office

Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office Tsuen Wan Post Office Yuen Long Post Office

Hand-back service will be provided at all post offices on March 12 for privately-made covers bearing the 'First Day' indication.

End

21

Water cut in Yuen Long and Fanling

*****

Fresh and flushing water supply to some premises in Yuen Long and Fanling will be suspended from 11 pm On Monday (February 24) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

In Yuen Long, the suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Tai Tong Road, Kau Yuk Road, Shan Pui River and Castle Peak Road.

In Fanling, the suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Lung Yeuk Tau section of Sha Tau Kok Road, Luen On Street, Wo Tai Street and Luen Fat Street, including Luen Wo Market and Union Plaza.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Saturday, February 22,1997

Contents Page No,

The way forward for civic education..................................... 1

Special stamps on the year of the Ox to be issued....................... 2

Firing practice in March................................................ 4

Water cut in Tai Po Market.............................................. 4

Flushing water cut in Kowloon East...................................... 5

Sunday, February 23,1997

Contents Page No,

The Governor’s ’’Letter to Hong Kong”................................... 6

Year of Heritage commemorative cover put on sale........................ 8

Youth Funding Scheme on AIDS invites applications....................... 9

Focus on General Teaching Council...................................... 10

Total number of votes cast in Tai Po by-election....................... 11

Tai Po DB by-election results.......................................... 12

- 1 -

The way forward for civic education *****

The Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) will formulate its long term and short term strategies for the next ten years to create a climate conducive to the nurturing of "ideal citizens" and promotion of civic values, said CPCE Chairman, Mr Moses Cheng today (Saturday).

Speaking at the "Civic Education 2000 - Die Way Forward and Implementation" Conference, Mr Cheng noted that from the perspective of civic education, an ideal citizen should have acquired the basic knowledge on civic values, possessed the necessary skills to develop critical thinking as well as having a positive attitude of willing to play a constructive role in the civic mission of the community, the nation and the world.

Noting that the very purpose of the conference was to draw on the collective experience of front-line civic education workers, Mr Cheng said the CPCE would continue to benefit from the diversity of ideas provided by them in formulating its future plans.

"The CPCE has all along valued the collaborative efforts of community organisations in the promotion of civic education and will continue to provide support to them through the Community Participation Scheme," Mr Cheng said.

On the achievement of the CPCE over the past ten years, Mr Cheng said there had been a rise in the general level of civic awareness in HK as a result of the concerted effort of the CPCE, Education Department, schools, voluntary agencies and community organisations.

Through its Community Participation Scheme, the CPCE has provided sponsorship totalling about $11.5 million to over 350 projects that helped to disseminate civic education concepts to various sectors of the community.

Mr Cheng noted that with an increase in financial resources in the last couple of years, the CPCE had produced a number of resource materials and teaching kits on various civic education topics for use by education workers and the public.

"I am delighted to note that more and more people from different walks of life are visiting the Committee's Civic Education Resource Centre to obtain these materials.

- 2 -

’’Over 300,000 copies of various booklets on the Basic Law published by the CPCE were distributed to the public through the Centre and District Offices within a few months in the latter half of last year,” he said.

Opened by the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, today’s conference was organised to commemorate CPCE’s tenth anniversary. About 400 front-line civic education workers attended the conference to share their views on the way forward for civic education in HK.

Dr Man Sze-wai and Dr Lee Wing-on, guest speakers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong, also spoke on the occasion.

End

Special stamps on the year of the Ox to be issued *****

The Postmaster General Mr Robert Footman said today (Saturday) that the set of special stamps on the theme of the Year of the Ox will be issued on February 27, 1997.

There will be four denominations: $1.30, $2.50, $3.10 and $5. A souvenir sheet incorporating the four stamps will also be issued. A stamp booklet containing six each of the $1.30 and $3.10 stamps will be available at $26.40 each.

A beautifully designed presentation pack containing the four stamps will be available for sale at $20 each at all post offices as from February 27.

A restriction of two stamp booklets, twenty souvenir sheets and five sheets of stamps of each denomination (viz. 250 sets of stamps) per customer queuing will be imposed on the first day of issue.

The stamps were originally planned for release on January 17, 1997 but was postponed to February 27 due to problems in printing.

Corrigendum sheets will be available at all post offices as from February 24 for customers to amend the date of issue printed on the First Day Covers and stamp booklets.

3

Customers who have ordered serviced first day covers through the Local Advance Order Service are advised that the revised collection period of the ser/iced covers will be from March 20 to April 17. Customers who have ordered their stamps through the Local Standing Order Service may collect their orders from their designated post offices as from March 3.

On the first day of issue, hand-back service will be provided at all post offices to official and privately-made covers bearing indication of the first day of issue on 27 February. A special postmark will also be introduced. The GPO-1 hand stamp will also be available for hand-back service at the 19 philatelic offices.

As on previous occasions of first day issue of new stamps, the following 23 post offices will open at 8 a.m. on February 27:

Hong Kong

General Post Office, Aberdeen, Shau Kei Wan, Sai Ying Pun, Tsat Tse Mui, Wan Chai, Wah Fu

Outlying Islands

Cheung Chau

Kowloon

Tsim Sha Tsui, Airport, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon Central, Kowloom City, Kwun Tong, Tseung Kwan O, To Kwa Wan

New Territories

Yuen Long, Shatin Central, Sai Kung, Shek Wu Hui, Tuen Mun Central,, Tai Po, Tsuen Wan

End

4

Firing practice in March *****

Firing practice will take place at the Ha Tsuen/Castle Peak Range on 12 days next month (March 1997). Members of the public are advised not to enter the area when red flags are hoisted.

Following are the dates and times for the firing practice:

Date lime

March 3 (Monday) March 4 (Tuesday) March 5 (Wednesday) March 6 (Thursday) March 10 (Monday) March 11 (Tuesday) March 12 (Wednesday) March 13 (Thursday) March 20 (Thursday) March 25 (Tuesday) March 26 (Wednesday) March 27 (Thursday) 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm 8.30 am - 5 pm

End

Water cut in Tai Po Market

*****

Fresh and flushing water supply to some premises in Tai Po Market will be suspended from 11 pm on Tuesday (February 25) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Kwong Fuk Road, Tung Cheong Street, Plover Cove Road and Po Yick Street, including Plover Cove Garden, Po Wu Lane and Po Yick Lane.

End

[This page is missing in the original document]

- 6 -

The Governor's "Letter to Hong Kong" ♦ ♦ * * ♦

Following is the text of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten's broadcast on RTHK's "Letter to Hong Kong" this (Sunday) morning:

I was going to talk to you this morning about other matters. About human rights. About democratic development. About our superb civil service.

And then in the early hours of Thursday morning we heard the news about Mr Deng’s death, followed by all the comment and the speculation. That made me think that I should concentrate today on one simple fundamental point which we are always in danger of overlooking.

Hong Kong is one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s a city which has grown to success through all the ups and downs of the history of this region over the last 50 years. It’s had to take in its stride momentous events. Many people are here because of those events. But we’ve coped. Coped, grown, prospered, succeeded. We’ve been an example to the world of what men and women are capable of doing in pretty difficult circumstances. It’s an example that the rest of the world looks to with wonder. And that’s of course one reason why people in other countries are so fascinated in how we manage the changes that are taking place this year.

Now I want to say some things about Hong Kong which you may or may not know. I don’t want this to sound too much like a volume of the Hong Kong statistical digest. But I want to underline just why no-one should think that Hong Kong is the plaything of events. I can’t speculate any more successfully than the next man or woman about what is going to happen in China or by extension what’s going to happen here as a result of Mr Deng’s death. I just say in passing, that the speculation is exactly that - speculation - and however authoritative people may sound, nobody knows for certain what is or is not going to happen.

But what we do know - it’s not speculation - is what sort of a place Hong Kong is. What sort of a place it’s become. What we know is that it’s a strong enough community, a healthy and stable enough community, to withstand almost anything which the history of the coming months and years may throw at it.

7

We’re one of the strongest and best run economies in the world. Think tanks abroad name us year after year as the free-est economy anywhere. And when it comes to competitiveness, they place us right up there near the top of the first division. The International Monetary Fund keeps an eagle eye on how all the world’s economies perform. And they give Hong Kong what might be called, if you were talking about the theatre rather than economics, rave reviews. They think that so far as running a sophisticated economy is concerned, we’ve got it just about right. The Hong Kong formula is one which is unreservedly recommended for others. While the size of our total economy has grown massively, so that nowadays it’s roughly the same as one fifth of the whole of China’s, the amount that individual men and women are worth has also soared. Today our wealth per head, which I guess is about the best way of judging the strength of an economy and the prosperity of its people, is higher than that of people in Australia, in Canada or in the UK. We have massive financial reserves. We have healthy surpluses. We are the 4th largest investor in other countries. We invest overseas, according to the UN figures, almost 10 times as much as Singapore.

Look north and west from Hong Kong island and you see evidence that we’re the busiest container port anywhere. We’ve got the 3rd busiest airport in the world and we’re building what will be the 2nd busiest. The bridges, the tunnels, the new roads and railways, the new universities and hospitals, the new office buildings and shopping malls - all that sign of activity is striking evidence of our long term vitality.

Like any other great city, we've made great social progress as well. Look at the blocks of new flats where there were once squatter huts and shanty towns. Remember the days when Hong Kong suffered from epidemic disease and then look at today’s health statistics which are comparable with any of the richer countries in the world. And note our life expectancy is longer than anywhere except Japan.

One of the things which I notice particularly is the impact of education on our society. I’m the titular head as Governor of all our tertiary institutions so that I spend many afternoons each year at graduation ceremonies. I see the growing ranks of young people in Hong Kong who’ve enjoyed the benefits of a university education. When I go to people’s housing authority flats I see the photographs of their children or grandchildren who’ve graduated in their caps and gowns. Those are proud records of an astonishing social revolution. 10 years ago about 1 in every 33 of Hong Kong’s young people went into tertiary education. Today almost 1 in 4 do so.

What else do we see in Hong Kong? Well we don’t see what has become a real puzzle in many rich societies elsewhere. There people worry over the fact that rising prosperity has been accompanied by rising rather than falling crime. But here we’ve seen the reverse. I know that low crime is not acceptable. The only thing that would satisfy that criterion is no crime at all. But we’ve done incredibly well in our city with overall crime down and violent crime down, too. And down on the figures not just of the year before last but down on the figures in the early 1980s.

•«

- 8 -

That’s one of the clearest examples of the extraordinary stability which has accompanied our prosperity as a community. Now that doesn't mean that we’re boring or uninterested in the world around us or politically quiescent. This is a lively, argumentative place. We’ve probably got more newspapers and journals for our size than anywhere else in Asia or even the world. People get involved in the life of their community. They join churches. They join social clubs. They join charitable bodies. They take part in the life of their business organisations or professions. They join action groups. They petition for better housing and a quieter environment. They argue for better welfare benefits and better services for our older citizens. They march and demonstrate, by and large peacefully, in far larger numbers than used to be the case, using the safety valves for blowing off steam which exist in every successful open society. But I repeat, they do all these things peacefully and with great moderation. This is a vibrant society and it’s a responsible society as well. So, greater civic consciousness, more political activity, have been in a way a reflection of our stability just as they’ve helped to give that stability stronger foundations.

A word we’ve heard a lot of in recent months is reality. Well, the reality is that Hong Kong is a great city. A success story, almost without parallel. A community with a pretty good government, run by an excellent largely Chinese civil service. Low crime. Excellent police. Competitive businesses. The rule of law. It’s argumentative and free. Open and responsible. Moderate and fair. ”A slice of the future" as an American newspaper called it. A model for Asia, bringing together the best of East and West. That’s Hong Kong today. Not something you need to speculate about. Something you live and breathe every day. That’s our Hong Kong, that’s your Hong Kong, and I’m sure that you'll keep it that way.

End

Year of Heritage commemorative cover put on sale

*****

The Year of Heritage, which aims to raise the understanding and awareness of the general public to local heritage and thereby increase commitment to its protection for future generations, is gaining momentum with the issuance of a commemorative cover to mark the opening ceremony.

The souvenir cover is the first in a series of special postal items to commemorate the various functions of the Year of Heritage and raise funds for the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust.

9

Featuring a collage of archaeological relics, historical buildings and heritage-related activities, each cover bears a HK$1.3 definitive stamp and the date chop of the Post Office. The logo and the slogan for the Year of Heritage, "Treasure Our Heritage, Benefit Our Future", are also highlighted.

The production quantity is 10,000 pieces and each purchase is limited to a maximum of 10 only. The cover, at $25 each, will be available at the Heritage Resource Centre of the Antiquities and Monuments Office at 136 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, between 9.30 am and 2.30 pm from Monday to Friday starting next Tuesday (February 25).

Further enquiries can be made at 2721 2326.

The Year of Heritage is jointly organised by the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, and the Antiquities and Monuments Office of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch.

End

Youth Funding Scheme on AIDS invites applications ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Committee on Education and Publicity on AIDS (CEPAIDS) is inviting young people to make use of the Youth Funding Scheme on AIDS for the seventh year.

The Scheme is run by the Task Force on Youth of CEPAIDS to encourage and mobilise young people to organise innovative projects on education and publicity on AIDS.

A spokesman for the Task Force on Youth said: "Youth groups each comprising not less than five members are invited to submit project plans designed to promote awareness on AIDS among young people."

"By organising and implementing an AIDS project, young people will learn a great deal about AIDS and its impact on the community. A subsidy of not exceeding $8,000 will be granted for each approved project," he explained.

10

In 1996 a total of 15 youth groups participated in the Scheme. An exhibition on the awards will be held from today (Sunday) until the end of March at Red Ribbon Centre on second floor of Wang Tau Hom Jockey Club Clinic, 200 Junction Road East, Lok Fu, Kowloon.

All members of the public are welcome to take part.

For enquiries, please call Mr S Y Mak of the Red Ribbon Centre at 2304 6268.

End

Focus on General Teaching Council *****

The Registrar of the General Teaching Council (GTC) for Scotland, Mr Ivor Sutherland, will visit Hong Kong between February 27 and March 2 at the invitation of the Council on Professional Conduct in Education (CPCE).

As requested by the CPCE, Mr Sutherland will speak at two seminars to introduce to Hong Kong teachers the establishment, structure and professional status of the GTC in Scotland.

The seminars will be held on February 27 (Thursday) between 2.30 pm and 5 pm at the Academic Community Hall, Kowloon Tong, and on March 1 (Saturday) from 10 am to 12.30 pm at the Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, respectively.

Proposals for setting up a GTC in Hong Kong have been discussed for a number of years. The CPCE has now invited Mr Sutherland to visit Hong Kong and to speak at two identical seminars so as to share his experience on the setting up of a GTC in Scotland and to facilitate the setting up of one in Hong Kong.

As the setting up of a GTC in Hong Kong is important to the professional status of teachers, the CPCE called on teachers to show active support by attending the seminars.

Schools may obtain admission tickets to the seminars from the Education Department. Those who are too late to get the tickets from the Education Department can still attend by obtaining tickets from staff at the seminars right before the seminars begin.

11

Meanwhile, the CPCE has invited various educational bodies, school sponsors, school councils, members of the Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications, and members of the GTC working group under the Education Commission to meet Mr Sutherland on the need, problems and solutions in setting up a GTC.

Mr Sutherland will meet educational bodies from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm on February 27, the Education Commission GTC working group and Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications from 9.30 am to 11.30 am on February 28, and school councils and sponsors from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm on February 28. These meetings will take place at Room NAB209 of the Lam Woo International Conference Centre of Hong Kong Baptist University.

Members of the organisations concerned may attend the meetings whether or not they have already received the invitation letter, and regardless of whether they have replied to the invitation.

End

Total number of votes cast in Tai Po by-election ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The poll of the Tai Po District Board's by-election in respect of Shuen Wan Constituency was closed at 10.30 pm today (Sunday).

During the 15-hour poll, a total of 1,423 voters have cast their votes, representing 29.3 per cent of the total 4,857 electors.

End

12

Tai Po DB by-election results *****

The following is the number of votes received by the three candidates of the Tai Po District Board by-election in respect of Shuen Wan constituency on Sunday (February 23):

Mr Chan Mei-tak

702 votes

Mr Man Chen-fai

402 votes

Mr Roger Li Kwok-keung

307 votes

Mr Chan Mei-tak was declared elected by the Returning Officer, Mr Lui Kin-

fun.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Monday, February 24,1997

Contents Page No,

Governor’s statement.................................................... 1

Government’s unemployment figures are correct........................... 2

Consultation paper on civil liability for unsafe products............... 3

Government team to attend UN hearing.................................... 5

Consumer Price Indices for January 1997................................. 6

Marine safety campaign in Central Harbour.............................. 12

International Labour Organization Sub-regional meeting................. 13

Old stamps bearing Queen's portrait to be on sale...................... 14

Water storage figure............................................... 15

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................ 15

1

Governor's statement ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The following is a statement by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten today (Monday):

It is reported that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has now endorsed the recommendations from the Preparatory Committee to repeal certain provisions of the Bill of Rights Ordinance, the Societies (Amendment) Ordinance and the Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance.

It has been clear throughout the debate on these ill-advised proposals that those responsible for them were determined to press ahead regardless of the strong and consistently expressed view throughout the community that Hong Kong’s civil liberties should not be rolled back in this way. So we should perhaps not be surprised that those applying the rubber stamp behind closed doors in Peking have, like the Preparatory Committee itself, shown themselves deaf to the almost unanimous voice of the people of Hong Kong.

There can be no illusions about the consequences of this decision. It casts doubt on the freedoms and autonomy which have been promised to Hong Kong, and the rule of law on which they are based. It will cause legal confusion and invite legal challenge. It undermines the credibility around the world of the "one country two systems" model, even before the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region comes into being.

But it is still not too late to repair at least some of this completely unnecessary damage. The Chief Executive (Designate) has promised that new legislation will be put forward in due course to replace the repealed provisions, and that this will take account of the views of the Hong Kong public as expressed through a consultation exercise. It is important this consultation be conducted openly and without political preconditions, and that the resulting legislative proposals should accurately reflect the views of the community. This should not be difficult to achieve. It is already crystal clear that what the community wants to see is the preservation of Hong Kong's current civil liberties, in line with the International Covenants, with the promises made in the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law, and with the legitimate needs and expectations of a modem, open society.

End

2

Government’s unemployment figures are correct *****

In response to the claim by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) that the Government had "concealed” the actual unemployment rate, the Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Frederick Ho, said today (Monday) that in making the claim, the FTU had some misunderstanding.

According to the FTU, which quoted a recent report on Labour Mobility published by the Census and Statistics Department, there were some 161,000 economically inactive persons in late 1995 who should be considered as unemployed persons. On this basis, the recent unemployment rate should be around 7.5 per cent instead of 2.5 per cent.

Mr Ho said: "According to the internationally accepted definition of unemployment, as recommended by the International Labour Organisation, which has always been closely followed in Hong Kong, for a person aged 15 or over to be classified as unemployed, that person should (a) be without a job, and (b) be available for work, and (c) have sought work during the 30 days before enumeration.

"This definition further stipulates that in applying the above criteria, for a person who has not sought work, he or she is still an unemployed person if the reason for not seeking work is that work is believed to be not available. In this case, the person concerned is a 'discouraged worker'.

"People who are neither employed nor unemployed constitute the 'economically inactive population'."

FTU has argued that since the 161,000 persons without a job have been reported to be "willing to take up jobs", they should be classified as "unemployed".

Mr Ho pointed out that in the enquiry concerned, these persons had been confirmed to be economically inactive through a series of questions (e.g. whether available for work, and if not, reasons for non-availability), meeting the requisite definitions. The key point to be determined for this series of questions is that they have not sought work and they are different from "discouraged workers".

3

Mr Ho continues to explain that during the enquiry, even though persons who are identified as not actively seeking work and hence are categorised as economically inactive persons, still a question is asked on whether they would be willing to take up jobs if being offered suitable employment. The enquiry also asked about the terms and conditions under which they are willing to take up jobs (e.g. pay level; working hours). The main results from this enquiry indicate that these people may be interested in taking up jobs on specific terms. Under such circumstances, these people are not regarded as unemployed under the internationally accepted definition of unemployment.

Mr Ho points out that the statistics published in the Labour Mobility report arc additional to those on the economically active population regularly published, and hence should be of use to a more detailed understanding of the labour supply situation.

End

Consultation paper on civil liability for unsafe products *****

A sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission today (Monday) published a consultation paper on proposals to reform the law governing compensation for injury and damage caused by defective or unsafe goods.

In December 1995, the Sub-committee on Civil Liability for Unsafe Products was formed and included among its members lawyers, academics, and prominent figures representing both business and consumer interests. The sub-committee is chaired by Ms Audrey Eu QC.

Ms Eu said that product safety was an issue which touched upon almost every person, and continual efforts had been made to protect the public from unsafe or defective products. Ms Eu mentioned as an example of such efforts the recently enacted Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance (Cap. 456) which had afforded greater protection to the public by imposing a duty on manufacturers, importers and suppliers of certain consumer goods to ensure that the goods comply with the approved safety standard or are reasonably safe having regard to all the circumstances.

Yet, according to Ms Eu, persons who suffered injury or damage caused by unsafe products would find themselves faced with many technical hurdles when making their claims for compensation under the existing law. Ms Eu also said that the emerging international trend was towards enacting strict product liability legislation to supplement the traditional contract and negligence law, and Hong Kong was lagging behind many jurisdictions, including the EC countries, the United States, Australia and Japan.

4

The interim recommendations in the consultation paper are mainly:-

The law governing compensation for injury and damage caused by defective or unsafe goods should be expanded beyond the existing spheres of contract law and negligence law.

The proposed new form of liability should be based on the defect approach, which means that a product is regarded as defective if it does not meet the standard of safety that persons generally are entitled to expect.

The standard of safety required should be judged by reference to the standard of the general public instead of the claimant.

The standard of safety required should be judged at the time the product was put into circulation.

Manufacturers, producers, own-branders and importers should be jointly and severally liable to claimants. As for wholesalers, distributors and retailers, they would be liable only if they fail to identify within reasonable time the person who supplied the product to them.

The proposed new form of liability should cover all kinds of movable products subject to products expressly included or excluded. Unprocessed natural products and game, and component parts should also be covered.

Any injured person, whether or not he is party to a contract, and whether or not he is a user of the product or a mere bystander, should be covered by the proposed new form of liability.

Specific defences should be made available to protect legitimate business interests. Such defences include compliance with statutory' standards, the product was not supplied by the defendant, the product was supplied otherwise than in the course of business, the defect did not exist at the time of supply. The defendant would have a partial defence if the damage is caused partly by the fault of the claimant.

The defendant should also have a defence if the state of scientific and technical knowledge at the time of supply did not enable to the defect to be discovered.

Compensation under the proposed new form of liability should not be subject to any maximum or minimum limits, but provisions should ensure that a claimant cannot recover twice for the same injury or damage.

5

Claimants should commence legal action within both the three-year and the ten-year limitation periods, which should be adopted for all products. The court should have the discretion to extend both the three-year and the ten-year limitation periods if it is equitable to do so.

The consultation paper is issued to elicit comments on the interim recommendations made by the Sub-committee. Anyone who wishes to obtain a copy of the consultation paper should write to the Secretary, The Law Reform Commission, 20th Floor, Harcourt House, 39 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The consultation paper is also available on the Government home page http://www.info.gov.hk (under ’’topical information : consultation paper”).

End

Government team to attend UN hearing *****

A four-member Hong Kong Government team led by the Deputy Solicitor General, Mr Stephen Wong, will attend a hearing of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva on March 3 and 4.

A Government spokesman said today (Monday) that the committee will scrutinise the 14th periodic report on Hong Kong under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which is an update of developments in the territory since the examination of the 13th report last March.

The 14th report was submitted by the United Kingdom Government to the UN and made public in Hong Kong last November. Copies have been distributed to public libraries and are available at district offices. Its publication has stimulated a positive exchange of views between the non-govemment organisations (NGO), legislators and the Government.

During the drafting of the report, the Government has invited the Legislative Council, NGOs and other interested parties to express views on the report.

Forming part of the British delegation, the Hong Kong team will answer questions on the implementation of the Convention in the territory and will provide additional information wherever necessary'.

6

"We expect a useful and constructive dialogue between the committee and delegation officials," the spokesman added.

The Convention was ratified by the UK Government in 1969 and was extended to Hong Kong in the same year.

Apart from Mr Wong, the other team members are Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr John Dean; Principal Assistant Secretary for Security, Mr Raymond Fan and Senior Crown Counsel, Mr Peter Wong.

End

Consumer Price Indices for January 1997 *****

Consumer price inflation (as measured by the year-on-year rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index (A)) was 6.6% in January 1997, slightly lower than 6.7% in December 1996.

The year-on-year rates of increase in the Consumer Price Index (B) and Hang Seng CPI were also slower in January 1997 than in December 1996 — 6.3% against 6.5% for the CPI(B); and 5.9% against 6.7% for the Hang Seng CPI.

The Composite CPI, which is compiled based on the combined expenditure pattern of all households, showed a year-on-year increase of 6.3% in January 1997, against 6.6% in December 1996.

The Census and Statistics Department released today (Monday) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for January 1997.

A Government spokesman said that the slightly slower year-on-year increases in the CPI(A) and CPI(B) in January 1997 than in December 1996 were mainly due to slower increases in the prices of some fresh food items and outerclothing.

As for the Hang Seng CPI, the slower increase in January 1997 than in December 1996 was mainly due to slower increase in the prices of outerclothing.

Analysed by component, faster year-on-year increases than the overall average in January were recorded for miscellaneous goods (11.6% in CPI(A) and 8.1% in Composite CPI); housing (9.5% in CPI(A) and 8.9% in Composite CPI); clothing and footwear (9.4% in CPI(A) and 7.8% in Composite CPI); fuel and light (8.1% in CPI(A) and 8.3% in Composite CPI) and miscellaneous services (6.9% in CPI(A) and 6.5% in Composite CPI).

7

Meanwhile, those components with slower year-on-year increases in prices than the overall average were durable goods (2.0% in CP1(A) and 2.2% in Composite CPI); meals bought away from home (3.6% in CPI(A) and 3.3% in Composite CPI); food (excluding meals bought away from home) (4.2% in CPI(A) and 4.2% in Composite CPI); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (5.4% in CPI(A) and 5.2% in Composite CPI) and transport (6.0% in CPI(A) and 5.6% in Composite CPI).

Comparing January 1997 with December 1996, both the CPI(A) and CPI(B) remained unchanged. On the other hand, the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI decreased by 0.5% and 0.1% respectively.

For the three months ended January 1997, the CPI(A) and CPI(B) were, on average, both higher by 6.3% over a year earlier. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 6.2% and 6.3% respectively.

For the 12-month ended January 1997, the CPI(A) and CPI(B) were, on average, higher by 6.1% and 6.4% respectively than the preceding 12-month period. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 6.5% and 6.3% respectively.

The seasonally adjusted monthly rates of increase in the CP1(A) and CPI(B) averaged at 0.4% and 0.3% respectively during the three months ended January 1997. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 0.3% and 0.4% respectively.

Further details are shown in Tables 1-2 and Charts 1-4.

The Consumer Price Index Report

More details are given in the "Consumer Price Index Report" for January 1997, which is available at $28 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, 19/F., 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.

For enquiries about the indices, please telephone the Consumer Price Index Section of the Census and Statistics Department at 2805 6403.

- 8 -

Table 1 Consumer Price Indices and Rates of Increase for January 1997

(Oct. 94 - Sep 95 = 100)

CPI(A) CPl(B) Hang Seng CPI Composite CPI

Component Index for Jan. 97 % change over Jan, 96 Index for Jan. 97 % change over Jan 96 Index for Jan. 97 % change over Jan, 96 Index for Jan. 97 % change over Ian_96

Food 106.1 +3.9 106.4 +3.6 105.7 +3.3 106.2 +3.6

Meals bought away from home 107.5 +3.6 107.1 +3.3 105.7 +2.8 107.1 +3.3

Food, excluding meals bought away from home 104.4 +4.2 105.2 +4.2 105.7 +4.3 104.9 +4.2

Housing 118 3 +9.5 1179 +8.4 120.4 +9.2 118.8 +8.9

Fuel and light 112.6 +8.1 112.5 +8.2 113.2 +9.0 112.7 +8.3

Alcoholic drinks and tobacco 108.9 +5.4 109.2 +5.3 108.0 +4.5 108.9 +5.2

Clothing and footwear 115.7 +9.4 116.4 + 10 0 103.4 +3.5 112.0 +7.8

Durable goods 103.7 +2.0 103.6 +2.5 103.5 +1.8 103.6 +2.2

Miscellaneous goods 107.8 + 11.6 106.5 +7.6 104.6 +4.5 106.4 +8.1

Transport 110.3 +6.0 110.3 +5.7 109.5 +4.9 110.0 +5.6

Miscellaneous services 113.3 +6.9 112.3 +6.8 109.7 +5.7 111.7 +6.5

All items 110.9 +6.6 111.4 +6.3 1114 +5.9 111.3 +6.3

Monthly consumer price indices are compiled on the basis of (a) expenditure patterns of relevant households and (b) prices collected currently in the month. The expenditure patterns underlying the 1994/95-based consumer price indices are based on those patterns derived from the 1994/95 Household Expenditure Survey. The CPI(A) is based on the expenditure pattern of about 50% of households in Hong Kong, which had an average monthly expenditure of $4,000-515,999 in 1994/95 (broadly equivalent to $4,300-$ 17,300 at 1996 prices). The CPI(B) is based on the expenditure pattern of the next 30% of households, which had an average monthly expenditure of $16,000-$29,999 in 1994/95 (broadly equivalent to $17,300-$32,600 at 1996 prices). The Hang Seng CPI is based on the expenditure pattern of the next 10% of households, which had an average monthly expenditure of $30,000-$59,999 in 1994/95 (broadly equivalent to $32,600-$65,300 at 1996 prices).

Whereas the CPI(A), CPI(B) and Hang Seng CPI are based on the expenditure patterns of groups of households with different magnitudes of household expenditure, the Composite CPI is compiled based on the expenditure pattern of all these households taken together. Thus, while the CPI(A), CPI(B) and Hang Seng CPI show the impact of consumer price changes on different groups of households, the Composite CPI shows the impact of consumer price changes on the household sector generally.

- 9 -

Table 2 Consumer Price Indices and Year-on-year Rates of Change for ____________________October 1995 - January 1997_____________________ (Oct. 94 - Sep 95 = 100)

Year/month CPKA) CPKBj Hang Seng CPI Composite CPI

Index Year-on-year rate of change (%) Index Year-on-year rate of change (%) Index Year-on-year rate pf change (%) Index Year-on-year rate of change (%)

1995 October 104.3 8.0 104.5 8.4 104.7 8.7 104.5 8.4

November 104.3 7.8 104 7 8.1 105 4 8.2 104 7 8.1

December 103 9 6.4 104.6 7.2 104 9 7.2 104.5 7.0

1996 January 104.1 5.8 104.8 6.6 105.1 7.3 104.7 6.5

February 105 4 6.4 105.9 7.0 105.7 7.5 105.7 6.9

March 106.1 6.5 1064 7.0 106.3 7.5 106.3 7.0

April 107.3 6.8 107.S 7.0 107.5 7.1 107.6 7.0

May 107.1 6.1 107.9 6.6 108.5 6.9 107.8 6.5

June 107.8 6.1 108.3 6.4 109.1 6.6 108.4 6.4

July 108.0 6.1 108 5 6.4 108.6 6.2 108.4 6.2

August 108 2 4.9 108 7 5.5 1089 59 108.6 5.4

September 109.6 5.2 109.9 5.9 109 7 5.6 109.7 5.6

October 109.9 5.4 110.6 5.8 110.9 6.0 10.5 5.7

November 110 3 5.8 1110 6.1 1115 5.8 110.9 5.9

December 110.9 6.7 1114 6.5 1119 6.7 111.4 6.6

1997 January 110 9 6.6 111.4 6.3 111.4 5.9 111.3 6.3

- 10 -

Chart 1 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in CPI(A)

Chart 2 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in CPI(B)

- 11 -

Chart 3 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in Hang Seng CPI

Chart 4 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in Composite CPI

End

12

Marine safety campaign in Central Harbour *****

The Marine Department and the Marine Police started today (Monday) a joint marine safety campaign in the busy Central Harbour to remind masters and persons-in-charge of vessels to strictly follow the rule of the road.

Briefing the media on the campaign, the Senior Marine Officer/Central, Mr Tsang Cheuk-yin, said the campaign was aimed at increasing the awareness of the importance of safe navigation, in particular in the Central Fairway, and strengthening the enforcement of the rule of the road.

The Central Harbour through which the Central Fairway runs is one of the busiest water areas in Hong Kong and about 4,200 vessels sail in the water area every day.

The campaign is to be carried out in two phases: the first phase from February 24 to 28 concentrating on education activities and the second phase between March 3 and 7 when enforcement action will be taken against vessel operators who defy the navigational safety rules.

”A marine safety campaign before the arrival of the foggy weather serves as a reminder to masters, coxswains and persons-in-charge of vessels the importance of strictly following the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREG), especially while they transit Victoria Harbour,” said Mr Tsang.

Also speaking at the briefing, the Assistant Divisional Commander (Operations) of the Marine Police Harbour Division, Mr A.M. Steeple, said seven Marine Department and Marine Police launches would distribute a pamphlet entitled ’’While sailing in the central part of Victoria Harbour..." and Marine Department Notice No. 1/96 to vessel operators in the Central Harbour during the first phase.

"The launches will issue warnings to vessel operators who fail to observe the rule of the road,” said Mr Steeple.

He noted that marine accidents in the Central Fairway remained low with seven in 1995 and five in 1996. But there was no place for complacency.

He pointed out that in the second phase Marine Department and Marine Police launches would take enforcement action against any violation of COLREG and local rules.

13

Vessel operators found contravening COLREG will be summonsed and may face a maximum fine of $25,000 upon conviction.

Mr Tsang Cheuk-yin advised masters, coxswains and persons-in-charge of vessels good seamanship which included:

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 collisions;

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; and

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 displaced; and

* Not more than two vessels may be towed by a single tug at one time.

End

International Labour Organization Sub-regional meeting

*****

Participants representing employees, employers and government in Hong Kong and seven Asian countries will attend an International Labour Organization (ILO) Sub-regional meeting in Hong Kong later this week to talk about tripartite consultations on labour issues in the region.

The three-day meeting, co-hosted by the Labour Department and the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, will start on Wednesday (February 26) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

14

The Commissioner for Labour, Miss Jacqueline Willis, will officiate at the opening ceremony of the meeting on Wednesday.

Apart from Hong Kong, the seven participating Asian countries are China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The objectives of the meeting are to identify issues and problems to implement effective tripartite consultation and to outline the steps necessary to be taken to advance the cause of tripartite consultation.

Programmes for the meeting will include presentations by ILO director and relevant specialists, tripartite inter-country group discussions and country level discussions.

End

Old stamps bearing Queen’s portrait to be on sale *****

The Postmaster General, Mr. Robert Footman, announced today (Monday) that residue stock of the old definitive stamps bearing the Queen’s portrait will be put back on sale as philatelic items at the following four philatelic offices as from March 18, 1997, while stock lasts :

General Post Office

Sha Tin Central Post office

Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office

Tsuen Wan Post Office

The stamps will be sold in sheet form only. They are available in a set of low denominations (10 to $5) or a set of high denominations ($10, $20 & $50). A sales restriction of one full set per customer queuing will be imposed.

$1.20, $1.30, $2,00, $2.50, $3.10 and $5.00 old definitive stamps will also be put on sale in sheet form at the four philatelic offices as from March 18, 1997 until stock lasts. There will be a sales restriction of 5 sheets per denomination for each customer queuing.

End

15

Water storage figure *****

Storage in Hong Kong’s reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 78.6 per cent of capacity or 460.742 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 466.157 million cubic metres of water, representing 79.5 per cent of capacity.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results *****

Tender date 24 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Notes

Issue number 7402

Issue date : 25 February 1997

Maturity date : 25 February 2004

Coupon : 6.46%

Amount applied : HK$3,980 MN

Amount allotted : HK.S500 MN

Average price accepted (yield) : 99.48 (6.66 PCT)

Lowest price accepted (yield) : 99.48 (6.66 PCT)

Pro rata ratio : About 16 PCT

Average tender price (yield) : 99.43 (6.67 PCT)

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777

Tuesday, February 25,1997

Contents Page No.

Hong Kong enjoying fruits of grand vision.................................. 1

TAC endorses ferry fare increase applications.............................. 2

ExCo approves taxi fare increases.......................................... 3

Conference on financial integration in Asia................................ 4

Experience nowhere supports retention of scale fees........................ 5

Defence Secretary visits Hong Kong......................................... 6

Transport Complaints Unit receives fewer complaints........................ 7

Leveraged Foreign Exchange Arbitration Panel appointed..................... 8

External trade statistics by mode of transport in 1996..................... 9

HK Monthly Digest of Statistics now on sale............................... 19

Injured employees should not be dismissed................................. 20

14 services projects to be financed by Government......................... 21

Heritage tour and basin meal for 1,000.................................

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................... 23

Hong Kong enjoying fruits of grand vision * * * * *

Hong Kong is beginning to enjoy "the fruits of a grand vision" with the progressive completion of the Airport Core Programme (ACT), the Chairman of the Airport Consultative Committee. Mr Hu Fa-kuang, said today (Tuesday).

Officiating at the opening ceremony of the Sai Ying Pun section of Route 7, Mr Hu said the road, which would be opened tomorrow, was one of the early harvest.

"The opening tomorrow will bring about substantial improvement to the traffic along our western waterfront and. finally, usher in the traffic to our third tunnel, our first dual three-lane Western Harbour Crossing." he said

He added that the opening of the Sai Ying Pun section ol Route 7 to traffic would be welcome by the general public, and he looked forward to the public opening of the Western Harbour Crossing in April.

"There is no better reward to myself and my colleagues on the Airport Consultative Committee to see the successful completion of the ACP projects and in May we shall celebrate together the full opening of the ACP transport corridor when we can drive from here all the way on a purpose built dual three-lane expressway to the new town of Tung Chung." he said.

Mr Hu congratulated all those who had taken part in the implementation of "this successful project", including the Western Harbour Tunnel Company, consulting engineers and the Highways Department.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director of Highways, Mr K S Leung, said the Sai Ying Pun section was another essential part of the ACP transport corridor which linked Hong Kong via the Western Harbour Crossing to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok.

Constructed as part of the Western Harbour Crossing, the road section also provided an additional, high capacity road link to the north western part of Hong Kong Island. Its opening would facilitate traffic flow between Central and the areas of Kennedy Town and Pokfulam. he said.

The new road is a 1.7-kilometre dual two-lane elevated highway from Rumsey Street Flyover to Belcher Bay with a slip road from the Hill Road Flyover. Connection to the Western Harbour Crossing is through the Sai Ying Pun Interchange which is situated half way along the new route.

2

Mr Leung said that in anticipation of increased traffic using Route 7, noise mitigation measures had been taken, such as using noise reducing surfacing on road decks and installing double glazing to windows and air conditioning to some 3,000 dwellings along Connaught Road West.

"This reflects the continuous effort of the Government in reducing the environmental impact of new projects on affected residence," he said.

End

TAC endorses ferry fare increase applications *****

At the meeting held this (Tuesday) afternoon, the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) endorsed an 8.35 per cent fare increase for Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry (HYF) and a 7.52 per cent fare increase for Star Ferry (SF). The recommendation would be submitted to Executive Council for consideration. The new fares are to take effect in June 1997.

HYF and SF last increased their fares in January and March 1996 respectively. The TAC noted that both companies had suffered from rising operating costs and falling patronage. If the recommended fare increase is implemented, SF is expected to make a small profit in 1997. As for HYF, even with the recommended fare increase, it would still suffer substantial losses in 1997 and 1998.

The recommended fare increase would mean about 86 per cent of HYF's passengers would have to pay 20 cents to $1 more per trip. As for SF, about two thirds of its passengers would have to pay no more than 20 cents per trip, and one third of them would not be affected.

The proposed fare increases for HYF and SF are both below the forecast inflation rates between their last fare increases and June 1997 when the recommended new fares come into effect.

End

3

ExCo approves taxi fare increases *****

The Governor in Council today (Tuesday) approved fare increases of 6.3 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively for urban and New Territories taxis to take effect on April 13, 1997. The revised fares will be tabled in the Legislative Council on March 5.

Under the new fare structures, flagfall charges for the first two kilometres will be increased from $14.00 to $14.50 for urban taxis, and from $11.80 to $12.50 for New Territories taxis.

For every subsequent 0.2 kilometre, the fares for both urban and New Territories taxis will go up by 10 cents to $1.30 and $1.20 respectively.

The waiting time charge will rise by 10 cents per minute to $1.30 for urban taxis and $1.20 for New Territories taxis.

A Government spokesman said that in considering the fare increase applications, the Executive Council had taken into account such factors as the financial position of taxi trade, the quality of taxi service, the fare differential between taxis and other modes of public transport, and public acceptability.

He pointed out that the approved rates of increase for urban taxis was below forecast inflation and that for NT taxis was in line with inflation.

"An annual moderate increase would help the taxi trade maintain a healthy financial position," the spokesman said. "Most taxi operators are small operators with narrow profit margins, and freezing the fares may affect their livelihood."

Commenting on the recent rise in taxi licence premiums, the spokesman said, "There is no direct connection between taxi fares and taxi licence premiums."

The Executive Council also agreed that the current level of $5.00 for telephone booking surcharge and baggage surcharge for urban taxis and $4.00 for NT taxis should remain unchanged for the time being.

End

4

Conference on financial integration in Asia *****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the International Monetary Fund are jointly organising a conference on macroeconomic issues facing the Asian region with a particular focus on the role of Hong Kong.

The Conference on Financial Integration in Asia and the Role of Hong Kong to be held on March 7, 1997 will explore key aspects of regional economic and financial integration and the challenges and opportunities of growing regional integration for Hong Kong.

The Conference will be opened by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten and the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang will be the luncheon speaker. The Managing Director of the IMF, Mr Michel Camdessus, will give a keynote speech.

Other leading speakers include UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Kenneth Clarke; Governor Dai Xianglong and Deputy Governor Chen Yuan of the People's Bank of China; Deputy Prime Minister Anwar bin Ibrahim of Malaysia; Managing Director of Goldman, Sachs & Co., Mr. Gerald Corrigan; Governor of Bank of Korea, Mr K.S. Lee; Governor Soedradjad Djiwandono of Bank Indonesia; Governor Gabriel Singson of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui.

Chief Executive (Designate) of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Tung Chee Hwa has also agreed to speak at the concluding session.

The Managing Director of IMF, Mr. Michel Camdessus said: "For the IMF to co-host this conference is an indication of the importance we attach to stability and growth in the region. We stand at an important moment in history: for Hong Kong and for Asia."

Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Mr Joseph Yam said: "We are very pleased that this conference will bring together top policy makers, leading central bankers and financial executives from Asia and beyond. We will be examining the implications of increasing integration of financial markets in Asia and the role of Hong Kong in the years to come."

Further information may be obtained from the Conference Secretariat at 2878 1457 or by fax at 2878 8260.

End

5

Experience nowhere supports retention of scale fees * * * ♦ ♦

The Singaporean government believes that scale fees are anachronistic and should in time be abolished, the Deputy Law Officer of the Attorney General’s Office, Mr Robert Allcock, told a Bills Committee of the Legislative Council today (Tuesday). One of the provisions of the Legal Services Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill which is being studied by LegCo is for abolition of scale fees for conveyancing work.

In his address to the Bills Committee, Mr Allcock pointed out that Singapore's Minister for Law, in answer to a parliamentary question in November 1995 has said he agreed in principle that a fixed scale was an anachronism in a free market economy such as Singapore’s.

Although the Minister believed that there was merit in taking a gradual approach, he said that the complete abolition of scale fees was a matter of time, "and the legal profession should take this time to prepare itself for the free market.”

Mr Allcock also noted that in England, the English Law Society did not even attempt to reintroduce scale fees when its Vice-President was Mr Robert Sayer. Mr Sayer recently came to Hong Kong to make a submission to the LegCo Bills Committee for retention of scale fees in Hong Kong.

The official position of the English Law Society set out in a letter to the Bills Committee does not describe the abolition of scale fees as a disaster. Instead, the letter merely states that "views differ as to whether or not the abolition of scale fees was on balance of benefit to the public," Mr Allcock said.

As for the experience of scale fees in Hong Kong, Mr Allcock dismissed claims that the Administration wants to compel solicitors to charge unreasonably low fees.

"After the abolition of scale fees, solicitors will be entitled to charge such sum as may be fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case.

"This is the basis on which their fees are calculated for other non-contentious work, and that has not caused any problems," he said.

He also refuted allegations that price competition would lead to disastrous results, hurting the public interest; and that it was like planting a time bomb, since shoddy work would only show up after many years.

6

"Price competition was allowed before 1980. No evidence has been submitted of any disastrous consequences before then. And if price competition before 1980 amounted to a time bomb, why hasn't it exploded by now?" he asked.

Calling scale fees an unfair system, Mr Allcock said it is self-evident that they are anti-competitive.

"They deny consumers the benefit of price competition. Moreover, under the system, fees are based on the price of property, not the value of the work done. This is irrational and unfair to consumers. The unfairness is increased by the fact that when property prices rise, as they are now, there is a rise in conveyancing fees, even though the work done remains the same."

Furthermore, the Administration’s view on the best approach to abolish scale fees is that one has to decide whether or not they are in the public interest. "If they are not, it is no use tinkering with them. You either have them or you don’t have them. Tinkering will not alter the fact that the scales are still in place," he said.

End

Defence Secretary visits Hong Kong *****

The Rt Hon Michael Portillo MP, Secretary of State for Defence, is to visit Hong Kong tomorrow (Wednesday).

This is part of a regular series of visits which the Secretary of State makes to British Forces stationed around the world and it will be the first time Mr Portillo visits the Hong Kong Garrison.

Mr Portillo will first visit Headquarters British Forces, where he will inspect a ceremonial Quarter Guard drawn from 1st Battalion The Black Watch.

He will then be brought up to date on the situation in the territory and progress of the Garrison's withdrawal plans. He will also be briefed on arrangements for the transition to the Chinese sovereignty and, in particular, on the pivotal role British Forces will play in the handover ceremonies on June 30.

The Secretary of State will tour Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force units, which form the Garrison, and meet personnel of all three services.

7

He will also hold discussions with the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, and senior officials of the Hong Kong Government.

Mr Portillo will depart for Brunei following h' ■: one-day visit to Hong Kong.

End

Transport Complaints Unit receives fewer complaints ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The number of complaints and suggestions received by the Transport Complaints Unit of the Transport Advisory Committee between October 1, 1996 and December 31, 1996 dropped by 17.9 per cent to 3,226 as compared with 3,928 in the previous quarter.

During the period, the major areas of complaint were related to public transport (72 per cent), road traffic conditions (14 per cent) and enforcement (8 per cent).

The number of complaints about public transport decreased by 22.1 per cent from 2,998 in the previous quarter to 2,335.

More significant decreases were noted in complaints against taxi driver malpractices (down from 1,519 to 1,208), China Motor Bus (down from 185 to 147), Kowloon Motor Motor Bus (down from 402 to 354), Citybus (down from 112 to 66), green minibuses (down from 358 to 267) and ferry services (down from 85 to 36).

Complaints about the malfr - ctioning of traffic lights and damaged traffic signs increased from 45 to 61. The number of suggestions for additional traffic lights and aids also increased from 122 to 127.

During the same period, complaints about traffic congestion dropped by 8.8 per cent from 226 to 206. Complaints about road conditions also dropped by 10.5 per cent from 76 to 68.

All suggestions and complaints received by TCU had been referred to the relevant authorities and Government departments for investigation.

Members of the public may complain direct by dialling the 24-hour Transport Complaints Unit hotline 2577 6866 or 2889 9999 throughout the year.

End

8

Leveraged Foreign Exchange Arbitration Panel appointed *****

The Financial Secretary has re-appointed Mr Frank K S Wong, Regional Managing Director, Greater China and Global Financial Markets, Asia Pacific of NatWest Markets and Mr Anthony K T Yuen, Senior Vice President and Regional Treasurer of the Bank of America, respectively as the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Leveraged Foreign Exchange Arbitration Panel, a spokesman of the Financial Services Branch announced today (Tuesday).

The following persons have also been re-appointed as members of the panel:

Mr Alan Chan Ka Wah, Senior Manager of Banque Nationale de Paris

Mr Chu Lap Ying

Mr Raymond H M Kong, Deputy Treasurer of Banque Indosuez

Mr Davy Kwan Kwok Ki, First Vice President of International Bank of Asia

Mr Lam Yim Nam, Deputy General Manager of Kwangtung Provincial Bank

Mr Tommy Lee Chcuk Shun, Deputy Regional Managing Director, Financial Market, of Schroders Asia Ltd.

Mr Anthony Nagi Mo Hung, First Vice President of Union Bank of Switzerland

Mr Joseph Y W Pang, Executive Director & Deputy Chief Executive of Bank of East Asia

Mr Stefan F Stosik, President & Chief Executive of Euro Yagi Martin Ltd.

Mr T I I Suen, Foreign Exchange Manager of Citibank

Mr Ronald Tam Po Chiu, Assistant General Manager of Wing Lung Bank Ltd.

Mr P S Tam, General Manager. Treasury, of Dao Heng Bank

Mr Jimmy Tong Kwok Hung, Assistant General Manager of Hang Seng Bank Ltd.

Mr Andrew Tsai, Executive Director of Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd.

Mr Wong Fook Yuen, Treasury Director of N M Rothschild & Sons (HK) Ltd.

Mr Yiu Park Chow, Treasury Manager of HSBC Investment Bank Asia Ltd.

9

The Financial Secretary has also appointed Mr Yang Jian Gang, Director of Everbright Finance & Investment Co. Ltd. as member to the Panel. The appointment and re-appointments are made for the period of two years, from 11 February 1997 to 10 February 1999.

"The Leveraged Foreign Exchange Trading Ordinance was brought in effect on 1 September 1994 and requires, among other things, all companies engaged in leveraged foreign exchange trading and their representatives to be licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). Under section 7(5) of the Ordinance, in relation to any dispute between a licensed trader and a client, the licensed trader shall, if the client so requires, agree to the dispute being settled by arbitration in accordance with rules made by the SFC which has set up the Panel," the spokesman explained.

"Members of the Panel are all bankers or senior staff of investment houses. Hence, they are knowledgeable in foreign exchange dealings and are competent to act as arbitrators in any disputes involving leveraged foreign exchange trading," the spokesman said.

End

External trade statistics by mode of transport in 1996 * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The value of Hong Kong's external trade by ocean accounted for 48% of Hong Kong's total value of external trade in 1996, according to statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department today (Tuesday).

Another 26% was transported by land and yet another 20% by air. The remaining 5.7% included shipment by river, postal parcels and accompanied goods of passengers travelling on various means of transport.

Shipment by ocean amounted to $1,419.5 billion in 1996, representing an increase of 2.2% over that in 1995. Shipment by land went up by 4.4% to $752.8 billion in 1996 while that by air rose by 3.5% to $593.8 billion.

Table 1 shows details of changes in the value of Hong Kong's external trade analysed by mode of transport in 1996 compared with 1995.

10

The United States remained the largest destination for Hong Kong's total exports (comprising domestic exports and re-exports) by ocean, accounting for a share of 31% in value terms in 1996. The value of total exports by ocean to the United States went up by 1.2% in 1996.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, increases were also recorded in the value of seaborne total exports to China (+23%), Japan (+14%) and the United Kingdom (+6.2%). However, the value of total exports by ocean to Germany decreased by 1.0%.

Japan was the largest supplier of Hong Kong's imports by ocean, accounting for a share of 22% in 1996. The value, however, decreased by 4.7% over 1995. The value of seaborne imports from Taiwan and China also decreased, by 7.6% and 2.6% respectively in 1996.

Table 2 shows details of changes in the value of external trade by ocean with main trading partners in 1996 compared with 1995.

In 1996, the value of total exports by air to the United States accounted for 26% of the value of Hong Kong's total exports by air and increased by 2.0% over 1995.

The value of total exports by air to Germany and Japan increased by 8.4% and 6.7% respectively over 1995. However, the value of airborne total exports to Taiwan and Singapore decreased by 10% and 2.6% respectively.

In 1996, increases were recorded in the value of imports by air from the United States (+11%), Taiwan (+8.5%) and Singapore (+4.2%). However, the value of airborne imports from France and Japan decreased by 14% and 9.0% respectively.

Table 3 shows details of changes in the value of external trade by air with main trading partners in 1996 compared with 1995.

More detailed figures on changes in the value of external trade by ocean between 1996 and 1995 analysed by principal commodity division are shown in Table 4.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, increases were recorded in the value of re-exports by ocean for clothing (by $6.5 billion or 9.4%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $6.4 billion or 14%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $6.1 billion or 4.9%); and footwear (by $4.1 billion or 7.3%).

11

However, a decrease was recorded in the value of re-exports by ocean for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $4.6 billion or 5.4%).

The value of domestic exports by ocean for all the top-five principal commodity divisions fell in 1996, with a more notable decrease for clothing (by $5.0 billion or 10%).

Over the same period, an increase was recorded in the value of imports by ocean for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $4.2 billion or 9.6%). On the other hand, more significant decreases were recorded in the value of imports by ocean for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $7.9 billion or 14%); plastics in primary forms (by $6.2 billion or 14%); and road vehicles (by $5.9 billion or 14%).

Changes in the value of external trade by air between 1996 and 1995 analysed by principal commodity division are shown in Table 5.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, significant increases were recorded in the value of re-exports by air for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $6.7 billion or 28%); clothing (by $3.0 billion or 15%); and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $2.8 billion or 12%). But a decrease was recorded in the value of re-exports by air for electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $1.4 billion or 3.3%).

An increase was also recorded in the value of domestic exports by air for miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (by $59 million or 0.8%). However, more significant decreases were recorded in the value of domestic exports by air for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $3.9 billion or 38%); and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $1.3 billion or 12%).

Over the same period, increases were recorded in the value of imports by air for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $4.9 billion or 15%); and office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $3.6 billion or 11%). On the other hand, more significant decreases were recorded in the value of imports by air for non-metallic mineral manufactures (by $1.8 billion or 6.3%); and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $ 1.7 billion or 6.1 %).

12

Changes in the value of external trade by land between 1996 and 1995 analysed by principal commodity division are shown in Table 6.

Comparing 1996 with 1995, more notable increases were recorded in the value of re-exports by land for textiles (by $3.3 billion or 5.6%); and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $3.3 billion or 17%). However, a more significant decrease was recorded in the value of re-exports by land for plastics in primary forms (by $2.3 billion or 10%).

A more notable increase was recorded in the value of domestic exports by land for clothing (by $1.5 billion or 26%) in 1996. But the value of domestic exports by land for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment fell (by $1.3 billion or 18%).

Over the same period, increases were recorded in the value of imports by land for clothing (by $7.2 billion or by 9.3%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $6.2 billion or 18%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $3.4 billion or 5.1%); and footwear (by $3.1 billion or 7.2%). But a decrease was recorded in the value of imports by land for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $2.2 billion or 4.2%).

Detailed statistics of Hong Kong’s external trade analysed by mode of transport are published in the December 1996 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade” report which is now available for sale at $129 per copy.

The report can be purchased at either the Government Publications Sales Centre on the Ground Floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, or the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

Enquiries regarding regular subscription to this report may be directed to the Publications (Sales) Office of the Information Services Department at 28th Floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Tel No. 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade statistics to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No. 2582 4915).

13

TABLE 1 : EXTERNAL TRADE BY MODE OF TRANSPORT

MODE OF TRANSPORT/ TYPE OF TRADE

JAN-DEC 1996

HKD Mn.

JAN-DEC 1995 HKD Mn.

YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

HKD Mn. %

OCEAN

DOMESTIC EXPORTS RE-EXPORTS TOTAL EXPORTS IMPORTS TOTAL BY OCEAN 84,843 654,309 739,152 680,368 1,419,520 95,134 615,552 710,687 678,812 1,389,499 + + + + 10,291 38,756 28,465 1,556 30,021 + + + 10.8 6.3 4.0 0.2 2.2

AIR

DOMESTIC EXPORTS 69,022 75,610 6,588 8.7

RE-EXPORTS 182,853 168,131 + 14,722 + 8.8

TOTAL EXPORTS 251,874 243,740 + 8,134 + 3.3

IMPORTS 341,935 329,789 + 12,146 + 3.7

TOTAL BY AIR 593,809 573,529 + 20,280 + 3.5

LAND

DOMESTIC EXPORTS 50,986 53,155 2,168 4.1

RE-EXPORTS 240,573 235,919 + 4,654 + 2.0

TOTAL EXPORTS 291,559 289,074 + 2,485 + 0.9

IMPORTS 461,204 431,778 + 29,426 + 6.8

TOTAL BY LAND 752,763 720,852 + 31,911 + 4.4

OTHERS

DOMESTIC EXPORTS 7,308 7,758 450 5.8

RE-EXPORTS 108,023 92,868 + 15,156 + 16.3

TOTAL EXPORTS 115,332 100,626 + 14,706 + 14.6

IMPORTS 52,075 50,742 + 1,333 + 2.6

TOTAL BY OTHERS 167,407 151,368 + 16,039 + 10.6

ALL MODES OF TRANSPORT

DOMESTIC EXPORTS 212,160 231,657 19,498 8.4

RE-EXPORTS 1,185,758 1,112,470 + 73,288 .+ 6.6

TOTAL EXPORTS 1,397,917 1,344,127 + 53,790 + 4.0

IMPORTS 1,535,582 1,491,121 + 44,461 + 3.0

TOTAL TRADE 2,933,499 2,835,248 + 98,251 + 3.5

14

TABLE 2 : EXTERNAL TRADE BY OCEAN BY MAIN TRADING PARTNER

MAIN TRADING PARTNER

JAN-DEC 1996 HKD Mn.

JAN-DEC 1995 HKD Mn.

YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

HKD Mn. %

DOMESTIC EXPORTS (DESTINATION)

UNITED STATES 30,810 36,089 5,280 14.6

UNITED KINGDOM 6,937 7,431 495 __ 6.7

GERMANY 6,423 7,490 1,067 14.2

JAPAN 4,666 4,882 216 4.4

CHINA 4,412 4,147 + 265 + 6.4

ALL COUNTRIES 84,843 95,134 10,291 - 10.8

RE-EXPORTS (DESTINATION)

UNITED STATES 200,226 192,239 + 7,987 + 4.2

CHINA 72,029 58,045 + 13,984 + 24.1

JAPAN 56,449 48,557 + 7,893 + 16.3

GERMANY 37,748 37,136 + 612 + 1.6

UNITED KINGDOM 29,188 26,584 + 2,603 + 9.8

ALL COUNTRIES 654,309 615,552 + 38,756 + 6.3

TOTAL EXPORTS (DESTINATION)

UNITED STATES 231,036 228,329 + 2,708 + 1.2

CHINA 76,441 62,192 + 14,249 + 22.9

JAPAN 61,115 53,439 + 7,677 + 14.4

GERMANY 44,171 44,626 455 1.0

UNITED KINGDOM 36,124 34,016 + 2,109 + 6.2

ALL COUNTRIES 739,152 710,687 + 28,465 + 4.0

IMPORTS (SUPPLIER)

JAPAN 151,471 158,956 7,485 4.7

TAIWAN 98,041 106,067 8,026 7.6

UNITED STATES 62,778 62,643 + 135 + 0.2

SOUTH KOREA 59,075 59,090 15 *

CHINA 49,985 51,313 1,328 2.6

ALL COUNTRIES 680,368 678,812 + 1,556 + 0.2

* denotes less than 0.05%

15

TABLE 3 : EXTERNAL TRADE BY AIR BY MAIN TRADING PARTNER

MAIN TRADING PARTNER

JAN-DEC 1996 HKD Mn.

JAN-DEC 1995 HKD Mn.

YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

HKD Mn. %

DOMESTIC EXPORTS (DESTINATION)

UNITED STATES 23,029 25,137 2,107 8.4

SINGAPORE 7,344 9,252 1,908 20.6

JAPAN 6,630 6,941 311 4.5

GERMANY 4,953 4,673 + 279 + 6.0

UNITED KINGDOM : 3,655 3,507 + 148 + 4.2

ALL COUNTRIES 69,022 75,610 6,588 8.7

RE-EXPORTS

(DESTINATION)

UNITED STATES 42,048. 38,682 + 3,366 + 8.7

JAPAN 23,579 21,376 + 2,202 + 10.3

TAIWAN 12,896 13,921 1,025 7.4

SINGAPORE 11,707 10,313 + 1,394 + 13.5

SOUTH KOREA 11,671 11,069 + 602 + 5.4

ALL COUNTRIES 182,853 168,131 + 14,722 + 8.8

TOTAL EXPORTS

(DESTINATION)

UNITED STATES 65,078 63,819 + 1,259 + 2.0

JAPAN 30,208 28,317 + 1,891 + 6.7

SINGAPORE 19,051 19,565 514 2.6

TAIWAN 16,455 18,347 1,891 10.3

GERMANY 14,394 13,278 + 1,116 + 8.4

ALL COUNTRIES 251,874 243,740 + 8,134 + 3.3

IMPORTS

(SUPPLIER)

UNITED STATES 58,120 52,317 + 5,802 + 11.1

JAPAN 56,527 62,098 5,571 9.0

SINGAPORE 31,982 30,695 + 1,287 + 4.2

TAIWAN 25,110 23,145 + 1,966 + 8.5

FRANCE 16,984 19,854 2,870 14.5

ALL COUNTRIES 341,935 329,789 + 12,146 + 3.7

16

TABLE 4 : EXTERNAL TRADE BY OCEAN BY MAIN COMMODITY DIVISION

MAIN COMMODITY DIVISION JAN-DEC 1996 HKD Mn. JAN-DEC 1995 HKD Mn. YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

fKD Mn. %

DOMESTIC EXPORTS

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 45,103 50,127 - 5.023 10.0

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY PRINTED MATTER) 7,028 8,045 - 1,»18 - 12.6

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 6,293 7,017 7 5 10.3

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 3,757 4,742 - 98 - 20.8

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 3,628 3,975 - 34 8.7

RE-EXPORTS

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 130,821 124,724 + 6,096 + 4.9

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 81,004 85,601 4,59 5.4

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 75,887 69,340 + 6,54 + 9.4

FOOTWEAR 60,724 56,584 + 4,14 + 7.3

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 51,770 45,400 + 6,37C + 14.0

IMPORTS

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 86,819 88,445 - 1,626 1.8

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 50,290 58,235 7,945 13.6

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 48,176 43,959 + 4,216 + 9.6

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 36,856 43,029 . - 6,173 - 14.3

ROAD VEHICLES 36,117 42,060 5,943 14.1

17

TABLE 5 : EXTERNAL TRADE BY AIR BY MAIN COMMODITY DIVISION

MAIN COMMODITY DIVISION JAN-DEC 1996 HKD Mn. JAN-DEC 1995 HKD Mn. YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

HKD Mn. %

DOMESTIC EXPORTS ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 21,330 22,164 834 3.8

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 16,928 17,801 - 873 - 4.9

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 9,702 10,963 - 1,261 - 11.5

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY JEWELLERY, GOLDSMITHS’ AND SILVERSMITHS’ WARES) 7,160 7,101 + 59 + 0.8

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 6,455 10,356 - 3,901 - 37.7

RE-EXPORTS ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 42,308 43,754 1,446 3.3

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 30,481 23,829 + 6,652 + 27.9

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 25,535 22,784 + 2,752 + 12.1

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 22,707 19,753 + 2,955 + 15.0

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 14,018 13,200 + 818 + 6.2

IMPORTS ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 104,474 105,109 634 0.6

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 38,477 33,586 + 4,891 + 14.6

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 35,316 31,723 + 3,594 + 11.3

NON-METALLIC MINERAL MANUFACTURES 27,365 29,205 - 1,840 - 6.3

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 26,768 28,510 1,741 6.1

18

TABLE 6 : EXTERNAL TRADE BY LAND BY MAIN COMMODITY DIVISION

MAIN COMMODITY DIVISION JAN-DEC 1996 HKD Mn. JAN-DEC 1995 HKD Mn. YEAR-ON-YEAR CHANGE

HKD Mn. %

DOMESTIC EXPORTS

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 7,303 5,785 + 1,518 + 26.2

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 6,093 5,851 + 242 + 4.1

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 5,989 7,270 1,281 17.6

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 4,933 5,271 337 6.4

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS,-GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 3,427 4,204 778 - 18.5

RE-EXPORTS

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 62,658 59,312 + 3,347 + 5.6

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICPX PARTS THEREOF 22,582 19,259 + 3,323 + 17.3

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 20,752 23,097 2,344 - 10.1,

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 15,109. 14,994 + 115 + 0.8

LEATHER, LEATHER MANUFACTURES AND DRESSED FURSKINS 9,590 8,810 + 779 + 8.8

IMPORTS

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 83,950 76,797 + 7,153 + 9.3

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 69,760 66,351 . + 3,409 + 5.1

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 50,633 52,850 2,217 4.2

FOOTWEAR 45,811 42,731 + 3,081 + 7.2

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 39,630 33,468 + 6,163 + 18.4

End

19

HK Monthly Digest of Statistics now on sale *****

Two feature articles entitled "Wage statistics for 1987 - 1996" and "Mortality and morbidity of heart diseases in Hong Kong, 1971 - 1994" are published in the February 1997 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics, which is now on sale.

The Census and Statistics Department collects wage data from establishments in major industry sectors of the economy through the Labour Earnings Survey (LES) at half-yearly intervals. The survey covers workers at supervisory, technical and craftsman levels and also includes clerical and secretarial workers, operatives and miscellaneous non-production workers.

The article "Wage statistics for 1987 - 1996" describes the general methodology of the LES in relation to the collection of wage statistics and presents the findings of the LES in respect of movements of wage rates, as measured by wage indices, by major industry sector and occupational group over the past decade. The differences between the concept of wage rate and that of earnings are explained.

The wage indices indicate that the growth of wage rates amongst various major sectors and various occupational groups varied during the past ten years, with the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector and the clerical and secretarial workers recording comparatively faster rates of increase in wage late than the other sectors and occupational groups.

The manufacturing sector registered the smallest rate of growth in wage rate during the same period. On the other hand, the workers at operative level had the lowest rate of increase in wage. Generally speaking, the year-on-year rates of increase of wage rates for all major sectors, in real terms, were relatively higher during the period from 1987 to 1990 than the period from 1991 to 1996.

In Hong Kong, heart diseases have been the second leading cause of death, after cancer, since the 1960s. The purpose of the article "Mortality and morbidity of heart diseases in Hong Kong, 1971 - 1994" is to analyse the trends of mortality and morbidity of heart diseases in Hong Kong from 1971 to 1994.

The analysis on mortality due to heart diseases is based on various statistics such as deaths, proportionate mortality, crude death rate, age-sex specific death rate, standardised death rate and potential years of life lost at age 65. Regarding morbidity of heart diseases, statistics on in-patients treated and percentage share of in-patients are used.

20

In the article "Mortality and morbidity of heart diseases in Hong Kong, 1971 -1994", particular emphasis is given to coronary heart disease which has emerged as the top killer in Hong Kong in recent years.

The February 1997 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics is now on sale at $34 a copy. Apart from the above two feature articles, it contains the most up-to-date information on Hong Kong’s development regarding economic growth, 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 (Tel: 2598 8196).

End

Injured employees should not be dismissed *****

The Labour Department today (Tuesday) reminded employers not to terminate the service of an employee who sustained work injury. Otherwise, they would face severe punishment.

The warning was made following a recent court case in which the owner of Marco Polo Pizza in Cheung Sha Wan was fined $20,000 for dismissing an injured employee before a relevant certificate of assessment was issued.

Labour Officer (Prosecutions), Mr Raymond Ho, said that under Section 48 of the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance (ECO), an employer was not permitted to dismiss an injured employee suffering from temporary incapacity for more than three days before the Commissioner for Labour or an Ordinary Assessment Board or a Special Assessment Board had issued the relevant Certificate of Assessment, or before the employer and the employee had entered into an agreement to settle the compensation direct for periods of temporary incapacity not exceeding seven days, whichever occurred the earliest.

"With effect from January 1 this year, an amendment has been made to the ECO to remove the more than three-day requirement for entitlement to periodical payments of injured employees," Mr Ho said.

21

"In relation to this, an additional clause is added to Section 48 of the ECO prohibiting employers from terminating or giving notice to terminate the employment of injured employees who suffer from temporary incapacity for not more than three days before the period of sick leaves has expired and the compensation involved has been paid," he added.

Failure to comply with the provisions will render the offender a maximum fine of $100,000.

End

14 services projects to be financed by Government ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Services Support Fund Vetting Committee today (Tuesday) approved 14 projects to be financed by the Government’s Services Support Fund (SSF).

The SSF, which has a fund of $50 million, is set up by the Hong Kong Government to provide financial support for projects which can contribute to the overall development and the competitiveness of Hong Kong's service sectors. The Fund is administered by the Industry Department.

A total of 112 applications were received by the Department under the first batch of applications which closed on December 31, 1996. The vetting process was not easy because of the large number and diverse nature of the applications. The main criterion adopted by the Vetting Committee was whether the application would contribute to the further development of the service sectors.

The approved applications cover a wide spectrum of service sectors, including information technology, wholesale and retail, import and export trade, tourism and transportation. The total project cost amounts to $28 million.

The applicants will be informed of the decision of the Vetting Committee shortly and funds will be disbursed as soon as possible to the successful applications.

The second batch of applications will be invited in late March.

End

22

Heritage tour and basin meal for 1,000

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The first major event of the Year of Heritage will take place at Lung Yeuk Tau in Fanling, a renowned village for its "Five Wais and Six Tsuens" and numerous well-preserved monuments and relics, on March 9.

The event, known as the Heritage Day in Lung Yeuk Tau, aims to enable the general public to enjoy the unique past of the rural area through a variety of activities as well as to appreciate the architectural features, history and background of the monuments and the tradition and customs of walled villages.

It will feature a guided tour to the Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall, Lo Wai, Kun Lung Wai, Ma Wat Wai, Shun Him Church and Tin Hau Kung; and a display of relics including traditional farming implements, traditional wedding gift boxes, old style fire extinguishers, village ware, etc.

This will be followed by a basin meal and a traditional Cantonese opera will be performed by the Chinese Artists' Association of Hong Kong. Excerpts of two famous operas will be presented.

The basin meal is divided into three categories : supreme, traditional and vegetarian. The supreme meal covers abalone, shrimps, roasted suckling pigs, mushrooms, chicken, dried oysters, dried scallops, garoupa fillet, etc. The traditional menu is a typical basin meal which includes ducks, chicken, roasted pig, stewed pork, fish, mushrooms and different kinds of vegetables. The vegetarian menu is specially designed to cater for the requirements of vegetarians with vegetarian food like roast duck, chicken, abalone and a variety of traditional Chinese vegetables.

Admission ticket for the supreme basin meal is $1,000 per person while that for the other two are both priced at $250 each. The price includes transportation from KCR Fanling Station to Lung Yeuk Tau and return, basin meal, souvenir and a lucky draw.

All participants will be presented a souvenir cover which is specially designed to compliment the event. This is the second in a series of special postal items to commemorate the Year of Heritage.

The event is to cater for about 1,000 people and tickets are now on sale on a first-come-first-served basis at the Heritage Resource Centre of the Antiquities and Monuments Office, 136 Nathan Road, Kowloon. Further enquiries can be made at the Antiquities and Monuments Office at 2721 2326.

23

The Heritage Day in Lung Yeuk Tau is jointly organised by the Antiquities Advisory Board, the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, and the Antiquities and Monuments Office of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourists Association.

All incomes, after deduction of basic expenses, will go to the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust to promote the heritage work in Hong Kong.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

*****

Tender date

Paper on offer

Issue number

Issue date

Maturity date

Amount applied

Amount allotted

Average yield accepted

Highest yield accepted

Pro rata ratio

Average tender yield

25 February 1997

EF Bills

Q071

26 February 1997

26 March 1997

HK$ 10,980 MN

HK$5,000 MN

4.76 PCT

4.82 PCT

About 8 PCT

4.87 PCT

24

Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Amount applied Amount allotted Average yield accepted Highest yield accepted Pro rata ratio Average tender yield Tender date Paper on offer Issue number Issue date Maturity date Amount applied Amount allotted Average yield accepted Highest yield accepted Pro rata ratio Average tender yield : 25 February 1997 : EF Bills : Q709 : 26 February 1997 : 28 May 1997 HKS6.371.5MN : HK$2,000 MN : 4.77 PCT : 4.79 PCT : About 85 PCT : 4.83 PCT 25 February 1997 ; EF Bills : H759 26 February 1997 27 August 1997 HK$3,500 MN HK$ 1,000 MN : 4.87 PCT : 4.88 PCT About 16 PCT : 4.88 PCT

25

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Pender to be held in the week beginning - 5 March 1997

Tender date 4 March 1997

Paper on offer EF Bills

Issue number Q7I0

Issue date 5 March 1997

Maturity date 4 June 1997

1 enor 91 Days

'Xmount on offer HKS2.000 MN - 500 MN

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Wednesday, Feburary 26, 1997

Contents Page No,

Stiffer penalties for sexual offences proposed........................... 1

Proposal to ensure safety of asbestos workers............................ 2

University title for Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong................ 4

ACP safety measures being enhanced....................................... 5

Alex Arena to head the telecommunications review......................... 8

Labour relations in Hong Kong is stable.................................. 8

MOU signed between HKMA and AMCM........................................ 10

Residential Mortgage Survey Results for January 1997 ............... 11

Sham Shui Po DB organises fire prevention seminar....................... 12

Places available at government schools.................................. 12

Stiffer penalties for sexual offences proposed *****

The Government is planning to increase the maximum penalties for certain sexual offences under the Crimes Ordinance to achieve consistency and to better reflect the gravity of these offences, a Government spokesman said today (Wednesday).

The Crimes (Amendment) Bill 1997, to be gazetted on Friday (February 28), proposes that the maximum imprisonment term for a number of sexual offences should be set at 10 years while that for incest should range from 14 years to life imprisonment.

’’The 10-year benchmark is based on the current penalty level for indecent assault, which is the most prevalent sexual offence,” the spokesman explained.

"At present, a number of sexual offences are considered comparable to indecent assault and yet carry a lower penalty level," he said.

These include "indecent conduct towards child under 16", "abduction of defective from parent or guardian for sexual act", "intercourse with defective", "attempting, or inciting a girl under 16, to commit incest", and a number of offences involving causing, encouraging and living on earnings of prostitution.

As for incest, the current maximum imprisonment term for incest with women under the age of 13 is life imprisonment.

"The authorities felt that extra protection should be offered to women between the ages of 13 and 16.

"Under the Bill, the maximum imprisonment term for incest with women between the ages of 13 and 16 is increased from seven to 20 years and that for incest with women of or above the age of 16 from seven to 14 years," the spokesman said.

The Bill also proposes higher maximum imprisonment terms for several offences related to vice establishments, including keeping a vice establishment and using premises as vice establishments or for prostitution.

"It also proposes to remove the maximum fine levels of $20,000 for these offences to allow the Courts more flexibility in imposing an appropriate fine," the spokesman said.

2

"In this connection, the authorities also propose to scrap the present fine level of $10,000 for the display of signs advertising prostitution and raise the maximum imprisonment term from six to 12 months," he added.

The spokesman said that the proposals were made following a review of the legislation relating to sexual assaults and the procedures adopted by departments concerned in handling such cases.

Apart from proposing stiffer penalties, the spokesman stressed that better sex education was also important in preventing sex crimes.

"Among other things, we have launched a publicity campaign on the prevention of child sexual abuse, and are reviewing Guidelines on Sex Education in Schools and developing sex education kits for parents," he said.

"We have also improved the procedures for supporting victims of sex crimes.

"These include more extensive use of video-recorded interviews with children involved in sexual abuse cases and legislative changes to allow the Courts to accept video-recorded statements made by vulnerable witnesses and to use live television link in cross-examining these witnesses," the spokesman added.

The Bill is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on March 5 this year.

End

Proposal to ensure safety of asbestos workers ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Legislative Council today (Wednesday) passed a motion on the Government's proposal to introduce a new regulation to ensure the safety and health of workers engaged in asbestos work.

The Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Asbestos) Regulation, to be gazetted on Friday (February 28), will replace the existing Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Asbestos) Special Regulations 1986.

A spokesman for the Education and Manpower Branch said that the existing Regulations did not aim to tackle the risks at source as they relied on exhaust ventilation as the primary measure to control exposure of workers to asbestos and accepted the use of respiratory protective equipment as an alternative.

3

"The new Regulation will lay down additional measures to ensure the safety and health of workers in asbestos processes. They include the provision of hygiene facilities for decontamination of workers, the use of 'wet method' and containment measures to reduce dust exposure.

"The new Regulation also targets high risk activities, such as work involving asbestos coating and insulation, and operations where the cumulative level of exposure to asbestos is exceeded," the spokesman said.

Under the new Regulation, proprietors are required to prepare an assessment of the asbestos work and of the steps taken to reduce workers' exposure to asbestos, before the commencement of such work. They are also required to give advance notice to the Commissioner for Labour of work with a high level of exposure to asbestos. During asbestos work, proprietors are required to take all necessary control measures to prevent or reduce workers' exposure to asbestos, carry out air monitoring and ensure medical surveillance of asbestos workers both before and during employment in such work.

On their part, employees are required to attend medical examinations, observe safety precautions and procedures, make full and proper use of control measures, safety equipment and facilities, and report to the proprietor any defects in such provisions.

Persons under the age of 18 are forbidden to work in places involving asbestos process.

The penalties for offences under the new Regulation vary from $10,000 to $50,000.

The spokesman said that a grace period of six months would be allowed upon the enactment of the new Regulation, as some proprietors might require assistance in preparing their assessments and in implementing the control measures. To assist the proprietors, the Labour Department will publish a code of practice and handbooks.

End

4

University title for Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong *****

The Govemor-in-Council has approved in principle that the title of the present Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong (OLI) should be changed to "The Open University of Hong Kong" (OUHK), a Government spokesman announced today (Wednesday).

The new English and Chinese titles were proposed by the OLI Council after consultation among the Institute's staff, students and graduates.

"To effect this change in title and other proposed changes to the Institute's internal governance structure, a bill to amend the OLI Ordinance will be submitted to the Executive and Legislative Councils within the current Legislative session," the spokesman said.

He pointed out that the award of university title to the OLI, which had achieved self-accrediting status on 1 October 1996, was a logical step in the light of the experience of the two former Polytechnics and Hong Kong Baptist College, all of which received university titles soon after they were given self-accrediting status.

"As the Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation (HKCAA) has confirmed, the OLI is a competent institution of high academic standard and has in place effective mechanisms to assure the quality of its courses, programmes and graduates.

"The Council considers the stage of maturity of the Institute’s quality assurance system comparable to that prevailing at the time the two former Polytechnics and Hong Kong Baptist College achieved self-accrediting and eventually university status. The award of university title to the OLI will be an acknowledgement of this comparability.

"Established open universities also recognises the quality of OLI courses. Some have "one for one" credit transfer agreements with the OLI. The change to university title would further assure the Institute's overseas counterparts of its academic standing. Furthermore, the vast majority of institutions offering degree level distance learning courses around the world have university titles."

The spokesman said that like open universities around the world, the OLI and the future OUHK's mission was to make higher education available to all those aspiring to it regardless of previous qualifications, gender or race, in order that working adults might have a second opportunity of further education and selfimprovement.

5

"The award of university status to the OLI will further encourage working adults to take advantage of the higher education opportunities offered by the institution to meet the aspirations and needs of the individuals and the community as a whole," the spokesman explained.

"The future OUHK would continue to contribute to the upgrading and updating of the education and training of the local working population, which would in turn enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong as a regional services centre. It will also strengthen its capability of producing and exporting Chinese-medium or bilingual course materials with a view to serving Mainland China and other Chinese communities around the world.

"Being primarily a teaching institution, the future OUHK will also seek further development in research, particularly in the field of distance learning and adult education. The institution is planning to launch its first research postgraduate programme in the future."

The spokesman said that in parallel with the change in title, the governance structure of the institution will also be revised along the lines of the other universities in Hong Kong.

"The future OUHK will be advised and governed by three bodies - a "Court" as its supreme advisory body, a "Council" as its supreme governing body and a "Senate" as its supreme academic body. This structure provides greater academic autor 'my for the institution but at the same time, ensures sound governance and adequate accountability."

End

ACP safety measures being enhanced ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government is taking actions to enhance the effective safety measures on Airport Core Programme (ACP) sites, the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang, said today (Wednesday).

He was speaking at the Award Presentation Ceremony of the 1996 ACP Construction Safety Award Scheme organised by the New Airport Projects Coordination Office (NAPCO).

6

Mr Kwong said the safety measures were aimed at maintaining an improving trend until the safety targets had been reached. These safety measures included :

* amending the existing regulations to tighten the control of two main high risk areas, namely work at height and in confined spaces;

* introducing new legislation to set up safety management system and periodic safety audit under the Factories and Industrial Undertaking Ordinance;

* introducing new Safety and Health at Work Regulation to set out specific standards for the working environment;

* stepping up inspections and prosecution actions by the Labour Department, and seeking Attorney General's review on any inadequate penalty for breach of industrial safety requirement;

* exploring the possibility of tightening the rules on suspending those contractors with unsatisfactory industrial safety record from tendering government works contracts; and

* setting up a "Score Card" system to monitor the contractors’ safety performance.

Mr Kwong said the joint efforts of all parties concerned had produced positive results and an improving trend was now fairly discernible.

The fatal and non-fatal accident rates for ACP contracts in 1996 were 0.42 fatalities per thousand workers per year and 59 accidents per thousand workers per year, which were respectively 33 per cent and nine per cent lower than those in 1995.

"The improvements were achieved despite an increase of about 50 per cent in labour force and the rates compare favourably with the overall construction industry figures which were 0.95 and 233 respectively in 1995," he said.

Mr Kwong said that within the last four years, the Government had introduced further measures to enhance safety for ACP and non-ACP projects. These measures included :

* more safety supervisory staff assigned by the Works Agents to strengthen monitoring of contractors' activities;

* training courses on construction safety legislation jointly organised by the Works Branch and the Labour Department to Works Departments’ staff;

7

* requiring contractors to arrange safety training for their workers;

safety talks organised by the Fires Services Department and the Marine Department for contractors' safety personnel, workers and resident site staff;

implementing Pay for Safety Scheme and Independent Safety Auditing Scheme in Government contracts for which tenders were invited after April 1996; and

* amending the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance in July 1996 to empower the Labour Department to issue Suspension Notices to contractors when potential risks to construction safety are detected.

Also officiating at the award presentation ceremony, the Convenor of the Subcommittee on Works Progress, Cost Monitoring and Financial Matters of the Airport Consultative Committee (ACC), Mr Kan Fook-yee, said one of ACC's key concerns was the safety of workers on various ACP sites.

"We firmly believe that industrial safety must not be compromised by programme or cost considerations and when talking about successful completion of our new airport projects, minimum casualties will also be taken as one of the important factors to measure success during the course of construction," he said.

The annual ACP Construction Safety Award Scheme was introduced in 1993 to promote construction safety on ACP work sites and to reduce accidents.

Nine sites with high quality of safety management and good safety records have won the Safety Management Award.

The Safety Record Award were won by six sites while the Safety Promotion Award was presented to three sites.

The 18 sites belong to a total of 12 contractors.

Among those who presented prizes to the winners were the Chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union, Mr Poon To-chuen; the President (designate) of the Hong Kong Construction Association, Mr Jimmy Tse; the President of the Hong Kong Electrical and Mechanical Contractors' Association, Mr James Chiu; the Chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Council, Professor Leung Ping-chung; the Commissioner for Labour, Miss Jacqueline Wills; the Director of Fire Services, Mr Peter Cheung and the Director of New Airport Projects Coordination Office, Mr Billy Lam.

End

8

Alex Arena to head the telecommunications review *****

The Government announced today (Wednesday) that the Director-General of Telecommunications, Mr Alex Arena, will be seconded to the Economic Services Branch to head the Telecommunications Review.

The Review will begin on March 1. Its main objectives are -

* to examine, on the completion of 18 months since the opening up of local telephone service to competition, the current state of development of Hong Kong’s telecommunications industry;

* to consider policy options to respond to the foreseeable development of telecommunications technologies as they affect telecommunications users; and

* to develop strategic options to maintain Hong Kong's leading position in telecommunications and competitiveness in the Information Age.

During the period of review, the telecommunications industry and members of the public will be invited to contribute their suggestions through a consultation paper to be issued shortly.

Welcoming the appointment of Mr Arena as Head, Telecommunications Review, the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, said that Mr Arena, with his wealth of regulatory experience, was the ideal person for the job.

Mr Anthony Wong Sik-kei, Senior Assistant Director of Telecommunications in the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, will act in the post of Director-General of Telecommunications.

End

Labour relations in Hong Kong is stable * * * * *

The labour relations scene in Hong Kong has been generally characterised by a relatively stable labour-management relations and a low level of industrial conflict, the Commissioner for Labour, Miss Jacqueline Willis, said today (Wednesday).

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the International Labour Organization Sub-regional Meeting on Tripartite Consultations on Labour Issues for Selected Asian Countries, Miss Willis said: "In 1996, there were only 17 strikes affecting 1,763 workers.

9

"Our record of working days lost has also been extremely low. These 1,763 workers involved in the strike represent 0.99 working days lost per 1,000 wage earners in Hong Kong. I am very pleased with our harmonious labour relations," she said.

The three-day meeting which will last until Friday (February 28) is co-hosted by the Labour Department and the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

In the meetings, ILO directors and relevant specialists will give presentations while 22 delegates representing employees, employers and governments from Hong Kong, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will hold tripartite inter-country group discussions and country level discussions.

Miss Willis said that in Hong Kong, the concept of tripartite cooperation on labour matters had long been established and the International Labour Convention No. 144 concerning Tripartite Consultation to Promote the Implementation of International Labour Standards was currently applied to Hong Kong with modification.

Hong Kong's most representative tripartite institution was the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) which was the principal body responsible for advising the Government on labour policy issues including legislative enactment and the application of international labour standards, she said.

"Built on the tripartite mechanism, it facilities a multilateral dialogue of negotiations and cooperation among employees, employers and government officials in the process of building up a framework of consensus.

"And, it is often within such a joint forum that opinions can be discussed, interests balanced, proposals reviewed and solutions negotiated in a pragmatic and rational fashion, accommodating the views of other parties.

"This mechanism has served Hong Kong well in the past in meeting the reasonable aspirations of the working population at a pace affordable to the community.

"The tripartite institution of the LAB has played a pivotal role in helping to stabilise our labour relations and reducing the risk of industrial conflicts," Miss Willis said.

Apart from the LAB, she said, Hong Kong had many other boards and committees which were tripartite in their composition and had made significant contributions in tackling various labour issues.

10

"Our experience of tripartite consultation in labour issues have been extremely positive and we are committed to it.

"I firmly believe that architects of labour policy-making machinery should recognise and endeavour to conserve the spirit of tripartism,” she said.

End

MOU signed between HKMA and AMCM *****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Autoridade Monetaria e Cambial de Macau (AMCM) announced today (Wednesday) the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which aims at strengthening supervisory cooperation between the two regulatory authorities.

The MOU sets out the framework for co-ordination of supervision of the branches, representative offices and subsidiaries of financial institutions from each other's territory. The authorities have agreed that there should be continuing close consultation and co-operation between them for supervisory matters that affect the other authority.

"I am confident that the signing of the MOU between the HKMA and the AMCM will enable the two regulatory authorities to work closely together to enhance cross-border supervision of financial institutions in Hong Kong and Macau,” Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Joseph Yam said.

"The existing ties of the Hong Kong and the Macau banking systems and the common interests in upholding financial stability and prudential principles justify the existing informal co-operation between the two supervisory authorities. This is now further reinforced and formalised in the MOU,” President of the AMCM, Mrs Maria Manuela Morgado said.

Both the AMCM and the HKMA follow the recommendations of the Basle Concordat and the minimum standards for the supervision of international banking groups and their cross-border establishments, as set out in the paper issued by the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision in July 1992.

End

11

Residential Mortgage Survey Results for January 1997 *****

Residential mortgage loans for the purchase of properties in Hong Kong continued to grow rapidly in January, according to the results of the latest monthly survey conducted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

The latest figures show that the total amount of outstanding mortgage lending by the 33 institutions in the survey rose by 2.6% in January (2.4% in December) to $338.9 billion. The growth rate is higher than the monthly average of 1.7% over the last twelve months.

"The rapid growth in lending reflected the increased activity in both the primary and secondary residential property markets in December and January," Deputy Chief Executive of HKMA, Mr David Carse said. "In particular, the primary market accounted for an increased share of the new lending in January as a large number of new properties were put on to the market."

The annualised rate of growth in lending over the last three months increased to 29.9% from 26.8% in the three-month period to December. The twelve-month average of outstanding loans showed an annualised growth rate of 20.6%, compared with 18.9% in December.

The amount of new loans approved but not yet drawn increased by $2.3 billion (18.3%) to $15 billion in January reflecting the volume of market activity in that month. "In view of lending already in the pipeline, we expect the growth of residential mortgage loans will continue at a rapid rate in February. This was anticipated when we made the recommendation at the end of January for banks to tighten the loan to value ratio for more expensive properties," said Mr Carse.

The amount of residential mortgage loans associated with co-financing schemes accounted for 3.9% of total mortgage lending of the 33 surveyed institutions at end-January. Of the $23.4 billion new loans approved during January, about 83.4% were accounted for by properties aged 15 years or below.

Lending for the purchase of properties in China increased by 3.1% to $6.5 billion in January. Gross loans made in January decreased both in number (to 207 from 310) and in amount (to $132 million from $401 million). New loans approved in January increased both in number (to 263 from 212) and in amount (to $224 million from $157 million).

End

12

Sham Shui Po DB organises fire prevention seminar *****

Members of owners' corporations in Sham Shui Po district and other interested people are invited to participate in a seminar on fire prevention in buildings on March 4 (Tuesday).

Organised by the Sham Shui Po District Board Working Group on Private Building Problems with the assistance of the Sham Shui Po District Office and sponsorship from Sham Shui Po District Board, the seminar is aimed at helping members of the public acquire the knowledge of fire prevention in private buildings.

Guest speakers, including the Chairman of the Fire and Security Engineering Employees Association, Mr Choy Yip-kin, and the Housing Manager of Sham Shui Po District Office’s Building Management Co-ordination Team, Mr Lee Keung, will give their professional advice on fire prevention and explain the use of fire fighting equipment.

The seminar will start at 8 pm at the Lai Kok Community Hall in Lai Kok Estate. Admission is free. For enrolment and enquiries, please call 2720 4251 Ext 26.

End

Places available at government schools *****

Parents are reminded to apply for Primary 2 to 6 school places for their children in government schools next week.

Vacancies will be displayed at the main entrance of these schools and application forms will be available from March 3 (Monday) to March 12 (Wednesday).

A senior education officer of the Education Department, Mrs Connie Law, said children aged six and eight months or above on September 1 this year could apply for admission.

Mrs Law advised parents to return the completed forms to the school of their choice on or before March 12.

Selection of applicants will be made on March 18 (Tuesday).

Mrs Law noted that upon completion of primary education, students will have a better chance to be allocated to its feeder government secondary schools in the district.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, February 26,1997

Contents Page Nq.

Legislative..Countil meeting:

Public Bus Services Ordinance.......................................... 1

Copyright Bill..................................................... 2

Consumer goods safety and children's products safety bills............. 6

Publicity on CSSA stepped up....................................... 8

Pilot scheme for entry of PRC professionals........................... 10

Long Term Housing Strategy Review..................................... 12

Taxi licence premium.................................................. 14

Government committed to upgrading language proficiency............. 17

Use of mobile phones well regulated................................ 18

/Persons without....

Contents

Page Na

Persons without recognised nurses qualifications......................... 20

Forward sale of uncompleted flats........................................ 21

Commemorative stamps for the Year of Ox.................................. 24

Government computer system............................................... 25

Interim housing.......................................................... 27

Localisation of the civil service........................................ 28

Applications for Senior Citizen Cards on the rise........................ 31

Noise abatement facilities installed in schools.......................... 32

Rents for public housing determined by tenants’ affordability....... 35

SFC and SEEK Code of Conduct Regulations................................. 36

1

Public Bus Services Ordinance

*****

Following is the speech by the acting Secretary for Transport, Mr Paul Leung, in moving the Public Bus Services Ordinance in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the Resolution standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Sections 26 to 32 of the Public Bus Services Ordinance provide for a profit control scheme and also stipulate certain provisions relating to the calculation of operating costs and the provision of information in relation to the bus operations of a franchised bus company as the Financial Secretary may require. The profit control scheme limits the profit that a bus company may earn in an accounting year by reference to a percentage per annum on its average net fixed assets as specified in its franchise.

Our current policy for processing fare increase applications is to take various factors into account, particularly operating costs, performance and public acceptability rather than to provide for a profit level based on a percentage rate of return on average net fixed assets. Given this practice, our approach has been to exclude all references to a profit control scheme when negotiating new bus franchises.

Accordingly, it is the Administration’s intention that the following franchises recently granted by the Governor in Council should not be subject to the profit control scheme, namely -

(a) the new franchises for Citybus Limited and Long Win Holdings Limited to operate public bus“s£rvices in north Lantau and the new airport, which will commence on 1 June 1997; and

(b) New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited’s new franchise which will commence on 1 April 1997.

We therefore need to disapply sections 27, 28, 29 and 31 of the Public Bus Services Ordinance, which govern the operation of the profit control scheme whilst retaining -

(a) section 26 which defines the terms used in the following sections;

2

(b) section 26A which specifies that financial penalties levied against a bus company shall not be taken into account in ascertaining the operating cost or service related expenditure of the company;

(c) section 30 which enables Government to specify depreciation rates in respect of fixed assets used or kept by a bus company for the purpose of or in connection with its franchise; and

(d) section 32 which requires a bus company to produce accounts and other information in relation to the public bus service operation as the Financial Secretary may require.

With these remarks, I move the first of the three Resolutions standing in my name on the order paper, which will give effect to these arrangements, in respect of the franchise of Citybus Limited. Thank you, Mr President.

End

Copyright Bill * * * * *

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

Mr President,

I move that the Copyright Bill be read the second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to establish a modem and independent copyright regime in Hong Kong which suits our needs, is in line with the latest international standards, and will continue through and beyond 1997.

Copyright is an important form of intellectual property. Copyright products include books, films, sound recordings and computer programs. Copyright is a private property right. For example, authors have copyright in relation to the works which they have created. One such right is the right to stop others from copying or exploiting the works in various ways without permission from the author. Copyright law protects the economic - and to some extent also the moral or non-economic - rights of authors, giving them the exclusive right to exploit their works and to control their unauthorised use. Given the exclusive rights that copyright provides, the law is also concerned with legitimate interests and expectations of users and purveyors of copyright material.

3

Hong Kong's existing copyright law is mainly based on the copyright law in the United Kingdom. Article 140 of the Basic Law requires the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to have its own law to protect the achievements, and the lawful rights and interests, of authors in their literary and artistic creation. So we need to establish an independent copyright regime in Hong Kong before 1 July 1997.

In doing so, we have to ensure that the copyright regime meets the standards stipulated under the international intellectual property treaties and conventions which will continue to be applied to Hong Kong after 30 June 1997, namely the Berne Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention and the Phonograms Convention. In addition, as a separate member of the WTO now and after transition, Hong Kong needs to comply with the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. In devising our own copyright regime, we also have to ensure that the copyright law we put in place can cater for technological advances and suit local circumstances.

The Law Reform Commission, after extensive public consultation, published a Report on the Law Relating to the Reform of Copyright in January 1994. The comprehensive Copyright Bill laid before Honourable Members has been drafted on the basis of the recommendations of this Report, and after taking into account the consensus reached in the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group on the localisation of the copyright law, as well as the comments received during the public consultation on the draft Bill. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many respondents for the quality of their submissions. We have, as far as possible, incorporated their comments into the Bill.

Given the breadth and depth of the Bill, I do not propose to give a detailed account on each and every aspect covered. I will only outline briefly the major features of the Bill.

First, we propose that Hong Kong should adopt an open qualification system, whereby any original copyright works created by any person (including a legal person) or published by any person anywhere in the world would qualify for protection in Hong Kong. The open system not only provides for consistency of treatment with other forms of intellectual property such as patents and trademarks, it is also consistent with our open trade policy.

Secondly, we propose to adopt the Law Reform Commission's recommendation of decriminalising parallel importation but maintaining civil remedies. Honourable Members are aware that the regulation of parallel importation is an issue that has attracted much controversy and opposing views within the community. Indeed, this issue was the subject of a Motion Debate in this Council held last month. On that occasion, the Council resolved to ask the Administration to give careful weight to all public views expressed.

4

Mr President, we have done so. We have carefully considered the views expressed by right owners and exclusive licensees who generally favour maintaining both criminal sanctions and civil remedies. We have also considered the views expressed by the retail trade and consumer welfare groups who wish to see the removal of all criminal and civil actions against parallel imports. We have concluded that in the absence of any international standard or consensus on how parallel imports should be regulated, the best approach for Hong Kong is to decriminalise parallel importation but to maintain civil remedies. We believe that this would strike the right balance between protecting the interests of right owners and exclusive licensees on the one hand, and those of consumers and retailers on the other.

We are aware of the concerns expressed that importation rights in respect of copyright works could possibly be extended to apply to trademark goods or goods incorporating registered designs which are also incidentally capable of copyright protection. We shall continue to consider how to limit the chances of any possible broad application of copyright to prevent parallel importation of other types of goods. If further proposals come forward which meet the special needs of Hong Kong and can go further towards harmonising opposing views, we shall continue to consider them carefully.

Thirdly, we propose to protect the interests of right owners in the digital environment. Following a conference organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva last December, a general consensus has been reached on this matter. We have accordingly included in the Copyright Bill provisions to reflect this consensus, which embodies the guiding principle that the rights of copyright owners must be suitably balanced against the reasonable expectations of all users of the Internet and Hong Kong's Internet service providers. Expert advice during the public consultation has been very valuable in this difficult area, and I wish to express my gratitude to those who shared their expertise with us.

Fourthly, at present licensees of Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) systems may re-transmit non-encrypted satellite broadcasts without infringing copyright, by reason of exemptions in the present law and their licences. We propose to remove those exemptions, and enable satellite broadcasters to withhold copyright permission to re-transmit non-encrypted signals, or to impose copyright royalties or conditions for such re-transmission. This is consistent with our commitment and international obligation to protect intellectual property rights, and would enable Hong Kong to become a more attractive place as a regional media hub.

5

Fifthly, to prevent abuse of copyright which might hinder the freedom of expression, access to information, educational activities, cultural development, public administration and other uses of copyright material for public interest, there are provisions in the Copyright Bill for permitted acts. These include general permitted acts for fair dealing for research and private study; for criticism, review and news reporting; and for the incidental inclusion of copyright material in artistic works, sound recordings, films, broadcasts and cable programs. There are also permitted acts for specific purposes which are in the public interest. For example, copying and reproduction of copyright works and material are permitted, under specified circumstances, for purposes relating to education, library and archives, public administration, etc.

Sixthly, we propose to institute a voluntary registration system for collective copyright administration societies. There are advantages in the collective administration of copyright, and this is also the international trend. Existing collective copyright administration societies have been operating successfully in Hong Kong. Under the voluntary system proposed, collective copyright administration societies coming forward to register will be required to file the necessary information essential for prospective copyright users, such as scales of royalty charges. We believe that such a voluntary registration system will be effective in Hong Kong as existing collective copyright administration societies have indicated support to the proposed system. Those who fail to register will be under no penalty, but will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in the market due to lack of official recognition. We also propose to expand the jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal to include powers to determine disputes arising from licensing by the collective copyright administration societies under licensing schemes or in individual cases.

Lastly, in order to enforce intellectual property rights more effectively in Hong Kong and particularly to combat copyright piracy, we propose to double the maximum penalties on first conviction for the possession of pirated copyright products for the purpose of trade or business and plates for making pirated copyright products. We propose to introduce modified procedural provisions to facilitate proof of copyright subsistence and ownership. We also propose to introduce provisions to enable Customs to exercise power of forfeiture over seized suspected pirated copyright works, to enhance its enforcement capability, and to facilitate better co-operation with copyright owners and enforcement authorities of other countries.

The protection of copyright and other forms of intellectual property rights is vitally important for Hong Kong. Without an effective intellectual property regime, we would not be able to foster creativity, attract foreign investment, engender technology transfer, and facilitate further growth of international trade. This is why the Hong Kong Government will leave no stone unturned in going after those that engage in piracy activities. This is why we need a copyright protection regime of international standard in Hong Kong.

6

By introducing the Copyright Bill into this Council today, I hope that Honourable Members will give the earliest possible consideration to the Bill. While the time-table is extremely tight because we must put in place our own copyright regime before 1 July 1997 if we do not want to see a legal vacuum in an extremely important area of intellectual property protection in Hong Kong, I am confident that with the support and co-operation from Honourable Members, we would be able to achieve our task.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Consumer goods safety and children’s products safety bills * * * * *

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in resuming the second reading of the Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 and Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I would like first to thank members of the Bills Committee, especially its Chairman, the Honourable Fred Li, for their thorough examination of the Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 and the Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996. I am also grateful for the useful comments made by the various trade and industrial organisations as well as consumer welfare groups during the deliberations of these two Bills.

The Consumer Goods Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 seeks to empower the Secretary for Trade and Industry to establish, by means of regulation, bilingual safety labelling requirement so that all consumer goods covered by the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance arc required to have their safety markings or labels provided in both English and Chinese. The Toys and Children’s Products Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1996 is to enable the adoption of safety standards other than the British Standards Institution (BSI) standards for the specified children’s products under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance. I am pleased to note that the Administration’s proposals have received support from the Bills Committee. We believe that the bilingual safety labelling requirement will not impose undue burden on manufacturers, importers or suppliers. Upon the implementation of this requirement, consumers will enjoy greater protection. We also believe that the adoption of multiple safety standards for children’s products will encourage competition in the Hong Konp market and hence increase consumers' choice.

7

During the examination of the Bills, the Bills Committee was concerned about the adequacy of accredited laboratory testing services for conducting tests on the thirteen specified children's products under the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance. Just then, the Honourable Fred Li and Mrs Selina Chow have also expressed their views on this matter. I wish to take this opportunity to advise this Council that it is entirely up to individual local laboratories to decide whether or not to apply for accreditation under the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS). All along, the Industry Department has been encouraging and assisting local laboratories to obtain accreditation. Currently, accredited laboratory testing services are available in either local or overseas laboratories for all the thirteen specified children's products. Accredited testing services for nine of them are available locally. Following the adoption of multiple safety standards for children's products, we believe that the number of laboratories that can provide accredited testing services will further increase. We will advise the concerned industry and trading community on the list of laboratories that can provide accredited testing services on those alternative safety standards adopted in the future. I can assure Honourable Members that the Administration will monitor the situation closely and work with the private sector to address any problem which may arise regarding the availability of accredited testing services.

Upon enactment of the Bills, we will table the necessary regulations in this Council for Members' approval by negative procedure. To give the industry and trade sufficient time to adjust, there will be a grace period of twelve months before the bilingual safety labelling requirement for consumer goods, toys and children's products comes into operation. Just then, the Honourable Mrs Selina Chow makes a very valuable suggestion and it is a hope about more publicity to be carried out by the administration. I am very willing to talk to the relevant parties including the trade organisations to see how there can be wider publicity on these bills so that within the grace period of 12 months, the manufacturers, importers and suppliers can all comply with the requirements of bilingual labelling.

Mr President, with these remarks, I commend the two Bills to Honourable Members.

End

8

Publicity on CSSA stepped up *****

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

Question:

The findings of the surveys conducted by community organisations indicate that many of the 500,000 people living in abject poverty in the territory are unaware of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) scheme. Will the Government inform this Council of the measures being taken to facilitate those least able to help themselves to come forward to apply for assistance under the CSSA scheme?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme seeks to provide assistance to those financially vulnerable members of our community, to enable recipients to meet their basic and special needs.

While we do not accept the methodologies of the surveys referred to in the Question and the conclusion that there are 500,000 people living in abject poverty, we acknowledge that there is a continuing need to publicize the CSSA Scheme and to make it more readily accessible. We have over the years adopted a four-pronged approach to facilitate the needy, to come forward to apply for assistance under the CSSA Scheme.

Firstly, we have stepped up publicity to help the general public, in particular applicants, to acquire a better understanding of the assistance available:

(a) Since November 1996, SWD staff have regularly gone on phone-in programmes on the CSSA Scheme on Radio Hong Kong. The most recent occasion was "The Hong Kong Spirit" on 9 and 10 January 1997 when questions from some 20 dial-in callers were answered;

(b) Starting on 25 February this year, an Announcement of Public Interest (API) will be broadcast regularly on every radio channel. SWD will also be producing an API to be broadcast shortly on the television network;

9

(c) Various information pamphlets on the Scheme are widely available both directly to the public at the Social Security Field Unit (SSFU), other service units of Social Welfare Department (SWD), District Offices, the Local Employment Service of the Labour Department and for distribution through NGOs and concern groups. Improvements to make these publicity materials more user friendly are in progress;

(d) Taped messages on the Scheme have been placed on our interactive 24-hour telephone hotline to assist enquirers; and

(e) A video tape on the Scheme is played regularly at SSFUs. We have just completed production of another video tape which provides explanations of various special grants available under the Scheme. These tapes are made available to non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Secondly, we are aware that some members of our community might feel inhibited from coming forward because of a possible stigma attached to obtaining public assistance. We have therefore requested our frontline staff in various service units of the SWD - to be emphathetic, tactful and flexible and to impart a proper perspective on CSSA to their clients. In this connection, we have introduced various measures including training for staff and improved staffing levels so that the staff are better equipped and can spend more time with their clients for each application. Our front-line staff also make special efforts to render assistance to disabled applicants. In addition, a pilot Customer Liaison Group on social security services has been ;et up to gather feedback on our services.

As NGOs have close contacts with the public, we have enlisted their support in that their social workers would, where appropriate, take the opportunity to introduce the Scheme to their clients, in particular to new immigrants, single parents and elderly persons. To this end, our social security staff organize regular briefings to NGOs to explain the CSSA Scheme to their staff as well as their clients.

But we believe more can be done on this front. To promote a better understanding among social workers and other professionals in the field about the social security schemes, we have invited tertiary institutions to consider how social security systems might be included into the general social work curriculum and to consider how workers in the field can be briefed on the schemes. The aim is to ensure that professional social workers coming into contact with the needy would be in a position to give basic advice to their clients about social security matters.

Thirdly, we seek to make CSSA more readily accessible by simplifying the procedures and improving service delivery.

10

Fourthly, we seek to ensure that assistance is available expeditiously. A computerisation feasibility study is in progress on the upgrading of our existing computer system to expedite the processing of applications.

Over the past four years, the number of CSSA cases has increased by 100% from about 80 000 in December 1992 to 160 000 by December 1996. Over the past two years, the rate of increase in the caseload has been about 2% per month. This substantial increase is partly attributable to our efforts to publicize the Scheme. Currently over 223 000 persons or 3.5% of the population in Hong Kong are receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.

In response to public concern that there might still be substantial numbers of low income individuals and families who are eligible for CSSA but do not apply for it, we are considering commissioning research with a view to finding out the socioeconomic characteristics of these people and their reasons for not applying for CSSA so that we could better tailor our efforts to bring those genuinely in need into the CSSA safety net.

End

' .*- H •

Pilot scheme for entry of PRC professionals *****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheng Yiu-tong and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In view of the fact that the pilot scheme for the importation of 1,000 PRC professionals has been implemented for some time, will the Government inform this Council:

J.

(a) of the number of applications for importing PRC professionals which have been approved by the Immigration Department to date;

(b) of the number of PRC professionals already admitted into Hong Kong for employment under the above scheme;

11

(c) of the trades in which such PRC professionals are engaged after their entry into the territory and their respective remuneration and benefits; and

(d) when the Government will conduct a detailed and comprehensive review of the scheme?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Pilot Scheme for the entry of 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.

There were altogether 3,129 applications for the 1,000 quotas under the Scheme. Four quarterly ballot exercises (for 250 quotas each time) were held from April 1994 to April 1995. 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, so that as and when there were quotas left over from applications which were either refused or withdrawn, the Department would ask the applicants on this list to submit a formal application.

In October 1995, in view of the slow utilisation of the quotas (mainly Decause of the substantial number of applications withdrawn by the applicants), the Immigration Department asked all the companies on the reserve list to confirm their interest in remaining in the Scheme. As a result, a total of 1,216 applications were placed on the reserve list. As of 31 January 1997, all the applicants of the 2,216 selected quota applications comprising 1,000 drawn up from the four balloting exercises and the 1,216 on the reserve list have been called up to submit their formal applications. The processing of all the outstanding quota applications under the Scheme has also come to an end.

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

(a) As of 31 January 1997, out of the total of the 2,216 formal applications for quotas (the original 1,000 successful applications in the four ballot exercises plus 1,216 from the reserve list) 689 applications for quotas have been approved. Applicants with approved quotas are normally given four months to arrange for the submission of visa applications by the candidates. Of the 689 approved quota applications, 529 visa applications have been approved. There are about 30 outstanding visa applications.

12

(b) As with visas issued to overseas professionals admitted to enter Hong Kong for employment, all the visas issued under the Scheme are valid for a period of three months. As of 24 February 1997, 507 out of the 529 professionals who have been approved visas have arrived in Hong Kong for employment. Of the remaining 22 who have yet to enter Hong Kong, 12 are still holding valid visas while the validity of the visas of the other 10 has already expired.

(c) The majority of the professionals approved for entry under the Scheme are in the trading, construction, manufacturing, electronics and finance sectors. Occupation-wise, the majority of them are admitted for the positions of administrator, engineer, marketing executive, development personnel and project specialist. Following the processing arrangements for professionals from other overseas countries who are approved entry for employment in Hong Kong, the Immigration Department examines each application under this Scheme to ensure that the entrant’s qualifications are compatible with the post for which he is to be employed, and that the terms of such employment including remuneration and benefits are broadly in line with those of local professionals in comparable positions before deciding whether to approve the application. The Department, however, does not keep detailed information about the remuneration and benefits of each individual professional whilst he is working in Hong Kong.

(d) We are now in the process of conducting a detailed and comprehensive review of the Scheme.

End

Long Term Housing Strategy Review *****

Following is a question by the Hon Chan Yuen-han and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The Government talks about housing development for the next decade in its recently published ’’Long Term Housing Strategy Review Consultative Document”. Will the Government inform this Council:

13

(a) When the Government proposes the sale of Flats to Sitting Tenants Scheme, have considerations been made to help those public housing tenants who cannot afford to buy the flats? Besides, how will the Government meet the housing needs of those on the waiting list?

(b) How to determine the price and mortgage conditions for flats sold under the scheme?

(c) Any concrete details about the housing development plans carried out jointly by the Government and private developers? Will these plans push the price of flats higher?

Answer:

Mr President,

In the Long Term Housing Strategy Review Consultative Document released last month, I have indicated in the Preface (paragraph 6) and in Chapter 6 (paragraph 6.3) that the Government will continue to provide public rental housing to families in genuine need. This is our commitment, which has been made clear on many occasions in the past. Families on the Waiting List, which satisfy the eligibility criteria, will be offered public rental housing when their turns come. The Housing Authority will need to ensure that a sufficient stock of public rental flats is available to accommodate existing tenants who cannot afford to buy rental flats, tenants who choose to remain in public rental housing for other reasons, and eligible families on the Waiting List.

As regards Part (b) of the question, we have proposed in the consultative document to sell suitable existing public rental flats to public housing tenants at prices which are reasonable, attractive and generally affordable on the one hand, and are fair to the general community on the other. We have proposed to invite the Housing Authority to work out the details for such a new scheme as soon as possible. An important aspect is price which is proposed to be based on replacement cost, with adjustments made to reflect depreciation, the relative value of location and other relevant factors. Mortgage loan and repayment conditions arc another important aspect to be considered carefully. Other details to be worked out include choice of blocks, arrangements for future management, maintenance and repairs, resale conditions, and so on. In the meantime, I do not wish to pre-empt Housing Authority’s consideration of this matter. The views and proposals expressed during the present public consultation exercise will also be considered. It is our intention that the scheme to be devised should be workable and generally acceptable.

14

As regards Part (c) of the question, we have proposed in the consultative document that an increasing proportion of subsidised home ownership flats should be provided by way of mixed development, and that the Housing Society will be designated to carry out a pilot scheme. The proposed scheme aims to make use of private sector expertise and resources to provide a further source of supply of subsidised home ownership flats, so that eligible purchasers may enjoy higher standards of design, finish, facilities and management than under the present Private Sector Participation Scheme. This will also provide more choice for purchasers. The operational details will need to be worked out: the main ones include the terms of land grant, the apportionment of construction costs, the method of selecting flats and price. Views expressed during the present public consultation exercise will also be considered. After all the details have been worked out, we intend to carry out a pilot scheme.

Introduction of the proposed new scheme aims to meet the public housing target set from time to time and, as such, will not affect the supply of private sector flats. The scheme should not have a significant effect on private residential property prices.

End

Taxi licence premium *****

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong Wai-yin, and a reply by the acting Secretary for Transport, Mr Paul Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the premium for an urban taxi licence has soared from $2 million early last year to $3 million now, recording a sharp increase of nearly $1 million. In view of the soaring taxi licence premium, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) since the publication of the report on "Taxi Policy Review" by the Transport Department in 1994, of the number of recommended measures which have been implemented to dampen speculation on taxi licences as well as the effectiveness of such measures;

15

(b) whether the Transport Department has studied the reasons for the 50% increase in taxi licence premium over the last year; and

(c) of the measures to be adopted by the Transport Department to curb the soaring taxi licence premium?

Reply:

Mr President,

In order to improve services and to tackle the problem of speculation in taxi licences, the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) recommended in its 1994 Taxi Policy Review the following five measures:

(a) There should be no pre-set quota on the number of taxi licences to be issued in a given period of time.

(b) Taxi licences should be issued as and when necessary, having regard to the demand for taxi services, the financial viability of the trade and the capacity of our road system.

(c) In a public tender exercise for taxi licences, an applicant should be permitted to bid for only one licence.

(d) New taxi licences should not be transferable within 12 months after the date of issue.

(e) Procedures for the transfer of taxi licences should be tightened by requiring both the transferor and transferee to register the transfer in person.

Since the publication of the 1994 Taxi Policy Review Report, all these measures have been implemented:

(a) In July 1994, the Road Traffic Ordinance was amended to empower the Commissioner for Transport to prohibit the transfer of the ownership of a newly licensed taxi for an initial period.

(b) In July 1994, the Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing of Vehicles) Regulations were amended to require all transfers of taxi licences to be registered in person at Transport Department’s Licensing Offices. All transfers of taxi licences are now required to be registered by the transferor and the transferee in person.

16

(c) In September 1994 Transport Department invited tenders for 300 urban and 100 NT taxi licences, which were taken up between November 1994 and April 1995. In that exercise:

(i) each tenderer was permitted to bid for no more than one urban taxi licence and no more than one NT taxi licence; and

(ii) the new licences were not transferable within the first 12 months of registration.

The new measures were designed to make it more difficult and costly for people to speculate in taxi licences. The issue of new licences was effective in improving the availability of taxi services, and the new restrictions prevented new licences from being sold for quick profits. They also had a slight dampening effect on the value of the new licences.

Taxi licences have for many years been bought and sold as licences for operating the vehicles as well as an investment asset. In the past year, both the local residential, property and the stock market have gone up; so have the market trading prices of taxi licences. The probable reasons for the increase in licence premiums are -

(a) general confidence in the future of the local economy;

(b) a relatively low interest rate; and

(c) a more relaxed lending policy adopted by some local financial institutions in respect of taxi licences.

We will continue to monitor closely changes in the taxi licence premiums, the availability of taxi services, and the financial position of the taxi trade. In addition, the TAC will reconvene its Working Group on Taxi Policy Review, to review the effectiveness of measures adopted since 1994 and, where appropriate, recommend new measures to tighten existing regulations.

End

17

Government committed to upgrading language proficiency

* * * * *

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 Legislation Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the total number of secondary schools with self-contained ’’language laboratories” to facilitate language learning of students;

(b) its policy on subsidising and encouraging secondary schools to set up "language laboratories"; and

(c) the estimated amounts of capital expenses and annual operating expenses required for the full subsidisation of all secondary schools to set up "language laboratories"?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) At present, language laboratory is not a standard item to be provided by Government for secondary schools. The Education Department estimates that some 15 aided or private schools have set up such laboratories. The system configuration of the language laboratory varies between schools.

(b) The Government is committed to upgrading students' language proficiency. Since 1982, all secondary schools are provided with the Wirefree Induction Loop System as a standard item for the enhancement of students' listening and speaking skills. The System operates by looping a wireless induction loop antenna around an area. The area can be as small as an ordinary classroom or as large as a school hall. Students wearing wireless headphones in the looped area can pick up sound emitted from a microphone, record player, radio, cassette recorder or sound projector via an amplifier which is connected to the loop antenna.

18

As recommended in the Education Commission Report No. 6, the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) will need to study in a comprehensive manner the effectiveness of various forms of supporting facilities for language learning through an interactive mode, such as language laboratories and multi-media technology. On the basis of SCOLAR's advice in due course, we will review our policy on the provision of supporting facilities to schools to enhance language learning.

(c) As a very rough estimate, the capital and annual operating costs for fully subsidising language laboratories for all public sector secondary schools will amount to approximately $340 million and $104 million respectively. This does not include staff training or expenses for building works, which may vary considerably from school to school.

End

Use of mobile phones well regulated ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Ngan Kam-chuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In connection with a research which shows that the signals emitted by mobile phones may interfere with the operation of other electronic devices, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) how the Government regulates the specifications in respect of the installation of earphones;

(b) whether, in order to prevent mobile phones from interfering with the operation of the braking, driving and other electronically controlled systems of vehicles, the Government will strengthen its regulation over the installation of earphones and the use of mobile phones while driving; if so, what the specific details are; if not, why not; and

(c) whether the Government will follow the example of the United Kingdom by prohibiting the use of mobile phones within the confines of hospitals; if not, why not?

19

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The technical specifications for car phones approved for use in Hong Kong are issued by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA). They are in line with international specifications adopted widely in other parts of the world.

(b) There is no evidence in Hong Kong that signals emitted by car phones or mobile phones would affect a vehicle’s operation. We will monitor the situation and maintain contact with both local and overseas agencies and research institutions to consider whether any control is needed in the future.

According to traffic accident records during the past 5 years, the number of accidents involving drivers using such phones is insignificant.

Severity of accident 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

Fatal 0 0 0 1 0

Serious 0 1 1 0 3

Slight 3 1 2 0 3

Total 3 2 3 1 6

(Total number of accidents per year : 15,000.)

(c) For the public hospitals, the Hospital Authority developed guidelines in 1994 to prohibit the use of mobile phones and other radio frequency transmitting devices in hospitals. When the guidelines were first introduced, a publicity exercise was launched and an appeal made to members of the public to cooperate with the hospital management in switching off their mobile phones within the confines of hospital wards, clinical departments, operating theatres and intensive care units in order to avoid causing interference with electronic medical equipment in use. To inform patients and visitors of the restriction, posters and signs have been put up at the entrance of these areas requesting mobile phone users to switch off their phones before entering. Major private hospitals have also put up notices to request visitors and patients not to use mobile phones to avoid interference with hospital electronic equipment.

End

20

Persons without recognised nurses qualifications

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Michael Ho Mun-ka and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In her reply to a written question at the Legislative Council sitting on 8 January this year, the Secretary for Health and Welfare stated that there were about 80 persons without recognised nursing qualifications currently employed in patient care in private hospitals. In this connection, does the Government know:

(a) of the positions held in private hospitals by such persons who are without recognised nursing qualifications, as well as the nature and scope of their work;

(b) whether there are any channels available in these hospitals to enable patients to know distinctly that such persons are neither registered nurses nor enrolled nurses, so that patients can decide whether they will accept the services provided by such persons as well as to ensure that the rights of patients are safeguarded and that the question of professional liabilities can be pursued; and

(c) how the Government monitors the nursing services provided by such persons who are without recognised nursing qualification, so as to ensure the safety of patients?

Reply:

(a) Persons without recognised nursing qualifications currently employed in patient care in private hospitals hold positions that are designated as clinical assistants, health care assistants or similar titles, depending on the individual institutions. These persons undertake duties such as ward errands, attendance to patient cleanliness, assistance in patient feeding, assistance with patient transfer, bed making, tidying up nursing stations and treatment areas.

21

(b) Individual hospitals adopt various measures to identify different grades of staff. Examples include use of staff uniform with different design, and badges bearing the staffs name and title.

(c) Personnel in (a) above are employed to work under the direction and supervision of registered personnel who are responsible for monitoring their performance. The Director of Health is authorized under the Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Maternity Homes Registration Ordinance (Cap 165) to register a hospital subject to conditions relating to staffing, accommodation and equipment. The Director of Health may take action against those hospitals which contravene the provisions of the Ordinance.

End

Forward sale of uncompleted flats * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform th;s Council:

(a) of the names of all the buildings in respect of which consent letters for the forward sale of uncompleted flats were issued by the Lands Department last year, together with the dates on which these consent letters were issued, the expected completion dates of such buildings and the number of residential flats to be provided; and

(b) whether, in order to prevent developers from hoarding, the Government will require the Lands Department to stipulate in the Conditions of Sale in land grants that the developers must offer all residential flats for sale within a certain period after the completion of buildings, so as to increase the housing supply?

22

Answer:

Mr President,

In 1996, 31 pre-sale consents involving 13,115 private residential units were granted. Details are given at Annex.

Developers are required by the terms of Building Covenants to complete the housing projects to the satisfaction of the Director of Lands within a specified period, normally three to five years, depending on the scale and complexity of each project. Penalties, calculated as a percentage of the current land value of the concerned site, are imposed in the event of delay.

We do not consider it appropriate to require developers to sell flats within a specified period of time after completion as the timing of sale is primarily a commercial decision which takes into account changing market conditions. In a free market economy, developers should have the freedom to determine when to sell their flats.

To increase housing supply, we will continue to provide a sufficient supply of land, together with supporting infrastructure, for housing development.

23

Lands Department

Legal Advisory & Conveyancing Office Annex

Pre-sale Consent {Residential Units) issued during (he vey of 1996

Lot No, Pate of eposes £sl Me of tampietion bto.f.Vni

DD 104 Lot 4754 s.A Royal Palms Phase IIA 4.1.1996 31.12.1995 224

DD 104 Lot 4754 RP Royal Palms Phase 1 IB 4.1.1996 30.4.1996 20U

Kowloon Inland Lol No. 11003 Harmony Carden 291.1996 29.2.1996 112

Sha Tin Town Lot No. 392 The Tolo Place 21.3.1996 29.12.1996 616

Sha Tin Town Lot No. 411 Royal Ascot (Blocks 8-11) Phase II 29.3.1996 31.3.1997 1280

Kwai Chung Town Lot No.460 Hang King Garden 27.3.1996 306.1996 216

DDI2I Lot2042 Windsor Villa 12.4.1996 31.8.1996 72

DD352 Lot3S5RP&Ext Coastline Villa 9.4.1996 30.6.1996 230

Cheung Chau Lot No. 1829 Peakville 19.4.1996 31.8.1996 24

DDI24 Lot 4290 Meadowlands Phase II 24.4.1996 31 8.1996 24

Tseung Kwan O Town Lot No.36 Metro City 31.5.1996 31.5.1997 2048

Kowloon Inland Lot No. 11036 Cypress Garden 11.6.1996 27.7.1996 57

Tai Po Town Lot No. 113 Dynasty View, Classical Gardens, Phase HI 27.6.1996 30.9.1996 265

Kowloon Inland Lot No. 11002 King's Park Villa 24.6.1996 31.3.1997 360

Tai Po Town Lot No. 138 Fuller Gardens 5.7.1996 306.1997 136

New Kowloon Inland Lot No.6157 San Po Kong Plaza 19.7.1996 31.12.1996 460

DD22I Lot 1854 Burlingame Garden 31.7.1996 30.11.1996 15

Tuen Mun Town Lot No.365 Villa Tiara 9.8.1996 31.5 1997 556

Tsuen Wan Town Lot No.361 Discovery Park, Phase 1, Blocks 1-4 27.8.1996 30.4.1997 1120

Yuen Long Town Lot No 456 (unknown) 28.8.1996 31.3.1997 350

Inland Lot No. $849 Island Place 29.8.1996 31.12.1996 784

Sha Tin Town Lot No. 397 Rich Court 14.10.1996 15.4.1997 30

Sha Tin Town Lot No. 410 Granville Garden 28.10.1996 31.10.1997 666

Rural Building Lot No. 1114 Rovaiton 30.10.1996 31.5.1997 30

Ping Chau Lot No 661 Monterey Villas 20.11.1996 31.3.1997 136

Rural Building Lot No. 1120 Villa Rosa 29.11.1996 31.3.1997 16

Cheung Chau Lol No. 1779 Scenic Garden 29.11.1996 14.4.1997 192

Kwai Chung Town Lot No.453 Greenwood Regency 12.12.1996 31.5.1997 18

Tseung Kwan O Town Lot No. 17 East Point City 12.12.1996 30.11.1997 2184

Kowloon Inland Lot No. 11064 Carmen's Garden 13.12.1996 31.8.1997 190

Sha Tin Town Lot No.393 The Waterside 17.12.1996 30.6.1997 504

Total number of units: 13.115 *

End

24

Commemorative stamps for the Year of Ox ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Choy Kan-pui and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the reasons why the commemorative stamps for the Year of the Ox could not be issued before the Lunar New Year;

(b) whether the delay in putting the commemorative stamps on sale will result in additional expenses for the Government;

(c) whether the organisation engaged in printing the commemorative stamps have to compensate the Government for the delay; if not, why not; and

(d) whether consideration will be given to improving the present queuing arrangements for the purchase of commemorative stamps when putting such stamps on sale?

Reply:

Mr President,

The rescheduling of the issue date of the commemorative stamps for the Year of the Ox from 17 January to 27 February 1997 was due to the late delivery of the stamps caused by breakdowns of the machines used for printing the stamps.

The postponement of the date of issue has resulted in the Post Office incurring additional expenditure of approximately $360,000 to cover media advertising, reprinting of associated souvenir covers and presentation packs, and printing of corrigendum sheets for First Day Covers and stamp booklets already printed. Steps are being taken by the Government to seek liquidated damages from the stamp printing company concerned.

25

The Post Office has introduced since January 1997 a local standing order service under which customers may place an advance annual order for mint stamps, definitive stamp sheetlets, souvenir sheets, serviced first day covers for new stamps and serviced souvenir covers for definitive stamp sheetlets. The 57,000 customers who have been registered under this service do not need to queue up at post offices on the first day of issue.

The Post Office has also introduced a number of measures to improve queuing arrangements for purchase of commemorative stamps. To shorten the waiting time for customers, the opening hour of 19 district post offices has been advanced to 8 am on the first day of issue. Philatelic products have also been pre-packaged in sets to shorten counter transaction time. In addition, the Post Office employs security personnel to improve crowd control on the first day of issue.

End

Government computer system

*****

Following is a question by the Hon David Li, and a written reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is reported that the findings of a detailed study conducted by the Information Technology Services Department indicates that about 20% of the computer systems in the Government departments will malfunction when the year flips from 1999 to 2000. Will the Government inform this Council whether, as the major user of information technology, it has formulated any plans to address the above problems; if so, what the details are?

Reply:

We have adopted a two-pronged approach to the Year 2000 problem. The first is concerned with the operating systems and system softwares used in developing computer applications provided by outside suppliers, and the second with the computer applications developed by our in-house professional staff.

26

As regards the first, the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) has already asked our software suppliers to provide us their Year 2000 compliance plans, including their target date of releasing products of the new Year 2000 compliant versions (i.e. those using four-digit year approach). When such products are available, we will use them to upgrade our systems accordingly. Since last November, we have required suppliers to provide Year 2000 compliant products in all new purchasing contracts.

As regards the second, it is worth noting that ITSD started work relating to the Year 2000 problem as far back as 1990. Computer applications developed since then are all Year 2000 compliant. However, some of the applications developed earlier may have the Year 2000 problem. A preliminary assessment conducted by ITSD in May 1996 revealed that about 20% of the some 250 computer applications maintained by it may fall into that category.

ITSD is now conducting a pilot exercise to examine the use of automated tools to assist in ascertaining whether the computer applications are Year 2000 compliant. Upon the completion of this exercise in March 1997, we will, with the aid of the automated tools assess the extent of Year 2000 non-compliance for each and every computer application and prioritise, where necessary, time-critical applications for early implementation of the required conversion and validation work. To ensure that all the necessary modification work is completed in good time, ITSD has set up a high level steering group chaired by the Director of Information Technology Services to coordinate and oversee the entire implementation process.

Apart from those applications developed and maintained by IT professionals, there are many small-scale IT applications developed by end user departments using software packages. Some of these applications may also be affected by the Year 2000 problem. To help departments understand the problem and to solicit early participation of IT users in addressing this problem, ITSD organised a series of seminars on this subject for different departments in 1996. In addition, ITSD are finalising guidelines to advise end user departments on how to ensure Year 2000 compliance.

Apart from ITSD, six other government departments develop and maintain their own computer applications and have their own IT staff. About half of these 310 applications would be affected by the Year 2000 problem. The six departments, with the advice of ITSD, are also taking active steps to address the problem and ensure timely modification and validation.

End

27

Interim housing ♦ * ♦ * ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the use of re-developed public housing for interim housing, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the amount spent by the Housing Department in converting each of the re-developed public housing blocks to interim housing units;

(b) of the difference between the converting cost of interim housing and the cost of constructing a brand new public housing block of similar sizes during the same period of time;

(c) of the estimated years of occupancy of these interim housing units before they are demolished;

(d) of the method of determining the rents of these interim housing units, and whether such method is different from that of other public housing units;

(e) whether there is any difference between the management practice for interim housing units and that for other public housing estates; and

(f) whether periodic inspection on safety standards of these interim housing units will be carried out by the Housing Department?

Answer:

Mr President,

The Housing Authority has so far refurbished two public rental housing blocks evacuated under the Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme for use as vertical interim housing. Both blocks are located in Kwai Chung. The first block was refurbished in 1994 at a cost of $31 million (or $40,800 per flat), and the second block, refurbished in 1996, cost $31 million (or $37,000 per flat). By comparison, the construction cost of a standard Harmony 1 rental block is approximately $320 million (or $290,000 per flat) at December 1996 prices. The two interim housing blocks can be occupied for this purpose for at least five years.

28

The main consideration in determining the rents of these units is the same as for other public rental housing flats, and is based on tenants' affordability. Inflation, rates, operating costs and the relative value of the estates concerned are taken into account, and rents are set at a level such that the median rent-to-income ratios for the estates concerned do not exceed 15%, in respect of the minimum space allocation standard of 5.5 square metres internal floor area per person, and 18.5% in respect of the higher space allocation standard of 7 square metres or more per person. Rent levels in the two vertical interim housing blocks represent about 7% of tenants' median incomes.

Management services provided are similar to those in other public rental housing blocks.

Maintenance staff of the Housing Department conduct regular inspections and repair work in interim housing blocks to ensure that they meet relevant safety standards, in the same way as in other public rental housing blocks.

End

Localisation of the civil service

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Chim Pui-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the progress of the localisation plan for senior civil servants has reached the expected target;

(b) of the reasons why the post of Attorney General has not yet been taken up by a local officer; and

(c) when the localisation of the Legal Department is expected to be fully accomplished?

29

Answer:

Mr President,

(a) Localisation of the civil service is a long-established government policy dated back to 1950. Our policy objective is to staff the civil service with qualified and suitable local candidates as far as possible. One key aspect of the policy is to give preference to qualified and suitable local candidates in recruitment. Overseas candidates are considered for appointment only when there is no qualified and suitable local candidate available. Since 1985, overseas candidates are appointed only on agreement terms. Overall, the localisation policy is successful. At present, 99.1% of the civil service are local officers. All Policy Secretaries and over 70% of Heads of Department are local officers. The percentage of local officers at the directorate and senior management/professional levels has been increasing over the years. The localisation statistics in the last 10 years and the position as at 1 April, 1996 compared with 18 years ago are annexed.

(b) The Legal Department is historically a department with a high percentage of overseas officers due to difficulties in recruiting local officers until recent years. As a result, three of the five Law Officer posts were localised less than three years ago and this has affected the pace to localise the post of Attorney General.

(c) The Legal Department is at present 73% localised with 100% at the Crown Counsel rank, as compared with 39% and 74% respectively in December 1988, when the Double Ladder Scheme was introduced to speed up localisation. The pace of localisation in the department is satisfactory. There is no set target for full localisation of the department and the present steady pace will continue.

30

Annex

Localisation Statistics

Senior management/ Directorate officers professional officers Overall

Local officers (%) Overseas officers (%) Local officers (%) Overseas officers (%) Local officers (%) Overseas officers (%)

1.4.78 34.2 65.8 61.3 38.7 97.4 2.6

14.87 52.3 47.7 69.8 30.2 98.5 1.5

1.448 55.6 44.4 70.4 29.6 98.6 1.4

1.4.89 56.2 43.8 71.7 28.3 98.6 1.4

1.4.90 59.7 40.3 74.2 25.8 98.7 1.3

1.4.91 62.1 37.9 75.7 24.3 98.7 1.3

1.4.92 60.1 39.9 75.8 24.2 98.8 1.2

1.4.93 61.7 38.3 77.2 22.8 98.8 1.2

1.4.94 63.6 36.4 79.0 21.0 98.9 1.1

1.4.95 66.6 33.4 81.1 18.9 99.0 1.0

1.4.96 70.2 29.8 84.5 15.5 99.1 0.9

End

31

Applications for Senior Citizen Cards on the rise

*****

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

Question:

I have received a number of complaints concerning the long time taken in processing applications for Senior Citizen Cards. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the respective average number of applications received and cases processed each month during the past year;

(b) the current number of Social Welfare Department staff who are responsible for processing applications for Senior Citizen Cards, and the average number of applications which they have to handle each month; and

(c) the vetting procedure for the issue of a Senior Citizen Card as well as the average time an applicant has to wait before being issued with the card after filling an application, and whether the Government has considered increasing the number of staff handling the applications or streamlining the application procedure in order to expedite the process?

Reply:

(a) During the past year, the average number of applications received each month is 4,588 (including both new applications and applications for replacement cards). The average number of cards issued each month is 3,981.

(b) The current number of Social Welfare Department staff who are responsible for processing applications for Senior Citizen Cards is 5. As mentioned in part (a) of the answer, the average number of applications received (including new applications and applications for replacement cards) is 4,588. Due to a marked increase in the number of applications received in the second half of 1996, the Senior Citizen Card Office has to deal with an average of 3,881 accumulated applications each month.

32

(c) Once the Social Welfare Department receives an application, the staff will separate the new applications from the applications for replacement cards. They will then check if all the necessary documents are submitted. If all the necessary documents are submitted, the staff will input the relevant data into the computer and subsequently issue a card. The staff will contact the applicants if the applicants have failed to provide all the necessary documents. It takes slightly over a month for a card to be issued after the applicant files an application.

As there is a marked increase in the number of applications in the second half of 1996, the number of accumulated cases has increased. The Social Welfare Department has employed temporary staff to assist in clearing the backlog. At the same time, the Social Welfare Department will evaluate the processing procedures with a view to shortening the time required.

End

Noise abatement facilities installed in schpols ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong Wa|-yin and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mf Bowen Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of primary and secondary schools built by the Government in the past three years, together with the number of these schools which were required to install noise abatement facilities due to noise problems;

(b) of the addresses of the above schools which were required to install noise abatement facilities and the respective types of facilities which were installed; and

33

(c) whether the noise problems faced by the above schools were related to improper planning in the selection of school sites; if not, what the reasons for the noise problems were; if so, what improvements will be made on the future selection of school sites?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Of the 52 schools completed in the past three years, 19 of them required noise abatement facilities such as sound barriers and noise insulation to mitigate traffic noise impacts.

(b) The addresses of the school projects requiring noise abatement and the noise mitigation facilities installed are detailed in the attached table.

(c) In selecting suitable school sites, factors such as noise, site size, topographical features, accessibility and convenience to students in the catchment area are taken into account. The detailed provision standards and locational guidelines are set out in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and are adhered to as far as practicable. Sites which are affected by significant noise sources such as busy trunk roads are normally ruled out. Nonetheless, given the scarcity of land, some sites reserved for school use could not meet all the Lcational requirements. An Environmental Review is therefore conducted on each school site to assess the potential environmental impact and to identify practicable preventive and mitigation measures. For school sites affected by potential oad traffic noise, measures such as setback from the road, protective building layout and sound barrier at the site boundary are implemented where practicable to minimise the noise impact. If after implementing these measures the residual noise impact still exceeds the planning standard of 65 dB(A), noise insulation will be provided as an additional measure to ensure a quiet internal learning environment.

34

School Projects Requiring Noise Abatement Facilities

Year of Completion Address Sound Barrier Noise Insulation (Special Windows and Air Conditioning)

Partial Full

1994 Secondary School at Wharf Road, North Point

Practical School at Au Tau, Yuen Long

1995 Primary School in Area 100, Ma On San

Secondary School in Siu Sai Wan, Hong Kong >1

Two Secondary Schools in Lei Tung Estate, Ap Lei Chau

Skill Opportunity School in North Point 'J

Skill Opportunity School in Shut Pin Tseun, Yuen Long J

Special School for Severely Mentally Handicapped Children in Tseun Kwan 0

1996 Primary School in Kam Tin, Yuen Long (St Joseph)

Two Primary Schools in Lam Tin Estate, Kwun Tong 'J

Primary School in Area 90, Ma On Shan

Two Primary Schools in Tsz Lok Estate, Tsz Wan Shan

Secondary School in Area 49B, Fanling, North >1

Secondary School in Area 6, Tai Po >1

Secondary School in Area 92, Shatin

Secondary School in Area 9, Tuen Mun >1

End

35

Rents for public housing determined by tenants' affordability

* * ♦ * *

Following is a question by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The Housing Authority proposes that rents for new and existing public housing estates in the next decade will be fixed at a level tenants can afford. Rents for housing flats are fixed so that the median rent-income ratio should be 15 percent for a minimum allocation standard of 5.5 square metres of internal floor area per person; and 18.5 percent for seven square metres per person. In this connection :

(a) does the Government know of the criteria adopted in determining the above percentages; and

(b) will the authorities illustrate, in accordance with the criteria mentioned in the answer to (a) above and with different allocation standards of internal floor area for units in old and new public housing estates, how the rents in each case will increase progressively towards the proposed percentages, together with the amounts of rent increases of public housing in the next ten years?

Answer:

Mr President,

Rents for public housing are determined on the basis of tenants' ability to pay. Other factors, including the relative value of the estates concerned, rates and operating costs, are also taken into account. In any event, the median rent to income ratio for the concerned estates should not exceed 15% or 18.5% for the relevant space allocation standards. These percentages have regard both to local patterns of expenditure on housing and to international trends.

In the Long Term Housing Strategy Review Consultative Document released recently, we have proposed that public housing rents should be increased gradually to achieve these ratios by 2006, and that the Housing Authority should be asked to draw up specific measures to achieve this aim. It is not possible at present to give details of proposed rent increases at this stage, but clearly it will be necessary for average rents to increase in real terms in order to achieve the median rent-to-income ratio targets.

End

36

SFC and SEHK Code of Conduct Regulations

*****

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

Question:

In connection with the Code of Conduct (the Code) issued by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in February 1994 to the persons registered with the SFC and the Code of Conduct Regulations (the Regulations) promulgated by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) in November 1993, does the Government know whether:

(a) the above Code and Regulations have any retrospective effect; and whether a person who had breached the relevant provisions prior to the promulgation of the Code and Regulations will be subjected to disciplinary action; if so, what the reasons are; and

(b) the SFC and the SEHK will be required to abide by the spirit of introducing the regulations when taking disciplinary action, so as to avoid violating the Bill of Rights?

Answer:

(a) The Code of Conduct for persons registered with the Securities and Futures Commission issued by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) applies to persons registered with the Securities and Futures Commission under the Securities Ordinance and Commodities Trading Ordinance (registered persons), such as dealers, investment advisers and commodities trading advisers.

The Code of Conduct Regulations promulgated by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) expands on the Professional Conduct Rules contained in Chapter 6 of the SEHK’s Rules and Regulations relating to conduct and business practices. The matters covered in the Code represent minimum standards of a Member as widely defined to include sales representatives, authorised clerks and other dealing employees on the Stock Exchange (SEHK members).

(b)

- 37 -

Both sets of the Codes codify what are commonly referred to as best practice requirements expected of registered persons and SEHK members. These best practice requirements have been in existence in the days of the Securities Commission established in 1974 for ensuring that the Securities Ordinance was properly administered. They were the precursors of the Fit and Proper Criteria introduced in 1990 by SFC. As such, failure to comply with the requirements stipulated in the Codes, whether before or after the publication of the Codes, would reflect on the concerned person's ability to satisfy the fit and proper test in order to remain registered and on that person's conduct and business practices. Compliance with the Codes would indicate satisfaction of the relevant requirements under the Fit and Proper Criteria and therefore the question of retrospectivity does not arise.

The Codes of Conduct do not have the force of law and are not to be interpreted in a way that would override the provisions of any law. In the exercise of their powers, the SFC and SEHK are expected to give full effect to the spirit and letter of the laws and regulations which they administer and have due regard to other relevant laws affecting the performance of their functions including the Bill of Rights Ordinance.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Thursday, February 27,1997

Contents Page No.

Governor's question-and-answer session....................................... 1

Transcript of remarks by Financial Secretary................................ 18

FS forecasts a promising economic outlook for Hong Kong..................... 19

Hong Kong Foreign Exchange Reserves at end-January 1997 .................... 21

Overall food hygiene standard acceptable.................................... 23

Area Traffic Control System to be installed in Sha Tin...................... 25

Civic Education Exhibition moves to Ma On Shan.............................. 26

Plea for public participation to regulate broadcasting...................... 27

Ten organisations to raise funds in March................................... 28

Applications invited to sponsor 1998 fireworks display...................... 30

Fire safety talks for schools............................................... 30

Donation to agricultural trust fund......................................... 31

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results................................. 32

1

Governor’s question-and-answer session *****

Following is the transcript of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten's question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council today (Thursday):

President (in Chinese): Will members please remain standing until the Governor has come into this chamber. The Governor of Hong Kong. The Governor will answer questions on the three topics which have been notified to members. A member who has asked a question and received a reply, may, for the purpose of seeking elucidation only, ask a short follow-up question. The three topics are: human rights, housing and services for the elderly and new immigrants. A show of hands please.

Mr Lau Chin-shek (in Chinese): I would like to know whether the Government would continue to review existing legislation in order to determine whether these Ordinances are in breach of the Bill of Rights Ordinance and whether they should be amended because of that? And, whether the Government will, before the end of its term, submit new Amendment Bills to this Council?

Governor: We have almost completed our review of Ordinances. There are one or two other Ordinances that we have been looking at, for example, the Telecommunications Ordinance following the proposals of the Law Reform Commission. I have said again and again to this Council that it was our determination to make sure that we place before the Council before June 30, proposals which would ensure that our statute book was in line with the Bill of Rights. I haven't changed my position and the Government hasn't changed its position on that, so we may be requiring even more work from the Legislative Council in the friture.

Mr Lau Chin-shek (in Chinese): In his reply the Governor mentioned the Telecommunications Ordinance. I would like to hear a little bit more from him, say about the independent police complaint mechanism and the relevant legislation, and whether anti-discrimination legislation will also be considered by the Government to this effect?

Governor: Let me distinguish between those issues. First of all on legislation on discrimination, the honourable gentleman will know that we already have in place legislation dealing with discrimination against people on the grounds of gender, he will know that we have legislation in place against discrimination on the grounds of disability, and he will know that we are acting, as well, on discrimination on family responsibilities. On all those issues we are legislating and we are asking the Equal Opportunities Commission to cover those questions as part of its responsibilities.

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He will also know that we have proposed to take administrative measures rather than legislate in regard to discrimination on the grounds of sexual preference, he will know the proposals we have put forward regarding discrimination against those of older years, and he will also know that we are consulting the public about the very good study that has been carried out on whether or not there is discrimination in Hong Kong on the grounds of race. We haven't thought it appropriate at this time to go for legislation on each of those subjects but by and large we have, I think, gone as far as the community thought was sensible. And I am delighted the Equal Opportunities Commission has made such a good start.

As far as the police complaints machinery is concerned, the honourable gentleman will know that we are putting that on a statutory basis and that there are proposals before the Legislative Council which the Legislative Council is debating. But let me just repeat, I have said consistently that we would review all our statute book to make sure that it was in line with the International Covenants and the Bill of Rights. Even those who do not agree with me would, I think, concede that I do what I say I will do, and that remains our intention.

Mr Lee Kai-ming (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. A question for the Governor. Will the Governor accept what is said in the letter given to the Governor a moment ago and that is a request made by the five trade unions and that is to increase the CSSA by $300 and to increase the amount even further so that the elderly people in their twilight years will be given some degree of warmth?

Governor: I was grateful for the honourable gentleman's briefing outside the Legislative Council. There were one or two of my old friends and customers there as well, but it was a particular joy to have the honourable gentleman waiting for me with a lantern and his cheery good wishes for the New Year.

I understand the concern which all members of the Legislative Council have about the living standards of the elderly. It's understandable that as Hong Kong becomes more prosperous and the scale of Hong Kong's prosperity was once again underlined in the admirable speech which my honourable friend the Financial Secretary made earlier today, I think it’s understandable that people should want to ensure that the elderly share in our increasing prosperity though the elderly themselves would, I'm sure, wish us to keep a prudent control over public spending just as they have prudently managed their own finances over the years.

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The honourable gentleman may know that since 1992, we've increased spending on services for the elderly by about 94 per cent in real terms. CSSA rates for the elderly have, I think, gone up by about 100 per cent in real terms. Now that has led some to assert that we're driving the car too fast. I think that was the metaphor. It's led some to assert, which isn't as good for my reputation as I would like, that I'm a socialist or a welfarist, that I'm wrecking Hong Kong's economy. I'm sure the honourable gentleman would be the first to denounce those who made those sort of allegations. The truth is that we've been meeting our obligations to the elderly. We must continue to give their concerns and interests the highest priority, while, of course, ensuring that Hong Kong's economy is managed very sensibly.

Perhaps I can just add two things. The Social Welfare Department is conducting two studies at the moment which will, 1 am sure, be the focus for considerable discussion and debate. The first is a study which will be available in the late summer, into the financial needs of the elderly and how those are met at the moment. The second study which I think all members would regard as particularly important is into the reasons why some elderly people who are existing on very low incomes at the moment don't claim social security seek to make do on their own without the help to which they are wholly entitled. I think both those studies will ensure that we can develop our policies in a way which is both generous and well-targeted.

Mr Edward Ho (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. My question for the Governor is this, I would like to ask a question pertaining to housing. Recently, the Long Term Housing Strategy Review consultative document said that in the coming decade in Hong Kong, the demand for housing would be very strong and great and it is anticipated that every year the housing production would have to reach 85,000 units before the demand can be met. I would like to ask the Government whether consideration has been given to manpower resources, whether there is sufficient manpower resources in order to produce 85,000 units a year?

Governor: I think that we should have enough resources to meet those targets but I do see the point which the honourable gentleman is making, not least as a professional in this field himself. And I think it is a point that has been made by his honourable friend on his right. We do need to look at our administrative procedures and we do need to look at the quantity of professional support that we have in order to speed-up those administrative procedures wherever possible. Some of the hold-ups we have are because of the lack of professional expertise when so much is happening in Hong Kong, when there is so much building going on. We have got ideas about sharpening-up our procedures and I hope that we will be able to do so.

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Can I just add a word or two to what the honourable gentleman has said. We should be able to reach that rather higher target of 85,000 homes a year, largely because we have actually increased the amount of land available in the next five years for private development by about 80% over the amount of land that was available in the last five years.

We are of course looking beyond 2001, beyond that five-year time horizon as well, we are looking to the years beyond that when it is our intention to try to build-in some margin for error in the calculations made, for example, in the Territorial Development Strategy Review, and add about 7 per cent to the target figure for housing each year in the period beyond that. That is going to require a lot of administrative drive from the Government and we are well aware of some of the problems that we have got to overcome.

Mr Edward Ho (in Chinese): Actually, my question is concerning manpower resources. Apart from professionals, I am also talking about labour. I would like to know whether the Government will give consideration to this. Say, for the upper core programmes, will the Government put together a co-ordinated programme to supply labour so that the construction industry is given sufficient labour?

Governor: I have to say to the honourable gentleman that the question of supply problems because of a shortage of skilled labour in the industry isn't something that has been raised with me before. I very much hope that as our training schemes become more flexible and take greater account of industrial demand, if there are shortages in the construction industry, of plumbers and electricians and so on, that the training body will be able to help us deal with that problem more quickly. But if the honourable gentleman has particular problems of labour shortage in mind, perhaps he could let me know and I will look into them for him.

Dr Law Chi-kwong (in Chinese): Mr President, through you I direct this question to the Governor. In January last year the Government estimated that by July 1, 1997 there would be 29,000 Chinese children who would enjoy the right of abode in Hong Kong. Does the Government have any policy to make sure that these 29,000 children who are able to come to Hong Kong after July 1. 1997, will they all be flooding into Hong Kong right after July 1? If not, how will the Government make sure that education and welfare and other needs - housing needs - will be met?

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Governor: Perhaps I can give the honourable gentleman a rather more extensive set of figures which will give some indication of the demand that we may well have to adjust to. The latest estimates we have - and we went through this exercise in November last year - the latest figures that we have suggest that at the end of 1996 there were 84,300 women married to Hong Kong men who had the right to come to Hong Kong, and there were, in China, 46,200 children with the right of abode in Hong Kong in July 1997. We reckon that by the middle of this year, in other words by July 1, those figures will have fallen somewhat but there will be about 76,500 women and 34,900 children, making just over 111,000 altogether.

The honourable gentleman will know that for almost two years, since July 1995, we have increased the daily quota into Hong Kong from 105 to 150 and as a result of that, legal immigration from China last year totalled just over 61,000. And that has, of course, put something of a strain on welfare and educational and housing resources in some parts of the community.

I have recently been, for example, to Sham Shui Po, to Eastern District, to Kowloon District, talked to the District Boards and others in those communities about the way that they are coping with these issues. I went to an extremely good elementary school in Kowloon the other day and saw what they were doing. I met a group of new immigrants in Eastern District and talked to them about the sort of information they need in order to adjust to life in the community.

We do have to do more in areas like education in order to help new immigrants. The Council has only recently voted another $500 million to help with the training of newly arrived immigrants. I am sure that this is a subject which the Financial Secretary, in due course, will want to address over the next year as well. I think the whole community recognises the importance of us ensuring that immigrants are able, as soon as possible after their arrival in Hong Kong, to make a full contribution to our economic and social life. Very often that means better targeted programmes to help them.

Dr Law Chi-kwong (in Chines^): Chairman, the Governor has not answered the crux of my question. The Governor has given us some latest statistics. I mentioned 29,000, he mentioned 34,000. According to the Common Law system, if they sneak into Hong Kong or if they overstay their two-way permit, we cannot deport them from Hong Kong. In other words, if, as these 34,000 arrive in Hong Kong, how can we deal with them? There are so many snakeheads who are spreading rumours about the possibility of staying in Hong Kong once they sneak into here. Now, with 34,000 children coming to Hong Kong we will need anything up to 35 schools to take them all and how do we cope with the problem?

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Governor: Can I distinguish between the importance of discouraging illegal and encouraging legal immigration on the one hand, and secondly, the impact on our educational service caused by the increase in the number of children who are coming into Hong Kong - very often with language difficulties and other difficulties in adjusting.

On the first of the honourable gentleman’s questions, there is certainly, as far as I recall, no recent evidence of an increase in illegal entry into Hong Kong by people from China, whether or not people with the right of abode after July 1, 1997, and I think that is probably partly a result of the sensible decision that we took, 1 think, with the support of this Council, in the middle of 1995, to increase the numbers coming here legally.

On the second question, we do recognise the additional educational demands and we do recognise that we can only meet those demands by the allocation of additional resources, and that is something which the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Education and Manpower are well aware of.

Mr Martin Lee: Governor, I expect a very short answer from you to my long leading question.

Governor: Sounds rather dangerous.

Mr Martin Lee: The Foreign Secretary has recently called for the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom and raised with him the recent remarks by the Chinese Foreign Minister, Qian Qichen, in relation to certain human rights, or the press freedom in particular, in relation to Hong Kong. And since then, I understand that China, of course, did not give a satisfactory answer or assurance. And also, in relation to the vexed question of whether or not the setting up of the provisional legislature would constitute a breach of the Joint Declaration, again the Foreign Secretary recently, in Hong Kong, said although it is still on the table - that is his suggestion, his request that China should submit to the jurisdiction of the ICJ on this question is still on the table, he could take it no further.

Now, in relation to both matters, are you going to press the British Government to refer both questions to the Security Council of the United Nations in order that it would make the request to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion?

Governor: I noted that the honourable gentleman had made this suggestion the other day, and I don’t think 1 give away any secrets in saying that I think it was part of the conversation which the honourable gentleman had with the Foreign Secretary in London. But I am not quite sure that I understand what the purpose or value of that particular proposal would be. Let me explain myself.

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The Security Council of the United Nations customarily deals with issues which threaten international peace and security. Now, worrying and damaging to Hong Kong as both the provisional legislature is, worrying and damaging to Hong Kong as the undermining of civil liberties in Hong Kong is, of concern as those matters are to the international community which is going to look at the way China handles Hong Kong as a sort of test of how China is going to behave more broadly in the next few years, I think there would be members of the Security Council who would raise questions about whether the issues which the honourable gentleman and I both feel very strongly about, actually represented the same sort of threat to international peace and security as was represented at present by, for example, the crisis in Rwanda or Zaire which are taking up so much time at the United Nations.

It has been the British Government’s policy - one which I strongly support - to ensure that there is as much international support for Hong Kong and Hong Kong's freedoms as possible, and I think that that obliges us to look at ways of encouraging support which would be regarded by others as sensible, rather than ways which would not be regarded as sensible. But I will certainly consider the honourable gentleman’s proposal and talk to him further about it, if he would like.

Can I add, however, just one point. I do think that everybody in Hong Kong recognises the degree of concern felt outside as well as inside our community, by those proposals on the Bill of Rights and associated legislation which, in the words of the leaders of our legal profession, threaten to undermine the rule of law. And there is just one point, one plea that I want to make. Hong Kong is a very successful society, a society with a successful government, with successful institutions, with successful defences of its way of life.

It is, to borrow an analogy, it’s a Rolls-Royce of a society. And what people outside, I think, find so difficult to understand is why, instead of just driving the vehicle away, why Chinese officials and the Chief Executive designate and his colleagues seem to want to examine the engine, tinker with the tyres, rather than just turn on the ignition and drive the Rolls-Royce as successfully in the future as it has been driven in the past. 1 think that causes genuine incomprehension elsewhere, as well as genuine concern.

Mr Martin Lee: Maybe - Governor, maybe they want to make sure there is no^bomb planted in this Rolls Royce, but my supplementary is this; here’s another attempt on my part to get a short answer from you Governor. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, as a result of the advisory opinion given by the ICJ on both of the matters I mentioned earlier at the request of the Security Council, China would then be persuaded to change her mind and not persist in mucking about with the Rolls Royce, as you put it, or by not pursuing its plans to change laws through the appointed provisional legislature?

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Governor: I mustn't pursue the Rolls Royce analogy any further. I don’t think the manufacturers would necessarily care for it. I think it may be the case that the, and this is the risk of abusing metaphor, I think it is probably the case that what makes Hong Kong motor forward so successfully, that is a combination of economic and political freedom, worries some Chinese officials, though worries them wholly unnecessarily.

On the ICJ, yes it would be a very satisfactory outcome if the Chinese would accept the invitation, which is still on the table, to go to the ICJ for arbitration and would then accept what the ICJ had to say. There aren't actually all that many members of the Security Council which do accept the binding arbitration of the ICJ. I think I’m right in saying that the United Kingdom is the only permanent member of the Security Council which does so. I think I’m right in saying that, though I’m happy to be corrected.

It’s worth adding that elsewhere where we think there is a clear obligation on China to follow procedures under the auspices of the United Nations, it’s arguing at present that it doesn’t see the need to do so. I’m referring of course to the reporting obligations under the international covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights. So I agree with the honourable gentleman about the desirability of the outcome he’s mentioned. Pm not sure that his proposal about the Security Council would be the right one. I am sure that it should remain a priority for the United Kingdom in the conduct of its foreign affairs to ensure that there is the maximum international support for the survival of freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Mr Lee Cheuk-yan (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. In answer to Mr Lau Chin-shek’s question the Governor said that the Government would review the legislation in Hong Kong to ensure compliance with the international covenant and Bill of Rights ordinance.

Now what is of most concern to me, as you know Governor, is the human rights for the workers in Hong Kong. I have submitted two private member’s bills, one on the trade unions amendments. I feel that trade unions can organise cross-membership unions and the participation in international trade unions would not need the approval of file Government. I think that would be in line with the ICSCR provisions.

The second amendment is to make sure that the trade union membership will not be discriminated against and reinstatement should be allowed. And that is also in line with the freedom of association under the ICSCR. I also would submit another private member’s bill on the collective bargaining position and that would be in line with no. 98 of the international labour convention.

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Now the Government's position is in opposition to my private member's bills. This seems to be contradictory to what you are saying Mr Governor. It seems to me the Government is not interested in allowing Hong Kong workers these kind of rights.

Governor: Well, let me respond directly. The fact is that we don't agree with the honourable gentleman that the present state of the law which he wishes to change contravenes our obligations in the Bill of Rights and in the international covenants. We disagree on that point. I don't think we disagree about the importance of applying international covenants to Hong Kong.

Where we also disagree is in the approach which the honourable gentleman has taken to, not in every case, but in this case, has taken to labour legislation. The honourable gentleman knows because he's been a distinguished part of the process. That we've tended to legislate in the labour sphere on the basis of a consensus reached in the labour advisory board. I think what that has meant in Hong Kong is that there's been far less scrapping between employers and employees over legislation, far less here than exists in some other communities we're seeing in this region at the moment. Indeed the honourable gentleman I think has had first-hand experience of what's happening in this region at the moment where there isn't a consensus on labour legislation.

So I would prefer to proceed on that basis. Though I understand that the three issues which the honourable gentleman is talking about, two I think in one bill and the other in another, are matters about which he and his trade union colleague, and his own trade union have felt strongly about for many years and have argued about both in Hong Kong and internationally for many years, and I'm sure will continue to do so. The honourable gentleman may well be able to get a consensus in the LAB on those matters, though I wouldn't advise him to hold his breath.

Mr Lee Cheuk-yan (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. Well Mr Governor, probably you haven't read the ICSCR yourself. Maybe I'll refer you to that international covenant. It's not a question of how you implement the provisions. The fact remains that the provisions, the legislation is in contravention of these provisions. So I hope that you would review the legislation in the context of my bills. That would be in the interests of Hong Kong. It's not simply a question of interpretation. There is a blatant contravention there. Under the international covenant there is expressed provision about freedom to join the trade unions and also freedom of association and so on.

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Governor: 1 can only repeat what I’ve said. That we don’t wholly agree with the honourable gentleman about our own law being out of line with the international covenant and the Bill of Rights. The honourable gentleman will know that one reason why we have carried out this very comprehensive review of laws, which I think has led so far to about 38 different parts of ordinances being changed, maybe slightly more than that now, one reason why we carried out that review is that we didn't want to be taken to court over existing laws which it could be argued were out of line with our international obligations as applied to Hong Kong law through the Bill of Rights. I think the fact that we haven't been subjected to a legal challenge on that particular point may speak volumes but I’m not encouraging the honourable gentleman to take legal advice.

Mr Zachary Wong (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President. Yesterday at Tin Shui Wai, once again there was another unidentified gas incident and that was the fourth time within a year and this time around even more people were affected. Eight schools were affected and so I would like to get confirmation from the Governor. Yesterday whether any government department, whether CSD or the British military force or any other government departments were practising the firing of tear gas in the firing range in Castle Peak? I would like to get confirmation on that.

And secondly, what measures will the Government take in order to identify the cause of the gas incident and to take measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents?

Governor: Well now that I’ve had notice of that question, which I suppose imaginatively one could relate to housing, the welfare of the elderly and human rights, in one way or another, I'll seek to reply to it in appropriate detail.

I very much doubt whether the British Garrison were firing tear gas yesterday because they did have the Secretary of State for Defence with them.

Mr Zachary Wong (in Chinese): Of course it’s related to housing because the entire neighbourhood was affected and all the residents were affected. So 1 would like to make a recommendation because similar things have happened elsewhere in Hong Kong and of course the frequency in Tin Shui Wai is particularly high and afterwards no cause has been identified and it seems that there is no way to identify the cause. And so I would like to suggest that maybe the EPD should set up a working group to really look into this in depth because previous incidents have not returned any causes and investigations have not returned any causes.

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Governor: It's a serious issue. I can assure the honourable gentleman that we will give it serious attention. I understand why he raises it in that imaginative, if tangential way and I think that many parents will have been particularly concerned because of the effect on school children in the area and we will try to give the honourable gentleman, who represents the interests of people in the community, in this case so successfully, we'll try to give him a full and early answer. I doubt whether it needs the establishment of a special committee. What it does require is an urgent and comprehensive answer to his question.

Mr Lawrence Yum Sin-ling (in Chinese): Thank you Mr President, a question for the Governor. I was one of those who submitted the letter to the Governor about the CSSA. Ten minutes before your arrival, Mr Governor, I also asked the Financial Secretary to take the letter down there but he refused. The Financial Secretary would give us the Budget and the Budget Debate would cover March and April, and many people are predicting that the provisional legislature will become a rubber-stamp. Would we be taking a pre-emptive step to become a rubber-stamp now, here?

Governor: I am not quite sure that I wholly follow the honourable gentleman's question but let me seek to respond to each of the parts that 1 did understand.

First of all, I was grateful for the honourable gentleman's attendance in the welcoming party down below. I think he will understand that the Financial Secretary, while the most obliging of men, wouldn't wish, even for the honourable gentleman, to play the role of Postman Pat. My honourable friend the Financial Secretary had the great benefit of substantial consultations with members of the Legislative Council earlier in the year about his Budget and spending priorities. I think he is well aware of the concerns of honourable members, just as he is well aware of the concerns in the financial markets and the concerns in the broader community that we should continue to enjoy a reputation for care in our public spending.

Can I add two points. First of all, the Budget this year, as the whole Council knows, as the whole community knows, is a curious one. It is, if you like, a one-off. The Budget takes place in a year in which sovereignty changes after three months -just over three months. Now that has inevitably made that our procedures have been different this year, though Chinese officials have said on a number of occasions and I hope on this occasion that they mean what they say, that this is a one-off. That they wouldn't seek to be involved in Hong Kong's budgetary procedures in this way again. But it does cause some problems. The honourable gentleman will know that Mr Qian Qichen, among others, has made it clear that there is only one Legislative Council before July 1, and I'm sitting in it and the Legislative Council has the authority to vote the budget and I hope will do so with enthusiasm.

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The other point that I would like to make is this; Hong Kong is in an extremely strong and healthy position economically and fiscally. Where other communities very often fight over deficits, we find ourselves sometimes it appears embarrassed by our surpluses. But because you've got a surplus as a Government, as a community, if you have a surplus as a family, it doesn't mean that the sensible thing to do is to spend it all. I think that whatever the size of our surplus may be and the honourable gentleman will know that when you add the land fund to our aggregate surplus, we’re extremely well off. Whatever the size of those figures, I don't think that anything would justify breaking the link that we’ve welded over the years between the growth in our overall economy and the growth in public spending. One of the reasons why we've got so much to spend today on areas like health and welfare and education is precisely because we've been sensible about relating spending to the growth in the economy in the past. So I hope the community and this Council will continue to be mature about the responsibilities of handling a surplus sensibly. It’s on the whole a rather nicer problem to have to face than dealing with deficits.

Mr Lee Wing-tat (in Chinese): Mr Governor, recently from the newspaper it is said that Mr Tung Chee Hwa was hoped to be public opinion leader. I hope that when you solve problems you also act as public opinion leader. I have done a survey. Ever since you reported to this post and there were two issues at the top of the list of matters of concern of members of the public. First Hong Kong's future political matters, the other issue is housing and for the housing issue, in the past six months actually it has topped the other issue on the list. I would like to know whether in your dream you have felt that the housing issue is no longer on the top of the list but actually has dropped to say seventh of eighth so that you are happy in your dream? Now we really don’t have too many opportunities left to ask you questions about housing because there are only several other months to go. So you have been here for five years, so what do you think is really the root of the housing problem. It seems that it is not a very difficult problem to solve but after five years we still don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel in the near term and we cannot say certainly that in the coming ten years housing problem will cease to be at the top of the list of concerns of members of the public.

Governor: First of all I very much agree with what the honourable gentleman said about the priority which the public give to housing. And I must say that it’s not only in this community. When I was myself a member of parliament, I think the issue that more than any other dominated my post bag as a MP was housing. And it’s understandable. It's related to people's sense of their own family security, it’s related very much to people’s financial position. It's related to their concerns about bringing up their children. It's very often related to their health as well and not surprisingly here in Hong Kong, because of increasing immigration still, because of the increase in household formation, because of the very substantial size still of the queue of people on the waiting list for housing, housing is a dominant feature.

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I don’t want, I’ve got them all here but I’ll recognise the seriousness of the honourable gentleman's question. I don't want to go through all the figures of what we've done and what we've achieved in the last four and a half, five years because I want to address a question which I won’t be around to help solve.

I think there are tw o real issues at the heart of our housing problems. The first is that despite the increase in the income in people's pockets, despite the effect that economic growth has had on things like median household incomes, there are still too many people who find it difficult to do what they want to do, that is to become a home owner. And if you look at world bank comparisons, in Hong Kong there should be far more people able to do that given our median household incomes.

Secondly, despite the fact that we put a huge amount of effort and a huge amount of resources into the provision of public housing, we still don’t give enough assistance to those in the greatest housing need and there is very little choice at all in our housing provision, particularly for the needy and the disadvantaged. What on the whole happens, what on the whole happens at the moment is that after five, six, seven years on the waiting list, a family get a housing authority flat and they’re then in it for life and sometimes their family are in it after. They will pay in that housing accommodation flat about a third as a proportion of their household income that they were paying in private sector probably far worse accommodation. If they're lucky they may be able to get into the HOS, into the home ownership scheme but nine out of every ten who apply for that scheme aren’t lucky. But I repeat we put a huge amount of effort, of money, of energy into trying to cope with the problem but we've still got probably 80,000, I know the waiting list is bigger than that, but 80,000 who are actually qualified to get public housing and are having to wait for too long.

That's why I think the issues that are raised in the long-term housing review are serious ones which the community has to address. We've got to try to ensure that public housing goes to those who need it most. We've got to ensure that there is more flexibility in our housing provision and we’ve got to ensure that it becomes easier for people to become home owners than it is today. And in trying to achieve that we don't give up what we've got to do for those who are still in real need. I was standing on a rooftop in Sham Shui Po the other day looking at some of the awful housing that people still have in what is one of the most prosperous communities in the world. It is a challenge to us administratively and a challenge to our social consciences as well. These are big problems. I don't think we can go on trying to tackle them in the way that we've been using for the last ten or twenty years.

Finally, I’d commend to the whole Legislative Council a speech made on this subject about a fortnight ago by the Director of Housing in which he set out all these issues, I thought with considerable clarity and considerably verve.

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Mr Lee Wing-tat (in Chinese): A very short question. So Mr Governor has let us know how he feels. 1 would like to give him two of my observations. First, everyone in Hong Kong, especially middle-class has got one motto, we are all of us are actually working for life for real estate developers and this is a very important fact. Mr Governor, you have never mentioned the interests of real estate developers and the relationship between real estate developers and the Governor.

Secondly, I would like to express appreciation towards the steering committee of ACB, headed by Madame Chan. I think over a period of five years they have achieved so much and so this is a great feat among government departments to look at land vetting, to look at environmental protection and other disciplines. Why is it that it takes 14 years for land to be vetted, to be supplied and before a unit is actually produced? As the head of the administration, don't you find this unacceptable?

Now it takes five years to build an airport. Why can't the period for building units be shortened?

■' • ; It. .

Governor: I can't speak for the Chief Secretary but I suspect that she and I would have a good deal of sympathy with the honourable gentleman’s question and I think that we do have to speed up our procedures very considerably. The honourable gentleman referred to the position of real estate developers. It is interesting and I'd better be careful with what I say. I don't think that in late February 1997, it's entirely sensible for me to open up yet another front, it is interesting that in a community which is recognised internationally for its ability to deliver spectacularly good value for money in spectacularly short periods, that we don't have that reputation in housing. I've been very careful in the way that I've said that, but for example, you don't see, setting aside the government or government subsidised schemes, you don't see quite as much competition at the lower cheaper end of the market as you see in comparably well-off communities and I think that that's a subject which I know everybody else talks about a great deal, it's perhaps dangerous for the Governor to flirt with it. Perhaps the honourable member would like to come in.

The President: This is the Governor's question time!

Mr Albert Ho Chun-yan (in Chinese): Chairman, in answer to Mr Martin Lee's question the Governor gave a reply which disappointed me. The Governor seems to be saying that for the legality of the provisional legislature to be handed over to the UN would be worthless and there may be difficulties with procedures and so on. But the Governor has close links with the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, I am sure they would understand the problems. If you cast doubt on the validity of this point, why did the Foreign Secretary mention this very point? Was this just grandstanding or would it achieve any particular purpose?

15

I did some research before I came here, I read some information on International Law. I have got the book here with me, perhaps I can make available a copy to the Governor himself later on. It is just a few pages about the procedures for the International Court, it is not all that complicated; I think the UK Government can take the first step regarding the litigation and let the Chinese Government respond. I think the Security Council or the full Council of UN can seek some opinion from the ICJ. As long as the UK Government takes the first step, we can sit back and wait for the Chinese Government to reply, we don't have to take it for granted that the Chinese Government would be resistant to these ideas. Maybe the Chinese Government would like to use the International Court to prove that the provisional legislature would be lawful, or they would like to use the International Court to challenge your constitutional reform, Mr Governor. I don't think you should take it for granted that the Chinese Government would object to that. I hope that you would answer me categorically. Will you urge the UK Government to take the very first step so that we can have a fair resolution?

Governor: 1 am not, as I have had to point out to the council before, a lawyer, though I have become more knowledgeable about legal matters since I have been Governor of Hong Kong and I am sure that after speed-reading the document which is at present in the President's hands, I will be -

President: Is it meant for me or meant for you?

Governor: - even better informed. It is called "Stark on International Law", i have in my hands the 8th Edition and I am looking forward to reading it later on this afternoon.

To be serious, the simple pcsition - and I think Mr Stark or Professor Stark or Lord Justice Stark or whoever he is will agree with me - the simple position is that where two countries agree to take a dispute to the International Court of Justice, the International Court of Justice will accept the case from them. If one of the parties to the dispute does not accept that and resists going with the other party to the ICJ, then the party which is concerned has to get the agreement of the General Assembly of the United Nations to the ICJ's role in the case.

Now there may be an argument for doing that but I would just like to point out to the honourable gentleman that the General Assembly of the UN does not meet until next autumn, and next autumn is after July 1, by which time I suppose it is possible that the business in Shenzhen will have moved south, much to the discredit of those involved and much to the disadvantage of Hong Kong.

16

What 1 want to assure the honourable gentleman of is this. That this issue will remain an important issue for the United Kingdom Government. It is not something about which the British Government has agreed to disagree - to borrow a phrase. We have to take our responsibilities under the Joint Declaration seriously and intend to continue to do so. That applies to human rights and human rights legislation and it also applies to the question of democratic development.

I can assure the honourable gentleman of one other thing. We are told that an early priority in the months after July 1 will be to design election arrangements for the elected legislature after the handover. I think the United Kingdom, like other countries around the world, will be looking at those arrangements with great interest. We will be interested if those arrangements prove to be fairer than the present ones. We will be interested if those arrangements increase the suffrage in Hong Kong. We will be interested if those arrangements have the principal purpose of reducing those who can get elected on a democratic platform. Those are all issues which are going to be of considerable concern to the United Kingdom, the United States - as the United States has made clear - and to others. And I think what we have to do is to maximise interest in those issues and concern about those issues by behaving in the way which is most likely to build an international consensus rather than in a way which may narrow international support for decency, good sense and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Mr Albert Ho (in Chinese): Chairman, a short follow-up. Mr Governor mentioned a few points, obviously these are of concern to all of us here in this Council. We would do what we have to do to make sure that the election would be fair. Now what is of concern to us is that the Joint Declaration will apply to Hong Kong for 50 years. Now there is a blatant contravention of it and the Bill of Rights Ordinance. These things are getting escalated albeit partially, and all these problems are problems that we have to address.

The Governor mentioned taking the matter to the ICJ. Now in this booklet there are so many procedures. I hope that the UK Government would take the responsibility and take the first step. I think that in the next month the Human Rights Commission will hold the first meeting, a general meeting. I hope that the Governor would convey to the UK Government the message that the Bill of Rights does not really contravene the Basic Law and the Joint Declaration. I hope that he will arouse more concern in the Human Rights Commission. I hope that the Chinese Government will also pay attention to this regard.

17

Governor: Let me follow what the honourable gentleman said. I would guess that the honourable gentleman, like me, has yet to hear from anyone who is supporting what he described as the emasculation of our civil liberties legislation, has yet to hear a single rational description of in what way our civil liberties legislation breaches the Basic Law. All that we hear is that the Bills are going to be changed because of Article 160 in the Basic Law which is the Article which says that Bills can be changed if they are not in line with the Basic Law. I mean it is a completely circular argument, it is like a cat chasing its own tail. I think that was the point made by the Chairman of the Bar Association.

Why is it - why is it that these laws are going to be changed? Not a single argument about them being in contravention of the Basic Law. But a lot of implied concern that somehow they will bring about social chaos and instability in Hong Kong. We have had these Bills and where is the social chaos.

I looked up, before today, the figures for marches and demonstrations in Hong Kong and it is perfectly true that as Hong Kong has become a more open, more plural society, as it has developed a civic consciousness, so there have been more marches and demonstrations. The figures increased very substantially over the last decade. At the same time, our economy has doubled in size and crime has fallen, so nobody can say that allowing people to demonstrate, allowing people to let off steam is bad for our economy or that it is bad for social order. The fact of the matter is that if you try to stop people using safety-valves, the steam will come out in other ways, and in ways which do lead to social disharmony.

The United Kingdom has made it clear that the report that will go to Parliament every six months on the implementation of the Joint Declaration, will be made available to the treaty-watching bodies in Geneva so that even if there isn't proper reporting from Hong Kong, at least there is some focus for Geneva's consideration of what is actually happening in this territory.

End

18

Transcript of remarks by Financial Secretary *****

Following is the remarks made by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, at a media session after attending the luncheon of the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel this (Thursday) afternoon:

FS: Well since I'd made my speech in English, if you wouldn’t mind I want to say a few words in Cantonese and I may be able to answer a few questions in either English or Cantonese.

Q: Mr Tsang, has the feel good factor returned?

FS: The feel good factor returned in 1996 and they are strong with us that is reflected in the level of investment in Hong Kong, particular in the private sector. You can see the numbers growing in the stock market and the property market. I think it is going to stay with us for a long while.

Q: How confident are you that inflation or the CPI(A) would be restrained in seven per cent or kept at seven per cent?

FS: Well, that is our forecast at this moment in time, and we’re going to review it in the middle of the year. But I do see in terms of the level of investment and the general economic activities that we would not be able to hold inflation rate down to six per cent as in 1996 and it is likely to edge upward, and I think seven per cent is a reasonable estimate.

Q: Given the strong reserve and that is the last Budget before the handover, are you considering giving a gift to the Hong Kong public in your Budget announcement?

FS: You don’t know the amount of the reserve, let me tell you on March 12. Thank you very much indeed.

End

19

FS forecasts a promising economic outlook for Hong Kong *****

The Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, said today (Thursday) Hong Kong would start life as a Special Administrative Region in sound economic shape, with every prospect of remaining the most attractive business location in the region.

Breaking with tradition, Mr Tsang has chosen to announce the economic forecasts for 1997 in advance of his Budget Speech, which he will deliver at the Legislative Council on March 12.

In his Budget Prelude Speech entitled "Hong Kong 1997 Economic Outlook" to the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association, Mr Tsang said: "I believe it is right to demonstrate as plainly as possible that market forces, not the annual budget, determine Hong Kong's economic performance."

In describing the economic outlook for 1997, Mr Tsang said he forecast GDP to grow by 5.5%.

"But let me emphasise that this figure is not a commitment, not even a target. It simply represents our best, objective estimate of how the Hong Kong economy will perform during the current year," he said.

"This would give us another year of solid economic performance, witii growth very much in line with our medium-term forecast of 5%.

"This growth rate is about the right, sustainable level for our mature economy."

Mr Tsang expected the economy to perform better in foreign trade, and the growth rate of private consumption expenditure to pick up to 5.5%.

"Unemployment will remain low. Stronger earnings and a tighter labour market will boost consumer confidence. In addition, the recent boom in the property market will be a positive influence on consumer psychology," he said.

The growth rate for overall investment would slacken during 1997, Mr Tsang said. Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation is forecast to grow by 7.4%, with expenditure on building and construction rising by 5.8% and expenditure on machinery and equipment by 7.6%.

Mr Tsang expected that there would be a rebound in foreign trade in 1997.

20

"We expect that Hong Kong’s status as a Special Administrative Region will create new trade and investment opportunities as the modernisation process continues to transform the Chinese economy,” he said.

”We forecast that Hong Kong's exports of services will grow by 8%. Total exports of goods will grow by 8.5%, with domestic exports static but re-exports rising by 10%."

Now that the Airport Core Programme projects had entered the final stage, Mr Tsang expected the public sector investment to slow down in 1997. Mr Tsang was also aware of the pressure on consumer prices as a result of faster economic growth.

"Lower unemployment rates could also put pressure on wages," he said.

"Hence we are expecting the Consumer Price Index (A) to rise at a somewhat higher rate than last year and to record an average increase of 7% for 1997.”

In his speech Mr Tsang also summarised Hong Kong's performance in 1996.

"The key feature of our performance in 1996 was the speed at which the economy turned itself round. GDP growth reached a low point of 3.3% in the first quarter of last year. In the second half of 1996, GDP was already growing faster than our medium-term trend forecast of 5%. For the year as a whole, GDP grew by 4.7%," he said.

Accounting for this performance, Mr Tsang said that the recovery was generated mainly by revival in consumer spending. Private consumption expenditure rose by 4% for the year as a whole.

He supplemented: "The revival reflected:

* a rise of 3.2% in real household income,

* a decline to 6.7% in the inflation rate by the end of the year, and

* a fall to 2.6% in the unemployment rate by the fourth quarter."

Mr Tsang observed that the strong growth of investment also underpinned performance. Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation rose by 11%, the second highest rate recorded so far in the 1990s.

On external trade, a growth rate of 6% was recorded for export of services.

21

"Because imports of services grew at only 2%, the surplus on invisible trade was enough to offset a very large part of the deficit on visible trade," Mr. Tsang noted.

As regards exports of goods, a drop of 8% in domestic exports and an increase of 8% in re-exports were recorded. Mr Tsang said that a slowdown in the growth of exports was to be expected after the continuous double-digit expansion in the first half of the 1990s. The less favourable market conditions in the US and Germany and the new tax and customs measures in China also contributed.

Looking ahead, Mr Tsang said that 1997 would bring its special challenges and anxieties. He pledged that the Government would play its part by sticking firmly to its budgetary guidelines and maintaining tight control over government spending.

"The outlook which emerges from these forecasts is encouraging, and we are poised to achieve a 5.5% increase in GDP," he concluded.

End

Hong Kong Foreign Exchange Reserves at end-January 1997 *****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (Thursday) that, as at the end of January 1997, Hong Kong's foreign reserves held in the Exchange Fund stood at US$65.9 billion, up from the corresponding figure at the end of December last year of US$63.8 billion. This reflected largely the increase of foreign reserves held in the Exchange Fund as backing for additional banknotes issued ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Including forward transactions to be settled, Hong Kong's foreign reserves at the end of January 1997 stood at US$71.1 billion, compared with US$69.6 billion at the end of December 1996.

This is the first time the HKMA moved on to monthly disclosure on foreign exchange reserves of Hong Kong, as part of the ongoing effort to increase transparency of the HKMA's operations. An HKMA spokesman cautioned, however, that "monthly figures are likely to show sharp seasonal variations."

22

Foreign Reserves Ranking

1. Japan US$217 billion Jan 97

2. China US$105 billion Dec 96

3. Germany US$88 billion Dec 96

4. Taiwan US$88 billion Dec 96

5. United States US$77 billion Dec 96

6. Singapore US$77 billion Dec 96

7. Hong Kong US$65.9 billion Jan 97

8. Spain US$59 billion Dec 96

Sources: IMF, HKMA

Exchange Fund

Foreign Currency Assets

Excluding forward transactions Net forward transactions (US$ Bn) Including forward transactions

March 95 52.4 (0.2) 52.2

June 95 53.6 - 53.6

September 95 51.8 2.8 54.6

December 95 55.4 1.8 57.2

March 96 58.1 1.7 59.8

June 96 57.3 2.7 60.0

September 96 55.4 6.7 62.1

December 96 63.8 5.7 69.6*

January 97 65.9 5.2 71.1

*Does not cross-add due to rounding

End

23

Overall food hygiene standard acceptable *****

The Department of Health today (Thursday) announced at a press conference the results of its food surveillance programme for 1996.

The food surveillance programme is conducted by the Department’s Hygiene Division to monitor that food supplied to the community is wholesome, unadulterated and properly labelled. A total of 47,104 samples were collected for chemical, bacteriological and radioactivity tests in 1996.

Commenting on the surveillance results, Assistant Director of Health (Hygiene) Dr Leung Pak-yin said: "The overall trend in 1996 is similar to that of 1995 and is within acceptable levels."

Of the 29,504 samples for chemical analyses, only 543 (1.8%) yielded unsatisfactory results. The majority of these unsatisfactory cases were vegetable samples containing excessive pesticide residues.

Dr Leung said: "This is due to the much larger number of samples collected at the new Man Kam To Food Control Office which commenced operation in early 1996 and has enhanced import control at the border and provided better safeguard for public health."

As for the 16,635 samples for bacteriological examinations, 1,260(7.6%) gave unsatisfactory results. Compared with other food items, samples of sashimi (39.2%) and sushi (49.1%) collected at wholesale and retail levels yielded the highest unsatisfactory rates in 1996. It was however noted that their hygienic condition was improving over the year: the unsatisfactory rates for sashimi and sushi had dropped from 43.2% and 51.9% respectively in the first half of 1996 to 37.3% and 47.8% respectively in the latter half of the year.

Dr Leung attributed the slight improvement to the efforts of the two Municipal Councils, the two Municipal Services Departments and the Department of Health over the hygiene of sashimi and sushi and the widely publicised message of the importance of proper handling and processing of this kind of food.

"The situation hopefully would further improve after putting premises preparing, serving and selling sushi and sashimi under licensing control by the Urban Services Department and the Regional Services Department in early 1997," he added.

24

All the 965 samples for radioactive examination were found to be within acceptable level.

Regarding food poisoning, the incidence rate (i.e. number of cases per 100,000 population) increased from 3.25 in 1995 to 4.98 in 1996. However, the number of people affected dropped from 1970 to 1820. The incidence rate due to pesticide contaminated vegetables also decreased by more than half in 1996 when compared with 1995 and the number of persons affected dropped from 48 to 8.

More than 80% of the food poisoning outbreaks were due to bacterial contamination. The public are reminded to observe strict personal and environmental hygiene when preparing food, particularly in the summer months.

It was noted that the number of food poisoning outbreaks related to meals taken in food premises was on the increase. Investigation revealed that most of these cases were due to improper handling and storage of food and hygienic food preparation practices.

Separately, the number of food complaint cases rose from 367 in 1995 to 641 in 1996. Dr Leung said that the great increase was due to the growing awareness of the public over food hygiene and the strengthening of publicity on how to lodge food complaints. Commenting on the nature and subjects of complaints, he said that most of the substantiated ones were made against the presence of foreign substances in foods consumed in food premises.

Dr Leung said: "Although the overall situation is still acceptable, the Department's Hygiene Division will step up health education work in 1997 among the management and operational levels of food premises in the light of the findings pertaining to food poisoning and food complaint cases."

Focus will be on hygienic handling and processing of foods to prevent cross contamination.

Other initiatives will include publishing a "Food News", preparing guidelines or codes of practice on food safety for food traders and organising training courses for the trade, he added.

End

25

Area Traffic Control System to be installed in Sha Tin

*****

The Transport Department today (Thursday) awarded a $22 million contract to ATS Technology (Hong Kong) Limited for installing an area traffic control (ATC) system in Sha Tin.

The contract covers the supply and installation of 83 new traffic signal controllers to replace existing ones in Sha Tin, Tai Wai and Ma On Shan together with other associated civil works.

Speaking on the project, a spokesman for the department said: "There will be about 19 junctions operating in a fully traffic responsive manner.

"Under the control of the ATC system, signal plans will be generated and implemented automatically to meet the demand of prevailing traffic conditions as measured through detectors on roads.

. fiGuj.

"The ATC system seeks to improve traffic surveillance by ensuring smooth coordination of traffic signals and instant response to fluctuating demands." ■ » , /. . I.

Motorists travelling in Sha Tin and Ma On Shan area will benefit from a reduction in the number of stops at traffic signals.

■J..

"It is estimated that journey time will be reduced by about 20 per cent to 30 per cent," the spokesman said.

A fault management system will be installed at the same time to enable prompt repairs to traffic signals.

The project is expected to complete in April 1998.

End

26

Civic Education Exhibition moves to Ma On Shan *****

The Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) will stage its latest round of exhibition in Ma On Shan tomorrow (Friday) focusing on the promotion of the concepts of human rights and equal opportunities, and the Basic Law.

Entitled Civic Education Exhibition ‘97, the event will be held with free admission from 10 am to 8 pm until March 2 (Sunday) on Level 2 of Sunshine City Plaza in Ma On Shan.

On display will be the full text of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Basic Law, as well as easy to understand visual presentations on the protection of privacy in relation to personal data.

An introduction to the major principles of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and the Disability Discrimination Ordinance will be on display to enable visitors to acquaint themselves with the rights and protections enshrined in these two ordinances.

There will also be exhibits showing the three winning projects of the Community Participation Scheme ’96 and the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Three publicity films on the importance of the rights of the individual, equal opportunities and protection of privacy, together with a TV series, "Know more about Basic Law” will be screened during the exhibition designed in the ancient Greek architectural style.

Another attraction will be a garden-like setting showing life-size models of a four-member family - the ’’Human Rights Family” - together with the sunflowers which featured prominently in the Committee’s publicity films.

Souvenirs, cassette tapes, leaflets on the Committee and the Civic Education Resource Centre as well as pamphlets on sexual orientation and protection of privacy rights will be distributed to visitors at no cost.

The exhibition is the last of the series organised by CPCE. Two previous exhibitions mounted in Whampoa Garden and Taikoo Shing in November and December respectively last year attracted a total of 12,000 visitors.

End

27

Plea for public participation to regulate broadcasting *****

The Chairman of the Broadcasting Authority, Sir Roger Lobo, today (Thursday) paid tribute to members of the Television Viewing Groups and Advisory Panels for their hard work in making Hong Kong's broadcasting industry "vibrant, progressive and responsive".

Speaking at a reception hosted in their honour by the Broadcasting Authority (BA), Sir Roger said their opinion, suggestions and advice on the performance of the broadcasters, as well as the appropriateness of the programme and advertising standards had been most valuable.

"You have done a wonderful job, sacrificing your time to complete questionnaires and attending the district and regional meetings. Your contributions are deeply appreciated," he said.

In his welcoming speech, Sir Roger also reviewed the work of BA in the past year which included the mid-term review of the sound broadcast licence of Metro Broadcast, the launching of a home page on the internet to enhance communication with members of the community, and the opening up of meetings of the Codes of Practice Committee to the public.

Echoing Sir Roger's views, the Commissioner for Television and Entei .ainment Licensing Authority (TELA), Mr Eddy Chan, stressed the need for public participation to ensure effective regulation of broadcasting.

He noted that in 1996, the public had lodged as many as 2,500 complaints against television and radio broadcasts with BA, an increase of 49 per cent compared with the previous year. This indicates that more and more people are now aware of BA's Complaints Hotline and are using it as a channel for monitoring of broadcasting services.

He undertook to keep the complaint procedures under constant review so as to provide a fair, reasonable and satisfactory response to every complainant and broadcaster.

28

The Television Viewing Advisory Scheme has been set up to solicit public opinions from all walks of life, and to keep the authorities abreast of public moods and trends.

Under the scheme, 18 district Television Viewing Groups, with a total of over 500 members, are formed in the Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories. Together, they become a territory-wide network from which the Broadcasting Authority can obtain feedback on the prevailing programme standards and consider the adequacy of TELA’s regulatory work.

End

Ten organisations to raise funds in March *****

A total of 10 organisations have been granted permission to raise funds for charitable purposes next month (March), a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department said today (Thursday).

They will either sell flags, tokens or similar items, or place donation boxes in designated public places.

Members of the public can call the Department's hotline 2343 2255 in case of doubt.

Any organisation planning to hold activities involving collection of money or sale or exchange for donation of badges, tokens or similar articles in a public place for charitable purposes should apply for a public subscription permit from the Social Welfare Department.

The spokesman appealed to organisers to take precautions against any possible fraud.

"Sellers should display the permit or carry copies of the permit for inspection upon request if the fund-raising is mobile," he said.

The spokesman also advised them to prepare guidelines for sellers, setting out the places and the times for selling and the collection points for bags.

29

’’Organisers should inform the Police in case of loss of property, and seek their help when fraudulent acts, such as tampering of collection bags or making unauthorised selling, are found,” he added.

Permits are given to the following organisations for raising funds next month:

Flag Day

Event Day Organisation

March 1 Wu Oi Christian Centre Ltd.

March 8 Hong Kong PHAB Association

March 15 Hong Kong Blind Union

March 22 Breakthrough Ltd.

March 29 The Lutheran Church - Hong Kong Synod

Subscription

Event Date Organisation

March 1-31 International Buddhist Progress Society (HK) Ltd.

March 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 Jesus is Lord School of Ministry (HK) Ltd.

March 9 Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong)

March 16 Earthcare (Hong Kong) Ltd.

March 31 The Association of Chinese Evangelical Ministry Ltd.

End

30

Applications invited to sponsor 1998 fireworks display

*****

The Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch today (Thursday) invited organisations wishing to sponsor the 1998 Lunar New Year fireworks display to submit expressions of interest to the Government.

Since 1982, fireworks displays have been held over the Victoria Harbour in the evening of the second day of the Lunar New Year to celebrate the spring festival.

"Over 650,000 spectators turned out to watch the 1997 display," a spokesman for the Branch said.

Applications should be addressed to the Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport, 41st Floor, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai on or before April 30.

Further enquiries can be made on telephone 2594 5657 during office hours.

End

Fire safety talks for schools

*****

Secondary schools are encouraged to take advantage of talks by officers of the Fire Services Department to enhance fire safety education for students.

An Education Department circular being sent to schools announces that with immediate effect, the Fire Services Department will conduct, upon request from schools, fire safety talks about twice a year to all secondary school students.

"The talks aim to strengthen among our young people fire safety knowledge and raise their awareness about the importance of fire precaution in their daily life," a Principal Education Officer, Mr Andrew Poon said.

"Schools are encouraged to participate in this meaningful activity."

The school circular also contains a list of names and contact phone numbers of responsible station commanders of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories.

31

’’Heads of schools should make prior arrangement with the respective Fire Station in the district so that talks can be delivered immediately after the conduct of fire drills in schools,” Mr Poon said.

Enquiries and requests for talks should be directed to the station commander or in his absence, the Duty Officer of the fire station in the respective district.

End

Donation to agricultural trust fund *****

The Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr Lawrence Lee today (Thursday) received a $50,000 donation on behalf of the J.E. Joseph Trust Fund which has been providing agricultural credit to local farmers through agricultural co-operative societies.

The donation was made by the Federation of Pig Raising Co-operative Societies of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories, Limited in support of local farming.

Dr Lee thanked the Federation after receiving the cheque from its chairman, Mr Leung Chik, at a presentation ceremony held at the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) headquarters this morning.

The J.E. Joseph Trust Fund was established in 1954 under the J.E. Joseph Trust Fund Ordinance for the purpose of encouraging and improving agriculture in the New Territories.

The Fund, together with the Kadoorie Agriculture Aid Loan Fund and the Vegetable Marketing Organisation Loan Fund, are administered by the AFD to meet farmers' credit needs.

Loans have been made from the Fund to farmers’ co-operative societies for running animal feed/breeding stock bulk purchase schemes, or for relending to individual member-farmers as farm development or working capital.

32

At present, the revolving Fund, including accumulated surplus, exceeds $10 million.

In 1996, a total of 440 Ioans amounting to $27,739,000 were made to farmers through the three loan funds to meet their credit needs.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

*****

Tender date : 27 February 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q072

Issue date : 28 February 1997

Maturity date : 1 April 1997

Amount applied HK$ 14,545 MN

Amount allotted HKS5.000 MN

Average yield accepted : 4.97 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 5.00 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 27 PCT

Average tender yield : 5.03 PCT

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ISSUED BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GARDEN ROAD, 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Friday, February 28, 1997

Contents PageJ^L

Consultation on interception of communications.............................. 1

Campaign to fight against pornographic materials............................ 3

High Commissioner's visit welcomed.......................................... 4

Lady Thatcher to officiate at opening of Lantau Link.................. 5

Hong Kong - Japan Air Services Agreement signed....................... 6

Community building activities to mark Handover........................ 7

Closure order proposed for unlicensed PPEs............................

Tender for new Lantau taxi licences...................................

Briefing for traders on basic telecoms negotiations................... 10

Provisional statistics of retail sales for December 1996.............. 11

External trade figures for January 1997 .............................. 14

Contents

Page No,

Monetary statistics for January 1997 ........................................ 16

HKMA Quarterly Bulletin February issue now on sale........................... 19

HK & China set up network of automatic weather stations...................... 20

Two lots of land for auction................................................. 22

Recreation facilities in Ho Man Tin and Kwun Tong............................ 23

Film archive and leisure centre for Sai Wan Ho............................... 23

Wo Keng Shan DPA plan published.............................................. 24

Prompt collection of BN(O) passports......................................... 25

Application for part-time teachers invited................................... 26

Flushing water cut in To Kwa Wan............................................. 27

Consultation on interception of communications ♦ * * * *

The Government released today (Friday) a consultation paper on the Interception of Communications Bill to seek public views on its proposals to provide better protection to privacy of communications by regulating the interception of communications.

The consultation paper, in the form of a White Bill, was gazetted today for one month's consultation, a Government spokesman said.

The Legislative Council's Security and Information Policy Panels, District Boards, the Fight Crime Committee and District Fight Crime Committees will receive copies of the White Bill as well as briefings by Government officials.

Members of the public can obtain copies of the consultation paper from District Offices.

The spokesman explained that the proposals in the White Bill were drawn up based on the recommendations in the Law Reform Commission (LRC) report entitled "Privacy : Regulating the Interception of Communications" published last December.

"We have accepted key recommendations in the LRC report. In view of the complexity of the issue and its wide-ranging implications, we believe that there is a need to consult interested parties of the community.

"The publication of a White Bill is the best means to gauge public opinion over this issue and to make it clear to all how we would like to proceed.

"A careful assessment of public opinion, obtained through consultation and analysis, should help us understand the likely reaction of the community to any proposed course of action or change in policy," he said.

A major proposal in the Bill is to introduce a judicial warrant system to regulate the interception of communications, replacing the current arrangements of executive warrants under section 33 of the Telecommunication Ordinance and section 13 of the Post Office Ordinance.

It will then become an offence, punishable by a maximum of two years' imprisonment and a fine of $50,000, to intentionally intercept communications, unless the action is pursuant to a judicial warrant or exempted in the Bill.

2

The spokesman said that a judicial warrant would be required for the interception of communications in the course of its sending via the Post Office or by telecommunication, such as telephone calls, facsimile messages, telegrams and pagers.

Under the proposed system, an authorised public officer may apply to one of three designated High Court judges for the issue of a warrant authorising interception of communications where the information required cannot reasonably be obtained by other means.

"The information required must be either for preventing, investigating or detecting serious crime, or for the security of Hong Kong.

"A warrant would be issued for an initial period not exceeding six months, and may be renewed upon application for extension, if justified," the spokesman said.

The Governor will appoint a Justice of Appeal to act as a "Supervisory Authority" to review the issue of and compliance with warrants.

"He will also review the adequacy of safeguards devised by authorised public officers to limit the disclosure of intercepted material," the spokesman said.

"The 'Supervisory Authority' will be empowered to receive and examine complaints from persons regarding unlawful interception by law enforcement agencies and to award compensation to aggrieved individuals.

"To promote accountability, he will furnish annually a report to the Governor and the Legislative Council covering the number of warrants authorised and their average length and extensions," he added.

Members of the public and interested parlies should send their views on the consultation paper to the Security Branch, sixth floor, Central Government Offices, Main Wing, Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong on or before April 4 this year.

End

3

Campaign to fight against pornographic materials * * ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to the concern raised by the Fight Crime Committee and the public at large, the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA), the Police and the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) will launch a three-month campaign, starting from tomorrow (I March), against pornographic materials in public places.

Details were announced at a press conference today (Friday) by the Commissioner for TELA, Mr Eddy Chan; Police Senior Superintendent, Mr Steve Robins; and Senior Superintendent of Customs and Excise, Mr Ronny H.K. Tsang.

Mr Chan said that at present, the three departments were responsible for the enforcement of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (COIAO) which dealt with the sales and publications of indecent and obscene articles.

There is a good division of responsibility among them. TELA monitors articles on sale in the market, such as newspapers and magazines; issues summonses against publishers if their publications do not comply with statutory requirements; assists the Police in identifying blackspots; and takes part in regular joint operations with the other enforcement agencies.

The Police mainly deals with the sale of obscene and indecent articles at the wholesale/retail outlets, e.g. video and computer shops in the districts, while the Customs and Excise Department tackles obscene and indecent articles at the entry points and in the course of their copyright enforcement work.

Last year, they took out more than 890 prosecutions against those in breach of the Ordinance resulting in 930 people being arrested and 216,500 obscene and indecent articles, including 181,000 VCD/CD ROMs, forfeited. Some offences attracted penalties of fines and imprisonment.

Mr Chan said that to enhance public awareness of the problem, the campaign would focus on three main aspects - enforcement, publicity and education.

Stepped-up enforcement action

Accord priorities in taking enforcement action against pornographic articles. At present, the Police and TELA conduct joint operations at least once a week. These will be increased during the campaign period.

Where appropriate and in consultation with the Legal Department, apply to courts for higher penalties for COIAO offences.

4

Publicity

Increase the frequency of TV and radio APIs on COIAO and advertise TELA’s complaint hotline (2676 7676) in newspapers so as to facilitate the public to make complaints.

Publicise measures against pornographic articles on special radio and TV programmes, including the Police Magazine.

Public Education

Give talks on the COIAO to schools, concerned groups and youth centres.

Promote the awareness of news vendors, bookshop operators and video/computer shop operators of the provisions in the COIAO. Advisory letters and leaflets will also be distributed.

"We hope that through our intensive efforts, there will be increased public awareness of the problem of access to pornographic materials by young people,” Mr Chan said.

He also appealed to schools and parents to give more guidance to children in the choice of leisure readings.

End

High Commissioner's visit welcomed *****

The Government welcomes the visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Mrs Sadako Ogata, to Hong Kong from March 9 to 11, a Government spokesman said today (Friday).

The visit was announced earlier today by the Office of the UNHCR Chief of Mission in Hong Kong.

"We are very pleased that Mrs Ogata will be coming to Hong Kong," the spokesman said.

5

"The UNHCR has for many years played an important role in resolving the problem of Vietnamese refugees and migrants in Hong Kong.

"It has found and is continuing to find durable solutions for the refugees, and has been organising the provision of various services in the refugee and migrant camps and the Voluntary Repatriation Programme." he said.

The spokesman said that it is very fitting that Mrs Ogata visits Hong Kong to review the very substantial progress made so far and to call on the international community to help find durable solutions for the remaining Vietnamese in the territory.

"We look forward to seeing Mrs Ogata next week and wish her a very successful visit." he added.

End

Lady Thatcher to officiate at opening of Lantau Link

*****

A spokesman for Government House announced today (Friday) that the former British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon the Baroness Thatcher, has agreed to officiate at the opening ceremony of the Lantau Link on April 27.

Commenting on the announcement, the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten said :

"I am delighted that Lady Thatcher has agreed to be the guest of honour at the opening of the Lantau Link.

"Lady Thatcher has been a staunch friend of Hong Kong over many years. She has played a vital role in securing Hong Kong's future. Nothing symbolises that confident future better than the magnificent Tsing Ma Bridge. It is excellent news that Lady Thatcher has agreed to fly to Hong Kong for its opening."

End

6

Hong Kong - Japan Air Services Agreement signed *****

Another major step forward was taken today (Friday) to ensure the smooth continuation of Hong Kong’s air services beyond 30 June, with the formal signing of the Hong Kong - Japan Air Services Agreement by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip and the Consul-General of Japan, Mr Hideaki Ueda.

The Hong Kong Government's chief air services negotiator, Mr Mike Arnold, said the text of the Agreement took eight years to negotiate. It was concluded and initialled in December 1995, and the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group gave its endorsement in December 1996.

"Since the initialling of the Air Services Agreement, detailed discussions have taken place in both Hong Kong and Tokyo to finalise the air traffic arrangements that will operate under the new Agreement.

"The new arrangements were finally concluded on 26 February this year after two days of talks in Hong Kong with Mr Norifumi Ide of the Japanese Ministry of Transport." Mr Arnold said.

Representatives of Hong Kong's three airlines - Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Air Hong Kong, the major Japanese airlines (Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Air System (JAS) and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), as well as the Japanese Consul-General's Office were also present during the final round of talks.

While regarding the contents of the traffic arrangements was commercially sensitive, Mr Arnold, however, indicated that the new arrangements were modelled very closely on the current UK arrangements concluded in 1986 under the HK/Japan Air Services Agreement in respect of Hong Kong's air services with Japan.

"As the current arrangements had proved to have been very successful in meeting the requirements of the - Hong Kong - Japan air services market, both sides in the talks decided to adopt the substance of the 1986 arrangements for the new traffic arrangements under the Hong Kong - Japan Air Services Agreement to ensure a smooth continuation of air services," Mr Arnold said.

Japan is a major market for all three of Hong Kong's airlines - Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Air Hong Kong. In 1996, the Japanese market represented about 18 per cent of the total revenue earned by the three carriers.

7

Currently, the airlines of Japan and Hong Kong together carry some 4 million passengers each year, serving nine cities in Japan.

Growth of passengers in 1996 as compared with 1995 was just over 20 per cent. The large number of passengers carried reflects the close business and tourism ties that exist between Japan and Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong - Japan Agreement is the sixteenth air services agreement signed by Hong Kong. The others were signed with the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Brunei, France, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Australia, Germany. Korea, Singapore, Italy and India.

End

Community building activities to mark I landover

*****

A variety of cultural, entertainment and community building activities to help present Hong Kong as a vibrant and caring community will be held from May to August to complement the Handover Ceremony and to facilitate and encourage greater public involvement.

Outlining the programmes at a press conference today (Friday), the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Michael Suen, said they ranged from district-based functions to major events of territory-wide interest.

’’The Home Affairs Department (HAD) and the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch (BCSB) are tasked with organising these events in conjunction with other non-government organisations.

"In addition, the Urban and Regional Councils have also been invited to organise their own activities as their contribution to the official programme,” Mr Suen said.

The community building activities co-ordinated by HAD will revolve around the various aspects of Hong Kong life. These include six theme-related projects in the areas of Housing, Education, Welfare, Health Care, Transport and Airport; carnivals in the urban areas and the New Territories; and an Asian Extravaganza.

8

"Apart from creating a positive mood, they will help to reassure the local community, overseas visitors and the international press corps that there are exciting developments on different fronts of Hong Kong that will ensure our stability and prosperity well into the next century," he added.

Cultural events, co-ordinated by BCSB, will include a ballet performance, recitals, and concerts by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and other performers.

A series of educational workshops and masterclasses will also be held for young music students, their teachers and the public.

As for the Municipal Councils, they will present a large-scale Sports and Games Carnival combining sports and entertainment activities which will also serve to pay tribute to Hong Kong sports stars in recognition of their contribution.

Other cultural events such as concerts and drama performances will also be organised by the two councils.

The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved $233 million for holding the Handover Ceremony and related activities in October last year, $40 million of which has been earmarked for organising these cultural and community building activities in the territory.

Joining Mr Suen at the press conference were the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau; Director of Regional Services, Mr Adolf Hsu; Director of Urban Services, Ms Elaine Chung; Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting. Culture and Sport, Mrs Jenny Wallis; and District Board chairmen.

Representatives of the co-organisers of the activities also attended the press conference where they were presented with Certificates of Appreciation for their support and contribution.

End

9

Closure order proposed for unlicensed PPEs

*****

The Places of Public Entertainment (Amendment) Bill 1997 which seeks to empower the licensing authorities to apply to a magistrate for a Closure Order to close any unlicensed places of public entertainment (PPEs), including cinemas, was published in the Gazette today (Friday).

Under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation, no person shall keep or use any PPEs without a licence. At present, the Urban Council and the Regional Council which are the licensing authorities in their respective areas, have no power to order an unlicensed PPE to be closed.

"In order to strengthen enforcement action against the continued illegal operation of unlicensed PPEs, the Bill intends to empower the licensing authorities to apply to a magistrate for the grant of a Prohibition Order to prohibit the keeping or use of a PPE for all purposes or for any purposes specified in the Prohibition Order," a Government spokesman said.

"If the Prohibition Order is breached, the licensing authorities may apply to a magistrate for a Closure Order to close the unlicensed business," he added.

Similar provisions already exist under section 128 of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance in respect of unlicensed food premises.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on 5 March.

End

Tender for new Lantau taxi licences

*****

The Transport Department today (Friday) invites tenders for 10 new Lantau taxi licences.

The issuing of these new taxi licences would help to meet the increasing demand for taxi services in North Lantau, a spokesman for the Transport Department said.

The invitation for tender is published in today's gazette.

10

Speaking on this tender exercise, the spokesman said: "Tenderers for these new licences are subject to, among others, two conditions which have been introduced since 1994.

*

"First, no one may bid for more than one licence. Second, these new licences are not transferable within 12 months from the date of first registration of the taxi concerned."

At present, there arc 40 taxis operating in Lantau.

The last tender exercise for Lantau taxis was in December 1984 when 10 licences were issued.

Tender forms are available for collection in person at the Public Vehicles Section, Transport Department, 3rd floor, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong.

Tenderers are requested to return the completed tender forms before noon on March 14, 1997. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Results of the tenders will be published later in the Government Gazette.

End

•j.

Briefing for traders on basic telecoms negotiations *****

The Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) and the Trade Department will jointly hold a briefing session tomorrow (Saturday) for the local telecommunications industry on the outcome of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations on basic telecommunications services.

Mr Alex Arena and Mr Anthony Wong Sik-kei from the OFTA; Deputy Director-General of Trade, Miss Yvonne Choi; and Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Geoffrey Woodhead will be panellists of the briefing session to be held at the Conference Hall of the Central Government Offices (New Annex).

• .. ... x, . .... /.

Mr Arena will give an in-depth analysis of the commitments made by Hong Kong and other WTO members and Miss Choi will speak on the background of the negotiations, their implications for the WTO and the global trade liberalisation efforts.

11

A question-and-answer session will follow immediately after the briefing.

Negotiations on basic telecommunications services conducted under the auspices of the WTO were successfully concluded on February 15.

A total of 69 member governments of the WTO have made binding commitments to open up their telecommunications markets.

The far-reaching agreement provides telecommunications service suppliers access to the global telecommunications markets, estimated at over US$600 billion per annum.

End

Provisional statistics of retail sales for December 1996 * * ♦ ♦ *

The value of total retail sales in December 1996, estimated at $22 billion, increased by 8% when compared with December 1995. After discounting the effect of price changes over the period, total retail sales increased by 3% in volume.

For 1996 as a whole, total retail sales rose by 6% in value and 2% in volume when compared with 1995. This reflected a gradual pick-up in consumer spending in 1996, from the increase of 5% in value and decline of 1% in volume in 1995.

These are provisional figures on retail sales released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Compared with a year ago, the increase in December 1996 was mainly attributable to the significant surge in sales of motor vehicles (26% in both value and volume), and jewellery, watches and clocks and valuable gifts (12% in value and 14% in volume).

Concurrently, sales of some other commodities also recorded increases of various magnitudes in both value and volume terms. These included other consumer durable goods (11% in value and 9% in volume); miscellaneous consumer goods (11% in value and 5% in volume) and food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (5% in value and 1% in volume).

On the other hand, sales in supermarkets and department stores both registered an increase of 4% in value. This, however, represented decreases of 2% and 5% in volume respectively. Similarly, sales of clothing and footwear and fuels rose by 8% and 5% in value respectively, but both went down by 4% in volume.

12

Compared with November 1996 (but bearing in mind that this comparison is affected by seasonal factors), total retail sales in December 1996 increased by 20% in both value and volume terms.

For 1996 as a whole, total retail sales improved both in value and volume terms. Sales of most commodities registered increases by various degrees in 1996.

These included consumer durable goods other than motor vehicles (7% in value and 6% in volume); miscellaneous consumer goods (11% in value and 5% in volume); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (6% in value and 2% in volume); clothing and footwear (9% in value and 1% in volume); motor vehicles (1% in value and 0.3% in volume) and jewellery, watches and clocks and valuable gifts (3% in value and 0.1% in volume). Sales in supermarkets also went up by 8% in value and 1% in volume.

On the other hand, sales in department stores registered an increase of 4% in value, but a decrease of 1% in volume. Besides, sales of fuels recorded a decrease of 2% in value and 8% in volume. The decline was largely due to the continued shift from retail purchases to direct purchases from major fuels suppliers.

The volume of retail sales is derived from the value of retail sales after adjusting for price changes. The relevant components of the Consumer Price Index are used as deflators.

Table 1 presents the revised total retail sales figure for November 1996 and the provisional figure for December 1996.

Table 2 shows the value and volume indices of retail sales in December 1995, November and December 1996 for all retail outlets and by type of retail outlets, with average retail sales from October 1994 to September 1995 taken as 100. Comparisons of the December 1996 results with those for November 1996 and those for December 1995, as well as comparisons of retail sales in the period from January to December of 1996 with the same period in 1995 are also given.

The report containing the analysis of the December 1996 results is now on sale at $4.00 per copy at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, G/F., Low Block, 66 Queensway; and the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19/F., Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

Enquiries about the survey results may be directed to the Wholesale and Retail Trade Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No. : 2802 1258).

13

TABLE 1 : TOTAL RETAIL SALES

Total Retail Sales for December 1996 (Provisional Figure) = HK$22,033.8 million

for November 1996 (Revised Figure) = HKS18,409.0 million

TABLE 2 : VALUE ANO VOLUME INDICES OF RETAIL SALES FOR DECEMBER 1995. NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 1996

(Monthly average of October 1994 - September 1995 = 100)

Index Number X Change

Type

Type of Outlets of December November December Dec 1996 Dec 1996 Jan - Dec 1996

Index 1995 1996 1996 compared compared compared

(Revised (Revised (Provisional with with with

figures) figures) figures) Nov 1996 Dec 1995 Jan - Dec 1995

(A) FOR ALL RETAIL OUTLETS (Point) (Point) (Point) (X) (X) (X) ♦6.3

Value 117.0 106.0 126.9 ♦19.7 ♦8.4

Volune 113.2 97.2 116.5 ♦19.8 ♦3.0 ♦1.6

(B) BY TYPE OF RETAIL OUTLETS

Food, alcoholic drinks Value 108.4 103.4 113.5 ♦9.7 ♦4.7 ♦5.5

and tobacco (other Volune 108.6 100.0 109.3' ♦9.4 ♦0.7 ♦2.3

than supermarkets)

Supermarkets $ Value 109.4 103.5 113.3 ♦9.5 ♦3.6 ♦7.5

Volune 104.3 92.7 102.0 ♦10.0 -2.2 ♦1.1

Fuels Value 98.2 87.1 102.6 ♦17.7 ♦4.5 -1.8

Volume 95.0 79.1 91.5 ♦15.7 -3.7 -8.2

Clothing, footwear and Value 131.7 116.0 141.7 ♦22.2 ♦7.6 ♦9.5

allied products Volume 125.0 97.0 119.5 ♦23.2 -4.4 ♦1.1

Consumer durable goods Value 98.5 103.2 112.9 ♦9.5 ♦14.6 ♦5.1

Volume 97.5 101.0 110.5 ♦9.4 ♦13.3 ♦4.3

- Motor vehicles Value 67.6 93.1 85.5 -8.2 ♦26.4 ♦0.7

and parts Volume 67.3 92.2 84.7 -8.2 ♦25.8 ♦0.3

- Consumer durable Value 117.2 109.2 129.5 ♦18.5 ♦10.5 ♦7.4

goods other than motor vehicles Volune 115.8 106.4 126.1 ♦18.5 ♦8.9 ♦6.4

and parts

Department stores Value 140.6 102.2 146.4 ♦43.3 ♦4.1 ♦4.5

Volune 135.0 89.1 128.4 ♦44.1 -4.9 •1-1

Jewellery, watches Value 118.4 105.3 132.4 ♦25.8 ♦11.8 ♦2.8

and clocks, and valuable gifts Volume 114.9 103.0 130.6 ♦26.8 ♦13.7 ♦0.1

Other consumer goods Value 115.5 110.0 127.7 ♦16.1 ♦10.6 ♦10.5

not elsewhere classified Volune 111.1 100.5 117.1 ♦16.5 ♦5.4 ♦5.5

NOTE : 0 Not including supermarkets operating in department stores.

The underlined figures were rounded up to 5.

End

14

External trade figures for January 1997 *****

In January 1997, the value of Hong Kong's re-exports and imports showed only marginal increases over a year earlier. Domestic exports continued to decline on a year-on-year basis.

These are shown in the external trade figures for January 1997 released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

The value of total exports (comprising re-exports and domestic exports) in January 1997 decreased by 0.7% over a year earlier to $119.4 billion. Within total exports, the value of re-exports increased by 0.9% to $102.1 billion, but the value of domestic exports decreased by 9.1% to $17.3 billion.

The value of imports increased by 1.1% in January 1997 over a year earlier to $131.8 billion.

As the value of total exports in January 1997 was smaller than that of total imports, a visible trade deficit of $12.4 billion, equivalent to 9.4% of the value of imports, was recorded. The corresponding visible trade deficit in January 1996 was $10.1 billion, equivalent to 7.7% of the value of imports.

Commenting on the latest trade performance, a Government spokesman said that trade figures usually displayed greater volatility in the first two months of each year. The small growth in both imports and re-exports in January 1997 was likely to have been affected by the different timing of the Lunar New Year Holidays in 1996 and 1997 and the high base of comparison resulting from the strong growth in external trade in January 1996. Thus it should be more meaningful to make comparison based on the figures for January and February combined, when the latter figures become available towards the end of next month.

The table presents the external trade figures in January 1997.

A more detailed analysis of Hong Kong's external trade for January 1997, by commodity and country/territory, will be released in mid-March 1997.

- 15 -

Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong

External Trade Figures for January 1997 (HKS Million)

MERCHANDISE TRADE VALLES for January 1997 “AAt:^—

Domestic Exports 17,274

Re-exports «□ 102,100

Total Exports Mdsa 119,374

Imports i«c 131.765

Trade balance -12,392

Change Sift

Current month compared January 1997 January 1996 Value %

with same month last year —AA-t^-3 -AAA^-^ WL

Domestic Exports 17,274 18,993 -1,719 -9.1

(% of Total Exports) (14.5%) (15.8%)

Re-exports 102,100 101.192 +908 +0.9

Total Exports II9374 120,185 -811 -0.7

Imports 131,765 130,279 +1,487 +1.1

Trade balance -12,392 -10,093 -2,298

Current month compared January 1997 December 1996

with last month / -AA-fc^-H -AAA¥-f-“£

Domestic Exports 17,274 18,217 -942 -5.2

(% of Total Exports) (14.5%) (15.6%)

Re-exports 102,100 98,446 +3,653 +3.7

Total Exports 119,374 116,663 +2,711 +2.3

Imports 131,765 131,409 +357 +0.3

Trade balance -12,392 -14,745 +2,354

Nov 96 to Jan 97 Nov 95 to Jan 96

Latest 3 months compared with AE^+-S

same period 12 months earlier mst SAt*-E £AA^-^

Domestic Exports 53,505 57,996 -4,491 -7.7

(% of Total Exports) (<swaicra#tt) (15.1%) (16.7%)

Re-exports «□ 300,922 290,150 +10,771 +3.7

Total Exports 354,427 348.146 +6,281 + 1.8

Imports 394,145 382,872 + 11,273 +2.9

Trade balance WS£S1 -39.719 -34,726 -4,993

Feb 96 to Jan 97 Feb 95 to Jan 96

Last 12 months compared with AA52^ A5^-3

same period 12 months earlier -tOBSRXmt SA-t^-^ SAA^-E

Domestic Exports 210.440 232,473 -22,032 -9.5

(% of Total Exports) (15.1%) (17.1%)

Re-exports «□ 1,186.666 1,130,519 +56.147 +5.0

Total Exports 1.397.106 1.362.991 +34.115 +2.5

Imports 1,537,069 1.516,456 +20,613 + 1.4

Trade balance -139.963 -153,464 + 13.502

Note : Value of domestic exports and value of re-exports may not

add up to the value of total exports due to rounding.

This sheet can be obtained free of charge from

Trade Statistics Dissemination Section

Census and Statistics Department

Address 19/F . Wanchai Tower. 12 Harbour Road. Wan Chai. H K MMt: 2/97

Tel 25824915 Fax 2802 1101 ms • 2582 4915 : 2802 1101

End

16

Monetary statistics for January 1997 *****

According to statistics published today (Friday) by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), both deposits and loans and advances increased during January 1997.

Table 1 summarises figures for January 1997 and comparisons with earlier months.

Deposits

Total deposits rose by 1.4% in January 1997, reversing the fall of 1.1% in December 1996. This resulted from increases in both HK$ and foreign currency deposits of 2.2% and 0.3% respectively.

The increase in HK$ deposits was led by rises in demand and time deposits, which outweighed the fall in savings deposits. Demand deposits surged further by 11.4% in January, following a 8.3% growth in the previous month, while time deposits grew by 2.4%, having fallen by 3.5% in December 1996. The rapid rise of demand deposits might reflect the increase in transaction demand for money ahead of the Chinese New Year and the buoyancy of asset markets. On the other hand, savings deposits fell by 1.2%, having risen for five consecutive months by a total of 12.8%.

USS deposits dropped further by 0.3% during January, following a 2.7% decrease in the previous month. On the other hand, non-USS foreign currency deposits rose by 0.9%. As a result, total foreign currency deposits registered a 0.3% rise in January.

Loans and Advances

Total loans and advances rose slightly by 0.1% in January, following a fall of 0.2% in December 1996. Domestic credit rose by 3.8%, contributed by a 0.2% increase in loans for trade financing and a 4.2% increase in other loans for use in Hong Kong. The notable growth in other loans for use in Hong Kong was partly attributable to property-related lending and partly to the credit demand for settling payments before the Chinese New Year. The result of the January 1997 Residential Mortgage Survey of 33 authorized institutions revealed that outstanding residential mortgage loans grew by 2.6% during the month. Offshore loans dropped by 3.1% in January, in part due to the valuation effect stemming from the depreciation of Japanese Yen, since the bulk of these loans are Euro-yen loans booked in Hong Kong.

17

Analysed by currency, HK$ loans rose by 5% while foreign currency loans fell by 2.7% during the month. As the increase in HK$ loans was larger than that of HK$ deposits, the HK$ loan-to-deposit ratio rose to 106.1% at end-January 1997 from 103.3% at end-December 1996.

Money Supply

HK.SM1 surged by 11.5% in January, reflecting an increase of 11.4% in HKS demand deposits and a rise of 11.6% in currency held by the public. HK$M2 and HK$M3 increased by 2.7% and 2.6% respectively, reversing the 0.7% decrease in the previous month. In the twelve months to January 1997, HK$M1 rose by 25.3%, HKSM2 increased by 21.4% while HKSM3 grew by 21.1%.

- 18 -

TABLE 1 : MONETARY STATISTICS - JAN 1997

Money Supply M2? Dec 1996 ( Eadicijnpp.ths (% change (q Dec 1996) HKSmn)

Qct_1996 Jan 1926

Ml-HKS 221,087 198,304 ( 11.5) 188,522 ( 17.3) 176,481 ( 25.3 )

Foreign currency 18,150 19,149 ( -5.2) 18,694 ( -2.9) 19,351 ( -6.2)

Total 239,237 217,453 ( 10.0 ) 207,215 ( 15.5) 195,832 ( 22.2 )

M2-HKS© 1,543,467 1,503,341 ( 2.7) 1,442,300 ( 7.0) 1,271,678 ( 21.4 )

Foreign currency* 1,004,813 1,003,583 ( 0.1 ) 997368 ( 0.7) 999,957 ( 0.5 )

Total 2,548,280 2,506,924 ( 16) 2,439,668 ( 4-5 ) 2,271,635 ( 12.2 )

M3-HKS© 1,560,253 1,520,199 ( 2.6) 1,458,943 ( 6.9) 1,287,896 ( 21.1 )

Foreign currency* 1,069,297 1,066,126 ( 0.3 ) 1,059,955 ( 0.9 ) 1,061,874 ( 0.7)

Total 2,629,550 2,586,325 ( 17) 2,518,898 ( 4.4) 2,349,770 ( 11.9 )

Notes and coins in circulation 99,501 87,113 ( 14.2 ) 82,522 ( 20.6 ) 82,403 ( 20.7 )

of which held by public 85,430 76,516 ( 11.6 ) 73,575 ( 16.1 ) 70,949 ( 20.4 )

Total Deposits

Total Demand deposits 153,807 140,937 ( 9.1 ) 133,640 ( 15.1) 124,883 ( 23.2 )

Total Savings deposits 516,864 520,575 ( ■0.7) 489,076 ( 5.7) 440,940 ( 17.2 )

Total Time deposits 1,796,665 1,771,433 ( 1-4 ) 1,750,776 ( 26) 1,646,697 ( 9.1 )

With licensed banks 1.736,829 1,712,989 ( 1.4) 1,692,518 ( 2-6) 1,592,566 ( 9.1 )

With restricted licence banks 44,604 42,897 ( 4.0 ) 42,564 ( 48) 37,118 ( 20.2 )

With deposit-taking companies 15,232 15,547 ( •2.0) 15,694 ( -2.9) 17,013 ( -10.5 )

HKS deposits© 1,431,081 1,399,815 ( 2.2) 1344,311 ( 65) 1,180,868 ( 21.2)

Demand deposits 135,656 121,787 ( 11.4) 114,946 ( 18.0 ) 105,532 ( 28.5 )

Savings deposits 361,714 366,109 ( -12) 343,301 ( 5.4) 301,200 ( 20.1 )

Time deposits© 933,711 911,918 ( 2-4) 886,063 ( 5-4) 774,135 ( 20.6 )

USS deposits* 515,408 517,126 ( -0.3) 513,000 ( 0.5) 513,631 ( 0.3)

Other foreign currency deposits* 520,847 516,004 ( 0.9 ) 516,181 ( 0.9 ) 518,021 ( 0.5 )

Foreign currency deposits* 1,036,254 1,033,130 ( 0.3 ) 1,029,181 ( 0.7) 1,031,652 ( 0.4 )

Alt deposits 2,467,336 2,432,945 ( 1.4) 2,373,492 ( 4.0) 2,212,519 ( 11.5)

Foreign currency swap deposits 37,899 38,502 ( •1.6) 38,889 ( -2.5) 47,849 ( -20.8 )

Loans and advances

Loans for use in ILK. 1,889,694 1,820,627 ( 3.8) 1,759,693 ( 74) 1.596,398 ( 18.4 )

To finance H-K's visible trade 164,509 165,311 ( -95) 163,392 ( 0.7) 157390 ( 4.5)

To finance merchandising trade not touching H.K. 21,120 19,979 ( 3-7) 18,998 ( U.2) 18,832 ( 12.1 )

Other loans for use in HJC 1,704,065 1,635,337 ( 4.2) 1,577304 ( 8.0) 1,420,177 ( 20.0 )

Loans for use outside HJCf 2,027,949 2,092,617 ( -3.1 ) 2,064,114 ( -1.8) 2,088,997 ( •2-9)

Other loans for use outside H.K 1,987,673 2,052,056 ( •31 ) 2,024381 ( -18) 2,050,772 ( -3.1 )

Other loans where the place of use is not known 40,276 40,562 ( -0-7) 39,733 ( 14) 38,225 ( 5.4)

Loans in HKS 1,518,017 1,446,238 ( 5.0 ) 1,396,507 ( 8.7) 1,259,607 ( 20.5 )

Loans in foreign currencies 2399,626 2,467,006 ( -2.7) 2,427,300 ( -ID 2,425,788 ( -11 )

Total loans and advances 3,917,644 3,913,245 ( 0.1 ) 3,823,808 ( 2.5 ) 3,685395 ( 6.3)

* Adjusted to exclude foreign currency swap deposits. @ Adjusted to include foreign currency swap deposits. # Including those where place of usage is unknown.

Note : Data may not add up to total due to rounding.

End

PRESSJANJaS

19

HKMA Quarterly Bulletin February issue now on sale * ♦ ♦ * *

The latest issue of the Quarterly Bulletin published by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) today (Friday) contains a tentative analysis by the HKMA of Hong Kong's Balance of Payments (BoP) statistics, which are released for the first time.

The HKMA carried out a desk-top research exercise to estimate the BoP for Hong Kong in an attempt to understand the trends in these external accounts.

Hong Kong had an overall surplus in the BoP (excluding reserves) in 1993, 1994 and 1995. There was a modest current account surplus in 1993 and a small deficit in 1994. This was reflected in net private capital inflow and increased international reserves, which are beneficial for the long-term growth of Hong Kong.

There are many gaps in BoP statistics, the estimates in the HKMA study are therefore very rough estimates for indications purposes only.

Also published in the February issue of the Quarterly Bulletin is an article entitled "Hong Kong's Real Time Gross Settlement System" which outlines the important issues relating to the implementation and operations of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.

The article pointed out that the performance of the RTGS system has been stable and satisfactory. Banks are generally managing their intraday liquidity reasonably well. An average of 499 intraday repo transactions, involving HK$26 bn, were done daily to facilitate payment flows. This represents about 33% of the HK$78 bn Exchange Fund paper currently held by banks. The Liquidity Adjustment Window, which was designed as a fall-back intraday liquidity facility, has been triggered only three times involving a total of HKS30 mn from December 9, 1996 to January 6, 1997.

The Quarterly Bulletin also carries an article entitled "Financial Disclosure Package 1996", which provides an update on the disclosure regime recommended for banking institutions by the HKMA.

The latest disclosure package covers cash flow statements, market risk exposure and segmental reporting. It is applicable to all licensed banks incorporated in Hong Kong and those restricted licence banks and deposit taking companies with total assets of HKS1 bn or more or those with total customer deposits in excess of HKS300 mn.

20

The Quarterly Bulletin also contains other articles including official assessments of banking and monetary environment during the quarter ending December 1996.

The publication, which is on sale at the Government Sales Centre, may also be ordered from the Press and Publications Section of the HKMA.

End

HK & China set up network of automatic weather stations *****

Members of the Electronic Maintenance Team (EMT) of the Royal Observatory, under the leadership of Mr Ng Kin-fai, held a meeting right after the Chinese New Year holidays in preparation for the maintenance of the automatic weather station (AWS) at Huangmaozhou.

The members were very excited about this task as it was not just a routine maintenance but a complete renovation of the AWS by installing state-of-the-art hardware and software, both are products of months of hard work by the EMT members. Led by Mr. Leung Yum-fai, they will go to Huangmaozhou sometime this Spring.

Huangmaozhou is a remote island in the South China coastal waters about 50 kilometres southwest of Hong Kong. The AWS there was jointly set up by the Royal Observatory and the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau in 1985.

Years ago, Huangmaozhou was only accessible by boat. Now, with the construction of a helipad, the island can be reached by helicopter taking off from Zhuhai, Guangdong.

Apart from this station, the Royal Observatory and the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau had jointly established two more AWSs, one at Tuoning Dao to the east and another at Neilingding Dao to the west of Hong Kong. Both were recently completed in 1996.

The joint project this year includes the construction of an AWS on Dangan Dao, an island to the south of Hong Kong. This will be the fourth AWS at the Pearl River Estuary. Site selection, communication test and civil work will start soon. Installation work is expected to commence in the middle of this year.

21

The AWS will transmit data on wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, air pressure and rainfall to the Royal Observatory every 10 minutes. These will then be transmitted to Guangzhou through a network for exchange of meteorological data.

In this way. valuable meteorological data are provided to both Hong Kong and Guangdong meteorological authorities, facilitating the accurate forecast of hazardous weather and issue of timely warnings.

Besides the AWSs in the Pearl River Estuary. AWSs in the territory of Hong Kong are equally important. Two such AWSs were set up recently at Sek Kong and Tai Mo Shan in 1996. providing weather watch for the central part of the New Territories.

Altogether, there are more than 60 AWSs in Hong Kong which are managed by the EMT. These stations transmit data on wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, air pressure and rainfall to the Royal Observatory every minute. Hong Kong is literally operating one of the most intensive weather watch networks in the world.

These AWSs have to be maintained regularly to keep them in their best working condition. Should any problem occur, careful analysis must be conducted to find out the core problem before taking remedial actions to put the system back to normal.

Languages of electronic and computing technology are not the only languages of the members of the EMT, they also speak, or learn to speak Putunghua. Since last year, some members attended courses on Putunghua organised by the Civil Service Training and Development Institute, despite the fact that no problem has ever been encountered in communication with our Guangdong counterparts using the Guangzhou dialect. The reason is, as remarked by Mr. Yip Wing Sing, an EMT member. "Since our AWS hardware and software have very good reputation in China, we are expecting an expanded scope of co-operation with China, within and beyond Guangdong."

End

22

Two lots of land for auction

*****

Two pieces of Government land will be put up for auction at 2.30 pm on March 25 (Tuesday) at the Concert Hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The first lot, located at Siu Sai Wan in Chai Wan, has an area of about 25,592 square metres. It is intended for non-industrial purposes, excluding godown, petrol filling station, hotel and service apartment.

The developer has to complete a gross floor area of not less than 145,000 square metres on or before March 31. 2002.

The first three floors of the development shall accommodate a public transport terminus, supermarkets, restaurants, retail shops, a public carpark and carpark ancillary to residential and retail uses, while the remaining floors will be used for private residential purposes.

Covering an area of about 2.627 square metres, the second lot is in Chung Hau Street, Ho Man Tin.

The lot is earmarked for private residential purposes, and the developer has to complete a gross floor area of not less than 11.822 square metres on or before March 31,2001.

Full particulars and conditions of sale can be obtained from the Lands Department. 14th floor. Murray Building. Garden Road. Hong Kong; and the District Lands Offices/Kowloon. Yau Ma Tei Car Park Building. 10th floor. 250 Shanghai Street. Kowloon.

Conditions of sale will also be available at the District Lands Offices of Sha Tin, Tuen Mun. Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan. Sai Kung. Kwai Tsing. Tai Po, North and Islands.

End

23

Recreation facilities in Ho Man Tin and Kwun Tong

*****

Construction of two recreation grounds will begin in the middle of this year to provide additional leisure facilities for residents in Ho Man Tin and Kwun Tong.

The Ho Man fin Recreation Ground will comprise a three-storey L-shaped recreation centre, two leisure pools, a seven-a-side soccer pitch and two basketball courts.

Construction is expected to complete in December 1998.

Works on the Shun Lee Estate Recreation Ground in Kwun Tong will include construction of a four-storey family leisure centre comprising a multi-games hall for badminton, basketball, hockey and archery, squash courts, mini-golf court, dancing studio, gymnasium and cafeteria.

Other facilities of the recreation ground will include covered car parks, a garden, outdoor sports and playing facilities for children.

Works will complete in about 16 months.

The Architectural Services Department is inviting separate tenders for these projects.

Details of the tender invitations are published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

End

Film archive and leisure centre for Sai Wan Ho

*****

The Architectural Services Department is building a film archive and a leisure centre at Sai Wan Ho reclamation on the Hong Kong Island.

The film archive building will be a six-storey structure with cinemas and film libraries.

When completed in late 1998, the archive will help to preserve the territory’s rich film heritage.

24

A six-storey leisure centre with indoor swimming pools, indoor games hall with ancillary accommodations, covered car parks and landscaped open space will also be built.

The Department is inviting tenders for the project, which is scheduled to start in

June.

End

Wo Keng Shan DPA plan published

*****

The Town Planning Board announced today (Friday) the publication of the draft Wo Keng Shan Development Permission Area (DPA) Plan.

Located about 3.4 kilometres to the east of Fanling/Sheung Shui New Town, the Wo Keng Shan area covers about 574 hectares of land bounded by the Frontier Closed Area Boundary to the north. Hung Fa Chai to the east, Man Uk Pin and Tai Tong Wu to the south and Ping Che to the west.

Wo Keng Shan area comprises vegetated hill slopes, undulating terrains and relatively flat valley floors with both active and abandoned/fallow agricultural land as well as village settlements. The North East New Territories Landfill is located within the area.

"The DPA plan serves to provide a planning framework for development control, a basis for the consideration of development proposals and the carrying out of enforcement action against unauthorised developments,” a spokesman for the Board said.

On the plan, about 394 hectares of land, or 69 per cent of the total area, have been zoned 'Green Belt' to conserve the natural environment and to safeguard it from encroachment by urban type developments.

About 50 hectares of land have been zoned 'Agriculture', about two hectares for 'Govemment/Institution/Community', about two hectares for 'Village Type Development' and about 124 hectares for 'Other Specified Uses (Landfill)’.

The draft plan (No. DPA/NE-WKS/1) is available for public inspection until April 28 during office hours at :

25

Planning Department 16th floor, Murray Building Garden Road

Central

Hong Kong;

Sha Tin, Tai Po and North District Planning Office

Ground floor, Sha Tin Government Offices

6 Tung Lo Wan Hill Road

Sha Tin

New Territories; and

♦ North District Office

3rd floor, North District Government Offices

3 Pik Fung Road

Fanling

New Territories.

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, before April 28.

Copies of the draft plan are available for sale at the Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department, 14th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Ho_.g Kong and the Kowloon Map Sales Office, ground floor, 382 Nathan Road, Kowloon.

End

Prompt collection of BN(O) passports ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

Applicants who have been notified to collect their British National (Overseas) passports should pick up their passports promptly from the date when the passports are ready for collection at their chosen immigration offices, a spokesperson of the Immigration Department appealed to them today (Friday).

Currently, there are around 41,600 prepared BN(O) passports ready for collection by applicants at various immigration offices.

26

With effect from April 1997, the British Trade Commission will take over from the Hong Kong Immigration Department responsibility for application and issuing of BN(O) passports. All uncollected passports at the immigration offices by then will be transferred to the Passport Section of the British Trade Commission.

For their convenience, applicants are reminded to pick up their passports in time at the immigration offices which have been chosen by them upon application. They will be required to collect their passports at the British Trade Commission if they do not do so before the transfer of passport functions in April 1997.

For enquiries, members of public may telephone 2824 1177 (English), 2824 1717 (Chinese) or use fax line 2877 7711.

End

Application for part-time teachers invited *****

Qualified teachers are reminded to submit their application for part-time teaching vacancies in various courses organised by the Adult Education Section of the Education Department by March 22.

The Adult Education Section organises a number of courses, including English course, government evening secondary school course and adult education (general background) in centres throughout the territory.

Applicants should be qualified teachers with a genuine interest in teaching adults in the evening.

Experience in teaching arts, science, social or commercial subjects at senior secondary' levels and/or possession of a Diploma/Certificate in Education or Advanced Certificate in Teacher Training would be an advantage.

The pay scale for part-time teaching is as follows:

$395 per hour for G.C.E. 'O' Level or Secondary 6 level subjects; • r

$325 per hour for senior secondary level subjects;

$260 per hour for junior secondary level subjects; and

$235 per hour for primary level subjects.

27

Application forms can be obtained from the department's Adult Education Section on 11th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai and completed forms should be returned on or before March 22.

If applicants are not called for interview by May 1, they should assume that their applications are unsuccessful.

For further information, please contact the section at 2892 6669.

End

Flushing water cut in To Kwa Wan

*****

Flushing water supply to all premises in To Kwa Wan will be suspended from 9 am to 5 pm on March 3 (Monday)for alteration work on watermains.

The suspension will affect Sung Wong Toi Road, To Kwa Wan Road, Hok Ling Street, Chun Fat Street, In On Street, Sin Luen Street, Hung Wan Street, Pang Ching Street, Ying Yeung Street, Lung Cheung Street, Lok Ming Street, Fung Yee Street, Lung To Road, Ming Luen Street, Chung Shun Street, Hing Ying Street, Hing Yan Street, San Shan Road, San Ma Tau Street, King Wan Street, Kwei Chow Street, Mei Kwong Street, Yuk Yat Street, Shun Fung Street, Lok Shan Road, Cheung Ling Street, Ha Heung Road, Kowloon City Road and Ma Tau Kok Road.

End