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

 DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 1,1997

Contents Page No,

Lack of balance in Budget debate disconcerting: Acting FS.................. 1

No amnesty for Ils......................................................... 4

Chief Secretary to visit Vancouver......................................... 5

New Director of Architectural Services appointed........................... 6

Post Office to accept electronic money..................................... 7

Construction Output for 1996............................................... 8

Prompt collection of BN(O) Passports...................................... 10

Health Ambassadors to promote healthy life-style...................... 11

Application for Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme invited.................. 12

Two women plead guilty to possessing fake gold rings...................... 12

New Sai Kung District Officer appointed................................... 13

Water storage figure...................................................... 14

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................... 14

1

Lack of balance in Budget debate disconcerting: Acting FS ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The acting Financial Secretary, Mr K C Kwong, today (Tuesday) said there were several disconcerting trends in the debate and public discussions so far on the 1997-98 Budget presented to the Legislative Council on March 12.

He said: ”1 believe it would be fair to say that anywhere else in the world, such a Budget - higher spending, lower taxes, healthy surplus - would be the cause for celebration and congratulation. And I am certain that our Budget will have been well received by international business communities and by such authoritative bodies as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

"Yet here at home, there has been a chorus of criticism on one single issue -comprehensive social security assistance (CSSA) payments for the elderly - and little debate on all the rest of the Budget. This lack of balance in the domestic debate is disconcerting."

Mr Kwong was addressing the luncheon of the French Business Association in place of Mr Donald Tsang who could not attend the function for family reasons.

He explained that, last May, as had been the practice for a number of years, the Financial Secretary and his team began a comprehensive programme of consultation on spending priorities for the coming year.

"We made a special point of making ourselves available to each and every Legislative Councillor. When that round of consultation had been completed, we sat down to finalise the Resources Allocation Exercise," Mr Kwong said.

"It was not easy but together we were able to satisfy a very high percentage of the various bids. By one count, we met some 80 percent of the requests put forward by the political parties."

The acting Financial Secretary found disappointing the largely negative reaction to the Budget focusing on one and one issue only, almost at the expense of everything else.

"We do not expect bouquets. Civil servants never do. But we do hope that our genuine consultation, careful thought and sincere efforts to meet requests could have been recognised. Not simply dismissed or ignored," he said.

2

On care for the elderly, Mr Kwong said the basic rate of CSSA for a single elderly stood as of today at $2,060 per month. In addition, extra payments are made to meet the various special needs of elderly people. Taking these into account, the average elderly single person receives some $3,000 a month.

This level of financial assistance has been worked out with great care. It was based on a year long comprehensive survey household expenditure in 1995 as well as professional judgements of the basic needs of CSSA recipients.

"As a result, we implemented a package of improvements to CSSA payments across the board, including the elderly, from 1 April 1996. That package costs us some $500 million in additional expenditure every year," Mr Kwong said.

"Thus, considering the relative priorities among competing needs in the Resources Allocation Exercise last year, we decided that we should put our emphasis on direct services for the elderly. To illustrate, in 1997-98, we have provided funds for an additional 2,746 residential places (including nursing home places) for the elderly, 21 social centres, 4 day care centres, and 5 multi-service centres."

Mr Kwong said there was a more forward looking approach to address this issue.

"The consultation exercise on spending priorities for next year’s Budget would begin in a few weeks’ time. Anything that we were not able to take on board this year has not been lost forever. If it is worthwhile, we can look at it again, together," he said.

"We are now reviewing the social security allowances scheme which covers the special needs of the elderly and people with a disability. We are also conducting a consultancy on the needs of the elderly for services and support.

"The results of the consultation process, the review and the consultancy will be known by mid-summer, in time for the 1997 RAE. Any justified improvements can then be considered for priority treatment.

"That surely must be the correct way forward."

Turning to the size of the surplus which had drawn a lot of comment, Mr Kwong said: "Let me clarify one persistent misunderstanding straight away. The size of the projected surplus would not and I repeat not, allow us to spend more.

3

"The expenditure ceiling is derived from our long established guideline of keeping growth in spending in line with growth in the economy. A larger surplus does not allow us to breach that guideline. Rather, it provides us with greater scope for one-off investments and for reducing taxes further.

"We have already been quite generous on salaries tax. To go further would have narrowed the tax net. And we have reduced the rates percentage charge to an all-time low."

Moreover, he said, just down the road lay substantial investments in the Railway Development Strategy. And at a time when inflation is nudging up again, a further cut in taxes would send the wrong signals to the economy.

On reserves, Mr Kwong said: "The money has not been thrown away. It still belongs to Hong Kong. It is still ours to use when circumstances require it.

"We realise that expenditure on umbrellas is always regarded as a waste until the rain actually begins. But we must not buy cheap popularity at the expense of the community’s long term interests. This year of all years in Hong Kong’s history, we must put safety first."

Mr Kwong noted the relative silence of the business community apart from some who hoped for a profits tax cut.

"I have just said that the door is still open. And in a very real sense, this year’s Budget is a pro-business Budget.

"We have resisted the calls that arose from some during the consultation exercise last autumn for profits tax to be increased or set on an increasing scale.

"Our headline tax rate is still among the lowest in the advanced world. Our effective tax rates, even after allowing for all the special gimmicks that some other places allow, are still extremely competitive."

He said, in sticking firmly to the principle of prudent public finances, and low and predictable taxes, the Government provided the environment for business to flourish, not just for a year or two, but for decades to come.

"And we are proposing creation of a new unit, within the Financial Secretary’s Office, with the specific mandate of looking at Government procedures across the board to ensure that Hong Kong remains the most business friendly place in the world," Mr Kwong said.

4

"We are doing all these things because we believe they are in the best long term interests of the community and they are to the immediate advantage of the business community.

"I hope, therefore, that in resisting criticism of the Budget, we can look to the business community for support. If you remain silent, or muted, then this Budget, with the pro-Busincss principles on which it is based, will be at risk."

End

No amnesty for Ils *****

To refute the rumours of amnesty for illegal immigrants in Hong Kong, a Government spokesman today (Tuesday) reiterated that the Government is determined to combat the problem of illegal immigration.

"The current immigration policy has not changed. There will be absolutely no amnesty for illegal immigrants (Ils)," the spokesman said.

"All Ils, regardless of their post-1997 status, will be repatriated."

At present, the Chinese Government is operating the One-way Permit Scheme whereby residents in China can come and settle in Hong Kong.

The spokesman said that the one-way permit quota was increased to 150 on July 1, 1995 with 66 places for children who would have the right of abode in Hong Kong on July 1, 1997.

"We reckon that the revised quota should enable eligible children to come to Hong Kong in an orderly manner without waiting for too long.

"Illegal immigration is extremely dangerous, it is especially risky for children. Since there is a proper channel for these children to come to Hong Kong legally within a reasonable time frame, parents should not risk the lives of their children to arrange their entry into Hong Kong illegally," the spokesman stressed.

"The Immigration Department and the Police will step up their operations against the snakeheads and will continue to cooperate with the Chinese authorities on anti-illegal immigration measures," he added.

End

5

Chief Secretary to visit Vancouver * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, will conduct a two-day visit on April 3 and 4 at the invitation of the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association.

Mrs Chan, at present on leave, will arrive in Vancouver on April 2 (Wednesday).

The Chief Secretary, together with Mr C M Leung, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto, will attend a breakfast meeting hosted by Mr Bill Dalton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hongkong Bank of Canada on April 3 (Thursday). She will give an update on Hong Kong's transition to business leaders.

Later in the day, Mrs Chan will deliver a keynote speech at a business luncheon jointly organized by the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Vancouver section of the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association.

4 J • / '

The anchor program of the day is the Vancouver Board of Trade's 1997 Governors’ Banquet. The Chief Secretary has been invited as the Guest of Honour of the annual event, which will feature a presentation entitled "A Special Salute to Hong Kong". The banquet will be attended by 750 members of the elite of the Vancouver business community.

The Chief Secretary will also call on Premier Glen Clark of British Columbia, and meet with researchers at the Fraser Institute, a leading North American think tank which has conducted studies on economic freedom of the world.

On April 4 (Friday), Mrs Chan will have a breakfast meeting with leading members of the Laurier Institution, including Mr Maurice Copithome, former Canadian Commissioner to Hong Kong; Dr Roslyn Kunin, a well-known economist and Executive Director of the institution, and Mr Alan McEachern, Chief Justice of British Columbia. The Laurier Institution, which focuses on the importance of cultural diversity to the building of a united Canada, will soon launch a profile study on Chinese Canadian business people.

6

Mr Raymond Chan, Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, will host a luncheon in honour of Mrs Anson Chan at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Business leaders and opinion formers will be invited to attend.

During her stay in Vancouver, Mrs Chan will meet with about 100 Hong Kong students from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. She will depart Vancouver on April 5 and proceed on leave until April 13. Mrs Chan will resume office on April 14 (Monday).

End

New Director of Architectural Services appointed *****

The Government announced today (Tuesday) the appointment of Mr Pau Shiu-hung as Director of Architectural Services from April 4, 1997.

Mr Pau will succeed Mr Kenneth Chan Yat-sun, who will proceed on end-of-agreement leave on April 4, 1997.

Commenting on the appointment, the Acting Secretary for the Civil Service, Ms Sandra Lee, expressed full confidence that Mr Pau will lead the Department to face the challenges ahead. Ms Lee also thanked Mr Chan for his dedicated and valuable service during the last 25 years.

The following are biographical details of Mr Pau and Mr Chan:

Mr Pau Shiu-hung>.IP

Aged 54, Mr Pau joined the Hong Kong Civil Service as an Apprentice Architect in November 1967. He was promoted to Government Architect in May 1988 and to Deputy Director of Architectural Services in September 1993.

Mr Kenneth Chan Yat-sun, JP_

Aged 57, Mr Chan joined the Hong Kong Civil Service as a Maintenance Surveyor in August 1971. He was promoted to Deputy Director of Architectural Services in July 1991 and to Director of Architectural Services in September 1993. On his retirement, Mr Chan will have completed 25 years of service with the Hong Kong Government.

End

7

Post Office to accept electronic money *****

The Post Office today (Tuesday) announced that it will begin accepting Mondex for postage payment in its Taikooshing and Shatin Central Post Offices starting from today. This makes it the first government department to accept electronic money as a method of payment.

Mr Robert Footman, the Postmaster General, said that this new initiative is consistent with the Mission and Vision of the Post Office to continuously improve its service to meet the changing market demands.

"Mondex provides added convenience to customers when making stamp purchases by eliminating the need to carry coins and bank notes, while providing the Post Office with added security over the traditional cash handling mode," Mr Footman said.

He added that the introduction of Mondex reflects the Post Office's on-going commitment to adopting new technologies and upgrading its service, in line with the trends towards electronic commerce.

Commenting at the inauguration ceremony at the Taikooshing Post Office, Mr Neil Hockaday, Senior Manager Card Products Division at the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, said: "We are pleased to announce that the Post Office is the first government department to accept Mondex."

"We feel certain that Mondex can help merchants, like the Post Office, shorten turnaround time at the counter thereby offering quicker service and shorter queuing time," he added.

In addition to accepting Mondex at the Taikooshing and Shatin Central Post Offices, the Post Office will also start accepting credit cards effective April 1, 1997 in 49 post offices throughout the territory.

End

8

Construction Output for 1996 *****

The gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by main contractors amounted to $116.0 billion in 1996, according to the preliminary results of the Quarterly Survey of Construction Output released today (Tuesday) by the Census and Statistics Department. This represented an increase of 16.3% over 1995.

Based on the provisional estimate, the gross value of construction work, measured at constant (1990) market prices, performed by main contractors in 1996 increased by 9.0% over 1995.

The gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed at public sector sites amounted to $46.7 billion, representing an increase of 23% in nominal terms, or 17.4% when measured at constant (1990) market prices.

The gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed at private sector sites totalled $40.2 billion, representing an increase of 12.8%. When measured at constant (1990) market prices, it was up by 2.9%.

The gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by contractors at locations other than construction sites amounted to $29.2 billion, 11.2% higher than 1995. When measured at constant (1990) market prices, it increased by 5.5%. Work in this category included minor new construction activities and renovation work at erected buildings and structures; and electrical and mechanical fitting work.

Analysed by end-use, transport projects, which covered airport construction projects, accounted for the greatest portion of the gross value of construction work performed at construction sites. The gross value of construction work performed for these projects, in nominal terms, was $26.8 billion, representing an increase of 16.9%.

Residential building projects (including commercial and residential composite buildings) represented the second largest category of construction site work. The gross value of construction work performed for these projects was $26.6 billion, 30% higher than 1995.

Commercial building projects constituted the third largest category of constniction site work. The gross value of construction work performed for these projects totalled $11.9 billion, representing an increase of 48%.

9

Comparing the fourth quarter of 1996 with the fourth quarter of 1995, the gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by main contractors increased by 15.1%. When measured at constant (1990) market prices, it represented an increase of 7.8%.

Compared with the third quarter ol 1996, the gross value of construction work, in nominal terms, performed by main contractors in the fourth quarter of 1996 increased by 10.2%. The corresponding increase measured at constant (1990) market prices was 7.6%.

The gross values of construction work at constant (1990) market prices are derived by deflating the nominal values with appropriate price indices to the price level of 1990.

Owing to the widespread sub-contracting practices in the construction industry, a construction establishment can be a main contractor for one contract and a subcontractor for another contract at the same time. The gross value of construction work performed by main contractors covers only those projects in which the construction establishment takes the role of a main contractor, but not projects in which it takes only the role of a sub-contractor. However, sub-contractors' contribution to projects should have been included in the gross value of construction work performed by main contractors for whom they worked.

More detailed statistics on construction output are given in the "Report on the Quarterly Survey of Construction Output, 4th Quarter 1996". The report is now on sale at $15 per copy at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, ground floor, or at the Census and Statistics Department Publications Unit, Wanchai Tower, 19th floor. 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai. Regular subscription may also be arranged.

Enquiries about the survey may be directed to the Building, Construction and Real Estate Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department on 2805 6426.

End

10

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 (Tuesday).

Currently, there are around 32,400 prepared BN(O) passports ready for collection by applicants at various immigration offices.

Hong Kong Immigration Department ceased taking the above applications from today (Tuesday, April 1, 1997). The Immigration Department, however, will continue to issue BN(O) passports which have been prepared until Saturday, April 26, 1997. Thereafter, all uncollected passports will be passed to the British Trade Commission.

But Hong Kong permanent identity cards prepared for children under 11 years of age in connection with their BN(O) passports will continue to be issued at the original immigration offices.

For their convenience, applicants arc 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 the uncollected passports.

For BN(O) passports issued to children under 11 years of age, applicants will also be required to collect their children's Hong Kong permanent identity cards at the original immigration offices after they have collected their passports.

For enquiries, members of public may telephone 2824 1177 (English), 2824 1717 (Chinese) or use fax line 2877 7711.

End

11

Health Ambassadors to promote healthy life-style * * * * *

Health Ambassadors have an important and long-term mission in health promotion and cultivation of a healthy community, the Director of Health, Dr Margaret Chan said today (Tuesday).

Speaking at the third Graduation Ceremony of Health Ambassador, Dr Chan said: "The Health Ambassador Programme, which is run by the Central Health Education Unit of the Department of Health, is designed to train different spectrums of people to take up the responsibility of delivering health messages in their neighbourhood so as to promote the health status of the community as a whole."

"The ultimate aim is to establish a health-oriented network within various community groups so that a healthy population can be cultivated." she said.

She paid tribute to the Health Ambassadors for organising a wide range of health education activities in the past year which were well-received by the public.

"This fully reflected each and every health ambassador's effort and success." she added.

She noted that the programme had been expanded last year and now covered four groups of people including student, woman, elderly and teacher.

The Health Ambassador Programme was first implemented in 1994 on the recommendation of the Health & Medical Development Advisory Committee.

Some 450 Health Ambassadors were trained in 1994 and the number increased to 1,005 last year.

The programme provides tailor-made training to the health ambassadors, enabling and encouraging them to disseminate correct and up-to-date health messages to their family members, peers and the public.

Essentially, the programme consists of lectures covering major health issues in Hong Kong, healthy life-style, communication skill as well as health concerns specific to different groups of trainees.

To date, some 700 health education activities for the public such as health talks, quiz, drama and game booths had been organised by the Health Ambassadors with a total attendance of more than 260,000.

End

12

Application for Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme invited *****

Full-time employees holding subvented posts in aided and per caput grant schools are invited to apply for assistance under the 1996-97 Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme (MISS).

Chief Executive Officer of the Education Department, Miss Mary Ha, said today (Tuesday) that eligible staff are:

* those receiving a monthly basic salary equivalent to Master Pay Scale Point 22 ($24,850) or above and having a minimum of 10 years’ continuous recognised service as at April 30, 1997; or

* those receiving a monthly basic salary below Master Pay Scale Point 22 and have a minimum of 20 years' continuous recognised service as at April 30, 1997.

Under MISS, successful applicants will receive a monthly subsidy for payment for interest on their home mortgage loan, Miss Ha said.

"The closing date for submitting application forms is May 14, 1997," she added.

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

Enquiries should be directed to MISS Section on 2961 7406 or 2961 7409.

End

Two women plead guilty to possessing fake gold rings ♦ * * * *

Two women, found by Customs officers in possession of fake gold rings, were each sentenced to three months' imprisonment, suspended for two years at Fanling Magistracy today (Tuesday) after pleading guilty to charges under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

During a search on passengers arriving from China on Sunday, March 23, Customs officers at the Lowu Arrival Hall found from two women a total of 645 gold rings, each of which was marked "wholly gold". Suspecting that the rings were not genuine, the officers detained them for further investigations into possible offences under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

13 -

The officers conducted a preliminary testing on the rings and found that 640 rings were not made of gold and the remaining insufficient fineness. Further examination on the seizure by the Government Chemist confirmed that 640 rings were only gold-plated pieces of lead and five were made of gold but of insufficient fineness.

The two women, aged 24 and 27, were separately charged with one count of importing and one count of having in possession for trade those rings to which a false trade description was applied.

The Customs and Excise Department is responsible for the enforcement of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

Complaints on deficiency in the fineness of gold or platinum articles can be lodged with the Trading Standards Investigation Bureau, Units 1201-7, Nan Fung Commercial Centre, 19 Lam Lok Street, Kowloon Bay, or by telephone on 2707 7711 during office hours and 2852 3185 outside office hours.

End

New Sai Kung District Officer appointed ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Mr Simon Yau Sai-yan will assume the post of Sai Kung District Officer tomorrow (Wednesday), replacing Mr Tony Dickinson.

Mr Yau, aged 52, joined the Executive Officer grade in 1968 and was promoted to Principal Executive Officer in 1994.

He has previously served in the Resettlement Department, Home Affairs Department, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Security Branch, Education and Manpower Branch, Urban Services Department and Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.

His last posting was in the Civil Service Branch.

End

14

Water storage figure *****

Storage in Hong Kong’s reservoirs at 9 am today (Tuesday) stood at 78.4 per cent of capacity or 459.352 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 465.526 million cubic metres of water, representing 79.4 per cent of capacity.

End

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

* ♦ ♦ * ♦

Tender date : 1 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q714

Issue date : 2 April 1997

Maturity date : 3 July 1997

Amount applied : HK$4,250 MN

Amount allotted HKS2,000 MN

Average yield accepted : 5.28 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 5.30 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 46 PCT

Average tender yield

5.32 PCT

15

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tender to be held in the week beginning - 7 April 97 :

Tender date

Paper on offer

Issue number

Issue date

Maturity date

Tenor

Amount on offer

Tender date

Paper on offer

Issue number

Issue date

Maturity date

Tenor

Amount on offer

8 April 1997

EF Bills

Q715

9 April 1997

9 July 1997

91 days

HK$2,000 + 500 MN

8 April 1997

EF Bills

H762

9 April 1997

8 October 1997

182 days

HK$ 1,000+ 300 MN

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

(Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my Internet e-mail account _____________________________

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 2,1997

Contents

Acts of criminal intimidation condemned........................... 1

US report's reference to Hong Kong on IPR protection.......:...... 1

Bill to localise Maritime Conventions Act 1911.................... 3

Media accreditation for Handover Ceremony closes on Monday........ 4

Welfare payment advanced for public holiday....................... 5

Campaign against mosquito breeding................................ 6

Annual report on the Consumer Price Index for 1996 on sale........ 8

- 1 -

Acts of criminal intimidation condemned ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to press enquiries, a government spokesman today (Wednesday) condemned recent cases of criminal intimidation and warned that such acts carry severe penalties.

’’The Police take a very serious view of recent cases of criminal intimidation against the Secretary for Housing, bomb hoax and poisonous gas threat.

’’Such acts serve nothing other than causing inconvenience and disruption to members of the public in conducting their normal business.

’’Police officers will spare no effort in investigating these cases and arresting the culprits,” he said.

The spokesman noted that acts of criminal intimidation, hoax bomb threats and explosion with intent to injure or kill carry severe penalties. The maximum penalties for these offences range from three years to life imprisonment.

’’There are proper and lawful channels for residents to express their views on government policies.

’’Anyone who wishes to reflect their views to the authorities should do so through these channels,” he added.

End

US report's reference to Hong Kong on IPR protection

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Hong Kong Government notes that a reference was made to Hong Kong’s intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in the National Trade Estimates (NTE) Report published by the US Trade Representative on 31 March 1997.

The Report states that Hong Kong’s laws provide a good legal framework for the protection of IPR.

The Report also recognises the various initiatives taken by the Hong Kong Government in enforcing IPR protection in Hong Kong.

- 2 -

These initiatives include increased manpower resources in the Hong Kong Customs devoted to IPR enforcement, increased raids conducted by the Hong Kong Customs, strengthening co-operation with the relevant IPR enforcement authorities in Mainland China, new provisions in the Copyright Bill to facilitate enforcement and to clarify some of the evidentiary requirements, and convictions made at the district court level against copyright piracy offenders.

A spokesman for the Trade and Industry Branch said today (Wednesday): "The Hong’Kong Government remains totally committed and determined to do our utmost to put in place the best IPR regime and to enforce the regime robustly.

"We will persist with our anti-piracy efforts under the rule of law in Hong Kong. We will continue to work with copyright owners from the US and other countries and seek their support, such as testifying in Hong Kong courts of law.

"We are, however, very disappointed to see remarks in the Report claiming that government action has had little demonstrable impact.

"We have taken vigorous enforcement action against copyright piracy activities at the importation, storage, distribution and retail level. Compared with 1995, the quantity and value of seizures in connection with copyright offences in 1996 have increased by 186% and 22% respectively. In 1996, 144 persons have been imprisoned compared with only 18 in 1995.

'"The Hong Kong Customs will continue to take vigorous enforcement action to combat copyright piracy.

"However, our enforcement action can succeed only to the extent that we have the full co-operation from right-holders in bringing evidence to court. Whilst major copyright owners have been helpful, there are others who are unwilling to come forward and give evidence. Their products unfortunately feature on shop shelves."

To address this specific problem, the spokesman said the Government has proposed in the Copyright Bill a number of new legislative measures, including -

(a) provisions to enable Hong Kong Customs to exercise power of forfeiture over suspected pirated copyright products seized;

(b) provisions to enhance Hong Kong Customs enforcement capability, to facilitate better co-operation with copyright owners, and to facilitate exchange of information with enforcement authorities of other countries; and

(c) provisions to modify procedures to facilitate proof of copyright subsistence and ownership.

"In addition, we will further increase the manpower of the Intellectual Property Investigation Bureau of the Hong Kong Customs by 24 posts in 1997-98," the spokesman said.

"These measures, when implemented, would enhance the effectiveness of our anti-piracy efforts.

"The Copyright Bill is being examined by a Bills Committee of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and is expected to be passed before 1 July 1997," the spokesman added.

End

Bill to localise Maritime Conventions Act 1911 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government will introduce the Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill to localise the provisions of the Maritime Conventions Act 1911, a spokesman for the Marine Department said today (Wednesday).

The Act deals with the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law with Respect to Collisions between Vessels, 1910.

The Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill also replaces those provisions relating to the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Assistance and Salvage at Sea, 1910 with new provisions which give effect to the International Convention on Salvage, 1989.

The Maritime Conventions Act, 1911 which implements the 1910 Collision Convention and the 1910 Salvage Convention in the United Kingdom also extends to Hong Kong.

In June 1994, the British and Chinese sides reached an agreement that the two Conventions should continue to apply to Hong Kong after June 30, 1997.

- 4 -

However, the 1910 Salvage Convention was replaced by the 1989 Salvage Convention which was adopted under the aegis of the International Maritime Organisation and has come into force internationally on July 14, 1996.

It was also agreed that the 1989 Salvage Convention should apply to Hong Kong and should continue to apply after June 30, 1997.

The spokesman said: "The 1910 Collision Convention sets out the maritime rules regarding division of loss and contribution. It deals with the apportionment of liability or fault for loss to vessels, their cargo and freight as well as the liability for injuries to persons on board, arising from collisions at sea.

"The 1989 Salvage Convention on one hand retains the 'no cure, no pay' basic principle of the 1910 Salvage Convention.

"It seeks to remedy the deficiency of the 1910 Salvage Convention by providing exceptions in cases where salvors fail to salve the ship and cargo but help to prevent or minimise damage to the environment."

The new Convention allows for special compensation to be paid to salvors.

The Bill will be published in the Government Gazette on April 4 and be tabled at the Legislative Council for first and second readings on April 9.

End

Media accreditation for Handover Ceremony closes on Monday * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Applications for media accreditation for Hong Kong's Handover Ceremony will close on Monday (April 7).

Media organisations are required to submit completed application forms along with a consolidated name list of all their staff who wish to cover the Ceremony to the Accreditation Centre of the Handover Ceremony Co-ordination Office (HCCO) before the deadline.

Freelance journalists may also apply through a bona fide media organisation which they write for, or to enclose in their applications an assignment letter from that organisation.


- 5 -

The forms can be returned by mail to the Centre on the 26th floor of Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, or by fax on 2519 8903. Late applications will normally not be considered.

All applicants will be notified of the result of accreditation through their media organisations, or individually as in the case of free-lancers.

"To avoid delay in processing the applications, it is important that an applicant types or prints in block letters on all the blanks on the form where applicable," said a spokesman for the HCCO.

"If an applicant fails to comply with these requirements, we may not be able to process further his or her application," the spokesman noted.

He also explained that only accredited media personnel would be allowed entry into the Press and Broadcast Centre to be set up by the Government to facilitate media coverage of the Handover and related events.

Due to space constraints, he said only a limited number of accredited media representatives would be allowed to cover from the event venues. Details will be announced later.

Enquiries on media accreditation can be made on 2582 3081, 2582 3083, 2582 3055 or 2582 3097.

End

Welfare payment advanced for public holiday * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) under the bank payment system will receive their payments on Friday (April 4) if their pay day falls on the coming Ching Ming Festival (Saturday, April 5), which is a public holiday.

"Special payment arrangements will also be made for recipients of Social Security Allowance whose pay days fall on that day," a Social Welfare Department spokesman said today (Wednesday).

"Those who have bank accounts in Hongkong Bank or Hang Seng Bank can receive their payments on April 4 whereas those with accounts in other banks will get their payments on April 7," he added.

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

End

Campaign against mosquito breeding ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

With the approach of the summer season, the Health Education Unit of the Department of Health will launch a campaign in April and May against mosquito breeding.

During the period, the Hygiene Division’s 24:hour hotline 2380 2580 will provide a message in the form of drama on mosquito prevention.

’’Callers can also obtain related information through facsimile from this system,” a spokesman for the department said today (Wednesday).

Entitled "Remove stagnant water to eliminate mosquito breeding", the campaign is sponsored by the Urban and Regional councils.

It aims to remind building contractors and households to take preventive measures to reduce mosquito nuisance and prevent mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.

"To prevent mosquito infestation, it is important to eliminate all stagnant water which is the potential breeding ground for mosquitoes," the spokesman said.

"Contractors should inspect their construction sites regularly to ensure that there are no abandoned containers and empty tins holding water.

"They should pump and drain stagnant water in holes, trenches and hollow spaces and fill them up with soil.

"Spray a thin layer of diesel oil on the water surface if draining of stagnant water is impossible," he said.

7

The spokesman advised households to cover tightly all water containers, storage tanks and wells and leave no water in flower pot trays.

’’Keep all drains free from choking,” he said. "It is an offence under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance to allow the accumulation of water liable to mosquito breeding. The maximum fine for the offence is $25,000."

During the campaign period, relevant exhibition boards will be put on public display at the Health Education Unit's resource centre on the eighth floor of the Urban Council Fa Yuen Street Complex in Mongkok.

"The centre also provides preview and loan service of educational materials like cassette tapes and video tapes.

"A variety of printed materials such as posters, leaflets and stickers are also available free from the centre," the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, the department will be sending advisory letters, educational leaflets and posters to building contractors, owners incorporations, mutal aid committees, management offices of private housing estates to enlist their support.

Educational printed materials will also be distributed through schools, district environmental hygiene offices of the Urban Services and Regional Services Departments, Home Affairs Department and Housing Department.

During the campaign period, an Announcement in Public Interest will be broadcast on radio and television to advise on the practical means of mosquito prevention. This will be supplemented by having vans broadcasting anti-mosquito messages throughout the territory.

End

8

Annual report on the Consumer Price Index for 1996 on sale *****

The Annual Report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for 1996 has recently been published by the Census and Statistics Department.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the movements of the CPI(A), CPI(B), Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI in 1996. Charts and tables showing movements of the CPIs by individual commodity/service components, and their contributions to the overall change in the indices are also presented in the report.

The report is a bilingual publication in English and Chinese. Apart from statistics on the CPIs, the report also contains a detailed explanation of the concepts and compilation method of the CPIs so as to help readers gain a better understanding of those issues.

The report is now on sale, at HK$28 per copy, at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, and the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19/Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

For local and overseas mailings, contact should be made with the Information Services Department, 28/Floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Enquiries concerning this report can be directed to the Consumer Price Index Section of the Census and Statistics Department at telephone number 2805 6403.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

12^^ (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my Internet e-mail account _____________________________

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Thursday, April 3,1997

Contents Page No,

Measures taken to tackle TB cases in Tsuen Wan kindergarten.................. 1

Situation closely monitored.................................................. 3

US additional import measures................................................ 3

First expressway completed on Lantau......................................... 5

Secretary for Treasury to attend APEC Finance Ministers Meeting......... 7

Land Registry statistics for March released.................................. 8

Vessel masters urged to be cautious before fireworks voyage.................. 8

Simplified procedures for applying travel ex gratia payment................. 10

Director convicted for tax evasion...................................... 11

Roving exhibition to promote consultation on housing strategy............... 12

VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight................................... 14

Monitors’ report submitted to Chief Secretary............................... 14

Mail services to Italy may be subject to delay.............................. 14

Measures taken to tackle TB cases in Tsuen Wan kindergarten * * * ♦ ♦

The following is issued in response to press enquiries on TB contact screening conducted in a Tsuen Wan kindergarten:

A number of measures including contact screening had been taken by the Department of Health (DH) upon notification of two tuberculosis (TB) cases in a Tsuen Wan kindergarten.

Parents of the kindergarten were asked to take advantage of these measures to provide the best care and protection possible for their kids.

Consultant Chest Physician i/c of the Department, Dr Tam Cheuk-ming said today (Thursday) that treatment available now for most TB cases are highly effective. The most important thing is for those with symptoms suspicious of TB to come forward for examination and treatment.

"The most effective way of controlling TB is by noting symptoms which are suspicious of TB, like cough over three to four weeks, blood in sputum, loss of weight, fever, and night sweating," he said.

"Anyone who has such symptoms should seek medical advice early."

Dr Tam noted that in the past two and a half months, four TB cases had occurred in a Tsuen Wan kindergarten.

The notification of the first two cases, one involving a student and the other a staff, were received by DH in late January and early February.

Upon notification, the Department started public health measures including contact screening for staff and students.

In the meantime, notification of a third case involving another student was received.

The contact screening and examinations conducted also uncovered a fourth TB case involving a student. Dr Tam stressed that all four cases identified were not the infectious type of tuberculosis.

Appropriate treatment had been given to the four patients immediately upon diagnosis and all were making satisfactory progress.

2

Of the some 290 students in the kindergarten, about 50 students had yet to come forward for screening and examinations. Parents are again urged to contact the South Kwai Chung Chest Clinic for assistance (Tel no. 2419 1721).

The Department of Health had organised talks for the school and parents to update them on progress of the investigation and clarify matters relating to the disease.

At the same time, the Department would continue to monitor the situation in the next three months and take chest X-ray examinations again for children that required follow-up.

To tackle the TB problem effectively, Dr Tam advised the public:

to take children for BCG vaccination if they have not been vaccinated before

to consult doctors promptly if they have symptoms suspicious of TB, like cough over three to four weeks, blood in sputum, loss of weight, fever and night sweating

to ensure good indoor ventilation

to maintain good bodily resistance by leading a healthy life-style, including balanced diet, adequate rest and avoiding overwork and stress

At present, there are 17 Chest Clinics under the Department of Health which provide chest X-ray examinations and free medical treatment to TB patients throughout the territory.

General information on TB are also available by calling the Department’s Central Health Education Hotline on Tel. no. 2833 0111.

End

3 -

Situation closely monitored

*****

In response to media enquiries on a tuberculosis case involving a staff member of a Tsuen Wan kindergarten, the Assistant Director of Education (Schools), Mr C K Tam, said today (Thursday):

"We are in close touch with our colleagues in the Department of Health to monitor the situation.

"We urge parents concerned to allow their children to take the contact screening and examination in their own interest, if they have not yet done so. Parents should also be alert over their children's health conditions.

"Meanwhile, our department is reviewing guidelines on recruitment health checks in respect of school staff."

End

US additional import measures *****

A Government spokesman today (Thursday) welcomes the United States (US) Customs' decision to remove, with effect from May I, the single entry bond requirement that has been imposed on eight categories of Hong Kong garment products since last June. The requirement has led to increased costs and administrative burden to the trade.

"This is welcome. We are also pleased to note that the US has decided not to impose the single entry bond requirement on the four categories of Hong Kong products on the US 'watch-list', and that the US Customs will no longer maintain this 'watch-list'," the spokesman said.

"We note the US Customs' recognition of the progress and co-operation by the Hong Kong Government in combating illegal transshipment, and their support for our continued work.

"We have never claimed that illegal transshipment is not a problem, otherwise we would not have been making so much effort in detecting and prosecuting firms for illegal transshipment.

4

”We believe that we have an effective system to deal with the problem of illegal transshipment, particularly with the series of new initiatives that we have introduced in the past year or so.

"We will continue with these initiatives,” the spokesman added.

”As part of our efforts against illegal transshipment, co-operation with trading partners has always been important.

”We look forward to continuing to work in co-operation with the US and other trading partners to enhance both sides' effectiveness in the common objective of tackling illegal transshipment,” the spokesman said.

With reference to the new measures announced by the US Customs, the spokesman said the Government has reservations as to the need for the US Customs to review the sufficiency of the coverage of the continuous bond for US importers who have been importing from Hong Kong.

"This is one of the things that we will continue to discuss with the US Customs and we will try to find out how in practice the US Customs implement the review of continuous bond coverage.

"We will wish to be satisfied that such review will not in actual practice lead to adverse impact on our trade with the US," the spokesman said.

The US Customs announced on April 2 (Washington time) the outcome of their review of the additional import measures imposed on certain Hong Kong garment imports since June 1996.

The US Customs also announced that it would be reviewing the continuous bond sufficiency for all importers of textiles products claiming country of origin of Hong Kong and that companies with insufficient coverage can anticipate that the US Customs would require increased bond coverage.

In June 1996, the US Customs imposed a number of additional import measures on 10 categories of Hong Kong garments. They are dresses (Categories 336/636), skirts (Categories 342/442/642), nightwear (Category 351), underwear (Categories 352/652) and suits (Categories 443/643).

The measures include additional requirements in import documentation, the requirement for a single entry bond, and the requirement for production verification by the US Customs in Hong Kong factories.

5

Hong Kong has objected to unilateral imposition of the additional requirements, pointing out that they are applied to the relevant products only from Hong Kong and are therefore discriminatory.

In September 1996, the US Customs started to put four more categories of Hong Kong products on a "watch-list": cotton gloves (Category 331), cotton knit shirts (Category 338/339), women’s and girls' cotton pants (Category 348) and cotton dressing gowns (Category 350). Should the monitoring categories indicate the possibility of illegal transshipment, the US Customs could impose similar additional import measures.

In October 1996, after a third round of bilateral consultations, the US Customs decided to remove the single entry bond for two of the 10 categories subject to additional measures: suits (Categories 443 and 643).

The two sides conducted two rounds of joint factory visits in Hong Kong in September 1996 and January 1997. After the January joint visit, the US Customs said that they would review the way forward around end of March.

End

First expressway completed on Lantau ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The North Lantau Expressway, the first expressway constructed on Lantau, will be an essential link between the urban areas and the new airport and Tung Chung New Town, the Secretary for Works, Mr H S Kwong, said at a ceremony to mark the completion of the 12.5-kilometre highway this (Thursday) morning.

It will also open up new opportunities for development on Lantau, he said.

"The North Lantau Expressway, as it stands completed in front of you all today, demonstrates the accomplishment of highway construction in Hong Kong through the hard work of all those involved in this project," he said.

Hong Kong had seen its most important changes in infrastructure development during the past few years, Mr Kwong said.

6

"As many projects are coming to fruition, the time has now come to reap the harvest. The West Kowloon Expressway, Kwai Chung Viaduct, Rambler Channel Bridge and Cheung Ching Tunnel have been completed recently and some have already been opened to traffic.

"The Western Harbour Crossing and the Lantau Link will also be complete later this month. By May 22 this year, the balance of the above highways will be open to traffic and we shall be able to travel on this first class transport corridor all the way from Hong Kong Island to Tung Chung and in April 1998 to the new airport," he said.

Mr Kwong said that various activities had been organised to commemorate the completion of the road link to the airport, including an international duathlon race on the North Lantau Expressway on April 20, an opening ceremony of the Lantau Link on April 27, an international marathon and 10-kilometre run on the Lantau Link and the North Lantau Expressway on May 4 and the Community Chest's Walk for a Million on the Lantau Link on May 11.

"These international events will, I trust, bring our new infrastructure works to the attention of our international friends, and will enable the public to experience the scale and magnificence of this highway before it is opened to traffic," he said.

Mr Kwong later performed the ribbon-cutting with other officiating guests, including the acting Secretary for Transport, Mr Paul Leung, Director of Highways, Mr K S Leung, and Director of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, Mr Billy Lam.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr K S Leung said that the North Lantau Expressway is a dual three-lane, high speed road running along the northern coast of Lantau Island. It connects the Lantau Link at the east with the new airport at Chek Lap Kok at the west.

The expressway project also provides a services road to accommodate public utilities to serve the new airport and the Tung Chung New Town. This special road would reduce the effect of utility maintenance on expressway traffic to a minimum, he said.

Mr Leung said that the expressway represented an "international effort" with consultants and contractors from various parts of the world participating in the project, including Hong Kong, China, Australia, Germany, Holland, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

7

"Within a period of four-and-a-half-years, the rugged and uninhabited shoreline of the north Lantau coast has been completely transformed. About seven million cubic metres of soil and rock have been excavated, 20 million cubic metres of marine sand have been imported forming 190 hectares of land and more than nine kilometres of seawalls built.

"During peak construction, the project deployed a dredging fleet which was one of the largest in the world. Vehicular bridges, pedestrian subways and various highway structures have also been constructed amongst which are the three big bridges each 320 metres long, spanning the sea channel between Lantau and Chek Lap Kok Island," he said.

The expressway had been divided into three sections, namely Yam O, Tai Ho and Tung Chung, for construction to suit the location and nature of works, the completion dates of sites for airport support facilities and the Tung Chung new town development programme, Mr Leung said.

"Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the project has been the co-ordination of the numerous interfaces with projects of other parties, such as the Airport Authority, Mass Transit Railway Corporation, Territory Development Department and utility companies. This has required a high level of co-ordination and effort by all parties during the planning, design and construction stages of the project," he said.

End

Secretary for Treasury to attend APEC Finance Ministers Meeting * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, will depart for the Philippines tomorrow (Friday) for the Fourth Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance Ministers Meeting (FMM) to be held in Cebu between April 4 and 6.

He will lead an eight-member delegation, with representatives from the Finance Branch, the Financial Services Branch and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The APEC FMM will discuss a wide range of financial issues, including maintaining stable capital flows and exchange rates, accelerating the development of financial and capital markets and stimulating private sector participation in infrastructure development.

Mr Kwong will return to Hong Kong on Monday (April 7).

End

8

Land Registry statistics for March released ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

A total of 16,124 sale and purchase agreements for building units, including residential and non-residential properties, were lodged with the Land Registry last month (March).

The figure represented a decrease of five per cent from February this year and an increase of 35.3 per cent over March last year.

The total consideration of these agreements in the month was $64.9 billion, down 11.7 per cent but up 73.5 per cent respectively when compared with the amounts for February 1997 and March last year.

The figures were contained in the monthly statistics released today (Thursday) by the Land Registry on deeds relating to property transactions received for registration in the Urban and New Territories Land Registries in March 1997.

Relevant statistics for February 1997 and March 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.

End

Vessel masters urged to be cautious before fireworks voyage ♦ * * ♦ ♦

Masters and operators of vessels intending to sail their vessels to the Lantau Link/Ma Wan Channel area on April 27 evening for viewing the fireworks display of the Lantau Link opening ceremony should be cautious and plan carefully before proceeding on the voyage, the Marine Department said today (Thursday).

The fireworks display will take place in the Ma Wan Fairway, in the area of Tsing Ma Bridge, at about 8 pm on April 27. The fireworks will be discharged from three barges anchored in the Ma Wan Fairway north of Tsing Ma Bridge.

9

A spokesman for the department reminded vessel masters and operators that the area is a busy and complicated water area. There are strong currents in the waters while navigation routes congruent.

The spokesman said that only those masters and persons-in-charge of vessels familiar with navigating in the water area should consider taking their vessels to the area for watching the fireworks display.

A closed area encompassing the fireworks display barges will be established between 2 pm and 11 pm on April 27. (The closed area is showed in the map with straight lines and shore lines joining positions A, B, C, D, E and F.)

During the period, the area will be closed to all marine traffic except craft directly involved in the display, Government launches and other vessels approved by the Director of Marine.

The viewing place for vessels will be designated to the south of the closed area.

The spokesman said all vessels staying within the designated viewing area should comply with the directions of Government patrol launches.

The designated viewing area is small and can only accommodate a limited number of such vessels. Government patrol craft will turn away vessels once the viewing area is full.

The spokesman reminded masters, owners and operators of vessels proceeding on the voyage for viewing the display should not let passengers congregate on one side of a vessel to view the display as this might adversely affect the stability of the vessel.

Also during the closure period of the Ma Wan Channel, vessels transiting Kap Shui Mun and north part of Ma Wan Fairway will not be allowed to anchor or linger in the vicinity.

End

10

Simplified procedures for applying travel ex gratia payment *****

The Travel Industry Compensation Fund Management Board has decided to simplify procedures for claims of ex gratia payments not exceeding $10,000 for each of the outbound travellers affected by a travel agent in the event of default.

The Chairman of the Board, Dr James Kung, said: "Under the new procedures, the average time taken for the Board to grant ex gratia payments to aggrieved outbound travellers will be shortened from over six months to less than two months.

"Under the existing procedure, every application for ex gratia payment must be accompanied by a sealed judgement in respect of the loss concerned, or documents showing that a proof of debt has been lodged or is to be lodged.

"This requirement is intended to safeguard the Fund against possible fraudulent acts. However, it takes considerable time to complete the necessary procedure.”

He said: "Instead of requiring proof of debt or a sealed judgement, the simplified procedures will accept applications submitted with original receipts for the relevant outbound fare being franked or stamped to show the payment of the levy, verified by an auditor appointed by the Board.

"An applicant is also required to make a statutory declaration stating that payment of the outbound fare has been made."

Dr Kung noted: "To safeguard the Fund against possible fraudulent or dishonest acts, the Board, however, retains the discretionary power to direct an applicant to apply under the existing procedure and not in accordance with the simplified procedure."

He said: "The Travel Agents Ordinance empowers the Board to make rules specifying the maximum amount or rate payable as an ex gratia payment in respect of an outbound fare.

"Based on past experience, the Board has considered it appropriate to set the maximum amount of ex gratia payment that each person may apply for under the simplified procedures at $10,000.

"Together with the increase in the rate of ex gratia payment from 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the outbound fare implemented last December, the new procedures will further enhance consumer protection," he added.

11

The simplified procedures will come into operation upon gazettal of the relevant rules tomorrow (Friday). This means that applications for ex gratia payments in relation to a loss suffered as from that date can be processed under the simplified procedures.

The new arrangements have been made after consulting the Advisory Committee on Travel Agents, the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong and the Consumer Council.

End

Director convicted for tax evasion *****

A director of a management service company was convicted in the District Court today (Thursday) for, wilfully with intent to evade tax, signing profits tax returns for the years of assessment 1990/91 and 1991/92 without reasonable grounds for believing the same to be true, contrary to section 82(1 )(d) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.

The defendant, aged 39, is the shareholder and director of a company which carried on a business of management consultancy and property investment during the relevant period.

He was charged with three counts of offences for, wilfully with intent to evade tax, signing three profits tax returns of the company for the tax years from 1990/91 to 1992/93 without reasonable grounds for believing the returns to be true.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

During the relevant period, the income of the company mainly comprised rental income and management fee received from a solicitor firm.

During the three tax years from 1990/91 to 1992/93, the company charged in its tax returns, among other expenses, fictitious commission payments in the respective amounts of $600,000, $900,000 and $1,400,000.

The defendant was convicted by Judge McMahon on two counts of offences for signing profits tax returns of the company for the tax years 1990/91 and 1991/92 without reasonable ground for believing the same to be true, but was acquitted in respect of the charge relating to the tax year 1992/93 due to insufficient evidence.

12

The total tax evaded as a result of the fraudulent commission claims for the tax years 1990/91 and 1991/92 was $247,500.

The defendant was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay a fine of $495,000, equivalent to 200 per cent of the tax evaded.

An Inland Revenue Department spokesman today reminded the public that tax evasion is a serious offence and is liable to maximum sentence of three years imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 on each charge, in addition to a further fine equivalent to three times the amount of tax undercharged.

End

Roving exhibition to promote consultation on housing strategy *****

A roving exhibition on the Long Term Housing Strategy Review will be held in 15 commercial centres and Housing Department shopping complexes throughout the territory starting tomorrow (Friday) until mid-May to encourage the public to voice their opinions on the recommendations set out in the consultative document of the Review.

A Housing Branch spokesman said the housing goals of the Government would be to help all families to gain access to adequate and affordable housing, and to encourage home ownership in the community.

In order to achieve these goals, the consultative document of the Review outlined some 40 recommendations.

"In mounting the roving exhibition, we hope the general public will understand better the overall strategy by which the Government seeks to achieve these goals," the spokesman said.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see a video introducing the various aspects of the Review.

The spokesman said that the Housing Branch was particularly grateful to entertainment personality Ms Nancy Sit Kar-yin for her complimentary role in the video. Ms Sit can surely help "bring home" the message of the Government’s housing goals to the general public.

13

The visitors can also take home a summary highlighting the recommendations of the consultative document. Interested parties can also collect the consultative document from District Offices.

"We welcome views from all sections of the community. We will take into consideration all views expressed," the spokesman said.

The first of the roving exhibition will be held at Shatin New Town Plaza, Phase 1, Level 4 on Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm.

To gain maximum exposure for the exhibition, a total of three sets of identical exhibits have been produced so that concurrent display can be mounted during the same weekends in different popular venues when shopping patronage will be at its peak. These exhibits can be seen between 9 am and 9 pm daily on the following dates and venues:

Date Venue

April 5-11 Cheung Fat Estate Shopping Centre, Tsing Yi Tai Wo Shopping Centre, Tai Po

April 12 - 13 Kowloon City Plaza

April 12 - 18 Wah Fu Commercial Complex, Pokfulam Lo Fu Shopping Centre, Wang Tau Hom

April 19-20 Metroplaza, Kwai Fong

April 19-25 Leung King Shopping Centre, Tuen Mun Tin Shui Shopping Centre, Tin Shui Wai

April 25 - 27 Tuen Mun Town Plaza

April 26 - May 2 Tak Tin Shopping Centre, Lam Tin Hau Tak Shopping Centre, Tseung Kwan O

May 3 -4 City Plaza

May 3-10 Wo Che Commercial Centre, Shatin Wong Tai Sin Shopping Centre

Views and comments on the conclusions and recommendations in the consultation document should be forwarded in writing not later than May 31,1997 to: Housing Branch, Government Secretariat, Suite 905 - 909, Citibank Tower, Citibank Plaza, 3 Garden Road, or by Email to hbl l@hkstar.com.

End

14

VMs depart on orderly repatriation flight

* * * * *

A group of 140 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Thursday) on the 99th Hight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

The majority of the returnees, comprising 121 men, 16 women, one boy and two girls, are from North Vietnam. Only six of the returnees are from Central and South Vietnam.

Most of the returnees arrived in Hong Kong in 1996, with the remaining in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

The group brought to 10,063 the total number repatriated on ORP flights since November 1991.

End

Monitors' report submitted to Chief Secretary

*****

The monitors appointed to observe the Orderly Repatriation Programme operation this (Thursday) morning have submitted their report to the Chief Secretary.

The two monitors comprised a non-official Justice of the Peace, Mr John Robertson Budge, and representative from a non-govemment organisation, Mr Alan Young Tim-tsan from Caritas, Hong Kong.

End

Mail services to Italy may be subject to delay *****

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, announced today (Thursday) that due to industrial action of postal employees in Italy, all mail services to Italy, including Speedpost, may be subject to delay.

A further announcement will be made as soon as services return to normal.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime/ I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services/ the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each yearz not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account/ please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor/ Murray Building, Garden Road/ Hong Kongz before May 1/ 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long runz but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

(Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my Internet e-mail account ______________________________

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Friday, April 4,1997

Contents EngeJNiL

Hong Kong - New Zealand air talks concluded.......................... 1

Impact on I IK on revocation of China's MFN status in the US......... 2

Fight Crime Committee members re-appointed........................... 3

Updated legislation proposed for AMS and CAS......................... 4

Response to report on correctional institutions...................... 5

Control of dust emissions from construction works.................... 7

Environmental asbestos to be controlled.............................. 8

Board amends draft Ngau Chi Wan Outline Zoning Plan.................. 9

Proposed road works for Ng Tung River................................ 10

Flyover along Wong Chuk Hang Road being planned...................... 11

Tsing Yi North Coastal Road proposed................................. 12

Amendment to Chuen Lung road improvement works proposed.............. 13

Drug proceeds confiscated............................................ 14

Historic boats for sale.............................................. 15

Fire safety advice for grave-sweepers................................ 16

No clinic service on Ching Ming Festival............................. 17

Hong Kong - New Zealand air talks concluded *****

The Hong Kong and New Zealand Governments have recently concluded new air traffic arrangements that provide for a balanced exchange of traffic rights for the airlines of both places.

Flexible and expansionary, the new arrangements reflect the needs of the market and open up opportunities for growth in tourism, a spokesman for the Economic Services Branch said, adding in particular that the arrangements provide the airlines in HK and New Zealand with new fifth freedom points in Australia, offering travellers the ability to stop over there on their trips from Hong Kong to New Zealand, and vice versa.

The business traveller will also stand to benefit. Cathay Pacific, for instance, currently operates only five non-stop services per week between Hong Kong and Auckland. Under the new arrangements, however, the company could plan to gradually increase this to a daily Hight by early 1998.

Together with Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific carried a total of 200,000 passengers in 1996, an increase of 23 per cent over 1995.

According to the Hong Kong Tourists Association, 32,900 Hong Kong residents visited New Zealand in 1996, an increase of about 12 per cent over 1995. On the other hand, 58.000 New Zealand residents visited the territory in 1996, an increase of about 16 per cent over 1995.

The Hong Kong - New Zealand air traffic arrangements were concluded in talks between the two sides in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 20-21 this year but have only just been brought into effect because of the New Zealand Government’s requirement to first complete its necessary procedures.

This round of meeting followed several others stretching over four years. The new air traffic arrangements were negotiated under the umbrella of the Hong Kong/New Zealand Air Services Agreement signed in February 1991.

End

2

Impact on HK on revocation of China's MFN status in the US

*****

The Government has completed a broad assessment of the potential impact on Hong Kong's economy if China lost its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status in the United States.

The Acting Secretary for Trade and Industry, Mr Tam Wing-pong, revealed today (Friday) that should China's MFN status be revoked, Hong Kong might suffer a reduction by 32 to 45 per cent (or HKS73 to 103 billion) worth of re-exports from China to the US.

Together with other related trade flows, there might be a reduction of 6 to 8 per cent (or HK$174 to 246 billion) worth of Hong Kong's overall trade, a loss of around HKS24 to 34 billion in income and around 61,000 to 86,000 jobs as a direct impact.

The Government's estimates also show that Hong Kong's GDP growth rate might be curtailed by 2.0 to 2.8 percentage points (or by around two-fifths to three-fifths from its trend rate of 5 per cent in real terms) in the year when the effect of loss of MFN is fully felt.

"There would be a further loss in income and jobs if China cut back on its imports from the US as a result," Mr Tam said. "Manufacturing investments and other production arrangements by Hong Kong and foreign companies in China would also be adversely affected."

Mr Tam is also concerned that Hong Kong's role as a gateway to China would be undermined, thereby affecting longer term growth potential and business confidence in Hong Kong.

On the outlook of MFN renewal this year, Mr Tam envisaged that there would be a lively debate in the US Congress.

"The situation is complex this year as Hong Kong's transition will likely be in the limelight when Congress debates on China's MFN renewal," Mr Tam said. "The climate is also affected by the overall Sino-US relations, but we shall argue strongly that the MFN issue should not be linked with non-trade issues.

"1997 is a more critical year for Hong Kong's development than any since the annual MFN renewal debate began. A steady economy is vital for our successful transition. We will do our utmost to get our message across," Mr Tam added.

End

3

Fight Crime Committee members re-appointed ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government today (Friday) announced the re-appointment of three existing members to the Fight Crime Committee.

They are: Dame Rosanna Wong, Ms Alice Yuk Tak-fun and Ms Sansan Ching Teh-chi.

The three members are re-appointed for a period of two years from April 1, 1997 to March 31, 1999.

Following is the membership list of the Fight Crime Committee:

Chairman Deputy Chairman Members : Chief Secretary Attorney General Dame Rosanna Wong Mrs Miriam Lau Mr James To Ms Alice Yuk Tak-fun Mr Robert George Kotcwall Mr Hui Yung-chung Mr Edward Pong Ms Sansan Ching Teh-chi Secretary for Security Secretary for Home Affairs Secretary for Health and Welfare Secretary for Education and Manpower Commissioner of Police Commissioner of Correctional Services

End

4

Updated legislation proposed for AMS and CAS *****

The Government has proposed updated legislation for the Auxiliary Medical Service (AMS) and the Civil Aid Service (CAS) to better reflect their modern functions, a Government spokesman said today (Friday).

The Auxiliary Medical Service Bill and the Civil Aid Service Bill, both gazetted today, will provide for the establishment of the AMS and the .CAS to replace the Auxiliary Medical Service Unit and the Civil Aid Services Unit established in 1950 and 1952 respectively under the Essential Services Corps Ordinance.

The spokesman said that the main objective of the Ordinance, enacted in 1949, and its subsidiary legislation was to establish units of trained people capable of assisting in the Government's response to natural disasters or other emergencies.

"At its inception, the AMS was intended essentially as a stand-by medical unit for emergencies while the CAS mainly carried out civil defence duties," he said.

The spokesman pointed out that with the passage of time, the Units had expanded their activities into non-disaster related areas. They provide supplementary resources to augment the regular forces, both in times of emergency and in other situations.

The Essential Services (Auxiliary Medical Services) Corps Regulations and the Essential Services (Civil Aid Services) Corps Regulations, which neither describe the current operational functions of the Services nor provide for the training and other activities of their members and cadets, are found to be too generalised for today's requirements.

"We therefore propose to introduce separate and updated legislation for the Services," the spokesman said.

The major provisions of the two Bills will provide for:

* the constitution and functions of the Services;

the calling out of the Services and the performance of voluntary duties;

* disciplinary matters, including discharge of members and handling of complaints: and

5

* the establishment of the AMS Cadet Corps and the CAS Cadet Corps.

The Bills are expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 9 this year.

End

Response to report on correctional institutions *****

In response to press enquiries on the preliminary findings released by Sir Stephen Tumim and Ms Joanne Mariner of the Human Rights Monitor and Human Rights Watch/Asia after visiting some of Hong Kong's correctional institutions, a Government spokesman said today (Friday) that the authorities look forward to studying their full report when it is available.

"Their views and recommendations will be considered carefully and followed up where appropriate," he said.

The spokesman said that the Government was pleased that Sir Stephen had commended the tidiness, cleanliness, and discipline of our correctional institutions and the professionalism of our correctional services staff.

"However, we feel there should be no room for complacency," he said.

On the criticisms of conditions in the High Island Detention Centre for Vietnamese migrants (VMs), the spokesman pointed out that VM detention centres were fundamentally different from prisons.

"The VMs in the camp enjoy more freedom than prisoners. They have more room to move about and are not subject to the same standards of discipline as prisoners.

"Unlike prisoners, the VM families live together in the camp and there are many young children among them. But we note Sir Stephen's and Ms Mariner's comments on the hygiene conditions in the camp, and we will look into this issue. Our aim is to provide a decent and humane living environment, while recognising that conditions in the camps will always be fairly basic."

6

The spokesman stressed that "the future of the VMs does not lie in the camps. It lies in Vietnam, where we hope they will return as soon as possible. We will continue to do all in our power to convince them to do so.

"It remains the firm objective of the Hong Kong Government to repatriate the VMs as soon as possible and to close the camps for good," he said.

The spokesman said that the Government acknowledged the overcrowding problem in the territory's correctional institutions and that it had been taking steps to ease overcrowding through a number of redevelopment projects.

"We are also identifying sites for new prisons. However, building new prisons takes time," he said.

The Government has been carrying out redevelopment projects to increase penal capacities. These include:

* A VM detention centre at Chi Ma Wan has been recently converted into a drug addiction treatment centre;

* Works are under way to convert the ex-military camp in Lo Wu into a minimum-security prison, ready by mid-1997;

* An annex to the Tung Tau Correctional Institution is under construction and is expected to be completed in late 1997;

* A new medium-security prison in Stanley is under construction and is scheduled for completion in 1998; and

* The Government is working on a proposal to expand the Tai Lam Correctional Institution.

" Altogether, these projects will generate about 1,400 additional penal places. In the long run, however, we need to build new prisons to solve the problem of overcrowding. We are conducting a territory-wide search to identify suitable sites for such prisons." the spokesman said.

End

7

Control of dust emissions from construction works ♦ * * * *

The Government is to introduce legislation to further control dust emissions from construction works with effect from June 1997.

The new requirements, which will prevent and minimise dust emission contributing to high ambient levels of an air pollutant called Total Suspended Particulates, are set out in the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation gazetted today (Friday).

A spokesman for the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch said that at present, an Air Pollution Abatement Notice under the Air Pollution Ordinance is served on the contractor if it is established that dust emission from the site is causing nuisance to its neighbourhood.

"As this approach can only deal with a problem after its occurrence , it is therefore proposed to introduce a regulation to require the use of dust control measures as a standard practice at construction sites to prevent the dust emission," the spokesman said.

Construction site contractors will be required under the Regulation to implement specified dust control measures. These include installation and proper operation of dust control systems, enclosing dusty materials and stockpiles or spraying them with water or dust suppression chemicals, treating unpaved surfaces, and implementing good on-site houskceping measures.

Any person who fails to comply with the relevant dust control requirements will be liable to a maximum penalty of $100,000 and imprisonment for three months. A daily fine of $10,000 may also be imposed if the offence is a continuing one.

Additionally, construction activities will be categorised as notifiable works, regulatory works and excluded works according to their scale and dust emission potential. To better control the notifiable work such as reclamation, site formation, and building demolition, contractors carrying out these works are required to notify the Environmental Protection Department prior to commencement of the works.

Any person who operates a notifiable work without notifying the Environmental Protection Department in advance will also be liable to a fine of $50,000.

8

However, exemption will be given to emergency works required where human life or building safety is immediately threatened, or for emergency repair of utility services.

The spokesman added, "To minimise unexpected cost incurred from the new requirements, a one-year exemption period from the commencement date of the Regulation will be applied to existing works, including committed works for which contracts have been signed."

The Regulation was endorsed by the Advisory Council on the Environment. Consultation with construction related trade associations, utility companies and environmental groups were also conducted who find the proposed measures acceptable.

End

Environmental asbestos to be controlled

*****

The control of environmental asbestos under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance will take full effect on June 19, 1997.

Under the new ordinance gazetted today (Friday), only registered asbestos professionals can carry out any work involving asbestos.

Explaining details of the new control. Acting Assistant Director of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Mr Leung Pak-ming, said that premises owners planning to carry out asbestos work must notify the Department.

"They have to submit an asbestos investigation report and an asbestos abatement plan at least 28 days before the work commences," he said.

Mr Leung said that the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibres could lead to serious illnesses, such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

"The control programme is to protect the community from the risk," he pointed

out.

"The duty of the registered asbestos professionals is to ensure that asbestos work is carried out conforming to the requirements and procedures described in the code of practice published under the law," he said.

9

The new provisions will empower the EPD to issue a notice to require measures to be taken to prevent the release of asbestos, and to stop immediately any activity which is found releasing asbestos to the environment.

Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for one year.

Registers of asbestos laboratories and professionals, including consultants, contractors and supervisors are now available for inspection free of charge during office hours at the EPD, 33th Floor, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai.

Members of the public can call EPD on 2594 6232 for further enquiries on the new air pollution control ordinance.

End

Board amends draft Ngau Chi Wan Outline Zoning Plan *****

The Town Planning Board announced today (Friday) an amendment to the draft Ngau Chi Wan Outline Zoning Plan.

The amendment involves the rezoning of a 2.27 hectare-site at King Tung Street in Hammer Hill from ’Govemment/Institution/Community' to ’Residential (Group A)’ to facilitate the development of a Private Sector Participation Scheme housing project.

The amendment plan (No. S/K12/7) is available for public inspection until April 25 during office hours at:

* Planning Department,

16th Floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong;

Kowloon District Planning Office,

11th Floor, Leighton Centre, 77 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay. Hong Kong; and

* Wong Tai Sin District Office,

Fourth Floor, San Po Kong Government Offices Building, King Fuk Street, San Po Kong, Kowloon.

10

Any person affected by the amendment may submit written objection to the Secretary of the Town Planning Board, c/o Planning Department, 13th Floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong, before April 25.

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

Proposed road works for Ng Tung River ♦ ♦ * * *

The Drainage Services Department has proposed the construction of access roads between the existing public roads and rural tracks near Ng Tung River and the proposed river channels in northeast New Territories.

The access roads, to be constructed as part of the Rural Drainage Rehabilitation Scheme, will be used for maintenance purpose.

Some existing roads, pedestrian bridges and tracks will be closed, demolished and reprovisioned. During the construction, alternative access will be maintained to minimise impact to pedestrians.

Details of the proposed works were published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

Copy of the proposed plans can be seen at the Public Enquiry Service Centre of the Central and Western District Office, the District Lands Office/North and the North District Office.

Any person who wishes to object to the works or the use. or both, should write to the Secretary for Transport at the Second Floor, East Wing, Central Government Offices, Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong, before June 3, 1997.

End

11

Flyover along Wong Chuk Hang Road being planned * ♦ * * *

The Highways Department proposes today (Friday) to construct a dual two-lane flyover along Wong Chuk Hang Road over its junction with Nam Long Shan Road.

The proposed flyover is planned to cater for the traffic demand arising from various committed developments in Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau and to relieve the heavy traffic flow at the junction between Wong Chuk Hang Road and Nam Long Shan Road.

The proposed works will include :

(i) construction of a dual 2-lane flyover of about 550 metres;

(ii) widening of a section of Wong Chuk Hang Road including the

reconstruction of the existing carriageways of Wong Chuk Hang Road; and

(iii) reconstruction of part of Nam Long Shan Road, Yip Kan Street and Yip Hing Street associated with the widening of Wong Chuk Hang Road;

(iv) reconstruction of the existing footway along Wong Chuk Hang Road part of which will be closed and converted to form part of the carriageway of Wong Chuk Hang Road and part of which will remain as footway, and reconstruction of the existing footway of Nam Long Shan Road. Yip Kan Street and Yip Hing Street;

(v) closure and demolition of the existing footbridge across Wong Chuk Hang Road at its junction with Nam Long Shan Road; and

(vi) ancillary works including drainage and sewerage works and landscape works.

Construction is expected to start in mid 1998 for completion in mid 2000.

Details of the proposed works were published in today's Government Gazette.

A plan showing the extent of the proposed works together with a scheme description can be seen during office hours at the following government offices:

12

Public Enquiry Services Centre, Central and Western District Office, Ground Floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong;

District Lands Office, Hong Kong South, 20th Floor, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; and

Southern District Office, Shop 25, Mei Fung Court, Aberdeen Centre, Aberdeen, Hong Kong.

Any person who wishes to object to the works or the use, or both, is required to address his objection in writing to the Secretary for Transport at the Second Floor, East Wing, Central Government Offices, Lower Albert Road, Central on or before June 3, 1997.

End

Tsing Yi North Coastal Road proposed

*****

The Highways Department proposes today (Friday) to construct a new road on North Tsing Yi Island, which will form part of the principal access to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok.

The project will comprise:

(i) the construction of a 2.2-kilometre dual two-lane road connecting Tsing Tuen Road at Tam Kon Shan Interchange with future road network on north-west Tsing Yi at the interchange linking Route 3 and Lantau Link;

(ii) construction of two slip roads and two link roads to connect with Tam Kon Shan Interchange and Tam Kon Shan Road respectively to cater for the traffic demand from Tsing Yi Island.

(iii) ancillary works including earthworks, drainage, landscaping works, construction of retaining walls, subways, footpaths and erection of noise barrier and noise semi-enclosure.

Works are anticipated to start in early 1999 for completion in early 2002.

13

Details of the proposed works were published in today’s Government Gazette.

The plans and scheme for the proposed road may be suspected during office hours at:

(a) Public Enquiry Services Centre, Central and Western District Office, Ground Floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong;

(b) District Lands Office, Kwai Tsing, 10th and 11th Floors, Tsuen Wan Station Multi-storey Carpark Building, 174-208 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories; or

(c) Kwai Tsing District Office, Public Enquiry Services Centre, Second Floor, Kwai Hing Government Offices Building, 166-174 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Chung, New Territories.

Any person who wishes to object to the works or the use, or both, is required to address his objection in writing on or before June 3, 1997 to the Secretary for Transport at the Second Floor, East Wing, Central Government Offices, Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong.

End

Amendment to Chuen Lung road improvement works proposed

*****

The Government proposes today (Friday) to amend a previously gazetted road scheme at Chuen Lung to cope with the recently proposed Chuen Lung Village Expansion Area.

The proposed amendment works will include realigning part of the road of the original scheme and introducing two emergency vehicular accesses, footpaths, a car park and a lay-by.

Details of the proposal were published in today’s Government Gazette.

14

The plans and amended scheme may be inspected during office hours at: •

(a) Public Enquiry Services Centre, Central and Western District Office, Ground Floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong;

(b) District Lands Office, Tsuen Wan,

10th Floor, Tsuen Wan Station Multi-storey Carpark Building, 174-208 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan.

New Territories; or

(c) Tsuen Wan District Office, 1st Floor,

Tsuen Wan Station Multi-storey Carpark Building, 174-208 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan, New Territories.

Any person who wishes to object to the works or the use, or both, is required to address his objection in writing on or before June 3, 1997 to the Secretary for Transport at the Second Floor, East Wing, Central Government Offices, Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong.

End

Drug proceeds confiscated *****

After a series of investigation by the Financial Investigation Group of the Customs Drug Investigation Bureau, a total of $426,000 of drug proceeds in two drug trafficking cases was ordered by the courts to be confiscated in the past two days.

The first case was heard on Wednesday (April 2), in which a sum of $326,000 of the drug proceeds was ordered by the High Court to be confiscated from a member of an international drug syndicate. The order was granted under the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) (Designated Countries and Territories) Order 1991.

The confiscation was the result of a lengthy joint investigation into the international drug syndicate by the Customs Financial Investigation Group and the US law enforcement agencies. After a series of investigations, a member of the syndicate was arrested in Hong Kong and extradited to the US for trial.

15

In the second case, which was heard yesterday, a sum of $100,000 believed to be the drug proceeds of illicit sale of psychotropic drugs was confiscated from a dispensary operator.

The dispensary operator was arrested by officers of the Customs Drug Investigation Group on January 18, 1995 in connection with a seizure of 100,000 tablets of psychotropic drugs found in his dispensary and a public housing unit in Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon. He was convicted of various drugs offences and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

“This is the first case to confiscate the drug proceeds of a dispensary operator under the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance," a spokesman of the Customs and Excise Department said.

End

Historic boats for sale *****

An attractive piece of colonial history goes up for sale in the near future - the last boat to be sold by the departing British administration.

The barge, Plassey, currently used by Commander British Forces, is expected to arouse much interest from collectors and mariners alike, as it will be possibly the last item to be sold by the British Garrison.

Also up for sale are two "welfare" junks owned by British Forces Hong Kong. For many years, these have given much pleasure to Garrison personnel, who have chosen to spend their leisure hours on the waters around the Territory. Now, with the drawdown of the Garrison in preparation for the handover of sovereignty, these junks are being offered for sale, together with a range of other boats, ranging from ferries to harbour launches.

They are being sold on behalf of the Garrison by JCM Disposals, to whom enquiries should be addressed. The telephone number of the company is 2337 4863.

End

16

Fire safety advice for grave-sweepers *****

The Agriculture and Fisheries Department today (Friday) urged the public to take extra care in handling fire when they visit their ancestral graves in the countryside during the Ching Ming festival period.

The department's Country Park Protection Officer. Mr Edmond Lam pointed out that most of the countryside fires were caused by human negligence and could have been prevented if people observed a few simple rules.

These rules include:

* Use hand or hand tools to clear grasses or weeds adjacent to the graves instead of using fire;

* Burn worshipping items like candles, joss sticks and "paper money" in metal containers;

* Do not leave lighted worshipping items unattended; and

* Make sure all burning items are extinguished before leaving grave sites.

Mr Lam said the department would provide metal containers at strategic locations inside country park areas for their use.

He also reminded picnickers to light fires only at designated barbecue sites.

Illegal lighting of fires inside country parks may lead to a maximum fine of $5,000 and one year's imprisonment, he added.

End

17

No clinic service on Ching Ming Festival *****

The Department of Health today (Friday) announced that there would be no out-patient clinic service tomorrow (Saturday), which is the Ching Ming Festival.

However, the eight general out-patient clinics will be open from 9 am to 1 pm on Sunday (April 6).

The eight clinics are Violet Peel Health Centre and Shau Kei Wan Jockey Club Clinic on Hong Kong Island; Kwun Tong Jockey Club Health Centre, Robert Black Health Centre, and Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club Clinic in Kowloon; and Lady Trench Polyclinic, Shek Wu Hui Jockey Club clinic and Yuen Long Jockey Club Health Centre in the New Territories.

End

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Return Slip

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I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my Internet e-mail account ______________________________

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Saturday, April 5,1997

Contents Page No.

Private sector is the engine of growth: S for Tsy........................ 1

Three S’s and three C’s to ensure HK's prosperity and stability.......... 2

Migratory Birds souvenir pack sold out................................... 3

1

Private sector is the engine of growth: S for Tsy *****

Hong Kong believes that the private sector is the engine of growth. As a corollary to that, strict control over government spending is maintained so as to leave as much resources as possible in the economy for further private-sector-led growth.

The Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong said this today (Saturday) when making an intervention at a plenary session of the Finance Ministers Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) being held in Cebu, the Philippines.

Mr Kwong said unlike many other places, a large part of Hong Kong’s infrastructural developments was thus financed ab initio by the private sector.

He cited the eight container terminals in Hong Kong, its domestic and international telecommunications systems, its local electricity supply as notable examples of such infrastructural developments.

“The private sector is also actively involved through other modes of financing in infrastructure development in Hong Kong," Mr Kwong said.

They include - joint ventures with Government, franchises, Build-Operate-Transfer schemes and capital financing.

Mr Kwong said that whichever mode was chosen, the Government played a pivotal role as a facilitator and promoter.

"Specifically, we provide a level playing field for investors through the establishment of a clear and transparent tendering system, a clear legal and contractual framework for the projects which would reduce business risks and at the same time protect the interests of the community as well as a pro-active government input to ensure efficient co-ordination and collaboration between Government and the private sector," he said.

"We have, over the years, developed a set of practices which are clean, open and transparent. This is crucial for business confidence.

"Our tendering and procurement procedures, which allow for competitive bidding and objective assessment on the basis of pre-determined criteria, are consistent with the WTO Government Procurement Code.

- 2 -

"We do not favour foreign investors at the expense of local enterprises. Neither do we favour local investors at the expense of foreign enterprises."

He said Hong Kong supported competition as a means to maximise efficiency.

"Free market entry is the norm. In all infrastructural development projects undertaken wholly by, or jointly with, the private sector, we have striven to balance the interests of the community, the investors and the end-users," he added.

Mr Kwong concluded by expressing support to the suggestion that there should be enhanced information flow on the best practices in the region and offered to share Hong Kong’s experiences in this field.

End

Three S's and three C’s to ensure HK's prosperity and stability ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, today (Saturday) assured finance ministers of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) member economies at a meeting in Cebu, the Philippines that Hong Kong’s monetary and financial autonomy would be maintained under the "one country , two systems" concept after July 1 following the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty by China, as such autonomy was guaranteed under the Basic Law.

The three S's which are the preconditions of financial stability - Stability in the monetary system; Supervisory prudence; and Soundness of the public finances- will be maintained.

Mr Kwong also referred to the three C’s - Continuity, Co-operation and Confidence - which ensure Hong Kong's continued stability and prosperity.

Speaking of continuity, he said: "The success of Hong Kong has been led by markets, not by planners; by the idea of Adam Smith, not by central planning or government directives. Hong Kong has free markets, a level playing field, international standards and rule-based policies. All these will continue."

On co-operation, Mr Kwong said: "Even though Hong Kong has competed vigorously with other regional and international centres, we must co-operate as we do in this forum to promote regional growth and financial stability.

r

3

"Hong Kong has become one of the participants of the New Arrangements to Borrow, managed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to help prevent international financial crises. We fully support the efforts of the IMF in this field."

The Secretary for the Treasury said there was tremendous commitment of the senior leadership in Beijing to the "One Country, Two Systems" concept and to the upholding of the Basic Law.

"There is also tremendous determination by the people of Hong Kong to make the "One Country, Two Systems" work. The latest polls also show that the confidence level of the people in Hong Kong and of the international business community has been even higher now, when we are closer to the transition, " Mr Kwong said.

"Contrary to common belief, there are now more people returning to Hong Kong than emigrating. We have an exuberant property market, and after a cyclical downturn in the latter part of 1995, our economic growth rebounded from the low point in the first quarter of 1996 and has been picking up since," he said, adding that by the second half of last year, GDP growth has already risen above the trend rate of 5 percent projected for the medium term.

"These three S's and three C's are consistent with the thrust of the IMF policy advice on how best to deal with the volatility of capital flows. Also with them underpinning our monetary, financial and economic systems, the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong is assured," Mr Kwong concluded.

End

Migratory Birds souvenir pack sold out ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The souvenir packs of the ’’Migratory Birds" philatelic collection set have been sold out through advance order.

The collection set, which was jointly launched by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department and the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF HK), has received an overwhelming response.

However, a limited quantity of postcards and normal covers is still available. Those interested are advised to place an advance order as soon as possible.

- 4 -

These two items will also be on sale from April 14 to 16 at Tsim Sha Tsui Middle Road Post Office and the General Post Office, Central while stock lasts.

Further enquiries on these philatelic items can be made to the WWF HK Fund Raising Department on 2526 1016 or by fax 2845 2764.

End

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738. I

(Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin

through my Internet e-mail account from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Sunday, April 6,1997

Contents Page No,

Efforts in strengthening clearing and settlement systems............... 1

Government purchases total HK$4,781 million in 1996.................... 2

Native-speaking English teachers sought................................ 3

Quicker and greener access to Daily Information Bulletin............... 5

1

Efforts in strengthening clearing and settlement systems ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A robust financial infrastructure is an indispensable element in capital market development, the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, said today (Sunday).

A key component of that infrastructure is a sound and efficient clearing and settlement system which helps to minimise market risks, he said.

Mr Kwong was introducing the collaborative initiative on clearing and settlement infrastructure at the fifth plenary session on the final day of the Finance Ministers Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) in Cebu, the Philippines.

"We have seen, in recent years, increasing emphasis being put on the development of better clearing and settlement systems as a means to promote capital market development. We have witnessed significant and fast changes in the region," Mr Kwong said.

He noted that a few member economies had already established advanced domestic systems while some others were planning to upgrade theirs, making it a very fertile ground for mutual technical assistance and a particularly worthwhile collaborative initiative to reinforce the spirit of co-operation within the APEC region.

Mr Kwong told other APEC delegates attending the meeting that Hong Kong would contribute to such efforts.

"In 1990, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority established a Central Moneymarkets Unit (CMU) which provides a computerised book-entry form of central and custodian service for domestic debts," he said.

"In December 1996, the CMU service achieved real time Delivery versus Payment (DvP) capability, thereby eliminating virtually the settlement risk.

"DvP was make possible with the successful launch of the Real Time Gross Settlement System in Hong Kong in which interbank payment is proceed continually and finality of settlement is instantaneous and irrevocable."

He added that Real Time Gross Settlement System also provided the building block for real time payment versus payment for foreign-exchange transactions.

2

The Secretary for the Treasury said Hong Kong was prepared to share its experience in the establishment of domestic clearing and settlement systems with other member economies and to act as contact point if necessary to make the relevant referrals or co-ordination for APEC member economies wishing to seek technical assistance from the Asia Development Bank or from other economies.

Stressing that the immediate goal of the collaborative initiative should be on strengthening domestic clearing and settlement systems, Mr Kwong said in the medium to longer term, there might be a need to assess the feasibility of development of a regional clearing and settlement facility.

’’The Executives' Meeting of East Asia and Pacific Central Banks and Monetary Authorities (EMEAP) has already started to study this issue. When the study is completed and subject to the agreement of EMEAP, we would be pleased to inform APEC of the findings,” he said.

Mr Kwong said it was very encouraging that some member economies had already reacted positively to this collaborative initiative $nd the proposed approach and some had also indicated their willingness to share their experience in domestic clearing and settlement systems with other APEC member economies.

”1 am confident that such collaboration would bear fruitful results for the APEC region as a whole," he added.

End

Government purchases total HK$4,781 million in 1996 ♦ ♦ * * *

Contracts valued at HK$4,781 million were arranged by the Government Supplies Department (GSD) in 1996, a five per cent increase over the previous year.

These contracts were for the supply of goods and services to over 80 government departments and to several non-govemment organisations, including the Hospital Authority.

The main items purchased included computer hardware and software, pharmaceutical preparations, medical and hospital equipment, fuel oils and scientific and laboratory equipment.

3

Purchases in 1996 were obtained from over 35 countries. The United States was the principal manufacturing source of the goods purchased, supplying goods valued at HK$ 1,888 million, representing 40 per cent of total purchases. The major items of US origin were computer products, medical and hospital equipment, telecommunications systems and pharmaceutical preparations. The US has been the leading source of manufactured goods supplied to the Hong Kong Government since 1986.

Other important sources of purchases were the United Kingdom, China, Germany and Hong Kong. Products of local manufacture included furniture items, pharmaceutical preparations, hospital consumables, household disposals and sundries.

“The Hong Kong Government adopts an open and fair procurement policy by purchasing the goods and sendees that represent best value for money, irrespective of country of origin," the Director of Government Supplies, Mr Nigel Shipman, said.

Record savings of HKS146 million were achieved through price negotiations. The Hong Kong Government buys principally through open competitive tendering and prices are only negotiated in special circumstances.

"Through the sale of confiscated goods, surplus or unserviceable government stores and unclaimed parcels, HK$63 million was added to Government revenue," Mr Shipman noted.

End

Native-speaking English teachers sought *****

The Education Department is recruiting native-speaking English teachers for secondary schools for the school year commencing this September.

The recruitment is part of a Native-speaking English Teachers (NETs) Scheme which followed the Government's acceptance of a recommendation in Education Commission Report No. 6 that schools should be encouraged to employ on local terms more native English speakers who are qualified English language teachers to teach the subject.

The Scheme will be in its second year of implementation in the 1997-98 school

year.

4

The NETs may be employed by schools direct or through the Education Department to fill either graduate or non-graduate teaching vacancies.

Candidates who wish to apply for the NET posts must be native English speakers and should possess (i) a Bachelor's degree, preferably majoring in English Language or English Literature or English Studies or a Modern Language; and (ii) a Post-graduate Certificate in Education or equivalent; and (iii) at least one year's experience of teaching English at secondary level or above (Category A).

Alternatively, they should possess (i) a recognized Certificate in Education obtained after at least two years' full-time study; and (ii) at least one year's experience of teaching English at secondary level or above (Category B).

Candidates with a Teaching of English as a Foreign Language or a Second Language (TEFL/TESL) qualification are preferred.

The appointment of NETs will be on a two-year contract, subject to renewal after expiry. The NETs will receive a gratuity of 25 per cent of total basic salary on completion of the contract. Free passages and baggage allowance will also be provided.

The salary scale is HK$234,420 to HK$493,680 per annum for Category (A) and HK$202,320 to HK$326,940 per annum for Category (B). Increments may be awarded for recognised post-qualification teaching experience at secondary school level or above.

Application forms are available from the Placement and Support Unit, Education Department, Hong Kong Government, 14th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

The deadline for application is May 30, 1997.

Enquiries can be directed to the same office at 2892 5751 or by fax to 28926304.

End

5

Quicker and greener access to Daily Information Bulletin * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

To enhance public understanding of government policies, decisions and activities, the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB) issued by the Government Information Services (GIS) has been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet since April 1.

Internet users can now read the DIB under the News Update of the Government Home Page at http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm.

The DIB covers all the press releases and regular statistics and figures issued through GIS by various government departments.

A GIS spokesman said today (Sunday) that the new arrangement was also environment-friendly as more than 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper could be saved each year, not to mention the postage, labour and other costs incurred in printing and mailing.

At present, 853 copies of the Chinese and English versions of the DIB are sent daily to subscribers, including local and overseas public organisations, consulates and the business community.

To tie in with the new arrangement, the DIB will no longer be sent to subscribers in the form of hard copies from May 1.

"Internet users can now view the DIB the day immediately after the press releases have been issued, compared with two or three days through the normal mailing method,” the spokesman said.

’’Major press releases issued by policy branches and government departments have already been included in the Internet since the end of 1995, yet the launch of the DIB on the Internet provides a more comprehensive set of government press releases which Internet users might find useful."

The News Update in the Government Home Page attracted more than 5,400 visitors in March.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

(Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin

through my Internet e-mail account

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Monday, April 7,1997

Contents JPage No,

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

Governor pays tribute to war veterans.................................. 2

China will keep its promises set out in Basic Law: Acting CS........... 3

Premature for Hong Kong to introduce paternity leave................... 5

Government opposes Member's Bill on Collective Bargaining.............. 6

HK signs Air Services Agreement with US................................ 8

Majority satisfied with HK's present situation: HAB poll............... 9

TB case in Tsuen Wan nursery.......................................... 10

19 elderly apply for Portable CSSA................................ 11

Improvement measures taken............................................ 12

Tender for fifteenth issue of 3-year Exchange Fund Notes.............. 12

Water storage figure.................................................. 14

1

Transcript of the Governor's media session

*****

The following is the transcript of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, speaking to the media after a tea reception for wives and widows of ex-Prisoners of War, and ex-servicemen today (Monday):

Governor: I am delighted that we have been able to invite to Government House, this afternoon, the wives and widows of those brave servicemen, who have been campaigning for many years for full British citizenship - a mark of the valour and service of their husbands. I am delighted that that campaign which has been long and bravely fought, has been successful, and I wanted to have the opportunity of inviting these ladies to Government House this afternoon to thank them very much.

But, of course, I also wanted to thank Jack Edwards who has been the tireless campaigner on the ladies behalf. He has campaigned, literally, right around the globe for them and I hope this is a justifiably proud moment for Jack this afternoon.

Wilkinson Sword have helped us generously with many of the arrangements and we are very pleased to have had their support as well.

So it has been the end of a long story but it has ended happily and successfully and many of the reasons for that are standing next to me: Jack Edwards. Jack, thank you very much.

Mr Jack Edwards: Thank you very much.

Governor: Do you want to say a word?

Mr Jack Edwards: Yes. I would like to say that I could not have got here today without the Governor's help. You who have been in Hong Kong have known I have been fighting for over 30 years for benefits for the veterans. But this was the culminating - the passport was the hardest of all. We won medical benefits, we won grants from the War Memorial Fund; they turned it into a pension. But the passports were the hardest to get because in 1986 I won it for the men under the 1981 Nationality Act but the ladies was the most difficult battle. But 1 could not have done it without the backing of the Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, and of course the Prime Minister, John Major, and the Home Secretary, and of course the Leader of the Opposition Tony Blair, and Robin Cook, who both gave me their hands on this issue.

And of course I have got to thank you, the media, who have been right behind me all the way. Thank you very much.

End

2

Governor pays tribute to war veterans *****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten and Mrs Patten today (Monday) hosted a tea party for about 40 wives and widows of former Prisoners of War and servicemen at Government House. The guests included the Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Mr Jack Edwards.

The occasion was a celebration of the receipt of British passports by the war wives and widows. The Governor said he and Mrs Patten were delighted to have been able to invite to Government House the wives and widows who had been campaigning for many years for full British citizenship which he described as a mark of the valour and service of their brave husbands.

"I am delighted that that campaign, which has been long and bravely fought, has been successful and I wanted to have the opportunity of inviting these ladies to Government House this afternoon to thank them very much,” Mr Patten said.

The Governor also took the opportunity to thank Mr Edwards for his tireless campaign around the world on the ladies' behalf. "I hope this is a justifiably proud moment for Jack Edwards this afternoon," he said.

"It's been the end of a long story, but it has ended happily and successfully," the Governor added.

Mr Patten also thanked Wilkinson Sword for their support and generosity. At the tea party, agents for the company presented to each of the wives and widows a. cheque to cover the cost of their passports and expenses they incurred in obtaining them.

During this afternoon's meeting, Mr Edwards showed to the Governor the Union Jack which was raised over Hong Kong at the end of the war. Among the guests at Government House was Mr Arthur May, aged 90, who hoisted the flag on the Peak to reclaim Hong Kong on 18 August 1945, some 12 days before the British fleet arrived.

End

3

China will keep its promises set out in Basic Law: Acting CS ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The Acting Chief Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, said today (Monday) that all key ingredients to Hong Kong’s economic success now were all guaranteed from July 1 and beyond in the Basic Law, and he believed that China would keep the promises set out in it.

Mr Tsang was speaking at the Harvard Business School Alumni Conference on "Greater China: Myths, Realities, Opportunities".

He said the reason for his faith in the Basic Law was that the Law was drafted by the Chinese Government over a period of five years with the participation of a whole range of Hong Kong people.

"The promises it contains are not new requirements. They are based on Hong Kong’s way of life now. They enshrine in law our current formula for what makes Hong Kong special - economically, financially, politically and in day to day life," he said.

"The Chinese Government created this blueprint for the Special Administrative Region of China because it could see how successful Hong Kong is today and they want it to be just as successful, and indeed more so, tomorrow.

"Hong Kong's continuing success will become a point of China’s national honour. Why then should China risk that success by going back on its promises? I do not believe China will, ’’ Mr Tsang said.

He quoted in full Article 5 of the Basic Law to rebut the myth that Hong Kong's autonomy, particularly its economic autonomy, would be diminished and its way of life would be changed.

The article states that "the socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years".

"This is the overall pledge. But underpinning it are the many separate guarantees which sum up the way Hong Kong works now and will work in the future," he added.

Rebutting the other five myths, Mr Tsang said the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law promise that the common law and other existing laws shall be maintained, which mean that the rule of law will prevail after 1997.

4

He said: "It is in no-one's interests to renege upon this promise. The rule of law lies at the very heart of Hong Kong’s success. It plays a crucial role in securing and upholding the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.”

"The law does rule in Hong Kong. And this gives entrepreneurs and investors the confidence to go about their business knowing that their rights will not be impinged upon or subject to the whims of Government or individual officials," he added.

On the myth that the level playing field which Hong Kong had carefully maintained over the years would slowly start to tilt after 1997, Mr Tsang said there would be no reason to change as Hong Kong would still have the same civil servants, playing by the same rules as now.

On the other myth that the press freedom and the free flow of information generally would be eroded after 1997, Mr Tsang said the Government would not let these be eroded and again the Basic Law makes a promise to this effect.

Mr Tsang said: "Information be it economic, political, commercial, scientific or technological, is the lifeblood of a modern community like ours. Without it bankers, policy makers, investors and indeed Financial Secretaries, cannot make the best decisions. The decisions that lead to good profits, to good government and to good management."

He added that Hong Kong was the telecommunications hub in the Asia Pacific region and Hong Kong was linked to the rest of the world by submarine cables, satellites, and the internet.

"Within Hong Kong, our private telecommunications companies are now building the optic fibre backbone of the information superhighway which will lead us into the new information age.

"And our community values this flow of information, cherishes the freedom of our press," he said.

Mr Tsang also corrected the misconceptions held by some quarters concerning the post-1997 law and order and corruption scene in Hong Kong, as well as the alleged replacement of Hong Kong civil servants with Peking officials.

Turning to the future opportunities, Mr Tsang said: "Hong Kong is known world-wide for its harbour. So please allow me to indulge in a little metaphor making."

5

"What do I see as lying ahead for the ‘S. S. Hong Kong'? New waters certainly. But we have a sound ship. An engine powered by the spirit of free enterprise. And the right crew on board.

"We can set forth with confidence on our historic journey, rather than discovering uncharted islands," he said.

"Hong Kong has the skills - in languages, financial intermediation, management and technology - the creativity and drive to make the best of the opportunities which abound in the fastest growing region in the world," Mr Tsang concluded.

End

Premature for Hong Kong to introduce paternity leave *****

It would be premature for Hong Kong to introduce legislation on paternity leave in the absence of international standards, a Government spokesman said today (Monday).

Commenting on the Employment (Amendment) (No.4) Bill 1997 - a Member's Bill sponsored by Hon Mok Ying-fan and to be introduced into the Legislative Council this Thursday (April 10) - the spokesman said that there were no international labour standards on paternity leave, either in the form of International Labour Convention or Recommendation.

The spokesman said the Government did not support the Bill which would require employers to grant seven days' paternity leave to all married male employees with continuous contract of employment and to grant paternity leave pay at the rate of four-fifths of normal wages to married male employees with continuous employment of not less than 40 weeks immediately before the date of confinement of the spouse.

"The proposal to grant paternity leave to all married male employees with continuous contract of employment deviates from the existing principle of granting leave benefits under the Employment Ordinance. Specifically, the entitlement to any leave with pay such as annual leave, statutory holiday, sick leave and maternity leave now rests with an employee who is directly employed by the employer.

6

"The proposal will also increase the costs and operational difficulties of employers. The difficulty of making staffing adjustments as a result of the bill will be especially significant for small employers which make up the majority of business establishments in Hong Kong," the spokesman said.

"At the request of the Hon Mok Ying-fan, we will consult the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) on his Bill on April 21. Legislators should therefore take account of the outcome of LAB’s discussion before deciding whether to support the bill," he said.

End

Government opposes Member's Bill on Collective Bargaining *****

The Government does not support the Employee's Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Bill 1997 — a Member's Bill sponsored by the Hon Lee Cheuk-yan and to be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 10 (Thursday).

"It is not suitable for Hong Kong to legislate for collective bargaining," a Government spokesman said.

"Collective Bargaining tends to work effectively only in an environment where a small number of establishments employ a large number of people and where the majority of employees are represented by trade unions.

"Such an environment does not exist in Hong Kong, where 94 per cent of establishments are small-sized establishments employing less than 20 employees," the spokesman explained.

He said that it was not necessary for Hong Kong to introduce legislation to provide for employee representation, consultation and collective bargaining, as the existing practice of voluntary and direct negotiation between employers and employees at enterprise level, underpinned by conciliation service rendered by the Labour Department, had been working well.

"With the current system of dispute resolution, the average number of working days lost through labour disputes in the past three years is 0.5 days per 1,000 wage earners and salaried employees," the spokesman said.

"There is no need to change the existing system," he said.

7

The Bill seeks to give new rights to individual employees who are members of trade unions. They include the rights to be represented by a trade union on employment matters; to be consulted by their employer through a representative trade union on matters affecting their interests; and to be covered by a collective agreement negotiated by a representative trade union with their employer.

The spokesman explained that, if passed, the Bill would not be conducive to industrial harmony. "It may induce rivalry amongst unions arising from the competition for more members in order to meet the criteria for union recognition, and this may give rise to disputes among employees who are unionised and those who are not.

"Also, the detailed procedures for determining union representation for the purpose of collective bargaining under the bill would impede the operation of the current mechanism for prompt dispute resolution through direct and voluntary negotiations between the employer and employees," he added.

The spokesman pointed out that the Bill required an employer to consult his employees when considering such business plans as changes in ownership, relocation and re-structuring.

"This will lead to unnecessary intervention in the investment plans of the current owner and potential investors. As a result, it will discourage investment in Hong Kong and ultimately affect the employment opportunities of the local workforce," he said.

"The Bill increases the rights of employees without taking adequate consideration of the interests of employers. While an employer has the obligation to disclose necessary information when he proposes changes in the ownership of the undertaking, and restructuring etc., there is no obligation on the trade unions to keep proper charge of the information. If an employer fails to perform his duty under the law, an employee and his union have the right to file a claim at the Labour Tribunal which may order the employer to take certain actions. However, there is no provision for the Tribunal to order an employee or the union to take certain actions," the spokesman added.

Lastly, he said that the Bill had not gone through the process of tripartite discussion among Government, employer and employee representatives at the Labour Advisory Board (LAB).

"As a matter of principle, the Government will not support legislative initiatives on labour issues which have not been discussed by the LAB," he said.

End

8

HK signs Air Services Agreement with US *****

Development of air services between Hong Kong and the United States of America entered an important phase today (Monday) with the formal signing of an agreement between the two Governments.

The Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, signed the agreement on behalf of the Hong Kong Government, and the US Consul-General in Hong Kong, Mr Richard Boucher, signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of the United States of America.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Ip pointed out that the agreement would provide a firm legal basis for the continued development of air services between Hong Kong and the United States up to and beyond June 30, 1997.

Mr Ip noted the strong economic and tourism links between Hong Kong and the United States and said that air services played a vital role in strengthening such links.

He said Hong Kong's regular air services with the United States started in 1937, when Pan American established a passenger and cargo flying boat service between California and Hong Kong.

Currently, nine US airlines operate about 84 passenger and cargo services per week to Hong Kong. In 1996, they carried about 920,000 passengers and 147,000 tonnes of air cargo on direct services between Hong Kong and the United States.

Cathay Pacific started its passenger and cargo services to the United States in 1986. This was followed by Air Hong Kong, a dedicated air-cargo carrier, in 1996.

Cathay Pacific and Air Hong Kong now operate about 21 services per week between Hong Kong and points in the United States. In 1996, they carried 315,000 passengers and about 42,000 tonnes of air cargo.

The total number of passengers carried on direct services alone between Hong Kong and the United States by the airlines of both sides was close to 1.2 million in 1996, 12.7 per cent more than that carried in 1995.

The Hong Kong-US Agreement is the nineteenth Air Services Agreement signed by Hong Kong. Hong Kong has signed similar agreements with the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Brunei, France, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Australia, Germany, Korea, Singapore, Italy, India, Japan, Myanmar and Thailand.

End

9

Majority satisfied with HK’s present situation: HAB poll ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The latest public opinion survey conducted by the Home Affairs Branch (HAB) in March has shown that 76 per cent of the respondents were satisfied with the present situation in Hong Kong.

This represented an increase of three percentage points as compared with the last survey conducted in January, an HAB spokesman said today (Monday).

Twenty-four per cent of the respondents expected the situation would improve in the next 12 months while 49 per cent believed it would stay about the same. This compared with 25 per cent and 45 per cent respectively in the last survey.

When asked if they thought Hong Kong would continue to be prosperous and stable, 73 per cent expressed confidence, the same as that in January.

On the overall performance of the Government, the number of respondents who expressed satisfaction increased from 48 per cent to 53 per cent while those holding the opposite view decreased from 28 per cent to 24 per cent.

Civil servants' working attitude struck 58 per cent as good while those who thought otherwise remained at 23 per cent.

Of the three most-mentioned problems facing Hong Kong, housing issues continued to top the list at 66 per cent while social welfare-related and labour-related problems were mentioned by an equal 25 per cent of respondents.

The number of interviewees who said the payments under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme was too low has dropped from 11 per cent in last September to nine per cent.

The survey was the 69th 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, 1526 respondents aged between 15 and 64 were successfully interviewed.

End

10

TB case in Tsuen Wan nursery *****

The following statement was issued by the Department of Health and the Social Welfare Department in response to press enquiries on a tuberculosis (TB) case in a nursery in Tsuen Wan:

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "A worker in a nursery in Tsuen Wan was diagnosed as having TB on February 14 this year. She was considered as having low grade infectivity.

"The worker was given treatment immediately and sick leave of three weeks were granted.

"The nursery was contacted on February 15 and arrangement was made for public health follow-up measures.

"All other staff who subsequently took the chest X-ray examination were found not to have tuberculosis.

"A health talk had been arranged for parents on March 26. Tuberculin tests were carried out for the children on April 4. Results were pending."

The spokesman stressed that in order to obtain the trust and co-operation of TB patients in carrying out preventive measures, it was not a practice to announce individual case to the media.

He noted that in 1996, contact screening for TB was carried out in 41 schools throughout the territory.

A spokesman for the Social Welfare Department (SWD) said: "For the benefit of the children and staff, all child care centres are required to abide by the guidelines issued by the Department's Child Care Centres Advisory Inspectorate with regard to pre-employment and annual physical examination (including a chest X-ray) of its staff by a registered medical practitioner.

"A medical certificate should be issued stating that he/she is medically fit to work in a child care centre.

"In the light of the latest development, close liaison will be maintained between the DH and the Child Care Centres Advisory Inspectorate to advise and assist operators of child care centres to take necessary precautionary measures," he added.

End

11

19 elderly apply for Portable CSSA ♦ * ♦ ♦ *

The Social Welfare Department has so far received 19 applications for Portable Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (PCSSA) since the scheme was launched last Tuesday (April 1).

A department spokesman said the applications were being processed.

The PCSSA scheme, he said, allowed elderly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients to continue to receive welfare payments if they wished to retire to Guangdong, China.

To be eligible, an applicant must be:

a Hong Kong permanent resident who has lived in the territory for at least seven years;

* aged 60 or above; and

* having received CSSA continuously for three years immediately before application.

An eligible single elderly will receive a monthly standard rate of $2,060 and an annual long-term supplement of $1,530.

Interested applicants should approach their respective Social Security Field Unit which deal with their CSSA cases, or call the SWD's hotline 2343 2255.

End

12

Improvement measures taken

*****

In response to media enquiries on a complaint to the Ombudsman against delay in endorsing a hearing assessment report, a spokesman for the Education Department said today (Monday):

"This was an unfortunate case and it helped to focus on the need to review and improve our registry procedures. We have taken steps to prevent recurrence, including the Ombudsman’s suggestion for setting up a register to keep track of file movement.

"We are pleased to see that the student concerned has integrated and adjusted well in her present school."

End

Tender for fifteenth issue of 3-year Exchange Fund Notes

*****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announces that the tender for the fifteenth issue of 3-year Exchange Fund Notes will be held on Monday, 14 April 1997 for settlement on Tuesday, 15 April 1997.

Similar to the previous issue, an amount of HK$500 million 3-year Notes will be on offer. In addition to that, another HK$100 million will be held as reserve by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority for supply to Market Makers in the secondary market. The Notes will mature on 17 April 2000 and will carry interest at the rate of 6.50% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears.

Members of the public who wish to tender for the Notes may do so through any of the Market Makers or Recognized Dealers on the published list which can be obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority 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.

13

HONG KONG MONETARY AUTHORITY EXCHANGE FUND NOTE PROGRAMME TENDER INFORMATION

Tender information for the fifteenth issue of 3-Year Exchange Fund Notes

Issue Number : 3004

Tender Date and Time : Monday 14 April 1997, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Issue and Settlement Date : Tuesday 15 April 1997

Amount on Offer : HK$500 million plus an additional HKS100 million as reserve stock for the Monetary Authority

Maturity : Three years

Maturity Date : 17 April 2000

Interest Rate : 6.50% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears

Interest Payment Dates : 15 Oct 1997, 15 Apr 1998, 15 Oct 1998, 15 Apr 1999, 15 Oct 1999, 17 Apr 2000

Tender Amount : Each tender must be for an amount of HK$50,000 or integral multiples thereof. Members of the public who wish to tender for the Notes may approach Market Makers or Recognized Dealers on the published list

Other details : Please see Information Memorandum published or approach Market Makers or Recognized Dealers

End

14

Water storage figure *****

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 78.4 per cent of capacity or 459.439 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 468.456 million cubic metres of water, representing 79.9 per cent of capacity.

End

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■ cei IFO BY GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES S RO.GO° «.FLOORS, MUBMY BO.LD.NG, HONG KONG. TEL: 2842 8777

Dear DIB Clients

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In the meantime/ I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April I, 1997.

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 8,1997

Contents Page No,

Governor’s transcript.................................................... 1

Government statement on land supply for housing.......................... 3

HK representatives to APEC business council reapppointed................. 4

Efforts made to trace TB source.......................................... 5

Review report released................................................... 7

SWD assists fire victims................................................. 9

No mussel found in salt water inside service main........................ 9

Unlicensed guesthouse operators fined................................... 10

24 new building plans approved in February.......................... 11

Most improved students awarded.......................................... 11

Post Office and direct marketing working together....................... 12

New book marks Navy’s Hong Kong history............................. 13

Mei Foo Fire Roundup.................................................... 14

Governor’s transcript *****

Following is the transcript of the remarks made by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after visiting the fire victims at Princess Margaret Hospital this (Tuesday) afternoon:

Governor: This has been another bad and sad day in Hong Kong. In not much more than a year, we have seen terrible fires. We have seen a fire in one of our country parks, we have seen a fire in a commercial building, a terrible fire in a karaoke bar, and now a very serious fire in a block of residential flats. Each time one of these tragedies happens, the whole community asks how we can prevent anything like it happening again. But we never seem to do quite enough. We appear to be chasing after these tragedies rather than preventing them happening.

Today, as you know, as a result of the fire 45 people have been brought to this excellent hospital and two other of our excellent hospitals. Of those 45, seven people have died and there are two who are in intensive-care.

I would like to, straightaway, thank once again our hard-pressed medical staff and social workers for the way, once again, that they are coping with this disaster. And obviously, I would like to thank the Fire Services for what they did so promptly to try to deal with this tragedy.

We spent this morning, in the Executive Council, among other things examining a series of proposals on fire-safety which will be emerging in the coming weeks, not least when we give evidence to the LegCo Panel next week. We legislate -we finished one bill in March and we arc already trying to tighten it up. We are looking at questions like the licensing of karaoke bars, we are looking at what more can be done by government departments to tighten-up fire-safety standards.

There is, obviously, a huge job of public education to do. One of the proposals we were looking at this morning was how we can provide more public education, about what people need to do in their own homes and in their own blocks of flats. But it does appear - though of course we won’t know the major causes of the tragedy until the Fire Services have completed their report - it does appear as though one of the reasons for the scale of this disaster was that some of the fire-doors were left open rather than closed. Now that is one of the basic fire-safety measures which everybody has got to take in their own lives, in their own blocks of flats. So many of these things are known, so many of these things people understand, but then don't bother to do.

2

We saw that with the Garley Building, with the things that were piled on the stairs and which helped to produce the incineration. Where there are fire-doors, people have got to make sure that they are closed. Because if they are not closed, smoke gets into the stairs and into the whole building and we have seen today, again, how quickly people are overwhelmed by smoke in these conditions.

So I just want to repeat this message, and I am sorry that each of these tragedies makes it all the more bleak but all the more important. Government has to do more to raise safety standards, but the community has to be part of that campaign. We are good as a community, in some areas, at joining together to prevent bad things happening.

The Fight Crime Committees are one of the reasons why we have managed to reduce crime in Hong Kong. We have got to show as much concern about safetystandards and particularly about fire safety-standards, otherwise we are going to go on seeing awful tragedies like this one.

The Fire Services Department will of course be producing a report as soon as possible, and we will see whether there are lessons that can be learned from that. But there is one lesson the whole community has got to learn, and that is we have to take care and we have to recognise how appalling a menace fire can be, particularly in a city like this where so many people live in high-rise blocks and work in high-rise blocks.

I would like to offer my sympathy and my condolences to all those who have been bereaved, to all those who have lost a loved one, whether a close friend or a member of their family. And I would like to offer my sympathy to all those who have been injured and all those who are related to the injured.

The best tribute we could pay to those who have been bereaved is to try our hardest to stop this sort of thing happening with such appalling regularity in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a great city in most respects, but in this respect I am afraid it is not. Any questions?

Reporter: How about the patients’ conditions?

Governor: That is not for me to say, I must leave that to the medical staff. But as you'll know, the patients are getting the best possible treatment in a very good hospital. Thank you very much.

End

3

Government statement on land supply for housing *****

In response to press enquiries relating to Hong Kong Government information contained in two reports produced by the Research and Library Services Division of the Legislative Council Secretariat, namely, "Land Supply in Hong Kong" and "Supply of Flats" both dated 3 April 1997, a Government spokesman today (Tuesday) said, "We would like to clarify that the information was supplied by the Government to the Legislative Council Secretariat to facilitate its research. The information should be read in context. We are afraid that the information has been quoted out of context and given incorrect interpretation in the press reports."

Referring to Appendix 20 of the report "Land Supply in Hong Kong" entitled "New Residential Land Supply from 1996 to 2005 (Net Area in Hectares)" (note), the spokesman said, "The information in the table is based on the draft 1996 Territory Development Department (TDD) Development Programmes which show new residential land to be formed by TDD in the forecast period on the basis of the secured funding situation in the department in September 1995.

"Under the Government’s Resource Allocation System, the department's funding is secured for five years, to be rolled forward on an annual basis. This explains why the department's land formation target in 1996-97 to 1999-00 is considerably higher than in the following years. The land to be formed in 2000-01 to 2004-05 refers to the residual amounts to be formed under projects already funded. Land to be formed under new projects will be added into the Development Programmes once funding is secured."

"Moreover, the information does not include the supply of land through other means such as redevelopment, rezoning and intensification of development density," the spokesman added.

"The press reports have made the incorrect assumption that the information in the table represents the Government's Land Disposal Programme, which of course is different from the land formation programme. It would be incorrect to assume that the information in the table represents the full picture in the supply of land for housing. It follows that any interpretation and conclusion drawn from this incorrect assumption would be erroneous," the spokesman said.

"We would like to make it clear that as the Financial Secretary has said in the 1997 Budget Speech, the Government plan to release 327 hectares of land for public and 260 hectares for private housing over the next five years, which is an increase of 46 per cent over the previous five years.

4

"For the period beyond 2001, the Government has announced in the Territorial Development Strategy Review and the Long Term Housing Strategy Review a number of measures to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of land for housing. These include -

a) developing reserved sites on current town plans; and redeveloping existing sites in the public and private sectors;

b) developing strategic growth areas; and

c) rezoning land and increasing development density in selected locations.

"These measures will produce sufficient land to meet the housing requirement of 390,000 new flats in the period from April 2001 to March 2006.

"Action is already in hand to commission the necessary planning and feasibility studies for a number of major strategic growth areas, such as the North West New Territories to ensure that no time is lost in supplying adequate land in good time to meet the community's housing needs," he said.

End

HK representatives to APEC business council reappointed ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government today (Tuesday) announced the re-appointment of three Hong Kong representatives to the Business Advisory Council of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) for another term ending December 31, 1998.

The three are Dr Victor Fung Kwok-king, Chairman of Prudential Asia Capital Limited; Mr Gordon Wu Ying-sheng, Managing Director of Hopewell Holdings Limited; and Mr Victor Lo Chung-wing, Chairman and Chief Executive of Gold Peak Industries (Holdings) Limited.

The Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, said: "The Government is grateful to Dr Fung, Mr Wu and Mr Lo for their significant contributions to the work of the Council.

5

"With their rich business experience and active participation, I have no doubt that they will continue to contribute to the Council's mission of fostering closer cooperation and involvement of the business sector in APEC activities," she said.

Dr Victor Fung currently heads a steering committee under the APEC Business Advisory Council to assess the individual action plans of APEC members for liberalising their respective economies. APEC has invited the Council to comment on these plans towards their future improvements.

Mr Gordon Wu is the co-chairman of a committee under the Council charged with addressing finance, investment and infrastructure issues in the Asia-Pacific region while Mr Victor Lo is a member of a committee dealing with impediments to cross-border flows in the region.

The APEC Business Advisory Council was established in June 1996 as a permanent advisory body to provide business/private sector insight and counsel to APEC.

The Council has two main functions: to advise on the implementation of the Osaka Action Agenda adopted by APEC to achieve free trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, as well as on other specific business sector priorities; and to respond to APEC's request for advice on business-related issues.

The Council reports its work to APEC Economic Leaders and Ministers.

End

Efforts made to trace TB source ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Department of Health (DH) said today (Tuesday) that all efforts would be made to trace the source of tuberculosis (TB) cases in a Tsuen Wan kindergarten.

DH's consultant Chest Physician i/c, Dr Tam Cheuk-ming, said the Department had all along been obtaining information from the school of any casual workers and former staff so that a thorough investigation could be conducted.

"The Department would trace all clues in an attempt to track down the source," he said.

6

On the results of the tests and examinations, Dr Tam pointed out that one more student of the kindergarten who had been screened earlier and closely monitored was just confirmed as having TB. This student was given appropriate treatment and was granted sick leave.

This brought the total number of TB cases in the kindergarten to five, four involving students and one a former worker, he said.

Dr Tam, however, stressed that the parents and the public should not be over-worried about the situation so long as they followed the health advice of their attending physicians and DH.

He said that the Department was receiving good co-operation from all parties concerned in carrying out the control measures.

"Some former students also turned up for tuberculin tests and examinations as a result of the wide publicity.

"This makes our investigation more thorough and control measures more effective."

To date, of the 302 present and former students in the kindergarten, only about 17 have not done the tests and arrangements have already been made for them.

The result of the contact screening showed that about 27 percent of those tested were positive. This is in line with the overall trend in Hong Kong.

He reiterated that positive results only indicated that follow-up work was required and not necessarily indicative of TB disease.

"Early diagnosis and treatment are some of the most effective measures that could be taken and present treatment programme is very effective," Dr Tam said.

As regards another case involving a nursery in the Tsuen Wan district, Dr Tam noted that to date, contact screening had been conducted for some 117 of the 122 children.

Of the 110 results available, only 12 students (i.e. 11 percent) were found positive and follow-up measures would be taken for these students.

7

He said the recent cases reminded us the importance of keeping alert on TB but there was no need for over reaction adding that the control programme in HK is very effective.

He once again reminded the public to take the following measures to prevent tuberculosis:

* to take children for BCG vaccination if they have not been vaccinated

before,

* to consult doctors promptly if they have symptoms suspicious of TB, like cough over three to four weeks, blood in sputum, loss of weight, fever and night sweating,

to ensure good indoor ventilation,

to maintain good bodily resistance by leading a healthy life-style, including balance diet, adequate rest and avoiding overwork and stress.

End

Review report released ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Education Department today (Tuesday) released a report by its working group on the review of prevocational and secondary technical education in Hong Kong.

The report confirms that there continues to be a need for a technical curriculum in schools for students with such aptitudes and abilities. Other major recommendations in the report include:

* The technical curricula of prevocational and secondary technical schools should be suitably updated. It should aim at imparting to students generic but fundamental and transferable skills, and include, in general, stronger emphasis on languages and business and technological subjects.

Appropriate support and resources, including improvements to physical facilities, teaching furniture and equipment, and teacher retraining, should be provided for the implementation of the recommended technical curricula.

8

* To enhance the quality of teaching, the graduate/non-graduate teacher ratio in prevocational schools should be improved from the present 1:1 to 7:3, bringing the provision in line with that of secondary grammar and technical schools.

* Prevocational and secondary technical schools should be allowed to remove their specific reference from their names if they so wish.

The working group was set up last year under the chairmanship of a Senior Assistant Director of Education, Mr S M Tsui, to comprehensively review the two types of education.

Mr Tsui said that the major areas covered, by the review were the roles of prevocational and secondary technical schools, their technical curricula, physical facilities and teaching furniture and equipment, training and retraining of teachers, graduate/non-graduate teacher ratio in prevocational schools and interface between secondary schools and the Vocational Training Council.

During the review, formal and informal contacts were made with the relevant educational bodies, and visits were paid to prevocational and secondary technical schools and institutes under the Vocational Training Council. In addition, two public forums were held and written submissions were received from the public.

"It is hoped that the recommendations of the working group will provide a useful basis for the Government to map out the longer-term development of technical education in schools in the context of Hong Kong’s overall manpower planning and training. We would welcome any views from the public on the report," Mr Tsui said.

Copies of the report are available from the Education Department’s Schools Division, 14/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; Yau Tsim District Education Office, 7/F, Kowloon Government Offices, 405 Nathan Road, Kowloon; and Sha Tin District Education Office, 3/F, Citylink Plaza, 1 Shatin Station Circuit, Sha Tin, New Territories.

End

9

SWD assists fire victims

*****

The Social Welfare Department (SWD) has set up a special hotline to offer welfare assistance to victims and families affected by the No. 3 alarm in Mei Foo Sun Chuen today (Tuesday).

The hotline, 2990 3560, will be manned by medical social workers in Princess Margaret Hospital round the clock tonight.

Staff of the SWD have so far contacted the families of six deceased persons at the hospital to see what kind of services they needed.

Emergency relief articles will also be provided to five other families comprising 14 persons. Two temporary shelters, one in Nam Cheong Community Centre and the other in Mei Foo Sun Chuen, have been set up to accommodate the fire victims.

Meanwhile, the department will continue to approach other victims to offer appropriate assistance.

End

No mussel found in salt water inside service main

*****

In response to media enquiries concerning a newspaper report today (Tuesday) on mussel found by a resident in the inside service salt water main of an unit at Yue Tin Court in Sha Tin, a spokesman for the Water Supplies Department said:

"Upon receipt of report on the incident on February 26, the department carried out thorough investigations immediately. Our colleagues carried out a detailed inspection of the flushing supply system of the estate including the sump tank and roof tank, as well as the inside service mains of the concerned unit. No sign of mussel was found."

The spokesman added that salt water samples were also taken from Yue Tin Court, nearby housing estates and the salt water supply system of Sha Tin area for laboratory analyses. Results of the analyses also confirmed that the system was operating normally and the salt water quality meeting the required standards.

10

He stressed that the department so far did not receive any other similar report from Sha Tin and other part of the territory where sea water is also used for flushing purposes.

"This is indeed an individual incident," he said.

End

Unlicensed guesthouse operators fined ♦ ♦ * ♦ *

Guesthouse operators were reminded today (Tuesday) that they must operate their establishments only after they have obtained a licence from the Home Affairs Department (HAD) or risk facing a maximum penalty of $200,000 in fines and two years' imprisonment.

An HAD spokesman issued the warning after two guesthouse operators were fined a total of $20,000 by the Fanling Magistracy for operating unlicensed guesthouses in Yuen Long. j

The proprietor of one of the guesthouses was advised by HAD’s Licensing Authority in August 95 to complete the required upgrading works in order to get a licence. He was then reminded last July to cease operation unless a licence had been obtained.

The operator of another guesthouse, whose certificate of exemption expired last August, was reminded in September that operating without a licence was an offence. However, when an inspection was conducted in December, the two guesthouses were found in operation without licences.

Both operators were subsequently charged under Section 5 of the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance and were each fined $10,000.

The spokesman said unlicensed guesthouses would not be tolerated and enforcement action would continue to be taken to eliminate such premises.

He also appealed to members of the public to continue to help in the crackdown on unlicensed guesthouses by reporting them to the Licensing Authority on 2881 7034.

End

[Missing 2 pages in the original document]

13

The Asia Direct Marketing Symposium is organised by the Times Direct Marketing Group and hosted by the Hong Kong Direct Marketing Association. The Hong Kong Post Office is the main sponsor.

On April 9, 1997 (Wednesday), a forum session - "The Postal Forum" will be held. Staff of the Hong Kong Post Office will speak on how and where direct marketing fits into its overall business strategies; and give an overview of the services currently provided to direct marketers and the new initiatives being looked into. Mr Footman and his staff will be available to answer questions from the floor.

End

New book marks Navy's Hong Kong history ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

More than a century and a half of history is marked with a new book to be published this week. White Ensign, Red Dragon - a history of the Royal Navy in Hong Kong 1841-1997, a full-colour, hard-back publication, marks the final chapter in the Navy's long association with the Territory.

Edited by Senior Naval Officer and Chief of Staff, Commodore Peter Melson, the book describes the vital role played by the Royal Navy in the founding of the colony and its transformation from the barren rock claimed by Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer on January 26, 1841, to the commercial success it is today.

The book will also help local Hong Kong Chinese ex-Servicemen, with all proceeds from its sale going to the Locally Enlisted Personnel Trust, established to provide assistance to Locally Enlisted Personnel who may fall on hard times post 1997.

White Ensign, Red Dragon will be formally launched at a reception at the Conrad International Hong Kong on Thursday (April 10), attended by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten and the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jock Slater. More than 200 guests have been invited to witness the launch, and competition for signed copies - a bargain at only $1,000 - is expected to be fierce.

White Ensign, Red Dragon, published by Edinburgh Financial Publishing, will be available from all leading bookshops from Thursday (April 10) at $300 per copy.

End

14

Mei Foo Fire Roundup *****

Seven persons were killed and 38 others injured in a No. 3 alarm fire in Mei Foo Sun Chuen, Lai Chi Kok today (Tuesday).

A domestic unit of about nine by seven metres was severely damaged in the fire which occurred at 6D, 3 Glee Path at 11.55 am. The fire was upgraded to No. 3 alarm 19 minutes later.

Firemen used six jets and mobilised 15 Breathing Apparatus teams to put out the blaze at 2.25 pm.

Force entry was made by firemen to 19 units on various floors of the affected building for search and rescue operation. A total of 95 persons were rescued by firemen through building staircases and tumable ladders.

The deceased comprised four women, two girls and a man. They were certified dead on arrival at Princess Margaret Hospital.

The other injured persons, including three firemen, were rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital, Caritas Medical Centre and Yan Chai Hospital for treatment.

Most of the casualties were overcome by smoke and were discharged from the hospitals after treatment.

Seven persons comprising four women, two men and a boy, were admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital. Two women are in "critical" condition while another two women, two men and a boy are in "stable" condition.

Eight persons, including seven women and a man, were taken to Yan Chai Hospital where a 46-year-old woman was admitted in "satisfactory" condition while the others were discharged.

A fireman and a boy were in "stable" condition at Caritas Medical Centre.

The Fire Services Department has set up an investigation team to look into the cause of the fire and circumstances leading to multiple casualties and fatality.

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, accompanied by Acting Director of Home Affairs, Mr Lui Hau-tuen, and Director of Social Welfare, Mr Andrew Leung, visited the victims at Princess Margaret Hospital.

15

The Social Welfare Department has set up a special hotline to offer welfare assistance to victims and families affected by the fire.

The hotline, 2990 3560, will be manned by medical social workers in Princess Margaret hospital overnight.

Staff of the department have so far contacted the families of six deceased persons at the hospital to see what kind of services they needed.

Emergency relief articles have also been provided to 37 persons coming from 10 other families.

Meanwhile, two temporary shelters have been set up to accommodate the fire victims. One of the shelters is at Nam Cheong District Community Centre, 1 Cheong San Lane, Sham Shui Po and the other at the Mei Foo Sun Chuen Stage II community centre. Liaison Officers of the District Office will be at the centres to assist the victims.

The police have also set up a hotline 2761 2553 to answer public enquiries about the fire.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

HONG KONG. TEL.. 2842 87//

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

(Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin

through my Internet e-mail account from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 9,1997

Contents Paso Ito*

Governor’s transcript..................................................... 1

Governor visits Tsuen Wan district........................................ 3

PDB to conduct Port Cargo Forecasts Exercise.............................. 4

WSD’s meter testing laboratory awarded accreditation...................... 5

Local Student Finance Scheme invites applications......................... 6

Counselling session for fire victims...................................... 9

Seminars on extra-curricular activities guidelines........................ 9

Marine Department is co-ordinating rescue operation...................... 10

Probe into vessel collision being conducted.......................... 11

Last Royal Navy base in Far East decommissions....................... 11

- 1 -Governor's transcript ♦ * * * ♦

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after visiting the Tsuen Wan District this (Wednesday) afternoon:

Question: Were you reassured by Michael Suen's comments today?

Governor: I have read the consultation document and I hope that as many people as possible in Hong Kong will do so as well and will comment on it. I don't want to speak in detail about the document. We will, as you know, be publishing our own comments on the document which we will place in district offices alongside the consultation document itself, hoping that will contribute to the public debate.

But I do just want to make one point. When it was first proposed that some of Hong Kong's protection of civil liberties should be changed - in the words of the Chairman of the Bar Association, when these measures were proposed which would in her view undermine the rule of law - there was so much public disquiet expressed, that I think it was rightly decided that there should be a consultation process during which the community could make its views known. Now the question is this: Is this a genuine consultation process or is it not? The document doesn't set out options, it puts forward one set of proposals. And nowhere does it justify changing the present law. There is no indication, nor has there yet been any indication of how our present laws contravene in any way the Basic Law. But now we have got these proposals put forward without that justification, proposals which I think everybody knows to some extent turn the clock back on the freedoms which Hong Kong enjoys, and which undoubtedly tighten the screw on Hong Kong's civil liberties.

I hope that when people express their views on these issues they will be listened to. And I hope, as a demonstration that the consultation is genuine, that we can get a simple answer to this question: If people in Hong Kong make it clear that they don't want to have their existing protection of civil liberties changed on no grounds whatsoever, if the leaders of the legal profession and others speak out in those terms, can we have an assurance that the future government of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong will go to Peking and will go to the NPC and say, "We're sorry, but people in Hong Kong don't want to have their civil liberties protection changed; civil liberties protection which in their view is entirely in line not just with the International Covenants but with the Basic Law"?

So it is a simple question: If the consultation demonstrates, as previous comment has demonstrated, that people don't want a change in these fundamental freedoms, don't want a change in the law, can we be assured that that point will be put very clearly on behalf of Hong Kong to the authorities in Peking?

2

Question: But according to Michael Suen, he said that this is the reality that we must change the law. So what will the British Government do?

Governor: It is only the reality if you accept that with no justification whatsoever, the NPC can simply lay down the rules for Hong Kong; that we have no right to question why they are doing this. I repeat, they have at no stage pointed out in what ways Hong Kong’s laws are in contravention of the Basic Law. They have never, ever done that.

Now the NPC is an important body. But the NPC is not Moses bringing the Tablets down from the top of the mountain. And if it is the case that as a result of this consultation people make it clear that they don’t want a change in the law, then I hope the SAR Government-to-be will make that point to the NPC and to Peking. It is not enough to say, "We've got to do this because we’ve got to do this". It is a completely circular argument. If anybody, if any legal opinion could be produced to show that our existing laws contravene the Basic Law, then there might be'an argument for change. But that has not been demonstrated and cannot be demonstrated.

Question: Concerning about the overseas funding, do you think it is a kind of restriction for the local party to survive because they don’t have any funds to struggle for anything?

Governor: Well, one is aware, not least from looking at what happens in the United States, that apparently, foreign funding of political parties is something that happens in a lot of countries. But I don't want to get drawn into the detail of that argument at this stage. I notice that a lot of rather difficult questions have been asked about what exactly this would mean and how these rules could be applied. I don’t actually think that the question of foreign influence on the political process in Hong Kong is terribly relevant to our lives here. We have vigorous, responsible political debate in Hong Kong; our own political parties jostling for position doing so in a much more moderate way than happens in other communities.

And that is something else that we have to remember when we consider these issues. When you go around Hong Kong do you get the impression that this is a community on the brink of social breakdown or chaos? Do you get the impression that the changes that have been made in our laws over the last few years have in some way undermined our stability or our prosperity? We have gone on getting more prosperous, we have remained an immensely stable society.

People talk about the increase in the number of demonstrations. There has been an increase in the number of demonstrations but they have been overwhelmingly peaceful, like the demonstrations you see today. Overwhelmingly peaceful, and they have been accompanied over the years by a fall in the level of crime in Hong Kong. There is less crime in Hong Kong today than there was in 1984 when the Joint Declaration was signed. So nobody can say that we have got to make these changes in the laws in order to hang on to our stability in this society.

3

I hear people talking about the importance of balancing individual aspirations with social order and the community good. We do that in Hong Kong. We do that in Hong Kong a lot more successfully than most other places in the region. What I fear is that if people seek to prevent their fellow citizens expressing their views in a vigorous but peaceful way, if they seek to choke-off political activity, it will produce the sort of social and political problems which they say they want to avoid.

This is a fantastically sophisticated and mature community. It is one of the mpst successful economies and societies in the world. Is it really our message to the world in 1997 that where everywhere else, almost everywhere else anyway, freedom is being enhanced, in Hong Kong we have got to edge back a bit from the freedoms we enjoy already? I don't think that is the message that Hong Kong should be sending out in 1997.

Question: ... SARCE office ... ?

Governor: Oh, that is a very, very simple point. We have not changed our views on this issue one iota, but we press for a consultation on this document and I don’t want anybody to say that we have stood in the way of that consultation being as extensive as possible. I hope that people will read the document, I hope that they will read our commentary on it, I hope that they will listen to what people are saying, what political leaders are saying, what Mr Suen is saying, what I'm sure Mr Tung will say in due course. And I hope that they will then respond and set out their own views. I want this consultation to be a genuine one. And I repeat, there is no point in going through a consultation if people have made their mind up about the outcome. If the consultation shows what has already been demonstrated, that people don't want these changes in their laws, then I hope that point will be registered very clearly and firmly with the Chinese authorities. Thank you very much indeed.

End

Governor visits Tsuen Wan district ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, visited Tsuen Wan district to keep himself abreast of the latest developments in the district today (Wednesday) afternoon.

Accompanied by the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau; Tsuen Wan District Officer, Mr Gavin Ure; and Tsuen Wan District Board Chairman, Mr Chan Lau-fong, Mr Patten first proceeded to Tsuen Wan Lutheran School. It is a subsidised primary school with about 850 students, including a considerable number of new arrivals.

4

The Governor then toured Wo Yi Hop Village, established some 400 years ago in the foothills of Tai Mo Shan. The traditional village still retains a number of old village houses which sharply contrasted with some recent developments.

Mr Patten's next stop was an integrated youth service centre at Clague Garden Estate run by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

Before concluding the visit, the Governor met Tsuen Wan District Board members and local leaders at a community reception.

End

PDB to conduct Port Cargo Forecasts Exercise *****

The Port Development Board (PDB) today (Wednesday) signed a $1.82 million contract with the GHK Hong Kong Ltd for carrying out a comprehensive consultancy study to update the Hong Kong's Port Cargo Forecasts.

Speaking after the contract signing ceremony, the Secretary of the Board, Mr Richard Yuen Ming-fai, said the consultant would assist the PDB Secretariat to review and update the last Port Cargo Forecasts prepared in 1995.

Mr Yuen said: "The Government's policy on port development is to match supply of port facilities with forecast demand, and it goes without saying that this policy is heavily dependent on reliable forecasts of future performance.

"We engage experienced and reputable international consultants to assist us in undertaking a major review of the Port Cargo Forecasts once every two years to ensure that these forecasts, which span up to 20 years ahead, are as accurate and up to date as possible.

"These forecasts will provide crucial data for carrying out realistic and accurate planning for future port facilities and the provision of port-related infrastructure. Our ability to provide new port facilities to match demand is vital to support Hong Kong's economic growth; to enable us to continue to maintain our position as the largest and main port for Southern China; to create employment in the port and other related economic activities such as transportation, shipping, import and export trade, banking and insurance, etc.; and to maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a major international port in the light of growing competition in the region," he said.

5

Mr Yuen said that the port is Hong Kong's only natural resources, apart from its people, and the two together have made us one of the most successful economies in the world. Hong Kong owes its existence to the port and the port remains one of the most important service sectors of our economy.

He said: "We must continue to develop our strength and develop our port if Hong Kong is to continue to grow and prosper. The study would take into account changing world and regional economic conditions, new trends in cargo movement and competing port developments in the region.

"The fact that we appoint a consultant to assist us is to stress the importance we attach to professionalism and impartiality in undertaking the study. The port and shipping industry will be fully consulted in the study. We will also make use of the opportunity to obtain and exchange information with port authorities in China and in the region to share our views on market projections and new port developments and to assess their implications for our future port development plans. The forecasts would be used to determine the territory's long-term need for new container terminals and other cargo handling facilities to meet demand."

The study, which starts today, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

End

WSD's meter testing laboratory awarded accreditation *****

The Meter Testing Laboratory of the Water Supplies Department has formally been accepted by the Hong Kong Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS) as an accredited laboratory in recognition of its competence to carry out water meter tests.

"The accreditation is a big step forward to accomplish the department's vision and mission in the provision of quality services to six million Hong Kong people," the Director of Water Supplies, Mr Hu Man-shiu said today (Wednesday).

Speaking at the celebration ceremony held at the Lung Cheung Road Mechanical and Electrical Workshop where the laboratory was located, Mr Hu said: "It is a driving force for every body in the department to conduct and maintain an ever-improving quality assurance system in the water meter testing and hence further enhance our consumers' confidence in our services."

6

Under the calibration services category, the accreditation covers the accuracy test on 15 mm water meters which are used by over 98 per cent of consumers in Hong Kong to measure their water consumption.

The Meter Testing Laboratory conducts meter testing in accordance with the procedures required under International Standard Organisation (ISO) 4064.

Accreditation was awarded after the laboratory had been thoroughly assessed and proved to be technically competent in performing the meter accuracy test.

Details of the accredited tests are included in the HOKLAS Directory of Accredited Laboratories under registration number 74.

’’Accuracy and reliability of measurements are achieved by the implementation of a stringent laboratory quality assurance system, by using properly calibrated equipment and by employing competent personnel," Mr Hu added.

HOKLAS was formally established by the Government in May 1985 to officially identify and recognise testing laboratories which are competent to carry out specific types of tests or measurements.

End

Local Student Finance Scheme invites applications *****

The Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA) which administers the Government’s Local Student Finance Scheme (LSFS) announces the arrangements for applications in respect of the 1997-98 academic year today (Wednesday).

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

7

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

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

Students should submit their applications to the SFAA via their respective institutions. Applicants whose sibling(s) is/are also applying for the LSFS (1997-98) at the same time should hand in their applications, together with those of their siblings, to the institutions of either of the siblings.

Applicants who wish to apply for Student Travel Subsidy should do so by completing the appropriate section in the same application form.

Completed applications should be returned to the applicant's institution before the deadlines as specified below:-

Current students: 30 April_1997

(The deadline for current students of the Hong Kong Institute of Education is 14 June 1997)

New students

1. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: 12 September 1997

2. Lingnan College: 26 September 1997

3. Hong Kong Baptist University: 26 September 1997

4. City University of Hong Kong: 26 September 1997

5. Hong Kong Polytechnic University: 9 October 1997

6. Prince Philip Dental Hospital: 15 October 1997

7. Hong Kong Institute of Education: 31 October 1997

8. Hong Kong Technical College (Tsing Yi): 24 October 1997

8

9. Hong Kong Technical College (Chai Wan): 24 October 1997

10. Chinese University of Hong Kong: the Secondary Friday after the commencement of the first semester (1997-98)

11. University of Hong Kong: 21 days from the date of offer of admission

12. For postgraduate (by research) students newly enrolled to their courses in 1997/98: the deadline is one month from the date of commencement of course (in any case not later than end of March 1998)

Financial assistance for applicants is assessed on the basis of their family income less permitted deductions and divided by number of family members to arrive at their annual disposable income, which will then determine their grant/loan entitlements. Applicants whose family assets exceed a set limit will have then-assistance reduced.

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

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

The Agency's spokesman sounds a special note of warning that incorrect or inaccurate information provided in applications will not only lead to their rejection but may also give rise to criminal proceedings against the applicants and/or his/her parents. Recently, an applicant's mother was convicted for failing to provide true and complete information. She was fined $6,500 and two months' imprisonment which was suspended for 12 months.

Enquiries should be directed to the SFAA at 9th floor National Mutual Centre, 151 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Telephone No.: 2802 1666). Public may also make use of the automated enquiry telephone hotline 2802 2345 to gather further information on the Scheme.

End

9

Counselling session for fire victims

*****

The Social Welfare Department (SWD) will hold a counselling session on Saturday (April 12) to help those affected by the Mei Foo Sun Chuen fire overcome their stress problems.

The session will take place at the Mei Foo Community Hall, Mei Foo Sun Chuen, at 2.30 pm.

The department's clinical psychologists will be deployed to provide critical incident stress debriefing to victims and family members distressed by the fire.

Members of the public who witnessed the tragedy or have any distress problems resulted from the fire are also welcome to attend.

Meanwhile, SWD caseworkers have contacted the families of all eight deceased to see what kind of services they needed.

Staff of the department will liaise with the families of all victims regarding payments of burial grants and injury grants from the Emergency Relief Fund.

End

Seminars on extra-curricular activities guidelines

*****

Primary and secondary school heads are invited to nominate teachers to attend seminars on "Guidelines on Extra-curricular Activities in Schools" to be held on May 20 and May 21 at the Hong Kong Teachers' Centre.

The seminars are jointly organised by the Education Department and the Hong Kong Extra-curricular Activities Coordinators' Association.

The two identical half-day seminars aim at enhancing schools' understanding of the issue; providing up-to-date information on extra-curricular activities; and providing participants with opportunities to exchange views and experiences.

10 -

Subsequent to the release of the "Draft Guidelines on Extra-activities in Schools" in October 1996 for consultation, a considerable amount of feedback was received.

These comments were considered and incorporated as appropriate in the consolidated version of the guidelines.

The guidelines aim to better teachers' understandings of the extra-curricular activities from a broad perspective.

A circular and three sets of guidelines had been issued to all primary and secondary schools.

Completed nomination forms have to be returned to the School Activities Section of the Education Department's Advisory Inspectorate Division at Room 934, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, or fax it to 2893 3747, on or before April 30.

All applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. Successful candidates will be notified by mail on or before May 12.

Enquiries should be directed to the above section on 2892 6693.

End

Marine Department is co-ordinating rescue operation *****

The Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) of the Marine Department is co-ordinating a rescue operation of a collision incident involving a high-speed ferry and a towing vessel.

The incident was reported that a Zhuhai-bound high-speed ferry "Hoi Bin" had a collision with a towing vessel off Shek Kwu Chau this (Wednesday) morning.

Initial report indicated that there are 194 passengers and eight crew members on board the high-speed ferry and no casualty and injuries have so far been reported.

Meanwhile, Marine Department vessels and Police launches are rushing to the scene to assist.

End

11

Probe into vessel collision being conducted ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Marine Department is investigating a collision involving a catamaran and a kaito off Shek Kwu Chau this (Wednesday) morning.

Zhuhai-bound catamaran "Hoi Bin” with 193 passengers and eight crew members on board collided with a kaito west of Shek Kwu Chau around 10 am this morning.

A hole measuring two metres by 1.5 metres was made on the catamaran’s starboard bow above the waterline.

The passengers and crew members of the catamaran sustained no injuries in the accident.

A total of 188 passengers were transferred to another catamaran despatched to the scene by the shipping company to continue their voyage to Zhuhai.

The remaining five passengers who chose to return to Hong Kong will be taken by a Police launch to China Ferry Terminal later today.

The kaito had two crew members and three passengers on board. The master sustained slight injury and was subsequently admitted to Cheung Chau Hospital for treatment and observation.

End

Last Royal Navy base in Far East decommissions ♦ * ♦ ♦ *

HMS Tamar, the Royal Navy's last shore establishment in the Far East, decommissions on Friday (April 11), exactly 100 years to the day that a vessel of that name first arrived in Hong Kong waters as an accommodation ship.

Over 200 sailors will parade in front of the quarter deck at HMS Tamar, on Stonecutters Island, as the White Ensign is lowered for the last time, bringing to an end a 156-year-long association between the Royal Navy and the territory.

12

Among those attending the ceremony will be the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, Commander British Forces Major General Bryan Dutton, Senior Naval Officer and Chief of Staff Commodore Peter Melson, and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jock Slater, who has flown in from the United Kingdom especially for the occasion.

Music for the ceremony will be provided by the Band of the Royal Marines, who are based at Portsmouth in the south of England, and who are currently enjoying a short tour of the territory.

The first naval officer to set foot in Hong Kong was probably the commanding officer of HMS Sulphur, Sir Edward Belcher, who landed on January 25, 1841 and drank Her Majesty’s health on Possession Mount, near the present day Hollywood Road. The following day, the Colony was formally claimed by Commodore Sir Gordon Bremer and the Union flag was raised for the first time.

HMS Tamar, a name synonymous with the China Station, first arrived in Hong Kong on April 11, 1897. The fourth ship of this name, she was secured to a buoy in Victoria Harbour and then moved along side the west wall of the newly reclaimed dockyard in 1913, where she remained until the Second World War. When it became clear that Hong Kong would fall to the Japanese in December 1941 she was scuttled, a sad end to an unglamorous career.

The new HMS Tamar, and fifth in line, was commissioned in 1946 and between 1959 and 1962 a modem naval base was established between Harcourt Road and the waterfront. The continuing reclamation of the north shores of Hong Kong Island, including the former Victoria Basin, necessitated the relocation of the Royal Navy’s shore establishment to Stonecutters Island in May 1993 from where it has since operated, in support of the three ships of the Hong Kong Squadron. HMS Tamar is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Cliff Squibb.

The Hong Kong Squadron will remain on duty in Hong Kong waters up to, and including, June 30, 1997, supported by a rationalised naval operational unit. Once their duties in the territory are completed the three patrol craft will be sold, subject to negotiation, to the Philippines.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

ieei jcn rv GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES GA^dIS ROAD 5th-8th FLOORS, MURRAY BUILDING,

HONG KONG. TEL.: 2842 8777 Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard, copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

(Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin

through my Internet e-mail account 

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, April 9, 1997

Contents Page No,

Legislative Council meeting:

Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 1997 ... 1

Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill: second reading........................ 2

Auxiliary Medical Service Bill: second reading............................ 3

Civil Aid Service Bill: second reading.................................... 5

Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability & Salvage) Bill......... 5

Suicide rate of the elderly............................................... 7

Lantau Link opening ceremony............................................. 10

Sixty estates built on newly reclaimed land.............................. 13

Statistics on training visas granted..................................... 16

Confirmors in property transactions...................................... 18

/Methods to...

Contents

Page No.

Methods to improve stamp sales............................................ 20

Monitoring of institutions running mock examinations.................. 21

Road tunnels lighting systems meet standard............................... 22

Enactment of legislation explained........................................ 24

Allocation of housing resources........................................... 25

Planning for Tai A Chau Detention Centre under review..................... 26

Surgery data in public hospitals.......................................... 26

Service for new immigrants................................................ 30

Prudent lending criteria ensured.......................................... 33

Grants provided by cemeteries board....................................... 34

Actions taken to ensure computer complaint to Year 2000 .................. 35

Ferry service at Wan Chai Waterfront...................................... 38

Slope upgrading works near schools are underway........................... 39

Stamp sales............................................................... 44

Disposal of abandoned vehicles in the streets............................. 45

1

Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No.2) Bill 1997 ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the speech by the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews, in moving the second reading of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No.2) Bill 1997 in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 1997 be read the second time. The Bill aims to make provision in local legislation for the retirement and resignation of Supreme Court judges and District Judges. The opportunity is also taken to make a number of technical amendments relating to the administration of oaths of office to avoid problems that would otherwise arise on and after 1 July 1997. I shall now outline the main provisions of the Bill.

First, the present provisions for the retirement and resignation of Supreme Court judges and District Judges are contained in Article XVIA(l), (2) and (3) of the Letters Patent. As the Letters Patent will cease to apply to Hong Kong after 30 June 1997, these provisions need to be incorporated into local legislation. Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill amend the Supreme Court Ordinance and the District Court Ordinance respectively to incorporate the provisions currently in the Letters Patent.

Secondly, section 17 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance provides that all judges and judicial officers specified in the Third Schedule to the Ordinance shall take the Oath of Allegiance and the Judicial Oath as soon as possible after their appointment. There is, however, no provision at present for a Justice of Appeal to take such oaths after appointment. As Justices of Appeal will need to take oaths following their appointment to the Judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, clause 7 amends Part 1 of the Third Schedule to provide that a Justice of Appeal should also take the oaths after appointment.

Thirdly, section 7 of the Judicial Service Commission Ordinance states that members of the Commission shall on first appointment take an oath of office administered by a judge. The Judicial Service Commission will be retitled the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission on 1 July and new appointments will be made to the Commission. When it holds its first meeting on 1 July 1997 to recommend the appointment of the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, no judges will have been appointed in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. A practical solution is required for this practical problem. In order to facilitate the administering of the oath of office to members of the Commission at that meeting and on future occasions, clause 8 amends section 7 of the Ordinance to enable a commissioner for oaths, in addition to a judge, to administer the oath.

2

Fourthly, clauses 2, 5 and 6 contain consequential amendments to the Supreme Court Ordinance, the Pension Benefits (Judicial Officers) Ordinance and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance respectively.

Mr President, I commend the Bill to this Council for early passage into law.

End

Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill: second reading *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in moving the second reading of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill be read a second time.

Transfer of sentenced persons is an important area of international co-operation in law enforcement. The purpose of transferring sentenced persons to their own countries to serve their custodial sentences is to facilitate their rehabilitation, by returning them to an environment free of language and cultural barriers and where their friends and relatives can visit them on a regular basis.

Hong Kong’s arrangements for the transfer of sentenced persons are at present provided for by the Council of Europe Convention in relation to the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and the UK/Thailand Agreement in relation to the Transfer of Offenders. These agreements signed by the UK have been extended to Hong Kong but they cannot continue to apply to Hong Kong after 30 June 1997. With the agreement of the Chinese side in the Joint Liaison Group, we are establishing our own bilateral arrangements with other jurisdictions for the transfer of sentenced persons which will remain in force beyond 30 June 1997. However, we cannot bring any of our new bilateral arrangements into operation until there is an implementing legislation.

The main purpose of the Bill is to provide the appropriate legal framework to enable Hong Kong to implement our new Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP) agreements with other jurisdictions. Without this legislation, it will not be possible for Hong Kong to transfer sentenced persons to and from Hong Kong in accordance with the new TSP agreements after 30 June 1997. Nor, equally important, will we be able to continue the detention of prisoners who have already been transferred pursuant to the existing arrangements.

3

The proposed legislation follows broadly the UK legislation which is currently applied in Hong Kong. Key features of the legislation include

both the receiving and sending jurisdictions as well as the sentenced person must consent to the transfer;

the conduct in respect of which the sentenced person is imprisoned must be criminal in both jurisdictions; and

any adjustment to the sentence by the sending jurisdiction (for example, by way of pardon, reduction of sentence) must be given effect to by the receiving jurisdiction.

The Chinese side of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group confirmed agreement to the localising Bill at JLG XXXIX held on 21 March this year. We need now to ensure that the localized legislation can take effect as soon as possible before the handover. I therefore urge Honourable Members’ urgent consideration and support for the Bill. The early enactment of the Bill would enhance the international community’s confidence in the continuity of the rule of law in Hong Kong and our criminal justice system. It will also be of benefit to the prisoners affected.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Auxiliary Medical Service Bill: second reading

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in moving the second reading of the Auxiliary Medical Service Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Auxiliary Medical Service Bill be read a second time.

I will also introduce the Civil Aid Service Bill, which is very similar to the Auxiliary Medical Service Bill, to Honourable Members later today.

The two Bills seek to introduce updated legislation for the Auxiliary Medical Service (AMS) and the Civil Aid Service (CAS) to reflect their modem functions.

4

The Essential Services Corps Ordinance was enacted in 1949. The main objective of the Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation was to establish units of trained persons capable of assisting in the Government's response to natural disasters or other emergencies. The AMS Unit was established in 1950, and the CAS Unit was established in 1952 both under this Ordinance.

At its inception, the AMS was intended essentially as a standby medical unit for emergencies whilst the CAS mainly carried out civil defence duties. With the passage of time, the units have expanded their activities into non-disaster related areas. They provide supplementary resources to augment the regular forces, both in times of emergency and in other situations.

The Essential Services (AMS) Corps Regulations and the Essential Services (CAS) Corps Regulations are too generalised for the requirements of today. They do not describe the current operational functions of the AMS and CAS; nor do they provide for the training and other activities of their members and cadets. We therefore propose to introduce separate and updated legislation for the Services.

The purpose of the two Bills is to provide for the establishment of the AMS and the CAS in order to replace the AMS Unit and the CAS Unit currently established under the Essential Services (AMS) Corps Regulations and the Essential Services (CAS) Corps Regulations respectively. The provisions of the Bills include the constitution and functions of the Services, calling out and performance of voluntary duties, disciplinary matters, and the establishment of the AMS Cadet Corps and the CAS Cadet Corps.

The Legislative Council Panel on Security was briefed on 2 December 1996, and supported the proposal to introduce separate legislation for the AMS and the CAS. Early enactment of the Bills will be welcomed by members of the AMS and the CAS, who have contributed, and will continue to do so in the future, so much in support of the regular forces' efforts to maintain public order and safety of the community.

I urge Honourable Members to give the Bills speedy consideration.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

5

Civil Aid Service Bill: seconding reading ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in moving the second reading of the Civil Aid Service Bill in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

1 move that the Civil Aid Service Bill be read a second time.

This Bill is very similar to the Auxiliary Medical Service Bill which I have introduced to Honourable Members earlier. It seeks to introduce updated legislation for the Civil Aid Service (CAS) to reflect its modern functions. The key features of this Bill have been explained in my speech on the Auxiliary Medical Service Bill.

The CAS has done and will continue to do much to augment the regular forces to benefit our community. I urge Honourable Members to give this Bill speedy consideration.

Thank you, Mr President.

End

Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability & Salvage) Bill * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a speech by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, in moving the second reading of the Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move that the Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill be read a second time.

The Bill has two main purposes. It seeks to localise part of the UK Maritime Conventions Act 1911 and to extend to Hong Kong the new International Convention on Salvage 1989 which came into force last year.

6

The UK Maritime Conventions Act 1911 currently extends to Hong Kong two international conventions: the International Convention on Collision Damage Liability and the International Convention on Salvage 1910. However, since the International Convention on Salvage has been replaced by a new Convention in 1989, the Bill seeks only to localise that part of the UK Act which deals with the International Convention on Collision Damage Liability and to replace those provisions in the Act relating to the 1910 Convention on Salvage by the 1989 Convention.

To implement the International Convention on Collision Damage Liability, clauses 3 to 7 of the Bill set out the rules on the division of loss in cases of damage or loss caused by the fault of two or more vessels, and the rules on the liability of the owners of the vessels which caused the loss of life or personal injuries. The general principle, provided by the International Convention, is that the liability of the owners of the vessels involved shall be in proportion to the degree in which each vessel was in fault.

Clause 9 of the Bill seeks to implement the International Convention on Salvage 1989 to Hong Kong. The text of the new Convention is set out in Schedule 1 to the Bill. It stipulates the duties of the salvor, the owner and the master during the course of a salvage operation. It also requires every shipmaster to render assistance to any person in danger of being lost at sea. To implement this requirement of the Convention, the Bill makes it an offence for any shipmaster to fail to render assistance so far as he can do so without serious danger to his ship and persons thereon.

The Convention also stipulates the rights of salvors and the conditions for reward to salvors. Generally speaking, a salvor is rewarded only if the salvage operation is successful. Under the 1989 Convention, exceptions can be made if a salvor fails to salve the ship and the cargo but helps to prevent or minimise damage to the environment - by, say, towing a damaged ship away from an environmentally sensitive area. In such cases, the salvor will be entitled to a special compensation. The objective of this provision is to give incentive to the salvage industry to help limit the environmental damage even though the chances of salving the ship or the cargo are slim.

As a major international shipping centre, we must follow the international rules and practice in dealing with collision damage liability and salvage operation. The enactment of this Bill is important to ensure that these two international maritime conventions will continue to apply to Hong Kong after I July.

Mr President, with these words 1 commend the Bill to this Council.

End

7

Suicide rate of the elderly * * ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Allen Lee Peng-fei and a written reply by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Mrs Katherine Fok, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

According to a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong, the suicide rate of the elderly in Hong Kong ranks second in the world. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the following:

(a) the number of elderly persons who had committed suicide in the past five years together with a breakdown of these elderly persons by age and sex;

(b) the causes of the elderly suicides and the means by which such suicide were committed; and

(c) the measures adopted by the Government to reduce the occurrence of suicide cases involving elderly persons?

Reply:

(a) The known suicide death figures of persons aged 65 and above by age and sex in the past 5 years arc as follows:

Sex 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995

Male 101 106 98 121 116

Female 86 109 101 102 94

Total 187 215 199 223 210

It is understood that the study which Hon Allen Lee refers to in his question is the one commissioned by Befrienders International. In their report published in February 1997, it is mentioned that the data on the international comparison of elderly suicide should be interpreted with care as they refer to different years and there may be differences in the age and gender distribution of the elderly population of the countries being compared. It is therefore difficult to derive a firm conclusion from the data highlighted in the study that Hong Kong's elderly suicide rate is amongst the highest in the world.

8

(b) Suicide is a very complex problem. It is caused by a variety of reasons, including social, psychological, emotional and situational factors. Prolonged illness, death of a loved one, family troubles, frustrations, despair and hopelessness are often the reasons cited for suicide attempts by elderly persons. The suicidal act is usually the climax of a crisis in an individual. No single or simple explanation can cover the wide range of situations that lead to suicide.

The means by which suicide were committed among the total deaths of persons aged 65 and above in 1995 are as follows:

(Suicide and self-inflicted injury)

Total deaths by cause of death, 1995 (Aged 65+)

Cause Male Female Total

Suicide and self-inflicted poisoning by solid or liquid substances 3 9 12

Suicide and self-inflicted injury by hanging, strangulation and suffocation 51 27 78

Suicide and self-inflicted injury by jumping from high place 55 54 109

Others 7 4 11

Total 116 94 210

(c) Suicide may be prevented if the elderly persons have a more positive outlook and better control of their life. When they are confronted with personal difficulties, it would be most important if their family members can render them with strong emotional support. To supplement family support, it is Government's policy to create strong community support network to help to address problems of loneliness and depression faced by some elderly people, especially those in crisis. Services being provided include the following:

9

(i) Services to promote an active lifestyle

In 1996/97, there are 196 social centres and 27 multi-services centres for the elderly which offer activities to meet the social and recreational needs of the elderly and to encourage elderly people to widen their social circle. Multi-service centres for the elderly also provide community education programmes to help elderly persons understand various changes accompanying the aging process and face them in a positive manner. In districts where elderly population congregate, Family Life Education workers will include the elderly people as target participants of their programmes. In particular, the elderly people are encouraged to maintain an active life style irrespective of whether they are economically active.

(ii) Support services for elderly at risk

There are 65 Family Services Centres and 344 Medical Social Services Units to assist the needy including elderly people to solve their problems. Furthermore, Clinical Psychology Units and counselling unit of multi-service centres for the elderly of the Social Welfare Department, non-governmental organisations and Hospital Authority provide counselling services to elderly persons facing problems or in crisis. In addition, the Department of Health has introduced a pilot Elderly Health Service which places emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention. Clients are encouraged to attend health promotion activities and to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Clients are also provided with annual physical examinations and health screenings for chronic diseases including depressions. Elderly with symptoms of suicidal tendency will be promptly referred to hospitals.

10

(iii) Outreaching services for elderly at risk

Where necessary, caseworkers of Family Services Centres and Medical Social Workers will reach out to the elderly people who are in need of assistance and support. The Community Geriatric Assessment Teams and Psychogeriatric Teams also reach out to elderly persons in the community who are in need of assessments and/or medical treatments.

The experimental Volunteer Workers Programme, Older Volunteers Programme and Social Networking for the Elderly also bring in the concept of using volunteers to widen the support network and to identify elderly at risk. Elderly people identified to be in need of professional services will be referred to the appropriate unit for follow-up.

End

Lantau Link opening ceremony ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Lo Suk-ching and a written reply by the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sapg, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Government will organise a fireworks display and other large-scale public activities on 27 April this year to celebrate the opening of the Lantau Link. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Government has consulted the public before deciding to organise the fireworks display and other activities mentioned above; if not, why not;

(b) of the estimated amount of public money which the Government has to spend in organising the fireworks display despite private sponsorship for the event, bearing in mind that the Government departments concerned (including the Home Affairs Department, the Marine Department, the Police, the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office and the Transport Department) have to deploy staff to undertake co-ordination work as well as to maintain public order and regulate traffic flow; and whether the Government has assessed if the expenditure involved is 'money well spent' when deciding to organise such activities;

11

(c) of the total number of celebration activities organised by the Government to mark the opening of the Lantau Link, as well as the specific plan and estimated number of participants in respect of each activity;

(d) of the specific plans drawn up by the Government concerning the security and traffic control measures to be adopted in connection with the activities mentioned in the answer to (c) above; and whether the extent of nuisance that may be caused to the public has been fully considered while formulating such plans;

(e) apart from providing entertainment to the public, of the other reasons, including political reasons, for organising the fireworks display and other large-scale public activities to mark the opening of a highway?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Lantau Link Opening Ceremony is part of a series of ceremonies marking the completion of each of the five projects which form the transport corridor of the Airport Core Programme (ACP) running from Central District to Tung Chung New Town. The specific answers to the question are as follows:

(a) The application for the staging of a fireworks display as part of the Ceremony was approved after having taken into account a number of factors including likely public reaction and safety requirements. When the proposal was first submitted to Government, the Administration's assessment was that this would be acceptable to the community as a whole, subject to satisfactory arrangements being worked out on crowd control, traffic arrangements, and transport facilities in consultation with relevant District Boards and affected local residents.

We started our consultation on a preliminary proposal on crowd control, traffic, and public transport arrangements in early March. So far, three District Boards and the Airport Consultative Committee have been consulted. The general feeling was supportive of the display and specific proposals had been made to improve on the preliminary proposal. We plan to finalize the detailed arrangements in mid April in the light of the views collected during the consultation exercise.

12

(b) For the Lantau Link Opening Ceremony, the New Airport Projects Coordination Office (NAPCO) is co-ordinating the preparation work. Direct expenses for the Ceremony are in the region of $7.5 million. These will come out of the funds approved for publicity and public relations for the Airport Core Programme. Staff costs are absorbed by Government departments within their cunent strength and various participating organisations. The fireworks display, at a cost of $5 million, is sponsored by a commercial enterprise.

Considering the opportunity offered for promoting our international image in being able to complete a substantial part of one of the largest infrastructural projects in the world ahead of schedule and below budget during the final years of transition, and for enhancement of our status as a service centre for infrastructural development and project management, we consider the efforts and resources put in organizing these events very good value for money.

(c) With the objectives of drawing international and local attention to the completion of the ACP transportation network on time and within budget, and of encouraging community participation in celebrating the completion of a new Hong Kong landmark, NAPCO has been working with various Government departments and organisations on a series of events/activities to mark the opening of the Lantau Link:

(i) a formal opening ceremony of the Lantau Link on 27 April 1997, preceded by land parade, boat flotilla and flypast and followed by car procession and fireworks display;

(ii) an international marathon on the Lantau Link and North Lantau Expressway together with a 10-km running event on 4 May 1997; and

(iii) a Community Chest charity walk along Route 3 and the Lantau Link on 11 May 1997.

Whilst our target is to enable as many people to participate as practically feasible, it is difficult to estimate the precise number of people taking part in these activities. Many factors, such as weather and other attractive events held elsewhere, may well affect the actual number of participants. The following is a rough estimate:

(i) some 2,400 (1,200 invited guests and 1,200

participants/performers) for the Lantau Link Opening Ceremony and 300,000 spectators who are expected to view the fireworks display along Castle Peak Road;

13

(ii ) around 7,500 participants for the running events; and

(iii ) up to 80,000 participants for the charity walk.

(d) Events on the Lantau Link will be held before it is open to public traffic. While these events themselves do not take away available road space, traffic diversions on the approach roads are sometimes necessary because of the need to facilitate crowd and traffic control. There will also be additional need on public transport arrangements. In the case of the Lantau Link Opening Ceremony, pedestrianisation of certain sections of Castle Peak Road as well as regulation of traffic during the fireworks display along Tuen Mun Road is required. Some inconvenience to affected residents nearby is therefore unavoidable.

Government departments, in particular the Police Force, Transport Department, Marine Department and Fire Services Department, are working together with the organisers concerned to ensure that any inconvenience to affected residents is kept to the absolute minimum. At the same time, special attention will be paid to public safety, expeditious dispersal of crowd, effective crowd control, and the valuable lessons learnt during the New Year Eve fireworks display at Tuen Mun. As soon as views on the preliminary proposal put forth to relevant District Boards have been collected and examined, we will announce the details in mid April.

(e) Apart from providing an opportunity for the whole community to celebrate the completion of the Lantau Link, our new landmark with the world's longest road and rail carrying suspension bridge, and the objectives mentioned in the response to question (b) above, there is no other reason whatsoever in organizing the various events related to the opening of the Lantau Link.

End

Sixty estates built on newly reclaimed land ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

Question:

In the light of the subsidence in Yau Oi Estate in Tuen Mun, does the Government know:

14

(a) of the public rental housing (PRH) estates and Home Ownership Scheme

(HOS) estates under the management of the Housing Authority which are situated on newly reclaimed land at present;

(b) whether the Housing Department (HD) has carried out periodic inspections on the PRH estates and HOS estates mentioned in the answer to (a) above, and whether the HD has earmarked funds for tackling subsidence cases that may occur; why not; and

(c) whether, apart from the subsidence in Yau Oi Estate, the HD has come across subsidence cases in other PRH estates and HOS estates in the past three years; if so, of the number of such cases in each of the three years as well as the names of the PRH estates and HOS estates concerned?

Answer:

Mr President,

There are 60 estates constructed on newly reclaimed land: 24 public rental housing (PRH) estates, 23 Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) estates and 13 Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) estates. Details are at the attached table.

Reclaimed land is subject to settlement. This is allowed for in the design and construction stage of Housing Authority estates. Subsequent soil subsidence should not affected the structural safety of these buildings.

The structural condition of PRH and HOS estates managed by the Housing Department is regularly inspected by professional staff. PSPS and HOS estates managed by private agencies are inspected by qualified people concerned.

For PRH estates, expenditure relating to remedial work as a result of subsidence is met from the Housing Department's funds for general maintenance and repair. For HOS and PSPS estates, such expenditure is charged to the maintenance and repair accounts of the management funds of individual estates.

In the past three years, apart from the incident at Yau Oi Estate, there have been two other cases of ground subsidence in On Ning Garden (Tseung Kwan O) and Siu Hei Court (Tuen Mun).

15

List of completed estateS-CQiWu^ed on n^yjy rechiiqedJAnd F^^atSWUBJu

Area J&W Public Rental Housing (PRH) Estates Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) Estates Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) Estates

Chai Wan (««) Tsui Wan Estate Yue Wan Estate CWflJ®) Yee Tsui Court Cheerful Garden (SJ&7EB3) Walton Estate (O®)

Aberdeen (W) Wah Kwai Estate (S St®) Ka Lung Court (§4?£?e)

Lantau Island Lung Tin Estate (SIS©)

iMa On Shan Chung On Estate Heng On Estate (®tJt®) Yiu On Estate Kam Fung Court Kam Hay Court(S;-.fS5e) Kam On Court (j&gsjg) Fok On Garden (®5J7EB]} Fu Fai Garden (2SM7ES)

Sha Tin ftfrffl) Wo Che Estate (ftiS®) Yue Tin Court tfftSEJg)

Sham Shui Po (W) Nam Cheong Estate (fflg®)

TaiPo (*W) Fu Shin Estate (W#®) Kwong Fuk Estate (ftQ®) Tai Yuen Estate (^7L®) Ming Nga Court Ting Nga Court (?TfS?5) Wang Fuk court (S5S2E) Yeo Ng* Court (fem) Sun Hing Garden Tsi Po Plaza CtWtfS)

Tsing Yi (##) Cheung Fat Estate (ftfi®) Cheung On Estate (J15S®) Ching Nga Court Ching Tai Court Serene Garden

Tseung Kwan 0 (^3K3) Hau Tak Estate King Lam Estate (ftft®) Ming Tak Estate (93tB®) Po Lam Estate (H^®) Chung Ming Court Hin Ming Court Ho Ming Court Yan Ming Court CKBJ5e) Ying Ming Court Yu Ming Court Yuk Ming Court (;&S^5b) Fu Ning Garden (2£Sp7£B[) On Ning Garden (55??6?E(B)

Tuen Mun G£f"J) Butterfly Estate (JSJ55®) On Ting Estate (5£$®) Sam Shing Estate (H£®) San Fat Estate (#H8®) Wu King Estate ($8#®) Yau Oi Estate Siu Hei Court (JfcS’Jg) Siu Lun Court 0|£§|J§) Siu On Court 0ls£#g) Siu Shan Court GfeduJa) Chi LokFa Yuen(StSI7EH) Melody Garden Tsui Ning Garden (SSST-elS) YuetWu Villa (t^lliS)

Total 24 23 13

End

16

Statistics on training visas granted *****

Following are a question by the Hon Chan Wing-chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the information provided by the Government to the LegCo Panel on Manpower relating to overseas workers taking up employment in the territory for training purposes, will the Government inform this Council of -

(a) the nature and number of posts under the trading and investment, manufacturing, banking and hotel sectors respectively as shown in the ’’training visas breakdown by nature of business” ; and;

(b) the number of applications for extension of stay, the time required for approving such applications as well as the longest period of extension granted, in respect of each category of duration of stay as shown in the "training visas breakdown by duration of stay"?

Reply:

(a) Statistics supplementary to those supplied to the LegCo Panel on Manpower for the year 1996 on training visas granted to the businesses of Trading and Investment, Manufacturing, Banking and Hotel, with breakdown by nature of post, are as follows -

Nature of Business Nature of Post Jan - Dec 1996

Trading and Accountant 47

Investment Computer Operator 13

Engineering 159

Hotel Management 0

Hotel Service 5

Managerial 427

Marketing Executive 255

Medical Personnel 2

Project Researcher 33

Surveyor 4

Others 99

Total 1,044

17

Manufacturing Accountant 7

Computer Operator I

Engineering 80

Managerial 81

Marketing Executive 24

Project Researcher 14

Others 13

Total 220

Banking Accountant 18

Computer Operator 11

Managerial 276

Marketing Executive 65

Project Researcher 5

Surveyor 7

Others 18

Total 400

Hotel Accountant 1

Engineering 0

Hotel Management 30

Hotel Service 52

Managerial 9

Marketing Executive 0

Others 3

Total 95

(b)

Under the existing policy for entry for training, the duration of training should not exceed 12 months. The majority of training applications last from 1 to 6 months. Applications for extension of stay for the purpose of training after the period originally approved are considered on a case by case basis. Each application is considered on its own merits, and the time required for processing each application varies according to the individual circumstances. Statistics on the number of applications for extensions for training purposes are not kept separately from other types of extensions. Our experience is that the number of such applications is small.

End

18

Confirmors in property transactions

*****

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 this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of transactions in uncompleted and completed flats involving confirmors in each of the months since January 1994, their respective proportions to the total number of property transactions in each of the months in question, and the number of confirmors involved in each transaction; and

(b) whether it has conducted any study to ascertain if the recent phenomenon of a large number of property transactions involving confirmors is a reflection of a rising trend of speculation in the property market?

Answer:

Mr President,

Information on transactions involving confirmors, where available, is given in the Annex.

Confirmor is a term commonly used to refer to people who buy a property and then resell it before the actual assignment process for the property is completed. Transactions involving confirmors have usually existed, whether in an up-market or down-market. As there are great risks involved, home buyers should avoid buying from confirmors.

We have examined the recent increase in confirmor transactions. The rise in number gives a broad indication of speculative activity in the residential property market, and may contribute to price increases to some extent. However, upward movement in prices cannot be sustained without regard to affordability, or without a genuine increase in demand from end-users. This can be seen from the increasing number of cases recently where confirmors have reduced prices in order to resell their properties.

The ultimate solution to tackle speculation and soften price escalation lies in increasing land and housing supply, for which the Government has already announced the plans.

19

Annex

Number of confimor transactions (resaleteforc assignment) involving residential flats

Percentage of confinxior

No. of confirmer transactions Total no. of transactions in Hong Kong transactions to total number of transactions in Hong Kong

Apc-94 823 16,255 5.1%

May-94 557 7,503 7.4%

Jun-94 384 5,334 7.2%

Jul-94 257 4,645 5.5%

Aug-94 264 5,938 4.4%

Sep-94 262 6,836 3.8%

Oct-94 330 7,310 4.5%

Nov-94 377 7,818 4.8%

Dec-94 107 5,403 2.0%

Jan-95 148 4,007 3.7%

Feb-95 136 3,100 4.4%

Mar-95 291 10,508 2.8%

Apr-95 208 8,726 2.4%

May-95 268 9,375 2.9%

Jun-95 169 5,887 2.9%

Jul-95 195 8,775 2.2%

Aug-95 160 5,694 2.8%

Sep-95 123 _ 6,177 2.0%

Oct-95 106 6,299 1.7%

Nov-95 154 8,504 1.8%

Deo-95 148 7,543 2.0%

Jan-96 145 9,021 1.6%

Feb-96 151 9,137 1.7%

Mar-96 212 9,743 2.2%

Apr-96 234 10,982 2.1%

May-96 352 15,504 2.3%

Jun-96 187 9,136 2.0%

Jul-96 278 12,955 2.1%

Aug-96 236 9,009 2.6%

Sep-96 272 11,056 2.5%

Oct-96 336 14,964 2.2%

Nov-96 479 16,884 2.8%

Dec-96 727 17,814 4.1%

Jan-97 995 18,101 5.5%

Feb-97 1,137 16,350 7.0%

End

20

Methods to improve stamp sales

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Li Ka-cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Recently, speculation in the local philatelic market has reached fever pitch and many people queue up to purchase new stamps. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) there are any plans to increase the quantity and frequency of stamp

issues;

(b) the service hours of post offices will be extended to facilitate people to purchase new stamps;

(c) the Government will consider adopting a more appropriate sales method or identifying more suitable sales outlets in selling new stamps, as well as improving the safety measures in this regard; and

(d) there were cases in the past two years involving Post Office staff abusing their authority so as to reap profits from stamp sales; if so, of the number of such cases and the measures in place to prevent their occurrence?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Post Office has increased the printing quantities of special stamps since late 1996 to cater for the increased demand. It will continue to increase printing quantities to meet known and foreseeable demand from the general public and stamp collectors. The Post Office intends to maintain the present practice of issuing every year five to six special or commemorative sets of stamps and two to three definitive stamp sheetlets to commemorate special events. Although a number of additional sheetlets has been issued in 1996-97, these were in connection with the Hong Kong ’97 Stamp Exhibition. There are no plans to increase the frequency of issue in future.

At present, 20 district post offices open early for business at 8 a.m. on the first day of issue of special stamps. For the next issue on Sunday 27 April 1997, the Post Office will open all post offices at 8 a.m. The Post Office is committed to serving all customers who reach post offices before their closing time.

21

In view of the overwhelming response to the past few issues of special stamps and the sale of the remaining stock of definitive stamp sheets featuring the Queen's head, the Post Office is undertaking a thorough review of the arrangements for selling special stamps. One of the objectives of this review is to reduce the need for people to queue. A number of options is being considered, including further extending the advance order service, issuing of special stamps on Sundays as far as possible, balloting in special circumstances and extending quota arrangements to the second and subsequent days of issue, until there is no queuing.

So far, there have not been any proven cases of postal staff abusing their authority so as to reap profits from stamp sales in the past two years. The Independent Commission Against Corruption is currently investigating a number of cases of this nature involving postal staff.

End

Monitoring of institutions running mock examinations

*****

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:

At present, some educational institutions run mock examinations which attract a large number of students participating in such examinations. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the following:

(a) whether the running of mock examinations is regarded as a teaching activity and falls within the activities stipulated in the definition of 'school' set out in the Education Ordinance, and whether such educational institutions are required to register with the Education Department;

(b) if the answer to (a) is in the affirmative, whether there are any of the educational institutions running mock examinations which have not yet applied to the Education Department for registration; if so, whether the running of mock examinations by these unregistered educational institutions is in breach of the relevant provisions in the Education Ordinance; and

22

(c) if the answer to (a) is in the negative, whether the running of mock examinations by these educational institutions is monitored by any government departments, so as to ensure the safety of the students participating in such activities and to protect their rights as consumers?

Reply:

Mr President:

(a) Mock examination is a kind of teaching activity.

According to the Education Ordinance, 'school' means any institution, organisation or establishment which provides for 20 or more persons during any one day or eight or more persons at any one time, any nursery, kindergarten, primary secondary or post secondary education or any other educational course by any means. Hence, any institutions running mock examinations for the above number of persons are required to register with the Education Department.

(b) & (c)

If institutions running mock examinations fall within the definition of schools as stipulated in the Education Ordinance are found to be unregistered, the Education Department would ask them to register as schools, or would proceed with prosecution against the operators.

End

Road tunnels lighting systems meet standard

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Choy Kan-pui and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Transport, Mr Paul Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the various tunnel companies have devised a set of installation standards for the lighting systems in road tunnels;

23

(b) whether the existing lighting systems in various road tunnels have posed any safety problems to motorists; and

(c) of the number of traffic accidents occurring in the road tunnels in the past three years which were caused by the design of the lighting systems concerned?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Standards on the lighting systems in road tunnels are set out in the Public Lighting Design Manual of the Highways Department, and the Transport Planning and Design Manual of the Transport Department to provide guidance to those involved in the planning and design of transport infrastructure of Hong Kong. They specify the design standards, daytime and night time lighting requirements including lighting intensity, luminance of the walls, glare control and avoidance of flicker, emergency lighting, lighting for bi-directional traffic, power supply and other technical controls etc. The lighting systems in all road tunnels in Hong Kong have been designed and installed according to these standards.

(b) The performance of the lighting systems in all tunnels is regularly monitored by the Transport Department and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. There is no indication that the existing lighting systems in road tunnels have posed safety problems to motorists.

(c) In the past three years, there were no tunnel traffic accidents which were caused by the design of the tunnel lighting systems.

End

24

Enactment of legislation explained

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan Wai-yip and a written reply by the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is stipulated in by-law 28 of the Hawker (Urban Council) By-Laws that the Urban Council may, for the purpose of the charging of fees for the use of fixed pitches by licensees, erect a meter at or on each of those pitches. I sent a letter to the Attorney General in February this year enquiring about the matter, and my enquiry was then referred to the Urban Services Department (USD) to follow up. The USD has recently sent me a reply saying that "The Urban Council has never set up such fixed pitches. The keeping of the relevant by-law is to enable the Urban Council to have the legal authority to set up such pitches should there be policy reasons to do so, so as to avoid wasting resources in going through the process of re-enacting the relevant legislative provisions." In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of legislative provisions that have been enacted before the actual need for such provisions arises, as in the case of the above by-law;

(b) whether consideration will be given to deleting or amending those legislative provisions which have never been invoked over the past several decades; and

(c) whether the enactment of legislation before the need for such legislation arises is in keeping with the spirit of law-making?

Reply:

Mr President,

The answers to these three questions are as follows.

The Administration proposes legislation only when it is necessary to remedy a problem or to prevent an anticipated problem from happening. Therefore, all legislative schemes are introduced in response to a perceived need. However, it is not uncommon for authorities to be given the power to make subsidiary legislation that will supplement the legislative scheme. The powers given to such authorities, either in the principal Ordinance or in subsidiary legislation, need to cater for various possible methods of implementation. It is therefore inevitable that some powers are not actually utilised.

25

The repeal of redundant legislation is an on-going exercise which all policy branches carry out from time to time.

As was explained in the answer to the first question, legislation is not enacted before the need for it has arisen. There is, however, a practical need for statutory powers to be drafted in such a way as to enable the authority responsible for making, or enforcing, subsidiary legislation to do so effectively. This is not contrary to legal policy.

End

Allocation of housing resources

*♦♦♦*

Following is a question by the Hon Sin Chung-kai and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the calculation of household income of a public housing applicant, will the Government inform this Council whether it is aware if the Housing Authority will consider revising the existing method of calculating the applicant’s income, or relaxing the income limit, so that the applicant’s immediate family members in China awaiting approval to settle in Hong Kong would be taken into account when assessing his application for public housing?

Answer:

Mr President,

Applications for public rental housing are subject to the eligibility criteria set by the Housing Authority. The main ones include residence requirement and maximum income limits. Only family members of an applicant actually residing in Hong Kong may be included in the application, although other family members on arrival in Hong Kong may be added.

The rationale behind this policy is that scarce housing resources should be allocated to meet the needs of eligible households with family members residing in Hong Kong. Given the high level of demand for public rental housing, the Housing Authority has no intention of reviewing this policy.

End

26

Planning for Tai A Chau Detention Centre under review

*****

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

Question:

Given the lack of recreational facilities in the territory, will the Government inform this Council whether there are plans to turn the former Tai A Chau Detention Centre for Vietnamese migrants into a holiday camp, if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

The South West New Territories (SWNT) Interim Recommended Strategy which was endorsed in 1993, has identified the Soko Islands, including Tai A Chau, as an area for conservation, landscape and coastal protection and with potential for tourist/recreation development including the provision of overnight accommodation.

The SWNT Development Strategy is now under review in the context of the Territorial Development Strategy Review. The feasibility of a holiday camp in Tai A Chau will be further examined in this context.

End

Surgery data in public hospitals *****

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:

Does the Government know of:

(a) the five types of surgery most commonly performed on patients in public hospitals in the past year; and

27

(b) the following data in respect of each of the five types of surgery performed in each public hospital in the past year -

(i) the number of operations performed;

(ii) the average hospitalisation time required and its standard deviation; and

(iii) the complication rate?

Reply:

The five types of most commonly performed surgery in 1996 as recorded in the following eight public hospitals, namely, Caritas Medical Centre (CMC), Queen Mary Hospital (QMH), Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital (PYNEH), Kwong Wah Hospital (KWH), United Christian Hospital (UCH), Ruttonjee Hospital (RH) and Yan Chai Hospital (YCH) are -

(a) aspiration and curettage of the uterus;

(b) lower segment caessarian section;

(c) insertion of prosthetic lens;

(d) close fracture reduction with internal fixation; and

(e) unilateral inguinal hernia repair.

Details on the number of operations performed, the average length of stay in hospital and its standard deviation in respect of each of the five types of surgery mentioned above and performed in these eight hospitals in 1996 are shown in the Annex.

The above information is retrieved from the Hospital Authority’s (HA’s) computerised Medical Records Abstract System (MRAS), which has been implemented in eleven HA's hospitals, with full year data available for the eight hospitals mentioned in paragraph 1.

Collating statistics on surgical procedures in the hospitals without MRAS is extremely difficult as it requires professional staff to retrieve and review manually the medical records of all patients discharged in the past year, and each major hospital has between 40,000 to 100,000 discharges each year.

Information on complication rates is not presently captured in the MRAS and is therefore not available. Collating such information manually is more difficult as it requires professional staff to identify whether another co-existing disease is coincidental or is a result of the disease itself or of treatment given.

28


! Hospital Aspiration and curettage of the uterus

Number of operations performed^ Average length of stay (days) Standard deviation*

CMC 174 1.30 1.79

QMH 1335 2.17 1.55

QEH 157 2.36 1.50

PYNEH 639 2.30 1.86

KWH 674 1.65 1.80

UCH 502 2.49 1.68

RH -

YCH *

Hospital Lower segment caessarian section

Number of operations performed Average length of stay (days) Standard deviation*

CMC 347 9.98 7.54

QMH 167 10.79 12.18

QEH 864 9.45 7.08

PYNEH 631 9.28 5.48

KWH 709 9.12 7.03

UCH 612 9.08 4.26

RH -

YCH

Hospital Insertion of prosthetic lens

Number of operations performed Average length of stay (days) Standard deviation*

CMC 366 5.77 4.19

QMH 450 2.85 2.47

QEH 57 6.21 7.82

PYNEH 183 2.41 1.83

KWH 186 4.29 3.05

UCH 474 1.77 1.59

RH « -

YCH 767 1.19 5.13

29

Hospital Close fracture reduction with internal fixation

Number of operations performed Average length of stay (days) Standard deviation*

CMC 245 24.87 21.18

QMH 336 15.35 13.83

QEH 501 10.75 9.58

PYNEH 306 16.43 22.30

KWH 222 14.48 12.06

UCH 396 14.07 9.54

RH 7 33.43 12.35

YCH 133 28.89 27.50

Hospital Unilateral inguinal hernia repair

Number of operations performed Average length of Stay (days) Standard deviation*

CMC 211 4.44 6.83

QMH 93 7.55 9.87

QEH 646 3.85 6.19

PYNEH 255 3.47 2.99

KWH 339 6.04 7.42

UCH 317 3.25 3.82

RH 57 4.63 2.67

YCH 14 6,71 3.38

Note: • Standard deviation measures the amount of spread and variation of the data.

End

30

Service for new immigrants *****

Following is a question by the Hon Allen Lee Peng-fei and a written reply by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The findings of a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Psychological Association indicate that the people in the territory generally adopt a discriminatory attitude towards new immigrants from mainland China. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council -

(a) of the activities carried out by the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education and the Equal Opportunities Commission in eliminating the discriminatory attitude of the territory's people towards new immigrants;

(b) how does the Government assess the effectiveness of the activities mentioned in the answer to (a) above; and;

(c) given that the findings of the above survey also indicate that many people in the territory are of the view that their share of the social welfare benefits has diminished as a result of the arrival of new immigrants, of the respective percentages of the resources allocated by the Social Welfare Department and the Labour Department for providing services to new immigrants out of the total expenditures of these two departments?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Government is committed to providing advice and support to new immigrants from China to enable them to settle successfully in Hong Kong and contribute to our long-term economic and social success. By facilitating their integration into the community, such efforts go a long way in addressing any discriminatory attitude which may exist towards the new arrivals.

My reply to the question is as follows:

31

(a) The Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (CPCE) promotes equal opportunities for all in its human rights education programmes. The programmes aim at bringing home the notion that all human beings are equal irrespective of differences in gender, physical ability, race, family and social status etc. Apart from such a general message, a specific one aimed at the elimination of discrimination against new immigrants is contained in a story book and story cassette distributed to children and one of the activity plans in the teaching kit distributed to schools. To date, 10,000 copies of the story book and 20,000 copies of the cassette tape have been distributed to children and 2,000 sets of the teaching kit have been distributed to schools. In addition, the CPCE has sponsored, under the Community Participation Scheme in 1996-97, two projects on elimination of discrimination against new immigrants and will sponsor another project on this theme in 1997-98.

The service of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is available to all - including new arrivals - who suffer discrimination on grounds of gender, marital status, pregnancy or disability. Its publicity and public education activities aim at eliminating discrimination on these grounds and promoting equal opportunities for all. Activities specifically to address discrimination on the ground of an individual being a new immigrant are outside the EOC’s statutory functions.

(b) The effectiveness of the CPCE's and EOC’s activities to address discrimination can be assessed in terms of the changes in the public’s attitude towards equal opportunities for all including new immigrants. Both the CPCE and EOC will conduct public opinion surveys, the results of which will indicate whether any improvement in such attitude has taken place.

32

(c) Like all other members of our society, new arrivals are entitled to the same full range of general services provided by the Social Welfare Department and Labour Department. Both departments do not keep separate statistics on the proportion of their resources which have been allocated for the provision of general services to new arrivals. Nevertheless, we are aware that some of them may encounter adaptation difficulties and need special assistance. Government is therefore working closely with other voluntary agencies to provide a host of dedicated services to new arrivals to facilitate their smooth integration into our society as quickly as possible. The Social Welfare Department has been subventing the Hong Kong Branch of the International Social Services (ISS-HK) to provide a wide range of post-migration services. Programmes to help new arrivals begin at the moment they arrive. These include the provision of general enquiry services and assistance at the Hung Hom Railway Station, special orientation programmes, counselling and referral services. In 1997-98, Social Welfare Department will allocate a total of $3.53 million to ISS-HK, representing about 0.02% of the total welfare expenditure, $19 500 million, for 1997-98.

As regards the Labour Department, it has in 1997/98 sought new provision of $1.66 million ($2.13 million for full year annual recurrent) for setting up a one-stop Employment Service Centre for New Arrivals. The Centre will provide a comprehensive range of employment service for new arrivals including the provision of labour market information, counselling on practices and conditions of work in Hong Kong, careers guidance, intensive job matching and job referrals. The new provision, if approved, represents 0.28% of the department's total estimated expenditure for 1997/98.

End

33

Prudent lending criteria ensured ♦ ♦ * * ♦

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

Question:

Recently some property developers, when putting up new flats for sale, provide to home buyers a penalty-free mortgage arrangement whereby home buyers will not be required to pay any punitive charges even if they repay the mortgage loan in full within the first year of drawing the loan. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether a study has been conducted to examine if such a mortgage arrangement will further fuel property speculation; if so, whether the Government will issue guidelines to property developers and banks requiring them to levy punitive charges on home buyers for early repayment of mortgage loans?

Reply:

We are aware of recent reports of banks offering to waive the charges for early repayment of mortgage loans in connection with the sale of a certain new property development. Although no specific study has been conducted, our view is that this could affect the quality of banks’ mortgage assets, regardless of whether there is also a stimulating effect on property speculation.

The punitive charges for early repayment are part of the terms and conditions of a mortgage loan between individual banks and flat buyers. It is therefore not relevant to issue guidelines on this matter to property developers. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is not aware of any authorized institution actually having reduced or waived charges for early repayment. However, it has taken prompt action to formally advise all authorized institutions of its views on the matter. The HKMA will continue to monitor institutions’ mortgage lendings closely to ensure that prudent lending criteria are followed.

End

34

Grants provided by cemeteries board *****

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau Wai-hing and a written reply by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

It is learnt that the Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries under the chairmanship of the Secretary for Home Affairs has recently granted a sum of $400,000 to three groups in the gay and lesbian community. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the criteria adopted for selecting the three groups to receive the

grants;

(b) of the purpose for making a grant to the three groups; and

(c) whether consideration will be given to providing public funds to the three groups so that they can step up their publicity efforts in eradicating discrimination against the gay and lesbian community?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries annually invite applications from welfare, youth, charitable and non-profit making organisations for grants to carry out projects for the benefit of the people of Hong Kong. In December 1996, the Board approved applications for three gay and lesbian organisations and granted to them a total of $375,000.

The replies to the question are as follows:-

(a) in approving the applications from the three organisations, the Board took into account the objectives of the projects, the target group and number of beneficiaries, the community needs and the track records of the organisations;

35

(b) the grants were provided to enable the organisations to provide counselling and support services to the homosexuals and also to organise public education activities with a view to promoting better understanding on sexual orientation and equal opportunities; and

(c) no public funds have been set aside for the three organisations. However, they and other gay and lesbian groups can apply for public funds, under the Community Participation Scheme operated by the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education, in order to undertake projects on equal opportunities and elimination of discrimination. Also, the Home Affairs Branch will continue to advise and assist them on applying for funds from various sources. The Branch will also continue with its publicity efforts to promote equal opportunities for homosexuals.

End

Actions taken to ensure computer complaint to Year 2000 ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

Following is a question by the Hon Huang Chen-ya and a written reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

At the time when the Year 2000 arrives, computer processors and software which have not been properly adjusted to handle the new year digits may produce data errors. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the extent of the effects on the following computer systems, together with the up-to-date progress made in adjusting these systems and the expected completion dates of such adjustment -

(i) the computer systems for traffic light control;

(ii) the computer systems and software used by the Government;

(iii) the computer systems for the management of equipment used in

the Hospital Authority; and

36

(b) how does the Government ensure that -

(i) the computer systems for the management of power stations;

(ii) the computer systems for the management of telephone networks;

and

(iii) the computer systems and software used by various banks in operating their databases will not, in handling the new year digits, produce data errors which will affect the economy of the territory and the operation of its financial system?

Reply:

(a) (i) The Year 2000 problem on computer processors and software will not affect traffic light signals and area traffic computer systems, which will continue to operate in the normal manner beyond 2000.

(ii) With regard to government databases and computer software, the Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) conducted a preliminary assessment of some 250 computer application systems it maintained in May 1996. About 20% of these systems may be affected by the Year 2000 problem. ITSD has started work to define the extent of non-compliance and to carry out necessary modification to these systems progressively. It will complete that all necessary modification work before the year 2000.

Apart from ITSD, six other government departments develop and maintain their own computer applications and have their own IT staff. The Year 2000 problem would affect about half of these 310 applications. These six departments, with the advice of ITSD, are also taking active steps to address the problem and complete the necessary modification of their systems before the year 2000.

(iii) The Asset Management System of the Hospital Authority, a computer system used for the management of assets including equipment, is already Year 2000 compliant. Therefore, there is no need for any programming adjustment to the system to deal with the Year 2000 problem.

37

(b) (i) The power companies are aware of the possible impact of the Year 2000 problem on their computer systems and are implementing measures to address the problem. The companies have advised that they will implement corrective measures by early 1999. The Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services will monitor the progress of the companies in implementing the measures, with a view to ensuring normal supply of electricity beyond 2000.

(ii) The Year 2000 problem will not affect the operation of computer systems controlling telephone networks, which is not linked to the "year" field. As regards the impact of the change of the " year" field on the billing and other administrative systems, the Government will remind public telecommunication service operators to take necessary steps to prevent consumers from being affected by billing or other types of errors due to the field change.

(iii) The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) drew the Year 2000 problem to the attention of both the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the Deposit-taking Companies Association in 1996. In January 1997, the HKMA wrote to all authorised financial institutions enquiring about the progress on the action they had taken to deal with the problem. Of the responses received, some institutions have confirmed that they are already Year 2000 compliant while the majority of the institutions are progressing towards Year 2000 compliance.

The HKMA will continue working closely with the two Associations to promote awareness among authorised financial institutions of the need to tackle the Year 2000 problem. The HKMA is planning to step up its monitoring efforts with a view to ensuring all authorised institutions will be Year 2000 compliant by December 1998. Where necessary, it may require institutions to submit details of the measures which they have taken, or will be taking, in dealing with the problem. HKMA will monitor the implementation of such measures through their on-site examinations.

End

38

Ferry service at Wan Chai Waterfront *****

Following is a question by the Hon Howard Young and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Transport, Mr Paul Leung, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In view of the impending opening of the extension to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and the concentration of hotels in certain areas near the Kowloon waterfront, will the Government inform this Council whether it will consider offering franchises to the territory’s existing ferry companies to operate both regular and event-related ferry services between HKCEC and Tsim Sha Tsui and between HKCEC and Tsim Sha Tsui East; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

The opening of the extension to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) will generate some additional traffic. However, it is not envisaged that the increased demand will be sufficient to support a new ferry service in addition to ferry routes presently being provided by our two ferry franchisees. The Government therefore has no plans to introduce a regular ferry service from the HKCEC to Tsim Sha Tsui or Tsim Sha Tsui East.

On existing services, the Star Ferry Company Limited operates a ferry service between Tsim Sha Tsui and the Wan Chai Ferry Pier from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. There is ample spare capacity on this service. It takes only about 3 minutes to walk from the Wan Chai ferry pier to the HKCEC. The Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry Company Limited also operates ferry routes from Wan Chai to Hung Hom and to Tuen Mun. In addition, there is an MTR service between Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai. The Wan Chai MTR Station is connected to the HKCEC by a covered walkway.

We appreciate that there may be a need for special arrangements to cater for large-scale functions at the HKCEC, especially those which last beyond the normal operating hours of regular ferry services. We will consider arranging special event-related ferry services if necessary.

End

39

Slope upgrading works near schools are underway *****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

At the LegCo sitting on 5 June last year, I raised an oral question on potentially hazardous slopes and substandard slopes situated within or in the vicinity of school boundaries. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the schools which still have hazardous slopes within or in the vicinity of their boundaries, and how does the number of these schools compare with that provided by the Administration in its reply to the above question last year;

(b) of the slope maintenance works in connection with the schools mentioned in the reply to (a) above which would be completed before the onset of the rainy season this year; and in regard to those slope maintenance works in connection with these schools which are not expected to be completed before this year’s rainy season, of the reasons for such works not being completed on schedule and the specific timetable for their completion; and

(c) whether, under the Government’s current policy on carrying out maintenance works on hazardous slopes, high priority will be given to maintaining hazardous slopes in the vicinity of schools; if not, why not; and of the categories of maintenance works on hazardous slopes which have to be carried out as a matter of priority?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) We have completed a selection exercise in January this year for all slopes affecting the 435 schools on the list provided by the Education Department last year. Detailed studies on the selected slopes are now underway and substandard cases have been identified from some of the completed studies. As the detailed studies progress, more substandard cases may be discovered.

In June 1996, five schools were known to be affected by substandard government slopes. Slope upgrading works at four of these schools have been completed. Another eight schools are now known to be affected by substandard government slopes making a total of nine cases.

40

Regarding private slopes, fourteen schools were known in June 1996 to be affected by substandard private slopes and served with Danerous Hillside (DH) Orders. Works at two of them have been completed. Another six schools are now known to be affected by substandard private slopes and have also been served with DH Orders, making a total of eighteen cases.

(b) The completion dates for the contracts for substandard public slopes are shown in the attached Table 1. Works has commenced on six of the nine cases, mostly since end 1996, and two of them are expected to be completed in this month. Works on the remaining three will commence in the coming months.

The detailed works programmes and the expected completion dates for the substandard private slopes identified are at Table 2. In all cases, DH Orders have been served and are at various stages of compliance by private owners. In the interim, private owners and their consultants are required to step up slope maintenance and perform any necessary temporary protection works to reduce potential hazard.

Slope upgrading works involve stabilisation and improvement works which are more complicated than normal maintenance works. The study, ground investigation, design and construction of these upgrading works take time and it is not possible to complete them all before this rainy season. As an illustration, typical upgrading works for a slope would require 9 to 18 months works on site after completing the necessary study, investigation and design. For private slopes, more time is required for sorting out the land status, the subsequent appointment of Authorised Persons and tendering for the upgrading works.

(c) Government has significantly increased its rate of output of upgrading works in recent years. High priority has been given to tackling slopes affecting schools as announced in our 1996 Policy Commitments. We are now proceeding in full force to implement this commitment.

Government will monitor the progress of upgrading works to private slopes as far as compliance with the Dangerous Hillside Orders is concerned. In view of the high priority policy, an Inter-Department Meeting comprising representatives from Education Department, Civil Engineering Department, Buildings Department, Housing Department and Architectural Services Department is in place to monitor and advise on the progress of work involved.

41

IrtleJL

Schools effected by Government Slope? which agt Being Upgraded or fending Upgrading Under the Current XFM Programme

1 No. Name of School Commencement Date of Works Scheduled Completion Date

1. FMO Sam Mun Tsai New Village Primary School Oct 96 Apr 97

2. Choi Wan St. Joseph's Primary School Aug 97 Jan 93

3. Bradbury Junior School Oct 96 Jan 98

4. Lfagnan College Oct 96 Aug 97

5. •Cognido College Deo 96 Dec 97

6. Queen Elizabeth School Dec 96 Apr 97

7. Ko Lau Wan Fishermen's School Jun 97 May 98

8. Li Sing Primary School Jul 97 Nov 97

9. Sir Ellis Kadoorie School Apr 97 Oct 97

♦ School also reported fa June 1996 Ust.

42

labltl

School? affected by private slopes in respect of which Dangerous g||h|<fc Orders have beep issued Witter Section 27A Of the Buildings Ordinance

No. Name of School Progress of Works or Studies Expected Date of Works Completion I

1. *St. Louis School Temporary protection works completed Detailed design submitted. early 98

2. •The True Light Middle School of Hong Kong Works proposal being finalised. mid 97

3. •Wah Yan College, Kowloon Temporary protection works completed. Preliminary report submitted. mid 98

4. •Diocesan Boys’ School Temporary protection completed. Detailed design under preparation. end 98

5. *SKH Stanley Village Primary School Investigation in progress. end 98

6. ♦Po Leung Kuh Perching Tsang Primary School Detailed design under preparation, lease condition under modification, may affect design option. mid 98

7. ♦St. Basil’s School Works in progress. mid 98

8. •Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School (1) Works for 1 st slope in progress (1) mid 97

(2) Investigation for 2nd slope in progress (2) mid 98 Notel

9. •St. Paul’s Co-education College Authorised Person (AP) appointed. Ground investigation work in progress. Predicted completion date of investigation report in Mid-97. Note 2

10. •TWGH’s Lee Ching Dea Memorial School AP appointed. Tendering procedures fbr proposed ground investigation Note 2

43

No. Name of Schoo) Progress of Works or Studies Expected Date | of Works Completion

work completed.

11. •The Building Contractors’ Association School AP appointed. Tendering procedures for proposed ground investigation work completed. Note 2

12. •The True Light Middle School ofKowloon AP appointed. Tendering for ground investigation works in progress. Note 2

13. Raimondi College AP appointed. Ground investigation proposal approved. Note 2

14. SKH St James* Primary School AP appointment in progress. Note 2

15. Cognido College DH Order issued on 28.1.97. Works already started. end 97

16. Marymount Secondary School AP appointment in progress. Note 2

17. Caritas St. Paul Prevocational School Cheung Chau Order served on 13.3.97. AP appointment in progress Note 2

18. Buddhist Chi Hong Kindergarten Consent to commencement of works was issued. Note 3

Noto 1: Apart from the 1 st slope reported in June 1996, a separate DH Order has been

issued in respect of a 2nd slope facing Kin Wah Street.

Note 2: Date of completion depends on ground investigation which has not yet started

or has not been completed.

Note 3: Repair works will take approximately 4 months, however, commencement of

works is subject to resolution of land status complications, since part of the proposed works extended outside lot of school

* School also reported in June 1996 list.

End

44

Stamp sales

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Li Kai-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The sale of the remaining stock of definitive stamp sheets featuring the Queen's head by the Post Office on 18 March this year attracted many people to queue up overnight outside four post offices. The long queues had not only caused inconvenience to pedestrians, but also left behind a large amount of garbage. An elderly man in his seventies collapsed and died whilst queuing up to purchase stamps. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) a review of the above incident has been conducted by the Post Office; if so, what the results are; if not, why not; and

(b) the Post Office will consider adopting the registration and ballot arrangement in future sales of first-day cover and commemorative stamp issues, so as to save people the trouble of queuing up for long hours?

Reply:

Mr President,

Having regard to the increasing demand for special stamps in recent months, the Post Office has implemented a series of measures, including increasing the printing quantities of stamps, opening some 20 district post offices at 8 a.m. on the day of issue of special stamps, introducing the Local Standing Order Service for advance ordering of the year's stamp issues, and extending the advance order service for first day covers to include stamp sheetlets and sets of stamps.

In view of the overwhelming response to the past few issues of special stamps and the sale of the remaining stock of definitive stamp sheets featuring the Queen's head, the Post Office is undertaking a thorough review of the arrangements for selling special stamps. One of the objectives of this review is to reduce the need for people to queue. A number of options is being considered, including further extending the advance order service, issuing of special stamps on Sundays as far as possible, balloting in special circumstances and extending quota arrangements to the second and subsequent days of issue, until there is no queuing.

End

45

Disposal of abandoned vehicles in the streets

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Zachary Wong and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Transport, Mr Paul Leung, at the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of vehicles abandoned in the streets and open spaces which were disposed of by the relevant authorities in the past three years, and of the methods used in disposing of these abandoned vehicles;

(b) whether the authorities would recover the expenses involved from the owners concerned after disposing of these abandoned vehicles; if so, whether any difficulties were encountered in recovering such expenses; and whether, in the past three years, there were any owners of these abandoned vehicles who were not approached for the recovery of the expenses involved and, if so, of the number of such owners and the reasons for not recovering the expenses from them;

(c) of the total expenses incurred by the Government in the disposal of these abandoned vehicles, and the amount of expenses recovered from the owners concerned in the past three years; and

(d) of the measures adopted to deter vehicle owners from abandoning their vehicles in the streets and open spaces?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Where a vehicle is found abandoned on a road, as defined in Section 107 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374), or a vehicle is left on the road in such a way that it contravenes the Ordinance, the vehicle is liable to be removed. A notice will be issued to the owner to give a specified period for claiming the vehicle. If the vehicle is claimed, the owner is required to pay removal fee and storage charge. If the vehicle is not claimed when the specified period expires, it will be considered as property of Government and may then be disposed of either by auction or scrapping.

46

Vehicles abandoned on Government land are dealt with under Section 6 of the Crown Land Ordinance (Cap. 28). A notice will be issued requiring the owner to remove the vehicle within a specified period. If this is not complied with, the vehicle will be considered as property of Government and may similarly be disposed of by auction or scrapping.

The number of vehicles abandoned in streets and open spaces which became the property of Government and disposed of by auction or scrapping in the last three years are as follows:

Disposed by Auction Disposed by Scrapping TOTAL

1994 38 1349 1387

1995 59 1404 1463

1996 25 632 657

(b) Unclaimed and abandoned vehicles which become the property of the Government are disposed of by auction or scrapping depending on the potential value of the vehicle. The administration does not normally seek recovery of removal or administrative costs as costs from owners incurred may be recovered from the revenue from auction or scrapping.

(c) The administrative and removal costs and the revenue from disposing of abandoned vehicles in the last three years are as follows:

Administrative & Removal Cost (HK$) Revenue from Disposal (HK$)

Auction Scrapping TOTAL

1994 111,320 215,900 539,600 755,500

1995 501,600 679,670 564,400 1,244,070

1996 247,720 279,490 268,600 548,090

(d) Transport Department operates two Abandoned Vehicle Surrender

Centres which offer free disposal service for unwanted vehicles. To encourage owners to dispose of their unwanted vehicles properly, the owners can get a pro rata refund of the annual licence fee if the licence of the concerned vehicle is still valid for 60 days or more. Over the past three years, a total of 1,177 such unwanted vehicles were surrendered.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime/ I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1/ 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services/ the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account/ please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building/ Garden Road/ Hong Kongz before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You canz of coursez provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long runz but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

(Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my Internet e-mail account _____________________________

from May 1, 1997.

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Thursday, April 10,1997

Contents Page No.

Transcript of the Governor............................................ 1

Government's commentary available at District Offices................. 4

Bill to strengthen control on weapons of mass destruction............. 4

Transfer of VMs from HIDC main camp today............................. 5

Monitors' report submitted to CS...................................... 6

Report on compulsory education review published....................... 6

Response to media reports on case of crippled beggar..............

Car park management contracts awarded.............................

The weather of March 1997 ............................................ 8

1

Transcript of the Governor *****

Following is the transcript of the question and answer session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, at the lunch hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce in Central this (Thursday) afternoon:

Question: Governor, when you think of Hong Kong today and when you think of the job that you have done over the past five years, and when you think of Hong Kong in the future, what keeps you awake at night?

Governor: Brandy, usually. I'm quite a good sleeper but it's - and I'm not a great worrier, but it's an extremely important question. Of all the issues which we debate back and forth, and nobody's absolutely right and nobody's absolutely wrong, the one I suppose that most concerns me is autonomy. I know that Britain has been the sovereign power in Hong Kong. But you know very well that by and large for 99 things out of a 100, Hong Kong has been run in Hong Kong, and for the last few years, I've run with the exception of the Attorney-General, I've run an entirely Chinese government. The success for our policies in area after area belong to local Hong Kong Chinese professional public servants. I hope that Hong Kong continues to run its own affairs in the same way after 1997 because I think one of the reasons for Hong Kong's success is that there's a Hong Kong chop on what we've been doing. While the rest of the world entertained a rather fanciful and not very successful notions on economic policy, while Britain flirted with those sort of policies, Hong Kong went its own way. Governments were elected in Britain committed to all sorts of economic insanity. But Hong Kong went on running its economy in a way which has produced today's success. So I suppose that if I were to wake up at night, the thing that would most worry me was I would want to be assured that that degree of autonomy would continue into the future. One post-script: Every year I go to a dinner-dance given by the Administrative Services Association, given by the corp of our civil service and before the dinner I meet a cross-section of the new graduate entrants into our civil service. One of the important things about public service in Hong Kong is that it's properly esteemed in the community, it's properly rewarded and as a result we get outstanding recruits year after year. There's no reason to suppose that the people making policy, the Hong Kongers running Hong Kong in the future will be every bit as talented, won't be more talented than they've been in the past. So I just hope that Hong Kong will be trusted to get on with its own affairs, not just rhetorically, not just polemically but day to day, hour by hour, and if that happens, Hong Kong will take its place as one of the very greatest cities of this and the next century.

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Question: Governor, could I ask you, of all those wonderful things you have to say about Hong Kong and in your years here, what would be the most single important factor that you feel would have the highest value in being able to transport it from Hong Kong back to the Britain of today?

Governor: Enthusiasm. I think that what Hong Kong happily lacks is that sort of world weary cynicism which has had such an effect, I think, on European and British and to some extent on American politics. You can make a living in Europe or America proving that nothing can be done. You can make an even better living, commenting on proving that nothing can be done. One of the exciting things, well, for me, the most exciting thing about Hong Kong is to see people in every walk of life who really do believe that they can make things better for themselves through their own efforts. That's partly the reason why envy is so absent from the political debate by and large in Hong Kong. In most OECD countries, in most Western societies, envy has become in a way a description of fiscal policy. That's absent in Hong Kong, and the result of that is that people do make things better for themselves year by year. We all know that the impossible happens, that we do get the Convention Centre built on time, that we do build those spectacular bridges where five years ago when I was standing on that site, there were only bits of white tape on the ground. We do know that despite all the problems just up the road, Hong Kong has created this stable and prosperous society, this decent society in the last few years. I guess those are qualities that our Victorian forbearers would have recognised very well, and I hope that they are qualities that aren't lost as Hong Kong becomes more accustomed to its prosperity. If Hong Kong can hang on to that enthusiasm, can hang on to that commitment to progress, belief in itself, belief in the possibilities of individual men and women doing better, if it can hang on to that, there's nothing that can stop it.

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Question: It's not really a question this. I'm asking for a comment. This is a Chamber of Commerce lunch so I'm not going to talk about the controversy of political situation over the last five years. But nevertheless, I'd like to at least register that in the time of British rule of 150 years, regardless of what people say, there are at least a number of things which I think makes Hong Kong strive the way it does today, because of the business rule. Now, Chris, you'll understand somebody said to me recently, cricket is a colonial game and therefore it really is not to be encouraged in the future. My answer was, is soccer? So you'll understand that. So going back on beyond the time or before the time that you took office, I think there are a number of things which I think should be registered right here that the English language and the way of life is part and parcel of Hong Kong and if that's lost, right, in the future, Hong Kong doesn't stand a chance in the international world. The second thing that I would say is that regardless whether it was intimated, deliberate or by accident, the system of operation within the government in Hong Kong, as 1 say, things very, very dear to our lives in my group, is that we are in Hong Kong the envy of every other country in Asia or even the world, why you are able - the government is able to keep the tax down to what it is at 15% and that is the secret of our success, because 85% of everybody's earnings stays in their pocket. The reason of course is because of the franchise system which is devised over the last 150 years how and what, I don't know, but we're involved in that, it means that every time we build something of infrastructural importance such as something that you omitted to mention despite all the statistics is that the Western Harbour Crossing, of which I am the Managing Director, is opening four months ahead of time, at $7.5 billion, that is equated to 120,000 schools in terms of spending. What the government saves by franchising out to the private sector is the secret of success of Hong Kong. I think this is the most important thing that people should recognise here because no other place in Asia or anywhere else does that and I think that it's a British legacy. Thank you very much, sir. If you'd like to comment on that, I'd be very grateful.

Governor: I've got a couple of comments. First of all, whether or not cricket is a colonial game. I suppose that in the last few years many of us have thought the real problem was that we did actually teach cricket to the colonies. But you're quite right that all these games are international. You are right in what you say about the English language and of course you are right about the importance of low tax in Hong Kong's success and that one reason for low taxes in Hong Kong is that we have had no difficulty about the concept that private investment should be used to achieve public good. There isn't, and it's again another of the encouraging features of life in Hong Kong, there is none of that rigid demarcation between the private and public sectors which has bedevilled sensible macroeconomics management, I think, in so many European countries so I wholly endorse what you've said.

End

4

Government’s commentary available at District Offices

*****

A Government spokesman said today (Thursday) that the Government has completed its commentary on the consultation document on ’’Civil Liberties and Social Order” released by Mr Tung Chee Hwa's office yesterday.

"We have sent our views to Mr Tung’s office. Members of the public can obtain copies of our commentary from Public Enquiry Service Centres at the 18 District Offices, starting 7 pm today.

"These centres will be open until 8.30 pm today," the spokesman said.

"The document will also be available on the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet at http:Wwww.info.gov.hk," he added.

End

Bill to strengthen control on weapons of mass destruction ♦ * * * *

The Weapons of Mass Destruction (Control of Provision of Services) Bill, which aims to enhance the effectiveness of Hong Kong’s strategic trade control system, will be gazetted tomorrow (Friday).

A Government spokesman said: "The Bill seeks to prohibit provision of services which assists the development, production, acquisition or stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction i.e. biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons and the means of delivery of such weapons.

"At present, Hong Kong imposes controls on the import and export of strategic commodities which range from weapons to dual use high technology goods, for example, high performance computers and sophisticated telecommunications equipment."

The spokesman said: "In view of the risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, a number of international regimes have been established to prevent their proliferation.

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"In addition to control over the import and export of these weapons, some key members of theses regimes have introduced enhanced measures - in particular, legislation on the provision of services which assists the development, production, etc. of these weapons."

He noted: "Hong Kong is not a conduit for the proliferation of strategic commodities."

"However, as a responsible player in the global economy, and in order to ensure Hong Kong's continued access to high technology, Hong Kong is committed to following closely the highest standard of control on transfer of strategic commodities," he added.

The Bill was approved by the Governor in Council on March 25 and will be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 23.

End

Transfer of VMs from HIDC main camp today * * * ♦ ♦

A group of 57 Vietnamese migrants in High Island Detention Centre, including 15 from the North Camp and 42 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 April 15.

The transfer will be observed by independent monitors.

End

6

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's main camps to its 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 Chen Char-nie and Mr Yiu Chung-lap; and representatives from two non-government organisations, Professor Stewart MacPherson from Save the Children Fund and Mr Kelvin Szeto from Oxfam.

End

Report on compulsory education review published

*****

An eight-week public consultation exercise started today (Thursday) on the Report on Review of Nine-year Compulsory Education as the report was released after a two-year study.

The report was the work of the Board of Education's Sub-committee on Review of School Education, which completed the review last month.

Schools have been asked to collect copies of the report from the relevant district education offices. Copies have also been sent to relevant educational bodies.

The public will also be able to read the report via the Internet at the Education Department Home Page from next week. The URL is http://www.info.gov.hk/ed.

Views and comments are invited and should be sent to the Secretary, Board of Education Sub-committee on Review of School Education, at Room 1156, 11th floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, or by fax to 2834 7350, not later than June 4, 1997.

End

7

Response to media reports on case of crippled beggar

*****

In response to media reports on the case of a crippled beggar who received a six-month custodial term on review of sentence, and was said to have crawled into the dock because his crutches were confiscated by the Magistrate, a spokesman for the Legal Department today (Thursday) pointed out that it is the duty of the department to seek review of a sentence if it is considered manifestly inadequate and or if it is wrong in principle. Sentencing is a matter for the courts.

The charges, to which the defendant in this case admitted, were unlawful stay in Hong Kong, and assault on the Police and arson which are serious offences. The normal sentence for an illegal immigrant who committed another offence at the same time is 15 months imprisonment. The Magistrate in this case obviously agreed with the view of the department and revised his original suspended sentence. The defendant was all along legally represented.

Hong Kong has seen a problem of beggars, many of them crippled, entering and staying illegally to work on the streets. The sentence should be adequate enough to prevent a deterioration of this problem, the spokesman said.

End

Car park management contracts awarded ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Transport Department today (Thursday) awarded new management contracts for its multi-storey car parks to Wilson Parking (Holdings) Limited and Adams Parking (International) Limited.

Commencing on May 1, 1997, these contracts will be valid for four years.

Wilson Parking (Holdings) Limited will be responsible for managing seven car parks at Star Ferry, City Hall, Murray Road, Aberdeen, Middle Road, Kwai Fong and Tsuen Wan Transport Complex; as well as operating two Abandoned Vehicle Surrender Centres at To Kwa Wan and Sha Tin.

Adams Parking (International) Limited will manage the other seven car parks at Garden Road, Rumsey Street, Shau Kei Wan, Tin Hau, Yau Ma Tei, Sheung Fung Street and Tsuen Wan MTR Station.

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The company will also be responsible for the design, production and distribution of toll tickets for Government tunnels and Tsing Ma Control Area.

A spokesman for the Transport Department said the management of Government car parks was first contracted out in 1984 and the new contracts were openly tendered in December last year.

"While the Government retains control over the operation of Government carparks and setting parking fee levels, we shall continue to monitor closely the contractors' performance," he added.

End

The weather of March 1997 ♦ * * * ♦

March 1997 was sunnier and warmer than normal. The total sunshine duration amounted to 129.3 hours, 32.9 hours more than normal. As a result, the monthly mean temperature of 20.1 degrees, was 1.6 degrees above normal and the seventh highest for March. The mean minimum temperature of 18.3 degrees was also the sixth highest for March.

The total rainfall for the month totalled 34.8 millimetres, only about half of the normal. However, the accumulated rainfall since January 1, which totalled 191.1 millimetres, was 52.8 millimetres above the normal for the same period.

The month started fine and sunny. A cold front from the north crossed the South China coast on March 2 bringing drier air to the territory and temperatures dropped to 14.2 degrees, the lowest in the month, the next day.

Sunny weather prevailed until a maritime airstream brought along mist and fog patches to the harbour on the mornings of March 12 and 13. Temperatures rose to 27.1 degrees, the highest in the month, on March 15.

The generally fine weather in the first half of the month gave way to rain in the second half. Isolated thunderstorms associated with the passage of a cold front affected the territory on March 16. The weather remained cloudy to overcast until March 19. The next couple of days saw outbreaks of rain and occasional thundery’ showers due to successive passages of troughs of low pressure.

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There was widespread mist and periods of rain on March 21. The mist was cleared by a surge of the northeast monsoon which brought along drier air late on March 22. Winds were strong offshore on March 24 and rain gradually eased off the next day.

Another trough of low pressure approached the territory on March 28 and again brought along thundery showers the next day.

It became fine and sunny on March 30. Winds freshened the next day as another surge of the northeast monsoon reached the territory. The weather on the last day of the month was fine but hazy.

No 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 summarized in Table 1.1. Monthly meteorological figures and departures from normal of March are tabulated in Table 1.2.

Table 1.1 Warnings and Signals in March 1992

Beginning Time Ending Time

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

Strong Monsoon Signals 24/3 24/3 0230 0900 24/3 25/3 0530 0930

30/3 2330 31/3 0730

Thunderstorm Warnings 16/3 1600 16/3 1800

19/3 0945 19/3 1145

20/3 1630 20/3 1930

21/3 0830 21/3 1030

29/3 0515 29/3 0815

Fire Danger Warnings

Yellow 2/3 1800 4/3 0600

Yellow 24/3 0835 24/3 1800

Yellow 31/3 0600 31/3 1650

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Table 1,2 Figures and Departures from Normal.:..March..1522

Meteorological Element Figure of the month Departure from normal

above normal below normal

Total Bright Sunshine (hours) 129.3 32.9

Mean Daily Global Solar Radiation (MJ/square metre) 11.6 0.36

Total Rainfall (mm) 34.8 32.1

Mean Cloud Amount (%) 68 8

Mean Relative Humidity (%) 82 1

Mean Daily Maximum Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 22.5 1.2

Mean Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 20.1 1.6

Mean Daily Minimum Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 18.3 1.8

Mean Dew Point (Degree Celsius) 16.7 1.7

Total Evaporation (mm) 75.3 16.9

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

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Friday, April 11,1997

Contents Page No.

Passage of Government Bills on employment benefits urged................. 1

Bill to fight family status discrimination announced..................... 2

Government Bill on smoking to be gazetted................................ 4

Post Office announces new arrangements for stamp sales................... 5

Buildings Bill enhances disciplinary boards' independence................ 7

Extrinsic Materials as an Aid to Statutory Interpretation................ 8

SWD assists fire victims................................................. 9

Appointments to Council of LWHT......................................... 10

Appointments to Board of Trustees of LWHT............................... 10

Employment and vacancy statistics of Dec 1996 released............... 11

Volume & price statistics of external trade in Jan 1997................. 16

Taxi fares increase on Sunday........................................... 21

Board amends Kwai Chung OZP............................................. 22

Fresh water cut in North Point........................................ • 23

1

Passage of Government Bills on employment benefits urged *****

The Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, today (Friday) urged Legislative Council (LegCo) members to support the series of Government Bills currently before LegCo and which seek to improve employees’ rights and benefits.

"These bills aim at enhancing substantially the rights and benefits of employees. The sooner the legislation is passed by LegCo the better it would be. I sincerely hope that these bills can be enacted before the end of this legislative session," Mr Wong said.

Mr Wong was speaking after an informal meeting with LegCo members representing the various political parties, employer groups and trade unions this evening.

Mr Wong stressed that the Government was committed to improving employees' rights and benefits in a way "which is commensurate with Hong Kong’s pace of social and economic developments and which strikes a reasonable balance between the interests of the employers and employees."

"Since the commencement of the 1995/96 legislative session in October 1995, the Government has introduced a total of 23 legislative items on labour matters into the LegCo. Up to now, 17 have been enacted, and six are still being considered by the Council. Of these six, apart from the Bill on Occupational Safety and Health, all the remaining five bills have yet been examined by the Council," Mr Wong said.

Two of them are on improvements to maternity protection provisions, definition of wages and protection of wage payments. They were introduced into LegCo last May but have not been examined by the Council since.

The other three seek to give effect to the results of the review of the labour relations system and to strengthen protection of employees against unreasonable termination of employment and variation of employment contracts. They were introduced concurrently into the LegCo on March 19.

Mr Wong appealed to legislators to accord priority to these Government Bills before the end of the current legislative session, as they all sought to give effect to improvement proposals which had been endorsed by the Labour Advisory Board (LAB).

2

"I am concerned that, despite this heavy agenda of Government bills, some legislators have chosen to push their Members' Bills on labour matters. A total of six such bills have so far been introduced into LegCo. One was introduced in October last year and is being examined by a bills committee. Two were introduced early this year, and three just yesterday i.e. April 10 (Thursday). We understand that a member is planning to introduce two more new Members' Bills by the end of this month," he said.

"I am, however, pleased to see that LegCo members sponsoring the six Members' Bills which were introduced into LegCo have agreed at the meeting this evening that the bills should be considered by the LAB in the first place before they are taken any further in LegCo. The LAB will consider these bills at its next two meetings," he said.

Mr Wong urged all LegCo members to concentrate their attention on those Government Bills which are now before the Council, in view of the limited time to process the bills before the end of the current legislative session.

End

Bill to fight family status discrimination announced *****

A Bill to outlaw discrimination on the ground of family status and to extend the remit of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to oversee the enforcement of such legislation was gazetted today (Friday).

Describing the Bill as a result of a two-month public consultation conducted last year, a spokesman for the Home Affairs Branch said it reflected the Government’s considered response to the community’s demand for legislation against discrimination on the ground of family status.

"The Family Status Discrimination Bill published today has taken into account a wide range of public opinions collected during the public consultation. When enacted, it will enhance equal opportunities for persons of different family status, for example, members of single parent families and those who have responsibility for the care of an elderly or a disabled family member," the spokesman said.

In the Bill, the term "family status" is defined as the status of having responsibility for the care of an immediate family member.

3

"An immediate family member must be related to the person concerned by blood, marriage, adoption or affinity. The proposed definition, therefore, includes relationship between husband and wife, parent and child and near relatives. Cohabitation, however, would fall outside the definition. This takes account of the strong public objection, received during the consultation exercise last year, to giving legal recognition to de facto spouse relationship," he added.

"We believe the proposed legislation will remove potential injustice and unfair restriction of an individual’s prospect on account of his or her family status," he said.

The Bill renders discrimination on the ground of family status unlawful in specified areas of activity similar to those covered by the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), such as employment, education, the provision of goods and services, and the disposal and management of premises. It also renders unlawful discrimination by way of victimisation.

"With such provisions in the Bill, it will be unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person, on the ground of his or her family status, in matters relating to recruitment, terms of employment, remuneration, promotion and training," the spokesman said.

To oversee the implementation of the new legislation, the Government also proposes to extend the remit of the EOC to handle complaints of discrimination on the ground of family status.

On the judicial mechanism, the spokesman said the court may exercise similar powers as provided for under the SDO and civil claims for damage can be filed through district court proceedings.

On provisions for exemptions, he said that apart from those exceptions provided for in the SDO, which are also relevant to discrimination on the ground of family status, employers would also be allowed to afford special benefits to suit the special needs of employees with a particular family status.

"This will cover arrangements such as offering education allowance for married employees with children only," the spokesman said.

In order to give small employers time to familiarise with the legislation and if necessary, to adapt their existing practices to comply with the legislation, the Bill provides for a three-year grace period for business establishments with not more than five employees.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 23.

End

4

Government Bill on smoking to be gazetted

*****

The Government will gazette a Bill to amend the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance next Friday (April 18), a spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch said today (Friday).

"As part of our ongoing anti-smoking policy, we are introducing further restrictions on tobacco advertising as well as on the use, sale and promotion of tobacco products.

"There will also be a new mechanism to facilitate the setting up of statutory no smoking areas in certain public places", he said.

The main features of the Bill are :

* to ban display-type tobacco advertisements, including posters; printed, painted or photographic advertisements on walls, hoardings and public transport; signs on buildings and lightboxes;

* to empower the managers of restaurants, department stores, shopping malls, supermarkets and banks to designate any part of their premises as a no-smoking area, if they wish to do so;

* and to prohibit the sale of cigarettes in packets of less than 20 sticks and the sale of tobacco products from vending machines, so as to make them less accessible to young smokers.

The Bill would also :

* provide for stronger and more prominent health warnings on tobacco product packages and in advertisements;

* prohibit the giving and use of tobacco products in connection with promotion or advertisement;

* introduce a requirement for cigarette packets and advertisements to indicate both tar and nicotine yields; and

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* lower the maximum tar yield in cigarettes from 20 milligrams to 17 milligrams and prohibit brands containing more than 9 milligrams from claiming that they are low in tar.

’’With regard to tobacco sponsorship, the Bill does not seek to change the status quo”, the spokesman said. "In other words, tobacco companies will continue to be allowed to sponsor events in their corporate name and to advertise such sponsorships.”

End

Post Office announces new arrangements for stamp sales *****

In response to unprecedented demand for special stamps, the Post office announced new arrangements for special stamp sales today (Friday).

Speaking at a press briefing, Mr Robert Footman, the Postmaster General, said "We are determined to do all we can to ensure we have enough stamps to meet demand, and to sell our stamps with maximum convenience to customers."

To do so, the Post Office has developed the following new arrangements to apply from the issue of Migratory Birds on April 27. First, the Post Office will sell new stamps on Sundays, with the opening of some 480 counter positions for special stamps compared to some 270 for this purpose on weekdays.

Second, the Post Office will set quota for each transaction at higher levels, because it has increased the printing quantity by some 7 times over levels a year ago. For the Migratory Birds this means the quota for each transaction at the counter will be 250 sets of stamps, or 5 sheets of each stamp, compared to 100 sets normally. The increased supply in 1997 has in fact worked well already - Year of the Ox stamps could still be purchased at our post offices up to one month after issue.

"These two actions will ensure a free flow of customers, and will also ensure that normal business on weekdays is unaffected,’’ said Mr Footman.

Third, the Post Office will extend its local advance order to include mint stamps, in addition to first day covers. Orders can be placed for Migratory Birds stamps at any post office from April 14-19. There will be no upper limit on such advance orders. Under this arrangement, customers can now satisfy their needs by May 20 without having to queue.

6

Fourth, the Post Office guarantees to meet all advance orders, even if this means printing more stamps.

Fifth, all post offices will be open from 8 am - 4 pm, compared to 9.30 am - 5 pm for most offices on weekdays.

"These measures, taken together, will minimise the need to queue, and will greatly speed up our ability to handle those who still decide to queue," said Mr Footman.

The Post Office also plans to nearly double the number of security guards on duty from 300 to 570, and to increase its own staff on crowd control by about 100. The Post Office will use discs throughout the day to avoid queue jumping. And it will further strengthen its cooperation with the Police.

To ensure that these and other arrangements work smoothly, the Post Office will be mobilising the management grade from all divisions of the department to monitor arrangements across the network of post offices.

Mr Footman added "These measures have been developed through the Review Committee we established last month to examine arrangements for stamp sales. Membership of the Committee comprises representatives from the Post Office and, at our invitation, from the ICAC." Other measures agreed by the Review Committee include the cessation of staff and customer relations sales.

Mr Footman said "These improvements build on the many improvements we have made over the past few months, in particular the Local Standing Order Service, under which some 57,000 customers have placed advance orders for stamps this year. With the added measures we are in a good position to meet our objectives - to meet demand with maximum convenience to customers."

He said "I must however add a word of caution. Demand for our stamps and related products is at unprecedented levels. It is clear that much of the upsurge in demand is related to this special time in Hong Kong’s history. Stamps provide a good souvenir of this time and there are many people collecting our stamps now because of this.

7

"We are however concerned about speculative activities in the market. Experience around the world has shown that the value of stamps can go down as well as up. For these reasons, especially in the light of our commitment to meeting all advance orders and the dramatic increase in our printing quantities, we are advising our customers to consider their needs carefully before deciding to buy. Our customers should act rationally."

Mr Footman said "In conclusion, we have developed the above measures after listening to comments from the public, and discussions with representatives of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. We believe they are a balanced set of measures, which we will continue to review and develop in the light of experience."

End

Buildings Bill enhances disciplinary boards' independence

*****

The Government intends to revise the appointment system and composition of disciplinary boards under the Buildings Ordinance to remove any perception that they are not independent or impartial.

A Government spokesman said according to the Buildings (Amendment) Bill 1997 gazetted today (Friday), the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands would replace the Building Authority as the authority to appoint members of such boards.

"The proposed changes aim at removing any perception of unfairness arising from the dual role served by the Building Authority in relation to disciplinary proceedings against building professionals and contractors.

"They also promote the principle of self-regulation and modernise the administration of the boards," the spokesman said.

Such changes to the Buildings Ordinance are in relation to the disciplinary boards for authorised persons, registered structural engineers, registered general building contractors and registered specialist contractors.

The Building Authority or his representative will also cease to be the chairman or a member of a board under various proposed amendments.

The Bill is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 23,

1997.

End

8

Extrinsic Materials as an Aid to Statutory Interpretation *****

The following press release supersedes the one GIS970411023 issued at 3 pm. Please note that anyone who wishes to obtain a copy of the report should contact the Secretary to the Commission, 20/F, Harcourt House, 39 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

The revised press release should read:

The Law Reform Commission today (Friday) published a Report on Extrinsic Materials as an Aid to Statutory Interpretation. The report makes recommendations on the way in which disputes as to the meaning of ambiguous legislative provisions can be resolved by the use of material outside the statute itself, such as reports of the proceedings in the Legislative Council at the time of the legislation’s enactment, or the contents of specialist reports which prompted the legislation. The Commission report recommends that the criteria for the use of these ’’extrinsic aids" should be incorporated in legislation by amendment to the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1).

The Secretary to the Commission, Mr Stuart Stoker, said: "Legislation is interpreted every day by officials, professional advisors, (in particular, lawyers) and the general public. Disputes can arise over the meaning of a statutory provision which have to be resolved by the courts. In reaching its decision, it may be helpful for the court to have recourse to extrinsic aids, such as the official record of the debates in the Legislative Council."

Mr Stoker said that the trend in other common law countries has been to relax the rules governing the exclusion or limitation on the use of such aids.

In line with that approach, the report recommends that a list of available extrinsic aids, and the criteria for their use, should be laid down in statute. The criteria that will govern the use of such aids will be that the provision is ambiguous or obscure, or the ordinary meaning, taking account of its context and purpose, would lead to a result that is absurd or unreasonable.

The Commission recommends that the list of extrinsic aids should include the explanatory memoranda of a Bill, the second reading speech of the policy Secretary, any relevant material in the official record of debates in the Legislative Council, relevant international treaties, and relevant official reports, such as Law Reform Commission reports.

9

The Commission recommends that the sources of legislation should be referred to in a schedule to any bill, which is complex, implements a Law Reform Commission report, or has an international element.

The weight given to any extrinsic aids will still be left to the discretion of the Judge dealing with the dispute.

The Commission believes that their recommendations will be of assistance to judges, legal practitioners and other advisers, officials and the public. By expanding the scope for use of extrinsic aids, the proposed legislation would give the courts more assistance in tracing the source or purpose of a disputed statutory provision.

Anyone who wishes to obtain a copy of the report should contact the Secretary to the Commission, 20/F, Harcourt House, 39 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

End

SWD assists fire victims ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Social Welfare Department has so far contacted 27 families of those deceased and injured in the Mei Foo Sun Chuen No. 3 alarm fire.

Among the families, 16 of them have requested for welfare services such as financial assistance, counselling and clinical psychologist service.

Burial grants totalling $32,100 have been given to the families of three people killed in the fire. A sum of $2,247 from the Li Po Chun Charitable Fund has also been granted to another family.

Applications for financial assistance from other victims are still being processed.

Meanwhile, the department's clinical psychologists will hold a counselling session to help those distressed by the fire overcome their stress problems.

Members of the public who have any distress problems resulting from the fire are welcome to attend the session which will take place at the Mei Foo Community Hall, Mei Foo Sun Chuen, at 2.30 pm tomorrow (Saturday).

End

10

Appointments to Council of LWHT

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ tfir

The Governor has re-appointed the Hon Edward Ho Sing-tin as the Chairman of the Council of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust for a period of two years from April 1, 1997.

The appointment was announced in the Gazette today (Friday).

The Governor has also appointed one new member and re-appointed seven members to the Council for a period of two years from April 1, 1997.

The following is a full list of the members of the Council:

Mr Andrew Dixon

Mr Leung Wai-yin, Wayne

Professor Lung Ping-yee, David

Mrs Pamela Rumball Rogers

Dr Sinn Yuk-yee, Elizabeth

Mr Yuen King-yuk, Jason

Director of Architectural Services or his representative

Director of Education or his representative

Deputy Secretary (Culture and Sport) or his representative (Ex Officio)

j ,

End

Appointments to Board of Trustees of LWHT ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Governor has re-appointed Mr Au Siu-kee, Alexander, as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust for a period of two years from April 1, 1997.

The appointment was announced in the Gazette today (Friday).

The Governor has also appointed two new members and re-appointed 10 members to the Board for a period of two years from April 1, 1997.

11

The following is a full list of the members of the Board :

Miss Chiu Kam-hing, Kathy

Mr Andrew Dixon

The Hon Edward Ho Sing-tin

Mr Kwok Ping-sheung, Walter

Mr Li Tzar-kai, Richard

Mr Liu Lit-mo

Professor Lung Ping-yee, David

Mr Alasdair G Morrison

Mr Tsui Tsin-tong

Mr Wong Shou-yeh, David

Mr Wu King-cheong, Henry

Ms Wu Suk-ching, Annie

Secretary for Home Affairs or his representative (Ex Officio)

Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport or his representative (Ex Officio)

End

Employment and vacancy statistics of Dec 1996 released * * ♦ * *

According to the figures released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department, employment in all major service sectors recorded notable increases in December 1996 over a year earlier. Employment at construction sites also registered a further significant year-on-year increase. On the other hand, employment in the manufacturing sector remained on a downtrend.

In December 1996, vacancies in all major service sectors increased substantially over December 1995. These increases were partly attributable to a low base of comparison in December 1995. Vacancies at construction sites also registered a substantial increase. However, vacancies in the manufacturing sector continued to decrease when compared with a year earlier. For all major sectors surveyed taken together, there were around 52 700 vacancies in December 1996, up 27.7% from the 41 300 vacancies recorded in December 1995.

In terms of the number of persons engaged, the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector was the largest, employing 1 056 100 persons in December 1996. This was followed by the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector, with an employment of 395 900; the manufacturing sector, 325 100; the community, social and personal services sector, 320 100; and the transport, storage and communications sector, 181 500. Also, there were 81 700 manual workers at construction sites.

12

In terms of change from a year earlier, employment of manual workers at construction sites showed the most significant increase, by 19.2% in December 1996. This was followed by employment in the community, social and personal services sector, rising by 6.0%; the transport, storage and communications sector, by 5.4%; the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector, by 4.7%; and the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector, by 3.7%. Employment in the manufacturing sector, on the other hand, fell by 13.5%. The respective employment figures are shown in greater detail in Table 1.

As regards the vacancy situation in individual sectors, the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector had the largest number of vacancies, at 22 620 in December 1996. This was followed by the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector, with 11 440 vacancies; the community, social and personal services sector, 8 380 vacancies; the manufacturing sector, 5 240 vacancies; and the transport, storage and communications sector, 3 050 vacancies. Also, there were 2 000 vacancies for manual workers at construction sites.

In terms of change from a year earlier, vacancies for manual workers at construction sites recorded a substantial increase of 92.6%. This was followed by vacancies in the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector, rising by 54.7%; the transport, storage and communications sector, by 32.3%; the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector, by 27.7%; and the community, social and personal services sector, by 14.8%. Vacancies in the manufacturing sector however fell by 5.1%. Job vacancy figures for selected major industry sectors are shown in Table 2.

Of the total of some 52 700 vacancies (other than those in the Civil Service) recorded in December 1996, the majority fell into four major occupation groups, viz. associate professionals; clerks; service workers and shop sales workers; and elementary occupations. They together accounted for over three-quarters of the total number of vacancies in all the major sectors surveyed.

In December 1996, vacancies in all major occupation groups increased over December 1995. Vacancies in the craft and related workers category showed the largest increase, by 49.0%. This was followed by vacancies in the managerial and administrative occupation category, rising by 45.3%; the associate professionals category, by 41.3%; the service workers and shop sales workers category, by 33.2%; the clerks category, by 22.2%; the elementary occupations category, by 20.3%; the professionals category, by 15.3%; and the plant and machine operators and assemblers category, by 3.2%. Job vacancy figures broken down by major occupation group are shown in Table 3.

13

The above statistics for December 1996 were derived from the Quarterly Survey of Employment and Vacancies, the Supplementary Survey of Job Vacancies and the Quarterly Employment Survey of Construction Sites conducted by the Department. In the former two surveys, some economic activities (e.g. those where self-employment is predominant, such as taxi operators, hawkers and freelance authors) are not covered and hence the respective employment and vacancy figures relate only to those selected industries included in the surveys. In the latter survey on construction sites, employment and vacancy figures relate to manual workers only.

Detailed breakdowns of the above statistics are available from the Quarterly Report of Employment, Vacancies and Payroll Statistics, December 1996 and the Quarterly Report of Employment and Vacancies at Construction Sites, December 1996. They will be available at HK$48 per copy and HKS19 per copy (both exclusive of postage) respectively at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong and at the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Table 1: Employment figures and percentage changes by selected major sector

Persons engaged (employment) Percentage change

Selected major sector Dec95 Sep96 Dec96 Dep96 over Dec95 Dec96 over Sep96

Manufacturing 375800 327500 325100 -13.5 -0.7

Construction sites (manual workers only) 68500 76600 81700 + 19.2 +6.7

Wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels 1018200 1046600 1056100 +3.7 +0.9

14

Transport, storage and communications 172200 179800 181500 +5.4 + 1.0

Financing, insurance, real estate and business services 378200 391200 395900 +4.7 + 1.2

Community, 302000 314500 320100 +6.0 + 1.8

social and personal services

Table 2: Vacancy figures and percentage changes by selected major sector

Number of vacancies Percentage change

Selected major sector Dec95 Sep96 Dec96 Dec96 over Dec95 Dec96 over Sep96

Manufacturing 5520 5870 5240 -5.1 -10.7

Construction sites (vacancies for manual workers only) 1040 1460 2000 +92.6 +36.5

Wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels 17710 21 160 22620 +27.7 +6.9

Transport, storage and communications 2310 3230 3050 +32.3 -5.5

15

Financing, insurance, real estate and business services 7390 10640 11440 +54.7 +7.5

Community, 7300 8260 8380 + 14.8 + 1.5

social and personal services

Table 3: Vacancy figures and percentage changes by major occupation group

Number of vacancies Percentage change

Major occupation group Dec95 Sep96 Dec96 Dec96 over Dec95 Dec96 over Sep96

Managers and administrators 870 990 1260 +45.3 +27.7

Professionals 2850 2980 3290 + 15.3 + 10.3

Associate professionals 6530 8700 9220 +41.3 +6.0

Clerks 9150 10330 11180 +22.2 +8.2

Service workers and shop sales workers 9440 12770 12580 +33.2 -1.5

Craft and related workers 2730 3470 4070 +49.0 + 17.4

Plant and machine operators and assemblers 3400 3800 3500 +3.2 -7.9

Elementary occupations 6340 7600 7630 +20.3 +0.3

End

16

Volume & price statistics of external trade in Jan 1997 *****

In January 1997. the volume of re-exports increased by 2.6% over a year earlier, while that of domestic exports decreased by 7.4%. Taken together, the volume of total exports increased by 1.0%. Concurrently, the volume of imports increased by 3.0%.

The Census and Statistics Department today (Friday) released detailed volume and price statistics of external trade for January 1997.

Comparing January 1997 with January 1996, the prices of re-exports and domestic exports decreased by 1.3% and 1.5% respectively. Meanwhile, import prices decreased by 2.4%.

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

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 1.1% in January 1997 over January 1996.

Caution should be exercised in interpreting the changes in the volume of trade for a single month at the beginning of each year which may be affected by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays. It is more meaningful to make comparisons over a longer period.

Comparing the three months ending January' 1997 with the three months ending January 1996. the volume of re-exports and imports increased by 5.5% and 5.1% respectively. However, the volume of domestic exports dropped by 7.6%.

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

Analysed by end-use category, increases in re-export volume in January 1997 over a year earlier were recorded for capital goods (+18%); fuels (+3.7%); consumer goods (+0.6%); and foodstuffs (+0.3%).

On the other hand, the volume of re-exports of raw materials and semimanufactures decreased by 4.2%.

17

Over the same period of comparison, increases were recorded in the prices of re-exports of fuels (+13%); and foodstuffs (+1.6%).

On the other hand, re-export prices of raw materials and semi-manufactures; capital goods; and consumer goods decreased by 2.8%, 2.1% and 0.4% respectively.

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

Comparing January 1997 with January 1996, decreases in domestic export volume were recorded for all of the principal commodity groups, except that of textile yam and thread which recorded an increase of 1.8%. The volume of domestic exports of radios of all kinds; textile made-ups and related articles; and travel goods, handbags and similar articles showed particularly significant decreases, by 74%, 65% and 43% respectively.

Commodity groups which recorded more notable increases in domestic export prices included metal ores and scrap (+15%); and textile yam and thread (+4.6%).

On the other hand, domestic export prices of electronic components; and footwear decreased significantly, by 12% and 7.2% respectively.

The changes in the value, unit value and volume of imports by end-use category are shown in Table 3.

The import volume of foodstuffs increased by 17% in January 1997 compared with January 1996.

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

Over the same period of comparison, the import volume of consumer goods increased by 2.8%.

Notable increases in import volume were noted of alcoholic beverages; and passenger motor cars. However, significant decreases in import volume were recorded for tobacco manufactures; and miscellaneous made-up articles of textile materials.

The import volume of raw materials and semi-manufactures decreased by 3.4% in January 1997 compared with January 1996.

18

Significant decreases in import volume were noted of raw cotton; and leather and dressed furskins. However, rapid increases were noted of cotton yam and thread; and lime, cement and fabricated building materials except glass, clay construction materials and refractory construction materials.

Imports of fuels decreased by 11% in volume in January 1997 compared with January 1996.

As regards capital goods, the volume of imports increased by 14% in January 1997 over January 1996.

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

Comparing January 1997 with January 1996, import prices of fuels increased significantly by 33%.

On the other hand, import prices of raw materials and semi-manufactures; capital goods; foodstuffs; and consumer goods decreased by 6.0%, 3.5%, 1.0% and 0.3% respectively.

Details of the above statistics are published in the January 1997 issue of the “Hong Kong Trade Index Numbers”.

The report will be available on sale around 14 April 1997 at HK$13 per copy at either (i) the Government Publications Centre on the ground floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway; or (ii) the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department on the 19th Floor, Wanchai 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 28/F., Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Tel. No.: 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade indices to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No.: 2582 4918).

19

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

Comparing JAN 1997 with JAN 1996

% changes Unit

End-use category Value Value Volume

Foodstuffs 2.0 1.6 0.3

Consumer goods 0.4 -0.4 0.6

Raw materials & semi-manufactures -7.5 -2.8 -4.2

Fuels 27.0 13.1 3.7

Capital goods 14.9 -2.1 18.3

ALL COMMODITIES 0.9 -1.3 2.6

Table 2: Changes in domestic exports by principal commodity group

Comparing JAN 1997 with JAN 1996

% changes

Unit

Commodity group Value Value Volume

Clothing -5.9 -0.2 -4.5

Textile fabrics -12.4 1.3 -14.6

Textile yam and thread 6.3 4.6 1.8

Textile made-ups and related articles -65.6 1.2 -65.2

20

Radios of all kinds -74.3 -4.1 -73.7

Electronic components -7.6 -11.9 -0.2

Footwear -36.1 -7.2 -29.3

Metal manufactures -19.7 -0.4 -20.7

Metal ores and scrap 3.3 14.6 -12.0

Watches and clocks -23.8 1.7 -24.4

Travel goods, handbags and similar articles -43.4 0.7 -42.6

Domestic electrical appliances -23.2 -2.9 -22.0

ALL COMMODITIES -9.0 -1.5 -7.4

Table 3: Changes in imports by end-use category

Comparing JAN 1997 with JAN 1996

% changes

Unit

End-use category Value Value Volume

Foodstuffs 15.8 -1.0 17.3

Consumer goods 3.0 -0.3 2.8

Raw materials and semi-manufactures -8.8 -6.0 -3.4

Fuels 20.3 33.4 -11.0

Capital goods 10.4 -3.5 13.9

ALL COMMODITIES 1.2 -2.4 3.0

End

21

Taxi fares increase on Sunday ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Transport Department announces that fares for urban and New Territories (NT) taxis will be increased by 6.3 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively from Sunday (April 13).

New flagfall charge for the first two kilometres for urban taxis will be $14.5, increased by 50 cents comparing to existing $14.

The NT taxis' flagfall charge will be increased by 70 cents to $12.50 from $11.80.

For every subsequent 0.2 kilometre, the fares for both kinds of 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 NT taxis.

The surcharges for luggage carried and every hiring through telephone booking will remain unchanged at $5 and $4 correspondingly for urban and NT taxis.

A spokesman for Transport Department today (Friday) said conversion tables for the old and new meter readings of these taxis have been prepared.

"They should be displayed at a prominent position inside a taxi before the taximetre is recalibrated, tested and sealed by the Department," he added.

These tables are now available for collection by taxi owners by showing their taxi registration documents at:

all licensing offices of Transport Department;

Public Vehicle Section, Transport Department, 3/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong;

Public Enquiry Service Centres of all urban District Offices and of Sha Tin, Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan District Offices for urban taxi conversion tables; and

* Public Enquiry Service Centres of North, Sai Kung, Tai Po, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun District Offices for NT taxis conversion tables.

End

22

Board amends Kwai Chung OZP *****

The Town Planning Board announced today (Friday) amendments to the approved Kwai Chung Outline Zoning Plan.

Five amendments, which were all related to the provision of additional housing flats were made to the plan, a spokesman for the Board said.

"Four of them will facilitate the early rehousing of those residents being affected by the Hong Kong Housing Society’s Comprehensive Redevelopment Programme in the Kwai Chung district. The remaining one will facilitate the disposal of surplus government quarters for private residential use,” he said.

A 1.41-hectare site in Shek Lei Estate and an existing 0.23 hectare open space (Fuk Tak Garden) to the south of Tai Wo Hau Road have been rczoned from 'Open Space' (’O') to 'Residential (Group A)' ('R (A)') for public housing development.

To make up for the loss of open space, a 2.15-hectare site at the junction of Castle Peak Road (Kwai Chung) and Kwai Chung Circumferential Road, which is partly an existing open space and partly occupied by public housing blocks to be demolished, has been rezoned from 'R (A)' to 'O'.

Another site of about 0.51 hectare in Kwai Chung Estate has also been rezoned from 'R (A)' to 'O'.

A 0.45-hectare site at Lai King Hill Road opposite to the Princess Margaret Hospital has been rezoned from 'Government/Institution/Community' to 'Residential (Group B)' to facilitate the disposal of the site together with the surplus Government quarters for private residential use.

The amendment plan (No. S/KC/12) is available for public inspection until June 11 during office hours at:

* Planning Department

16th floor, Murray Building

Garden Road

Central

Hong Kong;

23

* Tsuen Wan, Kwai Tsing and Sham Shui Po District

Planning Office

27th floor, Tsuen Wan Government Offices

38 Sai Lau Kok Road

Tsuen Wan

New Territories; and

* Kwai Tsing District Office

10th floor, Kwai Hing Government Offices

Building

166-174 Hing Fong Road

Kwai Chung

New Territories.

Any person affected by the amendments may submit written objections to the Secretary of the Town Planning Board, c/o Planning Department, 13th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong, before June 11.

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

Fresh water cut in North Point ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Fresh water supply to some premises in North Point will be suspended from 11 pm on April 14 (Monday) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect:

* all odd number premises at no. 395-511 King's Road;

* all even number premises at no. 2-82 and odd number premises at no. 1-87 Marble Road;

* all even number premises at no. 72-210 and odd number premises at no. 81-173 Java Road;

24

* all odd number premises at no. 31-41 Tin Chiu Street;

* all even number premises at no. 22-32 and odd number premises at no. 31-55 Kam Hong Street;

* all even number premises at no. 22-32 and odd number premises at no. 29-45 Shu Kuk Street;

* all premises along Tong Shui Road;

* North Point Vehicular Ferry Pier ;and

* North Point Ferry Pier.

End

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In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

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

Saturday, April 12,1997

Contents Page No,

Old car scrapping scheme eligibility lowered.................................. 1

HK/China co-organise first engineering standards seminar...................... 2

Fresh water cut in North District............................................. 3

1

Old car scrapping scheme eligibility lowered ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

Eligibility for the first registration tax (FRT) concession under the old car scrapping incentive scheme will be lowered from Monday (April 14), a spokesman for Transport Department said today (Saturday).

The scheme was adopted by the Financial Secretary at his 97-98 Budget speech to lower the requirement of car ownership and licensing period from two years to one year.

Aimed to help improve air quality on the road, the scheme encourages owners of private cars of 10 years old or more to scrap their vehicles and to replace them by new petrol-engine ones.

Since its introduction last June, a total of 1 531 certificates have been issued and 977 FRT concessions granted.

The incentive of the scheme is a reduction in FRT of 20 per cent of the tax payable or $30,000, whichever is the lower, for the registration of the new replacement private car.

Applications for this scheme should be made to the Transport Department's Hong Kong Licensing Office on third floor, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong.

The updated eligibility criteria for the scheme are:

* the manufacturing year of the private car to be scrapped must be 1987 or before;

* at the date of scrapping, the private car must have been owned by the same owner for at least 12 months beforehand, and also the car must have been continuously licensed in Hong Kong for 12 months immediately beforehand;

* the new replacement private car under application for the first registration should not have been registered in Hong Kong or in any other countries; and

* the registered owner of the new replacement car must also be the same person as that of the old car.

2

A Transport Department spokesman said those eligible car owners, if interested in the scheme, should scrap their old cars, deregister them and apply for a FRT concession entitlement certificate.

The entitlement can only be valid for six months from the date the old car was scrapped.

Enquiries for the scheme can be made to Hong Kong Licensing Office on 2804 2637 or by fax to 2804 2599.

End

HK/China co-organise first engineering standards seminar *****

Hong Kong and China are to co-organise for the first time a two-day Engineering and Construction Standards Exchange Seminar in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday (April 14 and 15) to strengthen the communication between the engineering and construction industries in the Mainland and the territory.

A delegation comprising 73 experts, engineers and other professionals of relating fields, led by the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang, left Hong Kong today (Saturday). They will be joined by a similar number of experts from the Mainland who will participate in the seminar.

Co-organising the event in China are the Department of Standards and Norms, Ministry of Construction; the China Association for Engineering Construction Standardisation and from the territory the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.

Besides the professionals from the private construction, engineering and architectural firms, forming part of the Hong Kong delegation are representatives from the Works Branch, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Buildings, Architectural Services, Civil Engineering, Drainage Services, Highways, Planning, Water Supplies and Housing Departments.

Before departure, Mr Kwong said the seminar would provide an opportunity for the people in the related trades in the two places to exchange views and experience and enhance the understanding on the formulation and implementation of engineering and construction standards.

3

He said the seminar would pave the way in establishing a foundation for exchanges between the two areas in future.

Some of the topics to be introduced by the Chinese experts will include: standardisation for engineering construction in China; drafting rules and working procedures for national standards on engineering construction; health development of construction supervision in China and engineering quality controlling and looking forward to the future for the construction in China.

From the Hong Kong side, the delegates will introduce to the Mainland counterparts issues such as development, formulation and implementation of engineering and construction standards for construction works in Hong Kong; an overview of selected standards and practices; quality management on bridge projects; construction site safety management practical and effective approach to quality management in building construction.

Separately, building services installation topics including water supply, drainage and fire protection; air-conditioning, energy conservation and intelligent building; electricity supply and lift and escalators performance will be discussed.

The delegation will return to Hong Kong on Wednesday (April 16).

End

Fresh water cut in North District ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

Fresh water supply to some premises in Fanling and Ta Kwu Ling will be suspended from 10 pm on April 15 (Tuesday) to 6 am the following day for connection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect all villages along Ping Che Road, including Ping Yeung, Tong Fong, Lei Uk, Chau Tin Tsuen, Fung Wong Wu, Kan Tau Wai, Tai Po Tin, Sheung Shan Kai Wat and Ha Shan Kai Wat; and those along Lin Ma Hang Road, including Kaw Liu Village, Chuk Yuen, Tsung Yuen Ha and Heung Yuen Wai.

End

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hik.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

v (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

v (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Sunday, April 13,1997

Contents Page No.

Lantau Link opens a new transport era................................. 1

Television programme on water quality misleading...................... 3

Contractor fined over mishap.......................................... 4

Employment agencies must be licensed.................................. 5

Stamps on Hong Kong migratory birds to be issued...................... 6

Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Day commemorative cover on sale................ 8

Fresh water cut in Mong Kok........................................... 9

Lantau Link opens a new transport era *****

Hong Kong will enter a new era in transport when the Lantau Link, comprising two major bridges and a viaduct, opens to traffic in May.

The doubled-decked Lantau Link, built as part of the 34-kilometre transport corridor to the new international airport under construction at Chek Lap Kok, will give visitors a spectacular entrance to Hong Kong.

The Link will be officially opened by the former British Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher, on Sunday, April 27.

Traffic will be carried on a dual three-lane expressway on the open upper deck. In case of bad weather, traffic can be diverted to two single-lane carriageways on the sheltered lower deck, which will also carry the airport railway.

Vehicles using the Link will be charged tolls, at a toll plaza located on the Lantau side.

Both bridges arc the largest of their kind to carry road and rail traffic. The Tsing Ma Bridge, spanning the marine channel between Tsing Yi and Ma Wan islands, has a central span of 1,377 metres while the cable-stayed Kap Shui Mun Bridge, which connects Ma Wan and Lantau islands, has a main span of 430 metres.

"Completion of the Lantau Link gives much satisfaction to the government departments that have been involved, especially the Highways Department, which is responsible for the project, and the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, the coordinator of the Airport Core Programme projects," said the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang.

"This is understandable as Hong Kong has never built such long-span bridges before and, in a way, we have emerged with great success from our venture into the unknown, thanks to the efforts of all concerned," said Mr Kwong, who served as the first Project Director of the Highways Department’s Lantau Fixed Crossing Project Management Office, and then as Director of Highways before taking up his present post in 1995.

"It has been a great achievement, considering that the two contracts to build the bridges were only awarded in 1992. That we have been able to get the job done on target, and within budget, is also a tribute to the expertise of the consulting engineers, the designers and the builders," he said.

2

Mr Kwong said that three crucial stages in building the Tsing Ma Bridge were construction of the towers, which are more than 200 metres in height, spinning of the huge suspension cables and erection of the 1,000-tonne sections for the suspended deck.

"We were able to keep much to schedule in these phases. We were blessed with fairly good weather, and on only one occasion did a typhoon pose a threat," he said.

"Building the concrete towers was a big job, and once each tower was slipformed, in onlj^ about three months in 1993, we really felt we were halfway towards completion of the bridge."

Erecting the deck was a challenging undertaking, but after the first section had been raised, the entire e,xercise went smoothly, lasting from August 1995 to March 1996.

The sections were assembled near Dongguan in southern China, out of prefabricated parts made in Britain and Japan and transported by barge down the Pearl River.

The steel in the deck weighs 55,000 tonnes. The length of the individual steel wires that make up the 1.1 -metre suspension cables is enough to go round the Earth four times. The cables themselves are restrained in massive anchorages at either end, in which the concrete weighs up to 250,000 tonnes.

The bridge has been built by the Anglo Japanese Construction Joint Venture, under a $7.1 billion contract which is the third largest in the entire Airport Core Programme.

The Kap Shui Mun Bridge has been built under a "design and build" contract, a task that posed its own special challenges for the contractor, the Kumagai-Maeda-Yokogawa-Hitachi Joint Venture, but it too went smoothly once work began.

Construction of the 150-metre concrete towers was accomplished in good time, clearing the way for erection of the composite concrete and steel deck, which began in May 1995, and was also completed in March 1996.

The Lantau Link and its associated road network have been designated a control area, to maintain safe and efficient traffic operations on it. I he control area is equipped with a sophisticated computer-based Traffic Control and Surveillance System.

3

"It is the first time that a system of this kind covers such a large area. The system contains a lot of state-of-the-art techniques and in many ways it is one of the most advanced systems in the world,” said Mr Kwong.

The control area includes about 17 kilometres of the airport transport corridor stretching from the Mei Foo Interchange at the start of the Kwai Chung Viaduct section of Route 3 to the Yam O Interchange on the North Lantau Expressway.

This includes the Kwai Chung Viaduct, the Rambler Channel Bridge, the Cheung Ching Tunnel and the Lantau Link and the North-West Tsing Yi Interchange which connects the airport road network to the Route 3 highway also under construction.

The control area’s $242 million Traffic Control and Surveillance System will enable the private sector management contractor to deal efficiently with normal traffic operations and to exercise a high degree of automation for traffic management and control under most situations.

These situations may include vehicle breakdowns, road works, strong winds and other adverse weather conditions. In addition, variable message signs give drivers traffic information as they pass through the control area.

The main control centre is housed in the North West Tsing Yi Administration Building. The system’s equipment includes closed circuit television, automatic incident detectors, automatic weight detectors, environmental sensors, emergency telephones, vehicle overheight detectors, variable traffic signs, land control signals and radio re-broadcast facilities.

End

Television programme on water quality misleading

*****

The result of electrolysis of water which appeared on a television programme a few days ago was totally untrue, a spokesman for the Water Supplies Department said today (Sunday).

The spokesman was commenting on a television programme last Thursday (April 10) night which showed a television actress performing a so-called experiment on treated water.

4

"The whole process was just a gimmick and the results shown were untrue and misleading. Members of the public should not believe what was said and shown about water quality in the programme,” he said.

The spokesman assured the public that water supplied to consumers was fully treated through a rigorous water treatment and disinfection process.

"Its quality is closely monitored by regular and frequent testing of water samples taken from all strategic points of the water supply system including the pumping stations, service reservoirs, sump and roof tanks of buildings and consumer taps and complies fully with the World Health Organisation’s Guideline Standards for drinking water,” he stressed.

End

Contractor fined over mishap ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A registered contractor has recently been convicted and fined $40,000 for failing to provide adequate shoring while carrying out alterations and addition works at a Cheung Sha Wan building which led to injury of a worker.

A female worker was trapped and seriously injured when a partly-demolished internal staircase linking the tenth and eleventh floors of the building collapsed on January 23 last year.

To provide guidance on the safe execution of demolition works, the Buildings Department is preparing a Code of Practice on Demolition works.

The Assistant Director of Buildings (Legal and Management), Mr Cheung Hau-wai, said this Code would be issued by the end of the year to improve safety at demolition sites.

"Building contractors should adopt adequate precautionary and protective measures on their sites to ensure the safety of workers, adjacent properties and members of the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, to step up supervision and safety of all building sites, including demolition sites, by clearly spelling out the parties responsible for safety of site works, the department would introduce a site supervision plan system at the end of the year.

5

Mr Cheung said a consultancy firm was commissioned in late January to prepare a Technical Memorandum and a Code of Practice for the site supervision plan system.

" The supervision plan will include a comprehensive management system on site safety specifying how the site works are to be managed and the supervisory responsibilities of the building professionals and all other personnel engaged in the building works.

"The Technical Memorandum which will be subject to legislative procedures will lay down the system and framework for the supervision and management requirements," he said.

"The department will take a serious view of any future cases of carrying out or permitting the carrying out of demolition or any other building works in a dangerous manner," he said.

End

Employment agencies must be licensed ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Labour Department reminded those intending to operate employment agencies to apply for licences from the Employment Agencies Administration of the department.

The reminder was made following a recent court case in which a tuition centre was fined $4,000 at the South Kowloon Magistracy for operating as an employment agency without a valid licence.

"Tuition centres would be regarded as employment agencies if their business involves arranging job-seekers to be employed by the students' parents, or in recruiting tutors for the parents. They should therefore apply for an employment agency licence and must comply with Part XII of Employment Ordinance," Labour Officer (Employment Agencies Administration), Mrs Lourdes Lam, said today (Sunday).

"Operators have to apply for employment agency licence at least one month before starting the business. The licence fee is $1,870 for a main office and $360 for a branch office.

6

"Under the Employment Agency Regulations, an employment agency can only charge a successful job-seeker a commission of not more than 10 per cent of his first month's salary. Charging any other fees is strictly prohibited," she added.

Operating an unlicensed employment agency or overcharging a job-seeker is an offence under the Employment Ordinance. The maximum penalty for each offence is $50,000.

An updated list of employment agencies in Hong Kong is available for public reference at the Employment Agencies Administration on the 12th floor. Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central.

Enquiries and complaints on the operation of employment agencies can be made to the Employment Agencies Administration in person or by telephone at 2852 3535.

End

Stamps on Hong Kong migratory birds to be issued *****

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, announced today (Sunday) that a set of special stamps on the theme of'Hong Kong Migratory Birds' will be issued on Sunday, April 27, 1997.

This set of special stamps depicts four species of migratory birds which come annually to Hong Kong. There will be four denominations: $1.30 (Yellow-breasted Bunting), $2.50 (Great Knot), $3.10 (Falcated Teal) and $5 (Black-faced Spoonbill). The stamps were designed by Mr Shek Tak Sheun and printed by Joh. Enschede of the Netherlands.

As from tomorrow (April 14), the stamps will be on display for the advance information of the public at the General Post Office, Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office, Tsuen Wan Post Office and Sha Tin Central Post Office. Official first day covers will be put on sale at all post offices at $1 each as from the same day. Advance orders for serviced first day covers will be accepted at all post offices from April 14 to 19. The minimum number of serviced first day covers per order is five.

7

Mr Footman added that for the convenience of customers and to minimise the need to queue, a new advance order service for ordering mint stamps will be introduced. Orders will be accepted at all post offices from April 14 to 19, same as for placing advance orders for serviced first day covers. No handling fee is required. There is no limit on the order quantity, but it must be in multiples of five sets and the minimum is five sets. Orders will be available for customers’ collection at the post office where they placed the order as from May 20.

A beautifully designed presentation pack containing the four stamps will be available for sale at $20 each at all post offices as from April 27, 1997.

A restriction of five sheets of stamps of each denomination (viz. 250 sets of stamps) and two presentation packs per customer queuing will be imposed on the first day of issue. Thereafter on subsequent days and where customer queuing persists, the same restriction will continue to be imposed, until stock is exhausted. From the second day onwards, stamp sheets with edges will only be available at the 19 philatelic offices. These edges will be removed in the sale through normal counter.

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 April 27, 1997. A special postmark will also be introduced. Specimen of the special postmark is enclosed. The GPO-1 hand stamp will also be available for hand-back service 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

All post offices will be opened on April 27 and the opening hours will be from 8 am to 4 pm. However, counter services provided will be restricted to sale of the new stamps and acceptance of registered mail only.

Mr Footman also reminded the public that stamps bearing the Queen’s head or Royal Cypher will not be valid for the payment of postage after June 30, 1997. They can however be exchanged for an equivalent value of the definitive stamps from July 3 - 31, 1997. Details will be announced closer the time.

End

8

Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Day commemorative cover on sale ♦ * ♦ * *

A commemorative cover to mark the first major event of the Year of Heritage, Heritage Day in Lung Yuek Tau, has been issued and will be on sale this Tuesday (April 15).

This is the second in a series of special postal items to commemorate the various activities of the Year of Heritage, as well as to raise fund for the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust.

Featuring various major historical monuments in Lung Yuek Tau, the cover bears a HKS1.3 definitive stamp and the date chop of the Post Office. The logo and slogan for the Year of Heritage, "Treasure Our Heritage, Benefit Our Future", is also highlighted.

The cover, at $25 each, will be available at the Heritage Resource Centre of the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) at 136 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, between 9.30 am and 2.30 pm from Monday to Friday. Each purchase is limited to a maximum of 10 until stock lasts.

A limited stock of the first cover to mark the opening ceremony of the Year of Heritage is still available. "It is certainly meaningful to collect a full set of commemorative covers in memory of the year-round campaign," a spokesman for the AMO said.

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

9

Fresh water cut in Mong Kok ♦ * ♦ * ♦

Fresh water supply to some premises in Mong Kok will be suspended from 11 pm on Wednesday (April 16) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Nathan Road, Cheung Sha Wan Road, Poplar Street, Boundary Street, Ki Lung Street, Cedar Street, Lai Chi Kok Road and Prince Edward Road West.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental'protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

V (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

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I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Monday, April 14,1997

Contents Eage No,

Govt & CLP reached agreement over Black Point deferral..................... 1

Number of drug abusers remains stable for 1996 ............................ 2

Revision to home purchase allowance approved............................... 4

Sino-British Land Commission to meet....................................... 5

Employers urged to give entitlements to employees.......................... 5

Latest review of tar and nicotine yields announced......................... 6

RO study confirms trend in deteriorating visibility........................ 7

Parents visit the Royal Observatory........................................ 8

HK's external trade statistics with breakdown for Feb 1997 ................ 9

Manufacturer fined for malpractice........................................ 19

Prompt collection of BN(O) passports...................................... 19

Water storage figure..........:........................................... 20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results............................ 21

1

Govt & CLP reached agreement over Black Point deferral

* ♦ * ♦ *

The Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, today (Monday) welcomed the agreement reached between the Government and China Light and Power (CLP) on measures to tackle high reserve margin in the CLP system.

Mr Ip said that the arrangement was reasonable and would be beneficial to consumers. He was glad that CLP had acted towards the issue in a responsible manner.

Mr Ip was content that CLP had agreed to defer generating units 7 and 8 a* Black Point for up to five years if the situation requires.

He said the Government would review the situation with the company in 1999 based on the demand forecast at the time. A 5-year deferral of units 7 and 8 will bring net benefits to consumers both in the short and long term.

According to the Government's consultant, the benefits from the deferral could be as high as $478 million during the life of the project up to the year 2032.

China Light and Power has also agreed to shortly decommission 442 MW of existing gas turbine capacity and to put the gas turbines into preservation.

The decommissioning of gas turbines will immediately hold down the reserve margin by 10%.

Upon decommissioning, the remaining book value of the turbines will be written off and no permitted return will be earned. This alone will bring benefits of $119 million to consumers.

China Light and Power and the Government will review in 1999 whether the turbines should be disposed of permanently, be recommissioned or continue to be preserved.

Mr Ip noted that the Black Point generating units 5 and 6 are too advanced. He agreed that it is neither practicable nor economically justifiable to defer them. Unit 5 has already been delivered and Unit 6 will soon be ready for delivery.

End

2

Number of drug abusers remains stable for 1996 ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Chairman of the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN), Professor Chen Char-nie today (Monday) announced that the size of Hong Kong drug abusers population has remained relatively stable over the past two years. e

Professor Chen said: "In 1996, a total of 19,626 drug abusers of all ages were reported to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse, representing an increase of 1.5 per cent when compared with 19,343 reported in 1995.

"The 1996 figure represented a decrease of 3.4 per cent when compared with 20,327 in 1994.

"The proportion of Hong Kong people involved in drug abuse also remained relatively small, which is around 3.5 per thousand population.

"The 1996 figures showed that for drug abusers of all ages, the most commonly abused drugs were heroin (86.6 per cent), cannabis (8.4 per cent), cough medicine (3.0 per cent), triazolam (2.9 per cent) and methylamphetamine or ’ice’ (2.8 per cent)."

The number of drug abusers reported to have abused psychotropic substances increased by 28.3% in 1996 as compared with the corresponding figure in 1995, rising from 2,618 to 3,358.

The 1996 figure represented an increase of 44.2% when compared with 2,328 in 1994.

The upward trend of drug abuse among females observed since 1992 persisted in 1996. The reported figure in 1996 was 2,417, representing an increase of 4.1% as compared with 2,321 in 1995.

Taking into account the up-trend in the number of psychotropic substance abusers and the importance of family support to steer young persons away from drugs, the Preventive Education and Publicity Sub-committee decided that the anti-drug abuse themes in the coming year should include:

1) to educate young persons that there is no difference between ’hard’ and ’soft' drugs in terms of harmful effects, and to better equip them with refusal skills;

3

2) to alert parents the importance of strengthening parent-child relationship and the role that they could play to steer their children away from drugs;

3) to encourage people, in particular young people, to adopt a drug-free life, and to point out that whatever their problems may be, there are other alternatives to drug.

A multifaceted approach will continue to be adopted to convey the anti-drug messages to meet the varying needs of different target groups in the community. New components include:

1) the drug education talk conducted by the Narcotics Division for school students will be revamped to include updates on the harmful effects of abusing psychotropic substance and the support programmes that are available to them when they encounter drug abuse problems. A video on educating students about refusal skills to drug offers will also be produced and shown in the school talk.

2) anti-drug projects involving parents and students participation with District School Liaison Committees will be co-organized. The main theme will be on strengthening parent-child relationship and educating them about the benefits of a drug-free family.

3) a new TV API specifically aims at educating young people that there is no difference between 'hard' and 'soft' drugs in terms of its harmful effects will be broadcast in May.

4) an anti-drug homepage on the internet to educate young persons on the harmful effects of drug abuse will also be launched in May.

To find out the underlying reasons that have led to the recent up-trends in the number of female drug abusers and psychotropic substance abusers, the ACAN’s Research Sub-committee will commission a two-year study to identify relevant factors affecting the changes in drug abuse pattern. Findings of the study will throw light on how to refine the existing preventive strategy to arrest the existing up-trends.

4

On the other hand, the ACAN Sub-committee on Treatment and Rehabilitation will concurrently examine how to further strengthen the existing services for female drug abusers and psychotropic substance abusers to better cater for their rehabilitation needs.

Present at the press briefing were the Commissioner for Narcotics, Mrs Clarie Lo; the Chairman of ACAN's Preventive Education and Publicity Sub-committee, Mr Justein Wong Chun: the Chairman of ACAN's Treatment and Rehabilitation Subcommittee Professor Lee Shiu-hung; and the Chairman of ACAN's Research Subcommittee, Professor Daniel Shek Tan-lei. They gave a brief on ACAN's above antidrug strategy and programmes for 1997/98 having taken into account changes in the drug abuse situation in Hong Kong.

End

Revision to home purchase allowance approved ♦ * * * ♦

The Governor-in-Council has approved a proposal to revise the eligibility for the Home Purchase Allowance (HPA) and the amount of the allowance payable to owners of residential units affected by Government resumption.

A Government spokesman said today (Monday) that apart from statutory compensation, owners of domestic premises resumed by the Government were eligible for HPA, which was an ex-gratia allowance payable to enable the owners to purchase a replacement flat of a similar size in the neighbourhood of the resumed flat.

At present, HPA is paid to the owners, irrespective of whether the premises are vacant, tenanted or occupied by the owners. There is no limit on the number of payments to a single owner who owns more than one property.

"We consider the current arrangements over-generous to non-owner-occupiers and investment owners who do not need a replacement flat to live in," the spokesman said.

"We therefore propose to revise the eligibility for HPA and the amount payable. Under the proposal, owners of tenanted property will get less HPA than owner occupiers. Each owner can get HPA arising from a maximum of two flats per resumption exercise.

5

"At present, HPA is assessed on the basis of a brand new flat. This is not necessary since the premises resumed arc very often older type of premises in poor condition. It suffices to use the replacement cost of a reasonably modem replacement flat (about 10 years old) in assessing HPA," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the proposal would be considered by the Legislative Council Panel on Planning, Lands and Works tomorrow (Tuesday) and the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council shortly.

End

Sino-British Land Commission to meet *****

The two sides of the Sino-British Land Commission have agreed that the Commission's thirty-fourth meeting will be held on April 16, 1997 (Wednesday). The meeting will discuss the Land Disposal Programme for the period from April 1, 1997 to June 30, 1997.

End

Employers urged to give entitlements to employees

*****

Employees working under a continuous contract and suspected that they have not been given all the entitlements under the Employment Ordinance are urged to come forward and contact the Labour Department’s Labour Relations Division for assistance.

In response to today’s (Monday) press reports on employers failing to give entitlements to their employees, a spokesman for the Labour Department said: ’’Under the Employment Ordinance, an employee who works continuously for the same employer for four weeks or more, prior to a given date, for at least 18 hours in each of the four weeks, is regarded as working under a continuous contract.

"Once he has a continuous contract, the employee is protected by the Employment Ordinance," the spokesman said.

6

"The benefits provided by the Employment Ordinance include paid annual leave, statutory holidays, sickness allowance and end of year payment," he added.

Employers are required to give benefits and entitlements to their employees according to the Employment Ordinance or they may face prosecutions.

"Under the Ordinance, it is an offence for an employer not to grant his employees any holiday or not to give holiday pay or sickness allowance or other benefits," the spokesman said.

Officers of the Labour Department conduct inspections to employers' premises to ensure compliance with the provisions on annual leave, statutory holidays, etc.

"If there is sufficient evidence, the Department will take out prosecutions against employers who breach the law. They may be liable, upon conviction, to a fine of $10,000 to $200,000," the spokesman added.

In 1996, the Labour Department secured 1,361 convictions for failing to grant statutory holidays to employees under the Employment Ordinance.

End

Latest review of tar and nicotine yields announced *****

The Government's latest Review of Tar and Nicotine Yields of Cigarettes has shown that the average tar and nicotine yields of the 106 best-selling cigarettes in Hong Kong in 1996 were 12.9 milligrams (mg) and 0.95 mg per cigarette respectively.

This represents a decrease of 0.2 mg in tar yield, but a 0.03 mg increase in nicotine yield as compared with last year's review, a spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch said today (Monday).

According to the review, 21 brands of cigarettes were in the LOW TAR group (0 to 9 mg/cigarette), 35 brands in the LOW TO MIDDLE TAR group (10 to 14 mg/cigarette), 42 brands in the MIDDLE TAR (15 to 17 mg/cigarette) group and 8 brands in the HIGH TAR group (18 to 20 mg/cigarette).

7

All 106 brands of cigarettes carried on their packets and cartons a tar group designation as claimed by their manufacturers. However, 17 brands were found to have been labelled with tar groups inconsistent with the test findings - 7 brands should be in a higher tar group and 10 in a lower tar group.

"Manufacturers may continue to sell the cigarettes using the previous designation for a period of 12 months," the spokesman said.

Under the current legislation, if the determination of the Government Chemist for any brand of cigarettes differs by not more than one mg from the previous determination and has the effect of placing the cigarettes in a tar group other than that to which they would have belonged, the brand may continue to use its previous designation subject to the written approval of the Director of Health.

The spokesman said the Government is now proposing to amend the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance to lower the maximum permissible level of tar in cigarettes so as to reduce smokers' exposure to this harmful substance.

"The maximum permissible level we propose is 17 mg. Assuming that no new brands enter the market, five brands will be affected by the proposal. We also propose that cigarettes packages and advertisements should show the tar and nicotine yields instead of the tar group designation so that the smokers are better informed," he added.

End

RO study confirms trend in deteriorating visibility *****

The visibility in Hong Kong has deteriorated over the past three decades, a recent study carried out by the Royal Observatory shows. The deteriorating trend is particularly noticeable inside the Victoria Harbour in recent years, adversely affecting the viewing of this world-famous harbour from time to time.

The study used visibility observations made by trained weather observers of the Observatory from the late 1960s to early 1990s. In essence, it counted the number of hours when visibility was reduced to below 8 kilometres by dry suspended particles in the atmosphere. To eliminate weather-related events, the study did not count cases where visibility was impaired by weather elements, such as rain, fog, mist, or humid days when the relative humidity reached 95 % or higher.

8

According to Dr Cheng Cho-ming, Acting Senior Scientific Officer and a member of the study group, back in the mid-1970s there were on average only about 180 hours each year of reduced visibility inside the harbour, but this figure reached 450 hours by the early 1990s, reflecting one-and-a-half-fold increase. The deteriorating trend has been particularly pronounced since the late 1980s.

Outside the harbour, a similar trend is also observed at the outlying island of Cheung Chau. There, the number of hours of reduced visibility has increased from around 130 per year in the mid-1970s to about 230 by early 1990s.

Dr Cheng remarked that reduced visibility is often associated with light winds blowing from the west in the harbour, and a stable atmosphere. Such situation occurs most frequently during the cool months, from January to April. However, reduced visibility is also observed in summer, typically ahead of typhoons approaching Hong Kong from the east when similar meteorological conditions occur.

End

Parents visit the Royal Observatory *****

Parent members of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation (HSC) and representatives from the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) will tomorrow (Tuesday) visit the Royal Observatory Hong Kong.

The visit will provide parents with opportunities to learn about the hoisting of tropical cyclone signals and rainstorm warning.

They will also acquire a better understanding on issuing announcements on suspension of classes by the Education Department in inclement weather.

The visit is organised by the Working Group on Parents’ Centre of the HSC. The centre aims at enhancing communication between parents and the department.

The chairman of the working group, Mrs Canny Lau, and some 30 members of the HSC and PTA will be received by the Acting Director of the Royal Observatory Hong Kong, Mr Lam Chiu-ying.

End

9

HK's external trade statistics with breakdown for Feb 1997 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Census and Statistics Department today (Monday) released detailed statistics on external trade with breakdown by country/territory and commodity for February 1997.

In February 1997, the value of re-exports grew by 0.3% over a year earlier to $76.5 billion, while the value of domestic exports decreased by 11% to $12.6 billion. Meanwhile, imports increased by 6.6% to $102.3 billion.

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

Comparing February 1997 with February 1996, increases were recorded in the value of re-exports to South Korea (+12%), China (+12%), the Netherlands (+7.8%) and Taiwan (+7.6%).

On the other hand, there was basically no change in the value of re-exports to the United States, and decreases were recorded in the value of re-exports to Japan (-12%), Germany (-11%), France (-8.7%), the United Kingdom (-6.0%) and Singapore (-4.3%).

Comparing the first two months of 1997 with the same period in 1996, increases were recorded in the value of re-exports to the Netherlands (+8.6%), South Korea (+6.2%), the United States (+6.2%), Taiwan (+5.7%), China (+3.3%) and Singapore (+2.2%).

However, decreases were recorded in the value of re-exports to Germany (-9.6%), France (-3.6%), Japan (-3.6%) and the United Kingdom (-2.2%).

Taking all destinations together, the value of re-exports in the first two months of 1997, at $178.6 billion, increased slightly by 0.6% over the same period in 1996.

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

Comparing the first two months of 1997 with the same period in 1996, more notable increases in the value of re-exports were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $2.8 billion or 28%); clothing (by $609 million or 3.7%); and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $604 million or 3.2%).

10

Over the same period, more notable decreases in the value of re-exports were registered for telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (by $941 million or 5.5%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $622 million or 3.2%); travel goods, handbags and similar containers (by $446 million or 7.5%); and plastics in primary forms (by $336 million or 7.5%).

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

Comparing February 1997 with February 1996, increases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to France (+13%), the Netherlands (+4.8%) and China (+1.1%).

However, decreases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to Singapore (-24%), the United States (-23%), Taiwan (-21%), Canada (-13%), the United Kingdom (-9.7%). Germany (-8.5%) and Japan (-4.1%).

Comparing the first two months of 1997 with the same period in 1996, the value of domestic exports to France and the Netherlands increased by 13% and 10% respectively.

However, decreases were recorded in the value of domestic exports to Singapore (-28%), Taiwan (-23%), the United States (-18%), Canada (-15%), Germany (-8.1%), Japan (-5.6%), the United Kingdom (-3.9%) and China (-2.1%).

Taking all destinations together, the value of domestic exports in the first two months of 1997, at $29.9 billion, decreased by 10% over the same period in 1996.

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

Comparing the first two months of 1997 with the same period in 1996, the value of domestic exports of most principal commodity divisions decreased. More notable decreases were registered for clothing (by $1.1 billion or 10%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $570 million or 11%); photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies, optical goods, watches and clocks (by $451 million or 18%); textiles (by $324 million or 16%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (by $315 million or 12%); and office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $213 million or 9.7%).

11

Over the same period, an increase in the value of domestic exports was recorded for professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (by $247 million or 57%).

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

Comparing February 1997 with February 1996, the value of imports from most main suppliers showed increases of various magnitudes : France (+103%), the United Kingdom (+25%), Malaysia (+22%), the United States (+17%), Germany (+13%), South Korea (+8.9%), Japan (+8.8%), Taiwan (+8.1%) and Singapore (+0.7%).

However, the value of imports from China decreased by 4.9%.

Comparing the first two months of 1997 with the same period in 1996, increases were recorded in the value of imports from France (+49%), the United Kingdom (+20%), Malaysia (+10%), Germany (+9.4%), the United States (+9.3%), Japan (+1.9%), South Korea (+1.7%) and China (+1.6%).

However, the value of imports from Taiwan and Singapore decreased by 4.7% and 0.6% respectively.

Taking all destinations together, the value of imports in the first two months of 1997, at $234.0 billion, decreased by 3.4% over the same period in 1996.

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

Comparing the first two months of 1997 with the same period in 1996, more notable increases in the value of imports were registered for office machines and automatic data processing machines (by $3.0 billion or 27%); electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (by $1.0 billion or 3.5%); clothing (by $881 million or 5.6%); miscellaneous manufactured articles consisting mainly of baby carriages, toys, games and sporting goods (by $505 million or 3.5%); and footwear (by $466 million or 5.0%).

Over the same period, a more notable decrease in the value of imports was recorded for general industrial machinery and equipment, and machine parts (by $458 million or 6.5%).

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.

12

A separate analysis of the volume and price movements of external trade for February 1997 will be released in early May 1997.

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

The February 1997 issue of the "Hong Kong External Trade" with detailed analyses on the performance of Hong Kong's external trade in February 1997 will be on sale at $111 per copy around 21 April 1997.

The report can be purchased at either (i) the Government Publications Centre, Ground Floor, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, or (ii) the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th Floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries regarding regular subscription to this report may be directed to the Publications (Sales) Office, 28th Floor, Siu On Centre, 188 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong (Tel. No. 2598 8194) and enquiries on trade statistics to the Census and Statistics Department (Tel. No. 2582 4915).

13

TABLE 1 : RE-EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

DESTINATION FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) FEB 97 OVER FEB 96 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 97 OVER JAN-FEB 96 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 25,392 + 11.7 61,983 + 3.3

UNITED STATES 15,153 * 34,805 + 6.2

JAPAN 5,536 - 11.6 12,689 - 3.6

GERMANY 3,242 - 10.7 7,302 - 9.6

UNITED KINGDOM 2,228 - 6.0 5,061 - 2.2

'A^

TAIWAN 1,796 + 7.6 4,451 + 5.7

SINGAPORE 1,602 - 4.3 4,084 + 2.2

NETHERLANDS 1,424 + 7.8 3,217 + 8.6

SOUTH KOREA 1,490 + 11.8 3,118 + 6.2

FRANCE 1,251 - 8.7 2,912 - 3.6

* DENOTES LESS THAN 0.05%

14

TABLE 2 : RE-EXPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

FEB FEB 97 JAN-FEB JAN-FEB 97

COMMODITY DIVISION 1997 OVER 1997 OVER

FEB 96 JAN-FEB 96

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

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL

PARTS THEREOF 8,752 + 7.3 19,218 + 3.2

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 7,795 - 10.4 18,970 - 3.2

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 7,839 + 1.6 17,214 + 3.7

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 6,940 - 9.5 16,292 5.5

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 5,851 + 11.6 13,991 - 0.1

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 5,470 + 30.2 12,697 + 27.8

FOOTWEAR 5,053 - 0.8 11,324 + 0.3

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 3,904 + 7.3 8,565 + 3.4

TRAVEL GOODS, HANDBAGS AND SIMILAR CONTAINERS 2,182 - 22.6 5,505 - 7.5

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 1,685 + 3.0 4,160 - 7.5

15

TABLE 3 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS TO TEN MAIN DESTINATIONS

FEB FEB 97 JAN-FEB JAN-FEB 97

DESTINATION 1997 OVER 1997 OVER

FEB 96 JAN-FEB 96

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

CHINA 3,180 + 1.1 8,419 - 2.1

UNITED STATES 2,937 - 22.7 6,756 - 17.9

GERMANY 749 - 8.5 1,737 - 8.1

JAPAN 779 - 4.1 1,673 - 5.6

UNITED KINGDOM 753 - 9.7 1,656 - 3.9

SINGAPORE 557 - 24.4 1,293 - 28.5

TAIWAN 411 - 21.3 942 - 23.2

NETHERLANDS 355 + 4.8 881 + 10.1

CANADA 273 - 12.5 578 - 14.9

FRANCE 244 + 12.8 570 + 12.9

- 16 -

TABLE 4 : DOMESTIC EXPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) FEB 97 OVER FEB 96 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 97 OVER JAN-FEB 96 (% CHANGE)

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 3,931 - 16.0 9,445 - 10.4

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 2,126 - 7.1 4,558 - 11.1

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY JEWELLERY, GOLDSMITHS' AND SILVERSMITHS' WARES) 1,076 - 6.3 2,336 - 11.9

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 844 - 19.1 2,062 - 17.9

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 796 - 17.6 1,985 - 9.7

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 666 - 19.9 1,759 - 15.5

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 537 + 6.5 1,305 - 2.2

PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CONTROLLING INSTRUMENTS AND APPARATUS 290 + 39.7 677 + 57.4

MANUFACTURES OF METALS 221 - 27.2 550 - 21.1

PLASTICS IN PRIMARY FORMS 240 + 9.8 514 - 5.8

17

TABLE 5 : IMPORTS FROM TEN MAIN SUPPLIERS

SUPPLIER FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) FEB 97 OVER FEB 96 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 97 OVER JAN-FEB 96 (% CHANGE)

CHINA 33,473 - 4.9 84,527 + 1.6

JAPAN 15,389 + 8.8 31,331 + 1.9

UNITED STATES 8,870 + 17.2 19,239 + 9.3

TAIWAN 7,444 + 8.1 17,406 - 4.7

SINGAPORE 5,444 + 0.7 12,413 - 0.6

SOUTH KOREA 4,710 + 8.9 10,496 + 1.7

UNITED KINGDOM 2,842 + 25.4 5,960 + 19.5

GERMANY 2,330 + 13.3 5,686 + 9.4

FRANCE 2,591 +102.9 5,554 + 49.4

MALAYSIA 2,538 + 21.9 5,500 + 10.0

18

TABLE 6 : IMPORTS OF TEN PRINCIPAL COMMODITY DIVISIONS

COMMODITY DIVISION FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) FEB 97 OVER FEB 96 (% CHANGE) JAN-FEB 1997 (HKD Mn.) JAN-FEB 97 OVER JAN-FEB 96 (% CHANGE)

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY, APPARATUS AND APPLIANCES, AND ELECTRICAL PARTS THEREOF 14,073 + 11.1 30,195 + 3.5

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND SOUND RECORDING AND REPRODUCING APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT 9,821 + 1.8 21,991 - 0.3

TEXTILE YARN, FABRICS, MADE-UP ARTICLES AND RELATED PRODUCTS 7,460 + 9.3 17,489 - 1.8

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING ACCESSORIES 6,407 - 6.0 16,542 + 5.6

MISCELLANEOUS MANUFACTURED ARTICLES (MAINLY BABY CARRIAGES, TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTING GOODS) 6,247 + 2.0 14,765 + 3.5

OFFICE MACHINES AND AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING MACHINES 6,312 + 30.0 14,267 + 26.5

FOOTWEAR 4,176 + 3.8 9,846 + 5.0

PHOTOGRAPHIC APPARATUS, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, OPTICAL GOODS, WATCHES AND CLOCKS 4,303 - 1.2 9,360 - 2.7

NON-METALLIC MINERAL MANUFACTURES 3,377 + 6.6 6,951 + 3.5

GENERAL INDUSTRIAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT, AND MACHINE PARTS 3,123 - 8.9 6,624 - 6.5

End

19

Manufacturer fined for malpractice ♦ * ♦ * *

A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department today (Monday) said that it was a serious offence to furnish false information in an application for certificate of origin.

The reminder was made after a fabric manufacturer was fined $500,000 at Tuen Mun Magistracy today after pleading guilty to eight counts of giving false information in certificates of origin applications.

The goods involved were silk woven fabric valued at $2.18 million for export to Japan.

The court heard that an investigation by officers of the Customs and Excise Department revealed that between March 1995 and April 1995, the accused company purchased the China origin fabric through a local firm. In order to obtain the certificates for assisting the Japanese buyer to evade import tariff, it falsely declared in the applications for certificate of origin that the goods were products of its own.

The spokesman stressed that the department would step up enforcement actions to track down such malpractice to protect the commercial reputation of Hong Kong and to ensure that the confidence of its trading partners in Hong Kong's textile control system would not be undermined by some dishonest businessmen.

The maximum penalty for giving false information in an application for certificate of origin was 500,000 in fine plus two years of imprisonment, he added.

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 (Monday).

Currently, there are around 30,000 prepared BN(O) passports ready for collection by applicants at various immigration offices.

20

Hong Kong Immigration Department ceased taking the above applications from Tuesday April 1, 1997. The Immigration Department, however, will continue to issue BN(O) passports which have been prepared until Saturday April 26, 1997. Thereafter, all uncollected passports will be passed to the British Trade Commission.

But Hong Kong permanent identity cards prepared for children under 11 years of age in connection with their BN(O) passports will continue to be issued at the original immigration offices.

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 the uncollected passports.

For BN(O) passports issued to children under 11 years of age, applicants will also be required to collect their children's Hong Kong permanent identity cards at the original immigration offices after they have collected their passports.

For enquiries, members of public may telephone 2824 1177 (English), 2824 1717 (Chinese) or use fax line 2877 7711.

End

I'

Water storage figure

*****

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 78.9 per cent of capacity or 462.465 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 468.612 million cubic metres of water, representing 80 per cent of capacity.

End

21

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results

*****

Tender date : 14 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Notes

Issue number : 3004

Issue date 15 April 1997

Maturity date : 17 April 2000

Coupon 6.50%

Amount applied HK$l,190MN

Amount allotted HKS500 MN

Average price accepted (yield) 99.68 (6.73 PC I )

Lowest price accepted (yield) : 99.66 (6.74 PCT)

Pro rata ratio About 25 PCT

Average tender price (yield) : 99.65 (6.74 PC I )

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 15,1997

Contents Page No,

Agreement on PLA advance personnel........................................ 1

HK/US agreements signed................................................... 2

Govt opposes the Member's Bill on deafness compensation................... 3

Maritime rescue operation being mounted................................... 5

Investigation into collision of vessels being conducted................... 5

HK will continue to represent its own interests only...................... 6

$1,818 million water treatment works contract signed...................... 8

More proactive role in port management by Marine Dept..................... 8

Star Ferry fare increase approved by ExCo............................ 11

HYF fare increase approved by ExCo................................... 11

Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries released................ 13

HAB's Trust Funds Section moves to new office............................ 17

Air quality report for March released.................................... 17

AFD seizes endangered species items...................................... 18

VMs depart on Orderly Repatriation Flight............................ 18

Monitors’ Report submitted to CS......................................... 19

Weak water pressure in Tsim Sha Tsui..................................... 19

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

1

Agreement on PLA advance personnel

*****

The two sides of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group have reached an agreement on the arrival of 40 advance personnel of the future Garrison in Hong Kong from April 21, a Government spokesman announced today (Tuesday).

"The group will be led by a Deputy Commander of the future Chinese Garrison who is an officer of the rank of Major General," the spokesman said.

"A liaison group of 28 personnel, led by the Deputy Commander, will be colocated with the British Forces at the Prince of Wales Barracks. The other 12 will be co-located with the British Garrison at Stonecutters Island Barracks," he said.

The duties of advance personnel are to make practical preparations for the People's Liberation Army to take over the responsibility for the defence of Hong Kong, including familiarisation with the military sites, liaison with the British Forces and the Hong Kong Government, and co-ordination of communications support.

"They will not be armed and will not enjoy any special legal status or JLG privileges and immunities," the spokesman said.

"They have to strictly abide by all Hong Kong laws," he added.

In accordance with normal military practice, advance personnel may wear uniforms within barracks but will be in civilian clothing when they are outside the military sites off duty. There will be no display of PRC or PLA flags.

"This agreement provides a firm basis for the smooth transfer of defence responsibilities. Advance personnel will not have any defence or internal security role and their work will not affect the responsibility of the United Kingdom for the administration of Hong Kong up to June 30, 1997," the spokesman said.

End

2

HKAJS agreements signed *****

Hong Kong and the United States signed two agreements today (Tuesday), one on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and the other on the transfer of sentenced persons.

The agreements were signed by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, on behalf of the Hong Kong Government and the Consul General of the United States to Hong Kong, Mr Richard Boucher, on behalf of the US Government.

The Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP Agreement) is the first agreement which Hong Kong has signed on international cooperation in the enforcement of penal sentences.

The Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (MLA Agreement) is the second agreement which Hong Kong has signed on international cooperation against crime. The first one was signed with Australia in September 1996.

The MLA Agreement contains all the essential features and safeguards for international agreements of this type. The major kinds of assistance comprehended by the Agreement are :

* taking of evidence;

* searching for and seizing items which are relevant to criminal matters;

* producing documentary evidence relevant to criminal matters;

* transferring persons (including prisoners) between the Hong Kong and the US jurisdictions to provide assistance;

* confiscating the proceeds of crime; and

* serving documents.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr Lai said, "Hong Kong is a major law enforcement partner of the US in East Asia and our Government is determined to continue this partnership.

3

"The MLA Agreement will send a powerful message that we are committed to fighting international crime," he said.

The TSP Agreement contains essential safeguards which are normally found in agreements governing the transfer of sentenced persons. These include :

* both the receiving and sending jurisdictions as well as the sentenced person must consent to the transfer;

* the conduct in respect of which the sentenced person is imprisoned must be criminal in both jurisdictions; and

any adjustment to the sentence by the sending jurisdiction (for example, by way of pardon, reduction of sentence) must be executed by the receiving jurisdiction.

Mr Lai said that the TSP Agreement would facilitate the rehabilitation of Hong Kong people convicted in the USA by permitting them to serve their sentences in HK.

He added that both agreements had been endorsed by the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group, and would remain in force beyond the handover.

"They will come into force after the enactment in Hong Kong of the relevant Bills, which will provide the necessary legislative backing, and ratification by the President of the US with the advice and consent of the Senate," he said.

The Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council on April 9 while the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 23 this year.

End

Govt opposes the Member’s Bill on deafness compensation *****

The Government does not support the Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1997 — a Member’s Bill sponsored by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung which will be introduced into the Legislative Council tomorrow (Wednesday).

The Bill seeks to revise the compensation provisions under the Occupational Deafness Compensation Scheme by:

4

a) relaxing the disability requirement for compensation by lowering the minimum level of hearing loss (deafness threshold) from 50dB to 30dB; and

b) revising upwards the scale of degree of permanent incapacity by reference to noise- induced hearing loss, and increasing the present maximum percentage of permanent incapacity for the purpose of compensation from 60% to 100%.

A Government spokesman said today (Tuesday): "If implemented, the Bill will exhaust the funds of the Occupational Deafness Compensation Board within one year, and result in a deficit of $60 million in 1997/98. This is totally unacceptable.”

"It would be irresponsible of the Government to allow such a Bill to go forward which will wipe out the financial resources of the Board and put the Scheme in jeopardy,” the spokesman stressed.

"Without adequate financial resources, the Board will not be able to discharge its statutory duty to pay compensation to the eligible claimants as payments become due. Ironically, the Bill will cause hardship in the end to the claimants," he said.

The spokesman explained that the Government was conducting a comprehensive review of the Occupational Deafness Compensation Scheme with a view to improving its provisions. "We will take full account of the financial implications of any improvement proposals before drawing up the recommendations. We will also consult extensively on such proposals.

"We see no ground for rushing through the proposals under the Bill at this point in time. Indeed, by drawing the Board’s financial resources, the Bill will practically preclude the Board from implementing any improvements arising from the review,” he added.

The spokesman pointed out that the Hon Leung Yiu-chung had agreed that the Bill should be considered by the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) before it was taken further at the Legislative Council.

"It is important that the matter be fully deliberated at the LAB amongst Government, labour and employer representatives,” the spokesman said.

End

5

Maritime rescue operation being mounted ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) is co-ordinating a search and rescue operation for people involving a collision of vessels off the Brothers this (Wednesday) morning.

A Zhuhai-bound catamaran, the Haiyang, collided with a car carrier around 9.20 am off the Brothers.

The catamaran was carrying 121 passengers and eight crew members. Four people on board the catamaran were injured in the collision.

Marine Department and Police launches, fireboats and a Government Flying Service helicopter have been tasked by the MRCC to the scene for assistance.

The people on the catamaran have been transferred to the car carrier.

End

Investigation into collision of vessels being conducted ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Marine Department is investigating a collision involving a catamaran and a vehicular ferry off Tuen Mun this (Tuesday) morning.

Around 9.05 am, a Zhuhai-bound catamaran, the Haiyang, and a vehicular ferry, the Man Boon, collided near the Brothers.

The catamaran was carrying 121 passengers and eight crew members. The vehicular ferry had no passengers and vehicles on board.

After the collision 27 people on board the Haiyang sustained injuries.

The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination of the Marine Department tasked Marine Department launches, police launches, fireboats, and a Government Flying Service helicopter to the scene for the search and rescue operation.

Three seriously injured passengers were then airlifted to Tuen Mun Hospital by the Government Flying Service helicopter.

6

The other 24 people who sustained various degrees of injuries were ferried to Tuen Mun Hospital by police launches.

Another 69 passengers continued their journey to Zhuhai by another catamaran, the Shunfeng, arranged by the shipping company while the remaining 24 passengers were conveyed to the Macau Ferry Terminal by a police launch.

In the wake of the collision, a gash was torn on the port side of the Haiyang near her stem. The vessel took on water and listed to her port side.

Salvage tugs were tasked to the scene to provide assistance to the Haiyang.

The Man Boon could leave the scene around 4.30 pm for repairs at a shipyard in Tsing Yi.

End

HK will continue to represent its own interests only ♦ * * * ♦

The Director-General of Trade, Mr Alan Lai, said on April 14 (Hawaii time) that Hong Kong would continue to represent its own interests only and would not serve as a mouthpiece for any other economic entities including its future sovereign -China - after June 30.

Speaking at the welcome dinner of the Global Partners Forum in Honolulu, Mr Lai said: "As the Chief Trade Negotiator for Hong Kong, I am particularly sensitive to the scepticism expressed or harboured about our autonomy in trade policy by various quarters in this country and elsewhere.

"One of these mistaken themes is that after June 30, Hong Kong, which is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), would act as a mouthpiece for China, which is negotiating to join the body. This is totally unfounded.

’’Let me assure you that Hong Kong will continue to represent its own interests only," Mr Lai said.

"I see no problem if our viewpoint on a trade issue is diametrically opposed to that of our future sovereign if that is in our own commercial interests to do so," he added.

7

He stressed that Hong Kong was not only committed to free trade in its domestic market, it also championed vigorously for global free trade.

"Hong Kong will, in concert with other economies, continue to build on the achievements in the WTO and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) so far with a view to realising the vision envisaged by the Trade Ministers of the 128 WTO Members meeting in Singapore last December - 'a world where trade flows freely'," Mr Lai said.

In his keynote speech entitled "Hong Kong's Responses to Challenges of the Times", Mr Lai observed that the challenge presented by the change of sovereignty was unprecedented for Hong Kong.

He noted that challenge had never been absent or far removed from the life of Hong Kong people.

"We have seen Hong Kong managing its risks as well as opportunities successfully throughout its history.

"And we are determined to prove through our acts that Hong Kong will continue to thrive and prosper after 1997 by upholding and defending vigorously the autonomy of our policies.

"It will not be easy times for Hong Kong in the months ahead but we do not seek nor expect any benevolence or special treatment from any of our trading partners.

"What we want is merely a fair chance to prove ourselves in an environment unsaddled with preconceptions and prejudices," Mr Lai said.

Mr Lai reassured the Forum that institutional arrangements provided for by the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law promised that life and business in Hong Kong could go on exactly as before.

"Those of you who do business with us can be confident that after June 30 it will be business as usual," he added.

During his visit to Hawaii, Mr Lai will also talk to faculty and students of the University of Hawaii and give a speech at a luncheon meeting of the Hong Kong Business Association of Hawaii on April 16.

The Global Partners Forum is presented by the Anderson School at University of California (Los Angeles Division) (UCLA) in partnership with the East-West Centre, Honolulu, Hawaii from April 14 to 16. The theme of the forum is "Challenges Facing the Asia-Pacific in the 21st Century".

End

8

$1,818 million water treatment works contract signed *****

The Director of Water Supplies, Mr Hu Man-shiu today (Tuesday) signed a $1,818 million contract with Aoki Corporation for the construction of the Ngau Tam Mei Treatment Works in Yuen Long.

This is the largest contract ever awarded by the Water Supplies Department.

The Ngau Tam Mei Treatment Works will have an initial daily output of 230,000 cubic metres and has been designed for further expansion to an ultimate capacity of 450,000 cubic metres per day to become the third largest treatment facility in the territory.

It will serve existing and projected housing and industrial developments in the Western New Territories.

The contract covers the construction of all civil engineering structures and electrical and mechanical equipment for the treatment works, including a service reservoir with a storage capacity of 40,000 cubic metres and five kilometres of interconnecting pipelines.

Works will begin on April 18 for completion in August 1999.

End

More proactive role in port management by Marine Dept

*****

There is a common desire within the marine community for the Marine Department to take a more proactive role in the overall management and operation of the port of Hong Kong, the Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, said.

Announcing the findings of the Comprehensive Study on Marine Activities, Associated Risk Assessment and Development of a Future Strategy for the Optimum Usage of Hong Kong Waters (MARAD Strategy Study) today (Tuesday), Mr Dale said that the study was to establish the existing and forecast marine risk levels and provide a strategy for the future usage of Hong Kong water areas.

9

The MARAD Strategy Study concluded that the safety of Hong Kong waters is comparable to other major ports in the world.

"Blueprint drawings had been prepared to illustrate the MARAD Strategy Study findings and to provide a first point of reference for the evaluation of future development plans, and the need to reserve water areas to meet future port development needs and growth in marine traffic," Mr Dale added.

Mr Dale said. "One of the main issues is to recognise the shift in marine based activities to the west to support the continued growth in operations.

"Equally in the north west New Territories, port development opportunities may well develop as a result of the possible creation of the Tonggu Channel."

He further noted that the MARAD Strategy Study summarised the derived MARAD Strategy centring on the Marine Department to take a more proactive role in the operation and management of Hong Kong waters by working towards five directions.

These include an optimisation of the throughput at existing facilities to provide more flexibility in cargo allocation and reduced travel distances and the decentralisation of marine traffic away from the core areas to reduce risk and the congestion of marine traffic.

Mr Dale said: "The third one is the training of staff at all levels within the Vessel Traffic Control Centre including the officers of patrol launches proposed under the strategy and the retention of the trained personnel with the section.

"Control of vessel movement by taking a more proactive role in the planning of vessel routing, monitoring of anchorages and direction of patrol craft features another direction.

"Last but not the least, it is the enforcement through, if necessary increased prosecution, but generally by increased presence on the waters and the offering of advice and direction by the suitably trained patrol launch officers."

Taking into account of the present heavy use of Hong Kong waters for commercial and trading activities as well as the high growth rates in cargo throughput and vessel movements, the Marine Department commissioned Au Posford Consultants Ltd. to conduct the MARAD Strategy Study in September 1995 in association with the port of Rotterdam, Risk Control Analysts and Axis Environmental. It was completed in January this year.

10

The main focus of the study was to consider the overall risk assessment and the predicted growth in incident levels, the marine community survey, and the results of the analysis of alternative development scenario or 'what if cases.

Mr Dale noted that taking fully into consideration the views of port users, the marine community survey received an exceptionally high response which commonly requested progressive role from the Marine Department in managing and operating the port.

He said, "The extensive data collection exercises and analysis were also performed to establish the existing and forecast movements of all types of vessels up to the year 2011."

On the Marine Risk Assessment, Mr Dale noted that the results indicated an likely increase by 42 per cent in the number of marine incidents on the basis of the existing management procedures, representing a rise from a level of 233 in 1994 to some 333 by 2011.

"However, the number of vessel arrivals has almost doubled during the corresponding period," Mr Dale pointed out.

"It is also projected that there could be a significant increase in ship to ship incidents from 2006 onwards due to increase in traffic density and capacity constraints unless alternative measures are taken," he added.

In this regard, the study indicates that the forecast marine traffic should be distributed over as much of the available water areas as possible, thus reducing the level of potential conflict.

The indications also point out that there is an urgent need to implement the proposed strategy as the marine traffic can reach a level where the incidence will rise significantly around 2006.

"With the MARAD Strategy in place, it is considered that a significant reduction could be obtained in the projected level of all types of ship to ship collisions," Mr Dale said.

"I am now considering the implementation of the measures outlined within the study," he added.

End

11

Star Ferry fare increase approved by ExCo

*****

The Governor in Council today (Tuesday) approved a fare increase of 7.52 per cent for the "Star" Ferry Company Limited (SF) to take effect on 1 June 1997.

SF last revised its fares in March 1996. With rising operating costs, the company is expected to incur losses in 1997 and 1998 if fares remained unchanged.

In approving the fare increase, the Governor in Council took a number of factors into account, including the financial position of Star Ferry, its standard of service and public affordability.

The impact of the fare increase on inflation would be negligible. The approved rate of increase is below the forecast inflation rate between SF's last fare increase and June 1997 when the new fares are to take effect.

Details of the fare increase are as follows -

Services Range of % increase Increase in money terms

Edinburgh Place - Kowloon Point 6.64% 10 to 20 cents

Edinburgh Place - Hung Hom 8.46% 10 to 20 cents

Wan Chai - Kowloon Point 10.01% 10 to 20 cents

The approved rate of increase was considered necessary to offset rising operating costs, particularly on refurbishment of its vessels. In overall terms, about 99% of the passengers would have to pay no more than 20 cents more per trip.

End

HYF fare increase approved by ExCo *****

The Governor in Council today (Tuesday) approved a fare increase of 8.35 per cent for Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry Company (HYF) to take effect on 1 June 1997.

HYF last revised its fares in January 1996. With falling patronage and rising operating costs, HYF is expected to incur a sizable loss in 1996 and a substantial loss in 1997.

12 -

In approving the fare increase, the Governor in Council took a number of factors into account, including the financial position of HYF, public affordability, and the fact that HYF had been providing an acceptable level of service and had introduced a number of service improvements despite its financial difficulties.

"The approved rate of increase is below the forecast inflation rate between HYF's last fare increase and June 1997 when the new fares are to take effect," a Government spokesman said. "The impact of the fare increase on the Consumer Price Index (A) is only 0.01%."

Details of the fare increase are as follows -

Range of % increase Increase in money terms

(a) Passenger services - cross harbour - new town - outlying districts weekdays weekends and holidays 8.6% - 14.3% 7.1%- 13.6% 4.3% - 9.6% 6.1% - 9.6% 20 cents - $1 30 cents - $2.5 20 cents - $2 20 cents - $2

(b) vehicular service 5.3% - 12.5% 50 cents - $15

(c) freight 10.0% - 14.3% 50 cents - $2

Overall, about 85.8% of the passengers would have to pay no more than $1 more per trip.

The spokesman said that HYF's pier development package on its own would not be adequate to finance HYF's planned service improvements and to maintain its ferry operations without annual fare adjustments. Even with a fare increase of 8.35%, HYF was expected to incur substantial losses in the next few years, the spokesman added.

End

13

Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries released ♦ ♦ * * ♦

The business receipts in most of the service industries showed increases of various magnitudes in value terms in 1996 over 1995.

The value of business receipts in the communications industry registered the fastest annual growth, by 18%. This was followed by those in the financing (except banking) and the business services industries, which grew by 16% and 13% respectively.

These are the provisional figures on business receipts indices for service industries released today (Tuesday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

The strong growth in business receipts in the communications industry was mainly related to the rapid expansion of mobile telephone services.

The significant increase in business receipts in the financing (except banking) industry was due to markedly higher stock market turnover; while the increase in business receipts in the business services industry was due to greater demand for legal services and various miscellaneous business services along with a more active property market.

Meanwhile, considerable increases in business receipts were also registered in the following service industries: banking (+12%); hotels (+11%) and transport(+8%).

On the other hand, business receipts in the wholesale industry decreased slightly, by 1% in value terms. This was mainly due to the decrease in business receipts in the wholesaling of raw materials and semi-manufactures.

Comparing the fourth quarter of 1996 with the same quarter of 1995, strong growth in business receipts was recorded in the financing (except banking)(+23%); business services (+17%) and communications industries (+17%).

Considerable increases in business receipts were also registered in the following service industries: hotels (+11%); insurance (+11%); banking (+10%); restaurants (+9%) and retail (+8%).

On the other hand, business receipts in the import/export industry remained virtually unchanged, while those in the wholesale industry dropped by 4%.

14

Compared with the third quarter of 1996, and bearing in mind that this comparison might be affected by seasonal factors, significant increases in business receipts of 29% and 20% were recorded in the hotels and financing (except banking) industries. Business receipts in the banking industry rose by 12%.

Table 1 presents provisional business receipts indices for service industries for the fourth quarter of 1996 and revised indices for the third quarter of 1996, with the quarterly average of business receipts in 1992 taken as 100. Also tabulated are comparisons of the results of the fourth quarter of 1996 with those of the third quarter of 1996 and the fourth quarter of 1995. Comparisons of total business receipts in 1996 with 1995 are also given.

Table 2 shows the time series of quarterly business receipts indices. Annual indices are also included.

Statistics on banking are obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority; and those on retail and restaurants businesses are obtained from two existing surveys regularly conducted by the Census and Statistics Department.

The report "Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries, Fourth Quarter 1996" is now on sale at $8 per copy at the Government Publications Centre of the Information Services Department, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. It can also be purchased from the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Enquiries about the survey results may be directed to the Business Services Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department at Tel. 2894 8120.

- 15 -

Table 1 : Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries for 3rd Quarter and 4th Quarter 1996

(Quarterly average of 1992 = 100)

= 100)

Service Industry 3rd Quarter 1996 (Revised figures) — «g—as (♦HTK^) 4th Quarter 1996 (Provisional figures) $23$ 4th Quarter 1996 compared with 3rd Quarter 1996 4th Quarter 1996 compared with 4th Quarter 1995 1 st to 4th Quarters 1996 compared with 1st to 4th Quarters 1995

Points (K) Points (K) Points («) % (S#$) Points (K) % (W#$) Points (W) % (B#$)

Wholesale ata 119.6 130.7 + 11.1 + 9.3 - 5.5 - 4.0 - 1.7 - 1.3

Import / Export ittfiaji’a 146.6 157.1 + 10.5 + 7.1 - 0.7 - 0.4 + 3.9 + 2.7

Retail(,) 142.1 149.8 # + 7.7 + 5.4 + 11.0 + 7.9 + 8.4 + 6.4

Hotels 157.4 203.8 + 46.4 + 29.5 + 19.9 + 10.8 + 16.4 + 10.7

Restaurants (” && 123.4 128.7 + 5.3 ♦ 4.3 + 11.0 + 9.4 + 6.3 + 5.5

Transport iltt 169.8 165.9 - 3.9 - 2.3 + 11.2 + 7.2 + 12.0 + 8.2

Storage 139.8 137.2 - 2.6 - 1.9 + 6.9 + 5.3 + 8.9 + 7.1

Communications ilF. 186.9 198.9 + 12.0 + 6.4 + 28.9 + 17.0 + 28.4 + 18.4

Banking (J> fgfr 158.4 177.9 + 19.5 + 12.3 + 16.7 + 10.4 + 17.1 + 11.9

Financing (except banking) <4) $»(««&#■) 150.6 181.0 + 30.4 + 20.2 + 34.2 + 23.3 + 23.0 + 16.3

Insurance 180.3 187.6 + 7.3 + 4.0 + 18.0 + 10.6 + 12.1 + 7.2

Business services 157.9 166.6 + 8.6 ♦ 5.5 24.3 + 17.1 + 17.4 + 12.6

Notes:

(1) Based on the survey results of the Monthly Survey of Retail Sales

(2) Based on the survey results of the Quarterly Survey of Restaurant Receipts and Purchases

(3) Business receipts data are obtained from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority

(4) Excluding investment and holding companies

# Revised figure

o)

(4)

* ihir?

End

Table 2 : Time Series of Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries

(Quarterly Average of 1992 =100) ’ 100)

Year Quarter Wholesale ft® Import/Export Retail Hotels Restaurants Transport

Indices Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices 18® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices is® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices IS® Compared with preceding year/tame quarter a year ago Indices is® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices IS® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago

9

% % % % % %

1993 1063 ♦ 63 108.8 8.8 112.7 ♦ 12.7 112.5 ♦ 12.5 106.1 6.1 111.8 ♦ 11.8

1994 121.0 ♦ 13.8 123.7 ♦ 13.6 126.1 ♦ 11.9 131.1 ♦ 16.5 110.1 3.7 123.1 ♦ 10.1

1995 125.0 ♦ 33 142.5 ♦ 15.2 132.0 4.7 154.2 ♦ 17.6 115.2 ♦ 4.7 145.6 ♦ 183

1996 • 123.4 - 13 1463 ♦ 2.7 140.4 t 6.4 170.7 ♦ 10.7 121.6 5.5 157.6 8.2

1994 4 134.8 ♦ 17.7 142.7 ♦ 24.0 1332 ♦ 10.6 158.8 ♦ 15.9 111.2 - 3.7 134.9 ♦ 17.6

1995 1 123.9 ♦ 14.2 128.7 ♦ 19.1 131.8 6.8 142.8 ♦ 17.7 116.1 1.6 128.6 ♦ 14.6

2 117.5 5.3 138.8 ♦ 22.2 124.0 4.2 145.3 ♦ 17.1 110.8 5.4 141.5 ♦ 27.4

3 122.4 - 53 144.6 ♦ 11.0 133.4 3.6 144.9 ♦ 20.6 116.4 6.2 157.4 ♦ 173

4 136.2 1.0 157.7 + 10.5 138.8 ♦ 4.1 183.9 ♦ 15.8 117.6 5.8 154.7 ♦ 14.7

1996 1 122.7 - 1.0 138.9 8.0 138.9 5.4 159.9 ♦ 12.0 119.9 3.2 143.5 ♦ 11.6

2 120.4 ♦ 2.5 142.7 2.9 130.8 5.4 161.5 ♦ 11.1 114.2 + 3.1 151.0 6.7

3 119.6 - 23 146.6 1.4 142.1 + 6.5 157.4 + 8.6 123.4 6.0 169.8 7.9

4 • 130.7 - 4.0 157.1 - 0.4 149.8 f 7.9 203.8 ♦ 10.8 128.7 9.4 165.9 ♦ 7.2

I

I

Year Quarter * 9 Storage Ml Communications Banking Financing (except banking) WO*) Insurance Business services

Indices IB® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices IS® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices 13® Compared with preceding ycar/same quarter a year ago Indice 13® Compared with preceding year/same S quarter a year ago Indices 13® Compared with preceding year/same quarter a year ago Indices in® Compared with preceding ycar/same quarter a year ago WJ:W.t<rwtt®

% % % % % %

1993 98.5 - 1.5 118.8 ♦ 18.8 116.6 ♦ 16.6 148.7 ♦ 48.7 119.3 ♦ 19.3 117.3 ♦ 17.3

1994 106.6 8.2 136.1 ♦ 14.5 122.5 5.1 169.4 ♦ 13.9 146.9 ♦ 23.1 127.4 ♦ 8.7

1995 125.1 ♦ 17.4 154.5 ♦ 13.5 143.4 ♦ 17.0 140.7 - 16.9 167.0 ♦ 13.6 137.6 8.0

1996 • 134.0 ♦ 7.1 182.9 + 18.4 160.4 ♦ 11.9 163.7 ♦ 163 179.0 7.2 155.0 ♦ 12.6

1994 4 110.3 ♦ 153 149.7 ♦ 14.4 137.0 ♦ 10.9 1543 - 30.3 149.1 ♦ 21.7 1303 - 8.3

1995 I 105.8 ♦ 11.2 141.9 9.6 1293 ♦ 10.6 154.7 - 29.6 169.4 ♦ 12.8 146.5 ♦ 16.6

2 127.0 ♦ 19.7 149.6 + 15.7 138.8 ♦ 20.4 139.2 - 4.5 160.3 ♦ 12.9 123.8 0.7

3 137.4 ♦ 19.7 156.5 ♦ I S3 144.1 ♦ 19.5 122.2 - 22.6 168.5 ♦ 15.1 137.9 5.4

4 130.3 ♦ 18.1 170.0 ♦ 133 161.2 ♦ 17.7 146.8 - 4.9 169.6 ♦ 13.8 142.3 ♦ 9.2

1996 1 122.1 ♦ 15.4 165.5 ♦ 16.6 151.4 ♦ 17.1 172.7 ♦ 11.7 172.6 1.9 151.4 ♦ 3.3

2 136.9 7.8 180.3 ♦ 20.5 153.9 ♦ 10.9 150.5 8.1 175.5 9.5 144.2 ♦ 16.4

3 139.8 1.8 186.9 ♦ 19.4 158.4 9.9 150.6 ♦ 23.2 180.3 7.0 157.9 ♦ 14.5

4 • 137.2 ♦ 5.3 198.9 ♦ 17.0 177.9 ♦ 10.4 181.0 ♦ 23.3 187.6 ♦ 10.6 166.6 ♦ 17.1 •

Notes: * : Provisional figure lUilV: • :

* : Revised figure ; M'.lff&'r'-

- 17

HAB's Trust Funds Section moves to new office

*****

The Home Affairs Branch’s Trust Funds, Temples and Cemeteries Section will move to Wu Chung House, Wan Chai on Thursday (April 17).

The new address is room 2202, 22nd floor, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East. The telephone numbers and fax line number of the Section remain unchanged.

For enquiries, please call the Section at 2519 9133.

End

Air quality report for March released

*****

The Environmental Protection Department today (Tuesday) released air quality information for March 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 include 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

18

AFD seizes endangered species items ♦ * * ♦ ♦

The Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) seized a quantity of cloth suspected to contain highly endangered species ingredients in a series bf raids in Kowloon yesterday (Monday).

Acting on information, AFD officers raided six shops in Tsita Shd Tsui and seized a total of 11 pieces of cloth claiming to contain vicuna fabric from fotit of theta.

The seized items are valued at about $421,000.

An AFD spokesman said that apart from the population of Peru and pah of that of Chile, all vicuna are listed as Appendix I (highly endangered species) Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Also, the spokesman stressed that trade in endangered species is Strictly regulated under the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance. Anyone convicted of illegal import, export or possession o£ a highly endangered species for commercial purpose would be liable to a maximum fine of $5 million and two year's imprisonment. In 1996, there were 455 prosecutions under the ordinance with a total fine of $9 million.

He took the opportunity to appeal to members of the public to refrain from buying endangered species items.

He also urged the public to report any illegal activities on endangered species to AFD by calling 2733 2144.

End

VMs depart on Orderly Repatriation Flight

*****

A group of 73 Vietnamese migrants (VMs) returned by air to Hanoi, Vietnam today (Tuesday) on the 100th flight under the Orderly Repatriation Programme (ORP).

The majority of the returnees, comprising 47 men, 15 women, seven boys and four girls, are from North Vietnam. Thirteen of the returnees are from Central and South Vietnam.

19

Most of the returnees arrived in Hong Kong in 1989, with the remaining in 1988, 1990, 1991, 1995 and 1996.

The group brought to 10,136 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 Fan Kam-ping, and representative from a non-govemment organisation, Mr Edward Chan from Oxfam, Hong Kong.

End

Weak water pressure in Tsim Sha Tsui *****

Owing to alteration works on watermains, all premises to the south of Austin Road in Tsim Sha Tsui will experience a weaker pressure to their fresh water supply from 11 pm on Friday (April 18) to 6 am the following day.

End

20

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Tender date : 15 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q076

Issue date : 16 April 1997

Maturity date : 14 May 1997

Amount applied HK$13,090MN

Amount allotted : HK$5,000 MN

Average yield accepted : 5.32 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 5.35 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 93 PCT

Average tender yield : 5.36 PCT

Tender date : 15 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q716

Issue date : 16 April 1997

Maturity date : 16 July 1997

Amount applied : HK$5,260 MN

Amount allotted : HK$2,000 MN

Average yield accepted 5.44 PCT

Highest yield accepted 5.45 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 44 PCT

Average tender yield : 5.47 PCT

21

Tender date : 15 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Y788

Issue date : 16 April 1997

Maturity date : 15 April 1998

Amount applied : HK$3,960 MN

Amount allotted : HKS500 MN

Average yield accepted : 5.99 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 6.00 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 21 PCT

Average tender yield : 6.03 PCT Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tender to be held in the week beginning - 21 April 97 :

Tender date : 22 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q077

Issue date : 23 April 1997

Maturity date : 21 May 1997

Tenor : 28 Days

Amount on offer

HK$5,000 MN

22

Tender date : 22 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number Q717

Issue date : 23 April 1997

Maturity date : 23 July 1997

Tenor : 91 days

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

Tender date : 22 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : H763

Issue date : 23 April 1997

Maturity date : 22 October 1997

Tenor : 182 days

Amount on offer : HK$l,000 + 300 MN

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

* (Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my

Internet e-mail account ____________________________ from May 1, 1997.

Name: _________________________ Organisation: __________________________

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Version of DIB required: English/Chinese/Both

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 16,1997

Contents PageJN^

Governor's transcript...................................................... 1

FS's transcript............................................................ 4

Response to questions on Right of Abode.................................... 5

Land Sales Programme - April to June 1997 ........................... 6

Sino-British Land Commission............................................... 8

Safety measures for Lantau Link fireworks display.......................... 8

Inquiry into collision of vessels ordered............................ 11

Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill..................... 11

Bill to protect HK in serious oil pullution damage cases............. 13

Licence of Commercial Radio to be amended............................ 14

Local farmers learn more about premium vegetable production.......... 15

1

Governor's transcript *****

Following is the transcript of the media session by the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, after officiating at the topping-out ceremony of the Hong Kong Institute of Education in Tai Po this (Wednesday) afternoon:

Governor: Good afternoon. I am delighted to have been here for the topping-out ceremony at the institute. It is going to be a very important part of our efforts in the future to continue to raise the quality of education by further enhancing the vital profession of teaching. It is a tremendous project and I am delighted that those responsible for it have managed to do so much so quickly.

Question: Governor, what kind of assistance does the government think is reasonable to offer the incoming government to facilitate the passage of right of abode ... at the time of the handover?

Governor: Well let me lay out for you the whole story. I think we should have been able to reach an agreement on right of abode last autumn; there were very few issues of substance dividing us. The only real problem which came up again and again was the Chinese insistence that right of abode legislation should be considered and approved by the provisional legislature. They were saying that at the same time that Mr Qian Qichen was asserting that there could only be one legislative council before 30 June.

We made a number of suggestions. We first of all suggested that we would put legislation agreed with the Chinese to the present Legislative Council. Then we suggested that we should put some legislation to the existing Legislative Council and the rest should be put to the Legislative Council of the SAR after 30 June. That wasn't acceptable either.

The last proposal that we put was the suggestion that we would prepare and draft a White Bill. I suggested that we should agree the drafting instructions with the Chief Executive (designate's) office, that we should agree the terms of the Bill with the Chief Executive (designate's) office, that we should then draw up the Bill ourselves and put a White Bill forward which the whole community could see and discuss and then on 1 July the legislative body of the SAR Government could consider it.

That proposition was put through the JLG. It was further put to senior Chinese officials in Peking. Then just under a fortnight ago, the Friday before last, I put that proposal to the Chief Executive (designate).

2

It seemed to us to be a sensible way of giving the community the certainty it requires without running into all the problems which will undoubtedly be associated with any attempt to legislate in the provisional legislature on these matters before 30 June.

Now, we have made it clear again and again that even though it would be perhaps ideal if we could legislate today, that there is no administrative or legal necessity for doing so. Our clear legal advice, the advice which we have from the Immigration Department, is that we don't absolutely need to legislate until July, that it is perfectly possible for the Immigration Department to do all that they need to do before then, but that Hong Kong would need legislation in place in the early weeks of the SAR Government.

We have equally clear legal and administrative advice that if the provisional legislature tries to do this job before 30 June, it is inevitably going to raise legal question-marks about our immigration policy and our right of abode after 1 July.

Now you all know that this is an area in which there are countless legal challenges in court. It would be grossly irresponsible of us to do anything which could magnify, which could increase the number of those challenges after 1 July. I am not making that up, that is the legal advice that we have. So why is it, why is it that Chinese officials and the SAR Government-in-waiting can't accept our practical proposal for a White Bill on the understanding that the provisional legislature doesn't try to deal with it before 1 July?

The issue, you know, as far as some people are concerned, has nothing to do with right of abode but everything to do with their attempts to give the provisional legislature some legitimacy or credibility, the legitimacy and credibility which it doesn't have today and which it won't have before 30 June, whatever the situation is after that.

So once again I appeal to Chinese officials and to the SAR Government-in-waiting to react positively to our proposal for a White Bill, with the undertaking that the provisional legislature won't attempt to deal with it. That is a way in which everybody can get what they should want, which is the opportunity for the community to look carefully at what is proposed and for the community to be certain about right of abode and immigration policy for the future.

Now I couldn't have set it out in more detail or, I hope, more clearly than that. That is our position. Our position is not going to change. We offer a White Bill provided we get that undertaking, but we are not going to do any more than that.

3

If Chinese officials don’t accept that proposal, then what we will try to do is to make sure that by 30 June, there is a Blue Bill which the SAR Government can deal with after 1 July.

Now I hope 1 have made that clear. I didn't want an argument about this, the government didn't want an argument about this. We have been working for months to try to get a solution. Unfortunately, I think there are some people who are more concerned about the provisional legislature than they are about right of abode. Okay? Any other subjects?

Question: Mr Patten, our other question is that the Chinese Foreign Ministry has accused Mr Martin Lee of trying to invite foreign forces to meddle in Hong Kong's affairs, and that he's tried to blacken Hong Kong's name. And also his vision ... that of financial interests of people who wish to come to Hong Kong. How do you react to these sort of comments?

Governor: Well that is just abusive propaganda, it doesn't amount to any description of reality. I'd like to say something about the invitations Mr Lee has actually made. As you know, we had invited the Secretary of State in Washington, Madeleine Albright, to attend the handover ceremony. I am delighted that Mr Lee was able to give her that invitation as well in the name of his party, the largest and most popular party in Hong Kong. 1 am delighted he was able to say - which is true - that everybody in Hong Kong wants Madeleine Albright to come to the handover, and I am of course absolutely delighted that Madeleine Albright has said that she will come as a mark of the United States' continuing affection for and interest in Hong Kong. So the first thing that I want to say is that I am very pleased that Mr Lee spoke as he did when he met Madeleine Albright.

Secondly, as you all know, in the United States as in Hong Kong, Mr Lee has very considerable credibility as the leader of the largest political party in Hong Kong, as the politician who has received the most support in Hong Kong. He also has considerable credibility because many Americans readily identify with the values that he expresses, and with his concern for freedom and democracy.

So 1 think we should all be very grateful to Mr Lee that using that position he has spoken out so forcefully for the renewal of MFN. His remarks on the subject are taken very seriously by members of the House of Representatives, by senators and by the administration. They will have listened to him, I think, with very great seriousness and I am delighted that he spoke with all his authority as he did.

So I would like to express my gratitude to him. I'm sure that leaders of the business community in Hong Kong would also like to express their gratitude to Mr Lee for speaking out on an issue which is so important to Hong Kong's economic wellbeing and prosperity. In calling for the renewal of MFN he spoke well for Hong Kong and I am very pleased about that. Thank you very much.

End

4

FS’s transcript ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is a transcript of the media session given by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, after attending the debate on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill 1997 at the Legislative Council this afternoon (Wednesday):

Question: Mr Tsang, what is your reaction... to the vote ...?

FS: Well I am pretty happy about the passage of the Appropriation Bill this year. This is rather a peculiar year, and rather a peculiar budget as well, that we have been able to achieve almost the impossible of producing a budget covering 12 months and eventually commanding the support of the Legislative Council as a whole. This afternoon, I addressed three particular issues, about land supply for housing, about CSSA for the elderly and some other issues. But as far as regards CSSA for the elderly, we hope that we are able to establish a rational basis for a revision, my colleagues and I would certainly try our very best to find the resources for any justifiable increase in the coming year.

Question: ... indicative of what you can do with the size of the reserve ....?

FS: It is indicative of the Financial Secretary.

Question: ....the growth and projection of next year’s is even higher than we had in

the last. You had 23 votes against you largely on social welfare spending. Do you expect in the next budget you are going to have more pressure to give in to increase spending in social welfare?

FS: Well the administration had been prepared for more and more pressure year after year anyway. So it is not entirely unanticipated. The fact of the matter is, it is our responsible administration that we had been doing our very best to meet community’s wishes, even the wishes of political parties, and I had demonstrated today that for the Democratic Party who had not voted for me on this occasion, we had indeed complied with their wishes for more than 80 per cent. That's the fact. Just refer to their own bulletin. So 1 think the co-operative spirit is always there, we're ever responding. So as long as it is the community's wish that we should attach importance to the CSSA for the elderly, we would do likewise. Well, thank you very much indeed.

End

5

Response to questions on Right of Abode ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to press enquiries on whether the Government would publish a White Bill on right of abode now, a Government spokesman today (Wednesday) explained that the White Bill proposal was made in an attempt to resolve the differences between the two sides.

"We have made it clear to the Chinese side that the proposal comprises two elements : that a White Bill would be published by end May/early June, and that the Chinese side would take no action to begin any legislative process before July 1, 1997.

"As the Chinese side could not accept this proposal and insisted on beginning the legislative process before July 1, we would not be publishing a White Bill. Instead, we will publish a Blue Bill on June 30, 1997 so that, on or shortly after July 1, the SAR Government will have a detailed and comprehensive bill to put to the SAR legislature of the day to process.

"Our White Bill proposal remains on the table and we hope the Chinese side would reconsider their position," the spokesman said.

Noting that there were views that the Government should pass a bill to the CE(des)’s Office to help the CE overcome the problem of manpower shortage, the spokesman clarified that no bill White or Blue on right of abode issues has been drafted yet. But the Government will now start to draft a Blue Bill, so that it will be ready for publication on June 30.

The spokesman added that the Hong Kong Government would not do anything to undermine the fact that up to June 30 the existing Legislative Council is the sole body with a legislative function in Hong Kong.

"We would not do anything to facilitate the commencement of legislative procedures by the provisional legislature," he said.

The spokesman said that for the PL to legislate before July 1, 1997 would attract legal challenge in this litigious field.

"The SAR Government may well have to face a larger number of lawsuits, many of which will contest the SAR Government’s decisions on the ground that the legality/validity of the legislation on which the decisions are based is in doubt," he said.

The Government also hopes that the Chinese side will put aside the difference on how to legislate on Right of Abode issues, and continue discussion of the few remaining substantive issues. Satisfactory resolution of these issues will facilitate the drafting of a complete bill.

6

Commenting on the view that it was undesirable to have a legal vacuum on right of abode on July 1, the spokesman explained that the absence of domestic legislation for a short period after July 1 would not pose any problem.

"The Basic Law, which will come into force on July 1, will provide the legal basis on which the Director of Immigration can make decisions on right of abode matters. As long as the domestic legislation can come into effect within a short period, any subsequent appeal against or challenge to those decisions can then be determined on the basis of the domestic legislation then in place," he said.

"This is certainly less ideal than having the domestic legislation enacted by July 1. But it is preferable to enacting a piece of legislation the validity of which will be subject to legal challenge," he added.

End

Land Sales Programme - April to June 1997 *****

The Principal Government Land Agent, Mr Nigel Burley, announced today (Wednesday) that following the Land Commission's agreement to the Land Disposal Programme submitted by the Administration, the Government's Land Sales Programme for the period from April to June 1997 would consist of seven sites covering 9.26 hectares.

The breakdown of the sites is as follows:

Use Sites Area(ha)

(1) Commercial and Residential 1 0.74

(2) Residential (low density) 2 5.52

(3) Industrial 1 0.32

(4) Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) 2 2.52

(5) Petrol Filling Station 1 0.16

7

Four sites will be sold in May and June. They arc:

By Auction

Sale Date Lot No. Location Use Area(sq.m.)

3.6.97 (Concert Hall, HK Cultural Centre) KIL No. 11055 Wan Hoi St, Hung Hom Reclamation Residential 7,402

RBL 11381 Wong Ma Kok Rd, Stanley Residential 53.000

Lot 244 in DD331 Lantau Cheung Fu St, Cheung Sha, Lantau. Residential 2,240

By Cash Tender

Closing Date Lot No. Location Use Area (sq.m.)

16.5.97 YLTL No. 461 Tung Tau Industrial Estate Vehicle Repair Workshop & Industrial/ Godown 3,200

Mr Burley said that about 1,200 residential flats would be produced from the three scheduled for auction in June.

End

8

Sino-British Land Commission ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The thirty-fourth meeting of the Sino-British Land Commission was held on 16 April 1997. The two sides agreed that the Land Disposal Programme for the period from 1 April 1997 to 30 June 1997 should amount to 98.76 hectares. The programme comprises 8.15 hectares for commercial, residential and industrial development; 4.45 hectares for Private Sector Participation Scheme, Hong Kong Housing Society development and Village Housing; 1.42 hectares for public utilities, educational, welfare, religious, recreational and other uses; and 84.74 hectares as special requirements.

End

Safety measures for Lantau Link fireworks display ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Police, Transport and Marine Departments will jointly implement a series of traffic arrangements on April 27 (Sunday) to ensure public safety when a fireworks display will be held as part of the Lantau Link opening ceremony.

Speaking at a joint press conference today (Wednesday) to announce the special arrangements, the Director of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, Mr Billy Lam, said the fireworks display was being organised as part of an opening ceremony to commemorate the completion of the Airport Core Programme's transport corridor.

"The Lantau Link, formed by two spectacular bridges, the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Kap Shui Mun Bridge, has become a major landmark in Hong Kong.

"The opening of the link is an historic event for Hong Kong and its completion ahead of time and below budget is an achievement that we can all take pride in," said Mr Lam.

He said: "A fireworks display with the magnificent Tsing Ma bridge silhouetted in the background would provide a great opportunity to celebrate this historic occasion and to send a positive message to the world about Hong Kong and our ability to deliver on large infrastructure projects.

9

"Such a message will enhance Hong Kong’s status as a service centre for infrastructural development," said Mr Lam.

The fireworks, sponsored by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd, would be discharged at 8 pm from three barges moored in the Ma Wan Channel and will last for about 20 minutes. As part of the display there will be a waterfall fireworks, lasting for about 45 seconds.

The former British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher and the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten will officiate at the ceremony.

More than 2,400 people were expected to take part, either as guests or participants in the various events being planned.

These events include a parade by community groups from 18 districts and a flotilla of boats of all types to represent the local marine community.

In addition, there will be a fly-past staged by the Royal Air Force and the Government Flying Service.

The ceremony will also feature a drive through the Lantau Link with Baroness Thatcher and the Governor leading a motorcade that will drive across the two bridges.

In terms of public viewing of the display, Mr Lam said that unfortunately there were not many areas in the territory which would offer a good view of the fireworks display.

The main viewing point for members of the public would be along Castle Peak Road between Hoi On Road and Siu Lam.

"However, Castle Peak Road is a narrow, winding road which cannot accommodate large crowds and vehicular traffic at the same time," he said.

He said the terrain of this road would limit spectators to a maximum of 300,000 and once the Police consider it operationally essential to do so, people still turning up would be advised not to enter the pedestrianized section of Castle Peak Road.

To ensure public safety, an inter-departmental working group comprising, among others, representatives from the Police, Transport Department, Home Affairs Department, the Marine Department, and NAPCO have been meeting over the past few months to work out detailed crowd control, traffic and public transportation arrangements.

10

The group's preliminary proposal on crowd control and transport arrangements were then put to district board members in Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Kwai Tsing and Islands as well as the Airport Consultative Committee, and the Transport Panel of the Legislative Council.

In the light of their comments, revised arrangements with a number of improvements have been adopted, Mr Lam said.

"In working out the revised arrangements, the Government, in particular the Transport Department and the Police, has made every effort to ensure public safety, to minimise inconvenience to local residents arising from the traffic diversion and road closure and to provide efficient public transport services for crowd dispersal," said Mr Lam.

He said the Government had also drawn on the experience of the Tuen Mun New Year fireworks display.

"However, we urge those who plan to watch the fireworks from Castle Peak Road to co-operate fully with the Police throughout the event and in the crowd dispersal exercise.

"I also appeal to local residents who are affected by the road closures to bear with us and help make the ceremony a joyful and festive occasion for the whole community," said Mr Lam.

He said members of the public will have the opportunity to watch the ceremony and the fireworks display on television as it will be covered live on the Chinese channels.

"However, I wish to remind those who choose to view the fireworks display from Castle Peak Road that if large crowds turn up, and notwithstanding the special traffic arrangements and our best endeavour, it may take some time before they can return home after the display. I would urge members of the public to please be patient if this occurs," said Mr Lam.

End

11

Inquiry into collision of vessels ordered ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Director of Marine, Mr Ian Dale, today (Wednesday) ordered a Local Marine Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the collision between a catamaran and a passenger ferry off Tuen Mun yesterday (Tuesday).

In accordance with the powers granted under section 58 of the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (Cap. 313), the Director of Marine appointed Mr Li Yiu-kwong, Surveyor of Ships (Nautical), to be the Investigating Officer.

A Chinese-registered catamaran, the Hai Yang, and a Hong Kong registered-passenger ferry, the Man Boon, were involved in a collision in the vicinity of the Brothers around 9.05 am yesterday.

The Investigating Officer, Mr Li Yiu-kwong, is anxious to meet passengers and crew members on board the two vessels and other independent witnesses to the incident.

They are advised to contact Mr Li on 2852 4943 or fax their contacts on 2545

0556.

End

Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Government will soon propose a Bill to enable Hong Kong to strengthen cooperation with third countries in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences including proceedings relating to confiscating the proceeds of crime.

Introducing the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, a Government spokesman said today (Wednesday) that the Bill would provide the appropriate legal framework to implement Hong Kong’s new bilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and enable Hong Kong to respond to a full range of requests for assistance comprehended by these agreements.

12

The scope of assistance covered by the Bill includes:

* taking of evidence;

* searching for and seizing items which are relevant to criminal matters;

* producing documentary evidence relevant to criminal matters;

* transferring persons (including prisoners) to other jurisdictions to provide assistance (for example, by giving evidence);

* confiscating the proceeds of crime;

* serving documents.

The Bill sets out a number of exceptions to providing assistance. They include the exclusion in relation to political offences and political prejudice, double jeopardy and double criminality.

"The double jeopardy exception will exclude a request which relates to the prosecution of a person for an offence in respect of which the person has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned in Hong Kong.

"The double criminality requirement will exclude cases where the criminal conduct in question would not have constituted an offence in Hong Kong if it had occurred there.

"These exceptions are found in the legislation and agreements of other countries and are designed to safeguard the rights of the persons involved in criminal proceedings," the spokesman said.

"It is important that the Bill should be enacted as soon as possible so as to demonstrate Hong Kong's determination to combat international crime by strengthening cooperation in matters of criminal justice and international law enforcement," he added.

The Chinese side confirmed their agreement to the Bill at JLG XXXIX last month.

The Bill will be gazetted on Friday (April 18) and is expected to be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 23 this year.

End

13

Bill to protect HK in serious oil pollution damage cases *****

The Government will introduce the Merchant Shipping (Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution) (Amendment) Bill 1997 to protect Hong Kong and owners of Hong Kong registered ships, a spokesman for Marine Department said today (Wednesday).

The Bill gives effects to the amendments made under the two 1992 Protocols which entered into force internationally on May 30 last year.

In January 1997, the Chinese side of the Joint Liaison Group agreed that the two 1992 protocols should be extended to Hong Kong and that they should continue to apply to the HK Special Administrative Region after June 30 this year.

The spokesman said that liability and compensation for oil pollution damage caused in the territory, including territorial sea of Contracting States by sea-going ships were governed by two International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions.

These two Conventions are the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969 (the 1969 Liability Convention) and the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1971 (the 1971 Fund Convention).

In 1992, IMO adopted two Protocols to amend the 1969 Liability Convention and the 1971 Fund Convention which takes effect world-wide in mid-1996.

The spokesman further noted that shipowners in Hong Kong were much concerned about a possible reciprocal foreign court judgement from a country which was not a party to the Liability Convention which might give a judgement awarding compensation for oil pollution damage for an amount greatly in excess of the liability limit of a shipowner under the Liability Convention.

"We therefore take this opportunity to include a new provision to limit the damage from a reciprocal judgement claim to a level in accordance with the limit under the Liability Convention, notwithstanding that the damages awarded by a court in a country which is not a party to the Convention are in excess of that limit," the spokesman said.

The spokesman further outlined the main provisions of the Amendment Bill, noting that it amended various definitions according to the 1992 Protocols and includes new definitions to terms such as incident, Monetary Authority, oil, relevant threat of contamination and the 1992 Protocols.

14

"A new subsection is added to stipulate that the owner of the ship involved will be liable for compensation for the cost of preventive measures taken to deal with a threat of contamination and any further loss or damage caused by those preventive measures.

"An addition of a new provision is also made to provide for a limitation on the enforcement of judgements by a court in a country that is not a party of the Liability .Convention," he added.

The Bill further provides for the conversion of special drawing rights into Hong Kong dollars as well as the method for instituting proceedings in respect of the Fund.

Further provision of the Bill features an amendment which gives effect to the new aggregate limit of compensation with the amount of compensation actually paid under the Liability Convention i.e. 135 million special drawing rights (SDR).

Finally, the Bill also amends a clause so that the owner of a ship who incurs a liability for compensation may limit that liability in accordance with the new limits.

"With the new and improved provisions on compensation for pollution damage and the cost of preventive measures, Hong Kong would be better protected in the event of serious oil pollution incidents," the spokesman noted.

The Merchant Shipping (Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution) (Amendment) Bill 1997 will be gazetted on April 18 and be tabled at the Legislative Council for first and second readings on April 30.

End

Licence of Commercial Radio to be amended ♦ * ♦ * *

The Executive Council has decided to amend the sound broadcasting licence of Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Company Limited (Commercial Radio) to reflect changes proposed by the Broadcasting Authority following its mid-term review.

At the same time, an amendment to the licence of Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited (Metro Broadcast) was endorsed to remove the Broadcasting Authority’s power to prohibit the broadcast of certain programmes, advertisements and materials. This is to reflect the repeal of section 13C(3)(a) of the Telecommunication Ordinance last year.

15

A spokesman for the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch said today (Wednesday): "The renewed licence reflects the recommendations made by the Broadcasting Authority in the context of the mid-term review of Commercial Radio’s licence. Amongst other things, a new clause on free competition and a new requirement for full cost-recovery licence fees to be paid are included.

"The free competition clause aims at facilitating free competition by prohibiting the licensee from entering into any arrangement or agreement which will have the effect of restricting competition by other persons in relation to the establishment or operation of a broadcasting or telecommunications service."

In line with the Government's general charging policy, Commercial Radio will have to pay frill cost-recovery licence fee later this year when Metro Broadcast is also required to do so. The assessed full cost for administering Commercial Radio's licence in 1997/98 is around $3.4 million.

To alleviate the effect of an immediate introduction, the full cost fee will be phased in over five years. In other words, for the first twelve months after introduction of the fee, Commercial Radio will only have to pay 20% of the full cost, i.e. around $0.68 million.

The amended licence of Commercial Radio will run from April 25, 1997 until it expires on August 25,2001.

End

Local farmers learn more about premium vegetable production *****

Local farmers are expected to learn more about the cultivation of premium vegetables in a technical seminar held at Tai Lung Experimental Station in Sheung Shui today (Wednesday).

The seminar on "Premium Vegetable Production" focused on squash, a newly introduced exotic species suitable for local production.

An agricultural officer of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) Ms Wendy Ko pointed out that squash was a vegetable with high nutrition and would become a popular choice for healthy diets.

16

"It is expected that the introduction of squash would be welcomed by farmers and the market as it suits local cultivation environment, as well as the taste of local residents," said Ms Ko.

"It also provides another choice for farmers in vegetable production."

At today's seminar, participants learned to use environmentally friendly measures in pest and disease control of gourds, such as the preparation of poison baits to control melon fly.

The seminar also included lectures given by AFD officers, slide show and field demonstration.

The function was jointly organised by AFD and the Federation of Vegetable Marketing Co-operative Societies Ltd., as part of the department’s regular programmes to transfer technical know-how to local farmers.

Further enquiries on issues relating to crop cultivation and pest management can be directed to AFD's Horticulture Section (2679 4294)or Plant Protection Section (2679 4354).

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

for Director of Information Services

Re turn. J.lip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my

Internet e-mail account _____________________________ from May 1, 1997.

Name: _________________________ Organisation: ___________________________

Tel. Number: -----------------------

Version of DIB required: English/Chinese/Both

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, April 16,1997

Contents Page No,

Legislative Council meeting:

FS’s speech concluding the debate on the 1997-98 Budget............ 1

Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1997 ...... 6

Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1995 ...... 7

Motion to increase the award for bereavement....................... 8

Measure to prevent fires due to power leakage adequate............. 9

Language benchmark pilot exercise................................. 10

Review of Social Security Allowance............................... 13

Real wage index................................................ 15

Construction of CT9............................................... 20

Land Fund................................................,........ 20

/Holders of...

Contents

Page No,

Holders of recognizance form not eligible for HKJD card................ 22

Feasibility study on retrofitting noise mitigation measures on existing roads.................................................................. 24

Speed limit imposed on Route 3 and Route 9............................. 26

Number of triad-related crimes remains stable.......................... 29

Study on female drug addiction problem................................. 31

Data on epileptic patients............................................. 35

Zero increase for postage rate proposed................................ 36

Figures on unemployment due to dismissal or redundancy................. 39

Improvement measure for safe transport of vehicles..................... 52

Bank loans.........................................................     53

Urban renewal in progress.............................................. 57

’’Theft by finding” may be liable to imprisonment...................... 58

Assessment of medical manpower......................................... 61

Visit programmes arranged by the Government............................ 62

1

FS's speech concluding the debate on the 1997-98 Budget ♦ ♦ * * ♦

Following is a speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, concluding the debate on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill 1997 at the Legislative Council this afternoon (Wednesday):

Mr President,

Introduction

First of all, I would like to thank Honourable Members for their thoughtful comments on my Budget. Your criticism and your support are both of interest and value to me. Constructive criticism challenges our thinking in the Administration. It keeps us alert, stops us from becoming complacent. It gives us a fresh perspective. And because we are a responsible and responsive Administration, it can lead to change. Your support is useful, not only because it will result in votes for the Appropriation Bill, but also because it shows where we have got our proposals right. Members will note that we have fielded five speakers including myself. This is because we wish, like Members, to focus on the key issues.

During the last two days many words have been used to describe the Budget -"positive and upbeat", "conservative", "prudent", "confidence-boosting", "disappointing", "too rigid", "stingy" and even "boring". None of these, given the different constituencies involved, came as a surprise to me, except perhaps the epithet of "boring". After all, it has inspired 54 members to sometimes quite passionate debate for a total of over ten hours!

More specifically, Members have called for us to do more for the elderly, to do more for education and for housing. But they have also supported the new tax allowances, tax bands' restructuring, and the new initiatives to help business. I am grateful for this support.

The community has also made clear its views. Through newspapers, call-in programmes and feedback to District Board members and District Officers. Again, there is a mixed response.

But overall, both in this chamber and in the community, there is I believe a mature understanding of the constraints we faced in drawing up our proposals. As I said in my Budget Speech, this is a very special year for Hong Kong. And it calls for a special Budget, a prudent Budget, a Budget that would bridge the transition.

2

My colleagues have answered Members' questions on our expenditure proposals in detail during the Special Finance Committee meetings at the end of last month. And this afternoon they have responded to the main areas of criticism.

I will not repeat their points. I would like to touch briefly on three issues: housing, CSSA and our reserves. The Secretary for Housing and the Secretary for Health and Welfare have already explained just how much we are doing in the first two areas. I want to make a few more general points.

Housing

First, on housing. As a result of our recent measures, it appears that already there are fewer speculators in the property market. This is good news. But I accept that Government has a duty to continue its efforts. We need to help people to buy their own homes. Not, as I explained in my Budget Speech, through general tax concessions. We must target our help and the community's resources on those who need such assistance. The best way, and in the long term the only sure way, is to balance better the equation of supply and demand. By continuing to build more subsidised housing and by providing more land. I am personally committed to tackling this problem. And I look forward to working with my colleagues in my special task force to come up with new initiatives to do so. Our terms of reference are as follows -

to set overall programmes in supplying land for housing development so that planning, land acquisition, land formation, development of transport and other infrastructure can be prioritised and co-ordinated;

to consider ways and means to remove constraints in, and to expedite, the approval process and to take quick decisions where there are competing priorities;

to exploit opportunities for developing the land held by developers for housing purposes and to explore innovative proposals in providing the housing-related infrastructure; and

to ensure land available for public and private housing is fully and quickly developed into housing units.

3

Comprehensive Social Security-Assistance

Next, Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). The Secretary for Health and Welfare has described the impressive improvements we have made in the social welfare field in general and on CSSA in particular. As I said in my Budget Speech, we have increased our expenditure on welfare by 88 per cent in real terms over the past five years. The rate of increase in welfare spending in this Budget exceeds again by a wide margin the rates of increase allowed for all other major government spending programmes. This is a good track record. It shows that we have consistently put priority on caring for those in our community who need support. I am sure we will continue to do so, so long as this reflects the wish of our community.

In this debate, Members have focused on CSSA payments for the elderly. We agree that this is an important issue. We have listened carefully to the arguments put forward to increase the standard rate, and will weigh them up carefully in the 1997 RAE that will shape the 1998 Budget. Next month, my colleagues and I will start our consultation exercise on spending priorities. This will give the whole community the opportunity to make their views known and to look at all proposals, including those on CSSA for the elderly, together. The timing of the consultation and the two studies on the elderly mentioned by Secretary for Health and Welfare, to be completed this summer, fit together well. One study is on the financial position of elderly CSSA recipients. The other is on the needs of the elderly for services and support. So, our decisions will have a rational basis. So that a caring idea from the heart will be pursued and decided upon rationally in the head. We are listening and our minds are open.

Some Members have demanded an immediate increase of $300 per month. I would like to make two points in reply. First, while cash is clearly important, so too are the nursing homes, social support networks, day care centres, home help, and healthcare that we provide. There needs to be a balance between financial help and direct services. We gave priority to cash assistance in the 1996 Budget. It was entirely reasonable for us this time round to put the emphasis on direct services.

Second, we have to ask ourselves what is it that allows Hong Kong to increase government spending in real terms year after year when many other countries in the world are cutting back. The answer is we have a sensible system based on discipline. Because we keep our discipline, our system works. It continues to keep our economy growing, it continues to create the new wealth that allows us to spend more. Some Members have suggested that we could get round the system by setting up a specific fund to help the elderly. But such a capital fund should only be used for genuinely one-off items. If a fund is used instead for recurrent purposes, such as making regular cash payments, this circumvents our guidelines and smacks of creative accounting. No responsible Financial Secretary could agree to such a proposal. This would be a breach of discipline. Short term popularity would have been bought at the expense of long term prosperity. It is too high a price to pay.

4

In this regard, we should concentrate on what we can do in the coming year. This means, most of all, establishing a rational basis for any increase in CSSA. Once that is done we should work further to find the savings for financing the increase in the course of this year or next. Some may see this determination to adhere to our "golden rule" as inflexible or rigid. But as I have said, keeping to the "golden rule" is one of the reasons Hong Kong has been able to lay a nestful of "golden eggs": our economic success, our low taxes, our steady increase in public spending and our fiscal reserves.

Fiscal Reserves

This brings me to the final point I want to make. Many members have suggested that our reserves have reached a level which is more than adequate to meet our needs.

Let me repeat what I said a year ago. This is not the time to weaken the security afforded by our fiscal reserves. This year, much more than any other, the need to maintain the stability of our financial systems must override all other considerations. Maintaining confidence, both locally and overseas, in the soundness of our financial systems is of paramount importance in the remaining months before the birth of the SARG and as we move into the new era.

Let me also put the size of our fiscal reserves into proper perspective. After taking account of the revised estimate of the surplus for 1996-97, our fiscal reserves at 31 March 1997 are $163 billion. This is equivalent to 87% of our total expenditure in 1996-97. Five years ago, the corresponding figure was 107% and fifteen years ago, it was 81%. One could argue that in relative terms, our fiscal reserves are no larger today than has been the case in the past.

But what makes today's situation very different is the prospect that from 1 July 1997 the SARG will have access to the balance which has been accumulated since 1985 in the Land Fund. This will effectively double the size of the reserves overnight. By 31 March 1998 - not now but next year - our forecast total reserves of $359 billion will be equivalent to 177% of our expenditure in the year. I agree, this is a massive sum.

If the fiscal reserves have played a vital role in preserving the stability of our economy in the period leading to the establishment of the Special Administrative Region, then the challenge we will face is how to use these reserves to the best for the benefit of our community in the next millennium, without inviting back double-digit inflation.

5

I agree wholeheartedly with those Members who have pointed out that our robust and healthy finances reflect the contribution over the years by our community. It is right that it should receive a return for its past endeavours.

The appropriate level of reserves in the longer term and how best to use those we have already accumulated are issues which my colleagues and I are already looking at. We will continue to listen to Members' suggestions on this important issue. But this is a debate for another day after we have successfully sailed through the transition.

Conclusion

I would like to end by saying something about the Budget process. I see it as a continuous one. One in which the Administration consults this Council and the community, first on spending ideas and later on revenue proposals. We then draw up our package responding to requests as best we can. So the Budget that emerges each year is a shared responsibility. As guardian of the public purse, I cannot hope to please all the people all the time. But in my Budget, I do aim to please as many as I can when I can. For example, I am pleased to say our dialogue led to us responding positively to the vast majority of the Democratic Party's requests this year - as is shown in their latest bulletin. This dialogue is a fine tradition which we should cherish in the years ahead. And the dialogue is about to begin again.

This year the Budget had a unique role to play. It was right that it should be prudent and conservative. The debate on it is only partly about our few differences. It is mainly about what we have achieved together in the many more items of expenditure and tax cuts that Members' proposed and we included in the Budget. It is mainly about coming together to agree the way forward for our community. We have come together. We have reached a broad consensus on the way forward. Together we stand ready to face this historic time of change. Thank you.

End

6

Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1997

*****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the motion 'that the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1997, made by the Governor in Council on 18 March 1997, be approved' in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the second motion which has been printed on the Order Paper namely 'that the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1997, made by theGovemor in Council on 18 March 1997, be approved'.

The purpose of this motion is to revise the declaration charges payable to the Government upon lodgements of trade declarations.

It is now possible for traders to lodge trade declarations using the Community Electronic Trading Service provided by Tradelink and our aim is to make this the only method of lodging trade declarations in three years' time. In addition to paying Tradelink for using its service, levies in the form of declaration charges are also payable to the Government. If such declaration charges remain unchanged, the use of the Community Electronic Trading Service will not be attractive for the business community because it will result in a higher overall charge. Apart from the phased withdrawal of the existing facilities for collecting trade declarations, we need a financial package to encourage the business community to stop using paper forms and switch over to a paperless method of conducting business.

Under the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1997, the existing set of charges will be replaced by two. Declaration charges for paperless lodgements will enjoy lower rates of charges. As far as possible, the combined Government and Tradelink charges will be less or no more than the current charge. Declaration charges for paper lodgements will be increased. This is necessary as a disincentive for the continuation of paper lodgements. Without such a disincentive, the financial package will not be effective.

Mr President, I beg to move.

End

7

Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1995 * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Miss Denise Yue, in moving the motion ’that section 5 of the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1995, made by the Governor in Council on 21 November 1995, be approved' in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the motion which has been printed on the Order Paper namely ’that section 5 of the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1995, made by the Governor in Council on 21 November 1995, be approved’.

The purpose of this motion is to include a new method for traders using the Community Electronic Trading Service provided by Tradelink to pay declaration charges to the Government.

At present, trade declarations may be lodged either in person or by post. The corresponding declaration charges should be paid in cash or by cheque at the time of lodging the declaration.

It is now possible for traders to lodge trade declarations using the Community Electronic Trading Service, a paperless method of conducting business. Those traders using this service will need to have another method of paying the Government.

Tradelink and Government have agreed that Tradelink will, on behalf of its customers, pay the Government the declaration charges for all declarations lodged using its service and then recover such sums from the relevant customers through its normal billing system.

Section 5 of the Import and Export (Registration) (Amendment) Regulation 1995 is amended to retain both the existing payment methods and to add the new payment method as agreed to by Government and Tradelink.

Mr President, I beg to move.

End

8

Motion to increase the award for bereavement *****

Following is the speech by the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews, on the Hon Albert Ho’s motion to increase the award for bereavement in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

The Administration supports this motion. I would like to thank the Hon Albert Ho for taking the initiative to move it.

An award for bereavement offers some financial consolation, some financial services to the dependants of someone tragically killed in an accident. When the award was first introduced in 1986, it was fixed at $40,000. In May 1991,1 moved a resolution which resulted in an increase in the amount to $70,000, in order to reflect inflation.

The current motion does more than reflect the rate of inflation since 1991. An inflation adjustment would bring the amount up to about $112,000. However, the Hon Albert Ho has argued that the award should be further increased to meet the changing social and economic conditions of Hong Kong.

The Administration would not normally propose an amendment in respect of the administration of justice that has policy implications without consulting the two branches of the legal profession, the Judiciary and other interested parties. Since this motion has policy implications, I have therefore consulted those bodies and parties. I am pleased to say that there was general support for this motion.

Assuming that this motion is passed to-day, it will be necessary to ensure that the amount of the award continues to be adjusted to reflect inflation. I am happy therefore to confirm that it is my intention to review the amount of the award for bereavement every two years.

Mr President, as I said a moment ago, the Administration supports this motion.

End

9

Measure to prevent fires due to power leakage adequate * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following are a question by the Hon Choy Kan-pui and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of fires related to power leakage in the past three years; and whether such fires were caused by power leakage in electrical appliances or power cords or as a result of short circuits; and

(b) whether the existing legislation provides sufficient control measures to prevent the outbreak of fires due to power leakage?

Reply:

(a) The total number of fires recorded by FSD in the past 3 years which are believed to be originated from electrical fault are 1667, 1608 and 1628 for 1994, 1995 and 1996 respectively. EMSD has investigated 23 of the major incidents which were suspected to be electrical in origin. Fifteen of these incidents were suspected to be due to faulty electrical installations while the other 8 were due to faulty electrical appliances (including power cords).

(b) The Electricity Ordinance (Cap. 406) and its subsidiary legislation provide control measures regarding electrical safety, which include:

i) a requirement that a fixed electrical installation shall, after completion (including any work completed after repair, alteration or addition) and before it is energised for use, be inspected, tested and certified by a registered electrical worker and contractor to confirm that the requirements of the Ordinance have been met;

ii) existing fixed electrical installations located in specified types of premises have to be periodically (yearly or 5-yearly) inspected, tested and certified by registered electrical workers and contractors; and

10

iii) provision to empower the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services to disconnect any unsafe electrical installation when there is imminent risk of an electrical accident.

These measured are considered to be adequate to prevent the outbreak of fires due to power leakage.

End

Language benchmark pilot exercise

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Bing-leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Regarding the Secretary for Education and Manpower’s recent proposal to require primary' and secondary school teachers to participate in the language benchmark pilot exercise, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the date of introducing the above language benchmark pilot exercise and the specific details of the pilot exercise;

(b) of the following information regarding specialised language training of school teachers:

(i) the respective numbers of Chinese language teachers in primary and secondary schools who have received specialised language training;

(ii) the respective numbers of Chinese language teachers in primary and secondary schools who have not received specialised language training;

(iii) the respective number of English language teachers in primary and secondary schools who have received specialised language training;

11

(iv) the respective numbers of English language teachers in primary and secondary schools who have not received specialised language training; and

(c) whether the Government will provide training for teachers who fail the benchmark assessment test so as to enable them to attain the required standard?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) We plan to conduct a pilot language benchmark exercise in 1997/98. The pilot exercise will involve about 1,200 teachers in the following three categories for whom tentative benchmarks have already been developed:

teachers of English in lower secondary levels;

primary school teachers using Chinese as the medium of instruction; and

primary school teachers of Putonghua.

’’Benchmark” refers to minimum acceptable language proficiency standard for effective teaching of various subjects, including language subjects.

The aim of the pilot exercise is to finalise the tentative benchmarks developed, assess re-training needs, consider if certain exemption criteria should be established and to work out a detailed plan for full implementation.

Teachers participating in the pilot exercise will go through an assessment, which will include written and oral language proficiency examinations as well as classroom language observation. In view of the time required to develop the oral and written examination papers, we aim to conduct the pilot written and oral examinations in the second quarter of 1998. The classroom language observation will start earlier, in the first quarter of 1998, and will be completed by the third quarter of the same year.

12

The pilot benchmark exercise arises from the Education Commission Report No. 6 (ECR 6) which recommended that language benchmark qualifications should be specified for all new and serving primary and secondary teachers, including language teachers, so as to address the problem of declining language standards of our students. This is one amongst a host of measures which ECR 6 recommended to solve the language ability problem. The Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) was tasked to develop the benchmarks. With the help of language consultants and after one year's study, ACTEQ has drawn up tentative benchmarks for finalisation in the coming pilot exercise.

ACTEQ will co-ordinate the pilot benchmarking exercise. The Hong Kong Examinations Authority will administer the written and oral examinations while the Education Department will be responsible for conducting the classroom language observation.

In order to ensure that the finalised benchmarks will be representative and appropriate, the 1,200 teachers will be randomly selected from different types of schools, with different qualifications and lengths of teaching experience.

To allow teachers to have early knowledge of the standards required and what would be included in the benchmark assessment, syllabuses and specimen tasks will be published well in advance.

Subject to the results of the pilot and any exemption criteria subsequently developed, new and serving teachers will be required to reach the benchmarks. We plan to implement the language benchmarks, once finalised, for new teachers as soon as possible, and in 1999 at the earliest. As for serving teachers, ECR 6 recommended that they might be allowed 10 years to reach the benchmarks. ACTEQ will, based on the results of the pilot and re-training needs, advise on this.

(b) According to the results of the 1996 Teacher Survey conducted by the Education Department, the statistics of Chinese and English language teachers with and without subject training are as follows:

(i) The numbers of Chinese Language teachers who are subject-trained at primary and secondary levels are 9848 (i.e. 87.3%) and 3884 (i.e. 79.2%) respectively.

13

(ii) The numbers of Chinese Language teachers who are non-subject-trained at primary and secondary levels are 1438 (i.e. 12.7%) and 1023 (i.e. 20.8%) respectively.

(iii) The numbers of English Language teachers who are subject-trained at primary and secondary levels are 3798 (i.e. 44.4%) and 2922 (i.e. 54.4%) respectively.

(iv) The numbers of English Language teachers who are non-subject-trained at primary and secondary levels are 4754 (i.e. 55.6%) and 2451 (i.e. 45.6%) respectively.

(c) One of the main purposes of the pilot exercise is to assess re-training needs. Ample re-training opportunities will be provided to enable teachers to upgrade their language standards. Other than those who require re-training after the assessment, we are considering giving teachers the option of taking the training course before they go through the benchmark assessment. This is in line with the primary objective of the benchmarking exercise, which is to ensure that our teachers will be fully competent in the teaching of languages or in using them as a medium of instruction. Pending the results of the pilot exercise, ACTEQ will advise and the Education Department will work out the arrangements for re-training.

End

Review of Social Security Allowance *****

Following is a question by Dr 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:

As the Government is undertaking a review of the Social Security Allowance (SSA) scheme, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the purpose and scope of the review;

14

(b) of the time schedule of the review;

(c) of the composition of the review group, and whether service users (such as the elderly and people with a disability) are represented on the review group; and

(d) given the concern over a proposal to introduce means-testing to the SSA scheme, of the position the Government takes on the proposal and whether the issue will be addressed by the review group?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The current Social Security Allowance (SSA) Scheme has been in operation since 1993. It is timely to conduct a review on the objectives and the operation of the Scheme to ensure its cost-effectiveness.

(b) Given the social significance of the SSA Scheme, the review must be thorough and circumspect. Although it is premature to speculate, we aim nevertheless to complete the review in 1997-98.

(c) An inter-departmental Steering Group comprising representatives from the Health and Wealth Branch, the Finance Branch, the Social Welfare Department and the Census & Statistics Department and chaired by the Director of Social Welfare which conducted the CSSA Review has started to review the SSA Scheme - the other prominent feature of the existing social security system. The Steering Group will take into account the needs of various service users (including the elderly and people with a disability). The Administration has also undertaken to consult Members of this Council and other interested parties on the review’s recommendations before any decision on changes is made.

(d) The review will cover all aspects of the Scheme including eligibility. Our concern is to ensure that vulnerable elderly and people with a disability are getting assistance in the best possible way. It would not be appropriate to speculate on the review’s recommendations before its completion.

End

15

Real wage index *****

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

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council whether it has collected any data on the real wage index of employees by industry group -

(a) if so, please list the respective percentage changes in the real wage index of the following monthly income groups in September 1996 as compared to the corresponding figures in the month of September in 1993, 1994 and 1995:

(i) $4,999 and below,

. (ii) $5,000 - 6,999,

(iii) $7,000 - 8,999,

(iv) $9,000 - 14,999,

(v) $15,000- 19,999,

(vi) $20,000 - 29,999, (vii) $30,000 or above;

(b) if not, why not; and whether it will consider collecting such data and publishing them on a regular basis?

Reply:

(a) The Census and Statistics Department compiles and publishes, on a half-yearly basis, wage indices for occupations up to the supervisory level, and on an annual basis, salary indices for the managerial and professional occupations, covering a number of selected sectors and industries.

16

Statistics on changes in the real wage indices by major sector and by broad occupation group up to the supervisory level from September 1993 to September 1996, along with the corresponding average wage levels in September 1996, are appended in Table 1. Statistics on changes in the real salary indices for managerial and professional occupations by major sector from June 1993 to June 1996, along with the corresponding overall salary levels for this category of employees, are appended in Table 2. Some further breakdowns of these statistics by industry are available from the Department and can be furnished upon request.

(b) There are however no available statistics on wage changes broken down by income range of employees in specific sectors or industry groups. To collate such statistics would most likely require tallying from the wage levels of individual employees in the company payroll. The practical difficulty is that company payroll records are commonly arranged by job categories or occupation hierarchies, rather than by income ranges of the employees. Requiring employers to provide such information would create an undue additional reporting burden.

In conducting statistical surveys, the Census and Statistics Department has to strike a reasonable balance between the production of more statistics the value of which may become increasingly marginal, and the reporting burden on respondents. In this instance, the existing breakdown on wage changes are considered to be ample and appropriate.

17

Table 1 : Changes in Wage Levels in Real Terms for Workers up to Supervisory Level as Measured by Real Wage Indices by Occupation Group, September 1993 - September 1996

(A) Manufacturing sector

Occupation group Average monthly wage (HKS) Sep 1996 Year-on-year change in real wage index(%)

Sep 1993 Sep 1994 Sep 1995 Sep 1996

All selected occupations of which ; 8,851 1.9 -0.4 •2.9 2.2

Supervisory & technical workers 13,784 3.9 3.6 -1.7 2.9

Clerical & secretarial workers 9,657 3.4 1.7 -13 1.4

Craftsmen 11,000 1.6 -2.3 -1.5 2.3

Operatives 7,046 1.1 -2.1 -4.5 2.2

Service workers N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A.

Miscellaneous non-production workers 6,864 0.9 0.2 -2.4 1.8

(B) Wholesale, Retail and ImportZExport Trades, Restaurants and Hotels sector

Occupation group •p

All selected occupations of which: 10,804 2.2 1.3 -1.4 -0.1

Supervisory & technical workers 14,369 2.1 2.0 -0.7 1.1

Clerical & secretarial workers 10,046 2.3 0.7 0.4 1.0

Craftsmen N.A. NA. NA. N.A. NA.

Operatives N.A. N.A. NA. Na. N.A.

Service workers 9,523 2.5 0.9 -3.4 -2.6

Miscellaneous non-production workers 7,845 1.4 1.0 -3.1 -1.7

(O Transport Services sector

Occupation group

All selected occupations of which : 12,077 2.7 1.9 -1.9 , 1.7

Supervisory & technical workers 17,104 0.8 5.0 03 2.7

Clerical & secretarial workers 10,633 0.9 6.0 -13 2.6

Craftsmen 12,350 5.7 -2.5 -4.3 0.2

Operatives 10,504 0.1 -2.4 -1.0 4.2

Service workers 6,164 -4.5 15.1 2.5 -4.7

Miscellaneous non-production workers 8,745 6.6 -0.5 5.1

18

Table 1 (cont’d): Changes in Wage Levels in Rea! Terms for Workers up to Supervisory Level as Measured by Real Wage Indices by Occupation Group, September 1993 - September 1996

(D) Financing, Insurance,.Real Estate and Business Services sector

• Occupation group Average monthly wage (HKS) Sep 1996 Year-on-year change in real wage index(%)

Sep 1993 Sep 1994 Sep 1995 Sep 1996

All selected occupations 10,271 4.0 0.3 -0.5 3.0

of which:

Supervisory & technical workers 16,512 3.7 ’ -1.5 0.6 6.0

Clerical & secretarial workers 11,149 2.7 3.6 -0.4 2.3

Craftsmen 10,400 1.6 -5.3 1.5 1.5

Operatives N.A. NA. N.A. N.A. N.A.

Service workers . 6,428 2.8 -1.6 -11.0 4.7

Miscellaneous non-production workers 7,108 8.1 -0.7 3.5 TU -5.5

(E) Personal Service; sector

Occupation group

All selected occupations 6,069 2.3 2.7 -0.7 0.9

of which:

Supervisory & technical workers 10,924 0.3 2.8 3.5 1.1

Clerical & secretarial workers 10,292 7.3 -4.0 6.2 4.9

Craftsmen 11,776 3.3 -4.0 1.3 2.1

Operatives N.A. NA. N.A. • NA, N.A.

Service workers 4,887 0.4 3.7 -4.6 -0.1

Miscellaneous non-production workers 4,956 2.8 5.3 -3.4 0.2

Notes: N.A. Not Applicable.

# Less than 0.05%.

Source : Labour Earnings Survey, Census and Statistics Department

19

Fable 2 : Changes in Salary Levels in Real Terms for Managerial and Professional Employees as Measured by Real Salary Index (A), June 1993 - June 1996

Average monthly salary (HKS) Jun 1996 Year-on-year change in real salary

Jun 1993 index (A) (%)

Jun 1994 Jun 1995 • Jun 1996

Economic sector

♦ Manufacturing, Electricity and Gas Sector 40,737 -4.3 -2.0 -1.0 0.2

Wholesale, Retail and Import/Export Trades Sector 30,846 -1.7 0.6 1.3 -.O’ 1.7

Transport, Storage and Communications Sector 37,442 2.3 0.1 -0.6 1.8

Financing Institutions and Insurance Sector 34,528 3.1 -0.3 0.6 0.1

Building and Construction and Related Trades Sector 43,903 1.4 2.0 3.1 1.6

Notes : The Salary Index (A) is complied by comparing the average salary rates of individual occupations in June of the reference year with those in June of the preceding year. The Salary Index (B) measures the changes in the salary rates for only those employees who remained in the same occupation and in the same company in both the reference year and the preceding year. It therefore only accounts for changes due to general increment, meritorious incrcase^nd gain in seniority. The Salary Index (A) is a more comprehensive measure of changes in salary rates.

The figures cover the middle-level managerial and professional employees only. Top management employees are excluded owing to difficulty in collecting accurate salary data from them.

Source : Annual Survey of Salaries and Employee Benefits • Managerial and Professional Employees, Census and Statistics Department.

End

20

Construction of CT9

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Samuel Wong 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 of the latest progress regarding the construction of Container Terminal No. 9 on Tsing Yi Island and the scheduled date of completion of the project?

Reply:

Mr President,

We are negotiating with the developers on the detailed land grant conditions for Container Terminal No. 9 (CT9). The negotiations are expected to be completed and the site handed over to the developers for construction work to begin by the end of this year. Allowing about 24 months for the construction of the terminal, the first berth of CT9 is expected to come into operation by the end of 1999, followed by other berths at six-month intervals. The timing is in line with the current forecast requirement dates for the berths of CT9 under the Port Cargo Forecasts endorsed by the Port Development Board.

End

Land Fund *****

Following is a question by the Hon Eric Li and a written reply by the Secretary for the Treasury, Mr K C Kwong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

As the Government records revenues derived from land sales on a cash accounting basis, will the Government inform this Council:

21

(a) of the amount of revenues derived from land sales in 1996-97 which will

be recorded in the accounts of the following fiscal year; and

(b) whether consideration will be given to adopting an accrual accounting system for recording revenues, so as to reflect accurately the revenues received in each fiscal year?

Reply:

(a) The amount of revenue from land sales in 1996-97 which will be accounted for in Hong Kong Government’s consolidated accounts in 1997-98 is estimated to be $7.3 billion. The time-lag in the crediting of land revenue into Hong Kong Government’s consolidated accounts is due to the need to allow time for the proper sharing of the proceeds from land sales with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Land Fund in accordance with Annex III to the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

(b) We currently adopt a cash basis of accounting. Revenue and expenditure are recorded when cash is actually received or paid. While this meets the primary objective of Government's financial reporting, which is to demonstrate that the spending of public funds is for the purposes and within the limits approved by the legislature, we recognise the potential benefits of an accrual accounting system in terms of providing more comprehensive information on Government’s financial position and facilitating resource management. In the light of the findings of a 1994 study on the subject and subsequent efforts in producing accrual-based departmental resource accounts for a number of departments, we will continue to explore the wider use of accrual-based accounts and then determine whether we need to make changes to the basis of Government accounting. However, to record land revenue on an accrual basis when all other revenue and expenditure items are accounted for on a cash basis would result in a hybrid system. This would not be a good accounting practice and may result in misleading information.

End

22

Holders of recognizance form not eligible for HKID card * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

Question:

Regarding the issue of temporary permits (commonly known as "going-out passes") - which allow holders of such permits to move about in the territory - to certain illegal immigrants or visitors who have been granted extension of stay, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the procedures for the issue of "going-out passes" and the ranks of public officers who are authorised to issue such passes;

(b) of the criteria for issuing "going-out passes";

(c) whether the number of "going-out passes" issued during the first quarter of this year shows an upward trend in comparison with those issued in the corresponding period over the past two years; and

(d) whether holders of "going-out passes" are eligible for the Hong Kong Identity Card if they remain in the territory after 1st July this year?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Our policy is to repatriate all illegal immigrants and overstayers immediately unless there are justifiable grounds (see (b) below). Under such circumstances, the person will normally be released on recognizance under Section 36(1) of the Immigration Ordinance in lieu of detention under the authority of a Chief Immigration Officer. They are required to provide a surety of HK2,000 from a close relative resident in Hong Kong and report to the Recognizance Office every two to four weeks. These recognizance forms are commonly known as "outgoing passes". They are issued to illegal immigrants and overstayers in specific circumstances and are not applicable to visitors who have been granted extension of stay. Extension of stay endorsements are made on the applicants' travel documents.

(b) Recognizance will only be considered when the following criteria are met -

23

(i) there are strong compassionate grounds, e.g. non-release will result in long period of detention pending processing of their cases; and

(ii) there is no likelihood of abscondment.

(c) There has been an upward trend in the number of persons granted recognizance in the first three months this year because of the recent increase in the number of surrendered illegal immigrant children and Two-way Permit overstayers.

Statistics of recognizance granted since 1995 are as follows :-

TWP overstayers Illegal immigrants Total

1995 92 (15) 3383 (584) 3475 (599)

1996 808 (88) 3736 (590) 4544 (678)

1997 (Jan-Mar) (383) (1996) (2379)

() denotes the number of persons granted January to March in the respective year. recognizance from

The trend is being closely monitored. Both the Hong Kong and the Chinese authorities have undertaken to make publicity to quell the rumour of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Security forces on both sides have also stepped up their border patrol to prevent illegal immigration.

(d) The recognizance form does not confer any permission for the holder to stay in Hong Kong. It is only a prescribed form issued to an illegal immigrant or overstayer who has been granted recognizance temporarily as an alternative to detention while the case is being processed. It sets out certain conditions for the holder to comply with, such as the amount of money or number of sureties to be provided; and the time and frequency of reporting to the Immigration Department. The holder's status as an illegal immigrant or overstayer remains unchanged and once the person’s presence in Hong Kong is no longer required, removal will be effected at the earliest opportunity. Holders of recognizance forms are not eligible for a Hong Kong Identity Card even if they remain in the territory after 1st July 1997.

End

24

Feasibility study on retrofitting noise mitigation measures on existing roads

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

Question:

In May last year, I wrote a letter to the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch concerning the abatement of road traffic noise, and I was subsequently advised in writing by the Branch that the Environmental Protection Department had commissioned a territory-wide consultancy study to assess the feasibility of implementing remedial road traffic noise mitigation measures. As the study has now been completed, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the roads listed by the consultancy firm as requiring the implementation of noise mitigation works, and of the expected commencement dates of such works;

(b) as it is learnt that the consultancy firm has recommended in its report that noise mitigation works should be carried out in three stages, of the expected commencement dates of the works in the second stage covering Tuen Mun Road and Cheung Pei Shan Road; and

(c) when the measures on the abatement of road traffic noise currently in force will be reviewed?

Reply:

Mr President,

First of all, I would like to clarify the scope and objectives of the consultancy study which is the subject of this question. The consultancy study is on the feasibility of retrofitting noise mitigation measures on existing roads. It comprises two parts. The first is a desk-top review based on available traffic data and physical constraints such as space and fire fighting requirements in order to assess the practicability of installing noise barriers or enclosures on the noisy roads. It was completed in December 1995. Of some 740 road sections reviewed, 16 have been selected for detailed engineering investigations. The second part of the study focuses on these 16 road sections and aims to establish technical feasibility in terms of safety, public disturbance, maintenance, cost requirements and effectiveness. It commenced in October 1996 and is scheduled for completion in mid 1998. With regard to the specific questions raised -

25

(a) The list of road sections identified for more detailed engineering investigations is shown as below. An implementation timetable will be drawn up subject to the outcome of the study.

Road Sections Identified for Detailed Engineering Investigations

1. Island Eastern Corridor — Tai Koo Shing

2. Tung Tau Tsuen Road

3. Che Kung Miu Road

4. Tai Chung Kiu Road

5. Ma On Shan Road

6. Ting Kok Road

7. Po Lam Road

8. Fung Shue Wo Road

9. Tuen Mun Road — Tsuen Wan

10. Tuen Mun Road — Tsing Lung Tau

11. Tuen Mun Road — Sam Shing Hui

12. Castle Peak Road — Hung Shui Kiu

13. Castle Peak Road — Ping Shan

14. Hiram’s Highway

15. Cheung Pei Shan Road

16. Junk Bay Road — Kwun Tong

(b) The first part of the study only made preliminary recommendation to the Administration. The consultant is now proceeding with the second part to assess the engineering feasibility of implementing noise mitigation measures on the 16 selected road sections, including Tuen Mun Road and Cheung Pei Shan Road. The actual implementation timetable would be drawn up in the light of the findings.

(c) We will review the policy to deal with traffic noise from existing roads on the basis of the findings of the study.

End

26

Speed limit imposed on Route 3 and Route 9 * * ♦ ♦ *

Following is a question by the Hon Howard Young and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport, Mr Gordon Siu, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

As Route 3 and Route 9 arc the only two arteries connecting Tsing Yi Island with the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and the rest of the territory, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the comparison in terms of the higher traffic volume handled and speed limit imposed on Route 3/Route 9 and other major highways in the territory;

(b) of the traffic volume on Route 3 and Route 9 since they have become operational; and

(c) whether the Government will consider relaxing the present speed limit imposed on other major highways in the territory to bring it in line with that imposed on Route 3 and Route 9, so as to avoid the occurrence of a "bottlenecks" on those highways as a result of traffic coming in from the direction of the new airport and the North Lantau Expressway; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The speed limits imposed on Route 3/Route 9 and other major highways and their capacities are shown in the Annex;

(b) As regards Route 3, the West Kowloon Expressway and the Kwai Chung Viaduct were open to traffic in February 1997. The peak hour traffic volume is about 1,200 vehicles/ hour one way on both highways. The rest of Route 3 and Route 9 are not yet open to traffic.

27

(c) When setting speed limits for roads in Hong Kong, the Administration has regard primarily to safety and takes into consideration a number of factors including

(i) the length of the route;

(ii) topography and geometric design of the route; and

(iii) road surface characteristics.

It is on this principle that the speed limits of the roads connecting Route 3/ Route 9 have been determined. It should be noted that permitting higher vehicle speed would not necessarily increase road capacity as a longer distance between vehicles is required for safe braking.

Routes 3 and 9 join Tuen Mun Road at the northern end and the Western Harbour Crossing and the road network on Hong Kong Island at the south. Because of the topography, design and safety, the speed limits on Tuen Mun Road and on Hong Kong Island cannot be increased.

- 28 -

Annex

/.-..--.pi:.: Hi IB® stfi ftfKl ■ 3*S?wiS* W

Route 3 - Western Harbour Crossing (to be opened In late April 1997) 3 5 400 70

- West Kowloon Expressway (opened In February 1997) - Rambler Channel Bridge (to be opened in May 1997) - Cheung Ching Tunnel (to be opend in May 1997) - Approach Road to North West Tslng Yi Interchange (to be opened in May 1997) - Ting Kau Bridge (to be opened in early 1998) 3 5 400 80

- Kwai Chung Viaduct (opened in February 1997) 4 7 200 80

Route 9 - Lantau Link - North Lantau Expressway (to be opened in May 1997) 3 5 400 100

Other Highways Tolo Highway 3 5 400 80/100

Island Eastern Corridor 3 5 400 70

Tuen Mun Road 3 4 600* 70

* Lower capacity due to sharp road bends and steep gradients.

End

29

Number of triad-related crimes remains stable ♦ * * ♦ ♦

Following are 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:

It is reported that the recent fire at a karaoke bar killing 17 persons was suspected to have been caused by arson committed by triad members. In view of this, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) it has any policy of vigorously combating triad activities; if so, what the details are; and

(b) it has carried out any study to ascertain if there is a widespread public perception that triad activities are prevalent and likely to become worse in the future; if so, what the outcome of the study is?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The Government has always accorded a high priority in combating triad activities by adopting a three-pronged approach, viz, dedicated Police units, supported by necessary legislation and a well formulated publicity strategy.

Dedicated Polk# Units

The Police have established dedicated units to take proactive action against triad activities. In 1994, the Organised Crime and Triad Group were split into two bureaux, namely, the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, to deal with triad activities more effectively. In addition, both Narcotics Bureau and Commercial Crime Bureau take special interest in triad activities within their areas of responsibility. Apart from that, each Police Region has its own Anti-Triad Unit and each District has its own Anti-Triad Squad.

30

The manpower of these units has been significantly increased over the years. In 1995/96, 400 Police officer posts were created for front-line operational duties, of which 45 were specifically assigned to anti-triad duties. In 1996/97, over 350 posts were created for front-line operational duties, of which 232 were devoted to anti-triad duties at regional and district levels.

Supporting Legislation

To ensure that there are adequate legislative powers to tackle the triad problem, the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO) was fully implemented in 1995 to enhance the Police ability to investigate organised and serious crimes, including triad offences. The Ordinance makes provisions for special investigative powers, confiscation of proceeds of certain crimes including money laundering for certain offences. By the end of March 1997, the Police had made 24 applications to the courts for enhanced sentences and were successful in 11 of them involving 19 persons. The enhanced sentences ranged from an increase of one-third to two-thirds of the usual sentence. The total amount of proceeds of crime confiscated is more than $5.8 million.

In 1996, we introduced the Witness Protection Bill into this Council to enhance the effectiveness of the existing Witness Protection Programme and to establish a system for the change of identity of high-risk witnesses. If enacted, we believe that this will further encourage members of the public to come forward to give evidence, particularly in triad related cases.

Publicity Strategy

The Police need cooperation and support from members of the public in combating triad activities. To this end, the Police maintain ongoing publicity and close liaison with the public. The Police Public Relations Branch plays a key role in this area by formulating a series of anti-triad publicity, including the screening of announcement of public interest on television, advertising billboards and the production of information leaflets. The Crime Prevention Bureau also liaises closely with shops and firms to encourage them to report triad activities.

31

(b) We have not carried out any study to ascertain public perception in relation to triads. Contrary to some impression that triad activities are prevalent, the ratio of triad involvement in overall crimes in the past five years has remained relatively stable at about 5%. Indeed, the measures in part (a) have yielded encouraging results in combating triad activities. In 1996, there were a number of very successful anti-triad operations, for example, nine of the territory’s largest loansharking were smashed. The number of triad-related crimes, including blackmail, intimidation, wounding and serious assault and unlawful societies offences dropped by 21% when compared with 1995. To tackle the perception problem, we will continue with our publicity efforts to allay public concern in this area through every opportunity, such as regular reports on crime situation to the Fight Crime Committee, District Boards, District Fight Crime Committees and the media as well as close liaison with members of the public by our Police Public Relations Officers at the district level.

End

Study on female drug addiction problem *****

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

Question:

It is learnt that the Government-commissioned study on the female drug addiction problem conducted by the Department of Psychology of the Chinese University of Hong Kong was completed in the latter part of last year. Will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the findings and recommendations of the above study and how the Government will implement those recommendations;

(b) the number of female drug abusers in the territory in each of the past three years, and whether these figures indicate a rising trend in the number of female drug abusers; and

32

(c) the treatment and rehabilitation facilities provided for female drug abusers and the effectiveness of such facilities?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The study on young female drug abusers was commissioned by the Action Committee Against Narcotics in 1995 and was completed in December 1996. It seeks to identify the circumstances leading to drug abuse among young females and the implications for preventive and treatment programmes.

The circumstances leading to drug abuse, or so called ’’risk factors”, include positive attitude towards drugs, tendency for sensation seeking, susceptibility to peer group pressure, family disharmony, and exposure to peer and family drug users. On the other hand, women’s sense of self-efficacy, family cohesion, and the presence of social support are identified as "protective factors" that may buffer against drug abuse behaviour.

The findings also suggest that the effects of risk and protective factors on female drug abuse are mediated by women's psychological state. In particular, life satisfaction augments the buffering effect of protective factors in reducing drug abuse behaviour, whereas the presence of psychological distress enhances the effect of risk factors in increasing the vulnerability to drug abuse.

The study recommends a multi-component approach to the prevention and treatment of female drug abuse. On the prevention side, the approach suggests that -

(i) public education activities and media campaigns be launched to address the female drug abuse problem;

(ii) women who are at risk of drug abuse be encouraged to take part in alternative activities and to develop healthy hobbies; and

(iii) family life education programmes which emphasize harmony, cohesion and support among family members be organized as a buffer against the risk of drug abuse.

33

As far as treatment is concerned, the study recommends that -

(i) drug treatment programmes for female drug abusers should be flexible in its duration and format to allow for individual needs;

(ii ) apart from modifying drug abuse behaviour, women's psychological health should be attended to in the treatment process as the presence of psychological distress may compromise their response to the treatment programme;

(iii ) programmes for female drug abusers' parents, spouses and support providers be available to help them to become effective change agents and support providers; and

(iv) in view of the fact that the average relapse time for female drug abusers is about 6 months, the existing aftercare services for female drug abusers should be strengthened to include various skills training, job placement assistance and establishment of mutual support groups among female drug abusers and their family members to facilitate their re-integration into the community.

The Government endorses fully the study's recommendations. On preventive education, a TV API featuring female drug abuse problem has been produced and will be broadcast in the coming months. Joint programmes will also be organized with district School Liaison Committees to strengthen parent-child relationship. The Beat Drugs Fund further provides an additional source of funding to finance preventive education programmes for women at risk and other related anti-drug programmes. Concerning the treatment of female drug abusers, recommendations of the study have already been incorporated into the existing services provided by Government and voluntary agencies for treatment of female drug abusers. Follow-up discussions will continue to be held on the effective methods of strengthening and improving on the existing programmes.

(b) There is an upward trend in the total number of female drug abusers reported to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse during the years 1994-96, as follows -

34

Year Total number of drug abusm Number of female drug abusers %of total

1994 20,327 2,183 10.7%

1995 19,343 2,321 12.0%

1996 19,626 2,417 12.3%

(c) Drug addiction is a chronic relapsing medical condition affected by complex socio-psychological factors. We have a long-standing policy of adopting a multi-modality approach in the provision of drug treatment and rehabilitation services. Specific treatment facilities for female drug abusers include a compulsory treatment programme in the Chi Ma Wan Drug Addiction Treatment Centre operated by the Correctional Services Department, and a subvented voluntary in-patient treatment and rehabilitation programme in the Sister Aquinas Memorial Women's Treatment Centre run by the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts (SARDA). Apart from these, there are six non-subvented agencies, including Christian treatment agencies, providing drug treatment, aftercare and/or halfway house services for female drug abusers.

On the effectiveness of treatment and rehabilitation services for female drug abusers, in 1996, 74.8% of the total number of female drug abusers who completed the one-year compulsory supervision following their discharge from Drug Addiction Treatment Centre had neither relapsed into drug abuse nor been convicted of any crime during the supervision period. In the same year, for those female patients who completed SARDA’s two-year programme of treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare, 69.2% remained drug-free during the programme period. Such figures are higher than those for male drug abusers. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of these treatment programmes is being further looked into through a three-year research study to review the objectives and outcomes of various drug treatment modalities in Hong Kong. The study will be completed by the end of 1998.

As for the voluntary drug treatment programmes run by non-subvented agencies, an evaluation study on the effectiveness of their services is now being conducted by an independent institute. The study will be completed by the end of this year.

End

35

Data on epileptic patients ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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:

Does the Government know of:

(a) the total number of epileptic patients who attended the out-patient departments of public hospitals in the past year;

(b) the total number of patients who underwent epileptic surgery in the past year;

(c) the total number of epileptic patients discharged from public hospitals, as well as the number of these discharged patients who were in unstable condition after discharge and had frequent seizures, in the past year; and

(d) the current estimated number of patients who need to undergo epileptic surgery?

Reply:

(a) As the Hospital Authority’s (HA's) present automated recording system categorises out-patients according to specialties, and not diseases, the HA does not have readily available information on the number of epileptic patients attending the out-patient departments of public hospitals in the past year.

(b) In 1996/97, 43 patients received surgical treatment for epilepsy in HA’s hospitals.

(c) During the period July 1995 to June 1996, which is the latest information available for a full year, 3803 patients were admitted into HA’s hospitals for treatment of epilepsy. Out of these 3803 patients, 237 had four or more episodes of hospitalization during this period.

(d) Epileptic surgery was only recently introduced as a pilot scheme to deal with poorly controlled epilepsy patients potentially amenable to surgical therapy. The number of patients who need to undergo epileptic surgery will be assessed based on the outcome of the current pilot programme, which is still under evaluation.

End

36

Zero increase for postage rate proposed *****

Following is a question by the Hon Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Economic Services, Mr Stephen Ip, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The issue of special stamps by the Post Office has resulted in a substantial increase in the revenue of the Post Office. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of special stamp sets issued by the Post Office over the past three years, together with the quantity of each set issued and the net revenue generated from the sale of each set;

(b) whether the Post Office will consider reducing the rate of postage increase in future or not increasing the postage this year; and

(c) how the Government ensures that the extra revenue from the sale of special stamps will be put to effective use so as to enhance the costeffectiveness of the Post Office Trading Fund?

Reply:

Mr President,

The Post Office has issued five sets of commemorative stamps each year from 1994 to 1996 and one set of commemorative stamps in 1997 to date. The Post Office has also issued several sheetlets each year. It issued more sheetlets in 1996-97, mostly related to the HONG KONG '97 Stamp Exhibition. Details of the quantity of commemorative stamps and sheetlets sold and the total revenue generated (including handling charges etc.) are at Annex. The Post Office does not keep separate records of the sale of commemorative stamps after the first day of issue.

The recent surge in demand for philatelic products from the Post Office has generated additional revenue for the Post Office Trading Fund. After taking this factor into account together with the financial position of this trading fund and its projected revenue in the next few years, the Post Office proposes not to revise postage rates this year. It is, however, considering ways to improve the local postage rate structure.

The Post Office is considering options on how to make the best use of its operating surplus to enhance the cost-effectiveness of postal services to the public.

First Day Sales of Commemorative Stamps and Related Philatelic Products

Annex

Commemorative Stamp Issue Date of Issue Souvenir Sheets Sold Mint Stamps Sold Total Revenue HK$ Denomination of Mint Stamps Related Philatelic Products

1994 Year of the Dog 27.01.94 936,000 3,955.000 21,800,000 $1.00, $1.90, $2.40. $5.00

A Stamp is Bom 18.02.94 1.108,000 > 8,000,000 $5 Definitive Sheets

150th Anniversary of Police 04.05.94 7,879,000 22.000.000 $1.00. $1.20. $1.90. $2.00. $2.40, $5.00

Traditional Chinese Festivals 08.06.94 4.375,000 11,300,000 $1.00. $1.90, $2.40, $5.00

CCPA Pne-Congross Stamp Sheetlels 18.08.94 732.000 7,600,000 $10 Definitive Sheets

Commonwealth Games 25.08.94 3.881,000 10,700.000 $1.00, $1.90, $2.40, $5.00

Hong Kong Corals 17.11.94 872,000 4.069.000 19,900,000 $1.00, $1.90, $2.40, $5.00 i

1995 Year of the Pig 17.01.95 916,000 4.439.000 23,300.000 $1.00, $1.90. $2.40. $5.00 UJ

Hong Kong International Sporting Events 22.03.95 4,046,000 11,000,000 $1.00, $1.90, $2.40. $5.00 I

Hong Kong Rural Heritage 24.05.95 4.968,000 13,300,000 $1.00, $1.90, $2.40, $5.00

Royal Hong Kong Regiment 10.08.95 4,085.000 11,600,000 $1.20, $2.10. $2.60. $5.00

Singapore *95 $10 Definitive Stamp Sheetlels 01.09.95 545,000 5.700,000 $10 Definitive Sheets

Classics No. 6 $10 Definitive Stamp Sheetlels 09.10.95 621.000 6,500,000 $10 Definitive Sheets

Hong Kong Movie Stars 15.11.95 6,071,000 17,200,000 $1.20, $2.10, $2.60, $5.00

First Day Sales of Commemorative Stamps and Related Philatelic Products

□ Qi Commemorative Stamp Issue 1996 Year of the Rat Date of Issue 31.0.1.96 Souvenir Sheets Sold 898,000 Mint Stamps Sold 5,587,000 Total Revenue HK$ 28,100,000 Denomination of Mint Stamps $1.20, $2.10, $2.60, $5.00 Related Philatelic Products

Hong Kong '97 $10 Definitive 23.02.96 810,000 8,500,000 $10 Definitive

Stamp Sheetlets No. 1 Sheets

1996 Olympic Gaines 20.03.96 929,000 4,820,000 26.100,000 $1.20, $2.10. $2.60, $5.00

Hong Kong '97 $10 Definitive 18.05.96 1,446.000 15.000.000 $10 Definitive

Stamp Sheeflets No. 2 Sheets

Archaeological Finds of Hong 26.06.96 4,938,000 14,400,000 $1.20, $2.10. $2.60, $5.00

Opening of 1996 Summer 19.07.96 1,197,000 4,407,000 25,800,000 $1.20, $2.10, $2.60. $5.00

Olympic Games

Hong Kong Mountains 24.09.96 6,150,000 18,500,000 $1.30, $2.50, $3.10, $5.00

Hong Kong ’97 $10 Definitive 16.10.96 1.828,000 18,900.000 $10 Definitive i

Stamp Sheetlets No. 3 Sheets

Olympic Games $10 Definitive 29.10.96 2,702,000 28,400,000 $10 Definitive UJ 00

Stamp Sheetlets No. 11 Sheets

Hong Kong Urban Heritage 20.11.96 9,786,000 30,600,000 $1.30, $2.50. $3.10, $5.00 1

Serving the Community 04.12.96 3.358,000 19,400,000 $5 Definitive Sheets

1997 (January-March)

Hong Kong 1997 New Definitive 26.01.97 2,874.000 - Low Value 228,800.000 10 0, 20 0. 50 $1.00, $1.20, $1.30, High and Low Value

Stamps 1.362,000 - High Value $1.40, $1.80, $2.00. $2.10, $2.50. $3.10, Souvenir Sheets

$5.00, $10.00, $20.00. $50.00

Hong Kong ’97 $10 Definitive 12.02.97 3,861,000 40,200,000 $10 Definitive

Stamp Sheetlets No. 4 Sheets

Classics No. 7, 8 & 9 Definitive 14.02.97 3,315,000 168,300,000 $45.00 set of three sheets Definitive Sheets

Stamp Sheetlets

Hong Kong ’97 $10 Definitive 16.02.97 4,161,000 43,300,000 $10 Definitive

Stamp Sheetlets No. 5 Sheets

Year of the Ox 27.02.97 7.975.000 19,729,000 185,300,000 $1.30, $2.50, $3.10. $5.00

39

Figures on unemployment due to dismissal or redundancy

*****

Following is a question by the Hon Cheng Yiu-tong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Mr Joseph W P Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

The information provided by the Government indicates that since 1995, the main reasons for unemployment among those who had worked before were due to dismissal or redundancy. Amongst those people who became unemployed in the third quarter of last year, 59.4% were dismissed or made redundant, which was much higher than the figure of 30.7% in the same period in 1991. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the following:

(a) whether it has collected any information relating to items (i) to (iv) below; if so, please provide the following information in the past three years:

(i) the breakdown of the number of unemployed persons who were dismissed or made redundant by "sex and previous employment by trade classification", "age and previous employment by trade classification", "sex and previous occupation" and "age and previous occupation";

(ii) the numbers of persons, amongst the unemployed who were dismissed or made redundant, who had taken part in courses under the Employees Retraining Scheme or received

Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments

respectively;

(iii) the numbers of persons, amongst the unemployed who were dismissed or made redundant, who were engaged in the same trade for less than one year, one to less than four years, four to less than six years, and six years and above respectively;

the policies put in place by the Government to assist unemployed persons who were dismissed or made redundant to obtain reemployment, and the number of such persons who have been reemployed;

if not, what the reasons are; and whether the Government will consider collecting such information and publishing it on a regular basis; and

40

(b) whether it will consider requiring employers to inform the Labour Department when employees are dismissed or made redundant, so that the Labour Department can assist the displaced employees in obtaining re-employment; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a)(i) The different breakdown of the number of unemployed persons who became unemployed because of dismissal or lay-off for the past three years are set out in Tables 1-4 at Annex:

Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being 'dismissed or laid off, by previous industry (detailed group) and sex (Table 1);

Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off, by previous industry (detailed group) and age (Table 2);

Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off, by previous occupation and sex (Table 3); and

Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off, by previous occupation and age (Table 4).

(a)(ii) In the past three years (i.e. 94/95, 95/96 and 96/97), a total of 65,110 persons had participated in the various full-time retraining courses offered by the Employees Retraining Board. Those retrainees who were unemployed were accorded priority in enrolment for retraining courses.

The Employees Retraining Board (ERB) keeps no separate statistics on the number of retrainees who became unemployed as a result of retrenchment or lay-off, as these retrainees were eligible to apply for retraining courses on the same basis and enjoy the same priority as with any other unemployed persons. The ERB will consider whether it is useful to collect and publish these statistics on a regular basis.

41

We do not keep statistics on the number of unemployed persons who had been dismissed or laid off, and who are receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). This is because the CSSA Scheme seeks to provide assistance to financially vulnerable members of our community to meet their basic needs, regardless of sex, age, family status and background.

(a)(iii) A breakdown of the unemployed who were dismissed or laid off by length of service is not available. This is because respondents to Government's household survey usually have difficulty recalling the number of years he/she has worked in the same industry. As such, collecting the required information will impose an undue additional burden on respondents. The accuracy of the data collected may also be doubtful. For these reasons, the Government has no plan to collect such data.

(a)(iv) In tackling the unemployment problem, the Government's objective is to help all unemployed workers including those who were dismissed or laid off to re-enter the labour market mainly through the provision of employment services and appropriate training in the skills required of the labour market.

Since April 1995, the Labour Department has been providing unemployed persons with personalised employment service through the Job Matching Programme (JMP). Unemployed job-seekers joining this programme are provided with in-depth counselling, guidance and active job-matching service. Where appropriate, the Department will also refer unemployed job-seekers to tailor-made retraining programmes provided by the ERB. Since its inception in April 1995 to 31 March 1997, the JMP has registered 15,048 unemployed job-seekers and secured 11,427 job offers for them, representing a success rate of over 70%.

The ERB provides suitable retraining courses for unemployed and displaced workers so as to facilitate them to re-enter the job market. Many training bodies also provide placement service for those trainees who wish to seek employment upon completion of training. Since its inception in late 1992, ERB has provided a total of 174,553 retraining places for over 90,000 persons through its 58 training bodies at 133 training centres. The ERB estimates that around 70% of those who completed full-time retraining programmes could subsequently obtain employment.

42

We are also providing a comprehensive system of technical education and vocational training through the Vocational Training Council (VTC), Clothing Industry Training Authority and the Construction Industry Training Authority. The training courses so provided aim at enabling both the unemployed and employed persons to acquire new skills to enter the labour market or to upgrade their skills in order to avoid being displaced in the labour market.

During the past three years, the VTC had provided training for 94,000 full-time and 90,700 part-time students. As an active provider of ERB courses, the Clothing Industry Training Authority has provided training to about 2,300 unemployed/displaced workers during the same period. Meanwhile, the Construction Industry Training Authority has been providing a range of full-time short courses which are specially designed for workers who have been displaced as a result of economic restructuring. Some 2,920 workers were trained in these courses in the past three years.

(b) We do not consider it appropriate nor necessary to make it compulsory for employers to inform the Labour Department when employees are dismissed or laid off for the sake of providing employment service for the affected workers, for the following reasons:

(i) The Labour Department has in place a set of administrative measures to gather information about potential large-scale dismissals or retrenchments. These measures, which include maintaining close contacts with trade unions and employers concerned, have proved to be very effective in enabling the Department to offer timely employment services to affected workers.

(ii) The Labour Department’s Outreaching Placement Service (OPS) responds speedily to any major retrenchments by providing on-the-spot registration and immediate/priority job-matching and other employment-related services to retrenched workers. Since its inception on June 1995, the Department has provided this service for 12,926 workers in 118 retrenchment exercises.

43

(iii) Making it a mandatory requirement for employers to notify the Labour Department of their retrenchment plans will unnecessarily compel them to disclose their commercial decisions. Moreover, employers may wish to make alternative employment arrangements for the affected workers themselves, whilst the employees may wish to seek re-employment through other avenues.

(iv) It would impose an undue burden on small employers employing less than 20 persons who constitute 94% of the employers in Hong Kong.

(v) The Labour Department has been making continual efforts in publicising its employment services for unemployed job-seekers. Through its liaison work, it has also been encouraging employers to inform the Department of any major dismissal.

Table I Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off by previous industry (detailed group) and sex

Previous industry (Detailed group) 1994 Sex 1480 1222 Sex ffiSD 1226 Sex

Male 53 Female * Total tSSft Male 53 Female . * Total Male % Female * Total mt

Manufacturing 5 600 lliO SJQQ. 10-100. 6 700 16700 9 500 12CQ 14100

Food and beverage 300 100 300 100 100 200 100 300

Clothing and footwear 2 800 2 100 4 900 4 700 4 300 9 000 3900 2 700 6 600 i

Paper and printing 300 300 1 100 300 1400 1300 100 1400 4^

Other manufacturing industries 2 200 900 3 100 4 200 2 100 6 200 4 100 1 800 5900 1

Construction &&& IfiQQ _L00 4 700 11.100 11.200 22QQ _1JM 9 300

Foundation and superstructure 2 800 100 2 800 5 600 100 5 700 5 400 100 5 500

Decoration and maintenance {muftis 1 800 1,900 5 600 0 5 600 3 800 3 800

Table 1 (Conf d.) Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off

by previous industry (detailed group) and sex

f

Previous industry (Detailed group) 1994 Sex WN 1995 Sex ft® 12% Sex ftS'J

Male s Female ic Total 6U2f Male 33 Female * Total mt Male Female £ Total mt

Wholesale, retail and impo reexport trades, restaurants and hotels 3 300 rm 5 100 6 900 4 000 1LBOQ 8 900 4100 13_Q00

Wholesale/retail 900 800 1700 1 SOO 1400 3 200 3 000 1 900 4 900 1

Import/export trades 800 400 1200 700 900 1600 1 500 1 000 2 500 ■£> (JI

Rcslaurants/hotels 1 600 600 2 200 4 400 1 600 6 000 4 400 1200 5 600 1

Transport, storage and communication L6QQ 200 U2Q0 3 300 300 3 600 14QQ JQQ 4 800

Transport 1 400 200 1 600 3 100 200 3 300 4 JOO 300 4 400

Storage . 100 0 100 100 0 100 100 * 200

Communication 100 * iob 100 100 200 200 100 200

Table 1 (Cant’d.) Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off

by previous industry (detailed group) and sex

Previous industry (Detailed group) 1994 Sex mw 1995 Sex 1996 Sex fWJ

Male 55 Female Total «5f Male 55 Female * Total Male & Female * Total

Financing, insurance, real estate and business services 300 _2QQ .&1Q 1000 JOO L4QQ L^QQ _S2Q 2300

Financing 100 100 100 200 100 300 400 200 600

Insurance CHft* 0 4 100 0 100

Real estate and business services 200 100 400 700 300 1000 1200 300 1500

Community, social and personal services 1 000 300 I 200 2-QQQ 1200 3 200 2 200 1 000 12QD

Public administration 0 200 100 300 300 100 300

Education, medical and other health and welfare services 100 * 100 200 400 600 300 500 800

Other services 800 200 1 too I SOO 700 2 200 1600 500 2100

Others Kife 200 A! 300 < 100 .Q _LQQ

Total sat 16 600 5 700 22 300 34 500 12700 47 200 35 700 10 900 46700

Notes : • Less than 50.

Owing to rounding, (here may be a slight discrepancy between the sum of individual items and the total as shown in the table.

Since all estimates in (he table arc subject to sampling error, a zero figure may mean a non-zero figure of a small magnitude, iiumw ’ miw- •

Table 2 Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off by previous industry (detailed group) and age

Previous industry (Detailed group) 1994 Age group ®W1 1995 Age group 1226 Age group

15-29 30-49 >50 Total 15-29 30-49 >50 Total JtSJH 15-29 30-49 >50 Total *S5+

Manufacturing 1 300 5-200 2-2QQ 8209 2 600 10229 3.500. 162QQ 2700 8 700 2 800 14 J 00

Food and beverage 100 100 100 3C0 0 100 0 100 100 100 100 300

Clothing and footwear MIMO 600 3 000 1400 4 900 1 000 6 200 1700 9000 700 4 300 1 600 6 600

Paper and printing &a8$S»01®l® 100 100 200 300 400 800 200 1 400 600 600 100 1400

Other manufacturing industries 400 2100 600 3 100 1200 3 600 1500 6 200 1 200 3 600 1 000 5900

Construction &&& 1 300 2100 1300 42QQ 2 200 6700 2 600 .11.200 2700 42QQ 2200 9 300

Foundation and superstructure JftSJLtSlS ■ 800 1300 800 2 800 600 3 600 1400 5 700 1 500 2 600 1 500 5 500

Decoration and maintenance 600 800 . 500 <2 900 1 500 2 900 1 200 5 600 900 2 200 700 3 800

Table 2 (Cont'd.) Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off

by previous industry (detailed group) and age

Previous industry (Detailed group) 1994 Age group 1995 Age group 1996 Age group

15-29 30-49 >50 Total Ǥ!+ 15-29 30-49 >50 Total mt 15-29 30-49 >50 Total tsst

Wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels ms ’ ■ ORBJ5? 1 800 2 700 5_LQft 3 100 5 700 2£QQ 10 BOO 4 900 6JW 12D0Q

Whoksale/retail 800 800 200 1700 1000 1600 600 3 200 2 200 2 100 500 4 900 i

Import/export trades 400 700 100 1200 700 700 200 1600 1 100 1200 200 2 500 OO 1

Restaurants/hotcls awt/ass? 600 1 200 300 2200 1 300 3400 ’ 1 300 6000 1 500 3 100 1000 5 600

Transport, storage and communication 800 800 300 JL2QQ 1 300 L2Q2 500 3 600 1,800 Z2QQ 700 4 800

Transport 700 700 200 1 600 1 100 1700 500 3 300 1 600 2 100 700 4 400

Storage tfW 0 100 100 £ * 100 100 100 200

Communication 100 100 0 100 100 100 0 200 200 100 0 200

fable 2 (Cont'd.) Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off

by previous industry (detailed group) and age

<5- (19)

Previous industry (Detailed group) 1994 Age group 1225 Age group 1226 Age group

15-29 30-49 >50 Total 8Et 15-29 30-49 >50 Total mt 15-29 30-49 >50 Total mt

Financing, insurance, real estate and business services 200 300 100 600 700 jKS L4QQ 800 1 100 JQQ 2200

Financing £&£ 100 0 0 100 200 100 0 300 200 400 600

Insurance &»* 0 * 0 100 0 100 0 0

Real estale and business services fti£2W8MMI 100 200 100 400 400 400 300 1000 600 700 200 1 500

Community, social and personal services ttK'iMT&flAmm 400 400 JflQ 1 200 I 300 LSQQ 300 1200 1200 L5UQ 500 3 200

Public administration 0 0 * 100 200 * 300 100 200 100 300

Education, medical and other health and welfare services KttMtRmiKam 100 0 100 300 300 100 600 200 400 100 800

Ollier services 400 400 300 I 100 1 000 1 100 200 2200 900 900 300 2 100

Others Jtffc JI 200 * < IQ JfiQ 100 JflQ JI Jl

Total 5 900 11600 4 900 22 300 11 100 26 800 9 200 47200 13 700 24 600 8 400 46 700

«2t

Noles: • Less than 50.

•'34*50-

Owing to rcxinding, there may be a slight discrepancy between the sure of individual items nnd the total as shown in the table. iiiftMttntt • rat

Since all estimates in the table arc subject to sampling error, a zero figure may mean a non-zero figure of a small magnitude.

Tabic 3 Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off by previous occupation and sex

Previous occupation mraiw 1224 Sex _j±3L_ 1225 Sex _ _ 1996

Sex

Male Female Total Male % Female Total Mt Male Female Total Bit

Managers and administrators, professionals, and associate professionals JHRffiMRAJI* ’ MWflHRA* 1 500 300 1800 3 700 900 4 600 4 700 700 5 400 1

Clerks Ml 700 1200 1900 1500 2800 4400 1800 3 100 4 900 in o

Service workers and . shop sales workers mrtTRKisaraAfl 1800 900 < 2 700 4 900 2000 6 800 5 800 2 500 8 300 I

Craft and related workers XKRflHAJl 5 500 200 5 700 12 900 500 13400 11200 400 11 500

Plant and machine operators and assemblers 3 200 2 500 5700 4200 4 000 8 200 5 000 3 000 8 000

Elementary occupations jfhttWXA 3 800 700 4 500 7300 2 400 9700 7 100 1 300 8 500

Others 0 < 100 0 100

Total mt 16600 5 700 22 300 34 500 12700 47 200 35 700 10 900 46700

Notes: * Less than 50.

• 24*50 -

Owing to rounding, tliere may be a slight discrepancy between the sum of individual items and the total as shows in die table.

Since all estimates in the table arc subject to sampling error, a zero figure may mean a nojvzero figure of a small magnitude. ium«f ^iwwiwmiiMi^s • niwo-jw-r- • w.jl-

Tabic 4 Unemployed persons with the mode of leaving last job being dismissed or laid off by previous occupation and age

End


Previous occupation 1994 Age group 1995 Age group 1996 Age group Ml

15-29 30 - 49 >50 Total 15-29 30-49 >50 Total ttif 15-29 30-49 >50 Total mt

Managers and administrators, professionals, and associate professionals ffiffi&fjgdtgAfi • 500 1 100 200 I 800 1 200 2 600 800 4 600 1400 3 400 700 5 400

Clerks XM 900 900 100 1 900 2 300 1 600 500 4 400 2 800 1 600 500 4 900 UI

Service workers and shop sales workers 1 200 1 100 400 2700 2000 3 700 1 100 6 800 3200 4 000 1 100 8 300 ,

Craft and related workers X«RWttAA 1 500 2600 1 600 5 700 2 900 7 500 3 000 13 400 2 900 6 300 2 300 11 500

Plant and machine operators and assemblers 1 000 3 700 1 000 5 700 1200 5 700 1400 8 200 1 600 5 000 1 400 8 000

Elementary occupations ^EOiXA 800 2 100 I 500 4 500 1500 « 0 • 5 700 2 400 9 700 1 800 4 300 2 300 8 500

Others jm 0 0 0 100 100 0 0

Total mt 5 900 11 600 4 900 22 300 11 100 26 800 9 200 47 200 13 700 24 600 8 400 46 700

Notes: • Less (ban 50.

•^50<

Owing to rounding, (licrc may be a slight discrepancy between the sum of individual items and the total as shown in (be (able.

Since all csiimatcs in (he (able arc subject (o sampling error, a zero figure may mean a non-zero figure of a small magnitude. ih^Rsiy<iAjirj(i«iia«ftiiim^. • twm? • nfitete-•

52

Improvement measure for safe transport of vehicles ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

Question:

On 24 February this year, an explosion occurred in a container truck which was carrying motorcycles at the time, and it is learnt that there is at present no legislation prohibiting container trucks carrying motorcycles. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the controls which the Fire Services Department, the Transport Department and the Marine Department have under the existing legislation in regard to the carrying of dangerous goods by container trucks, and the details of such controls; and

(b) whether, in the wake of the above accident, these departments will consider amending the existing legislation concerned, so as to bring in new control measures to prevent the occurrence of similar accidents; if so, of the expected implementation date of these new measures?

Reply:

(a) The Dangerous Goods (General) Regulations, Cap. 295, provides control on the conveyance of Cat.2 (compressed gas except LPG) and Cat.5 (substances giving off inflammable vapour) dangerous goods. No person shall use any mechanically propelled vehicle for the conveyance by road of these goods in containers unless the use of such vehicle has been approved by the Director of Fire Services. The Director of Fire Services also needs to be satisfied that these dangerous goods are carried in a tank wagon of an approved size, type and construction, and is equipped for the carriage, loading and discharge of such goods.

Under the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations, Cap. 374, Transport Department has published the Code of Practice for the Loading of Vehicles which deals with the safe loading/mounting of goods on vehicles. The Code of Practice has a reminder on the need to seek the Director of Fire Services' approval on the transport of dangerous goods.

53

Marine Department do not have control on transportation by container trucks on land.

(b) Following the accident, Fire Services Department, Transport Department and Marine Department held discussions to examine possible improvement measure to handle similar problems in future. Transport Department would formulate and add advisory guidelines in the Code of Practice for the safe transport of vehicles. It will advise that the fuel tanks of all vehicles and motor cycles must be drained before they are packed and carried by vehicles. They would also issue, in two months' time, a summary pamphlet on Safe Loading of Vehicles with an advisory paragraph on safe transport of vehicles. Fire Services Department will also arrange meetings with people involved in the trade to ensure that they are well aware of the fire safety precautions that should be taken.

End

Bank loans *****

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

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council of the average and largest percentages, in terms of number and amount, of the following categories of loans out of all loans granted by the banks in the territory, as well as the standard deviation of percentages, in each quarter of the past year:

(a) personal property mortgage loans;

(b) company residential property mortgage loans;

(c) commercial property mortgage loans;

(d) borrowings by property developers; and

(e) other property related loans?

54

Reply:

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) collects information from authorized institutions under the Banking Ordinance about loans and advances in terms of total amount outstanding on a quarterly basis. Statistics related to individual transactions are not kept by the HKMA. The relevant information in respect of property-related lending by authorized institutions in 1996 is set out in the attached table.

55

Property-related lending in Hong Kong by authorized institutions in 1996 (in HKS million)

As at end of Personal property mortgage loans (Note 1) Company residential property mortgage loans (Note 2) Commercial property mortgage loans (Note 3) Borrowings by property developers (Note 4) Other property ^related Ioans (Note 5) Total loans and advances for use in Hong Kong

1st Quarter 362,893 56,341 77,076 94,760 34,871 1,445,529

% of total loans (25.1%) (3.9%) (5.33%) (6.56%) (2.41%)

2nd Quarter 382,085 62,631 80,332 97,711 36,086 1,518,367

% of total loans (25.16%) (4.12%) (5.29%) (6.44%) (2.38%)

3rd Quarter 396,535 69,381 82,273 100,802 38,125 1,559,551

% of total loans (25.43%) (4.45%) (5.28%) (6.46%) (2.44%)

4th Quarter 420,748 78,030 87,134 106,074 42,998 1,635,337

% of total loans (25.73%) (4.77%) (5.33%) (6.49%) (2.63%)

Highest percentage 25.73% 4.77% 5.33% 6.56% 2.63%

Average percentage 25.36% 4.31% 5.31% 6.49% 2.47% -

Standard Deviation 0.25% 0.33% 0.02% 0.04% 0.10%

56

Notes.;

(1) Personal property mortgage loans refer to residential mortgage

loans to private individuals and include those for the purchase of flats in Home Ownership Scheme and Private Sector Participation Scheme.

(2) Company residential property mortgage loans refer to loans to

I companies to finance investment in residential properties.

(3) Commercial property mortgage loans refer to loans to companies

to finance investment in commercial properties. Loans to finance the acquisition of properties for a borrower’s own use are not included under this category and are classified separately according to the principal activities of that borrower.

(4) Borrowings by property developers refer to Ioans to finance property development for various types of activities, including those for building and construction.

(5) Other property-related loans refer to loans to finance investment in

industrial properties and other cases where a loan cannot be readily classified by type of properties, e.g. where a loan is extended to a property developer not specifically tied to a particular project or where the borrower is involved in more than one sector.

End

57

Urban renewal in progress * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council:

(a) on the progress in the implementation of the proposals set out in the policy statement on "Urban Renewal in Hong Kong";

(b) whether an agreement has been reached with the Land Development Corporation (LDC) to the effect that the LDC in future may, without having to seek approval from the Executive Council, invoke the Crown Lands Resumption Ordinance to resume land required for urban renewal projects; and

(c) when an agreement can be reached with the LDC regarding the setting up of an Urban Renewal Authority?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) Good progress has been made in implementing the proposals set out in the policy statement on "Urban Renewal in Hong Kong". We have already set up dedicated urban renewal teams in the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch and Planning Department and proposed a Building Safety Inspection Scheme to ensure proper building maintenance. We will be granting land at reduced premium to the Hong Kong Housing Society for the construction of rehousing units for the Land Development Corporation (LDC). We are finalizing arrangements for introducing the linked site approach by which a profitable site is granted to cross-subsidize a financially non-viable redevelopment project. An inter-departmental working group has also been set up to study and to make recommendations on the establishment of an Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and the creation of a rehabilitation fund to assist owners of domestic units to renovate or upgrade their buildings.

58

(b) There is no such agreement. It has always been our intention that approval for land resumption will rest with the Executive Council.

(c) As mentioned in (a), an inter-departmental working group is studying the proposal to set up a URA. The subject is highly complex and it will take the working group probably another six months to examine the various issues in detail.

End

"Theft by finding" may be liable to imprisonment * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Following are a question by the Hon Law Cheung-kwok and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Peter Lai, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the number of reported cases of loss of wallets, and the number of such cases in which the lost wallets were recovered, in each of the past three years;

(b) the number of persons convicted of "theft by finding", as well as the average penalty imposed on these offenders, in each of the past three years; and

(c) the measures taken by the Government to publicise the message that "theft by finding" is an offence under the law?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The Police keep statistics on cases according to the nature of offences. They do not keep separate statistics on the number of reported cases of loss of wallets, which is not an offence.


(c) Instead of publicising the sole message that "theft by finding' is an offence under the law, the Administration have incorporated this in the overall context of publicising the values of "honesty and integrity" by -

i) distributing booklets and teaching kits on responsible citizenship as part of the civic education programme;

ii) establishing honesty, principled morality and common good as the core values of the Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools;

iii) incorporating the values of honesty and integrity into the subjects of Chinese Language, General Studies and Religious Education from primary to senior secondary levels; and

iv) stressing the importance of law abiding behaviours and the consequences of committing criminal offences in the Police’s anti-crime publicity.

60

Annex

Number of Persons Convicted for "Theft by Finding" and the Penalties Imposed

Penalties 1994 1995 1996

Immediate Imprisonment

Less than 3 months 30 66 42

3 months - less than 6 months 24 32 9

6 months - less than 9 months 6 12 4

9 months - less than 1 year 3 3 1

1 year - less than 3 years 6 2 2

Sub-total 69 115 58

Fine

Less than $1,000 76 66 41

$1,000 - less than $4,000 103 77 57

$4,000 - less than $7,000 6 6 7

$7,000 - less than $10,000 1 0 0

Sub-total 186 149 105

Training Centre 2 0 1

Detention Centre 1 2 0

Drug Addiction Treatment Centre 14 15 14

Probation Order 11 12 6

Community Service Order 1 1 4

Detention Order 0 1 0

Suspended Imprisonment 31 18 16

Bound Over/Conditional Discharge 19 10 4

Caution/Absolute Discharge 5 3 0

TOTAL 339 326 208

End

61

Assessment of medical manpower ♦ * * * ♦

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

Question:

It is learnt that the Hospital Authority's budget for 1997/98 includes a provision for providing additional 669 beds in public hospitals. However, it is learnt that the President of the Public Doctors' Association has stated that the establishment of medical personnel in public hospitals should be increased by a further 10% to alleviate the chronic shortage of medical staff, instead of providing more hospital beds. In this connection, does the Government know whether the Hospital Authority:

(a) has assessed the staffing level of medical personnel in each of the public hospitals before drawing up the budget; and

(b) will allocate additional provision for the recruitment of more medical personnel?

Reply:

The provision of sufficient manpower including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals is crucial to the delivery of quality care services and the Hospital Authority (HA) has carefully assessed the staffing levels and requirements in each public hospital before drawing up its annual plan and allocating resources to different institutions.

The assessment includes a review of the current and projected workload, skillmix between different professionals, advancement in medical developments, productivity improvements and changes in patients' requirements.

Whenever new beds are commissioned, a package of resources including manpower, drugs and other related provisions is provided to the hospital concerned. Accordingly, extra provision has been included in the 1997/98 Draft Estimates for the recruitment of additional medical personnel to cater for new beds.

End

62

Visit programmes arranged by the Government

*****

Following is a question by Dr the Hon Law Cheung-kwok and a written reply by the acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Stella Hung , in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

Will the Government inform this Council -

(a) of the number of overseas visitors who came to visit the territory in each of the past three years by arrangement of and under the sponsorship of the Hong Kong Government, together with a breakdown of these visitors by nationality;

(b) of the policy objective and effectiveness of the above sponsored visits; and

(c) whether the current policy objective of inviting politicians or other people from mainland China and Taiwan to visit the territory is the same as the policy objective mentioned in the answer to (b) above; if not, why not?

Reply:

Mr President,

(a) The total number of overseas visitors to HK whose programmes were arranged and sponsored by the Hong Kong Government (mainly by the Government Information Services Department) over the past three years is as follows -

Type of visit 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97

1. Fully-sponsored1 83 96 138

2 2. Partially-sponsored 31 53 47

3. Programme-only3 594 581 782

63

These visitors came from different parts of the world» as follows -

Number of visitors

Area 1994/95 19J.5/96 1996/97

Pull sponsorship Partial sponsorship Programme only Full sponsorship Partial sponsorahi P Programme only Full SPOltfOfilUB Partial Programme only

Continental Europe 31 1 66 24 2 136 45 3 227

United Kingdom 17 12 51 15 11 35 34 17 45

United States of America 4 3 363 5 33 213 4 0 391

Canada 1 11 26 2 0 54 4 0 4

People’s Republic of China1 24 A 42 3 3 29 V 7 13

GATT/ WTO 1 3 0 1 2 0 1 . 1 6

Japan 1 0 17 3 0 71 4 19 42

Australia/ New Zealand 0 0 24 2 1 11 5 0 13

Other regions* 4 1 47 2 1 58 12 0 41

Total 83 31 594 96 53 581 138 47 782

64

Notes:

I. Fully-sponsored visits : Those for which the visitor has been invited to Hong Kong- by the Government and tor which all expenditure relating to airfares, hotel accommodation, meals and land transport is met by the Government.

2. Partially-sponsored visits : Those for which the VIP, visiting Hong Kong for his own purposes, has been invited to extend his visit by a few days in order to undertake a Government programme. Hotel accommodation, meals and land transport are paid for by the Government.

3. Programme-only visits : Those for which there is minimal Government expenditure. Government simply arranges a programme of visits and • meetings for the visitor.

* Other regions include Belarus, Brazil, Congo, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, APEC and the United Nations.

/

#z Visitors from the Mainland were sponsored to come to Hong Kong under the following programmes -

(i) the Sponsored Visitors’ Programme organised by the Government Information Services Department;

(ii) the high-level sponsored visits arranged by the Constinitional Affairs Branch; and

(iii) the legal study visits organised by the Legal Department.

- 65 -

(b) & (c) The policy objective of the various sponsored visit programmes arranged by the Hong Kong Government is to provide an opportunity for important overseas visitors to gain first-hand knowledge of Hong Kong including a better understanding of how the Hong Kong Government works.

The Sponsored Visitors’ Programme organised by the Information Services Department enables visitors from all over the world to be informed of the opportunities that Hong Kong offers so that they can perceive Hong Kong in a proper and positive manner. Targeted visitors include politicians, parliamentarians, business people, journalists, academics, officials and other important opinion formers from countries with strong ties, particularly economic, with Hong Kong. This Programme was extended to include Mainland officials in June 1995 thereby providing an additional channel for communicating with our Mainland counterparts.

In addition, the Constitutional Affairs Branch organises some high-level sponsored visits on a reciprocal basis to allow very senior officials of Hong Kong and the Mainland to gain a better understanding of each other’s administrative system. The Legal Department also arranges legal study visits with the Mainland on a reciprocal basis to enhance the mutual understanding of the two sides' legal systems.

These sponsored visit programmes have proved to be effective. While there is no precise science in monitoring whether the sponsored visits achieve the intended purposes, feedback obtained from various sources including our overseas offices and our officers who have met with the visitors indicates that many visitors use their newly-acquired knowledge of Hong Kong. They have helped to promote a better understanding between Hong Kong and the rest of the world including the Mainland.

Taiwan is not covered in the above sponsored visit programmes.

End

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for Director of Information Services

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Thursday, April 17,1997

Contents Page No.

Legislation on Right of Abode............................................ 1

Bill to facilitate enforcement of maintenance orders..................... 2

$320 million for RPIS projects in 97/98 ................................. 3

Unemployment and underemployment statistics for Dec - Mar................ 4

Index of industrial production for 1996 ................................. 5

ExCo approves amendments to Hutchvision's Licence........................ 8

Mainland-HK Engineering/Construction Standards Seminar '97............... 9

79 convicted pollution cases recorded in March.......................... 10

Re-launch of the posting box coin bank.............................. 11

21-Gun Salute........................................................... 12

1

Legislation on Right of Abode *****

The following statement is issued by the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews:

"On 1 July 1997 the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will enter into force. The right of abode of permanent residents of the Region will be provided for under Article 24 of the Basic Law. Consistent with the proper interpretation of Article 24, the Legislature of the Region may enact legislation amending the Immigration Ordinance to provide in greater detail for the implementation of the Article. Although it is desirable for the amendments to enter into force on 1 July 1997, it is not essential for effective immigration control that they do so, provided they are enacted and enter into force within a short period of time. Before domestic legislation is enacted, the Director of Immigration can make her decisions in right of abode matters on the basis of the provisions of Article 24 of the Basic Law.

"If legislation to amend the Immigration Ordinance is enacted in a manner which raises a doubt as to the validity of the amending legislation, then it is inevitable that that point will be taken in any proceedings before a tribunal or court in which a person’s status as a permanent resident is in issue. Whatever the outcome of such proceedings, until the proceedings and any appeal is finally disposed of, the state of the law in the vital area of immigration will be uncertain. From past experience we know that a significant proportion of judicial review cases each year relate to immigration matters.

"It may have been assumed from the Government's proposal to publish a White Bill that the Government has already prepared a draft bill which could be introduced into the Legislative Council or handed to the Chief Executive (Designate). That is not the case. The Government’s proposal to the Chinese side was that a White Bill would be published by end May/early June. No bill in any form has as yet been drafted but a bill will be available for publication by 30 June 1997."

End

2

Bill to facilitate enforcement of maintenance orders *****

A Bill seeking to facilitate the recovery of arrears of maintenance due from a defaulting maintenance payer will be gazetted tomorrow (Friday).

The Marriage and Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1997 which contains amendments to the Guardianship of Minors Ordinance (GMO), the Separation and Maintenance Orders Ordinance (SMOO), the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance (MCO) and the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance (MPPO), is aimed at facilitating better enforcement of maintenance orders.

A Government spokesman said the Bill would also empower the court to order the sale of matrimonial property, to bring the aforementioned ordinances in line with the Age of Majority (Related Provisions) Ordinance which provides that a person shall attain full age at 18 years old in most cases and to rectify the gender-biased provisions in the SMOO and MPPO.

The spokesman said the proposed amendments were mainly based on the recommendations made by a working group appointed by the Chief Justice to review practices and procedures relating to matrimonial proceedings.

"Taking into account the working group's recommendations contained in a report published last August, the Government has made a number of proposals under the Bill," he said.

One of them is the Attachment of Income Orders (AIO). Under this proposal, the court may issue an order to attach the income of a maintenance payer who has defaulted in payment without reasonable causes.

"For example, the maintenance payer's employer may be required to deduct payments from his wages and pay the amount direct to the payees," the spokesman said.

The Bill also proposes that all maintenance payers should be required to notify the payees concerned or other persons specified by the court of any change of address by registered mail within 14 days of such a change.

Another proposal is to empower the court to make order for the sale of matrimonial property.

3

"At present, the courts do not have jurisdiction to order the sale of matrimonial property even where such sale is necessary for the property to be divided equitably between the spouses or ex-spouses in matrimonial proceedings," the spokesman added.

As regards provisions relating to the age of majority, the Government proposes that the court may make a maintenance order for a period up to a child's eighteenth birthday or extending beyond the child's eighteenth birthday if the child is, or will be, undergoing education or training or there are special circumstances.

In addition, the Bill will also rectify certain gender-biased provisions in the SMOO and MPPO so that either party to a marriage can apply for maintenance order on the same grounds under the two ordinances.

The Bill will be introduced to the Legislative Council on April 30 this year.

End

$320 million for RPIS projects in 97/98 *****

The Government will spend $320 million on 257 Rural Planning and Improvement Strategy (RPIS) Minor Works projects in 1997/98 to improve the infrastructure and living environment in rural areas, the Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Shelley Lau said today (Thursday).

Speaking at a ceremony marking the completion of the $1.8 million Tan Chuk Hang Vehicular Bridge in Fanling, Mrs Lau said the Home Affairs Department (HAD) had introduced a two-tier administrative structure comprising the RPIS Minor Works Steering Committee and the nine NT District Working Groups to oversee and expedite the programme's implementation.

Describing the Tan Chuk Hang vehicular bridge project as an example of the successful implementation of the RPIS Minor Works project, Mrs Lau believed the project would benefit some 2,000 villagers living nearby by alleviating the risk of flooding.

Undertaken by the North District Office, the project included the construction of the bridge and a gabion retaining wall to reinforce the existing river banks.

4

"It is very encouraging that so far, 33 RPIS Minor Works projects worth a total of $31 million have already been completed in the district. Of these, projects worth $20 million have been undertaken by the Works Section of the North District Office," she added.

Also attending the ceremony, Deputy Secretary for Works, Mr Keith Kwok stressed that the key to the successful implementation of RPIS Minor Works projects is local participation and co-operation as well as HAD’s close working relationship with other government departments.

Mrs Lau also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the North District Board, North Rural Committees and concerned government departments for their support.

End

Unemployment and underemployment statistics for Dec - Mar *****

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period December 1996 -February 1997 was 2.4%, and the underemployment rate was 1.2%, according to the latest labour force statistics released today (Thursday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

For the period January - March 1997, the provisional seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.5%, and the provisional underemployment rate was 1.1%.

Commenting on these figures, a Government spokesman said that, having tightened somewhat since the latter part of last year, overall labour market conditions were generally stable in the most recent months. For the latest period January - March 1997, the slight increase in the unemployment rate was observed mainly in the construction and transport sectors, while the situation in the other major sectors was generally stable. As to the underemployment rate, decreases occurred mainly in the construction and restaurants and hotels sectors, while the situation in the other major sectors was stable.

Total employment continued to grow at a pace distinctly faster than that of the labour force. In the three months ending February 1997, total employment registered an increase of 3.8% over a year earlier. Over the same period, total labour force grew by 3.0%.

5

During the period December 1996 - February 1997, the number of unemployed persons was estimated at 68 400, and the number of underemployed persons at 36 600.

The unemployment and underemployment statistics were obtained from a continuous General Household Survey. The survey for December 1996 - February 1997 covered a quarterly sample of some 23 200 households or 77 700 persons, selected scientifically to represent the land-based civilian non-institutional population in Hong Kong. Data were obtained from the survey by interviewing each member aged 15 or over in the households sampled.

In the survey, the definitions used in measuring unemployment and underemployment follow closely those recommended by the International Labour Organisation.

Being 'seasonally adjusted' refers to the fact that unemployment rate has been adjusted for seasonal variations in the proportion of first-time job-seekers in the labour force.

Detailed analysis of labour force characteristics is given in the report on the General Household Survey which is published four times a year.

The next report covering the quarter ending March 1997 will be on sale at the Government Publications Centre at ground floor, Low Block, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong, by the end of June 1997.

End

Index of industrial production for 1996

*****

The index of industrial production for the whole year of 1996 decreased by 3.5% over 1995, according to the results of a survey released today (Thursday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Analysed by industry group, output of the basic metals and fabricated metal products industry recorded a decrease of 8.9%.

Output of the textiles (including knitting) industry and the wearing apparel (except footwear) industry decreased by 6.3% and 4.3% respectively.

6

A decrease of 5.1% was registered in the output of the industry group of electrical and electronic products, machinery, professional equipment and optical goods. Within this group, the output of machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components increased marginally, by 0.1%, whereas the output of consumer electrical and electronic products decreased by 11.0%.

Decreases in output were also recorded in the paper products and printing industry (-1.9%) and the food, beverages and tobacco industry (-1.0%).

On the other hand, output of the chemical, rubber, plastic and non-metallic mineral products industry increased slightly, by 0.1%. Within this group, output of plastic products decreased by 3.9%.

The index of industrial production for the fourth quarter of 1996 decreased by 3.0% over the same quarter of 1995, and by 0.9% over the third quarter of 1996.

The index of industrial production reflects changes of local manufacturing output in real terms. In other words, it measures the volume of local production after discounting the effect of price changes.

More detailed information can be obtained from the "Quarterly Index of Industrial Production, 4th Quarter 1996" report, which is on sale at $11 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 result may be directed to the General Economic Surveys Section of the Census and Statistics Department at telephone 2805 6643.

7

Indices of industrial production by industry group and selected component industry (1986= 100)

Industry group / Selected component industry Index for 4th Qtr. 1996 % change over Percentage change in the index for 1996 as a whole

4th Qtr. 1995 3rd Qtr. 1996

1. Food, beverages and tobacco 163 -5.3 -7.6 -1.0

2. Wearing apparel (except footwear) 126 -2.4 +8.6 -4.3

3. Textiles (including knitting) 111 -1.5 -8.6 -6.3

4. Paper products and printing 257 -1.4 -13.9 -1.9

5. Chemical, rubber, plastic and non-metallic mineral products 67 +3.7 +4.2 +0.1

within which : Plastic products (39) (+3.2) (-1.4) (-3.9)

6. Basic metals and fabricated metal products 88 -6.8 -3.8 -8.9

within which : Fabricated metal products (83) (-8.7) (-5.8) (-10.0)

(except machinery and equipment)

7. Electrical and electronic products, machinery, professional equipment and optical goods 185 -7.0 +5.3 -5.1

within which : Consumer electrical and electronic products (97) (-10.1) (-11.0) (-11.0)

: Machinery, equipment, apparatus, parts and components (3H) (-3.2) (+10.9) (+0.1)

8. Miscellaneous manufacturing industries 89 +5.5 +4.5 +2.4

ALL MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES 130 -3.0 -0.9 -3.5

Notes : 1. Four selected component industries, which carry relatively large weights and are major components of their relevant industry groups, are also included in the above table. For easy reading, the figures of these selected component industries are shown in brackets.

2. As from the first quarter of 1992, the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC) is used to form the industry groups and selected component industries presented in the above table. For the exact coverage of the industry groups and component industries in terms of HSIC codes, please refer to the publication ’Quarterly Index of Industrial Production, 4th Quarter 1996'.

End

8

ExCo approves amendments to Hutchvision’s Licence *****

The Executive Council has approved a number of amendments to the Satellite Television Uplink and Downlink Licence held by Hutchvision Hong Kong Limited.

The amendments are to give effect to the recommendations made by the Broadcasting Authority, which conducted a Mid-term Review of Hutchvision’s Licence in 1996.

A spokesman for the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch said today (Thursday): ’’Conditions have been incorporated in Hutchvision’s Licence to ensure that Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) operators will still be allowed to retransmit STAR TV's free-to-air programmes to local viewers even after the Copyright Bill becomes law.

"This is necessary because, among other things, the Bill seeks to remove the existing exemption given to SMATV operators for retransmitting free-to-air satellite broadcasts without being considered to have infringed their copyright."

Another major amendment endorsed is that Hutchvision will from now on be required to pay an annual full cost-recovery licence fee of $4.3 million, phased in over five years, instead of an annual licence fee of $46,000 previously.

At the same time, the service origination charge paid by Hutchvision (currently $5.18 million) will be waived.

The amended licence will remain valid until 2002.

End

9

Mainland-HK Engineering/Construction Standards Seminar '97

*****

The two-day seminar on Engineering and Construction Standards held in Beijing this week co-organised by China and Hong Kong has provided an excellent forum for people occupying prominent positions in the related trades and professions to meet and exchange ideas, the Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang said today (Thursday).

The seminar has enabled both sides to establish and strengthen contacts and provided a foundation for further and more specific exchange in future, said Mr Kwong who had led the Hong Kong party of 73 delegates to Beijing on Monday and Tuesday.

Various counterparts from both sides develop a better understanding of the different practices and standards that exist, acknowledging the different background, particularly in the light of the policy of "one country, two systems" to which they pay regard.

"Many Hong Kong professionals have been anxious about the future direction of standardisation in the Mainland."

"From the seminar and the various occasions on which the issue was discussed, it has been made clear that control and standardisation would be strengthened in order to improve quality of works," he said.

"The building development will be among one of their first areas where more comprehensive standards and specifications will be drawn up under policies being formulated."

Mr Kwong said that during a visit to the Ministry of Construction which coorganised the Seminar, the Vice Minister of Construction, Mr Tan Qinglian told the Hong Kong delegates that control would be strengthened on developers and enterprises in order to improve quality; and to bring about advancement in respect of standards, quantity surveying, marketing and site control.

Mr Tan also expressed an interest in further co-operation, and to find out more about Hong Kong’s practices in the areas of construction safety, management and quality control during the visit attended also by representatives from the Hong Kong organisers including the Hong Kong Construction Association, Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors and the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.

10

The seminar, opened by the Vice Minister of Construction, Mr Zhao Baojiang, and the Secretary for Works was attended by over 140 delegates from the Mainland and Hong Kong including senior government officials, professionals and academics who also participated in a number of presentations and discussion sessions.

The Mainland delegates were headed by the President of the China Association for Engineering Construction Standardisation, Mr Yang Sizhong and Director, Department of Standards and Norms of the Ministry of Construction, Mr Xu Yiping.

Besides officials from Beijing, some delegates came from as far as Shanghai, Sichuan, Hangzhou and Harbin to attend the Seminar.

End

79 convicted pollution cases recorded in March *****

A total of 79 convictions were recorded in the courts in March for breaching anti-pollution legislation enforced by the Environmental Protection Department.

Among them, 17 were convictions made under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO), 39 under the Noise Control Ordinance (NCOX 11 under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance(APCO), one under the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance (OLPO) and 11 under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO).

The fines ranged from $1,500 to $180,000.

Chun Wo Building Construction Limited was fined for $180,000 for permitting the use of powered mechanical equipment without a valid permit.

End

11

Re-launch of the posting box coin bank ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, announced today (Thursday) that to meet the popular demand for the Posting Box Coin Banks at the Hong Kong ’97 Stamp Exhibition, the Hong Kong Post Office would re-launch sale of the Coin Bank to the public as a one-off exercise from April 21 to 26, 1997.

He said: ’’For customer convenience, sale of the Coin Bank will be done through a subscription system. No queuing up at the post offices is necessary.”

Subscription forms will be available at all post offices between April 21 and 26, 1997. Completed subscription forms can be handed in at any counter office, or sent in by post. Payment can be made by cash or cheque, or by EPS, credit cards, Mondex where such acceptance facilities are available at the counter offices. For applications by post, payment can only be made by cheque. Subscription after the April 26 deadline will not be entertained. Subscription by mail should be postmarked no later than April 26.

The price of the Coin Bank is HK$80 each. There is no limit on the subscription quantity. For any single purchase of 300 Coin Banks or more, a 10% discount off the price will be offered. However, priority of delivery will be given to orders for less than 300.

The acceptance of the subscription for purchase of the Coin Bank and the relative priority for delivery of the items is subject to the availability of the stock.

Subscribers can collect the Coin Bank at eight designated collection centres set up for this purpose. These centres will be located in Hong Kong East, Hong Kong West, Kowloon East, Kowloon West, Tsuen Wan/Kwai Chung, Tuen Mun, Shatin, and New Territories (North).

Alternatively, applicants can have their orders delivered to a local address (except remote areas) for which a nominal delivery fee will be levied: HK$5 for each Coin Bank, with a maximum flat rate of HKS200 for 40 or more Coin Banks.

12

Mr Footman stated, "The re-launch of the Coin Bank under this subscription system and with a door delivery option is an initiative of the Hong Kong Post Office to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, as part of its mission."

"There has been a lot of interest in these coin boxes. As for stamps, we are advising our customers to consider their needs carefully before making any orders," he added.

End

21 -Gun Salute

*****

The Royal Navy’s saluting guns will fire at 1200 hrs on Monday, April 21 to mark the anniversary of HM The Queen’s Birthday.

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.

Other 21-Gun Salutes to be fired in 1997 are:

Monday, June 2 - Anniversary of HM The Queen's Coronation

Tuesday, June 10 - Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh's Birthday

All salutes take place at 1200 hrs. Details of other Gun Salutes during 1997 will be announced in due course.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

* (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Return.Slip

To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong

(Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my Internet e-mail account ____________________________ from May 1, 1997.

Name: _________________________ Organisation: __________________________

Tel. Number: ______________________

Version of DIB required: English/Chinese/Both

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Friday, April 18, 1997

Contents Page No,

Government’s position on the right of abode issue.......................... 1

Public Processions: The Position Overseas.................................. 2

Misunderstandings about "National Security"................................ 4

HK should not be linked to China’s MFN renewal: CS......................... 5

New Govt Logistics Centre improves efficiency and service.................. 7

Public Holiday (Special Holidays 1997) Bill gazetted....................... 8

Public bus services for Western Harbour Crossing.......................... 10

Two Tsing Ma Control Area regulations gazetted............................ 12

Preliminary findings of Hong Kong Property Review 1997 ................... 14

Provision of school places planned........................................ 19

/Govt proposes.....

Contents

£a&e_Nox

Govt proposes to increase penalty for breaching safety law................ 19

Open Learning Institute of HK (Amendment) Bill 1997 ...................... 20

Issuing of taxi fare receipts to take effect in June...................... 21

LRC recommends to abolish "Year & a Day" Rule in homicide................. 24

Payroll statistics for 4th quarter 1996 .................................. 24

Registration of owners' corporation & related fees revised................ 26

Tenders invited for site formation works.................................. 27

School works in Kwun Tong................................................. 28

Footbridge helps pedestrians cross Lei Yue Mun Road....................... 29

Final British Army exercise in the New Territories........................ 29

Reunion planned for Hong Kong Chinese Falklands veterans.................. 30

Dog owners reminded to keep pets under proper control.................. 31

Proposed road closure for development in Sheung Shui...................... 32

Fresh water cut in Western district....................................... 32

1

Government's position on the right of abode issue ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to press enquiries about the Government's position on the Right of Abode issue, a Government spokesman said:

"The Government's position is perfectly clear.

"We have offered to prepare a White Bill and agree it with the Chief Executive's Office, provided that there was no attempt to legislate on this matter in the provisional legislature before July 1.

"Taking into account public views, we would then prepare a Blue Bill for consideration by the legislature of the day on or after July 1.

"As there is no statutory or administrative requirement for legislation to be in place before July 1, this is a practical and sensible way forward which would best serve the interests of the community. It would avoid the confusion and uncertainty arising from legal challenges which would result from the provisional legislature attempting to deal with the Right of Abode issue before July 1.

"The Chinese side has rejected our proposal. But the offer still stands. We urge the Chinese side to reconsider this generous compromise offer. We are prepared to go ahead with it the moment they agree to it.

"If the provisional legislature tries to begin a 'legislative' process before July 1, the resulting legislation could lead to chaos in the SAR courts on immigration matters, which are always the subject of a large amount of litigation. It is precisely because we envisage such a mess that we are determined not to contribute to such a flawed process."

End

2

Public Processions: The Position Overseas *****

A Government spokesman said today (Friday):

"It is clear that the procedures governing public processions in the UK, the US and Canada are considerably less restrictive than those proposed in the Consultation Paper issued by the Chief Executive Designate's Office.

In the UK, notification only is required, and this requirement does not apply where notification is not reasonably practical.

In the US, although permits are commonly required, a permit must be consistent with the First Amendment to the US Constitution*, which guarantees freedom of speech and assembly. This means that permits must have narrow, objective and definite standards to guide the issuing authority. Those standards must serve relevant public interests like traffic regulation and public safety.

The proposals put forward by the CE's office, on the other hand, would require:

a permit from the Commissioner of Police at least seven days in advance for public processions of more than 30 people or, in exceptional circumstances, 48 hours in advance. No public procession would be permitted with less than 2 days’ notice (except for funerals).

the Commissioner of Police would be able to prohibit a procession for a broad range of sweeping reasons. Ue could ban a procession if he considered it not to be in the interests of:

national security;

the protection of public health or morals;

the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The Hong Kong Government's detailed response to the CE Designate's Consultation Document on Civil Liberties and Social Order was set out in a commentary issued on 10 April.

3

’’Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Regulation of Public Processions in Overseas Countries

Country

UK

Control

Advance notification for public procession is required unless it is not reasonably practicable to give any advance notice.

United States

Permits for demonstrations and parades in public places are commonly required in major cities.

Remarks

The UK system is similar to that of Hong Kong. A permit is generally not required but Police may impose conditions or prohibit a public procession if it may result in serious public disorder.

Different cities have different permit requirements. A permit requirement will only be consistent with the first amendment to the US Constitution if it has narrow, objective and definite standards to guide the issuing authority; those standards must serve relevant public interests like traffic regulation and public safety.

End

4

Misunderstandings about ’’National Security” ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The following statement is issued by the Attorney General, Mr Jeremy Mathews:

"I wish to clear up some misunderstandings about what is meant by national security, and the role of the courts in respect of national security.

’’There is no authoritative definition of the term ’national security’ for the purposes of the ICCPR. However, the principles adopted by a conference of human rights experts in 1984, which are regularly relied upon, state that:

’National security may be invoked to justify measures limiting certain rights only when they are taken to protect the existence of the nation or its territorial integrity or political independence against force or threat of force. National security cannot be invoked as a reason for imposing limitations to prevent merely local or relatively isolated threats to law and order’.

"A leading academic commentary on the ICCPR states that 'restrictions......to

protect national security are permissible only in serious cases of political or military threat to the entire nation’.

’’There is no comprehensive authoritative common law definition of the term.

’’Article 21 (right of peaceful assembly) and 22 (right to freedom of association) of the ICCPR allow restrictions to be placed on the exercise of those rights only if they are 'necessary in a democratic society' in the interests, among other things, of national security. This means that there must be a convincing need for imposing restrictions on this ground. Moreover, according to the international jurisprudence, any restriction must be 'proportionate' to the aim pursued.

"As was stated in the Government paper issued in response to the Consultation Document, no justification has been given for using national security as a ground for restricting freedom of assembly under the Public Order Ordinance. Given the meaning of national security, it is difficult to see its relevance in the context of that Ordinance.

5

"It has been claimed, in the current debate, that the application, in particular cases, of restrictions based on national security would be reviewable by the courts and that this provides sufficient protection against abuse. However, this claim ignores the common law principle that national security is the exclusive responsibility of the executive and that the courts will not inquire into the justification for a claim that action was taken for reasons of national security. In the words of one senior judge in the leading House of Lords' decision:

'National security is the responsibility of the executive government; what action is needed to protect its interests is...a matter on which those on whom the

responsibility rests, and not the courts of justice, must have the last word. It is par excellence a non-justiciable question. The judicial process is totally inept to deal with the sort of problems which it involves.'

"This principle would apply however the term 'national security' was defined in particular legislation. And in the context of the Public Order Ordinance, for example, it would mean that were the Commissioner of Police to be given the power to ban public processions on the ground of national security, the capacity of persons to challenge such a ban by way of judicial review would be extremely limited. While a court would not accept a mere assertion that a ban was imposed in the interests of national security and would require some evidence to that effect, once such evidence was produced the court would not inquire into the rationality of the decision, as would normally be the case injudicial review proceedings."

End

HK should not be linked to China's MFN renewal: CS ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Hong Kong's transition should not be linked to the renewal of China's Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, the Chief Secretary, Mrs Anson Chan, said.

"Attaching Hong Kong related conditions will only bring uncertainty, which in turn will undermine confidence in Hong Kong," she added.

Speaking at the luncheon hosted by the Society of International Business Fellows today (Friday), Mrs Chan urged the United States to renew China's MFN status and take away the cloud hanging over Hong Kong's horizon.

6

She said the impact of MFN withdrawal on Hong Kong was severe as it would bring about

* 61,000 to 86,000 job lost; and

♦ GDP growth curtailed by between 2 and 2.8 per cent.

"We can ill afford such an economic blow in this critical year of our transition.

"And as MFN is a trade matter, our consistent position is that it should not be used as a tool to deal with non-trade issues.

"So whilst we appreciate the interest in Hong Kong’s future, we do not think it is a good idea to link Hong Kong's transition to the renewal exercise," she said.

The Chief Secretary also took the opportunity to correct some of the fallacies surrounding the territory's autonomy.

The first fallacy is "that our law enforcement system would not stand the change in our status".

Mrs Chan stressed that Hong Kong was committed to exercising the highest level of control in illegal activities, both local and international.

Hong Kong's systems were backed up by comprehensive laws which would straddle 1997, and they would be implemented effectively and professionally, without fear or favour, she added.

"The Joint Declaration and the Basic Law provide a firm foundation for the cooperation between Hong Kong's law enforcement agencies and their counterparts."

On the second fallacy, "that we shall not be our own master in international trade fora", Mrs Chan pointed out that "this simply ignores the fundamental fact the Hong Kong's trade policies and practices are, and will remain, quite distinct from China's.

"Contrary to what rumours have it these days, we will continue to be our own spokesman in the World Trade Organisation and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation," she said.

fhe Chief Secretary also assured the audience that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all spheres of activities other than in foreign affairs and defence, as stated in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

7

She urged overseas friends of the territory to stay engaged and take an informed interest in what goes on in Hong Kong.

"Judge us by our actions and not by perceptions," she said.

Above all, she urged them to continue to trade and do business with Hong Kong, and continue to articulate concerns over Hong Kong to the Special Administrative Region government and to Chinese leaders.

End

New Govt Logistics Centre improves efficiency and service

*****

The opening of the Government Logistics Centre is an important milestone in Government Supplies Department's (GSD) continuing efforts to improve the management of central supplies to customers, both within Government and in the subvented sector, the Financial Secretary, Mr Donald Tsang, said today (Friday).

Mr Tsang was officiating at the opening of the new $600 million centre in Chai Wan that provides warehousing and other support facilities for the GSD and other government departments.

"Its high-ceiling floors, mechanical handling equipment and the computerised stores management system make it one of the most modern and well-equipped warehouses in this part of the world," said Mr Tsang.

He described the development of this project, which was first planned in 1993 when he was Secretary for the Treasury, as "an exemplary initiative in achieving value for money".

He noted that the project had reduced GSD's total storage area by nearly half through more intensive use of space and had enabled the Department to reduce by 150 staff, while at the same time delivering a faster and more responsive service to its customers.

The project will also enable the valuable sites of GSD's former depots in Cheung Sha Wan and Oil Street, North Point, totalling 24,200 square metres, to be released for eventual redevelopment.

End

8

Public Holiday (Special Holidays 1997) Bill gazetted *****

The Government today (Friday) published in the Gazette the Public Holiday (Special Holidays 1997) Bill which provides for 1 July and 2 July to be additional general and statutory holidays this year.

"It is widely known that both 1 and 2 July 1997, being respectively the establishment day of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the day following the establishment day, will be special holidays," said a Government spokesman.

He said the effect of the Bill was to put beyond doubt the status of these two holidays by providing legal backing for them as soon as possible.

"This is particularly important, given Hong Kong’s status as an international financial and business centre," he added. "If important commercial activities such as clearing and settlement of banking and securities transactions are not to take place on 1-2 July, then it is in the interests of Hong Kong as an international financial centre to provide for this by legislation as early as possible. If the Bill is enacted, then other legislative provisions which regulated activities on general holidays would also apply, and employers and employees would also be clearly aware of their obligations and entitlements under the Employment Ordinance.

"Many ordinances provide for certain acts to be done within a specified time and, as a general rule, in computing the relevant period, all public holidays will be excluded."

The explanatory memorandum to the Bill explains that declaration of 1 and 2 July as general holidays for the purposes of Holidays Ordinance means that, among other things,:

9

(a) as far as commercial activities are concerned -

(i) no banks will be open on these two days;

(ii) it will not be necessary for any person to make any payment or to do any other act relating to any negotiable instrument on these two days. All obligation to make such payment or to do any such other act will apply to the next following day not being itself a general holiday;

(iii) these two days will be excluded in computing the time for the first allotment of shares and debentures in a public company; and

(iv) stamp duty payable in respect of an instrument by reference to a sum of money expressed in a foreign currency will be, where the date of instrument falls on either of these two days, based on the exchange rate on the preceding business day instead of the date of instrument;

(b) as far as legal and judicial proceedings are concerned -

(i) the courts will not be open on these two days;

(ii) in civil actions, these two days will be excluded in computing the relevant period for doing certain acts in any stage of proceedings where such period in question is a period of seven days or less; and

(iii) in criminal cases, these two days will be excluded in computing the time within which a notice of intention to prosecute must be given and also excluded from the time limits for serving an alibi notice;

(c) as far as other activities are concerned -

(i) no educational establishments will be open on these two days; and

(ii) the period within which registration of births and deaths must take place will exclude these two days.

The explanatory memorandum also points out that the introduction of the Bill is also desirable for employers and employees, as it not only removes any uncertainty over their legal rights and duties for these two statutory holidays but also allows time for an employer who may require his employees to work on these two days to make prior arrangements with his employees for substituted holidays to be granted as provided in the Employment Ordinance.

10

Declaration of 1 and 2 July 1997 as statutory holidays will mean that under the Employment Ordinance an employer has to grant a holiday to his employees on these two days, and if the employees have been employed under a continuous contract for a period of three months immediately preceding these two days, the employer has also to pay holiday pay to them.

An employer who, without reasonable excuse, fails to grant his employees a statutory holiday or fails to pay the holiday pay commits an offence.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council next Wednesday (23

April).

End

Public bus services for Western Harbour Crossing

*****

The Transport Department today (Friday) announces that eight cross harbour bus routes will commence operation soon to tie in with the opening of Western Harbour Crossing.

These bus routes are scheduled to operate from May 1 or the day after the official opening of Western Harbour Crossing.

Speaking on the new services, Acting Assistant Commissioner for Transport, Mr Louis Hung, said: "Four new routes will be established and the others are existing bus routes diverted from Cross Harbour Tunnel to operate via Western Harbour Crossing (WHC).

’’Fares for new routes will be ranging from $9.90 to $17.0, based mainly on the fare structure of existing cross harbour bus services.

"For diverted routes, there will be no change in the amount of fares charged."

The operating details of the four new routes are as follows:

Route Eares

* no.930

(Tsuen Wan Ferry Pier - Admiralty MTR Station)

$14.30

11

$14.30

♦ no.935

(On Yam - Causeway Bay)

* no.960 $17.0

(Tuen Mun (Kin Sang Estate) - Wan Chai Ferry Pier)

* no.970 $ 9.90

(So Uk - Aberdeen)

All new routes will be operated by air-conditioned buses.

Cross harbour bus routes nos. 105, 114, 117 and 334 will be diverted to observe Western Harbour Crossing and renumbered as nos.905, 914, 917 and 934 respectively.

The terminating points of the four diverted routes are as follows:

* Route no.905 (Lai Chi Kok (Amusement Park) - Wan Chai Ferry Pier);

* Route no.914 (Sham Shui Po Ferry Pier - Tin Hau MTR Station);

* Route no.917 (Sham Shui Po (Yen Chow Street) - Happy Valley); and

* Route no.934 (Bayview Garden - Causeway Bay).

’’Passengers will benefit from the diverted routes in terms of shorter journey time, better service frequency and larger catchment areas,” Mr Hung added.

Two new peak-hour cross harbour bus services, no. 105A (Cross Harbour Tunnel Toll Plaza - Central (Macau Ferry Pier)) and no.905P (Lai Chi Kok - Kennedy Town) will be introduced to cater for passenger’s demand.

Cross harbour bus route no. 100 will cease operation. Passengers who want to travel to Causeway Bay can take other cross harbour routes, such as nos. 103, 110, 111, 112 and 118.

The toll plaza bus stops of Western Harbour Crossing will be opened on the same day for bus-bus interchange.

A temporary pedestrian link between the bus stops and Jordan area will be available a few months later.

End

12

Two Tsing Ma Control Area regulations gazetted *****

The Tsing Ma Control Area (Tolls, Fees and Charges) Regulation and the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulation were published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

A Government spokesman said the Tsing Ma Control Area (TMCA) (Tolls, Fees and Charges) Regulation provided for, among other things, the imposition of tolls for the use of the Lantau Link, as well as various fees and charges - surcharges for toll evasion or underpayment, escort fees, administration fees, permit fees, and fees and charges for the removal, impounding and storage of a vehicle in the TMCA.

The toll schedule for the Lantau Link is as follows:

Type or class of vehicle Toll Toll

Motor cycle, motor tricycle $10

Private car, Taxi $15

Light bus $20

Single-decked bus $20

Double-decked bus $30

Light goods vehicle & special purpose vehicle not exceeding 5.5 tonnes $20

Medium goods vehicle & special purpose vehicle exceeding 5.5 tonnes but not exceeding 24 tonnes $25

Heavy goods vehicle & special purpose vehicle exceeding 24 tonnes $40

Articulated vehicle $40

[Note: When one-way toll collection is in operation the toll collected is double that specified.]

13

The schedule of fees and charges is as follows:-

Type of fees Charges

Removal Fee

(a) motorcycle, private car, taxi, and light bus $260

(b) single-decked bus and goods vehicle with maximum gross vehicle weight not exceeding 5.5 tonnes $450

(c) double-decked bus and goods vehicle with maximum gross vehicle weight over 5.5 tonnes $600

Impounding Fee $ 140

Escort Fee $250

per 30 mins

Administration Fee on Refund of Overpayment $100

Surcharge for Toll Evasion or Underpayment $ 170

Storage Fee $110

per day after the second day

Permit Fee $100

"When the Lantau Link is open to traffic in May 1997, one-way toll collection will be adopted. Drivers will have to pay double of the toll specified when leaving Lantau but nothing on entering," the spokesman said.

For example, drivers of private cars and taxis will have to pay $30 when leaving Lantau but nothing on entering.

Also, he said, in order to avoid arguments on the toll to be collected for a container vehicle entering and leaving Lantau with a different number of axles, a class of ’articulated vehicle' is introduced to replace toll collection on the basis of the number of axles.

14

The spokesman said the toll levels had regard to the 'user-pays' principle, the rationale for differential tolls, public acceptability and affordability, and return on investment.

"The views expressed by various quarters including the Legislative Council have also been taken into account. Compared with the tolls for other tunnels in Hong Kong, those for the Lantau Link are reasonable and affordable," he added.

The Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulation provides that taxi passengers using the Lantau Link will be required to pay an additional fare of $30, i.e., twice the single toll for taxis, irrespective of the direction of travel.

"This additional fare will reimburse the taxi driver for the toll charge paid by him in the event he fails to obtain a hire for the return trip," the spokesman said.

"With the one-way toll collection system, a taxi passenger going to the new Airport will be required to pay an additional fare of $30, even though the taxi driver does not have to pay a toll charge in that direction.

"The additional fare will be widely publicised in information materials for visitors, at major taxi stands and inside taxis so as to avoid misunderstanding between. taxi drivers and passengers."

The two Regulations will come into operation on May 22 this year when the TMCA is open to traffic.

End

Preliminary findings of Hong Kong Property Review 1997 *****

The Rating and Valuation Department today (Friday) release the preliminary findings of its annual review of the production and activities in the local property market.

The preliminary findings, to be incorporated in the Hong Kong Property Review 1997, cover the major private property categories, in terms of completions, take-up and vacancy in 1996, forecast completions in 1997 and 1998, as well as price and rental data.

15

Further enquiries can be directed to the department by contacting either the Deputy Commissioner Mr C S Wong (2805 7601), Technical Secretaries Miss Christina Yim (2805 7614) or Miss Phoebe Chau (2805 7633).

The preliminary findings of the Hong Kong Property Review 1997 are as follows:

Hong Kong Property Review 1997 Preliminary Findings

PRIVATE DOMESTIC

The number of units completed in 1996 amounted to 19,870, a figure which exceeds the forecast a year ago. The New Territories accounted for over 70%, with the largest concentration in Yuen Long.

Take-up in 1996 fell moderately from the 1995 level to 20,480 units. The year end vacancy at 34,050, or 3.7% of stock, was down slightly from the 4.1% of stock at the end of 1995.

The number of units forecast for completion in 1997 will rise to about 22,000 which, taken together with the units vacant at the end of 1996, will mean availability of around 56,000 units for occupation in 1997.

In 1998, completions are expected to increase significantly to 33,300 units, not including smaller projects which are expected to produce a significant number of flats before the end of 1998. This should bring the number of completions to about 36,000 flats in total.

Prices of flats in selected popular developments at the year end were up by 31% from December 1995 but only marginally above the April 1994 peak.

The territory-wide price index for the last quarter shows an overall increase of 23% over a year earlier but the rental index shows a much lower 4% rise.

PRIVATE NON-DOMESTIC

[Please note that there has been a change in the method of calculating vacancy for non-domestic properties due to the ending of rates refunds for vacant premises. This has generally resulted in higher vacancy figures this year because some ratepayers did not previously report vacancy. For calculating take-up this year, the 1996 vacancy figures have been adjusted to provide better comparability with the 1995 figures.]

16

PRIVATE OFFICE

Overall completions in 1996 were around 269,000 square metres, about 24% less than the completions in 1995. Take-up decreased to 156,000 square metres in 1996. Vacancy was 824,000 square metres, representing 11.2% of stock. About 27% of the vacant floorspace was found in new developments completed during the year.

Completions in 1997 are forecast at around 485,000 square metres and expected to rise further to about 695,000 square metres in 1998.

The overall price index was up by 6% but the rental index showed a drop of 9% compared with the levels in the last quarter of 1995.

Grade A

Completions of Grade A offices in 1996 were 131,000 square metres, about 8% higher than that forecast a year ago but still 52% below the 5-year average of 272,000 square metres between 1991-1995. Around 72% of the space was provided in noncore office districts.

Take-up in 1996, at around 124,000 square metres, was slightly below the year's completions. Vacant space amounted to about 354,000 square metres, representing 8.3% of stock. The fact that around 50% of the completions were in the last quarter contributed to the higher vacancy.

Completions in 1997 are forecast at 344,000 square metres, with 55% in core office districts and about one-third in North Point. Completions in 1998 will continue to rise to about 500,000 square metres. Emphasis will again be on non-core office districts, accounting for almost 60% of the anticipated floorspace.

Giads-R

Grade B space completed in 1996 amounted to 90,000 square metres, nearly 10% up on 1995 levels. About 70% of the completions were in Hong Kong districts.

Space taken-up in 1996 was low at around 35,000 square metres, resulting in a rise in vacancy to 263,000 square metres, or 14.6% of stock.

Completions in 1997 will fall to 66,000 square metres, distributed evenly between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. In 1998, completions are expected to rise again to 120,000 square metres and 75% of the space will be provided in Hong Kong districts.

17

Grads. C

Around 48,000 square metres of Grade C space were completed in 1996, all in urban districts. The completions were 6% down on 1995 levels.

Take-up in 1996 was effectively a negative 3,000 square metres. Vacancy increased to 208,000 square metres, representing 15.8% of stock. These figures indicate a continued fall in demand for such accommodation.

Completions for 1997 and 1998 are expected to increase to similar levels at 75,000 square metres each year, almost entirely in urban districts.

PRIVATE.CQMMERCIAL

Completions of commercial space in 1996 were 121,000 square metres, nearly 42% below that in 1995. Take-up at 49,000 square metres represented just over 40% of the year’s completions. Vacancy rose as a result to 754,000 square metres, or 9.1% of stock.

Forecasts for 1997 point to an increase in completions to 237,000 square metres, attributable to a few large developments in Mong Kok, Wong Tai Sin, Tsuen Wan and Tseung Kwan O. Completions in 1998 are expected to rise further to 260,000 square metres.

Retail indices show that at the end of 1996 prices were down marginally whereas rents were up slightly by 4% on a year earlier.

PRIVATE FLATTED FACTORIES

[Please note that the FLATTED FACTORY category includes floorspace with planning permission for INDUSTRIAL/OFFICE use, but for which no lease modification has yet been instituted. Also included in this category is strata-title floorspace with temporary planning permission for INDUSTRIAL/OFFICE use and short term waivers of Government Lease restrictions. It should also be noted that much of the flatted factory space provided in recent years has been built to a good standard with good finishes. Although many factory buildings are occupied as offices, showrooms, and a mix of these and light industrial uses, they should be distinguished from buildings with proper INDUSTRIAL/OFFICE status.]

18

At 242,000 square metres, completions in 1996 were slightly down from the 1995 level. Take-up remained negative at 273,000 square metres. Vacancy at the year end rose sharply to around 2,125,000 square metres, which was about 11.9% of stock. The rise in vacancy was largely in the existing stock.

In the light of falling demand and high vacancy rate, completions in 1997 are expected to fall to 177,000 square metres. Nearly 20% of the anticipated completions are potentially Industrial/Office space, i.e. with planning permission. In 1998, completions will rise again to about 350,000 square metres, 30% of which are potentially Industrial/Office space.

The price and rental indices dropped by 11% and 7% respectively from the end of 1995 levels.

PRIVATE

RI I

USTRIAL/OFFICE

[This category7 comprises floorspace in developments with planning permission and lease modification for INDUSTRIAL/OFFICE use, and certified for completion as such.]

Completions in 1996 were 115,000 square metres, 49% up on 1995 levels. The 1996 floorspace, accounting for 50% of the year end stock, comprise 8 developments, mainly in Kwun Tong and Cheung Sha Wan.

Take-up increased significantly to 76,000 square metres. Vacancy at 106,000 square metres, representing 46.1% of stock, was largely found in the developments completed during the year.

As emphasised in previous property reviews, we only classify space as INDUSTRIAL/OFFICE if developers have successfully obtained planning permission and have instituted modification of the lease conditions of the land. Otherwise, we will continue to classify them as flatted factories.

Completions are forecast at 94,000 square metres in 1997 and expected to rise again in 1998 to 170,000 square metres.

End

19

Provision of school places planned ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

In response to media enquiries on provision of school places for children newly arriving from China, the Director of Education, Mrs Helen C P Lai YU, said today (Friday):

"Government has made provision to meet the demand for school places for children arriving from China. It is estimated that about 44,340 children will arrive from China in the next three school years through the present orderly programme. The estimated demand for 38,532 primary places and 5,808 secondary places can be met through vacancies in existing schools and additional school places arising from the operation of new schools.

"To cater for the increased demand, additional schools will be built as follows:

Completion by (school year) Primary Secondary

1997-1998 5

1998-1999 2

1999-2000 - 9

"It is also estimated that another seven secondary schools will be required between 2000-01 and 2001-02, and arrangements will be made to include these projects in the School Building Programme.

"Meanwhile, close inter-departmental liaison is in place to monitor the situation and to cope with developments."

End

Govt proposes to increase penalty for breaching safety law ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Government proposes to increase the level of penalty for both employers and employees breaching the safety laws in order to enhance industrial safety standard.

Under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Amendment) Bill 1997 gazetted today (Friday), the maximum fines for employers and employees failing to comply with the general duties provisions in the existing ordinance will be increased from $200,000 to $500,000 and from $10,000 to $25,000 respectively.

20

This will bring the maximum penalty for an employer breaching the safety laws to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for six months.

"Public concern over industrial safety was heightened recently following a spate of serious industrial accidents last year," a Government spokesman said.

"It is generally felt that the level of fines imposed by the courts is far too low to have any real deterrent effect, particularly on contractors, having regard to the value of the construction contracts and the likely financial benefits of an early completion of the project," he added.

The spokesman pointed out that the proposed amendments were meant to raise the awareness of both employers and employees on industrial safety, particularly those in the construction sector, by introducing the higher penalties.

"There will be no adverse effect or extra financial burden on the great majority of law-abiding employers and contractors. It is hoped that the proposal will enhance safety consciousness, help reduce work injuries, and result in fewer stoppages and disruption of work," he added.

The proposal has been endorsed by the Labour Advisory Board and is supported by both employer and employee associations, including the Hong Kong Construction Association and the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees’ General Union.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on April 30.

End

Open Learning Institute of HK (Amendment) Bill 1997 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A bill which seeks to amend the governing ordinance for the Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong (OLI) to enable the institution to adopt its new university title and new internal governance structure was gazetted today (Friday).

"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.

21

"The Administration considers that it is appropriate to award university title to the OLI in recognition of the Institute's standards and achievements," a Government spokesman said today.

The spokesman added that the proposed legislation would provide for the change of title of the OLI to "The Open University of Hong Kong" (OUHK).

Like other open universities around the world, the OUHK's mission is to make higher education available to all those aspiring to it, regardless of previous qualifications, gender or race, in order that working adults may have a second opportunity of further education and self-improvement. The bill will also enable OUHK to offer distance learning courses to persons residing outside Hong Kong.

Associated with the change in title, the governance structure of the OUHK will also be brought in line with that of other universities.

The future university will be advised and governed by three bodies - the 'Council', which is the supreme governing body; the 'Court', which is the supreme advisory body; and the 'Senate', which is the supreme academic body.

The spokesman added that this structure would provide greater academic autonomy for the OUHK but at the same time, ensure sound governance and adequate accountability.

The Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong (Amendment) Bill 1997 will be introduced into the Legislative Council on 30 April 1997.

End

Issuing of taxi fare receipts to take effect in June ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Requirements for taxis to be installed with fare receipt printing devices and taxi drivers to issue fare receipts on demand will be effected from June 20, a Transport Department spokesman said today (Friday).

The requirements will be applied to all three kinds of taxis, namely urban (red), New Territories (green) and Lantau (blue) taxis.

Details of the requirements were published in today's Government Gazette.

22

Commenting on the new regulations, the spokesman said: "Drivers of taxis fitted with receipt printers are required to issue fare receipts on demand by passengers from June 20."

The dates on which taxis are required to be equipped with fare receipt printing devices are as follows:

* taxis newly registered on or after June 20 must have printers

* taxis due for annual vehicle examination from June 20 to September 19

have a grace period. They must have printers installed upon their half-yearly taximeter checking.

* taxis which have their annual vehicle examination scheduled on or after September 20 must have printers installed when they show up for the check up.

The whole process will be completed on June 20, 1998, by then all taxis will have been fitted with printing devices.

"During the transitional period from June 20 to June 19 the next year, drivers of taxis without printing devices and waiting for their turn for annual vehicle examination will be exempted from the requirement of issuing fare receipts to passengers on demand," the spokesman explained.

Taxi fare receipt should contain the following information:

* registration number of the taxi

* date and time when the journey starts

* date and time when the journey ends

* total distance travelled

* distance over which a distance rate is charged

* waiting time over which a time rate is charged

surcharges, if any, and

* total taxi fare

23

Taxi receipts can take one of the following forms:

* numeric items with explanatory notes in both Chinese and English on the back

* simplified Chinese items with English explanation on the back

* both simplified Chinese and English items

The Chinese characters, English letters and numbers should not be less than two millimetres high and be printed in black or blue.

’’The receipt must be printed within 12 seconds so as not to cause traffic delay and inconvenience to the passengers.

’’However, in the event of the printing device being out of order, drivers will have to issue a hand-written fare receipt in a prescribed form on demand," he continued.

The hand-written taxi fare receipt contains such information as taxi number, date of journey, time of journey ends, fare shown on the meter, surcharges if any, total taxi fare and name of the driver.

For non-compliance with the requirement of installation of a fare receipt printing device in a taxi, the owner shall be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and six months' imprisonment.

While a taxi driver fails to issue a fare receipt to a passenger on demand if the taxi is fitted with a printing device, he shall be liable to a maximum fine of $5,000 plus a six-month jail term.

The new requirements were recommended in the 1994 Taxi Policy Review conducted by the Transport Advisory Committee.

End

24

LRC recommends to abolish "Year & a Day" Rule in homicide ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Secretary of the Law Reform Commission, Mr Stuart Stoker, announced today (Friday) that the Commission had decided to recommend the abolition of the "Year and a Day” Rule in homicide.

Mr Stoker explained that the ’’Year and a Day" Rule precluded prosecution for murder or manslaughter where the death of the victim occurred more than a year and a day after the original injury was inflicted. This common law rule dated from the Middle Ages but advances in medical science had rendered it, in the Commission’s view, outmoded and unnecessary. The effects of the rule when applied to modem conditions could lead to unfortunate results, such as where, for instance, an accused could escape prosecution for murder because his victim had been kept alive on a life support machine for 13 months after the original injury. In England, the rule had been abolished in 1996 and a number of other jurisdictions had taken similar steps.

Mr Stoker said that a report containing the Commission’s detailed proposals would be published as soon as possible, but that finalising the text and arranging for its translation and printing would probably take another two months.

End

Payroll statistics for 4th quarter 1996 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

According to statistics released today (Friday) by the Census and Statistics Department, average labour earnings in all major sectors of the economy, as measured by payroll per person engaged, recorded an increase of 10.1% in nominal terms in the fourth quarter of 1996 over a year earlier. After discounting changes in consumer prices, there was a notable increase of 3.9% in real terms.

Analysed by industry sector, average payroll per person engaged in the manufacturing sector increased by 9.6% in nominal terms or 3.4% in real terms.

For the wholesale, retail and import/export trades, restaurants and hotels sector, average payroll per person engaged increased by 6.1% in nominal terms or only 0.1% in real terms. The relatively modest increase in labour earnings in this sector was largely attributable to a slower increase in labour earnings in the import and export trades, as the growth in Hong Kong’s external trade moderated last year. But earnings in the retail trade picked up further, on the back of improving consumer demand. Earnings in hotels also rose significantly.

25

Average payroll per person engaged in the transport, storage and communications sector showed an increase of 8.8% in nominal terms or 2.6% in real terms.

Average payroll per person engaged in the financing, insurance, real estate and business services sector recorded an increase of 10.5% in nominal terms or 4.2% in real terms. Earnings in this sector was boosted in part by the issue of more bonuses to the employees concerned.

As for the community, social and personal services sector, average payroll per person engaged recorded an increase of 9.8% in nominal terms or 3.6% in real terms.

Changes in the indices of payroll per person engaged between the fourth quarter of 1995 and the fourth quarter of 1996 for selected industry sectors, in both nominal and real terms, are shown in the attached table.

Statistics on average payroll per person engaged are compiled at quarterly intervals based on the results of the Labour Earnings Survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department. Wage indices are also compiled from the same survey at half-yearly intervals for March and September of the year.

Average payroll includes wages as well as all other irregular receipts such as bonuses and overtime allowances. Statistics on average payroll tend to show relatively larger quarter-to-quarter changes, affected by the number of hours actually worked and the timing of payment of bonuses and back-pay.

Detailed breakdowns of the above statistics are published in the "Quarterly Report of Employment, Vacancies and Payroll Statistics, December 1996". The report will be available shortly at $42 per copy (exclusive of postage) at the Government Publications Centre, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong and at the Publications Unit of Census and Statistics Department, 19/F., Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

For enquiries about the indices of payroll per person engaged, please contact the Census and Statistics Department at telephone number 2582 5076.

26

Year-on-Year Change in Indices of Payroll Per Person

Engaged by Sdertcjllndusiiy Sector

% Change for 4th Quarter 1996 over 4th Quarter 1995

Selected Industry Sector (nominaLienns) (real terms)

Manufacturing + 9.6 +3.4

Wholesale, Retail and Import/Export Trades, Restaurants and Hotels + 6.1 +0.1

Transport, Storage and Communications + 8.8 +2.6

Financing, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services +10.5 +4.2

Community, Social and Personal Services + 9.8 +3.6

All Industry Sectors Above +10.1 +3.9

End

Registration of owners' corporation & related fees revised ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The fees for the registration of owners’ corporations (OCs) and the issuing of certificates of registration of OCs and other related matters will be revised from May 30 with the aim of eventual full recovery of costs in providing the services.

Details of the new fee scale are set out in the Building Management (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1997 gazetted today (Friday).

A spokesman for the Home Affairs Branch said the fees under the Regulation were last revised in March 1994 and a recent costing review conducted by the Land Registrar found that the existing fees were substantially below cost.

27

"In order to improve the cost recovery situation and to avoid future sharp increases in the fee levels, we propose the fees be revised upward to achieve a cost recovery of 10 per cent or more," he said.

"Under the proposed fee scale, the fees for the issuing of a certificate of registration of an OC and of an amended certificate of registration on change of name of an OC will be adjusted to achieve the cost recovery of 10 per cent to $900 and $130 respectively.

"For the registration or filing of any document required to be submitted to the Land Registrar under the Building Management Ordinance and for the certificate of the Land Registrar in relation to any copy or extract maintained by the Registrar under the Ordinance, the fees will be revised to $40 and $30 respectively, or a 20 per cent of the full cost.

"The new fees for other services, such as the issuing of duplicate certificates and duplicate amended certificates and inspection of the register of OCs, will be increased to full cost recovery level, but will actually range from $10 to $55."

Users of the registration and related services will be notified by the Land Registrar of the new fees when they apply for the certificates and make use of the services.

End

Tenders invited for site formation works ♦ * ♦ * *

The Territory Development Department is inviting tenders for site formation works in the southern part of Tin Shui Wai Reserve Zone.

The works comprise the formation of about 75 hectares of land in Tin Shui Wai north of existing Tin Wah Road.

The project will provide land for housing development; supporting engineering infrastructure; open space and government, institution and community facilities.

The works are expected to start in July for completion in 15 months.

28

The site is expected to provide about 36,000 public and private housing flats. About 29,000 public units will be made available by April 2001.

A notice inviting tenders was published in the Gazette today (Friday).

The tender closing date is noon on May 9 (Friday).

End

School works in Kwun Tong *****

The Architectural Services Department will begin works in July to build a primary school at Ko Chiu Road in Kwun Tong.

Upon completion in August 1998, the school will provide about 970 places to alleviate demand for primary education in Lam Tin and Lei Yue Mun.

The school will contain 30 classrooms, four special rooms, three remedial teaching rooms, an assembly hall, one basketball court, covered playground and car park.

Facilities for the disabled, including a lift and toilets will be provided as a standing feature of modem schools.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 5, the school will have additional facilities including a guidance activity and interview room, two interview rooms, staff common rooms, a student activity centre and a library.

The Architectural Services Department is inviting tenders for the school project. Details of the tender invitation is published in the Gazette today (Friday).

End

29

Footbridge helps pedestrians cross Lei Yue Mun Road ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Highways Department announces that a footbridge across Lei Yue Mun Road at Tsui Ping Road has been constructed and will be opened for public use from 10 am on Sunday (April 20).

This 150-metre footbridge links up Tsui Ping Estate and the nearby recreational facilities on the northern side of Lei Yue Mun Road with the industrial area on the south.

The footbridge will improve the traffic flow along Kwun Tong Road and Lei Yue Mun Road, and to enhance pedestrian safety.

It will replace the existing at-grade signal controlled crossing which is being used by over 2,000 pedestrians during peak hours.

The footbridge was constructed in April 1995 at a cost of $34 million.

End

Final British Army exercise in the New Territories ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch, will be taking part in the last military field exercise by the British Army in Hong Kong on Tuesday (April 22).

The blank-firing exercise will take place at Wu Kau Tang, near the Plover Cove Country Park in the north-east region of the New Territories.

Members of the Black Watch will be practising jungle warfare skills - taking advantage of the challenging terrain and hot climate Hong Kong offers - as part of their ongoing military training wherever they are stationed in the world.

30

The Black Watch is the resident infantry battalion of the Hong Kong Garrison. Duties since their arrival in February have included assisting with anti-smuggling operations in conjunction with the Royal Hong Kong Police, border observation duties and the guarding of key installations.

Their most high-profile role will be as ceremonial troops during the handover ceremonies in June.

End

Reunion planned for Hong Kong Chinese Falklands veterans ♦ * * * ♦

The former captain of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Sir Galahad - lost with many casualties, including some from Hong Kong, during the Falklands Conflict in 1982 - is anxious to trace local Chinese sailors who served with him on the Sir Galahad and on her sister ship, the RFA Sir Tristram during that campaign.

Captain Philip Roberts now commands the RFA Sir Percivale, which arrives in Hong Kong on May 5 as part of the drawdown operation of the British Garrison in preparation for the Handover.

He is planning a reunion at the Mariners Club, Kowloon, to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the day when the Sir Galahad was lost. Following a memorial service, a wreath will be laid for the Chinese crew killed in the Falklands Conflict.

Capt Roberts said: "We would like as many as possible of the Hong Kong Chinese crewmen who served in the RFA Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram during the Falklands Conflict to come to the reunion. Please contact Mr Lau Yui Sang on 2746 0245 (before April 30) or the Secretary, The Mariners Club, on 2368 8261, and give your name and the position you held in the ship."

End

31

Dog owners reminded to keep pets under proper control *****

Dog owners are today (Friday) reminded to keep their pets under proper control at all times.

The reminder was issued by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) after an owner of a biter dog was fined $5,000 in North Kowloon Magistracy last week.

The case occurred in Ho Man Tin, Kowloon last November. A 24-year-old man was bitten and injured by a chow in the corridor outside a Ho Man Tin Hill Road building flat.

The 41-year-old woman owner was subsequently charged under the Rabies Ordinance. She pleaded guilty at the court last week and was fined $5,000.

Commenting on the case, an AFD veterinary officer, Dr Thomas Sit stressed that dog owners should always keep their pets under proper control.

"Dogs must not be allowed to stray and owners should prevent them from wandering. Put them on a leash and if necessary, muzzle them while taking them out,” Dr Sit said.

“This would help ensure public safety and prevent owners from breaking the law.”

He hoped the high fines imposed on such offences would serve as a deterrent.

Under the Ordinance, owners of dogs which are involved in biting cases could face a maximum penalty of $10,000 upon conviction.

End

32

Proposed road closure for development in Sheung Shui

*****

The Government has proposed to close San Wing Street in Shek Wu Hui of Sheung Shui for future development of a nearby site for commercial and residential uses.

Part of the road will be permanently closed and included in the site which will he sold by public auction.

The remaining part of the street will be closed temporarily and be reconstructed into an emergency vehicular access and footpath.

A notice on the proposed road closure was published in the Government Gazette today (Friday).

A plan showing the proposal can be seen at the North District Lands Office, the North District Office and the Central and Western District Office.

Any objections should be sent in writing to the Secretary for Transport, Central Government Offices, East Wing, second floor, Lower Albert Road, Hong Kong, before June 17 (Tuesday).

End

Fresh water cut in Western district * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Fresh water supply to some premises in Western district will be suspended from 11 pm on April 21 (Monday) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect:

no. 88-128 Connaught Road West;

all even number premises between 94-174 and odd number premises between 73-153 Des Voeux Road West;

33

* ail even number premises between 136-356 and odd number premises between 167-237 Queen's Road West;

* all even number premises between 48-90 and 63 Ko Shing Street;

* all even number premises between 2-26 Sutherland Street;

* all even number premises between 2A-32 Eastern Street; and

* all premises at Wilmer Street, Tsz Mi Street, Sai Wo Lane, Li Sing

Street and In Ku Lane.

End

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In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

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This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, Sth floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

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for Director of Information Services

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Saturday, April 19,1997

Contents Page Na

PLA advance personnel arrive on Monday................................ 1

PLA advance party to arrive at Prince of Wales Barracks............... 1

Requirements to enhance float safety.................................. 2

Governor presents insignia and commendations to 86.................... 4

Governor presents insignia and commendations to 90.................... 9

Queuing system to improve hotline service............................ 15

$97 million Lotteries Fund approved.................................. 16

Fire prevention seminar in Tai Po.................................... 16

Rescue operation off Waglan Island................................... 17

1

PLA advance personnel arrive on Monday *****

In response to media enquiries, a Government spokesman today (Saturday) confirmed that 40 advance personnel of the PLA, led by Major General Zhou Borong, will arrive in Hong Kong at 1 pm on Monday (April 21) via the Lok Ma Chau Crossing.

’’The PLA advance personnel will be in uniform but will not carry arms. The eight vehicles brought in by them will carry Hong Kong number plates.

”At the border, the party will go through immigration and customs clearance and declare articles imported in line with normal procedures.

’’After that, the party will proceed straight to Prince of Wales Barracks where they will be greeted by Commander British Forces Major General Bryan Dutton,” the spokesman said.

End

PLA advance party to arrive at Prince of Wales Barracks

*****

The British Garrison will welcome the arrival of the first advance party from the future People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison at Headquarters British Forces on Monday (April 21). Ilie party is expected to arrive in the early afternoon, having crossed the border at Lok Ma Chau at 1 pm. They will be met on arrival at the Prince of Wales Barracks by Major General Bryan Dutton, Commander British Forces.

The advance party will be led by Major General Zho Borong, a Deputy Commander of the future garrison. The party’s duties will include making practical preparations for the PLA to take over responsibility for the defence of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region after June 30.

The 40-strong group will be split into two parties, with a liaison group of 28 staying at Prince of Wales Barracks, Central, and the remaining 12 in military accommodation on Stonecutters Island.

2

Their work is likely to include familiarisation with the 14 military sites they will be taking over, liaison with the Garrison and the Hong Kong Government and coordination of communications support.

"It is in the best long-term interests of the people of Hong Kong that there should be a smooth transfer of defence responsibility to the People’s Liberation Army," a spokesman said. "The British Garrison looks forward to working with the members of the advance party to help ensure the successful transfer. The future PLA Garrison of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong inherits a proud tradition from the British Hong Kong Garrison, a success story which we will do everything we can to help them continue."

End

Requirements to enhance float safety *****

The requirements for float parades are to be complied by all involved including organisers and drivers, a Transport Department spokesman said today (Saturday).

"Applicants must submit their applications for approval one month in advance and observe some compulsory requirements and advisory guidelines," he noted.

Those compulsory requirements comprise inspection of vehicles, selfmonitoring responsibility of the parade organising committee and others.

Vehicle inspection for all floats will be conducted jointly by the Transport Department and Fire Services Department three days before the event.

"Any subsequent rectification will be re-checked on the previous day of the event.

"Spot checks on these floats will be made on the day of the event as arid when necessary," he continued.

Self-monitoring measures include:

* requiring a qualified electrical or mechanical engineer to certify vehicle modification drawings and monitor the actual installation and decoration work;

3

* requiring a standby driver sitting next to the licensed duty driver while on procession; and

* requiring a supervisor on site to give direction to the duty driver.

Other requirements include:

* exhausted gas of generators and the vehicles be deflected away from the vehicle;

* Driver's front and side views not be obstructed;

* Driver's doors be easily accessible and opened from inside and outside;

* clear indication of brakes applied be shown at rear of the float;

* provision of one portable fire extinguisher in the car; and

* maintaining communications between the driver and passengers on the float.

"As float parades attract a large number of crowds in the vicinity, professional inputs, stringent vehicles inspection procedures and other requirements are essential in upkeeping safety," the spokesman added.

In addition, float safety can be reinforced by advisory guidelines.

The guidelines cover the vehicle conditions, the conduct of drivers and passengers, fire precaution, and loading of vehicle.

"For their own safety and others', those involved in a float parade, such as organisers, sponsors, drivers and passengers, are highly encouraged to comply with the guidelines as far as possible," the spokesman urged.

Anyone who is interested in obtaining a copy of the requirements and guidelines may request one from the Transport Department directly.

End

4

Governor presents insignia and commendations to 86

*****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, presented insignia and commendations to 86 people at a ceremony at Government House this (Saturday) morning.

Following is the list of recipients:

DBE

The Honourable Rosanna WONG Yick-ming

OBE

Mr CHEN Din-hwa

Mrs Shelley LAU LEE Lai-kuen

MBE

Mr CHAN Kong-sang

Mrs Josephine CHANG SIAO Fong-fong

Mr Peter CHAU Cham-chiu

Mr CHIU Chung-tong

Dr Philemon CHOI Yuen-wan

Miss CHU Kwok-ying

Miss Ann HUI On-wah

Mr KEUNG Yin-man

Mr Wilfred LAM Wing-sun

5

PPM

Mr LAU Chun-sing

ISM

Mr KWAN Man-hoi

CPM

Mr Martin SAMSON

Mr Paul CROFT

Mr Barry Christopher GRIFFIN

Mr LEE Yeung-chi

Mr CHAN Pak-chi

Mr LEUNG Ping

Mr LI Kam-wa

Mrs LO CHAN Lin

Mr TSUI Kwok-cheung

Mr TAM Sum-wing

Fire

Mr Victor HSU Yung

Mr LIU Tin-chee

6

Badge of Honour

Mr Gopaldas Holaram AHUJA 4

Mr CHAN Hing

Madam CHAN Kit-wing

Mr CHAN Ying-shu

Mr CHAN Yuek-sut, Joseph

Mr CHIU Wai-ming

Rev CHU Yiu-ming

Mr John DOCKERILL

Mr HO Kwan-yiu, Junius

Mr LAI Kwok-hung

Mr LAM Kwok-hing, Wilfred

Mr LAM Man-fai

Governor’s Commendations

Mr YIP Kit

Mr MAK Wing-lam

Mr YIM Yun-hung

Mr LAU Chi-leung

Mr CHUNG Kiu-sun

Miss KHOR Yee-yin, Selina

Mr MAK Chun-yip

Mr Geoffrey Wayne SMITH

Mr YUEN Chak-ming

7

GovemQr.'s.CommendatiQ.ns forCommunity Service

Mr William Francis ARCHAMBAUD-CHAO

Dr AU Yiu-kai

Mr CHAN Chi-kit

Mr CHAN Kang

Mr CHAN Pui-yiu, Clement

Mr CHANG Wei-chung

Mr CHAU Ping-kuen for the late Mr CHAU Chi-chai

Mr CHEUNG Kam-moon

Mr CHEUNG Tai-chiu

Mr CHU King-yuen

Ms CHU Yin-lei

Mrs FUNG LEUNG Kwai-ping

Miss Wendy HALL

Mr HO Ping-chiu

Mr HO Siu-cham

Ms HON Wing-wah

Ms IP Shun-hing

Mr KEUNG Yin-man

Dr KOO Ming-yan, Charles

Ms KWOK Ching-ngan

8

Ms KWOK Suk-jing

Mr LAM Cheung-chi

Mr LAM Chi-hon

Rev LAM Chung-wai

Mr LAM Fook-chuen

MrLAUPik-kin

Order oLSi John

Knight of Grace

Dr Peter LEE Chung-yin

Commander Brother

Mr WOO Man-kai

Officer Brothers

Mr NG Chung-yee

Mr LEUNG Wing-pong

Officer Sister

Mrs CHIU HUNG Siu-ping

Serving Brothers

Mr Dennis SIN Chuck-fun

Dr Sidney SIU Yim-kwan

9

Mr HO Ka-ying

Mr NGAI Shu-kay

Mr TSE Foo-yin

Mr YU Koon-sing

Mr LAU Ping-pui

Mr LEE Kwok-chung

Serving Sister

Miss Chan Yin-ha

End

Governor presents insignia and commendations to 90

*****

The Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, presented insignia and commendations to 90 people at a ceremony at Government House this (Saturday) afternoon.

Following is the list of recipients:

CUE

Mr Anthony AU-YEUNG Fu

OBE

Professor Rance LEE Pui-leung

Mrs Helen YU LAI Ching-ping

10

MBE

Mr Andrew LEUNG Kwan-yuen

Mr LEUNG Shiu-wing

Mr LEUNG Shou-chun

Mr LI Shai-hung

Dr York LIAO

Mr LO Tin-hoi

Mr NG Shui-lai

Dr Edward George PRYOR

Ms Carlye TSUI Wai-ling

Ms Judy WONG Shuk-ching

Mr James YEUNG Chi-kin

OFSM

Mr LAM Chun-man

ISM

Mr YU Pak-hoi

CPM

Mr Edward MAK Man-poon

Mr Tony HO Tse-tong

Mr YAN Fook-mou

11

Mr Kenneth William Colin MACKENZIE

Mr CHEUNG Yuk-fung

Mr KWAN Wa-fai

Mr LI Chun-wai

Mr LI Mau-sau

Mr WONG Nang-chong

Mrs FU KEUNG San-ling

Fire

Mr Albert CHAN Ting-kai

Mr CHAN Yun-pui

Mr WONG Kin-ming

Badge of Honour

Dr LEUNG Man-fuk

Mr LI Sing-pak

Mr LI Siu-wah

Mr LING Man-hoi

Mr LOUR Tsang-tsay, Lawrence

Mr Francis Ho-yin TAM for the late Mr TAM Ping-fai

Mr TONG Kang-chung

Mrs Diana WONG IP Wai-ying

12

Ms WONG Kwai-wan

Ms WONG Mo-tai

Mr WONG Ping-kwong

Governor's Commendations

Mr FUNG Kam-wah

Mr LAI Hing-hung

Mr CHU Kee-leung

Mr SO Chi-wing

Mr YEUNG Yee-hung

Mr CHAN Shing-wah

Mr Colin Frank REDSTON

Miss Christina TSANG Woon-pui

Mrs Anita WILSON

Governor's Commendations for Community Service

Mr LEUNG Man-wui

Ms LEUNG Pong-ying, Kelly

Mr LEUNG Wing-on, Louis

Mr LI Tak-hong

Mr LI Ying-sang, Tommy

Mr LUI Tung-ming

13

Mr MAN Chuk-lam

Mr MOK Kin-wing

Mr NG Koon-hung

Mr NG Sai-tai

Mr NGAI Kam-fai, Danny

Mrs SO CHIU Lai-ching

Mr TAM Ling-kwan

Mr TANG Kwok-kong

Mr TANG Wai-ming

Mr TSANG Ma-ming

Dr TSE Tak-fu

Mr WONG Che-ngai

Mr WONG Kin-ming

Mr WONG Lung-tak

Mr LI Ting-yee for the late Miss WONG Sau-mei

Mr WONG Wai-yim

Ms WONG Yuk-fan

Mr WU Cheong-wo

Mr YICK Tsun-kwan

Mr YIP Fong-keung

Ms Kay YU Ngan-kuen

Mr YUEN Fu-pong

14

Order of St John

Commander Brother

Mr MAK Sik-hung

Officer Brother

Dr LEE Hok-chou, Vito

Officer Sister

Mrs Shirley CHAN SO Suk-fong

Serving Brothers

Mr YU Wei-yeh

Mr LEUNG Kwok-yip

Dr LAU Bo-yee

Mr KEUNG Yin-man

Mr CHENG Kin-ping

Mr Peter LEE Yue-chuen

Mr LO Kwok-hung

Mr NG Sai-tai

Mr KAN Po-chiu

Serving Sister

Miss YU Shuk-fong

End

15

Queuing system to improve hotline service

* * * ♦ ♦

The Labour Department has recently introduced a queuing system for its General Enquiry Telephone Service (GETS) to further improve the service for the public.

The service provides a 24-hour hotline 2717 1771 for general enquiries on various topics of labour legislation and work of the Labour Department through an interactive voice processing system.

Members of the public can obtain relevant information from a selection of prerecorded messages or by fax transmission. This computerised answering system is supplemented by staff operators during office hours.

"The newly introduced queuing system enables six callers to queue for the operator service when all operators are occupied," Senior Labour Officer (Labour Inspection), Mr Chan Kwok-kuen, said today (Saturday).

A preliminary survey on the new system was conducted in early April. The results showed that 69 per cent of the callers in the queue could be connected to operators within three minutes and 96 per cent within six minutes.

"A total of 94 per cent of the callers surveyed are in favour of the queuing system while 80 per cent of them are satisfied with this new facility," Mr Chan said.

The GETS is a highly popular service. More than 1.7 million enquiries were handled in 1996. In some busy hours, some callers may need to wait longer in the queue.

If the maximum waiting time of 10 minutes is exceeded, callers will be asked to call later.

Mr Chan encouraged the public to call between noon and 3 pm on Mondays to Fridays when the operators were less busy.

"Operator service is also available during lunch hours on these days," he added.

16

The GETS provides enquiry service in Cantonese, Putonghua or English through 36 telephone lines, supplemented by 14 staff during office hours. It also provides two 24-hour fax lines for the transmission of information.

A user's guide listing the information that can be obtained from the service is available at the branch offices of the Labour Department's Labour Inspection Division. It can also be collected through the facsimile service of the GETS.


End

$97 million Lotteries Fund approved ♦ * * * ♦

A total of $97,669,800 has been approved from the Lotteries Fund to finance various social welfare service programmes during the first quarter of 1997, a spokesman for the Social Welfare Department said today (Saturday).

"Of the amount, $27,480,700 are earmarked to family and child welfare services, $45,468,100 to elderly and medical social services, $16,698,500 to rehabilitation services, $6,512,100 to youth services, $921,300 to community development services, $574,500 to social welfare support services and $14,600 to services for offenders," the spokesman said.

The Lotteries Fund was established for the purpose of financing, by way of a grant, loan or an advance, the operation or development of social welfare services and medical or educational projects with a welfare content.

End

Fire prevention seminar in Tai Po *****

Members of mutual aid committees, owners' corporations, owners committees and residents in Tai Po District are invited to attend a fire prevention seminar at Tai Po Community Centre, No. 1 Heung Sze Hui Street, Tai Po on April 26 (Saturday).

The seminar, organised by the Tai Po District Office, will provide participants with a good knowledge of fire prevention and effective building management. The participants can also take the opportunity to engage in a floor discussion with guest speakers and share valuable experiences with each other.

17

The seminar will be held from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Admission is free.

Guest speakers will be Mr Chau Sau-wang, Senior Station Officer of the Fire Prevention Bureau/Fire Services Department; Mr Szeto Wing-sun, Engineer of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, and Mr Tsang Hing-kong, Customer Supplies and Installation Manager of the China Light & Power Company.

For enquiries, please call Miss Joyce Wong of the Tai Po District Office at 2654 1255.

End

Rescue operation off Waglan Island

*****

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) of the Marine Department is coordinating a search and rescue operation for three fishermen east of Waglan Island after their fishing vessel sank this (Saturday) morning.

A HK-licensed 23-metre-long fishing vessel with five people on board including a HK person and four Chinese collided with an unknown vessel while the fishing vessel was fishing 11 nautical miles east of Waglan around 3.30 am today.

The HK person and a Chinese were rescued by a nearby vessel. Three other people on board are missing.

The case was reported to Marine Police around 5 am and MRCC subsequently started a search and rescue operation for the missing persons.

The MRCC has tasked the Police launch to search the area.

End

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB) .

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

v (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

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(Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my

Internet e-mail account ____________________________ from May 1, 1997.

Name: ________________________ Organisation: ___________________________

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Sunday, April 20,1997

Contents Page Nq»

The Governor’s "Letter to Hong Kong".................................. 1

Industry Department delegation visits Beijing and Xi’an............... 4

Applications invited for the Music Training Scheme.................... 4

Water cut in Mong Kok and Yuen Long................................... 5

1

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:

Last weekend, with my work finished and with the rain outside discouraging any more athletic entertainment, I settled down to read a book written at the end of the 1980s by an American called Francis Fukuyama. It's entitled "The End of History", and it's been pretty widely panned since publication by those who've pointed out that there still seems to be quite a bit of History going on.

Actually, this is a rather unfair reaction to a book the title of which is a lot more easy to read than the contents. Too easy, maybe. What the author actually says is that there'll still be plenty of action around the globe, not least the result of ethnic and nationalist tensions, but that with the collapse of totalitarian ideologies the intellectual field has been left open to those who believe in liberal democratic values. The future, he says, belongs to these values and to those who espouse and practise them.

Broadly speaking I'd go along with that, but not on the assumption that all is now settled, that there's no more to say or do. Actually, there's a lot to say and do to make sure that as many people as possible enjoy political and economic liberty. And the words which argue for that, and the actions which help to achieve it, will be the stuff of history - unending history - in the years ahead.

You see, people can and do make a difference. Let me explain.

In the last few weeks, we've witnessed a vigorous debate about civil liberties in Hong Kong. Chinese officials decided that Hong Kong has too much freedom and that it needs to be curtailed. Not because the laws which protect our freedoms infringe the Basic Law. They don't. Not because they have undermined our stability. They haven't - even some of those who advocate the changes seem to be admitting at the same time that Hong Kong is a very stable, moderate place. Nor can it be said that exercising our civil liberties as we do has made us less prosperous. That proposition is absurd. No, the decision seems to be based on their wish to have a tighter control over life here. They don't - they should but they don't - they don't yet trust Hong Kong.

Now the community didn't simply take that lying down. It didn't react violently or irrationally or irresponsibly. But people spoke-up. In newspaper columns. In petitions and letters. In radio phone-ins. And Hong Kong's lawyers and some of Hong Kong's politicians gave a lead. The message was crystal clear, and more persuasive because it was put so rationally and calmly.

2

The result is that Hong Kong was promised a consultation exercise, and the document to launch that dialogue was published last week. Now we must all assume that the consultation is genuine. That it's not just a political tactic. So if people still feel strongly about the issue, as they seem to do, I hope they'll speak up. And I hope they'll be listened to. Unless the community has suddenly undergone a complete conversion, we know what the message will be.

And then what? Some people say, "It doesn't matter what we say. Minds are made up. Chinese officials have laid down the law and we've just got to make the best of it."

You know I'm not sure that's true. Indeed it mustn't be true. Chinese officials are forever saying that it's for Hong Kong to decide how to manage these things. So if Hong Kong decides that it wants things to remain as they are, then Hong Kong's future government should relay that unequivocal message to Peking. It should say, very simply, "You may not like this, but we have to tell you that Hong Kong wants things to stay as they are. Do please trust Hong Kong to behave sensibly and responsibly. If you trust Hong Kong to do that, I'm sure it will."

If no one is prepared to say that, then what are we to conclude about the consultation, and what are we to conclude about Hong Kong's autonomy and about the promises that Hong Kong's way of life will be preserved?

I wonder, incidentally, what the results would have been if there had been a proper consultation about whether, and if so how, our arrangements for electing the Legislative Council should be changed. Record numbers of people registered for those elections and voted in them. They know that the elections were fair. As do the candidates who stood in them - winners and losers. Some of those defeated candidates - now members of the provisional legislature -admitted at the time that the rules of the game had been fair and they were content to abide by the outcome.

So would people in Hong Kong have pressed for change? No, the changes proposed are China-driven not Hong Kong driven, that's why the Preparatory Committee is in the driving seat. Why is change necessary? Not because there are any breaches of the Joint Declaration or Basic Law. Not because the present arrangements threaten the good administration of Hong Kong. But because these arrangements produce what some people regard as the wrong results.

3

We know more or less without all the meetings in Peking what will emerge from these discussions. I've said for months that the package of proposals will be similar to the sort of arrangements that we refused to accept in the negotiations in 1993. The Election Committee will be a body which officials have already selected. There will be a sharp reduction in the number who can vote in the functional constituencies. And most important there will be a multi-member single vote system in the geographical constituencies.

Why you may ask will they do that? Some people say that it's to introduce a bit more proportionality into our system. That might be a relevant argument if all our seats were directly elected. But only a third of these are directly elected. And look at the way in which the functional constituencies and the election committee ensure the representation - some would say over-representation - of particular interest groups.

The real reason for advocating a multi member single seat system is, as I said in 1993, to reduce the number of pro-democracy candidates who can get elected. Today 17 out of the 20 geographical constituencies are represented by pro-democracy candidates. For some that is the beginning and the end of the argument. I do hope that Hong Kong will be given the chances to speak out on this, and that it will do so with the same eloquent confidence it has shown in recent weeks.

Above and beyond these controversies, every week something happens in Hong Kong to remind us all what a great place this is. Next weekend we'll be opening the bridges to Lantau and all the roads and tunnels associated with them. That's a reminder of how much Hong Kong can do, at a spectacular pace, when we're left to get on with things ourselves. With so much good happening here, with so much good to show about ourselves, why embroil Hong Kong in these unnecessary arguments which so worry our friends and partners overseas, as well as worrying us?

In any event, how much difference will any of these mistaken changes really make? If you try to turn the clock back, you have to recognise that there is a price to pay, and that sooner or later, whatever you do, the hour hand and the minute hand will move relentlessly forward again. History hasn't ended in Hong Kong. There are men and women here who will write an even more successful next chapter in our story.

End

4

Industry Department delegation visits Beijing and Xi’an

*****

The Director-General of Industry, Mr Francis Ho, leaves today (Sunday) for a seven-day visit to Beijing and Xi'an. He is joined by officers of the Industry Department.

The delegation will be meeting officials from the Science & Technology Commission, the Planning Commission, the Commission of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade at the state, provincial and municipal levels. It will be briefed on the latest economic and industrial development of China and the two cities.

The delegation will also visit high and new technology development zones and a number of factories.

"Given the close ties between Hong Kong and China, contacts with Chinese officials and enterprises will help foster a better mutual understanding and facilitate further co-operation between the two places," Mr Ho said.

End

Applications invited for the Music Training Scheme ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

The Education Department invites secondary principals and music teachers to nominate students to participate in the Centralised Scheme of Music Training for Senior Secondary Students.

An inspector of the Music Section of the Advisory Inspectorate, Education Department, Mrs M L Lam, said the aim of the scheme is to provide an opportunity for full-time students who will include music in their senior secondary and sixth form studies.

Organised by the Education Department, the scheme will offer Certificate of Education Music Course, Advanced Supplementary Level Music Course and Advanced Level Music Course.

The Certificate of Education Music Course follows the syllabus requirement of the Certificate of Education Examination in Music. Enrolment will be restricted to full-time students presently studying in Secondary 3.

5

The Advanced Supplementary Level and Advanced Level Music Courses also follow syllabus requirement of the respective examinations. Enrolment will be restricted to full-time students starting their sixth form studies this September.

The two-year music courses will be held at selected government schools outside school hours, Mrs Lam said.

Prospective nominees should seek the prior consent from parents, she added.

"No fees will be charged but students are expected to purchase prescribed study scores, related recordings and resource materials for private study," she said.

Applicants for the Certificate of Education Music Course will be invited to sit for a selection test in mid-July, and those apply for the two other courses may also be required to pass an admission test.

The closing date for application is May 17. For enquiries, please dial 2892 6507.

End

Water cut in Mong Kok and Yuen Long *****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Mong Kok will be suspended from 11 pm on Wednesday (April 23) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Lai Chi Kok Road, Cedar Street, Ki Lung Street and Boundary Street.

Meanwhile, fresh and flushing water supply to some premises in Yuen Long will also be suspended during the same period.

The suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Yuen Long On Ning Road, Tung Lok Street, Castle Peak Road and Shan Piu River, including Tai Kiu Tsuen and Yuen Long Estate.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, Sth floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

v (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Return Slip

To : GIS, Sth floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong

(Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my

Internet e-mail account_____________________________ from May 1, 1997.

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Version of DIB required: English/Chinese/Both

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Monday, April 21,1997

Contents CageJtfcL

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

Lantau Link cables to be repaired soon............................ 3

Labour Department to adopt new service culture & strategy......... 3

Major step forward for bilateral linkage between HK and Australia. 5

AIDS situation in 1st quarter this year........................... 5

April issue of HK Monthly Digest of Statistics on sale............ 6

Value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand in February 1997........... 8

Applications open for recreation grants........................... 9

Establishment particulars recorded in the Central Register........ 10

Prompt collection of BN(O) passports.............................. 11

Codes of Practice Committee open meeting.......................... 12

Entries for Summer Youth Programme logo design competition........ 13

Tender for the third issue of 10-year Exchange Fund Notes......... 14

Water cut in Sai Kung and Tai Po.................................. 15

Water storage figure.............................................. 16

1

Transcript of the Governor’s media session ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ *

Following is the transcript of the Governor, the Rt Hon Christopher Patten, speaking to the media after his visit to Rutonjee Hospital this (Monday) afternoon:

Question: Mr Patten what do you feel to see the PLA troops coming into Hong Kong?

Governor: Obviously, the advance detachment which has arrived today has an important and useful role to play in preparing the ground for the arrival of the whole garrison after 1 July. I think that we have achieved what the community recognises is a sensible agreement for this first stage of the deployment and I hope it will ensure that the garrison arrives smoothly and efficiently in the future and performs the role assigned to it in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

I am sure that the garrison commanders and the garrison members will want to give the best possible example of how the PLA behaves and I am sure that will go for this advance deployment as well.

Question: Governor, do you think that the advance detachment of the PLA can get along well with the British Army?

Governor: I am sure that they will work sensibly together. They are professionals, they are soldiers; soldiers invariably get on well with other soldiers. I think that our Commander, General Dutton, has got on, personally, very well with his opposite number, and I am sure that every one will work together to make the transition of the garrison as smooth and successful as possible.

Obviously, just as we want to see the PLA garrison arrive as efficiently and professionally and smoothly as possible, so they will want to ensure that the departure of what is left of the British garrison, on 30 June, is managed as efficiently as possible as well.

I think the whole community welcomes the arrangement within which the advance detachment will be working. As you know, they are subject to our laws and are conducting themselves, I think, in a sensible, low-profile way.

Question: And now the JLG is discussing about the second batch of the advance detachment, do you think it is also a sensible arrangement?

2

Governor: Yes, I’m sure that there will need to be a second deployment of PLA troops in due course. There are, I think, one or two issues to resolve between the two sides but I am sure that they will be resolved in due course as well as these arrangements have been managed.

The discussions have taken some time but I think the outcome is one which the whole community welcomes. I notice that legislators from every side seem to think that the arrangements were sensible and were in Hong Kong's interests.

Question: And with regard to the right of abode issue, Mr Tung urged you to change your mind on this issue and asked you to send more officials to help him. What is your reaction?

Governor: I would hope that Mr Tung would respond positively to the very sensible proposal we put forward about a White bill. I think you will have probably noticed the remarks made last week by the Chairman of the Bar Association which confirmed the legal advice that we have received about the problems if our provisional legislature were to legislate on these matters. But I will be answering questions on this issue later in the week in the Legislative Council and if they have got questions to raise then I will be pleased to answer them.

Question: So do you mean that you will just turn down his request to send more officials to help him?

Governor: I mean that our position is the same as it was last week.

Question: How about if the officials are not helping him in drafting about the right of abode?

Governor: I will be answering questions later on this week in the Legislative Council. Any other questions? Thank you all very much indeed.

End

3

Lantau Link cables to be repaired soon *****

The Highways Department said today (Monday) that repairs to the communication cables on the lower deck of the Lantau Link is expected to be completed in about three days.

The Project Director of the Lantau Fixed Crossing Project Management Office, Mr Lau Ching-Kwong, said repair to the damaged cables will begin soon and should be completed before the opening ceremony of the Lantau Link on Sunday (April 27).

Mr Lau said that six optical fibre cables and several extra-low voltage signal cables on the lower deck of the Lantau Link had been cut in 29 places. The contractor for the electrical and mechanical works, ABB SAE Sadelmi - ABB Ltd Joint Venture (ABB) had reported the damage to the Police last Friday (April 18).

He said these cables are mainly for communications and data transmission.

Mr Lau said the contractor was now putting more workers on the project to repair the damaged cables.

"The Highways Department, Police and the contractor held discussions today to consider measures to tighten security on the site.

’’All parties concerned will make every effort to ensure that such incidents do not occur again," Mr Lau said.

End

Labour Department to adopt new service culture & strategy * * * * *

The Labour Department has created a new service culture for the Factory Inspectorate and adopted a new strategy on the promotional and prevention approach to meet the new challenges on occupational safety and health.

Speaking at the welcome dinner for delegates of the 13th Asia Pacific Occupational Safety and Health Conference this (Monday) evening, the Commissioner for Labour, Miss Jacqueline Willis said: "As part of the comprehensive review of industrial safety in 1995, we recognised that it was necessary to reorganise the structure within the Labour Department and create a new service culture for the Factory Inspectorate.

4

"For example, our Factory Inspectorate has, for decades, enforced industrial safety laws under the inspect and prosecute mode.

"But since our new strategy is to adopt the promotional and preventive approach, we need to help our inspectors change their traditional thinking and perception and acquire new skills.

"Also as we introduce the new safety management regulation, our inspectors should be prepared both professionally and psychologically to change their mode of operation," she said.

Miss Willis explained that instead of dealing with the works supervisors, the inspectors would be required to ’sell' self-regulation in a board room and this meant a partnership with the duty holders: employers, employees and their associations.

Furthermore, she said, when the new Occupational Safety and Health Bill was passed into law, the factory inspectors would have to cover new frontiers of work where the hazards, problems and management styles were totally different from traditional factories and industrial undertakings.

She said all of these required a fresh mind to see what needed to be done and a new Deputy Commissioner was appointed to act as a 'Change Manager' in October 1995.

Miss Willis said after the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Branch, one of the first things the Department did was to make the 'occupational health services' on a par with 'occupational safety'.

"We then managed the staff culture change through a series of seminars. We developed the 'Vision, Mission and Values' statements which our staff can identify with.

"Our next step was to develop the core competencies in the various grades in the Factory Inspectorate and occupational health personnel. Our efforts include training in performance management, communication principles, presentation, influencing and negotiation skills and other managerial and staff development programmes.

"In skills training, experts from overseas and owners of proprietary systems have been engaged to train up factory inspectors on the promotion of safety and health management system and safety audit," she said.

End

5

Major step forward for bilateral linkage between HK and Australia *****

As a step towards closer bilateral relations between Australian and Hong Kong financial systems, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) have agreed that the Central Moneymarkets Unit (CMU) of the HKMA will join RBA's Reserve Bank Information and Transfer System (RITS). RBA will explore with the HKMA further reciprocal arrangements to extend more widely the benefits that such co-operative arrangements can provide.

CMU is the central clearing and settlement system for debt securities in Hong Kong and RITS is a similar system for Australian government paper.

The two organisations believe that this bilateral linkage will broaden the investor base of the debt markets in Hong Kong and Australia by making cross system trading and holding of securities much easier.

The agreement was reached at a meeting between Mr Joseph Yam, Chief Executive of HKMA, and Mr Ian Macfarlane, Governor of RBA, in Sydney today (21 April 1997). This is the second time the HKMA and the RBA have held bilateral annual meetings. These annual meetings have been established in the context of fostering enhanced co-operation between the two central banks. A range of subjects of mutual interest was discussed, including regional central bank co-operation, as well as recent economic developments and banking supervision policy and practice.

“In linking CMU and RITS, the two financial markets in Hong Kong and Sydney are now closely connected, facilitating investments in debt securities in both places,” said Mr Yam. "This represents a milestone in central bank co-operation to develop financial markets under our charge and make them deeper, safer and more efficient for issuers and investors.”

End

AIDS situation in 1st quarter this year *****

A total of 45 persons were found to be positive for the HIV antibody test in the first quarter this year, bringing the cumulative total number of reported HIV infections to 821, the Department of Health announced today (Monday).

The number of new HIV infections reported in the first quarter is the highest ever received in a single quarter since the surveillance system was established in 1984.

6

Eighteen AIDS cases were reported in the same period leading to a total number of 263 confirmed cases.

Heterosexual contact remains the major route of transmission, accounting for 69% and 62% of the sexually acquired cases in the first quarter and the cumulative total respectively.

A significant proportion of the reported cases are diagnosed in symptomatic AIDS patients. Of the 18 AIDS cases reported in the first quarter, 15 (83.3%) are new HIV infection reported in the same quarter.

The proportion of HIV infection found at AIDS diagnosis were 64.7% and 46.2% in the last quarter of 1996 and the first quarter last year.

Of the 821 HIV-infected, 414 acquired the infection through heterosexual and 252 through homosexual or bisexual sex; 16 were injecting drug users; four were mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth; and 66 acquired the infection through contaminated blood or blood products before 1985 when HIV antibody test and safe heat treated clotting concentrates were not available.

As for the remaining 69, the information available was inadequate for classification.

End

April issue of HK Monthly Digest of Statistics on sale *****

Two feature articles entitled ’’Inward direct investments in Hong Kong” and "Trend of public transport passenger journeys" are published in the April 1997 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics, which is now on sale.

Over the past decades, inward direct investments have been playing an important role in shaping the economic development of Hong Kong. Inward direct investments are important not only in terms of inflow of capital but also the resultant technology transfer, which helps Hong Kong's manufacturing industries remain competitive in the world market. Furthermore, with the development of Hong Kong into a financial and business centre in the Asia Pacific Region by the late 1980s, inward direct investments have been growing at a rapid pace in the service sectors.

7

The total value of stock of inward direct investments in Hong Kong amounted to $532.6 billion at the end of 1995. The largest investor countries included the United Kingdom (27% of the total), China (20%), Japan (16%) and the United States of America (13%).

The article ’’Inward direct investments in Hong Kong” presents an analysis of inward direct investments in Hong Kong in 1995, based on the findings of the complementary surveys on inward direct investments conducted by the Industry Department in respect of the manufacturing sector and the Census and Statistics Department in respect of the non-manufacturing sectors.

The passenger journeys handled by the public transport network increased at an average annual growth rate of 2.6%, from 2.7 million in 1981 to 3.9 million in 1996. Different modes of transports are available to commuters at different levels of comfort, speed, convenience, and for a range of prices. The article ’’Trend of public transport passenger journeys" depicts the trend of passenger journeys handled by the public transport network during the past fifteen years. It also analyses the share among different modes in the network, and the number of passenger journeys handled by different modes in 1996.

The April 1997 issue of the Hong Kong Monthly Digest of Statistics is now on sale at $34 a copy. In addition to 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

8

Value of manufacturers’ orders-on-hand in February 1997 ♦ ♦ ♦ * ♦

The value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand for local production in February 1997 decreased by 9% over a year earlier, according to the provisional results of a monthly survey released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department.

Comparing February 1997 with February 1996, the value of orders of the fabricated metal products industry continued to increase, by 4%.

On the other hand, decreases of various magnitudes in the value of orders were recorded in the plastic products industry (-21%), the electronic products industry (-14%), the textiles industry (-8%), the wearing apparel industry (-5%), the electrical products industry (-4%) and the printing & publishing industry (-3%).

Compared with January 1997, and bearing in mind that this comparison may be affected by seasonal factors, the value of manufacturers' orders-on-hand in February 1997 decreased by 4%.

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 February 1997, at $6 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.

9

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

January 1997 February 1997

over Jan 1996 over Feb 199b

(Revised) (Provisional)

All industries covered in the survey - 7 - 9

. Wearing apparel - 5 - 5

. Textiles -9 - 8

. Electronic products -11 -14

. Electrical products * - 4

. Fabricated metal products +10 + 4

. Plastic products -20 -21

. Printing and publishing - 2 - 3

* Changes within +/-0.5%

End

Applications open for recreation grants

*****

The Sir David Trench Fund Committee is inviting applications for grants from the Sir David Trench Fund for Recreation (the Fund) and the Jockey Club Grant for Permanent Recreational Facilities for Youth (the Grant).

The Fund aims at providing recreational, sporting, cultural and social activities facilities to promote personal development, purposeful use of leisure and community involvement, particularly of young people; while the Grant is mainly for the construction of recreational facilities to meet the needs of young people.

- 10 -

' .if i-: ? ■ • J ,

Applications for capital works projects under both the Fund and the Grant can be made by the same form, and for non-capital works projects under the Fund, a separate form is required.

All these forms are obtainable from District Offices, the Education Department, the Social Welfare Department, the Department of Health, Urban Services and Regional Services Departments as well as the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

They are also available at the Recreation and Sport Division of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch and the Secretariat of the Sir David Trench Fund Committee.

Completed forms should be returned to the Secretariat of the Sir David Trench Fund Committee at Room 4015, 40th Floor, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, which administers both the capital and non-capital works projects.

The deadline for applications for capital works projects is May 20. Enquiries can be made on 2594 5659.

Applications for non-capital works projects are open throughout the year Enquiries can be made on 2594 5660.

End

Establishment particulars recorded in the Central Register

*****

The Census and Statistics Department maintains a comprehensive and up-to-date computerised Central Register of Establishments which contains information relating to some 350,000 active establishments in Hong Kong.

The Register serves mainly as the sampling frame for various economic surveys conducted by the department. Besides, many other government departments and private organisations also make use of the records kept in the Register in their publicity, business promotion, survey and research work.

Information kept in the Central Register of Establishments is updated on a quarterly basis. Updated information in respect of the fourth quarter of 1996 is now available.

11

A sample listing containing 20 per cent of the records randomly selected from the Register is accessible by prospective users. Application for the supply of non-confidential particulars (including the name, address, major type of economic activity and employment size class) of all or part of the listed records can be made to the Central Register of Establishments Section of the department. The information can be supplied in the form of photocopies, specially-run magnetic tapes or floppy diskettes. A charge will be levied for this service, at the following rates:-

$6.1 per page of photocopy for the first 20 pages and $1.4 for each

additional page thereafter; or

* a charge of about $1,000 for a job requiring special computer run (exact amount depending on the complexity of the job concerned), if the information is required on magnetic tapes or floppy diskettes. The magnetic tapes and floppy diskettes can be provided by the applicant, or by the department at a charge of $143 per tape and $3 per diskette respectively.

Further details about the provision of this service can be obtained from the Central Register of Establishments Section of the department on telephone 2582 4760.

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 (Monday).

Currently, there are around 26,000 prepared BN(O) passports ready for collection by applicants at various immigration offices.

Hong Kong Immigration Department ceased taking the above applications from Tuesday April 1, 1997. The Immigration Department, however, will continue to issue BN(O) passports which have been prepared until Saturday April 26, 1997. Thereafter, all uncollected passports will be passed to the British Trade Commission.

12

But Hong Kong permanent identity cards prepared for children under 11 years of age in connection with their BN(O) passports will continue to be issued at the original immigration offices.

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 the uncollected passports.

For BN(O) passports issued to children under 11 years of age, applicants will also be required to collect their children's Hong Kong permanent identity cards at the original immigration offices after they have collected their passports.

For enquiries, members of public may telephone 2824 1177 (English), 2824 1717 (Chinese) or use fax line 2877 7711.

End

Codes of Practice Committee open meeting

*****

Members of the public are welcome to observe the proceedings of the fifth Codes of Practice Committee meeting of the Broadcasting Authority this Thursday (April 24).

The meeting, chaired by Mr Clement Tao Kwok-lau, will discuss amendments to the Codes of Practice on Advertising Standards so as to bring them in line with the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance.

It will also discuss the principles in the regulation of indirect advertising in TV and radio programmes.

The meeting will take place at 2.30 pm in the Conference Room of the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, 39th floor, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai.

As seating capacity is limited, members of the public should ring 2594 5707 to reserve a seat.

End

13

Entries for Summer Youth Programme logo design competition *****

To help promote this year's Summer Youth Programme, entries for a logo design competition are being invited before April 30 from youths under the age of 25.

Organised by the 1997 Wan Chai Summer Youth Programme District Coordinating Committee, the competition is a prelude to the commencement of the programme which will run from July to September, a Home Affairs Department spokesman said.

"We hope the logo design competition would help stimulate local youth’s interest and their participation in a wide variety of social, recreational and other wholesome community activities during their summer vacation.

"As the logo design must reflect the district's unique characteristics, we expect that the competition would also engender a stronger sense of belonging and understanding of their district among contestants.

"The submissions must be presented in a maximum of two colours on A4-size white card paper, with brief notes on the design concepts. Each participant would be limited to only one entry, which must be submitted in coloured as well as black and white version," the spokesman added.

Awards will be given to the first three winners.

The entries should be sent to the Co-ordinating Committee via Wan Chai District Office at 21st floor, Southom Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Enquiries can be made on 2835 1990.

End

14

Tender for the third issue of 10-year Exchange Fund Notes * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announces that the tender for the third issue of 10-year Exchange Fund Notes will be held on next Monday (April 28) for settlement on April 29 (Tuesday).

An amount of HK$500 million 10-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 April 30, 2007 and will carry interest at the rate of 7.45% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears. Terms and conditions of the issue are described fully in the Information Memorandum.

Members of the public who wish to tender for the Notes may do so through any of the Market Makers or Recognised Dealers on the published list which can be obtained from 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 third issue of 10-year Exchange Fund Notes:-

Issue Number

Tender Date and Time

Issue and Settlement Date

Amount on Offer

Maturity

Maturity Date

Interest Rate

: 1704

: Monday 28 April 1997, 9:30 am to 10:30 am

: Tuesday 29 April 1997

: HK$500 million plus an additional HKS100 million as reserve stock for the Monetary Authority

: Ten years

: 30 April 2007

: 7.45% per annum payable semi annually in arrears

15

Interest Payment Dates : 29 Oct 1997, 29 Apr 1998, 29 Oct 1998, 29 Apr 1999, 29 Oct 1999,28 Apr 2000, 30 Oct 2000, 30 Apr 2001, 29 Oct 2001,29 Apr 2002, 29 Oct 2002, 29 Apr 2003, 29 Oct 2003, 29 Apr 2004, 29 Oct 2004, 29 Apr 2005, 31 Oct 2005, 28 Apr 2006, 30 Oct 2006, 30 Apr 2007

Tender Amount : 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

Other details : Please see Information Memorandum published or approach Market Makers or Recognised Dealers

End

Water cut in Sai Kung and Tai Po *****

Fresh water supply to some premises in Sai Kung will be suspended from 11 pm on Thursday (April 24) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains.

The suspension will affect all premises in Pak Kung Au, Fei Ngo Shan Road, Anderson Road, Lung Wo Tsuen, Tan Shan, Siu To Yuen Village, Sam Long, Sun Tei Village, Au Tau, Denon Terrace, Man King Terrace, Tseng Lan Shue Upper and Lower Village, Pak Shek Wo, Pak Shek Terrace, Pik Uk Correctional Institution, Pik Uk Tsuen, Pik Uk Au and Razor Hill.

16

Meanwhile,fresh and flushing water supply to some premises in Tai Po will also be suspended during the same period.

The suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by a section of Kwong Fuk Road between Pak Shing Street and Po Heung Street, Pak Shing Street, a section of the Kowloon Canton Railway between Pak Shing Street and Po Heung Street, and Po Heung Street.

End

Water storage figure *****

Storage in Hong Kong's reservoirs at 9 am today (Monday) stood at 78.9 per cent of capacity or 462.463 million cubic metres.

This time last year the reservoirs contained 471.662 million cubic metres of water, representing 80.5 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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB) .

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, Sth floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

v (Robert YIP) for Director of Information Services

Roturn Slip

To : GIS, Sth floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong

(Attn : Robert Yip)

I would like to receive the Daily Information Bulletin through my

Internet e-mail account ____________________________ from May 1, 1997.

Name:__________________________Organisation:_______.____________________

Tel. Number: ----------------------

Version of DIB required: English/Chinese/Both

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Tuesday, April 22,1997

Contents Page No,

Approved pre-sale consent applications in the first quarter of 1997 ... 1

Consumer Price Indices for March 1997 ................................. 2

TAC endorses driving-offence points for traffic offences in tunnels. 8

More sites needed for permanent parking of goods vehicles........... 9

Hong Kong becomes the world's 7th largest trading entity.............. 10

Government opposes the Member's Bill on unfair dismissal............ 11

HKJC Charities Trust donates $4.5m for herbarium review............... 12

"Names of Buildings" book - 1996 now on sale.......................... 13

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results........................... 14

1

Approved pre-sale consent applications in the first quarter of 1997

*****

The Lands Department issued a total of 17 consents to the pre-sale of residential and non-residential units in uncompleted developments between January and March 1997, the Principal Solicitor of the department's Legal Advisory and Conveyancing Office, Mr Tom Berry, said today (Tuesday).

Among these, 11 were for the pre-sale of 8,793 residential units on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon, Kwai Tsing, Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long. The majority of these units are estimated to be completed before March 1998.

The other six applications were for the pre-sale of non-residential units on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon, Kwai Tsing and Yuen Long.

"At the end of March, a total of 12 applications for pre-sale consent involving 9,253 residential units and five applications in respect of non-residential developments were pending approval," Mr Berry said.

Of the 12 applications, two were Private Sector Participation Scheme projects (with 3,800 units) and one was Hong Kong Housing Society's Flat-for-Sale development (with a total of 648 units). The remaining nine developments totalling 4,805 units were private developments subject to the 1994 measures.

These developments are located in various parts of the territory. The majority are estimated to be completed between late 1997 and mid-1998.

Mr Berry added that two applications had so far been received since the Secretary for Housing's announcement of additional anti-speculation measures on March 26.

The Lands Department has given consent to a total of 34,949 residential units since the introduction of new measures for the pre-sale of residential units in June 1994.

Five Private Sector Participation Scheme projects (totalling 8,150 units), four Sandwich Class Housing developments (totalling 3,602 units) and four Flat-for-Sale Scheme projects (totalling 3,814 units), which are not subject to the new measures, have also been given pre-sale consent since June 1994.

End

2

Consumer Price Indices for March 1997

*****

Consumer price inflation moderated in March. The year-on-year rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index (A) was 5.7% in March 1997, significantly slower than that of 6.5% in February.

The year-on-year rate of increase in the Consumer Price Index (B), at 5.8% in March 1997, was also slower than that of 6.1% in February. The corresponding rate of increase in the Hang Seng CPI, at 6.3% in March 1997, was however slightly faster than that of 6.2% in February.

The Composite CPI, which is compiled based on the combined expenditure pattern of all households, showed a year-on-year increase of 5.9% in March 1997, slower than that of 6.3% in February.

The Census and Statistics Department released today (Tuesday) the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for March 1997.

A Government spokesman said that the slower year-on-year increases in the CPI(A) and CPI(B) in March than in February were mainly because of year-on-year declines in the prices of some fresh food items and slower increase in the charges of meals bought away from home.

As for the Hang Seng CPI, the faster increase in March 1997 than in February was mainly because of faster increase in the prices of outerclothing.

Analysed by component, faster year-on-year increases than the overall average in March were recorded for clothing and footwear (11.5% in CPI(A) and 11.6% in Composite CPI); miscellaneous goods (10.5% in CPI(A) and 7.7% in Composite CPI); housing (9.2% in CPI(A) and 8.7% in Composite CPI); fuel and light (7.2% in CPI(A) and 7.3% in Composite CPI); alcoholic drinks and tobacco (6.5% in CPI(A) and 6.3% in Composite CPI) and miscellaneous services (6.4% in CPI(A) and 6.1% in Composite CPI).

Meanwhile, those components with slower year-on-year increases in prices than the overall average were durable goods (2.9% in both CPI(A) and Composite CPI); meals bought away from home (3.7% in CPI(A) and 3.6% in Composite CPI) and transport (4.6% in CPI(A) and 4.1% in Composite CPI). Food (excluding meals bought away from home) recorded a price decline of 0.2% in CPI(A) for March 1997 over March 1996 and remained unchanged in Composite CPI.

3

Comparing March 1997 with February 1997, the CPI(A) decreased by 0.1%. The corresponding increases for the CPI(B), Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 0.1%, 0.6% and 0.2%.

For the first quarter of 1997, the increases in the CPI(A) and CPI(B) averaged at 6.2% and 6.1% respectively over a year earlier. The corresponding increases for both the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 6.1%.

For the 12-month ended March 1997, the CPI(A) and CPI(B) were, on average, higher by 6.0% and 6.2% respectively than the preceding 12-month period. The corresponding increases for the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 6.3% and 6.1% respectively.

The seasonally adjusted monthly rates of increase in the CPI(A) and CPI(B) averaged at 0.4% and 0.5% respectively during the three months ended March 1997. The corresponding increases for both the Hang Seng CPI and Composite CPI were 0.5%.

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 March 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., Wan Chai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. For local and overseas mailings, contact should be made with the Information Services Department, 28/F., 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.

4

Table 1 Consumer Price Indices and Rates of Increase for March 1997 (Oct. 94-Sep. 95 = 100)

Component CPI(A) CP1(B) Hang Seng CPI Composite CPI

Index for Mar. 97 % change over Mar 96 Index for Mar. 97 % change over Mar. 96 Index for Mar. 97 % change over Mar. ?6 Index for Mar. 97 % change over Mar. 96

Food 107.7 +1.9 107.9 +2.3 107.1 +2.6 107.7 +2.2

Meals bought away from 109.3 +3.7 108.7 +3.5 107.1 +3.5 108.7 +3.6

home

Food, excluding meals 105.7 -0.2 106.5 +0.2 107.0 +0.6 106.2 +0.0*

bought away from home

Housing 119.4 +9.2 119.3 +7.8 122.4 +9.3 120.3 +8.7

Fuel and light 113.3 +7.2 113.3 +7.4 113.9 +7.1 113.4 +7.3

Alcoholic drinks and 112.7 +6.5 112.5 +6.3 111.0 +5.4 112.4 +6.3

tobacco i.

Clothing and footwear 115.6 +11.5 115.8 +12.0 106.3 +11.0 112.6 +11.6

Durable goods 104.9 +2.9 105.3 +3.3 104.7 +2.4 105.0 +2.9

Miscellaneous goods 109.6 +10.5 108.5 +7.4 106.9 +4.8 108.4 +7.7

Transport 110.9 +4.6 111.1 +4.2 110.5 +3.5 110.8 +4.1

Miscellaneous services 113.5 +6.4 112.8 +6.4 110.1 +5.3 112.1 +6.1

All items 112.1 +5.7 112.6 +5.8 112.9 +6.3 112.5 +5.9

* less than 0.05%

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 $4,300-517,300 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 $16,000-529,999 in 1994/95 (broadly equivalent to 517,300-532,600 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 $30,000-559,999 in 1994/95 (broadly equivalent to $32,600-565,300 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.

5

Table 2 Consumer Price Indices and Year-on-year Rates of Change for _____________________October 1995 - March 1997______________________ (Oct. 94 - Sep. 95 = 100)

Year/month CPKA) CPl(B’) Hang Sqng CPI Composite CPI

Index Year-on-year rate of change (%) Index Year-on-year rate ofchange (%) Index Year-on-year rate ofchange (%) 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 6.5 106.4 7.0 106.3 7.5 106.3 7.0

April 107.3 6.8 107.8 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 5.5 108.9 5.9 108.6 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 6.0 110.5 5.7

November 110.3 5.8 111.0 6.1 111.5 5.8 110.9 5.9

December 110.9 6.7 1114 6.5 111.9 6.7 111.4 6.6

1997 January 110.9 6.6 111.4 6.3 111.4 5.9 111.3 6.3

February 112.3 6.5 112.4 6.1 112.3 6.2 112.3 6.3

March 112.1 5.7 112.6 5.8 112.9 6.3 112.5 5.9

6

Chart 1 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in CPI(A)

Chait 2 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in CPI(B)

7

End

Chait 3 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in Hang Seng CPI

Chait 4 Year-on-year Rates of Increase in Composite CPI

8

TAC endorses driving-offence points for traffic offences in tunnels ♦ ♦ ♦ * *

The Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) today (Tuesday) endorsed a proposal to extend the penalty of driving-offence points to cover speeding and crossing double white lines offences in tunnels.

The Road Traffic (Driving-Offence Points) Ordinance sets out in its Schedule the number of driving-offence points that may be recorded in relation to various road traffic offences. Offences of speeding are liable to three, five or eight driving-offence points, depending on the driving speed in excess of the speed limit, and offences of crossing double white lines to three driving-offence points.

However, similar offences within a tunnel area are at present prosecuted under the relevant tunnel ordinance and are not included in the Schedule of the Road Safety (Driving-Offence Points) Ordinance. Hence, offenders are not liable to incur drivingoffence points.

In the last three years, a significant number of such offences occurred within tunnel area as follows:-

Speeding Crossing double white lines

1994 740 610

1995 1,360 280

1996 2,110 410

To remove this anomaly, the TAC endorsed the Government's proposal to amend the Schedule of the Road Traffic (Driving-Offence Points) Ordinance to include offences of speeding and crossing double white lines committed in all private and government tunnels so that they would equally incur driving-offence points.

The private tunnels include the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, Eastern Harbour Crossing, Tate's Cairn Tunnel and Western Harbour Crossing while the Government tunnels are the Aberdeen Tunnel, Lion Rock Tunnel, Airport Tunnel, Shing Mun Tunnels, Tseung Kwan O Tunnel and Tsing Ma Control Area.

End

9

More sites needed for permanent parking of goods vehicles ♦ ♦ * * ♦

In a report to the Transport Advisory Committee on the progress of the implementation of the'recommendations by two transport consultancy studies, the inter-departmental Working Group that was formed to examine and implement solutions to parking and other freight transport problems, revealed that there was a total shortfall of 53,100 overnight parking spaces for goods vehicles.

Compared with the situation in 1994 when the shortfall was 75,700, this was a significant improvement. The situation would further improve in 2001 with a shortfall of 43,000 spaces.

The two studies, namely the Parking Demand Study and Freight Transport Study, were completed in December 1995 and April 1994 respectively. Both studies had come up with recommendations to improve, among other things, the supply of parking spaces, particularly for goods vehicles.

Since then, the Working Group had succeeded in increasing the number of goods vehicle parking spaces significantly in the last two years.

Major achievements focused on three areas: short-term tenancy sites, additional off-street facilities and on-street overnight spaces.

More than 40 new short-term tenancy sites with some 5,600 parking spaces were identified and secured for parking.

Territory-wide search was conducted of on-street suitable spaces that could be used for parking of goods vehicles overnight and 700 parking spaces had been identified.

There has also been a reduction in the goods vehicle fleet size, which, together with the progress the administration had made in implementing the recommendations of the two studies, resulted in almost a balance between the supply and demand of parking spaces for medium heavy goods vehicles and container vehicles.

However, since some of the spaces were on tolerated sites and short-term tenancy sites, they did not represent permanent solutions.

Thus, the current shortfall of 53,100 are therefore that of light goods vehicles. Although some of the light vans could park in non-domestic private car spaces, other larger light goods vehicles could not be accommodated.

10

The Working Group would continue to find more permanent parking spaces for goods vehicles. The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, which was revised in October last year, would increase the provision of light goods vehicles parking spaces in new public housing estates by about 10 per cent, and goods vehicle parking spaces in new industrial developments by about 60 per cent.

The Working Group had also proposed new sites for inclusion in the land sales programme for the next three years for multi-purpose developments with multi-storey carparks that would include provision of goods vehicle parking spaces.

In the meantime, the Working Group would continue to search for more shortterm tenancy sites and on-street parking spaces.

The Working Group would submit another report to the TAC in about 12 months with a review of the situation at the time.

End

Hong Kong becomes the world's 7th largest trading entity

*****

The Director-General of Trade, Mr Alan Lai, welcomed today (Tuesday) that Hong Kong had ascended in the world ranking of trade to become the seventh largest trading entity in merchandise trade in 1996. Hong Kong had been the eighth largest trading entity since 1993.

The ranking was calculated on the basis of figures released in a report, "Overview of World Trade in 1996 and the Outlook for 1997", published by the WTO earlier this month.

As regards commercial services trade, Hong Kong had also moved one place up to become the world's 10th largest commercial services trading entity in 1995.

"Hong Kong's ascendancy on the world trade league table demonstrates further the benefits of Hong Kong's strict adherence to the free trade principles," said Mr Lai.

"Hong Kong is a staunch supporter of free trade. We will continue to practise this policy and actively participate in the multilateral and regional fora to pursue the further liberalisation in trade in goods and services," he added.

End

11

Government opposes the Member's Bill on unfair dismissal ♦ ♦ * ♦ ♦

The Government does not support the Unfair Dismissal Bill - a Member's Bill sponsored by the Hon Leung Yiu-chung and to be introduced into the Legislative Council tomorrow (Wednesday).

The Bill seeks to provide for the right of an employee not to be unfairly dismissed and to make provisions for remedies for unfair dismissal.

Commenting on the Member's Bill, a Government spokesman said today (Tuesday): "The introduction of the Unfair Dismissal Bill at this point in time is totally unwarranted. I he Government has on March 19 introduced into the Legislative Council the Employment (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1997. This Government's Bill seeks to strengthen protection for employees against unreasonable termination of employment and variation of contract terms as well as unlawful dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, sick leave, work-related injury, participation in union activities and giving evidence in legal proceedings regarding labour legislation."

"The proposals under the Government's Bill have been discussed and endorsed by the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) whilst those under the Member's Bill have not. As such, the Government's proposals strike a reasonable balance between the interests of employers and employees. They also form a more balanced and prudent package of improvement proposals than those under the Bill," the spokesman said.

"This Member's Bill seeks to increase the remedies for dismissals to employees without taking adequate account of the interest of the employers.

"The proposed level of awards for dismissals will place a serious financial burden on employers. It will induce more disputes between employers and employees and is not conducive to harmonious industrial relations generally.

"This will in turn deter overseas investments in Hong Kong and will adversely affect the overall employment opportunities of the local workforce in the long run," the spokesman explained.

"This Member's Bill also empowers the Labour Tribunal to make a reinstatement or re-engagement order without securing the mutual consent between the employer and employee.

12

"This will not work in practice, since an employment relationship which has turned sour cannot be changed by a court order. Such orders will only work if both parties willingly agree to implement them,” the spokesman further explained.

The Bill, while providing redundancy as a valid reason for dismissal, requires an employer to explain why an employee is selected for dismissal if other employees holding similar positions have not been dismissed.

’’This may not work to the interests of employees as it will encourage employers to lay off more employees than is strictly necessary, thus jeopardising the overall employment opportunities of workers,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman pointed out that the Hon Leung Yiu-chung had agreed that the Bill should be considered by the LAB before it was to be taken any further at the Legislative Council.

"It is important that the matter be fully deliberated at the LAB amongst Government, labour and employer representatives,” he said.

End

HKJC Charities Trust donates $4.5m for herbarium review * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

A $4.5 million grant from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has been allocated for a project aimed at reviewing and computerising records in the Hong Kong Herbarium, which is managed by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD).

AFD’s acting Assistant Director (Conservation), Mr Lay Chik-chuen said the department was extremely grateful to the Trust for its generous support of the project.

He pointed out that the review aimed to upkeep, consolidate and enhance existing information such as the taxonomy, distribution and conservation status of local plants. Results of the review will provide accurate and updated information on the local flora in Hong Kong. The information will be helpful in formulating a better conservation strategy of the local flora.

13

Also, computerisation of the herbarium's records would enable effective management of this valuable information and allow easy access by researchers, botanists, ecologists, teachers and the public, Mr Lay added.

The Hong Kong Herbarium was founded in 1878. It maintains a comprehensive record of the flora of Hong Kong and South China. With over 35,000 dried plant specimens, it is of regional importance.

The project is expected to commence within the next few months.

End

"Names of Buildings" book - 1996 now on sale ♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦

Copies of the new edition of the "Names of Buildings" book are now available at the Government Publications Centre, Low Block, Ground Floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.

The book, published by the Rating and Valuation Department, contains a comprehensive list of building names with addresses in both Chinese and English. For ease of reference, it is divided into two volumes. Volume 1 comprises building names in Hong Kong and Kowloon (including New Kowloon); Volume 2 gives building names in the New Territories, including the outlying islands. An index of Chinese names precedes each volume.

The prices of Volumes 1 and 2 are $70 and $50 respectively.

"About 20,000 building names have now been recorded. Although there is no legislation controlling the use of building names, the book would assist owners and developers to avoid duplication when naming their buildings," a spokesman for the department said today.

The department keeps a continually updated master copy of the "Names of Buildings" book. Any enquiries on additions, deletions and amendments to the current edition should be directed to the department's Technical Secretary (Information) on Tel: 2805 7614.

End

14

Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Tender date : 22 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q077

Issue date : 23 April 1997

Maturity date : 21 May 1997

Amount applied : HK$10,730 MN

Amount allotted : HK$5,000 MN

Average yield accepted : 5.33 PCT

Highest yield accepted : 5.35 PCT

Pro rata ratio : About 20 PCT

Average tender yield : 5.36 PCT

15

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 : 22 April 1997 : EF Bills : Q717 : 23 April 1997 : 23 July 1997 : HKS3.880 MN : HK$2,000 MN : 5.40 PCT : 5.44 PCT : About 8 PCT : 5.43 PCT : 22 April 1997 : EF Bills H763 : 23 April 1997 : 22 October 1997 : HK$2,360 MN : HK$ 1,000 MN : 5.61 PCT : 5.62 PCT : About 46 PCT : 5.63 PCT

16

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Tender to be held in the week beginning - 28 April 97 :

Tender date : 28 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Notes

Issue number : 1704

Issue date : 29 April 1997

Maturity date : 30 April 2007

Tenor ; 10 Years

Amount on offer : HKS500+ 100MN

Coupon : 7.45%

Tender date : 29 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q078

Issue date : 30 April 1997

Maturity date : 28 May 1997

Tenor : 28 Days

Amount on offer

HK$5,000 MN

17

Tender date : 29 April 1997

Paper on offer : EF Bills

Issue number : Q718

Issue date : 30 April 1997

Maturity date : 30 July 1997

Tenor 91 days

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

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

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This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

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It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

for Director of Information Services

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To : GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong (Attn : Robert Yip)

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Wednesday, April 23,1997

Contents Page.NOi

Firm chosen to audit the Exchange Fund of HK......................... 1

Legislation on budget revenue to be introduced into LegCo............ 1

Stamp duty on trading of regional derivatives warrants remitted...... 3

Television regulations on programme services made..................... 3

Special marine traffic measures for fireworks display................ 4

Trade Director to visit Guangzhou.................................... 7

Issuance of the Lantau Link Philatelic Numismatic Cover.............. 7

Granting of restricted banking licence to Citibank International..... 8

Pre-service graduate teaching posts in aided primary schools......... 9

Warning against employing visitors................................... 10

ACP Exhibition Centre to close for two days.......................... 11

Firm chosen to audit the Exchange Fund of HK

*****

In accordance with the "Agreed Minute on the Question of the Arrangements for the Transfer of the Exchange Fund of Hong Kong", the British and Chinese sides have, through a tender process, jointly chosen Price Waterhouse to audit the statements of assets and liabilities of the Exchange Fund of Hong Kong as at March 31, 1997 and June 30, 1997.

End

Legislation on budget revenue to he introduced into I egCo

*****

Bills which are necessary to implement the 1997-98 Budget revenue proposals will be gazetted on Friday (April 25).

There will altogether be six bills.

The Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 1997 seeks to increase the salaries tax allowances and the maximum deduction for training expenses as announced in the Budget. It also seeks to rationalise the salaries tax marginal tax structure.

The Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997 seeks to provide for the deduction of foreign withholding tax paid by a company on its income in the assessment of profits, irrespective of whether the company is controlled or managed in Hong Kong. The opportunity is also taken to amend the Inland Revenue Ordinance in order to improve the operation of the Board of Review (Inland Revenue) and other aspects of the legislation.

The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 1997 seeks to adjust stamp duty on property transactions to bring relief to home buyers of flats with values up to $4 million.

The Estate Duty (Amendment) Bill 1997 seeks to increase the exemption level of estate duty from $6.5 million to $7 million and to adjust the marginal duty thresholds correspondingly.

2

The Dutiable Commodities (Amendment) Bill 1997 seeks to increase the duties for tobacco, fuel and methyl alcohol by six per cent, in line with inflation, and to reduce the ad valorem duty rate on wine from 90 per cent to 60 per cent. The opportunity is also taken to increase the penalty for offences relating to the marking and the detreatment of marking of diesel oil so as to enhance the deterrent effect against illegal activities on diesel oil. The penalty will be increased from the current level of a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months to a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for two years.

The Traffic Accident Victims (Assistance Fund)(Amendment) Bill 1997 seeks to make consequential amendments in respect of the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Fund Scheme to tie in with the issue of 10-year driving licences. The main legislative amendments for the issue of 10-year licences are set out in the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulation 1997 which would also be gazetted on April 25. The Amendment Regulation would be tabled in the Legislative Council on April 30.

The Secretary for the Treasury will introduce the bills into the Legislative Council on Wednesday, April 30.

The Secretary for the Treasury will also move resolutions in the Legislative Council on May 7 to implement the Budget concession proposals on rates, i.e. the reduction of the overall rates percentage charge from 5.5 per cent to five per cent and the capping of rates increase to 20 per cent for 1997-98 and for 1998-99, and on the extension of the first registration tax exemption for electric vehicles for another three years.

The increase in tobacco, fuel and methyl alcohol duties and the reduction in wine duty took effect on March 12 and the concessions in rates, stamp duty on property transactions, estate duty and first registration tax exemption for electric vehicles took effect on April 1 under Public Revenue Protection Orders signed by the Governor on March 11. The Orders are valid for four months.

End

3

Stamp duty on trading of regional derivatives warrants remitted * ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui announced today (Wednesday) the remission of stamp duty on the trading of regional derivatives warrants and convertible bonds.

Speaking at the listing ceremony of the first regional derivatives warrants being launched in Asia at the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, Mr Hui said that the two new products were initiated by the Working Group on New Market Development under the Stock Exchange .

He said the Government realised that the development of new products was an essential measure not only for maintaining Hong Kong’s competitiveness, but also for enhancing Hong Kong's status as a regional and global financial centre.

He said it was also in line with the Government's objective to promote services industry as well as that of the helping business programme.

"The Financial Secretary has already mentioned in his 1997-98 Budget Speech that he welcomes the developing and marketing of new products and would be willing to consider favourably, on a case-by-case basis, some incentives new products might enjoy," he said.

"We are hopeful that remitting the stamp duty on the regional derivatives warrants and convertible bonds would facilitate the trading of these products which will further encourage more new products to be developed and launched to the market," he added.

End

Television regulations on programme services made ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

The following subsidiary legislation has been made by the Governor in Council and will be published in the Gazette in early May 1997:

(a) Television (Advertising) Regulation;

(b) Television (Programmes) Regulation; and

(c) Television (Royalty and Licence Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 1997.

These regulations will be subject to vetting by the Legislative Council and when approved, will complete the legislative framework for the regulation of programme services.

4

A spokesman for the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Branch said today (Wednesday): "Under these regulations, VOD programme service licensees as well as commercial television and subscription television licensees will be subject to similar regulations on advertising, programming, royalty and licence fee payments.

"Programme service licensees will also be subject to full cost-recovery licence fees. However, given the concessions extended to other television and radio licensees, this will be phased in over five years. Accordingly, each programme service licensee will only have to pay 20 per cent of the full cost in the first year (ie $394,590), 40 per cent in the following year and so on.

"Applications for programme service licences will be invited in the next few weeks, with the aim of issuing licences in the fourth quarter of the year," he added.

End

Special marine traffic measures for fireworks display

* ♦ ♦ ♦ *

The Marine Department, Marine Police and the Fire Services Department will jointly implement a series of marine traffic arrangements in the Ma Wan and Kap Shui Mun Fairways to ensure safety during Lantau Link opening ceremony fireworks display on April 27 (Sunday).

At a press conference announcing the detailed arrangements this (Wednesday) afternoon, Marine Department's Senior Marine Officer/Harbour Patrol Section, Mr Chung Siu-man. said that the fireworks would be discharged from three barges moored in the Ma Wan Fairway north of the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Also, a boat flotilla will be formed as part of the opening ceremony at the south of the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Mr Chung said that an area encompassing the barges and boat flotilla would be established as a restricted area between 3 pm and 10.30 pm on April 27.

"The restricted area," he noted, "is bounded on the north by a straight line joining Ngau Lan Tsui, northeast corner of Ma Wan Island to the northwest comer of Tsing Yi Island.

5

"The south boundary is a straight line joining Tang Lung Chau to the Tsing Yi West coast, about 950 metres south and parallel to the Tsing Ma Bridge."

Mr Chung pointed out that during the closure period from 3 pm to 10.30 pm, no vessels other than Government craft, vessels directly involved in the fireworks display and boat flotilla or those which had obtained permission from the Director of Marine would be allowed to anchor or to be underway within the restricted area.

"Besides the restricted area, the waters between Ting Kau and Sham Tseng will be temporarily restricted to marine traffic from 7.45 pm to 8.20 pm, with no spectator vessels being allowed to remain in the area," Mr Chung said.

"A spectator vessel gathering area will be designated south of the restricted area and east of the Kap Shui Mun Fairway.

"Any spill over of spectator vessels will be directed to the Pun Shan Shek Anchorage," he added.

As the marine traffic off Tsuen Wan Public Pier was expected to be very heavy on April 27, Mr Chung advised that vessels should follow instructions from the Marine Police and if possible should use other landing facilities in Victoria Harbour.

He also reminded vessel operators that the marine traffic in the Kap Shui Mun Fairway would increase substantially due to the closure of the Ma Wan Fairway and that vessels transiting the Kap Shui Mun Fairway should proceed with caution and adjust speed so as to avoid unnecessary overtaking.

The Marine Department has published Marine Department Notices No.65 and No.70 of 1997 to give full details of the special marine traffic measures. Free copies of the notices are available from the Victoria Marine Office on the third floor, Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong.

Internet users can also get the notices by trying http://www.info.gov.hk/mardep/index.htm for the Marine Department homepage.

As for vessel operators Mr Chung advised those who were not familiar with the waters not proceed to the water areas in which vessels would encounter strong current and heavy traffic.

"Small vessels particularly those with no decking or of a length of less than five metres should not proceed to or remain in the water areas since such vessels were vulnerable to the wash from large vessels and were not easily detected by larger vessels," he said.

6

In addition, a master before proceeding on the voyage to view the fireworks display should make sure that:

* All persons know where the life saving appliances are and know how to put on lifejackets properly. A practical demonstration is recommended.

* All children wear lifejackets at all times.

* A list showing the names of all persons on board is available for immediate use in emergency.

* The vessel has not been overloaded its licensed passenger capacity.

All vessels are also asked to observe the regulations for preventing collisions at sea.

In the evening of the fireworks display, the safe speed should not exceed five knots while a proper look-out must be maintained at all times.

He said that cabin lights should be switched off while searchlights and those lights which would interfere with keeping a proper look-out should also not be used.

Mr Chung noted:"There will be a large number of Marine Department, Marine Police and Fire Services vessels identified by their flashing red or blue lights stationed or patrolling in the water areas.”

Vessel masters should follow instructions originated from these vessels.

In the event that a vessel is in danger and requires assistance, its master can:

* Call the Marine Department on very high frequency radio telephone channel 16 using the call sign HONG KONG RESCUE, or on the telephone number 2545 0181;

* Phone the Marine Police at 2803 6241;

* Call 999; or

* Indicate the need of assistance using distress signals.

End

7

Trade Director to visit Guangzhou *****

A delegation led by the Director-General of Trade, Mr Alan Lai, left today (Wednesday) for a two-day visit to Guangzhou.

During the two-day visit on April 24 and 25, the delegation will call on officials of the Guangdong Commission of Foreign Economics Relations and Trade, Guangdong Customs, Guangdong Administration of Import and Export Commodity Inspection, and Guangdong Tax Bureau to exchange views on matters of mutual interest.

”1 hope the visit will further enhance the trading relations between Guangdong and Hong Kong, and promote continued exchange of views and information on trade and economic co-operation,” Mr Lai said before departure.

Mr Lai will be accompanied by officials from the Trade and Industry Branch and the Trade Department.

End

Issuance of the Lantau Link Philatelic Numismatic Cover

*****

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announces today the launch of the Lantau Link Philatelic Numismatic Cover (PNC) which is issued, by the HKMA on behalf of the Government, to commemorate the opening of the Lantau Link.

The public is invited to apply from tomorrow (Thursday) until 1 May 1997 for the purchase of the PNC using application forms which appear in advertisements in major newspapers starting tomorrow.

This is Hong Kong’s first PNC. It features a Brilliant Uncirculated HK$10 coin with the design of a suspension bridge symbolising the smooth transition in 1997; and a first-day cover with a special Lantau Link stamp franked with a specially designed postmark (dated 18 May 1997).

"The PNC will be of great commemorative value. Only 30,000 sets will be available in Hong Kong and the worldwide issue limit is 50,000," said an HKMA spokesman.

8

The PNC will be sold in Hong Kong for HK$188 each via public application.. Each Hong Kong Identity Card holder can apply for one PNC only and deadline for applications is Thursday, 1 May 1997.

In the event of over-subscription, a ballot will be held. Successful applicants will be notified by mail and they can purchase the PNCs at designated collection outlets starting from 22 May - the day the Lantau Link officially opens to traffic.

Proceeds from the sale of the PNCs after deducting the cost of issue will be used to fund selected projects for the benefit of the community.

End

Granting of restricted banking licence to Citibank International *****

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said today (Wednesday) that Citibank International (CI) had been granted a restricted banking licence by the Monetary Authority under the Banking Ordinance on April 18, 1997.

CI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Citibank, N.A., one of the top five banks in the world and a significant participant in the Hong Kong market. CI is an "Edge Act" corporation supervised by the Federal Reserve Bank in the US. Cl’s business includes the provision of foreign trade finance to US residents and acceptance of deposits from non-US residents. Its head office is located in Miami and it has branches in Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new branch in Hong Kong would take over the existing credit card business of Citibank's Hong Kong Branch.

After the grant of a restricted banking licence to Cl, the number of restricted licence banks in Hong Kong has increased to 63.

End

9

Pre-service graduate teaching posts in aided primary schools

*****

The Education Department today (Wednesday) invited schools to apply for the pre-service quota for the appointment of graduate teachers in aided primary schools, including primary special schools and the primary section of combined-level special schools.

According to the ratio of teaching staff establishment, the 350 primary graduate teaching posts created for the 1997/98 school year will be apportioned to 325 and 25 for aided and government schools respectively.

In line with Education Commission Report No. 5 to attract new quality teachers to teach in primary schools, a total of 65 teaching posts, or 20 per cent of the 325 posts created will be reserved for the appointment of pre-service graduates in aided primary schools.

Including the 38 unfilled quota in the previous year, there will be 103 posts available for appointment of pre-service graduates in aided primary schools.

Applicants possessing a Hong Kong Bachelor of Education Degree in Primary Education (full-time) are eligible for the appointment by means of the pre-service quota.

To encourage schools to make full use of the pre-service quota provided, allocation of this type of quota and the quota to regrade serving teachers will be considered separately.

Schools getting the pre-service quota will not affect their opportunities of being allocated the quota for regrading serving teachers.

The department has issued an administration circular on details of application for pre-service quota to aided schools.

Another circular inviting application for quota to regrade serving teachers will be issued in May.

Schools wishing to acquire the pre-service quota should apply not later than June 2.

They will be notified of the result of the allocation by the end of June to facilitate the recruitment of teachers.

End

10

Warning against employing visitors *****

A sub-contractor of a construction company received imprisonment sentences at Western Magistracy for employing six visitors from China, an Immigration Department spokesperson said today (Wednesday).

The 37-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to six charges of being the employer of a person not lawfully employable. He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on each charge, to be.run concurrently.

The six Two-way Permit visitors was each convicted of one count of taking up employment without the permission from the Director of Immigration. They were each sentenced to one-month imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

Immigration officers took over the case from the police who raided a restaurant renovation site in Tai Po on April 13, 1997. The six visitors were found working with sand spade and moving construction debris. The sub-contractor and the visitors were then arrested for further enquiry.

Subsequent investigation showed that the six Chinese visitors arrived in Hong Kong between early March to early April. They were allowed to stay until late May to early June respectively. The sub-contractor admitted that even knowing the six were visitors to Hong Kong, he still recruited them to work. The six received free meals and gifts as rewards.

The Immigration spokesperson warned that it is an offence for anyone to employ someone who is not lawfully employable. The maximum penalty is a fine of $350,000 and imprisonment for three years.

"Visitors are not allowed to take up employment in Hong Kong, whether paid or unpaid, without the permission of the Director of Immigration," said the spokesperson.

"Those who breach the conditions of stay are liable to prosecution and upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for two years," added the spokesperson.

End

11

ACP Exhibition Centre to close for two days *****

The Airport Core Programme Exhibition Centre at Castle Peak Road, the New Territories, will close on Saturday and Sunday (April 26 and 27) for preparation work for the Lantau Link Opening ceremony which will take place on Sunday (April 27).

As Monday is the usual day for closure of the centre, it will be re-open on Tuesday (April 29) from 10 am to 5 pm.

The New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office regrets any inconvenience that the temporary closure might cause to the public.

End

DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

Dear DIB Clients

I write to thank you for your support over the past years in subscribing to the Daily Information Bulletin (DIB).

In the meantime, I am glad to inform you that DIB has now been uploaded onto the Hong Kong Government Home Page on the Internet (http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/index.htm) from April 1, 1997.

This arrangement has ensured that existing DIB subscribers as well as the general public can have quicker access to the press releases issued daily by the Hong Kong Government through the Information Superhighway.

Following the upgrading of services, the DIB will no longer be printed in hard copies and distributed by post to subscribers with effect from May 1, 1997.

This decision will do good to the community at large in terms of environmental protection as 3.1 million sheets of A4-size paper will be saved each year, not to mention the saving of postage and large quantity of ink for printing.

If you wish to have the DIB sent directly to your Internet e-mail account, please complete and return the attached slip to GIS, 8th floor, Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong, before May 1, 1997 or by fax through 2845 9078. You can, of course, provide your e-mail account to us through our Internet mail account : isdnews@isd.gcn.gov.hk.

It is the policy of this department that we should aim at running a paperless office in the long run, but if you have difficulties in the new arrangements, please contact the undersigned at 2842 8738.

* (Robert YIP)

for Director of Information Services

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DAILY INFORMATION BULLETIN

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

SUPPLEMENT

Wednesday, April 23,1997

Contents Page No,

Legislative Council meeting:

SCA on Annual Report on HK.......................................... 1

Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997 ........... 3

Companies (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997 ........... 4

Mutual legal assistance in Criminal Matters Bill.................... 5

Second reading of Smoking Amendment Bill............................ 7

Bill to outlaw family status discrimination......................... 8

Resumption of the second reading on the Coroners Bill.............. 10

Freight Containers (Safety) Bill................................... 13

Freight Containers (Safety) Bill: committee stage.................. 14

Freight Containers (Safety) Bill: third reading................ 15

Weapons of mass destruction Bill................................... 15

/Buildings (Amendment)....

Contents


Buildings (Amendment) Bill 1997 ..................................... 17

Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund (Amendment) Bill 1997 ................ 18

Introduction of Government Minute................................... 18

Special arrangements for fireworks display........................... 21

Further studies on Yam O development................................. 24

Unemployment statistics.............................................. 25

ID Card checks necessary............................................. 28

Legislation to regulate the sales descriptions of uncompleted flats. 31

Arrangements for commemorative stamps sale........................... 33

Statistics on One-way Permit holders................................. 34

Sale of sushi, sashimi and raw oysters............................... 38

Assistance to young drug abusers..................................... 39

Workload of language teachers under review........................... 41

Air passenger departure tax.......................................... 42

/Justices of..

Contents

Page No.

Justices of the Peace................................................. 43

Integrated vehicle emission control strategy to tackle air pollution. 44

Maintenance of lift services.......................................... 47

Wage indices.......................................................... 48

Non-development clearances on track................................... 61

Paying airport departure tax at hotels................................ 62

Twenty-seven estates using centralised liquefied petroleum gas systems .. 63

Number of coronary bypass operations.................................. 66

Unemployment and underemployment...................................... 67

1

SCA on Annual Report on HK ♦ ♦ * * *

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Nicholas Ng, at the motion debate on "Annual Report on Hong Kong 1996 to Parliament" in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

The Annual Report on Hong Kong 1996 to Parliament, which is the subject of today's motion debate, is the twelfth in the series. The purpose of such reports is to keep Parliament informed of developments in Hong Kong on a regular basis, given its strong and continuing interest in the territory.

Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the UK Government is responsible for the administration of Hong Kong up to 30 June 1997. The publication of the Annual Report series demonstrates the UK’s interest and commitment in Hong Kong.

Further, as a co-signatory of the Joint Declaration, the UK is fully committed to ensuring the implementation of the important principles embodied in the Joint Declaration, i.e. the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" and "a high degree of autonomy". The continued application of these principles will be fundamental to ensuring that Hong Kong maintains its prosperity and stability. The obligations on both the British and the Chinese Governments to ensure the continued application of these principles are well known to Members and the community. The preparation of the Annual Report on Hong Kong helps the UK Government keep track of important developments in Hong Kong, and ensure that their obligations to Hong Kong can be fully met.

Senior British officials have time and again stressed that the UK's commitment to Hong Kong, both political and moral, will not stop at the transition. In the 1996 Annual Report, the Foreign Secretary has specifically stated that the British Government and Parliament and all those in the UK with any kind of interest in Hong Kong will remain committed to Hong Kong over the next five decades.

Although the 1996 Report is the last in the series before the transition, the Foreign Secretary, in his statement issued on 20 December last year, had undertaken to report to Parliament on Hong Kong at six-monthly intervals, starting with a report on the period January to June 1997 and promised that these six-monthly reports would continue at least as long as the Joint Liaison Group existed, i.e. until the year 2000. The reports would focus on the work of the Joint Liaison Group, covering the implementation of the Joint Declaration, with special reference to the protection of human rights in Hong Kong.

2

Mr President, I would now like to comment on a couple of subjects raised by Members in the debate on which the Hong Kong Government has a special interest.

First, on the Provisional Legislature. Some members have touched upon the question of Provisional Legislature. The British Government's and Hong Kong Government’s corporate position on the question of Provisional Legislature is well known and consistent all through.

There is no reason for the Provisional Legislature to get involved in any legislative process before 1 July 1997. As far as the British Government and the Hong Kong Government are concerned, any legislative process carried out by the Provisional Legislature before 1 July will have no validity in Hong Kong under our current constitutional framework. We have always made clear our view that any laws processed by the Provisional Legislature prior to 1 July could be vulnerable to legal challenge.

If indeed there were to be legal challenges, that would be a very bad way for the HKSAR to come into being. We therefore urge those who are in a position to make decisions on the Provisional Legislature to act with the greatest prudence in the interest of Hong Kong.

A few members have expressed concern on the preparation for the transition. Mr President, I would like to assure this Council that preparation for a smooth and successful transition is well on track. Through the Joint Liaison Group and other channels, much preparatory work has been done since 1984 to lay a sound, solid foundation for the SAR and the SAR Government. These include work which underpins the continuation of the rule of law, which ensures the continued protection of individual rights and freedoms, which ensures that Hong Kong will remain a leading international economic and financial centre, and which ensures that Hong Kong will continue to have an efficient and dedicated civil service.

For the few transitional issues which are still underway, the British Government and the Hong Kong Government will use their best endeavours to complete them to the maximum extent possible before 1 July.

Mr President, the full and faithful implementation of the Joint Declaration is a historical enterprise. I agree fully with the view expressed by some members that whilst the success of the transition needs the co-operation between Britain and China, we, the people of Hong Kong have a very important role to play. It is us, more than anyone else, who will shape Hong Kong's future and our own destiny. Members can rest assured that their views and concerns raised at this debate will be conveyed to the British Government.

End

3

Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997 *****

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Financial Services, Mr Rafael Hui, in moving the Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Mr President,

I move the first motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997, and the next three motions that I am going to move, namely the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Rules 1997, the Companies (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997, and the Companies (Winding-up) (Amendment) Rules 1997 have all been made by the Chief Justice. These are to increase the fees payable to the Official Receiver’s Office in relation to proceedings in bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Ordinance and in the winding-up of companies under the Companies Ordinance.

The Bankruptcy (Fees and Percentages) (Amendment) Order 1997 deals with 13 fees and charges in respect of bankruptcies. Most of them were last