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  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 10:12pm

Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am

Sorry seems to be the hardest word for chief of police

When do you say you're sorry? Never, in the case of tough-guy police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung. That was his message when he became the city's top cop last year. He mocked his predecessor, Tang King-shing, for always saying sorry to the people when he messed up. But Tsang is a swaggering, in-your-face kind of top cop. He showed no remorse when his men tear-gassed a child who accompanied his mother to a protest. He wasn't sorry when police arrested a protester for wearing a June 4 T-shirt. And he was equally unapologetic when his undercover thugs blocked a television cameraman from filming the arrest. He backed their comical claim that their hands had simply got stuck in the camera. He made their tall story taller by testifying to legislators that the pair had instinctively reacted to a 'black shadow' coming at them. He had no qualms in ordering his men to herd the press into 'media zones' far away from news events. This is our police chief - the man who the people pay to uphold the law, but who behaves as if he is the law. Now an independent investigation has substantiated 10 of 40 allegations that were made about police behaviour during the visit of Vice-Premier Li Keqiang. The investigation dismissed as unbelievable the hands-stuck-in-camera story. If independent investigators found the story far-fetched, then surely it also makes far-fetched Tsang's associated 'black shadow' claim. If what Tsang told the Legislative Council is unbelievable, what does that make him? Tsang said yesterday he'll learn from the outrage over police heavy-handedness during Li's visit. But still missing was that key word - sorry.

Like them or not, filibusters are part of a real democracy

We all want democracy, right? And we want the real kind, right? So why all the moral grandstanding against radical legislators using democratic means to sink proposed laws they don't like? Aren't we supposed to defend to the death the free expression of others, even if we hate what they do? People Power legislators Albert Chan Wai-yip and Wong Yuk-man filed over 2,000 amendments as a tactic to derail two proposed laws they feared would infringe free speech and the rights of voters and candidates. Many others share their fears. The amendments were clearly frivolous, but the pair played by the rules. They used a tactic commonly used by lawmakers in free societies to delay legislation they oppose. And it worked. The chaos it caused in Legco enraged government supporters. Some now want to kill this right to delay unpopular legislation. That is dangerous talk. Half of our lawmakers are already undemocratically chosen through small-circle elections. Even more preposterous, legislators have no right to initiate laws except for trivial ones. Squashing the legal tactic to delay unpopular laws would make our legislature even more of a joke. Public Eye is no fan of Chan or Wong but at least they were democratically elected by the people. Voters can throw the two out at the next election, which is just months away, if they find their time-wasting tactics repulsive. Isn't that more democratic than curtailing the pair's democratic rights as legislators?

Top bureaucrats are making far more than they are worth

Will the madness ever stop? Already we have the world's highest-paid bureaucrats aside from Singapore. But we are now told the heads of public organisations make even more than our already overpaid chief executive. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen gets HK$4.45 million a year - far more than the US president. But the Airport Authority head makes HK$6.49 million, the Trade Development Council chief HK$6.29 million and the Urban Renewal Authority chief HK$4.98 million. Added up, it can decently house hundreds of those now in subdivided slum flats. If that's not madness enough, incoming boss Leung Chun-ying blames our housing mess on poor planning, not a land shortage. But his favourite bureaucrat, Development Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, oversaw land planning these past five years. If she did such a poor job, why is he promoting her to be the No 2 in government? Madness.

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