Support for curbs on soft drugs
A MOTION pressing for action to prohibit the illegal sale of soft drugs won majority backing in the chamber.
Dr Leong Che-hung, the medical profession's representative, called on the Government to plug loopholes in laws and enforcement procedures and cut the channels for selling soft drugs.
The original impetus to stop the trade came from Tam Yiu-chung of the Democratic Association for the Betterment of Hong Kong.
Dr Leong said there were only a few black sheep in the medical profession engaging in the illicit sales.
He said that under the current laws, it was almost impossible to convict a medical practitioner for 'drug peddling' until the law differentiated between what constituted bona fide medical treatment and drug peddling.
He added that existing laws contained loopholes. He cited an example showing that the Medical Council, the body which assesses professional misconduct, could at most impose a maximum penalty of removal of the person's name from the practitioner register for a drug-dealing conviction.
The criminal offence is punishable by imprisonment.
He recommended co-ordination since the illegal sale extended beyond sales by medical personnel.
Democratic Party members said most young respondents to a recent street poll said they could buy soft drugs from street gangs or dispensaries.
The Government should strengthen the police force and enhance inspection at district level, the Democrats said.
The Secretary for Security, Peter Lai Hing-ling, who lent his support to the motion, said the administration agreed that stringent measures should be taken to prevent the inappropriate sale of dangerous drugs.