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PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 November, 2003, 12:00am


Q Should the AFCD call in professional crocodile hunters?

Crocodiles are territorial hunters and when it comes to meal time, they do not discriminate between humans and animals. This has been evidenced over the years by crocodile attacks on people.

In killing its prey, a crocodile will lay in wait and then suddenly pounce. Once the crocodile has taken hold, it performs the 'death roll' - that is, it submerges its prey under water, continually rolling until its prey finally dies. Occasionally, a crocodile will wedge its prey under a submerged log until it starts to decompose. The crocodile later returns to devour its prey.

Such a cunning and dangerous animal requires professional intervention. When people are chosen for space travel, a professional is chosen. Likewise, when a crocodile requires capturing, a professional crocodile hunter should be chosen. Bring in the professionals.

Daniel Porceddu, Wan Chai

It seems to me that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) is afraid to lose face and, in their amateur crocodile hunt with tranquiliser guns, will probably kill the poor creature. Let the professionals deal with it.

The longer they fail in their bumbling efforts to catch the baby crocodile (it's only about 1.2 metres long), refuse to accept their limitations and face reality, the more ridiculous they will look in the eyes of the public.

When will the director of the AFCD come to his senses?

Name and address supplied

The situation with this man-eating creature is now out of our control. The case is so serious, residents' lives are being put at risk. The crocodile could harm us at any time.

However, the AFCD cannot come up with any suitable method to deal with it. It has already waited for almost a week by the river but has not achieved any result. We cannot even be sure that there aren't more of these killers in the river.

The best way to deal with the situation is to consult experienced crocodile catchers without hesitation. Waiting to collect further information is not a proper excuse to delay the matter. This creature is endangering us like a time bomb. Hiring professionals is the only possible action to ensure that our lives can be safe.

Kenneth She Chun-chi, Tsing Yi

Wow, a wild croc right in our backyard. It's so typical of Hong Kong bureaucrats to dilly-dally over such an issue.

Since catching the beast is no doubt an important safety priority (and, at the same time, of great entertainment value) for concerned citizens, I cannot see why the AFCD does not jump at the chance of getting the much celebrated crocodile hunter John Lever on centre stage at literally no cost to the government. Name and address supplied

On other matters...

After being tainted with a scandal, Michael Wong Kin-chow has decided to resign as chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the chief executive has approved it. I am satisfied with this.

Because of the way the EOC's chairman has been criticised, the commission's credibility with the public would inevitably suffer. Some people could take advantage of this scandal to criticise the government. To prevent this, Mr Wong's resignation was the only way out. His appropriate action not only compensates for his mistakes, but also helps the government save face.

Simon Lee Hau-man, Tsuen Wan

The recent controversy surrounding Michael Wong further signals the Tung administration's inability to listen to the people.

If the report about Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa planning to set up a hotline for citizens to reach him (South China Morning Post, October 31) is to be believed, we feel it is pointless until, and unless, our leader shows that he is really capable of listening to voices from the community, not merely nodding and smiling back as he receives public views.

Citizens repeatedly told the chief executive that Mr Wong's predecessor, Anna Wu Hung-yuk, had done an excellent job. Yet, on the two occasions when her contract was up for renewal, she did not know of the decision until the 11th hour.

Such human resource management practices do not provide the model that the administration should be setting for private-sector organisations.

The EOC is a statutory body set up to enforce the three pieces of anti-discrimination legislation and to promote equal opportunities for women and men, people with disabilities or a different family status.

Its every word and deed must uphold both the letter and the spirit of equal opportunities laws to the highest standard.

Ironically, the appointment of the commission's chairman is in itself questionable as to whether it adhered to the principles of equal opportunities.

Ms Wu drafted the original Equal Opportunities Bill when she was in the legislature. She had been a commission member before she was appointed chairwoman.

For many years she has worked with a lot of non-governmental organisations on equality issues. Yet she was replaced after only four years.

The EOC chair is a salaried position funded by public money. Its appointment should be fair, open and transparent. The best possible candidate should be recruited to serve the public. We have doubts about the selection process and request the administration be more open about it.

Mr Wong's controversial dismissal of Patrick Yu Chung-yin before he could even report for duty might not seem irregular to Mr Tung. But if he is sincere about his desire to listen to the people, he needs to show that he does not support Mr Wong's actions, and that he will take prompt and effective action to rebuild the EOC's credibility.

Catherine Ng, Citizens' Party


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