PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 July, 2005, 12:00am

Q Are five demerit points sufficient penalty for running a red light?

In my July 15 letter in Talkback, there was a transcription error regarding the sequence of traffic light changes. The sequence for traffic lights in Hong Kong is: red-red+amber-green-amber-red. There is therefore no ambiguity and no excuse for not being aware of an imminent red light.

Name and Address Supplied

Talkback Editor: We regret the error, which was introduced during the editing process.

On other matters...

I refer to Miranda Leung's response to Peter Stanley's letter. The response was published in Talkback on June 13.

The reply is another typical example of misinformation being supplied by the MTR Corporation.

Between March 13, 2004, and May 16, 2005, during weekday peak hours, i.e. 8am to 9am, eight trains ran daily between Tung Chung and Hong Kong station. The departure times were 8.04, 8.09, 8.18, 8.25, 8.34, 8.40, 8.48 and 8.57. Effective from May 16, during weekday peak hours, i.e. 8am to 9am, seven trains run between Tung Chung and Hong Kong station. The departure times are 8.07, 8.14, 8.22, 8.31, 8.38, 8.46 and 8.55.

According to my calculation, the frequency of the trains before May 16 varied from five to nine minutes during peak hours, whereas now the frequency is seven to nine minutes during peak hours, with one fewer train.

Ms Leung made the proud admission that the passenger-carrying capacity of the Tung Chung Line was increased in 2003 when an extra carriage was added to each train and that the trains are still able to satisfy demand, with enough capacity to spare, to accommodate the extra patronage from the opening of the Disneyland resort line and the cable car in Tung Chung (according to MTR propaganda, the cable-car system will have a capacity of 3,500 people per hour in each direction).

Is Ms Leung getting her information from some outdated manual issued by the MTR Corporation?

Ms Leung or the powers that be in the MTR Corporation may not be aware of new property developments that have been completed since 2003:

Seaview Crescent consists of three tower blocks of around 50 storeys each; Caribbean Coast jointly developed by a number of developers and the MTR Corporation, which is about 67,900 square metres with both residential and commercial buildings; Costal Skyline consists of seven residential towers of around 50 storeys each; and a number of low-rise flats, five home-ownership blocks at Yu Tung Court and three blocks at Fu Tung Estate comprising 2,640 home-ownership and 1,664 rental units; Yat Tung Estate, consisting of 20 40-storey tower blocks, has been occupied. Not to mention other developments that have taken place all along the line.

During peak hours the trains are packed like cattle trucks, people barely having enough standing room. Cheaper fares are in order to compensate commuters on the Tung Chung Line for the overcrowding and the inconvenience that will be experienced due to the opening of Disneyland in late summer, and perhaps a little bit of honesty from the MTR Corporation.

T.J. Carey, Tung Chung

I can recall four occasions in the past year when your newspaper reported crimes and referred by name to well-known relatives of possible suspects. Time after time, whenever these cases are mentioned in the press, you again remind the readers of the names and public positions of the relatives, seemingly to cast aspersions on them.

One would hope that a respected newspaper, such as yours is reputed to be, would avoid this cheap sensationalism and leave the dirt-raking to the gutter press.

Have you not considered the feelings, the humiliation and the worries of family members who may have no knowledge of, let alone responsibility in, the alleged crime of a family member whose case has not yet even been judged before a court?

Surely it is time to enact laws to protect the privacy of the families of persons suspected of being involved in a crime.

Call your action freedom of the press if you will, but where is the freedom of those whose names are bandied about in newspapers simply to sell a few more copies? This kind of reporting comes very close to libel and should be outlawed.

If 'the public interest' is made an excuse for sensationalism, would the public interest not equally be served by waiting for the public hearing in court and then only naming those directly involved in the alleged crime?

Would you, Editor, be happy to see your name blazed across the press headlines, not for any offence you have committed, but for a possible offence committed by any of your relatives? I think not. Nor would anyone else.

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong

Old trees have grown along with our ancestry, grandparents, parents and us. Struggling through fickle weather but standing still and silently, these aged trees have witnessed Hong Kong's rapid development.

Many people can reminisce about their past joyful memories when they revisit them.

Therefore, the trees are worth our respect.

Legislation is not the only way but the most deterrent means to protect old trees in Hong Kong.

In fact, the major threats are the transport or property developers.

If the old trees are not listed in the Old Trees Registry, the developers can eradicate them for their projects without informing any related departments, such as the Civil Engineering and Development Department.

However, even [when] some of the trees seem to be under protection in the registry, our cold-blooded government is to blame for permitting any parties to trim any parts of the trees for any 'reasonable' explanations.

Consequently, myriad venerable trees are persecuted.

Passing the tree-protection ordinance would primarily force the government to set up an office accountable for tree conditioning and protection.

Hong Kong has an ample amount of tree conservationists to take part in maintaining our green environment, which is our most pivotal need living in buildings-conquered surroundings.

Samantha Ma, Tai Po

I refer to the July 14 Talkback by Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay, concerning salvaging of refuse at the refuse collection point (RCP) in Clear Water Bay Road opposite the Silverstrand ParknShop.

Occasionally, our district staff found some people salvaging 'used tin cans, papers and metallic articles' from the refuse bins, including from bins inside RCPs, causing litter around the concerned locations. On detection of such activities during district patrol, our staff would give verbal warnings to the litter pickers. If the verbal warnings were unheeded, they would issue summonses to the offenders on the spot. In the past three months, our staff issued four warnings to litter pickers at the said RCP.

I wish to thank Mr Kuperus for bringing the matter to our attention. Please be assured that we are committed to keeping our facilities clean and tidy. We will continue to keep the RCP at the above location and others under close monitoring.

Tong Yu-sang, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department