Q Should a register of child sex abuse offenders be established?
A 'name-and-shame' register brings more disadvantages than advantages. First, it would raise concerns about who should be on the list and who could access the information. Would it be open to the public or restricted to authorised people and organisations? Unless there was a balanced disclosure policy, the privacy of offenders might be severely violated. The register would have a permanent labelling effect on offenders so, even if they decided to reform, they would face discrimination trying to find jobs and places to live. Second, not many offenders have jobs involving children. Therefore, the register's intention of preventing offenders getting jobs involving contact with children would not be realised.
Paedophiles can easily pick up a victim anywhere, at any time - the victim is not necessarily someone they know or live near.
Meanwhile, we should consider comprehensive public education on child protection. We should send a clear message across the city that everyone bears the responsibility to protect children. When tragedies occur, psychological treatment should be provided to both abuse victims and offenders. Professional counselling could help victims face and overcome the trauma and resume a normal life. It could also prevent victims from becoming potential offenders and convicted offenders from re-offending.
Rachel Lo, Shamshuipo
On other matters...
I sincerely hope that some members of the Kowloon 14K triad were sitting at the back of the courtroom of Kwun Tong Court last week during the sentencing of Shek Ming-yau, the minibus driver who killed cyclist Brendan Chiu. They would undoubtedly have picked up a number of tips on how to kill a young man in broad daylight in front of witnesses and receive only a five-month prison sentence, which, with remission for good behaviour, will probably result in Shek serving only three months.
If they were not present, perhaps they would like to take heed of the following tips:
(a) Buy all the members of opposing triads a bicycle for Chinese New Year;
(b) Wait until they organise their first cycling rally on public roads;
(d) Hire a minibus and drive it, making sure to cross the double white line into the opposing lane on a sharp left hand bend and hit one of the triad members head on, breaking his neck;
(e) Call traffic police to the scene, who, true to form when a cyclist is the victim, will ensure that the case is prosecuted in the magistrate's court as opposed to the District Court, where, when it is one of their own who is killed, the defendant normally faces trial, on a more serious charge of manslaughter, with the possibility of facing a prison sentence of up to seven years;
(e) Hire a well-known criminal defence lawyer, plead not guilty and have a three-day trial;
(f) Call all the prosecution witnesses, as you have nothing to lose, and if you are unfortunate enough to be convicted after running the well-known criminal defence of ignorance and speeding by the deceased party, you will only be sentenced to five months in prison;
(g) When applying for bail pending appeal, advance the submission that you never saw the other riders, who were strung out along the road over 5km.
Tung Chung Cycling Club
I have yet to meet a commercial driver who knows the two-second rule: pick a fixed point on the road, wait until the car in front passes it, then count two seconds by saying 'only a fool breaks the two-second rule'. If you've already passed the fixed point, then you are driving dangerously.
When I complain to taxi and minibus drivers that they are driving too close to the vehicle in front they patronisingly reassure me by saying, 'Don't worry madam, we are driving slowly and I am a very safe driver'.
I want to shout: 'You idiot - I was injured by a fool like you who rear-ended me going 'very slowly'.' Instead, I take a soft tone and tell them that I trust them, but I don't trust the vehicle in front and I just had a large meal ... with lots of wine. My Cantonese is not good enough to use the appropriate withering tone to inform them that I've been driving since I was 16, then call the transport department and report them for dangerous driving. If the department cared about the safety of customers, we would see the two-second rule splashed across the TV.
Name and address supplied