PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 June, 2007, 12:00am

Should there be tougher sentences for driving offences?

I was truly shocked by the ridiculously lenient sentence (18 months) given to the drink-driver who caused the deaths of two people ('Fury over jail term for drink-driver', June 28).

Hong Kong seems to have a strange justice system. A domestic helper was sentenced to six months' jail for taking some photos of a well-known pop star ('Star's maid jailed for six months over theft of photos, letter', December 12, 2006). Get drunk and drive, then cause the death of someone, and you get 18 months.

Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture?

On the eve of the July 1 celebrations, I believe Hongkongers should not campaign for more democracy but, to ensure our safety, should instead request a justice system closer to that of the mainland, where punishments are much more severe, often resulting in capital punishment.

Oh, and the maid who took the photos? Under such a justice system, she would have been given a government investment grant to open a factory to mass print the pop star's photos and sell them to night market vendors in Mong Kok.

Zvi Enav, Discovery Bay

Do you agree with the escalator safety advice?

I suppose the MTR Corporation is to be congratulated for winning a contract to run services in London.

However, I think someone should warn them not to try to implement their inane policy of 'stand - don't walk' on the escalators. Somebody might get killed in the rush.

London's Underground is famous for its efficient movement on escalators, that is, 'stand on the right - walk on the left'.

Unfortunately, when the MTR Corp started up in Hong Kong, although originally adopting this system, it soon listened to the government's overprotective message to get people to stand still. And by the way, I recall the results of a survey in the South China Morning Post stating that some escalator belts tested in MTR stations showed a high concentration of bacteria ('Germ warfare', October 7, 2005).

You won't see me holding on to their handrails until they keep them clean.

John Wilson, Yau Ma Tei

Would you enjoy piped music in MTR stations?

Jon Yau is correct in stating that the MTR Corporation should spend its money on better ideas rather than piped music (June 29).

Maybe the MTR Corp did come up with the idea of escalators running backwards to inconvenience its customers. However this backfired as the general public quickly realised that to get where they wanted to go, they could simply use the opposite escalator.

Neil Keen, Fanling

On other matters...

In his letter regarding the Hanoi Road redevelopment (June 22), Paul Leung, of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), certainly does 'clarify lingering doubts' readers have regarding the project.

In fact, his letter makes it quite clear that the URA and the developers, having presented a model of a redevelopment project to the public, are then free to change it, regardless of the negative impact on the promised public facilities.

Mr Leung neglected to mention that the footbridge over Cornwall Avenue is not an open structure but a multi-storey and wide building, or that the Carnarvon Road entrance of Cornwall Avenue will be used as a tour bus drop-off bay. This means this street will no longer function as a thoroughfare.

As one of the key components of the original plan was that 'Cornwall Avenue would be closed to traffic and replaced by a landscaped open space', the blocking off of the avenue and the presence of a multi-storey building over it make a mockery of the description 'landscaped open space'.

The URA expects residents to be overjoyed because the building is only 262 metres high rather than the maximum 282 metres. The original building was to be a slim American football-shaped tower, the footprint of which was probably one third of the colossus that now runs the entire length of Hanoi Road and casts a dark shadow all the way to Kimberley Road.

Yau Tsim Mong District Council refuses to look into the matter. The four Kowloon West representatives in Legco - Tsang Yok-sing, James To Kun-sun, Lau Chin-shek and Frederick Fung Kin-kee - and the housing panel at Legco do not respond to letters from residents.

So who is responsible for ensuring that the promised 1,200 square metres of public space becomes a reality?

As urban renewal programmes have a major impact on local residents, and air pollution is the number one concern of many Hongkongers, Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing should appoint an independent surveyor to calculate just how much open space there actually is behind the hoardings.

URA projects in other districts should not get the go ahead until the URA and the developer can prove that the Tsim Sha Tsui redevelopment is indeed going to provide the public facilities that were presented as a core justification for turning residents out of their homes, wrecking small local businesses, transforming a once-vibrant area into a ghost town and subjecting residents to years of disruption, pollution and inconvenience.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui

A pair of giant pandas, Le Le and Ying Ying, were given to Hong Kong by our motherland as a super gift to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover.

The two pandas will be very welcome here. Not only are they cute, they also represent China and show that the leadership believes Hong Kong matters to the mainland.

Chan Hoi-yan, Yau Yat Tsuen

Superstition rules in Hong Kong. Twice within a short period, I have heard of employers firing their helper on the spot when one of the helper's close family members dies.

I also know of a case in which a helper did not tell her employer that her mother had died recently for fear of losing her job.

Something should be done to end this discriminatory and cruel practice.

Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels