PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2007, 12:00am

Have you had trouble with pay-TV companies?

I refer to two letters regarding Now TV (Talkback, July 11). First, with reference to Angela Soh's letter, we would like to thank her for being a Now TV customer and apologise for any inconvenience.

It appears Ms Soh has misunderstood the offer we had communicated to her earlier this year.

The majority of our ESPN/Star Sports viewers are also interested in our enlarged sports offering, which includes our exclusive coverage of the Barclays Premier League.

Accordingly, for their convenience, we have offered to automatically extend the new mega sports pack (which includes the two ESPN/Star Sports channels and our six new sports channels) to existing ESPN/Star Sports viewers.

In addition, as a reward for customer loyalty, we offered our existing ESPN/Star Sports viewers a special early bird offer, which included five months' free viewing of the all-new mega sports pack.

We invite Ms Soh to call our 24-hour sales hotline at 28880008 - as directed in our earlier communication with her - to discuss various options or, if she prefers and rejects the five-month free mega sports pack, she can remain with just the ESPN/Star Sports channels.

In the meantime, we are contacting Ms Soh to explain to her all the options available and make sure the matter is settled to her satisfaction.

Regarding Alison Taylor's letter, we thank her for her continued support. ESPN and Star Sports are provided to Now TV as a pair of channels. We are not able to sell these channels separately.

This has always been the case (since the channels' launch on Now TV in August 2004) and this has been made clear in all our company communications.

It would appear there was a misunderstanding of this paired arrangement.

We are contacting Ms Taylor so that we can satisfy her viewing requirements.

Joan Wagner, director, corporate communications (international), PCCW

What can be done to help families at risk of domestic violence?

The tragedy that occurred in Sha Tin ('Murder-suicide prompts review', July 10), highlights the critical shortage of psychiatric services in the New Territories.

Patients with a mental illness can generally only stay in hospital for three to seven days and each psychiatric-medical social worker has to deal with more than 100 cases.

There are fewer than 200 medical social workers but there are 200,000 mental patients in Hong Kong.

Clearly we do not have enough psychiatric medical social workers to help the families at risk. The government should ensure our education institutes have more courses to train these specialised social workers, so that the demand can be met.

Also, social workers' salaries should be increased to halt the number of social workers leaving the profession that we are now seeing.

The government should limit the number of working hours, to give the medical social workers time to rest and give them a break from the pressures the job brings. This will actually make them more efficient than if they are being overworked.

A medical centre should be built which deals exclusively with mentally ill patients. Such a centre could administer the various cases and come up with suitable treatments for patients.

Furthermore, files charting domestic problems should not be closed after five or seven years, but should remain open, so social workers can follow up these cases. This will lower the risk of tragedies occurring.

Poon Tsz-hin, Tseung Kwan O

Are penalties for driving offences heavy enough?

I believe heavy penalties for driving offences can help tame aggressive and reckless drivers. Drivers are not only responsible for their own lives but for the lives of their passengers.

Drivers would appreciate the importance of their responsibilities if they faced heavy penalties.

The heavy penalties I have suggested should also apply to minibus drivers. I once experienced a minibus trip to Tuen Mun where the driver kept accelerating, even though a speed alarm went off. When he spotted a speed detector on the hard shoulder of the highway, he slowed down a bit.

I was alarmed and I could feel my heart pounding.

It is clear then that heavy penalties must be introduced for driving offences. These penalties should reflect not just how seriously the government views reckless drivers, but how much it cares for the welfare of pedestrians, passengers and law-abiding drivers.

Michael Woo Pak-ning, Ho Man Tin

On other matters...

As a parent I am appalled at the lenient sentences being given to people found in possession of child pornography ('Man who had child porn 'to relieve stress' spared jail time', July 12).

It was reported that Ho Yan-kiu was found in possession of more than 8,000 images of child pornography, and yet he received probation and community service because 'he was found to have no psychosexual problems'.

And yet the court was told that of the images downloaded, there were '11 classified in the most disturbing category showing sadism and bestiality'.

I am sure he also 'showed remorse' - but only because he'd been arrested. Leniency was also shown because he 'regretted his actions because he had indirectly hurt the child victims depicted in the files'.

Why didn't he think of the damage these poor children suffered for his gratification during the two years that he had been downloading these files? Children suffer untold fear and physical abuse to produce images such as this man collected.

People who 'only' download pictures, even if they play a 'passive' role, encourage child abuse by providing a demand for it.

The only way to protect children is to deter sex offenders with lengthy jail sentences and provide them with intensive counselling.

David Coates, Admiralty