PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 November, 2007, 12:00am

Should new hawker licences be issued?

I think most hawkers would rather not be doing this kind of work. Given a chance, I am sure they would rather have their own shop, where they could do their business.

However, because of the cost of rents in shops, many of them have no choice, but to make their livelihood as hawkers. Issuing new hawker licences can help people who are poor make a living and not have to claim CSSA.

While I understand this argument, there are two main problems connected with issuing new hawker licences.

Firstly, this affects the other shop owners. Secondly, there is the problem of hygiene. In order to curb hygiene problems, the solution would be for the relevant government inspectors to keep regular checks on these hawkers.

Tai Kwun-kit, Sheung Shui

Roadside stalls are a feature of Hong Kong, selling local snacks which represent part of the culinary culture of the city.

If we want to taste them in their original form, we have to find a hawker selling them. I think it is obvious that the government should issue new hawker licences.

Some people have argued that there is a hygiene issue and the food that hawkers cook can sometimes make people ill. There is always a risk attached, but you can get food poisoning at a top-class restaurant, if you are unlucky.

If the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department issues these new licences, then at least the hawkers can sell their appetisers legally.

They will not have to risk having their equipment confiscated and Hongkongers can continue to enjoy eating these snacks on the pavement.

If more hawkers can operate, this can lower the unemployment rate in Hong Kong. This means that the culture of roadside eating can be preserved.

Truda Tsoi Chun-wai, Sheung Shui

On other matters

It has been revealed that the government is reviewing plans for an alternative route for the Central Kowloon Route (intending to link up the West Kowloon Cultural District and the future Kai Tak development), with the intention of avoiding the demolition of the historic Yau Ma Tei Police Station ('Historic police station may be preserved', November 11). I welcome this revised approach.

It has been widely recognised by local residents that this historic police station should be preserved for the sake of future generations.

It is interesting that many of the old police stations, such as the Wan Chai Police Station and the Central Police Station, are colonial-style buildings which are becoming rare in Hong Kong. There have been heated debates about their preservation.

The government is clearly moving in accord with public opinion and should be congratulated for that. However, it must be noted that just preserving the fabric of the building does not mean it retains the character it possessed in the past.

Therefore, it is important to consider carefully, who should occupy these buildings and what functions and activities will take place.

Studies should be undertaken so the right decision is arrived at, otherwise it is pointless retaining these buildings.

We need to inject new elements, but no alter things too radically.

We need to get the right balance so the historic image is preserved. I think converting these places into community buildings would be the best option.

These former police stations would continue their role, albeit in a different way, of serving the public, and members of the public would be able to explore buildings that formerly had restricted access.

They could even have a dual role, as community centres during the day and museums in the evening.

H. C. Bee, Ho Man Tin

The management company of Shun Tak Holdings has introduced its own traffic rules at the section of Chung King Road that runs through Shun Tak Centre, by separating it into two lanes - one for the public road users and the other for its own use.

Part of this 'private' lane is for passengers from taxis and coaches to disembark, the rest is reserved for cars to park. This is in spite of the fact that no-parking signs are clearly visible. I wrote to the Transport Department in September to ask about this arrangement and got no reply.

Then I turned to the office of legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee for help and I understand her office wrote to the commissioner of transport on October 11. As I understand it, there was no response. I understand there was a follow-up letter on November 13 and no response again. Will the commissioner please reply to these letters?

Adrian Chan, Happy Valley