Public in favour of higher tobacco taxes, poll finds
The public will back an increase in tobacco duty in this month's budget, especially if revenue goes to a fund which educates people about the risks of smoking and helps smokers stop, a survey has found. Medical sector lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said tobacco duty was last raised in 2001 by 5 per cent. The survey of 370 people found 71 per cent would agree to a rise in the duty, just 18 per cent said they were satisfied with the government's anti-smoking programme and 13 per cent were satisfied with its quit-smoking programmes. The findings have been submitted to Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah.
More store checks during holiday
Customs and police will step up inspections of shops which target mainland visitors during the Lunar New Year 'golden week' holiday, the Tourism Commission said yesterday. Commissioner Au King-chi also called on Hongkongers to cross the border via the Lo Wu checkpoint, Shenzhen Bay Port or Lok Ma Chau Spur Line checkpoint to avoid congestion at Lok Ma Chau.
HK seen as drug-test hub
Hong Kong has big potential as a centre for clinical trials of new drugs to qualify them for sale in the region, said Ken Hui Kin-nam, marketing vice-president for Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks. Mr Hui said the region was a huge potential market, as pharmaceutical companies needed to have new drugs pass local clinical trials before they were approved for sale.
Finance chief weighs wealth
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said the principle of ensuring money was not misused should be strictly followed in considering whether to return wealth to the people. He was speaking at a Tsuen Wan forum aimed at seeking views on the budget, the last of four such forums before he delivers his maiden budget speech on February 27. This year, the surplus is widely expected to exceed HK$100 billion.