PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 November, 2008, 12:00am

Drink-driving offences are only the tip of a very large iceberg

So 'Hong Kong's roads are safer' ('More held as drink-drive loophole shut', November 16). Maybe, but where is the evidence? There are other measures, long overdue, which would improve safety far more.

Of accidents on Hong Kong's roads this year less than 10 per cent have been 'drink related' (I believe the actual figure is nearer 7 per cent). Even this does not mean that drink was the main, or even a contributory, cause in all of them.

No doubt, drinking does affect one's driving, but if our aim really is to reduce accidents, does it not make sense to take a closer look at the factors that caused the other 90 to 93 per cent and the other factors contributing to the 'drink-related' accidents?

Rather than stop drivers who might have been drinking, why not stop those who are definitely doing something wrong - not signalling in good time; signalling incorrectly; failing to cancel their indicators; in the wrong lane; having no idea who has the right of way at roundabouts; unable to manage a hill start without rolling backwards; using a hand-held phone while driving; stopping on the zig-zag lines on the approach to a pedestrian crossing (a driving, not parking, offence); parking on pavements forcing pedestrians, sometimes when pushing young or elderly in wheelchairs, to walk in the road and driving with no lights, or only sidelights, between dusk and dawn, in mist or in rain?

A new attitude is required by police. Officers on patrol must look for all offences all the time, not only those to which they have been specifically assigned.

It is common during the early stages of dusk or in rain to see a substantial number of vehicles without headlights, despite having just been passed by, or being followed by, a police vehicle.

Many times I drive along Tai Mong Tsai Road at weekends and see cars parked on the pavement forcing pedestrians to use the road, while police vehicles drive past apparently not noticing. Frequently I see vehicles stopped on the zig-zag lines on the approach to a pedestrian crossing; sadly, these are sometimes police vehicles.

Most of these points have been made before. Until they, and others, are realistically addressed it is impossible to believe that 'Zero accidents on the road: ...' really is '... Hong Kong's goal'.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

Sex register plan seriously flawed

The Law Reform Commission is quietly attempting to put Hong Kong's human rights clock back several decades.

Tasked, rightly, to design a sex offenders' register to 'prevent those convicted of paedophile crimes from working in close proximity to children', it has unilaterally widened the scope of its proposals.

They include wildly different kinds of sex offenders - prostitutes, young people who have sex with under-age partners, people convicted of sex with animals, those guilty of using date rape drugs, of indecent assault and of indecency in public (watch out Rugby Sevens streakers), gay men convicted of offences recently ruled discriminatory (because they do not apply to heterosexuals or lesbians) and unconstitutional by the courts. All these would be on the register.

What do these people have to do with predatory paedophiles? The Law Commission seems to want to make a moral sweep of society; this is not what it was tasked to do.

The methods it proposes for the operation of the register are frightening.

Once on it, a name would never be removed, so people who are not and never have been a danger to children would find their lives permanently marred. Where is the right to rehabilitation in all this? And to find out if a job applicant is on the register, the commission proposes that an employer make a simple phone call, with no record made, to the police. What scope for administrative error. What a blackmailer's charter.

These proposals are seriously flawed. Though the consultation period is now over, the Law Commission should be reminded of its remit and asked to draft them again.

Nigel Collett, Pok Fu Lam

MPF query went unanswered

I refer to Edwin Chok's letter about Mandatory Provident Fund fees ('MPF a sell-out of Hongkongers', November 9) suggesting a cap of between 0.5 to 0.75 per cent on fees. Some months ago, I wrote to Fidelity asking about short-selling fees that it makes through lending stock we buy to short-sellers and asking for an accounting of these fees. Fidelity responded to other parts of my letter but did not deign to reply to that question.

Perhaps Fidelity can through these columns answer whether it makes money from short-sellers and, if so, why it is not prepared to reduce its fees to zero.

The MPF is a captive scheme that the government got us into and we deserve better.

Alastair Maxwell, Sai Kung

Poisoning of dog a terrible crime

I refer to the letter by Wayan Chan ('Bowen Road dog poisoner must be caught as soon as possible', November 9) about the Labrador that was poisoned.

Labradors are often used as guide dogs and are valued companions to a family. This is a very serious crime.

Pursuant to chapter 169 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, any person who commits the 'offence of cruelty' and 'animal destruction' shall be liable on summary conviction to a heavy fine and imprisonment.

Animals are living creatures which, like humans, are able to feel pain, hunger and thirst.

We should not inflict any suffering upon our fellow creatures just because they can't speak. The dog murderer should respect all living creatures.

A joint operation involving police, the relevant government departments and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals should be organised to arrest the poisoner and prevent acts of cruelty to animals.

Leo Sung, Causeway Bay

New landfill all wrong

I refer to the legal notice which appeared in the Sunday Morning Post on November 16.

I find it shocking that as we are told how we should make an effort to recycle and preserve our environment, another landfill is being planned. And what is even more shocking is that this landfill will take out 'about 5 hectares of land' in Clear Water Bay Country Park.

In Clear Water Bay, we have no recycling bins or recycling facilities for residents. All our rubbish is placed in large plastic bins at the tops of the roads. Instead of building a completely unnecessary landfill, why not actually help us recycle? Aren't we supposed to be trying to preserve our environment?

This proposed landfill does not reflect sufficient thought for the long-term future of our beautiful countryside.

When this landfill is full, will another large section of Clear Water Bay park be wiped out to build another?

F. McManus, Clear Water Bay

Pupils need subsidies

It is crucial to provide subsidies for poor students so they can take part in extra-curricular activities in school.

Students from low-income families often cannot join these activities.

They lose out because they cannot join their friends and this can lower their self-confidence and self-esteem. Some may begin to lose interest in school.

If subsidies are made available, these students will be able to become more involved in school life and they will not feel isolated.

The government has to consider the needs of the poorer members of society and should not just look at one-off subsidies.

Lam Kwan-man, Tsuen Wan