PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 April, 2009, 12:00am

What do you think of plans to widen Hiram's Highway?

The Highways Department has carried out the by-now familiar, cosmetic tactic of 'consultation' on the proposed four-lane widening of Hiram's Highway to Sai Kung, before brushing aside the opposing views of many and doing what it always intended to do anyway.

At the same time, a large area of land opposite Sha Kok Mei is having extensive drainage works installed. This is the area where, some years ago, a proposal to build additional housing for 15,000 people (about the same number of people as the existing population of the town) was postponed because of vociferous opposition by people who live in the area.

Often in the New Territories, developers, contractors and other individuals use their influence to fill their own pockets with money.

This sometimes involves illegal felling of trees and other environmental destruction prior to obtaining approval for construction. They sometimes don't even bother getting that, or breach the terms of any user permit and building restrictions with impunity because, thanks to our spineless administration, they are above the law.

Am I the only one who suspects the Highways Department's proposal to build a dual carriageway to Sai Kung is part of a wider, secret agenda?

The road widening is being done under the guise of reducing road congestion on weekends and public holidays; it is not needed.

The magic slogan, 'environmental tourism', is being used by officials to justify what will almost certainly be another unsightly concrete mess.

From past experience, one must doubt if our officials, to whom the revenue model is the first priority, are capable of any development plan containing a scintilla of beauty, good taste or consideration for the thinking public.

A few months ago, Ken Livingston, the former mayor of London, visited Hong Kong and wondered why our government had not learned the lessons of more progressive city administrations around the world, that more or bigger roads invariably will lead to more traffic and more congestion.

Am I the only cynic who views the widening of the road as a Trojan Horse for the commercial rape and development of one of Hong Kong's few remaining beautiful areas, without regard for the environment or the wishes of residents and visitors who just want it left alone? But never mind, some people will make an awful lot of money.

John Wright, Sai Kung

Should we be worried about organ trading?

Some members of the ethics committee of the Medical Council have expressed concern about 'cross-family' organ donations ('Concerns raised on 'trading' of organs', March 26).

The reason Singapore allows cash for donors is to encourage more people to donate organs to save the lives of patients who will not survive without a transplant. It is a way of allowing the recipient of the transplant to express gratitude to the donor.

If some legislators are worried about excessive compensation being paid to organ donors by recipients who want to speed up the organ transplant process, then the government could put a cap on the amount of compensation that can be paid.

Ng Po-chu, Fanling

What do you think of Discovery Bay's ferry-ticket policy?

The Discovery Bay ferry operator will have been affected by the economic downturn and what we are seeing is a change of tactics.

However, these new tactics have been introduced before the Transport Department has reached a decision on its fare restructuring proposals.

Under the proposals submitted to the department, the average fare for people holding 50-trip tickets will rise from HK$23.20 to HK$29.60.

I do not think this increase is acceptable and will increase the financial burden on passengers. I do not think the ferry operator has considered the feelings of customers.

Tsang Mei-ling, Sha Tin

On other matters...

The media, including the South China Morning Post, have highlighted problems regarding fare dodgers and other concerns at Lo Wu and Sheung Shui MTR stations ('MTR Corp in move against parallel traders', March 2).

Security has been increased, more staff have been deployed at stations and a private security company has been employed to reduce these problems.

From my observations the situation has deteriorated.

On March 25, returning from Kowloon with my wife around 8.15pm, we were confronted by large number of people attempting to board the train and making it difficult for us to alight.

Then, while taking the stairway to the concourse another crowd came running down the stairs causing us to take evasive action to avoid being knocked over.

These people (couriers) ride the train from Lo Wu. After disembarking at Sheung Shui, they cross to the northbound platform (without exiting the station) collect the goods from delivery men on the platform and return to Lo Wu. All this activity takes place in plain view of MTR staff, police, (so-called) security and passengers.

If this activity is illegal and it appears to be, why is it allowed to continue? I should like an explanation from the MTR Corporation as to why it allows this nefarious activity to take place and when it is going to put a stop to it.

Mike Hart, Sheung Shui

It is good to know that the Hong Kong government has finally started to encourage staff at public hospitals to attend an emergency first-aid course ('Hospital office staff learn how to give emergency first aid on new one-day course', March 23).

I wonder though who is providing the training. Previously the government would only recognise certifications from the Red Cross, St John Ambulance or the Auxiliary Medical Service. Your report mentions certification by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Are the instructors Hong Kong residents? I certainly hope so, considering the costs involved in using overseas instructors.

Does that mean the Hong Kong government has finally woken up and is recognising certification by other organisations? Could the relevant department please comment on this?

Since 2004 International Training Solutions - and other organisations - have been training and certifying people through Emergency First Response, which has gained international recognition.

Emergency First Response meets the standards of and is accredited by numerous organisations and governments around the world.

It is time for Hong Hong to join this group and open the door to a much more accessible course than those which are presently available in the city.

Ken Chan, International Training Solutions