• Fri
  • Nov 28, 2014
  • Updated: 12:23am

Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 September, 2009, 12:00am

Who will deal with the bad guys now?

The biblical quote cited by outgoing Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang wasn't all that revealing about how he hoped righteousness would prevail against injustice in Hong Kong. 'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,' Li said in front of the court where he has served for 12 years, citing the Book of Ecclesiastes. That chapter of the Bible, Political Animal found, also speaks about how evil often appears to prevail over justice. 'Again I observe under the sun: crime is where justice should be, the criminal is where the upright should be,' it says.

It's not as if the chief justice was unhappy before retiring, according to a friend who lunched with Li last week. The tone was light-hearted, and jokes were heard about the career prospects of Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung - in response to rumours that Wong won't seek another term. What's more, the 60-year-old Li broke the all-too-common practice of top officials taking early retirement only by citing pain as a reason - such as the 'leg pain' of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. 'I felt absolutely no pain anywhere in my entire body, no problem at all,' Li said.

Justice minister under pressure

Alan Hoo, a barrister and local delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is one of the last names to spring to mind as a possible ally of pan-democrats. On Tuesday, however, Hoo joined the pan-democrats in calling for the public consultation on constitutional reform to include a road map to universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive in 2017. Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said he cited Hoo's suggestion to the chief executive in a meeting yesterday to prove the idea's broad-based support. So, what is it that has forged this union between two unlikely parties? Both are bothered that Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung has been silent on issues of constitutional importance, while taking a high profile on matters such as drug use - not an obvious portfolio responsibility. 'Isn't it time we heard his opinions on these important constitutional issues?' Hoo asked. 'I absolutely agree,' Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said.

Safety first before any heritage value

Quietly - although not in the literal sense - lawmakers have been knocking down one piece of colonial legacy: the brass staircase railings in the Legislative Council building.

Yes, the city has been edgy in recent years about destroying anything deemed part of our 'collective memory'. But the Legco Commission apparently gives an even higher priority to legislators' safety, in light of unionist lawmaker Li Fung-ying's accident. She tripped and broke her hip last year. Legco is a declared monument, but the conservation laws apply only to the building's facade. '[The staircases'] heritage value is not high,' the Antiquities and Monuments Office said. The value of the new-look modern glass railings with metal handles being installed, of course, can only be gauged in perhaps 100 years.

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