New World pair miss deadline for statements in Legco inquiry
New World China Land chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun and executive director Stewart Leung Chi-kin have yet to submit witness statements to the legislature's inquiry into the company's employment of former housing director Leung Chin-man. The pair were to have submitted them on Wednesday but asked for a two-day delay. However, the select committee conducting the inquiry did not receive them yesterday. The pair have been summoned to testify for a third time to the inquiry on Tuesday. Its deputy chairman, Lee Wing-tat, said the hearing might proceed more slowly than normal since lawmakers would have an insufficient amount of time to read their submissions. The employment of Leung Chin-man, who was housing chief when the Hunghom Peninsula estate was sold cheaply to a consortium including a New World company, led to accusations of a conflict of interest. He resigned after two weeks.
Planners question limit on area of security zone to be developed
Town Planning Board members yesterday asked why the government is proposing to release only 50 hectares of the 2,400-hectare security zone along the border for residential and commercial development when the administration begins opening it up next year. Board member Starry Lee Wai-king said at least a third of the closed area, including sites close to Lo Wu and Sha Tau Kok, should be opened up for development in view of the limited availability of land in the city. Fellow member Nelson Chan Wah-yu asked if the draft development plan would allow the former security zone, known as the closed border area, to catch up with the rapid developments on the Shenzhen side of the border. Assistant director of planning Raymond Wong Wai-man said the plan struck a balance between conservation and development. Another board member, Professor Ng Cho-nam, said dense development of the zone would further heat up the city.
Colour, digital CCTV for estates
Colour television is coming to public housing estates in the city - closed-circuit television, that is. The Housing Department will spend HK$92 million replacing the estates' black-and-white CCTV systems with modern digital colour systems that provide clearer images and more stable signals to make security guards' jobs easier.