Drug rehab students may be moved, official says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 March, 2010, 12:00am

Students at a drug rehabilitation college could be sent to other centres if it did not move to a site in Mui Wo or if its present site was found to be dangerous, the education chief says.

Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung told the Legislative Council's education panel that he could not estimate how long Christian Zheng Sheng College would need to provide the documents required for registration as a school and rehabilitation centre at Mui Wo.

Education lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong expressed serious concern about dangers posed to the current site in a remote part of Lantau Island. Huge rocks might roll down from the hillside during coming monsoon season, he said.

The college had been asked to provide information on the Mui Wo plan, including financial documents, audit account reports and information on charity registration and management, to the government since last September, officials including deputy secretary for education Betty Ip Tsang Chui-hing and Narcotics Commissioner Sally Wong said.

However, the college's principal, Alman Chan Siu-cheuk, said yesterday that he had submitted all the required documents for the new facility in Mui Wo and the government had in the past year only asked for information on its current site.

'I am worried that the government is planning to shut down Christian Zheng Sheng College,' he said.

Chan disagreed with a government assertion in Legco yesterday that the college had not provided required documents.

The government had only asked for documents related to new curriculum offered by the current school, he said. There are 115 students in the current school.

Lawmakers asked the government to provide a list of documents that the college has not submitted and will hold a meeting with representatives from the government and the college.

Mui Wo residents want to use the vacant school site for locals, but education chiefs rejected an application to do so. The Heung Yee Kuk and the South Lantau Education Concern Group have vowed to fight on.

Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is concerned about the estimated demand on drug rehabilitation school services in the near future, given that a recent government survey found more than 90 per cent of primary and secondary schools have pupils taking psychotropic drugs.

Wong said there was a shortfall of 100 spaces for residential treatment at drug rehabilitation school and the government was investigating different approaches, including short-term rather than long-term one-year residential treatment programmes.

Architectural, surveying and planning sector lawmaker Patrick Lau Shau-shing said his sector was willing to support the college on the renovation of the current and new schools.