PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 December, 2010, 12:00am

MTR Corp must crack down on online vendors trading at stations

Hopefully your report ('Online shoppers turn MTR into a marketplace', December 5), will force MTR management to finally acknowledge the legitimate complaints of passengers with regard to the rampant fare dodging carried out at its stations in full view of its staff.

Most telling was the comment from one online vendor, 'I'll go meet them (the purchasers) as long as I don't have to leave the MTR station, so I don't have to pay much for transport.'

I have been complaining for ages about the activities of online vendors, and other individuals exchanging goods, causing obstruction at busy stations, in particular on the narrow passageway at the Tsim Sha Tsui concourse and beside the turnstiles at Central and that MTR staff are doing nothing to ensure that these entrepreneurs pay full fares.

Staff at the MTR customer service counters are too busy to deal with these fare dodgers but they should have a system in place to call for back up.

While regular commuters are most happy to subsidise the fares of the elderly, the disabled and the deprived, we strongly object to underwriting commercial activities. Also the presence of so many people loitering near busy turnstiles is indicative of a lax attitude on the part of the MTR Corporation towards crowd control.

The next time the MTR proposes a fare hike, members of the Legco Transport Panel should ask for an estimate of the losses incurred through this form of fare dodging and demand that MTR staff politely but firmly insist that commuters go through the turnstiles and conduct their business outside the paid area in compliance with its existing regulations.

It is unacceptable that honest low-paid workers face escalating fares while more savvy commuters save at least HK$4 a trip while using the MTR stations as staging posts for their lucrative business lines.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui

Be aware of internet shopping risks

I refer to the report ('Online orders turn MTR into marketplace', December 5).

With the rapid development of the cyber world, more people are choosing to shop on the internet.

There are several online shopping sites available in Hong Kong, such as Uwants, eBay and Yahoo! Auctions. As you report the volume of transactions on Yahoo! Auctions' Hong Kong site has since grown 20 per cent a year. This indicates that online shopping is becoming more popular in the SAR.

I can see the attraction, because online shopping offers discounts and special offers. Also, a great variety of products, including limited editions and out-of-print products, can usually be found online. You can just click on the mouse instead of spending time in a shopping centre searching for what you want. However, although it is convenient people have to be careful when making online transactions. They need to think about the reputation of the vendors and check the products carefully before they pay.

When they go to meet the vendor they should bring at least one friend, especially if the location is quiet with few people around.

Emily Chan Weng-yee Cheung Sha Wan

Good reason to celebrate anniversary

Regarding Mark O'Neill's article ('One big party for Sun worshippers', December 5), I could not agree more with his insight and understanding of modern Chinese history.

Taiwan has every reason to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China next year. As mentioned in the article, it is the most free and democratic country in the Chinese world. Not only the Taiwanese but also the whole world should be proud of its achievements in economics and politics, given the extreme circumstances Taiwan has faced in the past few decades.

Dr Sun Yat-sen founded the Republic of China 99 years ago in China after a series of revolutions. He set foot on Taiwan three times to seek support and funding for his revolutionary efforts.

Although his vision for a democratic nation was designed for China, it is in Taiwan that his ideals have been implemented.

The special municipality elections held at the end of last month are the most recent example. Despite some minor imperfections, the results of this election show a deeper and more mature democracy in Taiwan. And it is so true that Sun 'would be impressed how his legacy has been put into practice'.

Yvonne Liang, press officer, Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre

Scotland can spearhead fresh World Cup bid

I refer to the report ('Fifa can't be trusted, complains FA chief', December 5).

As a football fan first and Englishman second I am disappointed by Fifa's decisions to grant the staging of the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 to Russia and Qatar respectively. Fifa's own technical assessments, inspection visits and economic reports failed to support these winning bids. It apparently came down to promises, personalities and politics.

It is obvious that the political nature of Fifa's executive committee and its determination to avoid fiscal scrutiny scuppered England's technically and commercially strong bid (along with those of Australia and the US).

It is also apparent that any future bid by England will similarly be doomed to failure unless there is a complete regime change in Fifa's headquarters in Zurich.

I therefore suggest that for the 2030 World Cup a Scotland-led British Isles bid would stand a far better chance of being selected. This could centre on Glasgow, supported by the cities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Dublin, Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. The heart of English football lies well to the north of the River Trent.

There could be no doubting of the fervent support that such a bid would engender.

Christian Rogers, Wan Chai

Relocation of pets makes no sense

I refer to the letter by Jason Ali ('Keep dogs out of the city's built-up zones', December 5). I have never heard such a ridiculous suggestion.

Considering the thousands of dog owners in Hong Kong, and taking into account the fact that the majority of people are urban dwellers, how practical would it be to relocate these pet lovers to some remote location as suggested by Mr Ali.

Perhaps he would also like to send his proposed idea to the city dwellers in New York, London and Paris and see how they feel about it.

Maybe a much simpler solution would be for Mr Ali to relocate himself to some 'semi- rural areas in the northern New Territories and Outlying Islands'. That should solve the problem and let the rest of us enjoy our pets.

Sylvie Fraser, Happy Valley

Geopark needs minibus

Having a geopark in Sai Kung Country Park is a good idea, except the road to there (MacLehose Trail, stage one) is now on Sundays a never-ending stream of taxis beeping their horns and nearly running over hikers.

There is an urgent need for a regular minibus to the geopark on Sundays. It is a crazy situation.

Jennifer Eagleton, Tai Po