Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 April, 2011, 12:00am


Developer gets the last laugh in Leung saga

So, you think it was a slap in the face of everyone that retired housing chief Leung Chin-man still ended up working for a property tycoon? You're wrong. It was more than a slap in the face, it was a poke in the eye. The face slap and eye jab is New World Development's payback for those who kicked up a stink when its subsidiary gave Leung a plum post-retirement job. That job three years ago made people wonder if New World was rewarding Leung for past favours. He was, after all, instrumental in the sale of a government-subsidised housing estate to a New World sister company at bargain price. When the stink spread, civil service chief Denise Yue Chung-yee admitted she messed up by allowing Leung to take the job. A Legislative Council inquiry found the public's fury was justified. Leung quit the job. But now, another New World-linked company has created a fresh stink by awarding Leung a consultancy contract. You have to wonder why the property developer is so determined to give him a job. Or is this latest job New World's way of paying us back for daring to question its motives? By giving Leung another job, New World has given all of us the finger.

Tough action on property prices just a dream

Tough words have flowed from two of our top officials on taming Hong Kong's runaway property prices. Take note that Public Eye said tough words, not action. Here is a sample: 'I am deeply concerned that overall property prices in February have surpassed the peak in 1997. I shall not hesitate to introduce further measures to reduce the risk of a property bubble as and when necessary.' That came from Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah (pictured). And this from Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor: 'The government's determination to increase land supply is undoubtable.' Those words would dupe fools into thinking ours is a government ahead of the curve. But Public Eye knows those words spell fiction. Fact one: a property bubble risk is already here but the government has done virtually nothing. Fact two: the property market has laughed off the puny government measures taken so far. Fact three: the government froze land supply for a decade, triggering today's high property prices. Fact four: the land it now plans to sell won't become flats for years. Fact five: when they become flats, the prices will still be sky-high because the government demands sky-high land prices. Need any more facts?

Are waffles more dangerous than filthy air?

Let's forget for a moment that elderly egg-waffle seller Ng Yuk-fai was economical with the truth about struggling to make ends meet. Let's focus on why our bureaucrats sent an army to hassle him. It was to protect the public's health from the unlicensed hawker's waffles, right? So here's a trick question. Is your health hurt more by Ng's supposedly filthy waffles or by Hong Kong's filthy air? OK, that's a no-brainer. Let's try again: do our bureaucrats consider it a higher priority to protect us from waffles than polluted air? Is that why they've gone all out to stop us eating his waffles but done so little to stop us breathing polluted air? OK, that's still not a trick question but try getting an answer from bureaucrats. That's the trick.

France's burqa ban hard to figure out

Public Eye just can't figure it out. Maybe you can help. It's about France's ban on Muslim women wearing a face veil. Does the burqa ban apply only to Muslim women? What if you're a non-Muslim woman - or man - who wore a burqa to a costume party or on Halloween night? Would French police storm the party and order all burqa wearers to remove them? What about those in Batman costumes? Doesn't the caped crusader's face-covering costume resemble a burqa? We need answers, President Nicolas Sarkozy.