PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 November, 2011, 12:00am


West wing is an integral part of hill

It is ironic that the Development Bureau is planning to launch a two-day Heritage Fiesta in December to tie in with an international conference on heritage conservation (also organised by the bureau) when it has announced its revamped plan to sell off virtually the whole of Government Hill to a developer by tender in 2013.

With Government Hill, heritage conservation should be simple. There are no difficulties with having to consider the rights of the private owner. This is all land currently in public ownership.

The site, euphemistically described as the west wing site, comprises virtually the whole of Government Hill, barring only the footprint of the French Mission Building and the main and east wing of the Central Government Offices.

The site boundary actually abuts the French Mission Building which is some distance from the current west wing.

These publicly owned buildings along with the surrounding land are currently all an integral part of Government Hill, the historical importance of which stretches back to the 19th century. The development will also involve the hollowing out of the hill. The extent of excavation in the revamped plan has been reduced but to an insignificant extent.

The Development Bureau should not be allowed to fool the people of Hong Kong by passing this off as a development of the west wing and by referring to it as the west wing site, as though all that is to be sold is the land to be occupied by the proposed new development.

The site is essentially the whole of Government Hill.

Heritage Fiesta? More like Heritage Fiasco. Hollow claims to preserve Hong Kong's heritage accompany the hollowing out of Government Hill. How symbolic is that?

Gladys Li, Central

Case was objectively assessed

I refer to the article of Neville Sarony ('Conspiracy charges must stand up to proper scrutiny', November 24) and the criticism he has levelled against the prosecution in the Shanghai Land case.

The decision to prosecute in 2006 was taken by I. Grenville Cross, SC, the then director of public prosecutions, exercising independent discretion and within the parameters of established prosecution policy. The case and the evidence presented was properly and thoroughly considered.

Two experienced outside counsel were appointed to conduct the trial. The convictions secured after trial, and those upheld by the Court of Appeal, were ultimately quashed by the Court of Final Appeal on the basis of the presentation of evidence under the co-conspirators rule.

The case was objectively assessed and presented and the conspiracy charges as laid were in accordance with the evidence and the case that was presented. Any suggestion that the then director of public prosecutions had failed in his role to 'assess the merits of pursuing a prosecution before embarking on it' is not justified.

Louisa Lai, deputy director of public prosecutions

Time to get rid of world soccer chief

Somehow Sepp Blatter has managed to remain as Fifa president for a number of years despite repeated gaffes.

His latest comments suggesting settling racism with a handshake are completely out of touch and have caused global outrage.

Fifa is now at rock bottom. After numerous unresolved scandals, it is suffering from a loss of credibility.

Many sports - cycling, swimming, athletics and baseball, just to name a few - have had their share of issues. At some point, strong leaders are appointed who give fans the feeling that the sport will get back on track. Soccer must make this change now to resurrect respect and restore unity.

Soccer can be a wonderful role model and advert for all walks of life, but it needs the most respected, trusted leadership it can find for its governing body. Only in this way can it get back the sponsors who are leaving in droves because of uncertainty over the leadership.

To secure the future of this great game, and after this latest hurtful remark by its leader, Fifa needs to end Blatter's reign as president.

Jamie Spence, Repulse Bay

Peninsula has set fine example

As an average citizen and educator, I am delighted that the Peninsula Hotel is going to stop offering shark's fin dishes on its menus.

Hong Kong should be ashamed of being the biggest importer of shark fins in the world. While the SAR government couldn't care less about the endangered sharks, we Hong Kong people should join the international campaign to quit eating shark fins.

The University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Institute of Education have taken a stand against consumption of shark fin and it is time other institutions and employers followed suit.

Lawrence Choi, Lai Chi Kok

Is preferred school that important?

Many parents will have been disappointed on Monday when they discovered that their child had failed to get an allocation to their preferred school ('Bad news for most at the school gate', November 22).

How important was it for the children to get that place? Sometimes parents will move homes to be nearer to a popular school in the hope that this will improve their chances of admission.

They are convinced that if they can get a place at their preferred institution, the child will have a better education. But I believe all schools and their teachers try their best to provide the pupils with a good education.

Do these parents ever think to ask their sons and daughters what they want?

Esther Liu Tsz-ching, Mong Kok

Education on dementia inadequate

The number of dementia cases will double in the next two decades as the population ages.

Because of this, the government should do more to raise public concerns about this disease.

More funds should be made available for the treatment of dementia now that it has overtaken diabetes as one of the five biggest non-communicable causes of death in the city.

Publicity is given to high- profile cases of people suffering from Alzheimer's, such as Nobel physics laureate Dr Charles Kao Kuen, but at the community level there is not enough government support.

Education is the key to raising public awareness about dementia. Citizens should be better informed about the impact it can have on day-to-day lives and the misery it can cause to patients' families. A better understanding of the disease can also help with analysis of the social impact of the condition.

This will make it easier for the government to come up with strategies to help people suffering from the condition.

There are other reasons why more information must be made available. For example, many people may not be aware that regular exercise can help delay the onset of the condition.

The government needs to produce more adverts and leaflets on the subject.

Hayley Chau, Sha Tin

Car-horn nuisance solution

I refer to the letter by Davood Jalili, ('Car horns a constant nuisance', November 22). There should be a blitz by the police on the unnecessary use of car and bus horns.

In my opinion, the Transport Department should outlaw them and force owners to remove them. This can be checked at the time of a vehicle roadworthiness test and new vehicles imported without horns.

In my 20-plus years of driving, I have never had the need to use my own. Additionally, there should be a crackdown on screeching vehicle brakes. The biggest nuisance at the moment are franchised buses.

I am led to believe that if brakes are screeching it means they need replacing. Therefore, this is both a public safety and noise nuisance issue.

One solution would be for audible screech detectors at bus depots to log vehicles when they return after a shift (nice project for some high school tech students) or for bus drivers to report cases at the end of a shift. We can fix much of what is wrong in Hong Kong with some imagination.

Craig Sanderson, Lantau