PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 December, 2011, 12:00am


Someone else voted in my place

Although it seems insignificant compared with the recent headline-grabbing arrests over fraudulent voting in the district council elections, someone else voted in my place in the Broadwood constituency of Wan Chai.

When I proffered my ID card at the polling station, my name already had a line through it.

The senior presiding officer took my details and registered the incident as well as the fact that I wished to make a complaint. He offered me a duplicate ballot paper on which he chopped the word 'Tendered'. But he seemed unable to confirm whether my vote on this paper would be counted.

While I did cast my vote, I am disappointed that this problem occurred, as well as that not one word of apology was offered by the presiding officers throughout the incident.

Perhaps they thought I was trying to vote twice, to which I could have assured them my enthusiasm for the voting process in Hong Kong, irrespective of the choice of candidates, runs a lot less deeply now.

I am now waiting for the Registration and Electoral Office to respond to my formal complaint, but it seems incumbent on the relevant authorities to ensure that in future much tighter controls are imposed on voter registration at polling stations.

Fingerprint scanners may be an expensive solution, but perhaps they would be cheaper than the cost, both direct and indirect, of further inaction and future resultant irregularities.

Jeremy Newton, Happy Valley

Money is top priority for rugby body

I fully agree that the ticket price increases for the Hong Kong Sevens are extortionate ('Sevens tickets go up to HK$1,500', November 1). Many families involved in rugby here are now priced out of seeing Hong Kong's premier rugby event.

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union seems willing to alienate the grass roots and ignore the game's ideals in pursuit of the corporate dollar.

The union should not just focus on the money.

Its claim that it needs more money to put back into the game seems primarily driven by the need to upgrade facilities to, in turn, attract more corporate sponsorship.

Would the union care to clarify the basis on which it seeks and accepts corporate sponsors?

Iris Brown, Tseung Kwan O

Get Asians onside to save wrecks

Perhaps Irina Bokova is too polite to mention in her piece ('The plunder of sea wrecks impoverishes our knowledge', December 6) that only one country in Southeast Asia - namely, Cambodia - has so far ratified the Unesco convention on shipwreck protection.

Is this because, too often in Southeast Asia, a historic shipwreck is seen as a Western heritage asset that Asian countries are required to protect at their expense?

Unless Unesco engages more effectively with Southeast Asian nations based on a shared perception of what is underwater cultural heritage and offers some commercial solutions for protection, this situation is unlikely to change.

In a world where sports diving grows in popularity as a tourist activity and archaeology programmes appear on prime-time television, underwater cultural heritage has lots of potential economic benefits without having to resort to treasure hunters.

It is doubtful that a conference held in Brussels will achieve much other than to reinforce fears that this is an agenda fashioned in the West and to be paid for in the East.

Stuart Heaver, Lamma

Inmates' calls put squeeze on resources

I refer to the report 'Increase phone allowance in jail, say campaigners' (December 5).

I would suggest Babu and other non-local inmates [who cannot be visited by their families] make an immediate application under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Ordinance to serve their prison term in their own countries.

The sooner they apply, the sooner they may receive better treatment in those countries.

The government's savings on penal management may then be put into social welfare, to the benefit of all Hongkongers.

On the duration and frequency of phone calls, I wonder who is in the best position to determine the standard - those entrusted by the law to do so or outsiders? Is the US standard the best?

In my understanding, a correctional officer has to supervise an inmate while making a phone call, for security reasons.

Any increase in phone time will also increase the security threats posed to an institution - not to mention the workload on staff.

As the current system in prisons allows inmates to send and receive an unlimited number of letters and make a phone call on application, I do not see the need to change it.

As a Hong Kong citizen, I prefer a secure, cost-effective and stable penal system.

Eric Law, North Point

Go ahead, help family of heroine

Tang Ho-hei is a true heroine for her bravery and thought for her fellow human beings in a fire.

Why is it necessary for the Social Welfare Department 'to consider' the family's request for housing assistance? She should be spared the fear of having to live in her former home, and her parents the worry of renting a new flat on top of the medical expenses for her recovery.

Guan Swee-hiang, Tai Po

Mainlanders depriving my baby of milk After my recent experience of having to scurry around town to find milk powder for my 10-month-old son, I doubt the government's integrity in serving the community, especially when it comes to securing an adequate baby milk powder supply for Hong Kong parents.

This problem surfaced earlier this year, and yet it still exists.

I am expecting another child this month, and it's certainly no fun for a heavily pregnant lady like myself having to pop into every ParknShop, Wellcome, Mannings and Watsons in my neighbourhood, only to realise that they all ran out of the milk powder that I need for my baby.

One of the main causes of this shortage can be attributed to mainland 'tourists', who come here and buy up all the supplies I need for my baby, whether it's milk powder, baby food or even the right size of diapers for my little one.

I am tired of officials and retailers saying limits are in place on how many tins of milk formula people can buy at a time, when I see these 'tourists' with their suitcases hanging around outside shops, taking turns to buy as many tins as they can and going to different cashiers to avoid being caught, thus leaving nothing for residents like myself.

I am fed up of having to venture further away from my neighbourhood just to ensure I can feed my baby.

I don't need to hear that all milk formulas are more or less the same, and therefore it shouldn't matter which brand I buy.

Belinda Mahncke, Kowloon Tong

ICAC should reflect on its changing role

I refer to the comments by Valentina Chan from the ICAC ('Committed to investigating corruption, wherever it lurks', November 25) in response to a recent column by Jake van der Kamp.

If she had read the column carefully, she would know that he did not say the ICAC should not fight corruption or that the public should tolerate it.

He was commenting on the bloated bureaucracy of the agency. The examples he cited were to illustrate that some of its work could have been dealt with more efficiently by others, such as the Jockey Club, which has its own by-laws forbidding bribery in applications for membership.

Quoting the number of prosecutions in a year is beside the point. It is not the quantity that matters.

Yes, Hong Kong needs the ICAC, and yes, the ICAC has done great things for the public in fighting corruption. But this does not mean that it shouldn't reflect on its changing role and duty.

Wilkie Wong, Wan Chai