Lawmakers raise more concerns at car plan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 March, 2012, 12:00am


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Another wave of dissent against a plan to let more mainlanders drive into Hong Kong was voiced at a special Legislative Council panel meeting yesterday, with lawmakers saying the agreement should be torn up.

There were accusations that the scheme - which was not subject to public consultation - was politically motivated and would make the city's roads more dangerous.

Community groups also warned of rising pollution and traffic congestion and problems implementing traffic laws. Of the 37 representatives of grass-roots groups, only four supported the scheme that will initially allow 50 mainland private cars into Hong Kong for up to seven days.

Drivers will be able to apply to take part in the scheme, which also allows more Hong Kong cars into the mainland, from March 30.

There were questions about how Hong Kong could sign an agreement with the mainland without consulting the public first. Andrew Shum Wai-nam of the Hong Kong Christian Institute asked 'whether this scheme is politically motivated'.

A representative of the Hong Kong Police Law Enforcement Concern Group asked how penalties and traffic laws could be enforced, as offenders could flee across the border and would be hard to track down.

Southern district councillor Paul Zimmerman feared the scheme would eventually lead to a limitless flow of traffic into the city.

Legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the government had received more than 80 letters from groups and members of the public on the issue, nearly all of them opposing the plan.

Legislators asked the government to provide clear documentation of discussions between the Hong Kong and Guangdong governments.

Later yesterday the government replied that a preliminary agreement had been reached in 2009 and the proposal had been supported by the Legislative Council at the time.