PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 April, 2012, 12:00am


Unacceptable delays at MTR station

Ever since the MTR shifted the East Rail Line terminus from Tsim Sha Tsui East to Hung Hom, service on Sundays has slowed down.

For example, on April 15 at about 8.40am, I arrived at Hung Hom station on the East Rail Line to find a nine-minute wait for a train on the Tuen Mun Line, which connects to Tsim Sha Tsui East for those heading to Central via the Tsuen Wan Line. This is not the first time I have experienced a long delay.

I use Hung Hom station to transfer instead of changing lines at Kowloon Tong because that station is often too busy (especially at weekends), even though transferring there might save a few minutes in total travel time. Therefore a nine-minute wait is ridiculous and is an appalling service.

The MTR is supposed to help people get to where they are going, not create an unreasonable delay.

At the very least, trains could run every five minutes on Sundays. Plenty of people were arriving at Hung Hom and plenty were waiting on the platform, so it was not as though the trains would run empty.

Would the MTR explain why it makes commuters wait so long?

Randall van der Woning, Tai Po

Explain refusal to prosecute

Your report ('No case for soccer boy over kick to head', April 17) raises grave questions of ethics and law.

Jim Hackett, head coach of the English Schools Foundation's soccer programme, said the boy who kicked the other boy's head instead of the ball 'did not do anything wrong'. He must explain his stance.

Uploaded to the internet, the head-kicking evidence is now in the public domain, available all over the world for viewing. It prevails over ill-advised censorship attempts to support the public's legitimate demand for a fair account.

It is disturbing that the police, after seeking legal advice, unconditionally released the 10-year-old boy previously arrested 'on suspicion of kicking a 12-year-old in the head'.

The James Bulger case in Britain shows that doli incapax and the availability of evidence for public review and comment cannot preclude criminal prosecution. If the authority had other reasons for non-prosecution, it has refused to disclose them. Such a refusal has put the city in a moral and legal limbo and caused suspicions of partiality and incompetence.

For every prosecution, the court will give detailed reasons for its decision. Every decision not to prosecute bears judicial significance as it denies the public from getting, and pre-empts the court from making, a judicial decision.

In the US, grand juries and not bureaucrats decide whether to prosecute.

As representatives of the people, juries do not give any reasons for their decisions. Bureaucrats aren't the people's representatives. They shouldn't shorten the due process of any case of great social significance without giving reasons.

Consider the Hong Kong Standard circulation case.

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, then secretary for justice, honourably gave three reasons for her much respected departure from doctrinaire tenets and made public her department's account for not charging Sally Aw Sian. Apparently these three reasons - allegations about the authority's bad faith, its improper considerations, and public comment on publicised evidence - also apply in the head-kicking case.

Would her successor act likewise and account for not pursuing the head-kicking act?

No school can afford not to give all who witnessed an alleged violent incident a fair account. Hushing up would corrode the city's moral fibre.

Pierce Lam, Central

Get rid of filthy buses with loans

On Sunday, April 22, I felt lucky to be living on a high floor above the street-side pollution and in the sunshine.

On the radio, I heard more warning messages about high levels of pollution for this most liveable of cities. People of my age were advised to stay indoors.

I understand that the expense of equipping our bus companies with virtually non-polluting buses (say HK$3 million per vehicle) is not possible given the cap on their profits and the return to their shareholders.

Why, when we have the funds available, can we not lend the money to the companies to buy the buses and stop all this business of fiddling about with catalytic converters year after year?

Of course, it would not be possible to do this all at once but say a long-term loan for 300 buses a year would begin to make a difference. Also, it would send a cheer from the choking travellers and, incidentally, district council voters of Causeway Bay.

David Akers-Jones, Yau Ma Tei

Follow fine example set by Shenzhen

Hong Kong should take full advantage of the scheme in Shenzhen, where more than 50 per cent of the city's combustion-engine buses are to be replaced with electric or hybrid ones by 2015.

One way in which the Hong Kong government can ensure that air pollution levels go down is by reducing pollutants emitted by cars or public transport operators.

The administration could follow the example set by Shenzhen and massively cut emissions of carbon dioxide.

At least with electric buses we would have zero emissions of PM2.5 [health-threatening fine suspended particulates].

Air pollution has adversely affected the quality of life of citizens and the economy.

It poses a grave threat to public health.

For all our sakes, it is time to take action and adopt a scheme similar to the one in Shenzhen.

Some people say that the cost of such a conversion of buses would be too high, but the change does not have to take place in one go; it can be part of a gradual process.

We can achieve this aim by approaching the problem with patience, ensuring that everyone can eventually breathe clean air and that Hong Kong is a pleasant place to live.

Kenneth Ho, Tseung Kwan O

Children under pressure

Parents want their children to study hard so they can have a prosperous future, but they sometimes go too far.

If they become too demanding, it can have the opposite effect and their children could lose interest in their studies.

In Hong Kong, some parents will expect children to be learning words from about the age of one or two as they think it gives them an edge. Parents do not want to cause any harm, but this is what they do if academic interest and a creative spark are snuffed out at an early age.

I know of one three-year-old who was sent to two kinder- gartens by her grandmother.

It is wrong to deprive someone of a happy childhood.

Parents need to look at things from a rational point of view and let their children develop their talents at a sensible pace.

Stella Man Suet-ming, Ho Man Tin

Cut hotel rates at weekends

Taking visiting friends to Tai O the week before last, I was asked why it is that Hong Kong transport companies and various hotels raise their rates at weekends and holidays.

This makes the city not very affordable for middle- and lower-income tourists, presenting an unwelcoming picture to outsiders.

Indeed, many people have labelled Hong Kong money-mad, something proven by the way Hongkongers treat their ordinary workers and Southeast Asian menials.

In most developed economies around the world, rates are usually lowered on Sundays and holidays to attract more travellers and tourists. It's the civilised thing to do.

Beatriz Taylor, Cheung Chau

Niche offer for organ donors

There is a desperate shortage of organ donors in Hong Kong.

It is probably a step too far for the government to legislate that organs of all persons could be used for transplant purposes unless they had expressly opted out. However, I suggest that the numbers of willing donors could be boosted if priority and discounts (or even free) grave sites and/or columbarium space was offered to all those donating their organs.

Maybe even a special graveyard - like Gallant Garden - could be established for organ donors ?

Doug Miller, Tai Po