Lai See

If you want a mooring, try suing the Marine Department

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 2:34am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 12:11pm

We drew attention recently to the problem of the shortage moorings in Hong Kong, and how this is crippling the boating industry. The shortage continues despite the under-usage of typhoon shelters such as the empty 33.8 hectare Kwun Tong facility, which would make an excellent public marina.

The situation has been exacerbated by the Marine Department's refusal to allow subletting or sale of moorings, even though this appears to be legal under the Shipping and Port Control Regulations. At Cap 313A section 48, we see: "… if the owner of a private mooring sells or otherwise transfers the private mooring", the owner and transferee must notify the Marine Department and pay the transfer fee within 14 days. The department for some 20 years has not allowed these practices.

But the Director of Audit's report into the Marine Department in October last year notes: "There is a discrepancy between the internal guidelines and the regulations concerning the conditions of transfer of private moorings."

One option for exasperated mooring seekers, we have heard, is that they sue the Marine Department.


Shady case of box ticking

Our recent piece about Hong Kong's can-do mentality being stifled by civil service box-ticking appears to have struck a nerve with a few people.

A reader in the real estate industry writes with an excruciating example of this by the Buildings Department. One of his properties had a retractable awning that extended over a small balcony of a studio flat. The awning, when fully extended, was about 80cm. This exceeded the extent of the balcony by about 20cm.

An inspection by the building authority led to an order to remove the awning. Being a creative thinker, he asked whether he could limit the extent to which the awning extended so that it stayed within the limits of the balcony. He was still ordered to remove it. However there were a number of other awnings on the building on other floors that extended 40cm straight out from the wall of the building - not positioned over any balcony. When he asked about their legality, the Buildings Department said they were okay because they were "fixed" awnings. So our reader suggested "fixing" his awning with a permanent limiting bolt. But this did not satisfy the department.


Will show be worth the weight?

We noted recently an EIU report which said that obesity was rising in Asia and was growing sharply in mainland China. The World Health Organisation classified 45 per cent of mainland men as overweight in 2010, up from 27.5 per cent in 2002. Obesity in children rose from 0.2 per cent in 1985 to 8.1 per cent in 2010. Such is the concern that Hong Kong-listed Besunyen has decided to sponsor what is being billed as mainland China's "first major inspirational weight-loss reality show". It's called The Biggest Loser show. CCTV-2 has bought the format from NBC in the US. Besunyen, which specialises in therapeutic teas on the mainland, is collaborating with CCTV-2. Although CCTV-2 is supposed to be a financial channel, the show is aimed at imparting, "positive energy and to promote healthy lifestyles".

The Biggest Loser has proved hugely popular in the US and globally where it is shown in 90 countries. The aim, as you may have guessed, is to lose the most weight. The show is enhanced by the presence of star athletes, models and coaches, who encourage the contestants and give advice on how to lose weight. Why it should take a reality show to achieve this is an interesting question.


Keyed into romance

Hard-pressed, stressed and under-sexed, Hongkongers are hungry for love. This is according to the dating app Paktor, which says it has conducted a survey of 500 men and women. It says that most respondents claim to date at least weekly, and almost a third date two people simultaneously. Even so, many frown on sex before marriage, and find "falling in love takes time".

Some 30 per cent of respondents find partners through dating sites and mobile apps, well over half of them might check people on the internet before first dates, and "53 per cent ask people out via mobile phone messaging", says Paktor.

So this is what passes for romance these days.


Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to