Letters to the Editor, December 20, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2012, 2:37am

Clamp cars and send them to compound

I read with interest the report ("Chauffeurs more afraid of boss than parking fine", December 17).

It seems that a mere ticket/fine is no longer a deterrent to the illegal parking of chauffeured, rich men's vehicles and in fact, the attitude of these people makes a mockery of our traffic laws. "We don't care", seems to be the theme.

Well, I am sure there must be more than one way to stop this situation, which frankly smacks of contempt by those who can afford chauffeur-driven limos.

One way that comes immediately to mind is for the police to be empowered to clamp the offending vehicles, then move them to a special compound some distance from the area.

The offending party should then be allowed to pick their vehicles up the next day or whenever, but first they would have to pay a heavy charge for removing the clamp, plus the costs of moving the car to the compound.

Further, the car should remain in the vehicle compound, accruing further daily fines, until it has been collected.

No doubt that type of inconvenience would have more of an effect on the offending parties.

Perhaps this would also help to bring some respect for the law and prevent these people from thinking they are above it.

Peter Olsen, Discovery Bay


Illegal parking law must be given teeth

The comment by Central and Western district councillor Cheng Lai-king that for wealthy people in Hong Kong, paying a parking "fine is just like paying a car-park fee" ("Chauffeurs more afraid of boss than parking fine", December 17) beggars belief.

He is effectively endorsing the right of tycoons to park wherever they like and merely pay a fine that matters little to them.

That the police are seen as secondary to bosses reflects the image of the police force that is mocked by drivers refusing to move because "my boss will yell at me".

Enforcement of illegal parking and idling in Hong Kong is laughable; the law needs to have teeth.

If drivers refuse to move, immediately arrest the driver and impound the car.

Perhaps then the owners may realise that the law comes first and the vanity of tycoons, second.

Mark Peaker, The Peak


Tighten laws controlling gun ownership

The mass shootings in the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut sent shockwaves around the world.

It is tragic that the lives of 20 children were cut short.

What happened highlights the need for the US government to implement tighter gun legislation.

Only in this way can citizens be given greater protection against future outrages.

Christine Fok Yan-yin, Yau Ma Tei 


US should end citizens' right to bear arms

The school shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut has reignited calls from gun control activists in the US for laws restricting access to weapons.

Free speech and freedom of religion are seen as basic rights for US citizens. The right to bear arms should not be treated in the same way. Citizens should not be allowed to own guns. I do not know why the US Constitution gives them this right.

Some say it is because they are entitled to defend themselves, and others that it is historical, being part of the country's frontier culture. To some extent I can understand the self-defence argument, but the law as it stands has led to mass shootings, with many innocent people, including children, being killed. Present and past US administrations have not changed that because of the influential National Rifle Association, which advocates the promotion of firearm ownership rights.

If President Barack Obama really wants to make a significant change, he should try to get through legislation which prohibits citizens from owning guns.

He should also improve law and order, so that citizens feel they do not need a firearm to protect themselves.

The numbers killed by firearms in the US are much higher than places with strict gun ownership laws, such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Some people argue that if someone is unbalanced and wants to attack individuals they will do so anyway. For example, they can always buy a knife. However, you can do a lot more damage with a gun than in a knife attack.

The best way to prevent future tragedies is to remove the right to bear arms.

Kelvin Lam Kin-wang, Tsuen Wan


Flag waving a wake-up call for Beijing

In his speech to the 18th party congress last month, President Hu Jintao praised the unique "one country, two systems" concept implemented in Hong Kong 15 years ago.

Some people interpreted his comments as a reaction to supposed talk of secession by some Hongkongers.

I think he has read too much into these rumours and the waving of colonial flags at some protests.

It may be that some of the nation's leaders are worried about this talk of independence, but few Hongkongers give the concept much thought.

They realise there is no chance of secession and that it is a foregone conclusion that Hong Kong's ties with the mainland will remain unbroken.

The city has benefited a great deal from these ties, especially economic links, such as the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.

If there had not been an influx of mainland visitors, how would Hong Kong have fared after the Sars crisis of 2003? We also have top academics from the motherland and our mainland compatriots make up the largest proportion of non-local university students.

I think those Hongkongers who waved the colonial flag were being patriotic. It was actually meant as a wake-up call for the central government.

The Communist Party advocates a form of blind-patriotism. It thinks that citizens should emphasise the nation's achievements regardless of the many problems the country faces.

The protesters were emphasising the importance of making the necessary improvements in society and hoping the party would wake up to the need for change.

The party appears to want to repress any unrest that it sees as endangering national unity. The reaction from the SAR is a bit like that of a rebellious teenager.

As long as the party continues to take this stand, we will continue to see these kinds of protests in Hong Kong with people wearing de-Sinicisation badges.

Wong Hui-ki, Yau Yat Chuen


Reports on deaths lacked sensitivity

You have recently reported on two sudden deaths that may have been suicides. I have been very disappointed by the way that you have covered these stories.

The Guardian newspaper's code of conduct states that "Journalists are asked to exercise particular care in reporting suicide or issues involving suicide, bearing in mind the risk of encouraging others. This should be borne in mind both in presentation, including the use of pictures, and in describing the method of suicide … The feelings of relatives should also be carefully considered."

Yet you appear to believe that your readers are entitled to know almost exactly what happened, including who found the body and where.

I submit that actually it would be perfectly adequate to report the name of the person and the fact that they had been found dead.

In both cases you went on to offer depression as a diagnosis. Again, I fail to see how this can possibly be helpful.

Depression is a serious illness that is difficult to treat, and yet the term is widely misused, leading some to believe that it is nothing more than feeling upset or stressed at work.

In due course there will be inquests, but in the immediate aftermath of an event that is so devastating for family and friends, it is not helpful for newspapers to provide information that none of us really need to know and speculation about medical conditions.

Chris Tringham, Sha Tin


Firms can do better if staff get enough rest

The Labour Department report on standard working hours has outlined the disadvantages of such legislation, suggesting that the business community would be adversely affected.

I understand the department's concerns, but, last year when a statutory minimum wage law was introduced, there were dire predictions about how companies would struggle. This has not happened.

In fact, limiting weekly working hours and ensuring paid overtime can be successful. It ensures employees of a company have more spare time, and this can lead to them being less stressed.

They have a greater sense of belonging to the company and will likely be more productive and produce better quality work. As a result the firm will benefit.

Staff will have a greater incentive to work overtime if they are being paid.

They will be better able to strike the right balance between work and recreation, which will help with their all-round development. People who do not have enough time to spend with their families can suffer physical and psychological problems.

Lydia Chau Hiu-fung, Tuen Mun