Letters to the Editor, December 27, 2012
No sympathy for property fat cats
I refer to the report ("Tax takes huge toll on sales, industry", December 21) and note that the chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association (Reda) Stewart Leung Chi-kin acknowledges that Hong Kong developers have been through several boom and bust cycles.
What he fails to acknowledge is the development industry's role in creating and then accentuating these cycles.
The property industry is accustomed to reaping extreme profits during the boom and then leaving its customers to "hold the baby" when the markets decline.
I do not feel any sympathy now that sales have moderated, as the government must act for all citizens and the recent rapid rise in property prices is creating social difficulties.
The government's long- established policy of selling large tracts of leasehold land to a small group of influential developers who then act as if it is freehold land is a fundamental cause of subsequent property price manipulation.
If a development right was sold, rather than the land itself, and if the Lands Department offered smaller sites, such price manipulation could be controlled for the benefit of the whole community.
Let's face it, Reda represents the industry fat cats and promotes the "business as usual" status quo.
P.C. Law, Quarry Bay
Viewers gain from BBC's repeats
I refer to the letter by Garry Coley ("Left reeling by Now TV's endless reruns", December 15).
Now TV is the carrier of BBC Entertainment and BBC Lifestyle channels in Hong Kong and BBC has total control over editorial and programming arrangements for the BBC channels.
As not all of our viewers can watch our channels all of the time, the rerun arrangement enables them to watch missed episodes of their favourite programmes.
We take our viewers' comments seriously and work continuously with our channel partners to enhance their content.
Viewers will be pleased to know that BBC is constantly investing in new titles.
For example, BBC Entertainment will premiere the new series of The Graham Norton Show, exclusive drama Upstairs Downstairs and the eighth series of Hustle in the first quarter of next year, while BBC Lifestyle will premiere The Great British Bake Off, Nigel Slater's Simple Cooking, as well as a new series of Masterchef and Grand Designs also in the first quarter.
C.K. Chan, head of group communications, PCCW
Effective gun laws can curb tragedies
The shooting in an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, which claimed 26 lives, shocked the United States.
It has also set in motion a fierce debate on the issue of gun control in the country.
Because of historical factors, such as the frontier culture of the "Old West", governments find it very difficult to get through legislation that will lead to tighter controls over gun ownership.
When it comes to such tragedies, there is also the mental health issue to consider.
There is an urgent need to look at this issue and see how it can be addressed.
There is a need to look at society as a whole and ask what problems in society lead to people displaying abnormal behaviour.
Aside from that, controls of gun ownership must be tightened. The US government will have to introduce effective legislation if it wants to prevent future tragedies.
Kristy Pau, Tsuen Wan
Factories that maim should not exist
The people who run what are known as "black factories" on the mainland, care nothing for the lives of their workers.
You read about machines being outdated and their operators having been given no proper training. I have been shocked by photos I have seen of the injuries sustained by some of these workers and wonder how factory managers can allow this to happen. Given the high casualty rate it is clear some action has to be taken.
In this regard the government has a vital role to play. Enterprises thought to be black factories should be shut down while an investigation is conducted. Those who are identified as being at fault should be punished.
Hopefully, this will act as a deterrent to other operators of such plants. Increasing the penalties would also be an effective deterrent.
The government should also ensure workers are made more aware of their rights in the workplace.
Factories must help them to understand what they can do if they feel they are being treated unfairly.
The deep-rooted problem of black factories will not be solved overnight.
However, I believe that if the central government is willing to take action to stop these plants from continuing to operate, the black factories will eventually disappear.
Emily Hung Wai-ching, Kowloon City
Dog problem out of control on island
I refer to the incident involving a husky at Mui Wo, Lantau ("Dog that bit baby won't be put down", December 20).
Being a resident of Mui Wo, I have noticed a sharp increase in the canine population.
Apart from local villagers who keep dogs to guard their houses, many people with pets have moved from the city due to lack of space and also the reluctance of the authorities to enforce the relevant rules on the outlying islands.
Many of the dogs are not properly trained nor have they been vaccinated.
As a result, it is quite dangerous for people, and in particular children, to be out in the late evening for fear of an attack by a dog.
Being a parent whose daughter was once bitten by a neighbour's dog, I urge the authorities to now get serious regarding this matter.
Dog owners should face tough penalties if their pet has not been properly vaccinated and also poses a threat to the public.
If their dog does attack someone it should be taken to an animal shelter to await further action and victims should be allowed to pursue compensation claims.
Existing laws should be strictly implemented and people should be made aware of the need for responsible pet ownership. Animals of course have rights, but they should not be allowed to pose a risk to the safety of people.
Dyutimoy Chakraborty, Lantau
Democrats fail to recognise achievements
Any pan-democrat who participates in the move to impeach Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will lose both my votes in the next election.
I will hold my nose and vote for the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong as I almost did this past election.
Politics is a dirty game. Those living in so-called mature democracies know that promises and statements made during campaigns are even less genuine than "promises" made by incumbent governments.
Integrity is not what is told to the media during a campaign. Integrity is measured by actions that are taken after an election has been held, like standing firm for the greater good of the community against special interest groups.
Perhaps the pan-democrats have not noticed, but C.Y. has been doing exactly that for the last six months.
Michael Chugani's Public Eye column included a list of things C.Y. has already done ("Integrity issue", December 17), eclipsing Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.
I can add to that list two excellent appointments in the Environment Bureau of professionals who have a track record of working for the people and against pollution.
We have a leader who is actually leading for the benefit of the people. It seems that the pan-democrats can't stand that.
I sincerely hope they get back to real issues and stop playing petty politics.
Annelise Connell, Stanley
C.Y. Leung should get one more chance
I refer to the report ("Leung urged to quit over illegal structures saga", December 10).
At a chief executive election forum during the campaign, Leung Chun-ying attacked his opponent Henry Tang Ying-yen over his unauthorised basement.
It later transpired that Leung also had unauthorised structures at his home on The Peak.
Some of those now protesting about Leung's structures say he has no integrity.
The integrity issue has led to him losing a lot of public support and he needs to give a more detailed explanation about this matter.
In fact, some of the protesters have said that C.Y. Leung should now step down as chief executive.
I do not think that he needs to resign.
However, he must introduce policies that will enhance his reputation in the eyes of Hong Kong citizens.
While I do think his reputation has been damaged by the illegal structures, C.Y. should be given one more chance to start afresh with a reforming government.
Marco Tsang Yuk-ling, Tseung Kwan O