Letters to the Editor, April 17, 2013
Democrats' tactics will only hurt HK
I refer to Michael Chugani's column ("Refocus, please", April 6).
He refers to Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, convener of the new Alliance for True Democracy, saying "that the democrats just want the chief executive to have the right to tell mainland leaders that China should replace one-party rule with a democratic multiparty system".
I find this statement unbelievable. Would Hong Kong people, including most people who support the democrats, want an elected Hong Kong chief executive to say to President Xi Jinping when they meet, "I think you'd better change to a multiparty democracy?"
In his letter ("Occupy Central won't work and we must make other plans", April 6), John Shannon described Occupy Central's tactics as being like "a little boy threatening his parents that he will sit down in the road and scream if they don't buy him an ice cream". We know how the central government will deal with such tactics.
Before the consultation over the method of electing the 2017 chief executive has even started, the democrats have succeeded in dropping enough rocks on their own feet, and have successfully manoeuvred themselves into a corner where they have no chance to get what they want.
Either the democrats change their tactics quickly, or whatever they do will only hurt Hong Kong.
Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui
Interference in election unacceptable
Michael Chugani may have missed a point in his column ("Refocus, please", April 6).
Mainland officials recently said no one who confronts the central government can run in the election for chief executive in Hong Kong.
Chugani seemed to suggest that the pan-democrats should not be concerned with such a condition added to universal suffrage starting in 2017. He asked "why trade the right to make money" (among other things) "for the right to topple the central government"?
However, he has forgotten to ask why this has been artificially added as a condition to the election of the chief executive in the absence of such a requirement in the Basic Law.
Nothing in our mini-constitution bars anyone perceived to be confronting Beijing from running for chief executive. Could anyone enlighten us where such a requirement comes from?
How we elect our leader is an issue relating to Hong Kong's autonomy.
It has always been a mystery to me why Beijing keeps interfering in our internal affairs.
Michael Ko, Sham Shui Po
Suspended sentence not a deterrent
I read with some astonishment the penalty imposed on South African Rugby Sevens fan Craig Dixon ("Tourist who drove off in taxi gets suspended term", April 6).
A court document said he "pulled a driver out of a taxi he had hired" and drove off in a state where "he could not remember anything following his hiring of the cab". He told police he had drunk more than 12 beers and a shooter before the incident.
We all know the Rugby Sevens is a major event, which people from around the world will pay a lot of money to see.
We are also aware of what spectators feel is acceptable behaviour after a beer or three. In this case, however, it affected people unconnected to rugby and occurred in a busy part of Hong Kong.
Dixon told police how much he'd had to drink, the taxi driver was pulled from his cab and Dixon then somehow got from Wan Chai to a Kowloon-side tollbooth without anyone being injured.
For doing this, he's been fined probably less than his plane ticket, so what is the deterrent here?
If an individual does the same thing next year, and someone is killed, it won't reflect well on Hong Kong.
Richard Brooke, Discovery Bay
Busy SPCA officer was just doing his job
Although it was entertaining, I feel that Alex Lo's column ("Animals need care, not bureaucracy", April 10) was unnecessarily damaging to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and requires further information.
It insinuates that the SPCA, like the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, is government funded. The SPCA derives less than 1 per cent of its income from the government, so should not be referred to as an organisation that is paid for by the taxpayer.
It also implies that SPCA staff were, in this instance, uncaring and "callous".
The inspector who attended to the trapped dog informed Lo's wife of the situation relating to government traps. He retrieved the dog in a timely manner, and then proceeded immediately to pick up another abandoned dog from the Cheung Chau ferry pier which had been rescued by our Cheung Chau inspector (such is typical of a busy inspector's day), before delivering both into the care of our vet at our Wan Chai premises.
The offer from Lo's wife to adopt the puppy was welcomed and appreciated; however, the puppy was later sent to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, which had already received a lost-dog report, and the animal was quickly reunited with its owner.
What may appear to be straightforward is not always the case when animals are involved and many of the restrictions and regulations are in place for the animals' sake and well as humans.
We are sorry that Lo's wife was denied the opportunity of adopting this particular puppy; however, the SPCA presently does have an abundance of puppies all equally deserving of a home, should this be of interest.
While this sort of story can be viewed as a source of frustration - it is one we know all too well - we work tirelessly to raise awareness of animal welfare and must do so within the constraints of the current legislation and government animal laws in Hong Kong. But please know we regularly propose and lobby to improve the regulations and legal framework for the betterment of animals.
Sandy Macalister, executive director, SPCA
Cash incentive better than tax allowance
Instead of raising the income tax child allowance, the government should stop the increase and create a bonus for giving birth.
From January 1, 2014, parents (or parent) should receive a payment of HK$200,000 for a first child, HK$350,000 to HK$400,000 for a second child, HK$600,000 for a third child and HK1 million for a fourth.
Hong Kong families would appreciate this payment of cash more than tax relief.
Gary Ahuja, Tsim Shui Tsui
Tourists will not miss early morning lights
I am one of the many victims of light pollution in Hong Kong.
Every night I had trouble sleeping because of the glare of street lamps, illuminated signboards and neon lights and I suffered sleep deprivation.
Eventually, I was forced to put dark curtains over my windows. This kind of pollution can affect your brain function and body clock.
Those who are opposed to curbs on the city's bright lights argue they are popular with tourists, but I don't think that is a valid argument.
Hong Kong will not lose its reputation for its night scenes if signboards and other lights used for advertising are turned off in the early hours of the morning. Nobody pays attention to them at that time.
I support the annual Earth Hour aimed at raising public awareness of this problem and think the government should ban strong lights at night.
Aaron Seto, Ma On Shan