Letters to the Editor, March 9, 2014
Police must catch reckless Lantau drivers
This is an urgent request, nay a plea, for the police in South Lantau, especially those based in Mui Wo, to come out of their offices and do their jobs - that is, enforce the driving laws on Lantau.
In recent years an increasing number of people have moved to Lantau.
Many have insisted on bringing their cars. And some of these people have brought their bad urban driving habits, including driving at speeds well over the legal limits, overtaking on curves and even routinely running red lights. There has already been a fatality caused by speeding and in another accident eight cows were killed. It is only a matter of time before more people are killed.
During the past year, where there have been roadworks between the roundabout and the post office, vans routinely run the red light there, often two vehicles at a time, apparently at the drivers' whim, safe in the knowledge that police are nowhere to be seen. Several times I have seen these vehicles speeding directly towards terrified schoolchildren, biking from the other direction, who had been shown the green light.
Meanwhile, Mui Wo's emergency access roads are increasingly being driven on illegally. Worse still, some idiot drivers have even been seen speeding on these restricted rural lanes meant for bikers or pedestrians. In fact, several weeks ago, a young schoolgirl was almost hit by a speeding car on an emergency access road.
This is not merely careless driving, it's criminally negligent driving. So again, where are the police? Where are the speed traps? Where are the tickets for speeding and reckless driving endangering life?
If this seemingly wilful blindness towards dangerous drivers is allowed to continue, it will only be a question of when, not if, another person is killed and this time it may be a child. And if that happens, the responsibility for that tragedy will surely rest not only on the selfish driver involved, but also on the police themselves for being so remarkably lax in enforcing traffic safety laws.
Steven Knipp, Lantau
Land entry tax disastrous for HK tourism
I am writing to express my firm opposition to a land entry tax.
First, Hong Kong's tourism industry is heavily dependent on mainland tourists. This tax would decrease the number of mainland tourists and damage Hong Kong's tourism industry and those it employs. The basic salary of tour guides is low and their income unstable. If mainland tourist numbers decrease, their income will be directly affected.
Second, levying the tax would hit our attractiveness. Our industry is competing against other Asian destinations such as Singapore and Japan, and imposing the tax could seriously impact our economy.
Moreover, tensions between the mainland and Hong Kong would be aggravated by such a tax. It would imply discrimination against mainlanders, and tourists might feel they were unwelcome in Hong Kong, which could lead to conflict between Hongkongers and mainlanders.
Instead, the government should invest in better infrastructure to accommodate tourists and crack down on parallel trading. It should strike a balance between protecting its citizens and being fair to mainlanders.
Joyce Chung Nga-lok, Kowloon Tong
Li is totally out of touch with the real world
Li Ka-shing tells Hongkongers to stop complaining about mainland visitors as they contribute to the economy, but fails to offer any solutions ("Li Ka-shing downbeat over Hong Kong's future", March 1).
Like most tycoons and politicians, Li is living in his ivory tower and is totally out of touch with reality.
Li no doubt benefits more than most from the tourist spending, but doesn't have to put up with the daily annoyances such as queuing at banks and shops or fighting to get on a train or bus, and I doubt he ever has to walk Hong Kong's crowded streets.
Another problem is the recent increase in vehicles from the mainland in Hong Kong and the lack of parking spaces for residents. I suggest Li spends a week living on a public housing estate in Fanling and trying to get to work on Hong Kong Island or in Kowloon.
He could also use some of his vast wealth and influence to alleviate our problems, such as building a shopping hub at the border or lobbying the central government to improve its product quality control and lower its tax on luxury goods, thus boosting domestic local consumption.
Cecilia Li, Fanling
Voters must be given a real choice
I refer to the report ("Little hope of consensus on reform: Elsie Leung", February 17).
It appears that the establishment wants a high degree of control over the candidates for the next chief executive. If the system only offers a Hobson's choice then, for voters, universal suffrage will be meaningless. We can then only expect frustration, an embarrassingly low turnout and many spoiled ballots.
Elsie Leung Oi-sie should realise that to reach a consensus it takes two to tango.
I. M. Wright, Happy Valley
MTR leads the way in tackling pollution
Smog has once again made the headlines recently, notoriously casting a shadow over the mainland's image. Living in Hong Kong now, I am spared the debilitating pollution.
By comparing Hong Kong's relatively clean environment with the mainland's dirty air and having pondered over the reason behind the gap, I believe that the large population on the mainland is key. Ineffective and underdeveloped public transport networks are another problem which needs fixing.
The mainland's population is far larger than Hong Kong's and there are far more cars. Consequently more exhaust fumes are pumped into the air.
We can do little about the population, at least not overnight. But expanding mass transit systems is feasible. The MTR, efficient and accessible, has become a mainstream form of transport.
The earlier the mainland develops mass transit networks, the sooner smog will be tackled.
I have also noticed Hongkongers' conduct helps keep the environment clean. Most smokers stop at a rubbish bin and stub their butts out in the right place.
Wang Yuke, Tai Wai
Pass bylaw to ban bicycles on trains
I refer to Doug Miller's letter ("Bicycles on MTR trains unacceptable", March 3).
I think the MTR Corporation should prohibit passengers from bringing bicycles on to carriages by introducing a new bylaw. If passengers do not abide by the new regulation then MTR staff can make them pay a fine.
This woud mean fewer people bringing bikes on to carriages.
Bringing bicycles on board MTR trains can cause accidents and inconvenience other passengers.
The MTR Corp could set aside a new carriage for bicycles and their riders to avoid accidents and conflict.
It is unacceptable to bring bicycles on to other carriages, but as I say, this problem can be solved quite simply.
Agnes Tsoi, Tseung Kwan O