Letters to the Editor, June 12, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 June, 2016, 12:18am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 June, 2016, 12:17am

Claim about no-smoking areas is absurd

I take exception to the ­comment by public health ­professor Lam Tai-hing, of the University of Hong Kong, that “Hong Kong is one of the leading places in the world in the anti-smoking area” (“Doctors want ban on sale of alcohol to under-18s”, June 4)

Surely he is joking? Walking around Lan Kwai Fong, Wyndham Street and Soho on a recent weekend, I failed to see a single “No Smoking” sign ­posted anywhere, outside or ­inside any restaurant or bar.

Smokers puffed away on the pavement under awnings less than a metre from where people were eating.

Smoke was being blown in over people’s food, ­including that of young children, who were forced to ­inhale poisonous secondary smoke.

Worse, I counted roughly 30 people that evening breaking the smoking laws. Perhaps this was done unwittingly, as no signs could be seen and ashtrays were placed for their convenience in illegal places.

Leading the world in anti-smoking rules? I think not. Perhaps leading the world in allowing smoking in public places would be more accurate.

And alcohol? David Yau Chak-wong, of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Wine and Spirits, said the age limit for the sale of alcohol should be set at 16, rather than 18.

According to Katherine Brown, policy director at the ­Institute for Alcohol Studies, there is simply no evidence that ­allowing teens to drink will help develop a sensible attitude to drinking.

In fact, studies show the complete opposite: the earlier children are introduced to alcohol, the more they will drink as adults. But I guess if you are in the business of selling alcohol, this would be exactly what you want.

You’ve got to “love” Hong Kong – profits first even ahead of health.

M. Bentley, Central

Britain must stay in UK and make it better

It is worrying to think, in a world as fragmented and uncertain as this one, with various global tensions, flashpoints and threats, that Britain, a relatively small island nation, albeit with a fantastic history, would want to leave the European Union.

The EU is imperfect, most agree with that, even some of its architects. And it is because of the failure of the EU’s institutions, officials and politicians that Britain is now so close to leaving. But peace and, ideally, prosperity through a collective approach remains its overarching objective.

This focus has been lost along the way, muddied and derailed.

Nonetheless, would Britons still not rather be in the EU and working towards a better ­system, than out and potentially more alone, isolated and wondering where to turn?

This is not to say Britain will suddenly be faced with disaster should it vote to leave; that is scaremongering.

However, the world it faces once outside the EU does not seem more secure or prosperous.

If it is, then that rosier picture has not been painted yet, and certainly not with any accuracy, which is the stark failure of the leave campaign.

Sam Turvey, partner and managing director, Hong Kong Bell Pottinger

CY could learn from Taiwan’s caring leader

Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, has said that she wants to address the problems that are faced by the citizens of Taiwan.

While she has talked of a new policy for cross-strait relations, she says her priority is the ­welfare of the Taiwanese. This was the main reason she won the presidential election in January.

I think Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, can learn from Tsai’s attitude, which is that her priority is her citizens rather than relations with Beijing.

While I accept that Hong Kong belongs to China, Leung’s main job should be helping the needy of this city, but this is not happening. This is why he has a very low popularity rating among citizens.

As a local resident, I envy the Taiwanese.

They are lucky to have such a fine president, someone who is definitely on their side. Leung should reflect on this and try to create a peaceful and harmonious society.

Yolanda Yue, Yau Yat Chuen

Controls on traders can protect dogs

The Legislative Council sub-committee on issues relating to animal welfare and cruelty to animals will meet tomorrow to discuss proposed amendments to the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal Traders) Regulations (Cap 139B).

I support the package of measures, which are currently proposed by the government to improve the regulation of pet trading and the breeding and trading of dogs.

As a dog owner and a registered veterinary surgeon in practice in Hong Kong for over 22 years, I believe that it is of the utmost importance to pass the amendments as soon as possible to better protect the health and welfare of animals ­involved in the trade.

The current situation of exclusion of pets and pets’ ­offspring from the control of the licensing scheme has been ­exploited by some unscrupulous traders.

These people operate under the disguise of a private pet owner. This means they are not operating under the relevant regulatory controls and this has led to public health and animal welfare concerns.

The proposed legislation introduces a new regulatory ­system in licensing for the pet trade, increasing oversight, training of the licensees and staff, and control by the government.

Also, the proposed amendements will lead to the implementation of international benchmarks in animal welfare, through the introduction of mandatory codes of practice that provide guidance on health care, ­including infectious disease control and best practice.

Dr Kenneth Lam, Central

Short respite from illegal parking in city

I think all Hong Kong citizens had the same question in mind: how long could the police ­sustain their effort in checking ­illegal parking?

Everyone got the answer, that it was just another roadshow that would last for a week at most. After that, everything would be back to square one. The police are just not interested in this, but merely staging a show for district councillors.

What more can the police do? Ironically, nothing.

Joseph Lee, Quarry Bay

Wind power good way to cut pollution

I refer to Christy Wong’s letter (“Wind power can lower air ­pollution levels”, May 26).

Power plants using fossil fuel continue to pump out a lot of pollutants, which have a detrimental effect on the human body. Lung ­cancer is an obvious worry.

Health services will be further burdened and taxes will have to rise to pay for the extra costs.

Developing wind power technology is important to help meet demand for cleaner electricity and therefore help cut global emissions.

As wind power generation technology makes advances, it will be the most ­effective way to solve the air ­pollution crisis.

Cutting reliance on oil and gas-fired power stations will ­reduce harmful pollution.

Meanwhile, we can all help the environment, by turning off lights in our homes when they are not needed.

Winky Wong, Sheung Shui