Letters to the Editor, June 13, 2015
Sort loophole with higher rates charges
Hopefully two positive things might come out of the tax loophole imbroglio for properties held in a corporate name.
The most desirous one would be reform of the tax code to recognise that property held in a corporate name should be subject to substantially higher quarterly rates charges to offset the forsaken stamp duty.
As a by-product, this would provide additional tax revenue to support Hong Kong’s ageing population and would increase the cost of carry for those hoarding empty properties, providing an incentive to let or sell such properties – a positive boost to the supply side without cementing over any further country park land.
Since this is probably too much to hope for from our property-conflicted government, perhaps we can at least hope for something more modest. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, please stop bleating on about the need to broaden the tax base through such regressive means as a goods and services tax, until you have first picked the low hanging fruit that is stamp duty tax loophole for companies.
If you aren’t willing to go after this necessary tax reform first and then run the numbers on what that does for your ever-expanding budget surplus, then you don’t deserve to be listened to about any of your other tax plans.
Keith Noyes, Clear Water Bay
Ban England until fans stop misbehaving
So there is another international football tournament which England appear in, and, without fail, another riot caused by the England fans.
At a time when France is on heightened alert due to terrorist attacks, they still cannot control themselves. Their behaviour is a disgrace and distracts the police from focusing on key security issues.
Until the fans can control themselves, the England team should not be permitted to participate in tournaments outside their country.
English hooliganism is no doubt a good reason why many in the European Union would be happy to say goodbye to England.
Mak Lik-ko, Sheung Shui
Give careful thought before you buy a pet
I agree with correspondents who argue that people should think twice before deciding to purchase a pet.
There are several reasons why people buy pets. Many young couples now buy a pet instead of starting a family.
However, if the wife suddenly becomes pregnant, they may actually abandon the pet and so the number of abandoned pets will increase.
Pets can also be abandoned if owners find they cannot look after them properly.
It is cruel for people to abandon their pets.
These animals show loyalty to their owners and then are dumped and left to fend for themselves. Many of these animals will not be able to settle on their own. They just do not have the strength to survive in such a hostile environment.
Rather than abandon them, these pet owners should give them to someone whom they can trust.
People need to think long and hard before getting a pet and also think very carefully before deciding to abandon them.
Sabrina Li Wan-hei, Tseung Kwan O
Overuse of mobiles causes addiction
Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular with teenagers.
Teenagers using a smartphone can look up different words from dictionaries easily and find information which helps with their school work.
These smartphones are very convenient and help teenagers to save time.
However, while they are beneficial, they do present some problems. Some students may copy information and then put it in a paper or exam and this is plagiarism.
Also, if they spend too long on their phones, they could develop an addiction. They might also get eye problems and joint pains.
Jason Luk, Tseung Kwan O
People are now losing the human touch
Some corespondents have pointed out that with advances in technology these days, such as smartphones and other devices, relationships have been adversely affected.
Today, we find children as young as two glued to their iPad. In order to stop them from throwing a tantrum, parents will often let their young children play with an iPad.
If they spend too long on these devices, then they may grow up not having learned to interact with other youngsters.
Once in a Chinese restaurant, I saw a father and his two daughters each glued to their own smartphones, and they hardly talked during the whole meal, as if they did not know each other. This seems to be a common scene today.
Sooner or later, as we do not interact face to face as often as we would like to in the past, I am afraid that we will lose the human touch.
It would not surprise me at all if one day, we find that in the modern society, we are just staring at each other during a meeting with clients, not knowing how to carry out a proper conversation.
Due to smartphones, we are also reading less, in terms of current affairs; and thus it is not strange that most of us do not know what is going on around the world, and so have no topic to discuss during face-to-face meetings.
How I wish that more of us would resume the habit of reading again today, so as to get back the human touch.
Eunice Li Dan-yue, Singapore
Criminals profit from ignorance
Phone scams are rampant on the mainland.
The criminals using these scams are able to succeed more on the mainland, because the level of education is still pretty low.
I do not think the central government has invested sufficiently in education and so there is a large pool of potential phone scam victims.
Also, there is not sufficient regulation of the telecommunications sector, therefore criminals can do what they want and have a better chance on the mainland of escaping punishment.
The government has to improve levels of education, so that young people are better protected against scams.
Walter Chong, Tseung Kwan O
Illegal jumble sales bad for reputation
In the evening in many districts in Hong Kong, ad hoc jumble sales are held and they are definitely not for charity. They are extremely chaotic and after they have shut down, they leave a mess.
They are unsightly and are not appropriate for Asia’s world city. Tourists who see these sales might be forgiven for thinking of Hong Kong as Asia’s Third World city.
The city’s back streets should be used in original ways that can attract tourists.
The police have turned a blind eye to these unauthorised gatherings.
They have tarnished the city’s international image, which was built up by the British, and this should not be allowed to continue.
Alex Ng, Sham Shui Po