17 years in a Philippine jail, carcinogens in your cooking oil and other Hong Kong stories you need to know from this week

A selection of some of the most-read stories on scmp.com in the last seven days

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 July, 2017, 4:39pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 July, 2017, 4:42pm

Seventeen years of hell: Hong Kong prisoner recounts his time in a Philippine jail

What’s the story: Tang Lung-wai is surviving a life sentence in Manila’s notorious New Bilibid Prison for a drug offence he insists he never committed. Inside his 60 sq ft cell he completed a mission impossible – writing a book detailing his ordeal over 17 years in which he says he was beaten by police, deprived of food and had his hopes of returning home dashed again and again.

Why it matters: Conditions in Philippine jails are notoriously rough. Tang, 46, insists in his book that he is innocent. “I wanted to let Hong Kong people know of the injustice I experienced,” he said. “Over the years, the Hong Kong government never really helped me.”

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Seventeen years of hell: Hong Kong prisoner recounts his time in Philippine jail

46 samples of cooking oil on sale in Hong Kong contained cancer-causing substance in tests

What’s the story: Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog found more than 40 samples of cooking oil on sale around the city contained contaminants and a cancer-causing substance. The Consumer Council tested 60 types of edible oil from various brands and found 46 samples contained the toxic carcinogen glycidol, for which there are no safe levels set anywhere in the world.

Why it matters: For cooking oils sold in Hong Kong, there are currently no safety standards. The government said legislation would be presented in the wake of the Taiwan gutter oil scandal in 2014, in which authorities there scrambled to contain a food scare caused by 645 tonnes of tainted oil. However, proposals for new laws have still not been unveiled. “This cannot be taken lightly,” said Professor Michael Hui King-man, chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee.

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46 samples of cooking oil on sale in Hong Kong contained cancer-causing substance in tests

Faster security screening soon at Hong Kong airport, but passengers may bear cost of the perk

What’s the story: Hong Kong International Airport is set to unveil a dedicated security channel for premium travellers leaving the city in order to speed up departures, with the service also open to those with special needs and reduced mobility, pregnant women, the elderly and adults with infants.

Why it matters: The airport is already known for its speedy service, and the response from some airlines to the plan has been lukewarm. A number of major carriers said they were not interested in signing up, noting that it did not include faster immigration checks and the cost of the initiative may end up being borne by flyers.

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Faster security screening soon at Hong Kong airport, but passengers may bear cost of perk

More pan-democrats in ‘highly risky’ position after ouster of four lawmakers, experts say

What’s the story: Legal experts in Hong Kong warned that at least nine more pro-democracy members of the city’s legislature could face the same fate as six of their colleagues who were ousted from their seats over improper oath-taking. One legal scholar even proposed allowing a judge to ­administer oaths to avoid similar troubles in future.

Why it matters: Lawmakers Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Cheng Chung-tai admitted they were at a very high risk of being disqualified, according to the principles laid down in a court ruling earlier this month barring four other legislators. Cheng talked of a “major constitutional crisis”, while a law professor suggested the system needed reform so that High Court judges could administer the oaths.

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More Hong Kong pan-democrats in ‘highly risky’ position after ouster of four lawmakers: experts

Hong Kong post office HQ faces wrecking ball in plan to transform Central harbourfront

What’s the story: The General Post Office building, constructed in 1976, will be torn down and its contents moved from its prime waterfront space in the heart of the city to a new location in Kowloon Bay to make way for offices.

Why it matters: The redevelopment is part of a HK$12 billion plan for eight key sites to transform the Central harbourfront to provide upmarket office space, a large pedestrian deck, public space and a mix of hotel and retail facilities. But the proposal has reignited the clash between those keen to preserve Hong Kong’s heritage and the city’s relentless rush to modernise, with one member of the legislature calling on the government to reconsider.

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Hong Kong post office HQ to be demolished to make way for offices in plan to transform Central harbourfront