Plan to widen smart card system at checkpoints
The government is proposing to extend the electronic immigration clearance system, which covers only permanent residents with smart ID cards, to include non-permanent residents.
So far, 167,000 of 2.2 million permanent residents with smart ID cards have used the electronic system at border checkpoints since mid-December. A total of 5.4 million smart ID holders will be able to use the system when legislative changes for the extension are ready in mid-2006.
Welfare tenants may get coupons to pay rent
Tenants on social welfare - or Comprehensive Social Security Assistance - will be able to use coupons to pay rent under a proposal being studied by the Social Welfare Department and the Housing Authority. CSSA covers rent payments, but some recipients pocket the money and do not pay their rent. Coupons may solve this problem.
Shop landlords warned not to cripple recovery
Recent rent rises could slow the growth of the retail sector, which is still recovering from the economic downturn, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association warned. Some landlords have raised shop rents in Yau Tsim Mong and Causeway Bay by 50 to 60 per cent when renewing tenants' contracts. The association said some shops might have to close.
Hurdles for those keen to study on mainland
Different schooling systems and mainland university admission exams are the biggest hurdles for Hong Kong students planning to study across the border. Project officer of the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre Yeung Chin-ngan said Hong Kong students might have to sit exams for which they had not studied when applying for mainland universities. Differences in subjects taught might make these exams difficult.