Police's holistic scheme fights animal cruelty
I refer to Ms Iris Ma's letter ("Set up police unit to curb animal abuse", December 3) and the article by Ms Patsy Moy ("Police unit urged after stray cats slaughtered", December 3).
The Food and Health Bureau oversees all animal-related matters, including animal welfare and animal cruelty. The Hong Kong Police Force, with other partners, are empowered to investigate reports of animal cruelty.
The force rolled out an Animal Watch Scheme in October 2011 with support from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the two veterinarian associations in Hong Kong and the Society for Abandoned Animals.
Under the scheme, greater public awareness and participation against cruelty to animals is sought and the existing multi-agency approach is enhanced through a four-pronged approach: education, publicity, intelligence gathering and investigation.
The police force will deploy crime investigation teams to probe all reports of animal cruelty. The number of cases received between January and October this year, compared to the same period in 2011, fell by 21 per cent from 57 to 45, and the detection rate increased from 12 per cent to 33 per cent.
The scheme is a holistic approach to enhance multi-agency co-operation, public awareness, and participation in the prevention and detection of animal cruelty cases.
The police force will continue to investigate all reports of animal cruelty in a professional manner.
Eddie Wong Kwok-wai, Police Public Relations Bureau
SFC smart to invest in risk ratings system
It is good news that the Securities and Futures Commission will issue proposals next year to prevent misrepresentation and mis-selling of financial products to retail investors ("SFC aims to shield HK's retail investors", November 28).
Britain's regulators acknowledged in May 2011 that it is important to supervise the products that are offered, and not just regulate the sellers.
The crux of the matter is the risk of capital loss in Hong Kong-dollar terms.
Just as supermarket products must bear a label advising consumers of contents, all financial products should also have a clear, simple and succinct advisory statement for investors.
The SFC is the correct body to authorise and accredit this risk to Hong Kong dollar capital assessment on the public's behalf. A standardised risk rating on a scale of 1 to 10 would not be difficult for the SFC to implement. And, as a financial product's risk may change over time, such a rating should be reassessed annually.
Many investment companies already rate the risk of their products for their clients. A system could require these companies to make an annual return to the SFC giving their assessment for vetting and accreditation.
All sellers would have a responsibility to bring the SFC accredited risk rating to the attention of the buyer; and all buyers should have to acknowledge this rating before any transaction could proceed.
Our regulators should not forgo this responsibility, as it will protect the public by making them aware of their exposure to capital loss, and will also protect the financial industry from claims of misrepresentation and mis-selling.
The SFC should not become a nanny and restrict public access to financial products. Once a retail investor has been made fully aware of the risk, the decision to purchase or not should be theirs.
Roger Emmerton, Wan Chai
Cool heads needed on Starbucks tax
I am writing to express my viewpoint on a report ("Storm in a coffee cup over Starbucks' tax", November 13), where the coffee chain came under fire for not paying corporate tax in Britain in the past three years.
I don't think Starbucks Coffee should be held responsible [although it recently agreed to pay millions in corporate tax]. It is a commercial entity, not a charity. It is just finding ways to maximise its profits.
Most importantly, the case revealed loopholes in the country's tax system, so I think the pressing need is to amend tax laws - not to blame Starbucks.
I think the UK Uncut direct action group's action [hijacking coffee outlets] is no different from bullying. People should instead urge the government to plug loopholes in the law, and be calm and reasonable.
Michael Yu, Tsuen Wan
CY needs to show honesty to do his job
Having read Julia Fung Yuet-shan's letter in support of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying ("CY not being given chance to do his job", November 28), I see a pressing need to rectify her mistakes.
She misinterpreted lawmakers' criticism of Leung's integrity, over illegal structures at his home, as "crooked logic". Since he represents all Hong Kong people, our leader should show sincerity and honesty, the lack of which simply causes many to lose faith in him. Therefore, he should give a detailed explanation of the matter.
Yet, instead of being frank, he issued a statement about the unauthorised structures. We could not help but wonder whether he had been cowardly lest the truth be unveiled. People are right to wonder whether he concealed the fact a long time ago to win his present post.
What is more, your correspondent distorted Leung's election victory by claiming that "the people of Hong Kong believed he was the candidate who could deliver [change]".
She ignored the fact that our chief executive is never elected fairly by all citizens, but by a committee of 1,200 people, many of whom appear to be pro-Beijing loyalists. Alas, perhaps Ms Fung confused Hong Kong's chief executive election with the US presidential vote.
James Au Kin-pong, Lai Chi Kok
Pro-heritage argument not just 'blather'
Jake van der Kamp is dismissive of "architects' blather" that seeks to present an argument for the preservation of the few remaining heritage buildings that have not fallen victim to the developers' wrecking ball ("Heritage? Peak mansion was plain ugly", December 6).
Who would he rather give their expert view on these matters? Free marketeers like himself who know the price of everything but the value of nothing, presumably. Hasn't there been enough of that?
Chris White, Sai Ying Pun
Changing face of Chinese communism
The stepping down of Chinese leader Hu Jintao raises questions about China's past, present and future.
While criticised for being "without achievement" in reforming the country, he is praised for ushering in a "glorious decade". The critiques and celebrations of his 10-year reign as leader of the Communist Party paint a confusing picture of communism.
By not opening up the political system, was he not adhering to communist doctrine? Conversely, in spurring a period that increased the number of mobile phones in the hands of the Chinese, was he not loosening the grip of the party?
One thing is certain: as the communist icon of the 21st century changes, so does the modern idea of communism.
Claire McCarthy, Canada
Ways to curb smartphone addiction
I am writing in response to an article ("11 years old and addicted to her smartphone", November 29).
We should stop young people from being addicted to their smartphones, as they may suffer from bad eyesight from reading small characters and muscle fatigue from holding their phones for a long time.
Mentally, teenagers may be so distracted that they abandon their studies.
To prevent such problems, education is a must. Parents should set a good example by avoiding using smartphones at home when these are not needed. Parents can also set a period of time when children can't use their phones.
Smartphone makers should also take the initiative to fight addiction. Software for personal computers that allows parents to monitor activities of their children already exists, yet such software for smartphones is still not available.
Mobile internet service providers should introduce plans that limit surfing time for youngsters. Similar policies have already been in place on the mainland, where those under the age of 18 are only allowed to play online games at certain hours.
Last but not least, teenagers should have other healthy hobbies like sports, painting, singing and dancing.
James Lee Kam-fai, Tsuen Wan