Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is baffled. She says she is surprised so many people believe the government is up to no good in wanting to build three new border towns. She cannot understand why people will not buy the claim that the towns are not part of a secret plan to merge Hong Kong with Shenzhen. Well, Public Eye will enlighten her. It simply boils down to a single word: trust. Most people just don't trust the government any more. If she doesn't already know that, then we suggest she either takes a crash course in understanding public opinion or steps down as the No2 in government. Lam and her boss Leung Chun-ying banged their heads against the wall trying to convince people that the government was not aiming to brainwash children with national education. Did people believe them? No. If Lam had bothered to understand why, maybe she would not be having so much trouble now trying to figure out the mistrust over border development. But instead of doing that, the government is using the crudest political tactics to win public support. It has promised to hand out a staggering HK$40 billion to compensate those affected and to increase the ratio of public housing in the new towns. That is government by bribery, not by trust. Here's another lesson for Lam: true trust is not easily broken, but those who bribe must continue bribing to keep the other side happy.
Landowner sums it up: money is all that matters
Let's applaud Hau Chi-keung. Who? Never mind, but in a few succinct words he defined Hong Kong's true core value - money. Hau is a big-time New Territories landowner. He was on television news over the weekend with his dark glasses and hat. At first Public Eye thought it was a set for a gangster movie. As a landowner who stands to make big bucks from the government's plan to build new border towns, Hau was castigating project opponents on screen. "It is my right to sell everything - even my ancestors' temple - if there is a good price," he declared. That sums up Hong Kong's cardinal rule - nothing is impossible if the price is right. Desecrating ancestral homes, demolishing heritage buildings, tycoons duping homebuyers by inflating floor sizes, profiteers snapping up iPhones to resell, rip-off taxi drivers, the MTR putting profits above people … the list goes on. Money over morals. There is no better way to define us. We thank Hau for telling it like it is.
Let's give fake tourists same treatment as 'dissidents'
You have probably never heard of Wong Yin-sang before. But again, never mind. He's a principal immigration officer. Public Eye is mentioning him only because of the ludicrous excuse he gave last week for his department having nailed just a tiny fraction of mainland parallel-goods traders, when thousands cross the border multiple times a day. Wong says it is impossible to prosecute them all because his department would have to gather proof that they came not as tourists but traders. But if he already knows those who enter multiple times a day are fake tourists, why let them in to start with? The Immigration Department regularly turns away so-called dissidents - such as June 4, 1989 student leader Wang Dan - without giving a reason. It simply says it does not comment on individual cases. If it can refuse Wang entry to join a peaceful candlelight vigil, why allow mainland traders to come here under false pretences and then try to prove they broke the law? Just shut the door as the department does to others deemed undesirable. If anyone asks, simply say it doesn't comment on individual cases. Or is there one law for dissidents and another for mainland visitors?