CONVERSATION overheard in the gallery of the Legco building yesterday: Observer 1: There are a load of pigs, warthogs, tigers and crocodiles at Legco today. Observer 2: So what's new? Protesters wearing animal face masks were making a clamour at the front door of the Legco building. But the premises are normally infested by such bizarre fauna that the animal-headed people blended into the scene quite nicely. The protesters said they had discovered some shocking news: The Government had been caught loan-sharking. Inside the chamber, Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey told members that the number of Vietnamese opting to go home had increased to 1,000 a month. This was after camp managers had started sticking the hapless boat people in front of televisions showing educational documentaries about Vietnam. Forcing them to watch more or less anything by TVB or ATV would probably have done the trick even faster. Mr Tam Yiu-chung decided to add his expertise on the Vietnam issue to the discussion. ''Will the Secretary ask the Governor, when he goes to the US, to ask the United States Government to give more financial assistance to Vietnam?'' he said. Mr Asprey gently pointed out that there was a teeny-weeny US trade embargo on just now, and thus the US gave no financial assistance to Vietnam. Oops. Mr Tam visibly shrank in his seat. Mr Asprey then came under attack for passport distribution. The law says the Government needs to hand out millions of BNO passports ready for use in 1997. The Government has started to hand them out in phases, and Mr Asprey reckons it will take about four years. Members were outraged. They pointed out that this blatantly violated people's rights to not have to pick them up until the actual day of June 30, 1997. Mr Asprey was not keen on this. ''We cannot have 3.5 million people applying in the last few days,'' he said. Legco members looked severely disapprovingly at Mr Asprey's obvious reluctance to have 3.5 million individuals in his office to personally receive their passports on the last day. Then Peter Wong stood up and had a dig at Health Secretary Mrs Libby Wong. He claimed she was behind schedule with a Green Paper about fees for hospitals, announced in April last year. Mrs Wong had looked up her original announcement and found that she had said it would be ready ''soon''. She then looked up the word ''soon'' in the Oxford Dictionary, and found it meant what she had thought it meant. ''With the beauty of hindsight, I am surprised that I was so precise about timing,'' she said. Environment Secretary Tony Eason, after leading members into sewage tunnels last week, was up in the clouds this week, defending the ozone layer. He introduced a new law. ''Clause 31a gives the authority further powers in the right of entry in the inspection of premises,'' he said. Members could not help but imagine the ozone police hammering on their door. ''Kick the door down, he's got an aerosol deodorant in there.'' Finally, it was time for K. K. Fung to reveal how the Hongkong authorities had been caught loansharking. It transpired that the Hongkong authorities were accused of swindling . . . the Hongkong authorities. The administration had loaned millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to the Housing Authority, and was charging five per cent a year interest on the loan. Yawn. The Government promised to keep Mr Fung's revelation in mind the next time they reviewed the subject, which would no doubt be . . . soon.