Lawmakers yesterday branded proposed increases in charges for the replacement of ID cards and for passport applications as too high. The two items are among 200 fees and charges not directly related to people's livelihoods that are to be increased under a government proposal. The replacement fee for an ID card is to go up from $395 to $435. The application charge for a 32-page SAR passport will increase from $280 to $336, and that for a 48-page passport from $400 to $460. Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan said the ID card increase was unacceptable. 'People must carry their ID cards by law. We have no choice but to replace them if we lose them. It cannot be seen as a charge that does not affect livelihood,' he told a security panel meeting. Colleague James To Kun-sun suggested fees be increased progressively - the more frequent the replacements, the higher the fees. But Assistant Director of Immigration Lai Tung-kwok said the rise was reasonable and that it would not be feasible to have different charges for replacements. 'That would involve an astronomical administrative cost,' he said, adding that a progressive charge would be seen as a punitive measure, which contradicted the existing policy. According to the Immigration Department, about 170,000 people lose their ID cards each year. Howard Young of the Liberal Party expressed reservations over the passport fee rise. 'I don't oppose the increase for overseas applications but disagree with the increase for local applications,' he said. Lau Kong-wah of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong said staff costs for passport issuing were too high: 279 staff deal with about 1,400 applications a day. Mr Lai replied that staff numbers were high to ensure security standards were maintained. Mr Ho also criticised proposed increases in fees for the Official Receiver's Office and for divorce proceedings.