A top adviser to tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung yesterday said he opposed the introduction of a departure tax and a proposal to build a bridge linking Hong Kong and the west side of the Pearl River Delta. Ho Ming-sze, an adviser to the Fok Ying Tung Foundation, told a seminar hosted by the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce that a cross-delta bridge was neither feasible nor appropriate. Mr Fok has invested $2.5 billion in the Guangdong cities of Nansha and Panyu and spearheaded the Humen Bridge, which links Dongguan and Panyu. Mr Fok, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, declined to comment on the feasibility of a bridge after the seminar. However, he said he did not intend to invest in the project. Mr Ho said: 'The level of economic development in the west side of the delta is still relatively low and I'm afraid the project would not be cost-effective.' Hopewell Holdings chairman Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung has proposed building a 29km bridge linking Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. The cost has been estimated at $15 billion. But Mr Ho said: 'There are already developed road networks linking delta cities like Guangzhou and Dongguan to Hong Kong. Vehicles from these cities would not bother to travel to Hong Kong via the bridge.' Mr Ho added that building a bridge could exacerbate silting problems in the Pearl River estuary, which would endanger dolphins living in the area. He also said the introduction of a departure tax would have an adverse effect on cross-border travel and Hong Kong's economic development. The government has proposed levying an $18 tax on people crossing the Hong Kong border by land or sea, and a $100 tax on each private vehicle. The fees are expected to raise $1 billion a year. 'Guangdong authorities may not raise any objections in public, but I am sure many mainlanders are unhappy about the new tax,' Mr Ho said. 'How about if, one day, mainlanders press their government to impose a tax on people heading for Hong Kong, or levy 300 yuan [HK$282] on every container shipped to Hong Kong for re-export?' Mr Ho said the $1 billion expected to be raised was 'no big deal' compared with the estimated $77 billion budget deficit. But Henry Tang Ying-yen, the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, rejected the suggestion that the cross-border departure tax would hamper integration with the mainland. Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury Frederick Ma Si-hang said he would discuss details of the departure tax with legislators today. The Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong said it would oppose the proposed land departure tax unless the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation reduced its fare to Lowu.