Consumer Council has urged person-to-person spam phone calls to be included in the new legislation that covers only electronic messages Hong Kong's consumer watchdog has called for curbs on cold-call telemarketing to be included in legislation being drafted to stop e-mail and mobile phone spammers. At present, the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Bill covers only unsolicited electronic messages - fax, e-mail, short messaging services, multimedia messaging services and recorded phone messages - but not person-to-person cold calls. Kenneth So Wai-sang, head of the public affairs division at the Consumer Council, said: 'There is not much you can do to effectively stop telemarketing calls, short of legislation, which the Consumer Council has supported.' The government launched a two-month public consultation on the bill at the end of last month. Last year, the Consumer Council received 181 complaints on telemarketing; 162 cases over mobile phone spam, 15 on unsolicited faxes and four via the internet. Banker Angus Wong said he was often deluged by unsolicited telemarketing calls from mobile phone networks, hotels and even carpet sellers. 'It's so annoying, particularly when I am travelling because I have to pay roaming charges to pick up these calls and wait until the end of the message to opt out. Half the time, I don't even know what they are trying to sell,' he said. 'It's got to the point where I have started cursing at the telemarketer.' Although mobile phone spam continues to be the main complaint, the proposed bill does not include person-to-person telephone calls because the bill only refers to electronic messages. A spokeswoman for the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau said: 'The costs of making manual cold calls are higher which may limit the extent to which such calls would become a spam problem. To leave room for such normal and legitimate marketing activities, we are of the view that we should be light-handed in regulating this mode of marketing.' Until person-to-person spam phone calls are included in the bill, the only thing recipients can do is to ask telemarketers not to call again. However, if the same telemarketers persist in calling after a person has opted out, they face being fined $1,000 or two months in jail. This article was first published in the South China Morning Post on February 5, 2006 Activity Radio Programme/Readers' Theatre Procedures: Each group should work on one of the areas i.e. spam e-mail, spam fax, spam SMS, spam promotional calls. (useful website: http://www.antispam.gov.hk/docs/flash/eng/encyclopedia.pdf ) Discuss and share your own experiences in the specific areas among group members. You have to decide which one will be recorded and modified to be feasible for a five-minute broadcast (in class or even on the school's radio programme). Draft the scripts for the performance, practice within the group, and re-draft if necessary. You may read or listen to the examples: Example for scripts: http://www.antispam.gov.hk/docs/flash/eng/story.pdf Radio recording in Chinese only (broadcast on Commercial Radio): 'What you can do about spam: spam SMS and cold calls' http://www.antispam.gov.hk/docs/radio/Script%204_SMS%20&%20cold%20call… After that, each group should be ready to perform their five-minute programme.