The government has agreed to consider including sales people and 'cold callers' who ply potential customers with phone calls in proposed anti-spam legislation. Under the current wording of the bill, such callers are exempt from revealing their identification on caller display screens. The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Bill was drawn up to stem the rising tide of spam e-mails, text messages, pre-recorded calls, faxes and video and audio messages. But legislators at yesterday's second bills committee meeting called on the government to amend its wording to include marketing and sales person-to-person calls and to force those callers to reveal their numbers on caller identification displays so recipients can decide not to answer them. Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) lawmaker Tsang Yok-sing told government representatives: 'I think the caller must be required to display the caller number.' Marion Lai Chan Chi-kuen, deputy secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, said calls by salespeople and other company representatives were 'part of the normal commercial telemarketing activities'. 'If such person-to-person interactive electronic communication becomes a major source of nuisance and there are many complaints, we would be prepared to consider if it falls within the ambit of the bill, or the ordinance, if enacted,' she said. She said she hoped that as 'good business practice', sales people would respect the wishes of customers who requested not to be called back. However, she conceded the government would reconsider the provisions of clauses 7 and 12 in the bill, which cover accurate sender information and the deliberate concealment of that information, respectively. Queried by legislators on how recipients could avoid paying roaming charges when receiving spam phone calls overseas, the government admitted that its hands were tied because it could not enforce Hong Kong legislation in foreign jurisdictions. The bill includes an opt-out provision, under which people can sign up to a 'do not call' register and anyone who contacts people on the register can be prosecuted. The Telecommunications Authority will set up a register for those who do not want to receive pre-recorded voice messages, faxes or mobile phone calls. The register will not apply to e-mails. The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Bill was gazetted in July. If enacted, it will criminalise the sending of spam electronic mail and includes fines from HK$100,000 to HK$1 million and jail terms of up to five years. The Office of the Telecommunications Authority received more than 3,600 inquiries about nuisance calls last year and 2,310 in the first eight months of this year.