talk back

You have your say on rogue parking in Mid-Levels and Central ...

This is so typical of Hong Kong. Everybody knows about the problem but nobody is in charge, or those in charge refuse to take any proper action.

The solution is very simple - since in all those places choked by rogue parking of cars there is a parking ban in place. Just charge every driver parking there with the proper fixed-penalty ticket.

Do this day in, day out and the problem will go away.

Why do children need to be picked up by cars in front of their school in an area with excellent public transport? Why can those busy executives not walk a few metres to get to their lunch and back to their office?

I would have no mercy on those rogue parking, and do not get me wrong, I am a driver myself. But there are rights for pedestrians and they need to be protected by the force of law.

Maybe the biggest problem in tackling this issue is that quite a lot of those cars choking the streets (in Central and other busy areas around there) bear a licence plate starting with 'AM ...'?

Jochen Krug, Pok Fu Lam

With reference to your article on rogue parking in Central, I note that only 36 fixed-penalty tickets have been issued for illegal parking in the Ice House Street and Bank Street area in the past three months. With the number of illegally parked cars on these streets, 36 tickets could be issued in one hour.

No wonder drivers laugh when pedestrians complain about illegal parking and tell us to 'call the police', as they know all they risk is a verbal warning. They then drive around the block and re-occupy the same pavement space 10 minutes later.

Could the secretary for security please advise your readers what kind of pressure his department is under not to upset car owners?

Strict enforcement of Chapter 374C of the Road Traffic (Parking) Regulations - which states that 'no person shall park a vehicle on a pavement or pedestrian way' and that contravention merits a fine of HK$2,000 - would reduce congestion and obstruction on the narrow streets. It would help improve air quality, as many drivers like to enjoy air-conditioned snooze time, and improve hygiene conditions, as cigarette butts and lunch boxes are thrown on the pavement.

A significant number of cars parked on pavements in Central have Jockey Club membership stickers and many are luxury models driven by chauffeurs. All can certainly afford to pay car parking fees.

Tang King-shing, our new police commissioner, can make his mark by promising that parking regulations will not discriminate in favour of citizens with financial or political clout and that violation of parking regulations will be addressed with the same vigour as the anti-littering ordinance.

Candy Tam, Wan Chai

I fully support the comments in your article on the irresponsible and selfish behaviour of parents/drivers taking children to school, and chauffeur-driven cars parking and waiting all over Hong Kong.

I would suggest that as it is clear the economy is now booming, ('Restaurants enjoy boom as bonus-rich bankers splash out', C1, Wednesday), it is time for the commissioner of police to announce that the force's 'Be considerate towards drivers' policy - made necessary during the Asian financial crisis - should formally end.

In cases where drivers are blatantly ignoring parking restrictions, they should be issued parking tickets without warning or advice.

Equally, consideration should be given to introducing a blanket restriction on private cars parking and/or stopping in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui and their surrounds between 8am and 8pm.

The point is, if you can afford the driver, you can afford the parking charges; a daily walk would also do the 'fat cats' a lot of personal good in terms of the recommended amount of daily exercise.

Serious consideration should also be given to following the system introduced in China, by placing CCTVs at parking black spots to record vehicles illegally parking and prosecute the owners by way of fixed-penalty tickets delivered through the mail.

My final suggestion would be that any person who makes a clearly unjustified complaint, validity to be determined by the Independent Police Complaints Council, about a parking enforcement action, they should be required to reimburse the full cost of the investigation.

This, I believe, would considerably reduce the number of malicious complaints that waste police and the IPCC's time.

Name and address supplied

Q How can we cut the number of cycling accidents?

We have to check cycles being sold in the market, including spare parts and accessories.

We have to monitor and check technicians/repairmen for cycles. These men should be the ones to inform cyclists about possible dangers, the dos and don'ts for safe riding.

We have to have a colour-coding system for every cycle in every district, so as to monitor where it came from and how far that cyclist has travelled.

Edmundo L. Labay, Central

Q What can be done to reduce food waste?

After reading the article 'Plant to tackle food-waste mountain' (C1, Wednesday), I feel compelled to share an experience my husband, three-year-old daughter and I had at Angelini's at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel on the same day.

The lunch menu was a set menu that consisted of a small appetizer buffet and an entree. We ordered the pasta entree for our daughter even though we knew it would be too big for her, but since there wasn't a children's menu, we figured we could take her leftovers home, like we do at so many other restaurants.

Imagine our surprise when we asked to pack the leftovers and the staff told us we couldn't have them.

The staff thought it was a question of money, which was absurd. If that was the case we would not have ordered for her in the first place.

Then one of the staff said the chef did not want people to take his food out of the restaurant, which I didn't understand.

The worst part of the whole incident is that my daughter asked me why she couldn't take her pasta home for dinner and I had to tell her that they had to throw it out in the garbage because the cook said so.

Is that the message we want to send to our kids?

Cynthia Liu, Mid-Levels

Look how far Hong Kong has come from the hardships of the 1950s, when restaurants sold leftover scraps of food by the bowl at the end of the day to hungry people (of which there were many) who could spare five cents for it.

Today, many restaurants are culprits in the food-wasting business when they slap a mountain of white rice on their rice dishes, as if they cannot get rid of it fast enough. Many diners cannot finish all the rice, which results in it being thrown out.

Next time you order a rice dish and do not think you can finish it all, why not just ask for siu faan (less rice)?

Chohong Choi, Kwun Tong,

On other matters...

I refer to your article 'Anger Over New Housing Proposal for Sai Kung' (February 20). Although not a Sai Kung resident, I am annoyed by the way the government has handled the matter.

It seems Sai Kung residents knew nothing about the proposed plan to build new houses there until recently. They have few channels to read the details of the proposal. Worst of all, the deadline for handing in comments and objections was this Wednesday.

The government has the responsibility to inform the public, especially the residents, immediately about any possible changes in their neighbourhood. They should not be kept in the dark.

Residents should also have a say on any proposed changes because they may affect their daily lives.

Moreover, they should be given enough time, at least three months, to go through the proposal. This will allow the residents to analyse the plan and respond accordingly.

Apart from the way the government has handled the matter, I am also disappointed that the government unveiled such a proposal.

Sai Kung has always been seen as an escape from the hustle and bustle in the town centre. People go and live there because they want a quiet place and to enjoy nature. Building more houses means its unique features will fade away.

Cheung Ko Chi, Tseung Kwan O