Telegraph Bay best place for barging point

I refer to the letter from Richard Mak ('Pok Fu Lam should not become MTR construction waste zone', December 28) on a proposed temporary barging point at Telegraph Bay for the construction of the MTR South Island Line (East).

This is a much-needed, new rail link between Admiralty and Southern District.

The government and the MTR Corporation have been conducting extensive consultation with Southern District Council.

There is strong public support for the early implementation of the project.

The tunnelling works of the rail link will inevitably generate considerable excavated materials. We need to identify suitable barging points within Southern District to facilitate the disposal of the material by marine transport.

This is the most efficient form of disposal without putting extra traffic on our roads.

Two barging points, one at Telegraph Bay and another at Lee Nam Road, Ap Lei Chau, have been proposed. The commissioning of the railway will be delayed by at least one year without either one of these barging points.

The barging point at Telegraph Bay has been in service for a drainage services project for some time.

The proposed use will eliminate the need for setting up an additional barging point elsewhere in Southern District, thus reducing the overall environmental impact on the district as a whole. While the South Island Line (East) will take about four years to complete, the disposal of excavated materials is normally required in the first two years of construction.

The MTR Corp is carrying out the environmental impact assessment, and a construction traffic impact assessment, on the two proposed barging points.

The former study will look at the potential air and noise pollution, dust nuisance and visual impact.

It will propose proper mitigation measures to ensure that the impact on the neighbourhood is minimised.

The latter study will review the capacities of the existing road network near the proposed barging points.

Improvement works will be carried out beforehand to ensure that the additional traffic can be accommodated safely. Road safety will certainly be the top priority, and all truck drivers delivering the excavated materials will be instructed to follow strict safety procedures.

The government and MTR Corp have been explaining the proposed barging point at Telegraph Bay to the community and will continue to engage residents and address their concerns.

The railway network forms the backbone of Hong Kong's public transport system. It is efficient, environmentally friendly and convenient.

This South Island rail link is another step in this policy direction.

C. W. Chow, principal assistant secretary for transport, Transport and Housing Bureau

No monopoly of good manners

I read with bemusement the letter from Szeto Ching Hang ('Singapore sets train example', December 21) about how great he thought the Singapore MRT system was compared to Hong Kong and the implied comment that Singapore was a more gracious society. He has been swallowing the hype dished out by the government-controlled newspapers in that country for too long.

I have lived in central London, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Singapore and travelled to Korea, Japan and other places in Asia, so feel I can give an honest appraisal of the underground situation. Singapore's MRT does not have to cater for such a huge traffic flow of people as Hong Kong. And the Hong Kong network takes you right into the mainland, with excellent connecting systems such as the one in Shenzhen.

Singapore's MRT is a dot in comparison. The Hong Kong network also caters for a massive influx of tourists as well as workers of all social levels as it is intrinsically linked to its motherland. The people you see misbehaving may not actually be Hongkongers.

The point about Hong Kong achieving a more gracious society in the future, well yes, that would be nice. But the city doesn't really need anyone else telling it how to manage itself as it is part of the world's net richest country and will survive very nicely thank you.

Get yourself off the MRT and take a drive along one of the highways in Singapore. I am used to rude driving from the places I have lived, but Singapore is right up there at the top in terms of non-gracious driving.

Mark McKeown, Quarry Bay

Give out more hawker licences

I think everyone in Hong Kong will be glad that the shoeshiners in Theatre Lane, Central, have been granted licences, instead of being fined for obstructing the road.

Many Hongkongers showed their compassion when the hawkers were arrested and worked together to get the government to change its policy. A developer nearby had expressed concerns about blocking of emergency access. However, this was never an issue as they occupy such a small space.

I think the administration should go further and issue more hawker licences.

There must be careful planning regarding permitted location and strict requirements, such as the need to adhere to hygiene regulations.

R. Hau, Kowloon Bay

Parental love is so important

I refer to the report 'Youth suicides on the increase, report finds', December 29.

Given that the number of young people taking their own lives is on the rise, something must be done to deal with this problem.

I think parental care is a crucial factor. If their teenager child is clearly depressed or behaving strangely, parents should take extra care.

If parents show their love, this is often the best way to help youngsters get their lives back on track and prevent a tragedy.

Wong Nga-ki, Sha Tin

Ceremonial voting system

Peter Lok's letter ('Spelling it out, December 28) has prompted much correspondence about whether the Basic Law says the chief executive will be elected indirectly.

The relevant part of Article 45 says: 'The ultimate aim is the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.'

I doubt whether Beijing would have the nerve to suggest that the phrase 'universal suffrage' here should accommodate our current system of one vote for ordinary people and multiple votes for tycoons. It would become a laughing stock. But it does not need to.

Our current system already shows how a 'broadly representative nominating committee' can produce the outcome previously decided in Beijing, with the subsequent election being ceremonial.

The challenge for our leaders is to devise such a ceremonial voting system for 2017 that we can all take part in without it seeming too much of a farce.

Dominic Quinnell, Central

Change location of cameras

I refer to the report 'Watch for acid attacker, building owners urged', (December 23).

Additional closed-circuit television systems that have been installed may be in the wrong location. For example, there could be blind spots. I am not sure that installing a CCTV camera on the roof is the answer.

If building management ensures that roofs are secure, anyone planning an attack will not be able to use them. Good security can prevent acid attacks.

Instead of installing the CCTV system on the roof, a camera should be set up at the front door of all buildings, so that visitors' faces are shown on the tape.

We must all take responsibility to try and curb these attacks. That includes building managers, shopkeepers selling acid and even pedestrians.

Tommy Chan, Sha Tin

Tough on drugs

We have seen a great deal of hand-wringing in Britain over the execution of Akmal Shaikh in China ('International appeals fail to save Briton from execution in Urumqi', December 30).

Questions were asked by the British. Did he get a fair trial? Does China respect international norms in this situation? Was Shaikh capable of standing trial?

My response would be, get over it. Shaikh was caught with a large amount of heroin.

China, more than many other nations, is very cautious regarding drugs. It realises they have the potential to overwhelm the country, as they did in the past.

No mercy is shown to its own citizens, so why should it take a softer stand for a foreigner? Britain and other Western nations should use this as an example of what will happen in some countries if you are caught with drugs - you will die.

Let's stop this hypocrisy over other nations' executions and use them as examples of what can happen.

Stephen Anderson, Macau

Serious crime

I refer to the report 'International appeals fail to save Briton from execution in Urumqi', December 30 about the execution of British national Akmal Shaikh.

Shaikh paid for his crimes and China did nothing wrong.

He was arrested in 2007 for 'carrying a suitcase with almost four kilograms of heroin from Tajikistan'.

Shaikh's family should try and appreciate what damage four kilograms of heroin can do to individuals and to their families in China.

This was a serious crime and China did the right thing.

K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels