Letters to the Editor, September 23, 2015
Authorities must get tough with traders
I refer to the report ("Parallel traders back in Hong Kong after 'useless' four-day crackdown by mainland Chinese authorities", September 19).
The return of these traders reveals problems with the authorities on both sides of the border.
The actions of the parallel traders, purchasing huge quantities of goods, push up the prices of some daily necessities and also cause shortages of these items in towns near the border.
This has resulted in public anger over the traders' activities. However, although initiatives have been introduced by the authorities and crackdowns launched, the parallel traders are still with us.
Tensions have become heightened between some locals and visitors from the mainland. The former want a return to the peaceful lives they once knew in the northeast New Territories.
It is clear that tougher, concrete action is needed.
Where traders are found to be breaking the law, they must face harsher punishment on the mainland and it should be tough enough to act as a deterrent.
The Hong Kong authorities must act against those who stack items on the street causing an obstruction.
The MTR Corporation must enforce its regulations about size of luggage.
In other words, the different stakeholders must work together to curb this trade.
They have been far too lenient with these people and this only encourages them.
They need to realise that this is a serious problem and must deal with it in a determined manner.
Ng King-tung, Tsuen Wan
Urgent need for EU to work out quotas
Due to the civil war in Syria, the refugees have fled to neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
As they struggle to cope with the massive increase in the number of these people, European Union leaders are still discussing how to deal with the problem and what their roles should be.
They need to assign quotas to each member nation as soon as possible. The countries worst affected, such as Croatia, are also the nations least able to deal with this massive influx. Its national and local authorities cannot cope.
Greece is also having to deal with a lot of refugees and the EU must address these problems as soon as possible.
Esther Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Shortage of psychiatrists is serious in city
There is a severe shortage of psychiatrists in Hong Kong.
This is a serious problem, because of the high number of people suffering from depression who are unable to get the help they need. This can sometimes lead to tragedy with individuals taking their own lives.
According to recommendations from the World Health Organisation, Hong Kong is short of around 400 psychiatrists in its public hospitals. There should be at least 700 psychiatrists employed in public hospitals in Hong Kong. They have only about 300.
Although many of these psychiatrists will work overtime every day, it is just not possible for them to deal with all the patients with mental health problems who need their help. They might only be able to allocate about 15 minutes for each person, which is not enough time for some of them.
This problem has existed for quite some time and, of course, it come down to a lack of resources.
The government has to recognise this and allocate sufficient funds to train more mental health professionals.
Unless it does this, the problem of understaffing will persist.
Also, some mental health conditions are serious and require a lot of medication.
For patients on low incomes this can be a problem as they cannot afford to pay for it. They may choose older drugs which have unpleasant side effects.
The government should provide subsidies to patients on low incomes so they can get the drugs that are best suited to their condition.
More advice must be made available to relatives of patients with psychiatric conditions so they can help them manage the symptoms.
Hugh Leung, Tsuen Wan
Most locals don't walk on escalators
I refer to the letter by Mitchell Stoker ("No-walk plea on escalators irrational", September 21).
Whether or not escalators are meant for walking on, the fact remains that the vast majority of local folk choose not to walk on them.
The throughput of walking passengers on a left-hand lane left vacant for walking cannot be greater than the throughput on that lane being allowed to carry to capacity standing passengers.
Leaving the left-hand lane vacant for walking through would be delaying those preferring to stand, causing them to have to form a long queue during rush hours.
If it was meant to be used as a moving walkway, it probably would not have been called an escalator.
If your correspondent thinks the danger to walkers would not be greater in the event of an emergency stop, he should try walking down a downward escalator and asking a friend to, without warning, press the emergency stop switch.
If the methodical Japanese choose to have both lanes on the escalator used only for standing, it cannot be all that irrational.
Peter Lok, Chai Wan
Use CCTV to crack down on illegal parking
Following the comments already made about the huge number of tickets for illegal parking now being issued by the police, is this not a waste of police time and the resources of the force?
It is easy to identify the black spots for these offenders.
Why then has the government not set up a closed-circuit television system which can simply capture the motorists on video and issue a summons via a text message or e-mail to advise the culprits they have a penalty to pay?
Currently on the mainland, this system is widely used for traffic violations and there is minimal time wasted on police personnel standing around writing tickets.
Whatever the cost of such a system, it must surely save police time and resources, and will pay for itself within a short period of time.
I wholeheartedly agree that whatever system is used, the fine is not nearly enough when based on the penalties for other offences, such as jaywalking and littering.
If the Transport Department and police are serious about solving this problem of illegal parking and not just having a one-off purge, then a long-term monitoring system needs to be implemented.
Could the department and the Hong Kong Police Force respond to this suggestion with their own solution?
Bruce Abbott, Tai Kok Tsui
Teens should not just focus on exams
Obesity is a problem in Hong Kong. Its young people and teenagers are far less fit than teens on the mainland.
I think schools and parents here too often ignore the importance of exercise and place too much emphasis on academic studies.
Parents should also be trying to ensure their children have healthy diets and exercise regularly. This leads to some youngsters being overweight and others are actually obese.
If students are put under too much pressure with their studies at school, then some may resort to eating junk food to deal with the stress.
Parents can make sure they have healthy meals at home. Schools should adjust the curriculum so that more time is allocated to PE classes.
The government should use the media to promote the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.
So Tsz-shing, Tai Po