Letters to the Editor, October 30, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 12:17am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 12:17am

Raise fines, but also have more parking spaces

I refer to your editorial (“Fines for illegal parking must rise”, ­October 17).

Fines for illegal parking should be increased. But even if they do go up I do not think this will alleviate the problem. Fines do not appear to act as an effective deterrent or, at least, they do not – on their own – appear to be working.

Last year, only 24,000 public parking spaces were provided by the government and there were only around 197,000 public parking spaces in commercial, residential and industrial buildings. However there were over 509,200 licensed private cars in Hong Kong. Therefore demand for parking spaces is outstripping supply.

The government should not just focus on higher fines. It needs to ensure this imbalance is resolved so there are more parking spaces, especially in suburbs. If that is not possible, it must impose tighter controls on the number of private vehicles that are licensed. There must also be more stringent enforcement action against illegal ­parking, with more patrols by police and traffic wardens.

A campaign should be launched to help drivers recognise the importance of civil responsibility and urging them not to park illegally.

Kassandra Wong Hiu-tung, Hang Hau

HK-Lantau road link was not ruled out

I refer to the letters from Ronald Taylor (“Sceptical about East Lantau Metropolis”, September 9 and “Questioning road link to Lantau”, October 11), and the letter from my predecessor, Chan Chi-ming (“East Lantau transport links open to studies”, September 30).

In his first letter, Mr Taylor said that a government study conducted some 25 years ago concluded that a cross-harbour railway between Kennedy Town and east Lantau was not ­feasible. This has been clarified by Mr Chan to be not the case.

Mr Taylor in his latest letter said that a road link between Hong Kong Island and the area of the East Lantau Metropolis was found to be not practical by another government study ­conducted about 20 years ago. Again, this is not the case.

Since the 1990s, the government has conducted several studies in which a possible road link to Hong Kong Island has been examined.

None of the studies ­concluded that such a road link would be infeasible or impractical, and they recommended ­giving further consideration to the road link as a long-term ­proposal.

Mak Shing-cheung, deputy secretary for development (works)

History holds lesson on oaths for HK Legco

One is a little astonished at the absence of any reference being made, in the present shambles over oath taking in the Legislative Council, to the case of Charles Bradlaugh in 1880.

At the time, British members of parliament, on taking their seats in the House of Commons, were required to take an oath of allegiance to the ruling monarch seeking the aid of “God” in ­assisting them to stand by what they had sworn and, hence, affirming their adherence to the tenets of the Christian religion.

Bradlaugh was an atheist and a republican and sought ­instead to make a simple affirmation. Over the next six years of a running struggle, he was ­debarred from his seat and even briefly jailed. In the subsequent flurry of by-elections, constituents re-elected him four times.

The leaders of the action against Bradlaugh were, of course, the then pro-establishment interests. Because they ­refused to amend the oath of ­allegiance in any intelligent way, Bradlaugh was eventually ­allowed to take the oath despite everyone knowing perfectly well he did not mean what he was saying. Two years later an amendment permitting affirmation was passed, although it still insisted on allegiance to a monarch.

Bradlaugh’s courageous stand was the beginning of a long, slow change – which is still in process – to reform an archaic system of oath taking in a ­manner consistent with the rights of freedom of conscience and speech. In Hong Kong’s case, this would include considered objections to such manifestly flawed documents as the Basic Law or the constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the conduct and beliefs of the supporters thereof.

It is sad that Hong Kong’s protagonists seem utterly ­unaware of so instructive a precedent as the case of Bradlaugh. I am not defending the juvenility of the antics of those whose oaths were disallowed. They erred – as humans do.

Stephen Davies, Pok Fu Lam

Give the rebel lawmakers a second chance

I think the lawmakers who were rejected over their oath-taking should have been allowed to take their oath again.

This permission should have been granted by the Legislative ­Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and supervised in Legco.

Although the behaviour of Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus ­Baggio Leung Chung-hang ­during the oath-taking ceremony was not acceptable, there should be a chance for them to take the oath again.

There is a need in Hong Kong now for more young people to stand up and voice their ­opinions,

We should all be caring more about the political issues that affect our city. This is our home and so we should recognise that what is happening in Legco matters to us.

Many young people work hard and study hard in the hope of having rewarding careers and a good life, but they should not ignore current affairs.

We need young people like Leung and Yau who will stand up and speak out, so as I said I hope that eventually they are able to take their oath and work in Legco.

Peter Tam, Tseung Kwan O

Celebrities should avoid fast-food ads

There seem to be more adverts nowadays featuring celebrities who are promoting fast-food products.

People are being urged to have healthier diets and so these ads can be seen as being counterproductive. Young ­people will often follow what their idols are doing and so it doesn’t help when they see these people promoting an ­unhealthy product.

I think these celebrities should recognise their civic ­responsibility and the influence they can have on their fans, especially teens. They should ­refrain from making such ­adverts.

Melody Leung Yi-ching, Yau Yat Chuen

New stations can ease road congestion

The two new MTR stations, Whampoa and Ho Man Tin, will bring a lot of benefits to local ­residents.

It will save them time when they are commuting to school or work.

Demand for buses, minibuses and taxis in these areas is ­likely to drop. If this leads to less traffic on the roads then this will reduce congestion, which is really bad in Hung Hom.

While I welcome the expansion of MTR routes because it makes travelling more convenient, overcrowding on the ­network is a problem, especially as more people use it. This presents a challenge to the MTR Corporation and I hope it can come up with feasible measures to deal with it.

It also has to accept that some parts of the network are ageing and upgrades of the older stations and tracks should not be ignored.

When there are track problems and breakdowns, the ­delays to services affect large numbers of passengers.

Carol Mo Ka-wai, Tseung Kwan O