Letters to the Editor, August 13, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 August, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 August, 2017, 9:00am

Good manners classes for new taxi drivers

I agree with correspondents who say that more must be done to enhance the quality of taxi ­services in Hong Kong.

There have been many complaints about taxi drivers being rude, refusing a hire or overcharging. Taxi operators should realise that, with car-hailing app Uber becoming more popular, they must improve if they want to remain competitive.

The problem of rudeness can be dealt with by the Transport Department, which could hold compulsory courtesy classes once a month for new cabbies. They can learn how to deal in a civil way with difficult passengers instead of losing their temper. Foul-mouthed taxi drivers create a very bad impression with newly arrived tourists and harm the city’s reputation.

The government should put up banners and posters near taxi ranks informing people that it is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse a hire so that passengers are aware of their rights.

The government needs to tighten the law and should have tougher punishments for drivers ­convicted of overcharging.

These measures can help ­restore customers’ confidence in the taxi sector and the service it provides.

Alfred Chang Chun-chi, Tai Wai

Let firms like Uber operate lawfully in city

Taxi drivers in Hong Kong face rising running costs and are under tremendous financial pressure, and have to earn as much as they can from fares.

That is why you often see them refusing to go to certain destinations, if they are too near or they could get stuck in a bad traffic jam.Many cabbies are grumpy because they do not enjoy their jobs, so they rarely engage passengers in conversation. If they talk during their shift, it is only to fellow cabbies on their smartphones.

I think Hong Kong may be one of the few places in the world that allows taxis to charge extra for luggage. But the taxi sector gets away with this as it has a monopoly. I believe the problems with the taxi industry in Hong Kong are deep rooted.

It needs to have competition and one of the best ways to do that is to allow firms like Uber to operate in a lawful manner. This should be done as soon as possible. Hong Kong now has anti-trust legislation, so surely this could apply to the taxi sector.

There should be a performance appraisal system so passengers can rate drivers. Those who got a poor rating could go to training sessions. Drivers who continued to misbehave could be banned for a set period.

T. Wong, Mei Foo Sun Chuen

Euthanasia law would respect patients’ rights

I agree with Alvin Chan about the need to change the law in Hong Kong (“Euthanasia law can help the terminally ill”, July 30). I believe it is a fundamental human right that patients who are terminally ill and are really suffering should be allowed to end their lives through a mercy killing.

As I say, it must be a condition where there is no hope of recovery, where all the options have been explored and are ­exhausted.

It would also need the ­approval of a doctor, as is the case in the Netherlands where euthanasia, with physician­assisted suicide, is legal. The doctor and the patient would in effect have to reach a consensus.

Taking care of patients suffering from incurable cancer places a great strain emotionally and financially on a family and it is tragic if the patient is ready and willing to go and cannot.

Critics say that a euthanasia law could be open to abuse. However, it would be up to the government to ensure safeguards were included in any legislation which protected the interests and rights of patients. This is what has happened in countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Wan Ho-lam, Sha Tin

Hong Kong needs its own e-sports league

The popularity of e-sports is growing globally and more Hongkongers are getting ­involved. Therefore, I would like to see the setting up of an ­e-sports league in the city.

Many citizens still do not ­recognise it as a proper sport, ­saying it does not involve any physical exertion. However, there are many talented young gamers in the city, but there is no opportunity for them to follow a career path here.

They should be given opportunities as we have a high rate of youth unemployment. Gaming can help them develop their ­creative-thinking skills.

The government should ­help with the establishment of an ­e-sports league. Taiwan has such a league, where players earn a basic salary.

Cathy Yuen Tsz-wai, Hang Hau

Phone scams easy money for fraudsters

I agree with Timmy Lo (“Phone-scam criminals are tough to catch”, August 7), that there is not much the Hong Kong police can do when a victim is local but the scam originates on the ­mainland.

Even when a culprit is caught, there will be many more criminals to fill their place ­online, because making such easy money is too big a temptation. It just takes a few calls to find someone who is willing to give their personal information or transfer money.

It is important for the police forces on both sides of the border to work closely together, ­exchanging information, and this will give them a better chance of finding the criminals.

Education is very important here and the government should focus on this.

It needs to do what it can to raise levels of awareness about the threats that exist online and the importance at all times of people protecting their personal information so they do not lose what are often substantial sums of money.

Chan Yi-ching, Ma On Shan