Letters to the Editor, October 24, 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 October, 2017, 5:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 October, 2017, 5:26pm

Patten keeps coming back to stir the pot

It’s abundantly clear that Chris Patten’s ostensible salvo at Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung during his recent visit, but actually at the Hong Kong judiciary in ­substance, portends a much bigger battle.

That fellow Tory Benedict Rogers would “venture” a trip to Hong Kong to secure rejection (as he’d been told in advance that entry would be denied), followed by a joint letter from 12 prominent lawyers, was just part of a plan to denigrate Hong Kong and its judiciary. This is an attempt at interfering with the Hong Kong judiciary, masquerading as an expression of concern for our rule of law. The wolves are crying wolf.

Nothing would please them more than the perception of the loss of judicial independence, as that would suit their narrative.

However, given our dysfunctional polity, an opposition hell-bent on obstructing governance unwittingly welcomes such foreign interference.

Introspection would have been called for if only these 12 lawyers had got their basic facts right. When the prosecution makes an appeal and wins, it’s not double jeopardy by any stretch of the imagination, even in their own jurisdictions.

Another inconvenient truth is that the Occupy trio were convicted of instigating violence, irrespective of their political stand. Had the prosecution shied away from lodging an appeal because of their political stand, the decision would have well and truly been politically motivated.

The Hong Kong judiciary is the same judiciary that Chris Patten left behind in 1997, and has been as independent as it has always been, notwithstanding the biases on the part of individual judges, mainly of the liberal variety.

Ironically, when the British were around, a teenaged Tsang Tak-sing, later secretary for home affairs, was imprisoned for nearly two years for handing out fliers calling for the return of sovereignty to China. There was not the slightest whiff of indignation at the time from the likes of these 12 liberal lawyers.

Chris Patten has been on the prowl with a vengeance. Lu Ping called him “a sinner of a thousand years” for his blind pursuit of democracy for Hong Kong at the eleventh hour of British rule without regard for the realities. He keeps stirring the pot to make his point. Some sinners repent while others go to hell.

Jonathan Leung, North Point

Devil is in the details for starter homes

I refer to your report on starter homes (“How Hong Kong compares with other cities for Starter Homes”, 16 October 2017).

I think that building starter homes for young middle-class families has both pros and cons. Hong Kong flat prices are always too high for the middle-class or younger buyers. For them, these cheaper starter homes can be a step up the ladder to home ownership. Households that earn too much to enter public housing but too little to afford private flats have long been unable to own a home in Hong Kong. The Starter Homes Scheme will greatly help such people.

However, I think the disadvantage for those homes would be the location. These flats are expected to be built quite a distance away from the city centre. That will be the price to pay for the lower rent. People who live there may have difficulty finding suitable transport links.

Therefore, while it is a good idea to build starter homes, maybe the government can pay more attention to the details to effectively address the issue of home ownership.

Jeana Cheng Ka Yi, Kwai Chung

Hikers on the right trail with rubbish bins

I refer to your article on public support for fewer rubbish bins (“Four of five visitors to Hong Kong’s countryside back the ­removal of rubbish bins from public hiking trails”, October 22). It makes me glad that the majority of hikers surveyed supported the removal of bins from public trails. Eighty per cent is an encouraging figure, showing that we are becoming more environmentally friendly.

In the long term, I think this scheme should not be limited to country parks, but be extended to urban areas as well. Since charging for municipal solid waste is going to be implemented in Hong Kong, it is ­important that we reduce the amount of public rubbish bins, to ensure people do not dump domestic refuse in them.

The government should run stronger public education campaigns about littering in beaches and country parks, as well as on our streets. Some people will just drop scraps of paper or cigarette butts on the street – this must stop. More recycling bins should also be provided to ­reduce the volume of solid waste.

Jessica Tsui Kit-lam, Tsuen Wan

Beijing must lead in cleaning up marine litter

I refer to your recent editorial on China’s fight against river pollution (“Fighting pollution is as crucial as growth”, October 9). Similar activities are long overdue in Hong Kong.

Our marine environment ­remains heavily polluted, mainly from fishing-related activities. I hope Hong Kong officials will take note of China’s efforts. And, in the absence thereof, I would ­encourage the motherland’s top leadership to take control.

To start with, it must take over the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, as it appears unable to supervise the local fishing community who keep ­littering our waters, and for not initiating legislation banning styrofoam packaging.

Second would be the Marine Department, for not adopting effective anti-pollution measures in our typhoon shelters, and for fishing rubbish from the waters instead of collecting it from the fishing vessels.

Third, the district offices who keep cleaning our beaches, which serve little purpose if the sources are not attacked.

And lastly, the marine police, for failing to enforce existing anti-pollution legislation, given that they apparently haven’t issued a ­single fine to marine polluters in recent years.

Eduard van Voorst, Lamma