Letters to the Editor, December 31, 2017
We can all do more to deter cybercriminals
I am sure many Hongkongers have been victims of some form of successful or attempted cybercrime on their mobile devices and computers, and this is a cause for concern here and worldwide. The problem is extensive and people can sustain substantial financial losses.
The activities of these criminals have expanded, because globalisation and technological advances mean information is sent faster without geographical restrictions.
People open accounts online which are hacked into and sensitive personal information, such as credit card details, is stolen. The criminals then pose as that person to make expensive online purchases.
Teenagers are especially vulnerable, because they use the internet so much and are probably less aware than adults about the need to maintain security online. They may provide personal information to people they have not met, unaware they are actually criminals.
Different stakeholders must work together to stop these criminals. Hong Kong officials must have a closer look at the Computer Crimes Ordinance and see how it can be revised to give greater protection to citizens. There should be heavier penalties for those convicted of cybercrime, with the maximum sentence increased from five to eight years. The government should set up a team of experts to monitor online activities, and should encourage citizens to install anti-virus software in their computers at home.
Computer professionals can visit schools and hold talks explaining to pupils how best to protect their privacy online, and to spot the signs they might be targets of illegal activities.
Internet crime is a problem that we cannot ignore.
Oriana Li, Yau Yat Chuen
Irresponsible shoppers are being wasteful
I believe that the trend known as fast fashion (with catwalk designs being cheaply reproduced for a quick sale) is not environmentally friendly.
A lot of people buy too many clothes regularly, and so often they are discarded. They fill up landfills and add to the city’s pollution problems. These materials also gradually release chemicals into the ground.
Consumers need to be more environmentally friendly and think twice before buying clothes. And, when making a choice, we should consider durability and how an item of clothing can be reused, if we don’t want it or once it is old and frayed. For example, could it be used as a dishcloth? Most of all, retail customers must become environmentally friendly.
Anson Chan, Tseung Kwan O
Abandoned village should get a revamp
A few weeks ago, I visited Ma Wan island. Before the new airport opened, it was home to the local residents of Ma Wan village.
Being close to the airport, actually the area is close to the Tsing Ma bridge, it was ripe for development and accordingly Park Island estate was built, with about 28 tower blocks.
Before the building started, the residents of Ma Wan village were evicted. I do not know why, unless it was for safety reasons.
The Park Island development was completed, but the old village has been left uninhabited. Today it is just rotting away, a ghost village.
With all the housing problems we have in Hong Kong, it seems to me incomprehensible not to renovate the existing buildings, school, private residences, community centre and shops, so that the village can once again be occupied.
All the infrastructure is there, so why not? It is so sad to see such a lovely village just being left to nature.
I would welcome comments from the government about this village.
Howard Cowley, Kennedy Town
When instant messaging is unwelcome
While the development of the internet has brought so many benefits, with all the new apps and social networks, it can also be a curse for some people, such as local teachers, because of instant messaging.
They are often inundated with messages from parents even outside school hours, with various queries about their children.
It can also be a problem for employees in a company who are contacted by their boss in their spare time. In effect, they are doing unpaid overtime.
This is a serious problem, for example, in Japan, and means that for many people there is a work-life imbalance which can lead to people becoming ill.
The government must accept there is a problem and try to find solutions so that today’s workforce and future generations can get the right work-life balance.
Employers, whether in the private sector, or the Education Bureau, must realise that people need to have enough time at home to be able to relax away from the workplace.
Kenny Tong, Tseung Kwan O
Make pupils more aware of online bullies
Bullying, cyberbullying in particular, is a serious problem faced by students.
In some well-publicised cases, cyber bullying has resulted in victims committing suicide. This kind of bullying can be difficult to deal with, especially if victims do not come forward and talk about what happened, but suffer in silence instead.
Schools can help by raising awareness about cyberbullying and other potential risks online.
Children should be taught to take care about what they say online, to avoid being targeted by cyber bullies. And they need to be told that social workers are there to help them at any time if they do become victims.
It is true that sometimes young people will not listen to advice from adults.
However, the main thing is to keep the lines of communication open, and just keep talking to pupils and explaining to them that bullies can go after them online. Also, if they are indeed experiencing such problems, they should know where to go for help.
Judy Fung, Tseung Kwan O