Lam Cheuk-ting urges govt access for online media

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting has urged Chief Executive Carrie Lam to follow through on her campaign pledge to grant online media access to government functions.

Currently, these outlets are barred from official press conferences and cannot access the government’s news system.

“So many Hong Kong people get their information or read the news from online media, so I think the government should have let all the online media have the right to interview government officials,” he said.

He told RTHK’s Jennifer Leung that the government could also consult the Hong Kong Journalists Association to define which online media should be allowed to attend government press conferences.

Govt ‘declaring war’ on HK people: opposition

The Democratic Party on Friday accused the government of “declaring war” on pan-democratic lawmakers and the people of Hong Kong, following the disqualification of another four legislators over their oath-taking.

The party’s chairman, Wu Chi-wai, said the rights of lawmakers to express their views in Legco could be restricted, if rules on filibustering are tightened now that pan-democratic lawmakers have lost their veto power.

He warned that the “One Country, Two Systems” principle could be adversely affected, as the Beijing and Hong Kong governments can do whatever they want now.

His colleague James To said the four “are still the ones chosen by the people”.

People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan said Hong Kong people, including those who did not vote for the latest legislators to be disqualified, will not agree with the government for using the courts as a “tool” to overturn election results.

Hong Kong First lawmaker Claudia Mo, who broke down in tears during a media briefing, claimed the government’s action was “calculated”, as it wants to make sure the pan-democratic camp will not win back all the seats it has lost in upcoming by-elections.

Leung Kwok-hung said he and the other three affected by Friday’s court ruling, Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu, all intend to appeal over their cases.

They have been given two weeks to clear their Legco offices.

House Committee chair seeks less filibustering

The chairwoman of the Legislative Council’s House Committee, Starry Lee, says the legislature did not run as smoothly as she hoped in the past year, partly due to the opposition’s filibustering.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday to conclude the committee’s work in the past legislative year, Ms Lee also said chaos created by the oath-taking controversy surrounding Youngspiration localists Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching had also slowed down Legco’s work.

Looking ahead, the DAB legislator said she hopes lawmakers and the government will work together to improve their relationship, which has been “tense” in recent years.

“I hope that with the new administration, with better communication, things can be smoother,” said Lee.

But the vice-chairman of the house committee, the Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok, rebuffed Ms Lee’s criticism of the pan-democrats’ filibustering.

He said legislators must spend time scrutinizing large funding requests and complex bills.

Referring to the reasons for filibustering, Kwok said, “sometimes it’s about blocking the wrong piece of legislation, or blocking the wrong piece of public work that shouldn’t cost the Hong Kong people so much.”

Kwok said he had spoken to the Chief Secretary about filibustering and Matthew Cheung understood his explanation that legislation is becoming more complex.

Kwok said that the effectiveness of Legco’s work must be judged in its larger context.

“Overall, I think that the Legislative Council is doing its job,” Kwok added.

Hong Kong market gains, Tencent bounces back

Hong Kong stocks ended higher on Wednesday, recovering some of the previous day’s sharp losses with technology giant Tencent edging up, although traders remain on edge over North Korea tensions.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent, to 25,521.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8 percent, to 3,207 while the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on the mainland’s second exchange, rose 0.9 percent, to 1,913.

In Japan, stocks rebounded, though nervous investors continue to keep close track of soaring tensions in Asia. The benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.3 percent, to 20,081.

Seoul also added 0.3 percent and Singapore jumped 0.8 percent. Sydney finished 0.4 percent off while Wellington and Jakarta also edged down.

Asian tech firms saw some much needed buying after suffering a recent sell-off. Hong Kong-listed Tencent edged up from Tuesday’s fall of more than 4 percent, while AAC Technologies also bounced and Sony jumped 0.8 percent in Tokyo. (AFP)

Lawmakers give nod to seat increase in minibuses

Lawmakers have given the green light for the number of seats on minibuses to be increased from the current 16 to 19.

The Transport Secretary, Anthony Cheung, described the increase as a “breakthrough”, and said it would boost the overall efficiency of the city’s minibus services.

He added that the government will conduct a review next year to see if there’s a need to further increase their carrying capacity.

Earlier this year major minibus service operators agreed to freeze fares for at least one year if extra seats were added.

Ip Kin-yuen hails financial aid plan for students


Education sector legislator Ip Kin-yuen said on Monday that that he supports a plan by the incoming Chief Executive to support students from self-financing tertiary education.

He said this will ease the financial burden of the students and would be supported by their families.

The CE-elect, Carrie Lam, as a part of her election platform has promised to provide an extra HK$5 billion for schools. Lam said that she would increase the recurrent education expenditure when she takes charge.

Ip welcomed this initiative, saying the funding can fulfill the needs of teachers and students.


He said that the education sector has been discussing various measures with Lam over the past few months.

Protesters urge FEHD to drop case against old lady

Protesters have urged the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to drop charges against a 75-year-old woman for unlicensed hawking.

She’s accused of selling a cardboard box for one dollar.

About 30 people staged a protest outside the department’s office in Sheung Wan to voice their dissatisfaction with its action against the woman.

They brought along four kilogrammes of used cardboard boxes, with a market value of only two dollars, to show how hard it is for people at the grassroots level to make a living.

Au Lap-hang, the organiser of the protest, said it’s ridiculous that the department has pressed charges against an old woman.

The 75-year-old woman, surnamed Chu, was arrested by FEHD officers after she allegedly sold a cardboard box to a domestic helper for one dollar last week.

Her cart was also confiscated.

The Food and Health Secretary, Ko Wing-man, refused to comment on the case, as legal proceedings are underway.

But he said the government tries to emphasise both reason and compassion when enforcing the law.