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The Young Reporter

Chief executive demands better control towards Hong Kong budget tourism from mainland

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has asked related officials to enhance the control of the crowds to solve the complaints from Hong Kong residents over the low-cost mainland visitors gathering on the street and in restaurants. Lee said on Tuesday that the city's tourism is recovering and has reached the first stage of returning to normality, hence making it necessary to manage the capacity. In the press conference, Lee said he had asked the related authorities, including Culture, Sport and Tourism Bureau as well as Hong Kong Tourism Authority to manage the tourism’s impact on transportation. After the three-year shutdown, many cross-border tourists have returned to the city, leading to crowding in Kowloon City, To Kwa Wan, Hung Hom and more. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the number of tourists from the mainland increased to 280,525 in January, 470.8% more than the same period in 2022. Hong Kong Express announced that they would operate 400 more flights every week to cope with rising levels of flights to Hong Kong.  Cheng Xinyi, a customer manager from Donghai travel agency, said they have four to five tour groups to Hong Kong every day, and Hong Kong is the best choice for tourists with a lower budget. The tourists are usually guided by their tour conductors and travel among the districts for shopping. This caused complaints about noise, hygiene issues, and transportation congestion spark. “There are many mainland tour groups eating in my restaurant,” said Maa Hoi-ying, the owner of a local restaurant in To Kwa Wan. “I usually accept 50 customers at the same time, but I can only keep 10 to 15 seats for my neighbourhoods,” she said. Maa said although there are some complaints about the tour groups, she’s happy with them as she can earn more money. …

  • 2023-03-30

MTR new fares tie to property profits and an one-off 1.2% fare cut announced

The Hong Kong government has approved a one-off fare reduction of  1.2%  points in MTR fares this Tuesday, which is the biggest reduction in recent years, as MTR decided to maintain stable fare prices for the public, according to Lam Sai-hung, Hong Kong Transport Secretary, at a press conference on March 21. The MTR’s Fare Adjustment Mechanism is a system regulating the fare increment of public utilities, including the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited (MTR). Meanwhile, the new mechanism will be directly tied to the MTR property development profits. Starting from this June, the more profit the MTR makes, the smaller the fare increases.   Lam stated that the new calculation formula of fares has a long-term effect. A decline of 1.85% for fares is expected in 2024.  “The fare should have been adjusted long ago. My monthly subway transportation fee is close to HK$400, such a big cost!” said Wong Youkum, 29, a Central agency employee.  Specifically, if the MTR property profit reaches 5 billion to 10 billion Hong Kong dollars, the special deduction will be increased by 0.1 percentage points. If the property profit exceeds 10 billion yuan, the special deduction will be increased by 0.1 percentage points, and the special deduction will be up to 0.8%. Jacob Kam Chak-pui, the CEO of MTR Corp, claimed that it is necessary for the corporation to have stable revenue sources as the railway network reaches a mature stage and the expenses of keeping, modernizing, and replacing railway assets have been steadily rising. “I saw some news that the subway doors suddenly flew out and broke down,” said Wong. “There is no reason for the MTR to charge higher and higher fares when even the most basic safety issues are worrying.”  The MTR’s Fare Adjustment Mechanism has led to an over 31% …

  • 2023-03-25

Australians volunteer to conserve endangered species

Native Australian animals are increasingly under threat as natural disasters fueled by a changing climate ravage their habitats. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 57,920 koalas left in the wild in 2022, possibly as few as 32,065. Koalas in the southern part of Australia face a threat of habitat loss because the woods and woodlands there are being destroyed for urban development and agriculture. Koalas are also killed in domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents.  As a continent prone to a range of devastating natural hazards including bushfires, flooding and tropical cyclones, the government has committed to spend AU$2,300,000,000 (HK$11,740,000,000) on environmental preservation in the latest budget,  Up to AU$100,000,000 is specifically allocated to biodiversity preservation. People from all walks of life work together, some volunteer to be firefighters or animal rescuers, all with the aim of saving the country’s natural environment before it is too late.  In June 2019, a deadly fire swept across New South Wales and demolished 6.2% of the wildlife natural habitat. The country set aside AU$200,000,000 (HK$1,020,000,000) to restore the habitats, according to the Australian government’s website.  Jane Willcock is the senior registrar and museum operations coordinator at the University of Queensland.  “The koalas are too afraid in their place, and they are very picky about what they eat, so they are very difficult to accommodate,” Willcock explained. Financial and physical support since the woods were ignited in July 2019 put an end to the fatal bushfire that impacted three billion animals between 2019 and 2020, either killing them or reducing their homes to ashes, according to the data from World Wildlife Fund.  “My school had posters about koala-saving techniques all over the campus,” said Chong Yan, a veterinary student at the University of Sydney. The veterinary society she joined …

  • 2023-06-08

Hong Kong elderly struggle to age with the extreme heat

Chan Yin-chi, 77, lives alone in Kwai Hing. Every Tuesday, he visits the local community centre to dance with other elderly people. She is health conscious and brews her red dates tea every morning. The hot summer nights in Hong Kong though make it hard to sleep without an air conditioner, yet the damp cold air is a problem for Chan. “The cold wind from the air conditioning during the night makes my muscles and bones ache,” she said. “From here to here, there is pain in the whole body,” she said, pointing at her shoulders and legs.  Over the past two decades, the number of days when the temperature in Hong Kong was more than  33°C in a year has increased by 50%, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. Depending on how serious the greenhouse gas emissions are, the annual mean temperature of the city is expected to rise by as high as 1.7°C from 2041 to 2060. Joey Ho Wai-yan, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong, explained that elderly folks are particularly vulnerable to the effects of high temperatures. Her clinic is often packed with people who suffered from heat stroke after staying outdoors for a long time .“Elderly people are physically weaker, have lower energy, poorer perspiration and they have difficulty adjusting to air conditioning, which affects the balance of their body temperature,” said Ho. “Even after seeking medical advice and taking antipyretic medication, the fever may still recur.”  Heat stroke is caused when the body temperature reaches 41°C or higher. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and mental confusion, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Ho explained that climate change is making  Hong Kong becoming hotter and more humid from mid-spring to the end of summer. This makes it harder for …

  • 2023-05-09

Lapsap Beach

Frequent tropical cyclones wash marine litter to the shores of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Clean Up, a local non-government organisation, helps to ease the aftermath of climate change by organising weekly collecting trash activities since 2000. 

  • 2023-05-02

Local street dancer Bobby wins chance to represent Hong Kong in international competition

A local street dancer beat out 15 other hopefuls on Sunday afternoon, winning the chance to represent Hong Kong for the first time in an international dance competition in Germany.  Lam Yuet Wing, 32, who performs as Bobby, won a majority of audience votes at the Red Bull Dance Your Style competition at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. He will compete against 29 international dance groups in Frankfurt in November. The audience selected the winner using different colored fans to show their vote. The outdoor competition was open to the public with a free after party for both dancers and registered audience members.  Lam started dancing in 2006 and is known for the dance style “popping”—a category of street dance that involves rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles, giving the dancer a pop feeling to match the beat. "My first competition was held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. I didn't even make it into the audition,” he said. “The second time I attempted battle in the venue was today, and I got the award." “Since I just injured my leg, now I will heal my wounds and equip myself to go to Germany for exchange," Lam said.   He also added, ”No matter if I lose or win, I will experience more abroad and bring more knowledge to Hong Kong”.  “The event was fun and we saw a lot of exciting battles today,”said Chu Yung Chuen, 25, an audience member who also is a dancer. “The atmosphere of the event was very good. Many people gathered here, and I enjoyed it very much,” said Tsui Tsz Hung, 24, an audience member.  

  • 2023-09-19

Hong Kong to revive nightlife? 70% say yes to night bazaars

A new survey released yesterday by the Hong Kong Department Stores and Commercial Staff General Union has found that 69.5% of the respondents supported establishing night markets in Hong Kong. Of the 1,862 people polled between Aug. 24 and Sep. 1, 77% said food was the great attraction in night markets, followed by retail goods at around 62%. Shows and live performances ranked third.  The study comes ahead of the launch of the “Night Vibes Hong Kong” campaign which aims to invigorate the local night economy after the pandemic. 73.6% of the respondents also said that the location and transportation accessibility at night markets matter and another 63.4% were concerned about hygiene. “I think this campaign is a wise move to revive the economy and tourism. Nightlife in Hong Kong has gradually faded away,” said Leung Wai-bing, 68, a retired vendor in Kwun Tong. Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and finance chief Chan Mo-po have been telling the public that Hong Kong needs to revitalise its night time economy since last month and will launch the “Night Vibe Hong Kong” campaign on Thursday at West Kowloon. Chung Pok-man, general officer of Hong Kong Department Stores and Commercial Staff General Union, said at the press conference on Tuesday that the preference of mainland tourists, which make up  the largest proportion of visitors, has shifted from shopping to cultural tourism. The union recommended establishing long-term night markets which can gradually transform to tourist attractions and provide venues for young people to start new businesses. The report also proposed to organise short-term thematic bazaars near  popular activities such as sports events, festivals, and concerts. Night markets can be set up in different districts to boost the flow of people, since many tourist areas attract few visitors after 8 p.m., according to the union.  …

  • 2023-09-13

Black rainstorm leaves Hong Kong a flooding mess

The  Hong Kong Observatory issued the black rainstorm warning last night at 11:05 pm and it remained in effect for a record-breaking time of more than 12 hours. All rainstorm warnings were cancelled at 4:45 pm today. The rain bands of Typhoon Haikui brought more than 145.5 millimetres of rain in one hour, the highest hourly rainfall since 1884. The downpour caused flooding in many districts.  The worst affected  areas included Kowloon Tong  and  Wong Tai Sin.  Much of the lower floors of Wong Tai Sin’s Temple Mall, was under water. Rainwater poured into some  MTR stations, forcing trains to skip certain stops because of flooded platforms. At around 6 a.m. today, the government announced that all schools would suspend classes for the day. Employers were told to implement typhoon 8 work arrangements. Kubi Liu, a local 20-year-old student at Hong Kong Shue Yan University, stayed at home in Lee Uk Village in Fanling, New Territories. “I have seen heavy rain like this before. It’s common in Hong Kong, but rain which causes great damage at such short notice, like last night, is rare. Although the heavy rain brought me joy, the follow-up action and clean-up will take some time and money,” Liu said. A bus stop was flooded in her neighbourhood. She thought drainage management in the city could be better to avoid severe flooding. According to Liu, vehicles at Mei Lam, a low-lying area in Sha Tin, were submerged. At some villages in Fanling, minibuses came to a halt because of the flood. By 11:41 pm, a total of 144 people were treated in public hospitals for flood related injuries, according to the Hospital Authority. Chief Executive John Lee said that authorities would “review the way announcements were made” to the general public during extreme weather. “In dealing …

  • 2023-09-08