Politics

Chief Health Inspector depicted Mong Kok turmoil as "chaos"

  • 2018-12-07

Prosecutors accuse four people of taking part in riot, during the Mong Kok unrest trial. The trial began at Hong Kong's High Court after jury selection on  November 28, 2018. Chief Health Inspector Lai Yau-yu, of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department described the clash between the police-force and citizens at a Lunar New Year night in 2016 as "chaotic". Mr. Lai, a witness for the prosecution, notified the court that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department planned to coordinate with police officers to maintain public order in Mong Kok on February 8, 2016. According to Mr. Lai, he received a message from a police officer, stating Hong Kong Indigenous, a localist group, would gather people to support food hawkers in Sham Shui Po or Mong Kok. "I saw a group of people standing at the corner of Portland Street and Shantung Street. They were about to put on blue jackets," Mr. Lai said."'Hong Kong Indigenous' were printed on those jackets." The Inspector added that the group of people walk into an alley of Portland Street after putting on jackets. He saw that two food trolleys were pulled out by hawkers from the alley, followed by a handful of people in blue jackets. They pulled the trolleys to Argyle Street. A lockdown happened in Mong Kok during a Lunar New Year night in 2016 - a police officer fired two gun shots while some protesters threw bricks at the police-force and set fire. The clash began after protesters intended to stop a clampdown on hawkers. Edward Leung Tin-kei, a former spokesperson of Hong Kong Indigenous, along with three others, namely Lee Nok-man, Lam Ngo-hin and Yung Wai-ip, are facing charges of participating in riot. They all denied the charge. "I was too far away from the crowd that I could …

Society & Politics

Legco By-election: pro-democracy camp's second defeat in Kowloon West

Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp has failed to regain veto power in the Legislative Council as the pro-establishment camp gets the upper hand in yesterday's Kowloon West by-election. Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan, who ran as an independent backed by pro-establishment forces, emerged victorious with 106,457 votes, leading by 13,410 votes. This is the first time the pro-establishment camp wins democrats by such a large margin. "I'm very excited to see this result. I'm grateful to every volunteer in my team and people who support me," said Ms. Chan, former TVB and Cable News journalist and political assistant to Secretary for Food and Health. Ms. Chan said she would focus on current work about people's livelihoods and keep her promises to the voters, instead of thinking about the next election. "We are going to make real and practical contributions," Ms. Chan said. "People's livelihoods are the first priority, and we should solve the problems concerning people's lives first." Despite facing controversies over election campaign expenses and her comments on Victor Mallet's visa denial that it was irrelevant to press freedom, she has a relatively high support rate of 25% according to the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme's pre-election polls. Lee Cheuk-yan, who announced his decision to join the election after previously ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai's nomination was invalidated, have not succeeded in gaining the Kowloon West seat. He is the "Plan B" of pro-democracy camp, meaning that he would only join the election upon Ms. Lau's invalidation as an "alternative choice." Mr. Lee said he had “learned a lot from this election," and appealed to care for the future. He pointed out that there were still plenty of "battles" to fight, such as the legislation of Article 23, implementation of Lantau Tomorrow Vision. "As a Hongkonger, we can be disappointed, but …

Society & Politics

FCC president claims foreign journalists fear visa rejection

Several foreign correspondents in Hong Kong have told TYR they feel a general sense of anxiety about their visa renewals after senior Financial Times editor Victor Mallet was denied permission to continue working in Hong Kong. The president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Florence de Changy, told TYR that she could sense the anxiety among younger reporters and those who want to be posted in Beijing in the future. "They will not show themselves too much on the stage and they will not host some speakers if the situation prevails," said Ms. de Changy, who works for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and Radio France International. The Immigration Department rejected Mr. Mallet's work visa renewal months after he moderated a forum by Andy Chan Ho-tin, convenor of the banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, in August at the FCC. Mr. Mallet was then offered a seven-day visitor permit to stay in Hong Kong when he arrived back from Bangkok on October 8. His attempted re-entry on November 8 was denied by the Immigration Department, with no reason given. Ms. de Changy said Mr. Mallet had never been warned his visa would be at risk if he hosted that forum. "Sometimes the [Hong Kong] government don't like what we do but they did not stop us from doing it," the FCC president added. The FCC currently has 500 members who are journalists or correspondents. Some 80 foreign media organisations have set up offices in the city, according to government statistics. Several foreign correspondents pointed out the grey area the government left behind following Mr. Mallet's incident when they spoke to TYR, including those who have interviewed Andy Chan or covered stories about Hong Kong independence. They declined to go into the specifics of their issues because their news organisations' codes of conduct prohibit them from …

Society & Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Policy Address rekindles hope for Chinese medicine industry

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: King Woo、Stephanie Ma、Hailey ManEdited by: Zoya Zhao、Yolanda Gao
  • 2018-10-11

The Chinese medicine sector stands to benefit from a slew of healthcare measures announced yesterday at Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s second policy address. The government unveiled a plan to subsidise certain Chinese medicine services, aiming to integrate traditional practice into the existing healthcare system in Hong Kong. Proposed measures include public funding for in-patient and out-patient services delivered in a future Chinese medicine hospital, as well as out-patient services offered by 18 Chinese medicine Centres for Training and Research at the district level. Subsidised in-patient integrative Chinese-Western medicine treatment will also be available in specified public hospitals, but the government said further details are still being discussed with the Hospital Authority. A Legco document shows that in recent years there is a growing trend that many people are opting for Chinese medicine. The number of visiting patients to Chinese medicine centres is up by 100,000 in 2017, from 1.1 million in 2015. Wu Wei, a senior Chinese medicine practitioner at the University of Hong Kong, said that he was delighted with the initiative, in light of the hardship the industry is currently facing. “I hope these measures can be implemented as soon as possible. It’ll be even better if the Hong Kong government can learn from both the triumphs and pitfalls of the Chinese medicine industry development in China. We have to make use of Hong Kong’s strong international reputation to head the industry in a good direction, ” he said. For many patients, government subsidies will help with the cost of medical treatment. “Chinese medicine and treatment are quite expensive. The consultant and medical fee are over $1,000,” said Ms. Yip, a patient receiving Chinese medicine treatment at the public clinic at Hong Kong Baptist University. “It’s definitely good to have subsidies for patients on Chinese medicine …

Carrie Lam in office for 16 months: What have been achieved?

  • 2018-10-10
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Elly Wu、Kobie Li、Michelle Ng、Wing Li、Yoyo Chow、Zinnia LeeEdited by: Holly Chik
  • 2018-10-10

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Society & Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Youth to get more say in public policies and leadership development

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Rachel Yeo、Katherine Li、Oasis LiEdited by: Japson Melanie Jane、Elisa Luk
  • 2018-10-10

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged today to work closely with the Youth Development Commission to encourage more young people to participate in policy discussions and to join outreach programmes. In her second policy address, Mrs. Lam said the Financial Secretary had reserved $1 billion in the Budget this year to support the Youth Development Commission’s work, and of this, $500 million will be allocated to implement a series of programmes. With these funds, Mrs. Lam hopes to increase the proportion of youth members in the advisory committees from 7.8% to 15% in the Pilot Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth. Initiated last year, the scheme has attracted over 1500 young people to share their views in different policy areas, including land development, education and social welfares, Mrs. Lam added. Also, the Commission has established a Youth Ambassadors Scheme, which aims to recruit 100 youth people every year who are passionate about serving the community. The ambassadors would be sent to local or international activities to hone their leadership skills. “We feel glad when noticing that Mrs. Lam took our advice to improve the percentage of young people in the government to listen to their suggestions,” said Chiu Man-leong, the vice-chairman of the pro-establishment Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. “Different from previous administrations, this one attaches importance to young people’s voices, which is the right direction.” However, Isaac Cheng Ka-long, a member of the pro-democratic political party Demosistō and also its youngest member, expressed disappointment with Carrie Lam’s address. Mr. Cheng said the Chief Executive has reserved a billion dollars for youth development, but half of it will go toward supporting young people to work in the Greater Bay Area as a venture fund. He believes it is obvious that the government is serving the …

Society & Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Career prospects of contract teachers remain uncertain despite additional $4.7 billion in education

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Jo Ng、Karen Kwok、William TsuiEdited by: Erica Chin、Caroline Kwok
  • 2018-10-10

The government will spend an additional $4.7 billion every year on education, including a new Life-wide Learning Grant, more administrative support for schools and more funding for students with special educational needs, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced in the annual policy address today. Of this, $1.5 billion a year will go to equalizing permanent teacher salaries in public primary and secondary schools in the new all-graduate teaching force policy. This policy eliminates the older, and lower-paid, certificated master/mistress teaching positions. “The Government’s expenditure on education is the most meaningful investment in our future and we should treat our teachers nicely,” the chief executive said in her policy address. Around 2,200 more permanent teaching posts were created last year, slightly increasing the teacher-to-class ratio in public schools. However, contract teachers say they are being treated unequally. A report by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union in 2018 shows that teachers hired on contract are paid 30% less than those in permanent teaching positions. “The all-graduate teaching force policy still fails to ensure that contract teachers can get equal pay because schools can bargain with their salary based on that of permanent teachers’, ”said C.K. Cheng, a contract teacher from a local secondary school. Contract teachers also have poor career prospects. Although more than a third of them have seven years experience and 10% have been teaching for ten years, according to the report, few are offered permanent teaching positions. They also face the pressure of having to renew their contracts every year. “The turnover of teachers on the contract term is high. They don’t know when they will be fired,” said Mr. Cheng. Ip Kin-yuen, Legislative Council member and vice president of Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said increasing the teacher-to-class ratio is one of the solutions to address …

Society & Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Government takes lead to extend maternity leave to 14 weeks

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vimvam Tong、Maisy Mok、Fifi TsuiEdited by: Dorothy Ma、Sammi Chan
  • 2018-10-10

Reported by Vimvam Tong, Maisy Mok, Fifi Tsui Edited by Dorothy Ma and Sammi Chan   Working mothers in Hong Kong will be able to enjoy 14 weeks of 80% paid maternity leave, that is an extra four weeks under existing labour laws. The first female chief executive of the city, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced today in her second policy address that the newly extended leave will take immediate effect for civil servants. The extension is rolled out in view of the “much lower labour participation of women compared to men” and “a lower ratio of managerial roles taken by women” in Hong Kong, said Mrs. Lam. Employers can get up to $36,822 reimbursement per employee from the government to pay the leave. For employees with a monthly income of $50,000 or below, the additional four weeks of maternity leave pay will be borne by the government in full. The proposed extended maternity leave brings Hong Kong on par with the International Labour Organisation’s suggestion after the related employment ordinance had remained unchanged for 48 years in Hong Kong. Compared with other locations in the region, the duration of maternity leave in Hong Kong is in line with Japan, but is still shorter than Singapore by two weeks. In mainland China, new mothers can enjoy 19 to 22 weeks off, depending on the province while fathers can get up to 30 days of paternity leave. Mothers in Hong Kong have mixed reaction to the 14-week leave. “ I believe 10 weeks are enough,” Katy Lam, an educator and a mother of two believes that the duration of leave should depend on the woman’s occupation. “14 weeks would be better than 10 for sure,” said Venda Lee, a 34-year-old expectant mother, who works as a movie trailer producer. She sees …

PolyU students go on hunger strike against paper-covered "democracy wall"

  • 2018-10-05
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Ezra Cheung、Katherine LiEdited by: Holly Chik、Raphael Blet、Michelle Ng
  • 2018-10-05

"The university's management has pushed us to the point of desperation," said students starting a hunger strike. Two student leaders from Hong Kong Polytechnic University announced this evening they were to go on a hunger strike, to protest against the school management's decision to take control of the "democracy wall" initially managed by the university's student union. The conflict began on September 24, four days before the fourth anniversary of the mass pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, as some students stuck messages supporting the city's independence onto the notice board, commonly referred as "democracy wall". PolyU management covered half of the board with large sheets of red paper on Tuesday. Students were enraged claiming their freedom of speech was being stifled. Several dozens of students gathered when the student union held a press conference at the university's main podium at 8:30 pm on Friday following their protest on Thursday demanding the vice president an explanation as to why the management decided to cover the wall. The student union's president Wing Lam Wing-hang and the student union council chairman Victor Yuen Pak-leung announced that they were to "start their hunger strike immediately" at the podium. "The university management has pushed us to the point of desperation... They are numb to conscience," the student union said in their open letter. "The school has been dismissive to the student union council representatives." Mr. Lam said the student union had collected more than 4,000 signatures against the school's decision. "We do not compromise on freedom of speech," Mr. Lam added. Kate Liu, 24, an urban planning PolyU student from the mainland, thought the action the university took was "mild". "Students having their own views is good," she said. "But the university should be with the government in fighting against Hong Kong independence." During the press conference, a …

Hundreds mark fourth year since Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  • 2018-09-28

Several hundred people gathered outside the Hong Kong government headquarters this evening marking the four-year anniversary of the start of the mass pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, as worries prevail that freedom of political expression is being increasingly muzzled by Beijing. In 2014, tens of thousands occupied major roadways in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok for 79 days starting from September 28 rallying for "genuine universal suffrage" and democratic reform in the highly autonomous city’s leadership elections. The crowds raised yellow umbrellas, the movement's symbol, and held a three-minute silence at 5:58 pm today as audio recordings during the movement was played back on loudspeakers to commemorate the moment when the Hong Kong police began to blast 87 tear gas canisters at the unarmed protesters four years ago. "Hongkongers keep fighting," the crowds chanted. Former teacher Jenny Woo told Hong Kong people to look ahead, saying the present political climate was different from four years ago. "I joined [the remembrance event] because the youth are our future," said Ms Zeng, 55, a mainland immigrant who moved to the city just before the movement. Having participated in the Mong Kok occupation, Ms Zeng said she had been moved by a documentary she watched a week before about the movement. Supporters also applauded the nine defendants, including Occupy advocates Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man, for the upcoming trial for the movement in November. "I have no regrets at all," Professor Chan told the crowds. He regarded the movement as "the most glorious moment" of his life. "We could not shake the regime," activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung said on stage. "But at least we could inspire people's hearts." In the past few days, local pro-Beijing media have continuously slammed the Umbrella Movement for crippling the city's rule of law and polarising the society. …