Politics

Politics

Hong Kong Police inciting "white terror" among student journalists and leaders

Politics

Incensed Baptist University students rally against arrest of broadcast journalism student

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Rachel Yeo、Anna Kam、Phoebe Lai、Jo Ng、YanniChowEdited by: William Tsui
  • 2019-09-16

Hundreds of Baptist University students staged a march to rally against the arrest of broadcast journalism student Boaz So, which later escalated to heated verbal shouting towards various school authorities. Mr. So, a student reporter from BNN, a student-run news station based in the university, was arrested in North Point last night for suspicion on possessing an offensive weapon. He was later released on bail earlier this evening. Police found a butter knife while searching through So's belongings and was taken to a private car by riot police. So said that the knife was used to cut mooncakes, which was later confirmed by his girlfriend Rachel So Ching-yan. Kelly Lam and Sharon Tam, two of the other student reporters who was out with Boaz So in North Point last night said they felt "hopeless and furious" about their classmate's arrest. "They seem to be targeting at student reporters. They also seem to be targeting at young people," said Ms. Lam and Ms.Tam. Ms. Lam described they were being requested by the riot police to show their press cards and identity cards in North Point last night. The police passed around their identity cards among themselves while taking notes of their information. Their bags and identity cards were also searched by police at the scene. During the march which started out peaceful, students demanded for the university to provide assistance for arrested students, condemn the police for arresting people without reason and stifling press freedom and ensure physical safety of students. Teddy, a year 3 film student at Hong Kong Baptist University who does not want to reveal her full name and a friend of Boaz So thought the arrest of Mr. So was pointless. "As a friend of his, I don't think he is going to use the knife to …

Politics

Airport protests fail to take off with enhanced police presence and limited transport

Heavy police presence, stringent checks and limited public transport has made it harder for protesters to stage a sit-in protest at the Hong Kong International Airport. Initiated online by netizens, dubbed as "Airport Traffic Stress Testing", they called for the public to go to the airport to create disrupt traffic and airport operations. Dozens of riot police were stationed at every entrance and exit of the transport hub and demanded people wandering at the airport to leave. Passengers needed to provide valid air tickets and travel documents for checking at the entrance of the departure halls before entering the terminal buildings. Some thought the police's behaviour was inappropriate. A Belgian tourist who only wishes to be known as Hazma, was in the bus on the way to the airport when police conducted bag searches checkpoints at the toll plaza. He added that the police asked for his passport. "It's a little intimidating, I am not used to this situation (riot police patrolling everywhere at the airport)," he said. Students known as Mr. Ha and Ms. Wong, aged 21 and 23 respectively, were spotted at the bus terminus holding up their mobile screens showing slogans that said "Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong" and "5 Demands Not One Less". Both criticised the act of clearing people out as “over the line”. "People are just voicing out their opinions. The police are stamping out Hong Kong citizens' freedom to do so. I highly doubt that they know what they are doing," said Ha. A 59-year-old woman, who gave her surname as Chin, was arrested this afternoon. She claimed she was sitting by at the bus terminus finding her way home when a female police officer suddenly ordered her to leave. "I was just here to dine out," said Chin, having no clue …

Politics

Baptist University students stage class boycott

Around 40 Hong Kong Baptist University students participated in a class boycott sit-in protest at the campus on Wednesday afternoon, after the two-day citywide strike and class boycott ended. Setting up booths and putting up posters around the campus, the students hoped to increase awareness among fellow schoolmates to join the class boycott. The group gathered themselves yesterday night through Telegram, a social chatting app which is widely used by the protestors to disseminate information.     “We would like to utilise our time spent on the class boycott to participate in the movement instead of skipping the lectures without any purpose,” said a Year 4 Arts student who wishes to identify himself as Louis Lee. Chanting “'Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times,” a popular chant amongst the protesters. The students reiterated the five demands including to call for the withdrawal of the extradition bill, a commission of inquiry into alleged police brutality, amnesty for arrested protesters, and universal suffrage. The crowd later sat in a circle to discuss their thoughts on the recent protests in Hong Kong, as well as the strategies to organise the class boycott activities in the coming weeks.     A meeting would be held with the Students’ Union later today to discuss the students’ further actions. (This story was first published on Facebook on 4 September 2019)

Politics

Animal cafes in Hong Kong: welfare experts call for licensing

At The Cat Tea room in Tsuen Wan, cats jump from table to table, sometimes lying beside a cup of tea while being petted by customers. The owner of the shop, Albert Lee, said he was inspired by a trip to Japan and Korea. Mr. Lee observed a lack of animal cafes in Hong Kong and seized the opportunity to open one. Most of the cats were once strays. Wanting to create a safe haven for cats, Mr. Lee took them under his wing to provide healthcare, food and shelter. "Before my business partners and I opened up this place four and a half years ago, there was only one cat cafe in Hong Kong," said Mr. Lee. "Now there are around 10 or more cat cafes and a wide variety of animal cafes." Animal cafes have sprung up in Hong Kong in recent years. Although it may seem like a dream come true for animal lovers, for one animal welfare expert, it is a nightmare. In Hong Kong, the government does not require a licence to run animal cafes. In fact, the Labour and Welfare Bureau released a statement that they have no plans to regulate pet restaurants. So instead, an animal cafe that serves food follows the health guidelines for restaurants, which only prohibit dogs or they are regulated as a licensed club. If the cafe only serves drinks, then they do not have to follow any rules at all. Owners have used these loopholes to introduce all kinds of animals to cafes. The Cats Tea room is only licensed by the Business Registration Office. There is no kitchen in the cafe and only beverages are prepared. Food that is served is not made by staff but instead ordered from nearby restaurants. "If they (animal cafes) are allowed …

Politics

Hundreds marked the 30th anniversary of the June 4th incident

Around a hundred people joined a 15-kilometre long-distance running from Causeway Bay to Sai Wan last Sunday, marking the 30th anniversary of the June 4th incident. With another 15-kilometre previous run completed by the "June 4th Long Distance Team", the total distance added up to 30, which is the anniversary year of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Crackdown. "The route is set upon two meanings: the historical background of 1989 Democracy Movement and the accusation to June 4th Crackdown," said Mr. Lee Cheuk-yan, the Secretary of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HKASPDMC). Throughout the 5-hour-run, participants passed by 18 checkpoints, which were all landmarks related to the 1989 Democracy Movement, according to Mr. Lee. For example, the Pillar of Shame at The University of Hong Kong was a memorial sign for the movement. And the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government was the place where people expressed their accusation to the Central government, hoping one day the June 4th movement can be successfully vindicated. Runners shouted "Vindicate June 4th! We are getting closer to the success!" along the run to raise the morale and support themselves to carry on the tough long run. "Joining the long-distance run is a way to demonstrate my determination to the rehabilitation of June 4th," said Wong Nga-man, one of the permanent members of HKASPDMC. "Same as the long-distance run, it has a long way to go and takes great perseverance." The participants laid flowers at the Pillar of Shame and at the gate of LOCPG to express their respect and solidarity to the sacrificed students and activists during the movement. Led by the organisers, they paid silent tribute in front of the Pillar of Shame for one minute. "Many people with great aspiration were sacrificed back then. If …

Politics

Nine Occupy Central defendants all found guilty

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Katherine Li、Ezra CheungEdited by: Wallis Wang、Jo Ng
  • 2019-04-09

  In the verdict issued by Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng in the Kowloon West Magistrates Court, all nine Occupy Central leaders were found guilty. Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming were found guilty of conspiracy to commit public nuisance. Tai and Chan were in addition found guilty of inciting others to commit public nuisance. The verdict of "inciting others to commit public nuisance" and "inciting people to incite others to commit public nuisance" applied to legislators Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun, former student leader Tommy Cheung Sau-yin and Eason Chung Yiu-wa, as well as activist Raphael Wong Ho-ming. Former legislator Lee Wing-tat also received the verdict of incitement to commit public nuisance. Based on the judgement, the Court rejected the defendants' statement that the charge of conspiracy to cause public nuisance would have the undesirable effect of curtailing civil disobedience and suppressing human rights. The Court also did not believe that the claim of "civil disobedience" can constitute any defence against a criminal charge brought against a defendant. These verdicts came after a series of trials as the aftermath of the largest pro-democracy mass demonstration Hong Kong has ever seen which lasted 79 days. The nine defendants, as the leaders of this movement, were charged differently with counts of incitement and conspiracy. The defendants expressed that they feel at peace whatever the outcome may be in a press conference before the verdict. "My soul is still. I still believe in the power of love and peace, and I have no regrets about what I have done," said Chan Kin-man. While urging people to continue to fight for Hong Kong’s democracy, Tanya Chan tearfully  thanked her legal team, her mentor and also her mother, whom despite not knowing too much about politics, is her best friend and always …

Politics

Hundreds protest on PolyU campus against disciplinary action on students

"Unjust trial system, revoke disciplinary order!" chanted the crowd under the lead of Wu Kwok-wang, newly elected student union internal vice-president, during a protest against the severe punishments meted out to four students of Hong Kong Polytechnic University who clashed with school officials over management rights of their democracy wall. Around 400 people attended the protest yesterday while a collective letter with approximately 3,000 signatures was handed to the school representative by Mr. Wu. Students were irritated by the university's confiscation of the democracy wall on September 29th last year, one day after Umbrella Movement's fourth anniversary. To demand a response, students intercepted Professor Geoffrey Shen, the PolyU Interim Vice President, and Professor Esmond Mok, the Dean of Students, outside their office and stopped them from leaving despite warnings given by the security. Four leading students were sentenced heavily on March 1st, including Ho Jun-him who was expelled and permanently barred from re-admission. "We tried so many different routes, but the school authorities simply kept stalling, which eventually provoked us to escalate things," said Mr. Ho, a graduate student of PolyU and member of Students Independence Union. Though the school authorities have criticised their behaviour as disrespectful and "triad-like", Mr. Ho emphasised that he was never violent during this whole process. "Were we just a bunch of people looking to stir up trouble? Definitely not," said Lam Wing-hang, former PolyU student union president who is sentenced to a one-year suspension. "But what those school authorities did is unacceptable to the students and the student union." Wong Hiu-ching, external secretary of PolyU student union, also warned the potential dangers of such an unprecedented level of punishment. "PolyU is the only among the eight universities which does not have an appeal procedure and can permanently expel students," said Ms. Wong. Despite the punishment, …

Politics

Budget 2019/20: Government fails to increase resources for the elderly

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Hailey Man、Brison Li、Fang-Yi Chen、Karen KwokEdited by: Anna Kam、Sammi Chan
  • 2019-02-27

Five hundred residential care places and 300 subsidised day care places for the elderly will be provided in the next two years as a solution to the ageing Hong Kong society, announced Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po during today's budget speech. "It is obviously not enough. The number of waiting participants is much more than the given places, but it is better than none," said Hung Kam In, district council member for Po Tat in Kwun Tong. There are currently 40,630 people on the waiting list for residential places in elderly care centres. Those wanting government subsidised spots wait 39 months on average, while those on the list for private homes wait 10 months, according to the Social Welfare Department. According to the Hong Kong Population Projections, the elderly population is estimated to rise to 19 percent of the population in 2021, meaning there would be more than 1.4 million elderly people. The limitations of medical care are also becoming increasingly serious as the population ages. Many elderly people rely on public health care, leading to long waiting times for treatment in public hospitals. There are 50,731 patients waiting for cataract surgery in public hospitals, according to the Hospital Authority, with an average waiting time for cataract surgery of 19 months. The longest expected waiting time is two years and four months in the New Territory West District. Cataracts are a common geriatric disease, mostly diagnosed in patients above the age of 60. The HA expects that the demand for surgery will continue to grow with an estimated 21,000 new cases per year. Mr. Chan said during the press conference that "in terms of medical training, I expect more trainees doctors to work at public hospitals." Mr. Hung said that the government should loosen up the rules on license conversion …

Politics

Budget 2019/20: Frontline public hospital staff to receive allowance boost

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Stephanie Ma、William Tsui、Tomiris UrstembayevaEdited by: Phoebe Lai、Sammi Chan、Katherine Li
  • 2019-02-27

Frontline medical staff in public hospitals are set to benefit from a myriad of healthcare measures, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his budget speech today. Around $80 billion will be allocated to the public healthcare system, as Hong Kong public hospitals suffer from labour shortages and overworked medical staff are increasingly making mistakes. The Hospitality Authority will receive $700 million to alleviate the heavy workload of frontline healthcare workers, boost morale and retain talent. Public hospitals in Hong Kong suffered from severe labour shortage crisis during this winter's flu season. "Our healthcare and supporting teams in the public sector have been safeguarding the health of the community with professionalism and passion," said Mr. Chan, "Yet, surges in demand coupled with manpower and facility constraints have added to their workload. They are no doubt hard-pressed." He proposed to increase the salary and hourly rate of on-call medical staff. He will also increase the number of posts for senior nurses and the salary for ward-supporting staff. "The Hospital Authority will hire all medical graduates in the coming five years," Mr. Chan said. Doctors have overly busy schedules and huge stress because the doctor-patient ratio is disproportionate and there has been an increase in the number of medical-related legal disputes, said a medical student doing clinical work who did not want to reveal his full name. "No one really cares whether we are overworking or not when we are scolded for making  mistakes," he said, "To alleviate the problem, there should be more budget to build more hospitals for more beds, as well as to hire more people including doctors, nurses and health-associated workers." "With the great pressure they have, they are more likely to make mistakes and therefore get complaints from patients, which makes them more unwilling to be the …