Politics

Nine Occupy Central defendants all found guilty

  • 2019-04-09
  • 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 …

Hundreds protest on PolyU campus against disciplinary action on students

  • 2019-03-08

"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, …

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

  • 2019-02-27
  • 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 …

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

  • 2019-02-27
  • 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 …

Budget 2019/20: Tax reduction and financial relief measures not to be compromised despite lower revenue

  • 2019-02-27
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vimvam Tong、Jo Ng、King Woo、Yetta LamEdited by: Rachel Yeo
  • 2019-02-27

The government announced a number of financial relief measures in the budget speech today, despite a significant drop in the city's annual surplus. Salaries tax, tax under personal assessment and profits tax will be reduced by 75% with a ceiling of $20,000 this year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said. Mr. Chan said he is "very concerned about the tax burden on salary earners", adding that tax bands will be widened and marginal tax rates will be adjusted. "These measures aim to relieve the long-term tax burden of citizens through a structural approach and increase taxpayers' disposable income, so that they can take better care of their personal as well as family needs," he said. The government will be waiving rates for four quarters of 2019-20, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter for each rateable property, wheres last year's ceiling was $2,500. One-off relief measures from the government this year are projected to be lesser because of the reduced surplus. Mr. Chan announced the expected surplus of $58.7 billion for 2018-2019, but the government will be spending approximately $42.9 billion for 2019-2020, which is 73% of the surplus for one-off relief measures. This figure is higher than last year, when they allocated around 40% of the $138 billion surplus for relief measures. "We consider that the external environment is not very favorable, so the surplus is lower. But we do not want to scale down our commitment (towards relief measures) too much," said Mr. Chan in the press conference after the budget speech. Financial relief measures are introduced with the objectives to “support enterprises, preserve employment, stabilise economy, and alleviate the burden of citizens", in reaction to the slow economy performance caused by the US-China trade war. As for allowances, the government will also be providing extra allowances …

Budget 2019/20: Government increases the amount of school social workers

  • 2019-02-27
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Wallis Wang、Oasis Li、Cara LiEdited by: Katherine Li
  • 2019-02-27

The government will ensure at least two social workers in all secondary schools across Hong Kong starting this year, announced Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in the budget speech today. This comes after an alarming increase in student suicide rates and teenage mental illness. This "two school social workers for each school" policy will involve an annual recurring expenditure of $310 million and will be implemented in more than 460 secondary schools.   Mr. Chan said in the budget speech that the objective of this policy is "to enhance teenagers' mental health and stress resilience". Currently, middle schools in Hong Kong are administering the "one school social worker for each school" policy, which was introduced to all secondary schools in 2000. But statistics and surveys show that the mental health assistance currently offered to secondary school students is far from adequate. Based on a statement from the Food and Health Bureau, more and more teenagers and even pre-teens have been diagnosed with mental illness in recent years. The number of cases has risen from 18,900 in 2012 to 28,800 in 2016 — an increase of more than 50% in five years. The juvenile suicide rate in Hong Kong also rose rapidly. HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention from Hong Kong University estimated that the suicide rate has increased by 76.1% from 2012 to 2016, while the suicide cases of full-time students have risen by 52.6%. "Allocating more social workers to schools definitely can help to provide early detection and intervention to students who might be in distress or have high risks of mental health issues," said Frances Law Yik-wa, associate professor at Hong Kong University and Project Director of CSRP, who responded positively towards the government's new policy. However, while the government's efforts are appreciated, local social worker Emy …

IB and DSE: A Difference beyond numbers

  • 2019-01-29

Five years ago, Vanessa Lee Wing-kai was in high school, she chose to study for an International Baccalaureate Diploma, a qualification which was less known in Hong Kong at the time. "The proportion of IB to Hong Kong Diploma of Education students was about 30 to 100. There were two classes of IB students, while there were eight classes of DSE students," said Ms. Lee. In fact, she does not think studying IB made her better than any DSE students.  "IB will only become an advantage if its diverse and integrative learning style suits you," said Ms. Lee. Over the past few years, the number of students admitted to universities in Hong Kong through non-JUPAS (Joint University Programmes Admissions System) programmes such as IB rose significantly. According to data provided by the University Grants Committee, those with IB diplomas increased by 4% over four years. In 2013, Gabriel Matthew Leung, Dean of the Department of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, said in an open seminar that he hoped to take up the responsibility to ensure local DSE students their right to university education by increasing the overall departmental JUPAS admission quota to more than 75%. Previous record of JUPAS admission numbers online showed a total intake of 150 students for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme at HKU in 2012. But this year, less than half of the 235 students admitted to the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme at HKU were JUPAS high school leavers, according to data from HKU. That raised questions on whether non-JUPAS students were given an unfair advantage by Hong Kong's eight UGC-funded universities. Earlier this month, legislator Ip Kin-yuen released an official statement of reply from the Education Bureau which contained non-JUPAS student admission numbers from each UGC-funded …

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 …