Society & Politics

Society & Politics

Former student leaders exempt from imprisonment over University council siege

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CHAN Yeuk Hang Erin、Michael ShumEdited by: Zhang Lingyu、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-09-22

Former student leader Billy Fung Jing-en was sentenced to 240 hours of community service on Thursday over the siege of the University of Hong Kong governing council meeting last year. Fung, then president of the University of Hong Kong Student Union, was convicted of acting in a disorderly conduct by forcing his way into the meeting venue and damaging the front door. His then vice-president, Colman Li Fung-kei, 22, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for obstruction of blocking paramedics from sending council member Leonie Ki Man-fung to hospital, who was injured during the protests. Both men were convicted in July, but only Fung pleaded guilty to the charges of criminal damage and attempted forcible entry. Magistrate Ko Wai-hung stated that even though both were meant to uphold the belief of social justice, using violence to achieve so is unacceptable. “Your identity as university student is not a halo but a spell. People would follow your every move. Your actions may receive mixed reactions. But if you are opinionated, you will wander from righteousness,” said Ko. Ko added that he hoped Fung and Li can use legal, non-violence means to give back to the society upon community sentence. Over hundred mitigation letters were presented to court in support of Fung and Li before the court hearing yesterday. Among the letter writers, there are HKU’s president Peter Matheison and HKU council member Leonie Ki Man-fung. Ki was blocked by Li on her way to hospital after being shoved and kicked during the tense protests by students demanding a conversation with chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung. Ki stated in the letter that she had forgiven Li after meeting him, who had made a sincere apology. Fung reflected on his jail exemption through facebook. “We may be upset or helpless over our …

Society & Politics

Decision was made out of “collective wisdom”, the DR Group founder said

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Wing Li、Elisa LukEdited by: Daniel Ma、Celia Lai、Fred LAI
  • 2017-09-21

The founder of DR Beauty Group should bear full responsibility for the whole incident, says the defence counsel of the group’s technician in the hearing on Tuesday morning. Three defendants face charges of manslaughter regarding the death of a 46-year-old woman in 2012.  The clinic head Stephen Chow Heung-wing, Chan Kwun-chung, a technician, and Mak Wan-ling, the patient’s physician attended the hearing today. All of them pleaded not guilty. The defence counsel of Chan pointed out that Chow, who was also a doctor of the clinic, should be fully responsible since he was the one who made the decision of adopting CIK, a form of immunotherapy believed to be able to whiten and refine the skin. Chan’s defence added that Chow made most of the decisions at the clinic, even the locations of the promotion posters. Chow denied the accusation and said most decisions were made by the whole central managerial team, claiming it was a common practice to make decisions with "collective wisdom”. Meanwhile, Chow said he had appointed Chan to be in charge of the CIK treatment program. Chan’s defence said Chan’s Putonghua is “horrible” so he could not further enquire the supervisor at Guangzhou Military Hospital with the actual amount of cells needed for the treatment when they were learning about the CIK technology at the hospital . However, Chow responded that Li was able to communicate in Cantonese. Chow also could not answer the proper dosage and the frequency of injection when questioned by the judge. The trial continues on 16 Oct. [HCCC437/2015]  

Society & Politics

Conspiracy to make explosives hearing resumes as defence suspects insufficient evidence from police

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Erica Chin、Michael ShumEdited by: Isabella Lo、Cecilia Wong、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-09-21

The defence council of the five males, accused of secretly making explosives in the abandoned ATV studio suspected the prosecution has brought insufficient evidence to court, heard in High Court on Wednesday. He questioned the sufficiency of evidence provided by the prosecution after cross-examining a CIB police officer who is the second witness. The officer told the court that he has not kept any records in words about their operations, only with his memory and audio reports. The prosecution refused to disclose how the oral report was recorded due to the risk of exposing confidential operation details in a public hearing when enquired by the defence. The defence suspected the police for providing insufficient evidence to the court after the prosecution suggested that a cousin document of the audio reports is available. The defence council doubted if  the two CIB police officers could make a mistake on recognising the defendants. Defendants Chan Yiu-shing, 34, Cheng Wai-shing, 29, Pennelli Rizzy, 21, Wu Kai-fu, 21, Man Ting-lock, 23, was arrested after finding chemicals capable of producing explosives in former ATV premises in Sai Kung as police officers saw “yellowish white flashes” and smoke coming out from the building. The second CIB police officer told the court that they have been briefed by their superior Sgt. Lo Ka-shing of four male and two female as their targets, through the fourth defendant Wu Kai-fu was not one of their targets. “His [Wu’s] name was not even known to the police before he was arrested,” said the defence council of Wu, who also said it was a “chance encounter” for the police to have Wu arrested. Previous hearings revealed that Man Ting-lock, the fifth defendant, pleaded guilty and admitted that he has joined an anti-government organisation, “National Independence Party”. They were experimenting with smoke bombs …

Society & Politics

Banning EdU students from taking up jobs would potentially be "not fair"

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zoya Zhao、Raphael Blet、Xu Mingyan、Li YuquanEdited by: Lam Ka Sing
  • 2017-09-13

Timeline of Education University's democracy wall saga Banning The Education University of Hong Kong's (EdU) students from taking up jobs would potentially be unfair, said a spokesperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), referring to the university's recent democracy wall saga. Employers should avoid applying non-essential requirements, conditions or making groundless assumptions, EOC said. Some school principals sent emails to EdU saying they would never hire the university's  graduates, said the university’s student union. "If these claims happened to be true, it would be unfair", said EOC. However, EOC also pointed out that due to the lack of details, there was no evidence to show that these possible actions would be against the Discrimination Ordinance. “To prevent discrimination in the workplace, the EOC encourages employers to make all employment decisions based on merit, job experiences and education qualifications regardless of a person’s gender, marital status or other irrelevant criteria.”     Student unions of some other universities have been criticized for not openly denouncing the incident. However, some students also studying education did not approve of what was posted on the university's democracy wall. "I feel a bit ashamed actually. Cursing and mocking the deceased son of a person is never appropriate" said Joanna Wong, a student of English Language Education in a local university. Nevertheless, she does not think that the claims of internship cancellation will be true. " I don't think the principals who joined the petition really meant that they are not hiring those from EdU" About 10 internships at the university have been cancelled, said Lala Lai Hiu-ching, the president of the university’s student union. "Some institutions claimed that they were "cancelling" internships and would "never" hire EdU students," Lai said. If these claims are true, this would affect all students in this university. "This is …

Society & Politics

Special kids, Special Needs

Legislators call for a review of education policies to help Special Educational Needs students Becky Liu is a year three student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in kindergarten. That means Becky has a learning disability in reading, writing and speaking. Liu recalled her parents being told by the teacher that she could not tell the difference between the letters “A” and “B”. “I cried every day when I was in primary school because I was not able to spell the word ‘apple’ and ‘orange’ properly,” Becky said. There were more than 7,800 special educational needs (SEN) students like Becky in Hong Kong in 2016, according to government figures. Their conditions range from dyslexia to severe cases such as intellectual disability, visual and hearing impairments. For them to learn effectively, the Education Bureau reckons the pupil-teacher ratio cannot be more than 4.5: 1. For the first two years of Becky’s school life, she had the benefited from teaching materials and a curriculum specially designed for SEN students. But the problems started when she was transferred to a mainstream school.  She fell below average and school, in general, was a struggle “Luckily my parents always tell me to focus on the process instead of the result. That alleviates my pressures and I became less resistant to new things,” Becky said. Becky believes that some teachers in mainstream schools assume that students who do not have good academic results are lazy. That, she says, makes it even tougher for SEN students to adapt to school life. “What we need,” Becky said, “ are patience and encouragement to build our confidence.” Haven of Hope Sunnyside School serves students with the severe disability. Their intelligence quotients are sometimes equivalent to that of very young kids. …

Society & Politics

From Accidents to Protest

  • 2017-05-24

What is the next step of beauty industry in Hong Kong? Desires for skin whitening, spot removal and staying young forever spur people to splurge on beauty clinics. But potential dangers and unregulated use of devices might cool them down. Hong Kong’s beauty industry is a huge market. More than 82 % of women h undergone “medical beauty services” in a survey with a poll of 1004 men and women ed 15 to 64, according to Consumer Council. In this research, over 90 % of users firmly support government regulations on beauty industry. Meanwhile, the Consumer Council alre y received more than 1,000 complaints about beauty services in 2014. This year, a medical-device regulation proposal that requires supervision by doctors on the use of commonly used beauty devices, such as laser equipment, raised concerns from the entire beauty community. On January 16, more than 1,000 beauticians and beauty industry workers protested the proposal outside the Legislative Council. “They (government) are making our services subjected to control of the medical industry. This proposal will impede the development of the beauty industry,” said Frances Chiu, chairperson of Federation of Beauty Industry. Chiu said lasers, for example, are a very important and basic beauty device and nearly every beauty parlor owns one laser machine; and if it is under the supervision, the beauty industry would have no space to develop further, said Chu Albert Poon Ka-fat, a professor of Practice (Biomedical Engineering) in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said that the definition of “medical device” is based on the standard from the International Medical Device Regulators Forum and is commonly recognised. Its criteria depends on whether the devices would change cells or tissue of a human’s body. Under that, quite a few beauty devices are considered to be medical devices in “high risk” …

Society & Politics

The muted voice

  • 2017-04-23

In between the crowds at the Lunar New Year Fair 2017 in Victoria Park,Causeway Bay, there were three stalls which had never operated : the 33th, 199th and 200th. Thousands poured into Victoria Park in Causeway Bay this year for the Lunar New Year Fair, an annual event filled with stalls selling everything from flowers and snacks to clothing and political posters. But, this year, three stalls never opened: numbers 33, 199 and 200. On January 18, four days before the official opening of the Lunar New Year Fair, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department barred Hong Kong National Party and Youngspiration, which are pro-independence political parties, from running fundraising stall on the grounds that they posed a threat to public order. The government was afraid they would sell products supporting Hong Kong independence. It is a tradition for political parties to organize fund- raising stalls in the fair. Not only wide range of products that carry their political ideas would be sold, politicians would also use the fair as a channel to boost their popularity by giving speech and writing red couplets. An official letter said the three stalls were a safety concern as they could attract political protestors to the crowded fair. The government department exercised the power stated in clause 10 of the license agreement, which allows it to terminate a signed contract “whatever reasons as the Department finds fit to do so”. In an appeal, Youngspiration provided information on their products, describing them as the work of Hong Kong artists but failed to overturn the government decision. One of the tote bags that they would like to sell illustrated people’s fear of the youth sitting on priority seats and the people’s moody feelings on Monday. No political party advocated Hong Kong Independence in the fair, neither …

Society & Politics

Walking in Hong Kong

It says something about the possibility of having a walkable Hong Kong when artificial grass mats, splash pools, picnic tables and benches were placed on what used to be a heavily-congested Des Voeux Road Central in September last year. The government is working with NGOs to turn roads into more pedestrian-friendly and it maysurprise many that the city is currently having seven full-time pedestrian schemes and 30 part-time ones. “Walking can be safe, comfortable and interesting,” said Maura Wong Hung-hung, Chief Executive Officer of the independent public think tank Civic Exchange. “That’s why walking is a pleasure and something that people enjoy, they don’t have to depend on vehicles,” said Wong. The “Walk in Hong Kong” initiative, proposed by the Transport and Housing Bureau, was officially announce in the 2017 Policy Address on January 18. It aims to promote walkability, which is related to connectivity of streets in Hong Kong. Working on pedestrian environment, the initiative will implement multiple new measures based on four themes. According to the Legislative Council Paper, it will provide user-friendly information on walking routes, enhance pedestrian network connection, make walking a pleasant experience and provide a safe and quality pedestrian environment. Civic Exchange introduced a new initiative in December 2016, “Walkability”, to advocate walking in the city. The new initiative also encourages the government and different sectors to take a “people-first” approach in urban planning. For instance, meetings and seminars will be organized to foster citizens’ understanding about the concept of walkability. “Pedestrian should play a priority role in the city’s development, including the transportation strategy,” said Wong. Civic Exchange also introduced the WALKScore in December 2016, a tool to measure walkability in Hong Kong. It takes into consideration the city’s density, mixed-land use, constant traffic, hilly topography and other challenges. From its data, Mongkok …

Society & Politics

Hong Kong Needs Local Bazaar to Help the Poor

  • 2017-04-22

Local Bazaar can help the poor to earn some extra money while letting people to buy cheap wares. In November 2016, the Yau Tsim Mong District Council rejected government’s proposal to organise a food bazaar at Macpherson Playground. While the government proposed the plan to allow local bazaars to be held during Chinese New Year, local bazaar advocates do not think the government is doing enough to develop local bazaars. According to Oxfam’s latest report named ‘Report on Women and Poverty’, more than one in six women are living below the poverty line in Hong Kong. The poverty line for a 4-person household was $17,600 in 2015, according to the Commission on Poverty. Wong Shek-Hung, Oxfam’s Hong Kong Programme Manager, said running local bazaar on a regular basis and in an organised manner can be the way out for poverty because poor working women can make money on the side while enjoying the flexibility to take care of their families. Despite the complicated application procedures of running bazaars, the Supporting Grassroots’ Bazaar Alliance hold the Tung Chung Bazaar after the two-month Hong Kong Bazaar Festival. Chiu Sin-ting, a spokesperson for Supporting Grassroots’ Bazaar Alliance, said they implemented this pilot scheme of holding the bazaar, in response to the government’s “district-led and bottom-up” approach to initiate hawking proposals. In order to gain broad local support and address various local needs and concerns, hawking proposals should be initiated by the local community, according to The Food and Health Bureau. Chiu said citizens’ needs of local bazaar have been shown in last year’s bazaar festival, in which stallholders are from all 18 districts. Candy Ho, a stallholder at the Tung Chung Bazaar who sells flowers and purses, said vending in bazaars is a stepping stone to small business. Despite a large loss, Ho …

Society & Politics

Breastfeeding Still at Infancy Stage?

  • 2017-03-20

The demand for more breastfeeding friendly places.