Society

Witness testifies that he heard one defendant said he murdered someone over the phone

  • 2018-04-18

The trial of three men who are charged with murder and preventing lawful burial of Cheung Man-li, a 28-year-old man whose body was buried in cement, continued. The witness heard the defendant said he had murdered someone. Witness Tong King-shing, a friend of Mr. Tsang Cheung-yan “Ah T”, one of the defendants, said there were conversations that they had murdered a person in Hong Kong over the phone. Mr. Tong, when questioned whether he had asked why Mr. Tsang was in Taiwan, said Mr. Tsang mentioned that he was travelling. In March 2016, he began to continuously ask Mr. Tong to lend him a couple thousand Hong Kong dollars. When Mr. Tsang called Mr. Tong in Taiwan again to ask for money, he heard clearly that there were people in the background. “I heard three male voices, including Ah Ho, the second defendant Lau Shek-ho and KK, the third defendant Cheung Sin-hang. Furthermore, he said that someone in the background of the conversation said “the dead body was buried in cement. Even the hydraulic, air fresheners and perfumes cannot cover the smell.” After being questioned by the defendant's representative whether he was absolutely sure that it was Ah Ho talking, Mr. Tong replied that he was sure that Ah Ho called Ah T ‘dumb fuck’, while he was unsure who mentioned about the smell and the burial. Mr. Tong mentioned that Ah T told him that they “powed” a person in Hong Kong. “From my understanding, “powed” means murder but because they said it in a light-hearted matter, I did not think they were serious,” explained Mr. Tong. Mr. Tong said that Mr. Tsang kept pestering him about lending money. In one instance, he asked him to borrow $6,000 from someone named “Papa” in Mong Kok, then wire the money …

Filipino President makes move to improve relations with China

  • 2018-04-13
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Katherine Li、Rachel YeoEdited by: Raphael Blet、Michelle Ng
  • 2018-04-13

More than 2,000 members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong gathered in Kai Tak Cruise Terminal to meet the Filipino President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the evening of April 12th, where he expressed his intentions on strengthening Filipino-Chinese relations and continuing to combat criminal activities. "Just like my grandfather, we are of Chinese descent. In Hong Kong especially there is a lot of Chinese descent Filipinos, so this is part of destiny." said Duterte. According to the Census and Statistics Department, there are around 222,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, with more than 355 Filipino community organizations registered with the Philippine Consulate General, the ties run deep between the Philippines and Hong Kong. "China has being very good to us. As a matter of fact, among other things amounting to billions, I got a grant of 500 million yuan (around $625 billion) which would be about 4 billion pesos." said Duterte. He revealed that the grant from China will be used on hospitals and improving the situation in Marawi, an Islamic city in Mindanao province which was occupied by terrorists in 2017. After battling the terrorists and implementing martial law, the government besieged the city. He assured the Filipinos in Hong Kong not to worry about their country because it is doing well, while he pledges to create more work opportunities for them so that they no longer have to become domestic helpers in the future, but professionals with careers. He also made the first official apology over the Manila hostage incident in 2010 which caused eight people from Hong Kong to lose their lives, although the incident did not occur under his presidency. "There has been no official apologies regarding the August 2010 incident. May I address myself to the Chinese people. From the bottom of my heart, in behalf of …

Mong Kok Riot Trial: witness admitted to be father of two policemen

  • 2018-03-29

The witness who reported the fifth defendant, Lam Lun-hing, in the Mong Kok riot in 2016, Yip Chi-shing, admitted that both of his sons are serving in the police force. He also said his elder son garrisoned in Mong Kok but claimed to be not sure whether his sons participated in the suppression. The defence barrister Jon Wong Kwok-ho suggested that Yip once liked a Facebook page called "Salute to Hong Kong Police". Yip admitted that but denied having registered in that group. Yip claimed that he was harassed by Lam in August 2015 during his patrol in a comic fair. He recognised him in a news video of the Mong Kok riot in February 2016 and then called the Police. Although it was hard to see people's faces clearly in the videos, Yip insisted that he could correctly recognise Lam through the height and profile of him. "It's impossible for me to recognise the wrong person," Yip said. The defence showed various screenshots from videos which focused on the man whom Yip believed to be Lam and asked Yip to describe them. In Yip's description, the colour of the jackets the man wore changes with the photos, but Yip explained that it’s only because of the difference of light condition. "The jacket was not important, I recognised him because of his height," Yip stated repeatedly. The defence pointed out that the information which the witness provided in court, such as the suspect's body shape and age, was different from his testimony. Yip explained that he might not have had the correct concept of the body size. In Yip's second testimony on April 8, 2016, Yip provided detailed information on Lam’s appearance such as hairstyle and deep eye socket. Yip also agreed that he went through plenty of videos and …

Defence suspected induction and insufficient evidence in cement-coffin murder

  • 2018-03-29

At the body-in-cement case trial at The Court of First Instance yesterday, defence barrister Steve Tsui attempted to prove that the defendants were induced by the police as the court awaits possible new evidence. "Did you ever say (to the defendant) 'I heard you are a fighter, do you want to fight me now'?" Mr. Tsui asked a police officer who investigated this case and is called upon as witness, "and when the defendant asked to see a lawyer, did you ever hear your fellow investigator say 'don't play games with me, you are in a police station, no lawyer can help you now'?" The officer denied that the above conversation took place, and said that he never heard his fellow investigator make such statement as far as he knows. Mr. Tsui went on to ask him if he ever punched the forearm of the defendant and heard his fellow investigator suggest that the defendant should "perform well" in a videotaped interview to alleviate his sentence, but Mr. Lee still denied the claims. The barrister also questioned chief inspector Wesly Tse Tan-sang on the same topic which Mr. Tse said, “I wanted to find out the identity of those involved as soon as possible. It is the duty of the police.” Tse was also interrogated on the process of how he "accompanied" the suspects back to Hong Kong from Taiwan and the procedures of their arrests, which he replied everything strictly abode to the rules and regulations of the police department and suspects were treated fairly. However, Mr.Tse confirmed that there is no eyewitness to this case, and only circumstantial evidence was present at the initial stage of their arrest. So far, the three suspects had admitted to "part-taking" the murder of Cheung Man-Li, but none confessed to the deed. The barrister …

Local schools getting bogged down with teaching STEM

  • 2018-03-14

As the government continues a push towards investing in STEM education, local school teachers can only equip themselves with more appropriate trainings. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is a curriculum emphasises on creativity and critical thinking instead of technical skills. Lucas Luk Chi-hang, a chief information officer at Pak Kau College, said that they need to spend more time preparing for lessons and designing courses around research-based approaches. He said the school holds mandatory STEM-related activities almost every Tuesday after school for all Form 1 and 2 students while IT and science related teachers have to tailor the curriculum for students’ needs. “My colleagues and I have to apply for additional training courses by ourselves and we have been busy with our own preparation, especially when we need to redesign what we’ve learnt via outside training,” he continued, “because we cannot copy from others directly.” “There are always difficulties in the teaching STEM,” he added. “We have no option but to voluntarily join a STEM exchange outside of Hong Kong to sharpen our skills and widen our horizons so that we can figure out the most effective and efficient way to teach our students.” His anecdotal account is borne out by the latest study by the Youth Research Centre of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Group. Conducted between November and December last year, the survey polled 105 local secondary schools. 78.8% of the schools said that they started STEM education after the one-off grant from the Education Bureau. Schools that responded gave an average of 5.6 points on a scale of zero to ten, with ten denoting “very effective”. Five major obstacles encountered by the secondary schools while implementing STEM education were also discussed in the research. Those include insufficient lesson time for STEM education, …

Hundreds protest against suspension of Baptist University student duo

  • 2018-01-26
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Elly Wu、Raphael Blet、Yoyo Chow、Katherine Li、Rob McGainEdited by: Angie Chan、Ezra Cheung、Michael Shum、Michelle Ng、Wing Li
  • 2018-01-26

  More than 200 people participated in a protest at Hong Kong Baptist University at 1.30 pm following the suspension of two students, according to the University's Students' Union. After being accused of threatening the staff and using abusive language during an eight-hour stand-off at the University's Language Centre, president of Hong Kong Baptist University Students' Union, Lau Tsz-kei, and a Chinese medicine student, Andrew Chan Lok-hang, were suspended pending disciplinary procedures. The University's decision to suspend the pair prompted mixed reactions with some praising the University's decision and others criticising the University for not awaiting the verdict of the disciplinary committee. A group of counter-protesters who were seen brandishing banners labelling the student union "a gang" and accused some professors of supporting the students. "We are proud of being Chinese citizens and right now, it's a Putonghua-speaking world," wrote a banner. Both parties could be seen hurling vulgarities at each other, but they were quickly separated by the security personnel. John Tse Wing-ling, former Legislative Councillor and Associate Professor of City University's Department of Applied Sciences, marched with the HKBU students in support for elimination to the compulsory Putonghua policy. "If Putonghua is really going to be a fixed standard, then this standard should also apply to all university staff members, including professors," he said, referring to the controversial requirement. Tse did not believe that a certain language should be a parameter of whether students could graduate. "If you judge everyone on the same standard, which is their Putonghua proficiency, then the Chief Executive of Macau won't even get his job," said Tse. The former lawmaker criticised the university for making the suspension of involved students public. "It's the first time in 30 years of teaching that I see a Vice-Chancellor announcing student suspension in front of the press," …

A rundown of the recent events regarding the Putonghua incident at HKBU

  • 2018-01-25
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Yoyo Chow、Michelle Ng、Holly ChikEdited by: Michael Shum、Angie Chan、Ezra Cheung
  • 2018-01-25

Two students at Hong Kong Baptist University were suspended on Wednesday after "occupying" the Language Centre. The incident happened a week after the release of the results of the Putonghua exemption test, in which 70% of the students who took the test failed. About 30 students headed to the Language Centre and occupied the centre for eight hours. Students' Union president Lau Tsz-kei later admitted that he spoke a Cantonese swear word during the exchange with an official from the Language Centre. The University described in a mass email four days after the event that the language used by the student was "abusive" and that their behaviour was "hostile". According to the mass email to all students, staff and alumni, two students were suspended from school "based on evidence currently available" because they "have been found to have conducted themselves in a way that made our colleagues feel threatened and insulted." They have been suspended from attending classes and exams but allowed to set foot on the University's premises. The University also said "their actions had also affected the normal operation of the University and seriously violated the Student Standards of Conduct."     What is the Putonghua graduation requirement? According to the Language Centre of Hong Kong Baptist University, it is stated that all "undergraduate students are required to reach foundation Putonghua proficiency before they graduate". They can either pass a 3-unit Putonghua course offered by the Language Centre or take a 25-hour non-credit bearing course and pass a Proficiency Test conducted by the Language Centre. To be exempted from the requirement, students have to meet one of the following criteria: Non-Chinese speaking students Attended the Chinese Language examination in the Mainland or Taiwan Have attained Grade C or above in the HKCEE Putonghua subject Have passed the Test of …

Society & Politics

Children of asylum seekers deprived of education rights in Hong Kong

Education expert and legislator call for conditional working rights of asylum seekers in supporting their own education expenses and daily expenses Isabella Ng Fung-sheung, assistant professor at The Education University of Hong Kong, volunteers at the Hong Kong Society for Asylum Seekers and Refugees. She said only one out of 170 asylum seekers can successfully make a non-refoulement claim so that they are not forced to leave the city. This process might take years, and their children may be deprived of their rights to education during the wait. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in Hong Kong. Each person receives $1200 a month in food stamps from the government, which is enough for staple food but not much else, according to Dr. Ng. And while their children can go to school for free, Dr. Ng said asylum seekers often find it difficult to pay for school uniforms and books. Although most schools reimburse the parents for their expenses, they do have to pay upfront and then claim the money back with receipts. "Some families are not able to reach here for weekly gathering as they can't afford the transportation expenses," said Dr. Ng. Language barrier is also a major obstacle for young asylum seekers who desire education in Hong Kong, Dr. Ng stated. " The teacher kept telling me that this child cannot speak Chinese, can she understand at least one word of Chinese, if not, this child is so difficult to manage," said Dr. Ng when she recalled her experience in helping child asylum seekers searching for schools. " Local schools accept few non-Chinese speaking children," Dr. Ng says. " I tried to look for a kindergarten for a daughter of an asylum seeker once. She had a Hong Kong identity card, but eight out of ten schools …

Society & Politics

Somewhere over the rainbow - How an 8-year-old boy experience China's education gulf

Every morning at 8:30, the muddy ocher-coloured cottage is blasted with young voices reading aloud textbook passages, so loud that it can be heard across the cement-levelled playground far from the school gate. There are three classrooms in the cottage with no lights but a rickety ceiling fan each. Drawings are repeatedly glued on and ripped off a section of the wall framed with red rice paper. On top, it wrote sloppily "In Celebration of the June First International Children's Day". This is where the eight-year-old Huang Wei-biao goes to school every day with his 22 young schoolmates, a village in the rural area of the East Guangxi province. The nearest town is 45 minutes of serpentine car ride away. One can tell Huang is a diligent student as he reads his textbook with his finger precisely pointing at each word when he pronounces it. One can tell Huang is an assiduous child as the veins of his neck appear every time he utters a word. One can tell Huang is an eager learner as each page of his textbook is torn and curled at the corners. Yet no matter how earnest or smart a student Huang is, he is just one the 13.8 million village primary students in China who are probably receiving education of lower quality than students who study in the urban parts of China. Village schools lack facilities and professionally trained teachers. Pupils do not have classes in other areas such as arts and physical education, let alone school outings. In comparison, the XinXing primary school in the same prefectural city has a multi-story building with a sports ground. There are more than 40 teachers and most of them have received tertiary education. Children's' parents can also find better working opportunities close by and not have …

Society & Politics

Food Order Platforms Price Markup Up to 86%

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Susan Gao、Melissa KO、Kenji ChanEdited by: Susan Gao
  • 2017-12-08

More than 60% of the meals ordered through online food order platforms were more expensive than restaurants' takeaway, with price markup up to 86%, the Consumer Council said on Wednesday. After 91 trial purchases from nine food order platforms in September, the Council found problems including hidden surcharges, unilaterally order cancellation, late delivery, food leaking and double charges. The prices of over half of the food on four aggregate order platforms such as Foodpanda and UberEATS were about 30% higher than takeaway prices, while all the food on three eatery chain platforms including McDelivery were marked up by 4% to 86% with an average of 30%, said the Council. The Council's Chief Executive Gilly Wong Fung-han said at Wednesday's press conference that they would not advise on prices, and markup was understandable if people accepted paying more for convenience. Ho Chung-yin, a 32-year-old data analyst working in Central said she had used Foodpanda four times and knew the prices were much higher. "I only order online when I don't have time to eat out," she said. Testers of the Council found five out of 13 orders were canceled without remedy when ordering on 51WM, an aggregate platform. UberEATS even listed restaurants that had already folded or were being decorated without any notice, testers said. Customer Service Director of 51WM Dickson Lo told The Young Reporter that order cancellations were all done solely by restaurants, probably because they were understaffed or the locations were too far away. "We cannot improve the problem in the long run," Lo said, "because it is a fundamental problem resulting from restaurant's own uncertainties." The Council urged traders to be responsible and delineate every party's responsibility clearly, and provide means of contacts for inquiries with immediate assistance, while three aggregate platforms still have no contact hotline. …