Workshop

The Silent Struggle of Trafficking and Slavery victims in South Asia

  • 2017-10-26
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: CHAN Yeuk Hang ErinEdited by: Winnie Ngai、Jianne Soriano
  • 2017-10-26

Reporters: Erin Chan and Sherry Zhu    Editors: Jianne Soriano and Winnie Ngai The HKBU-SOPA Award Winners Forum has invited Nita Bhalla, a South Asia correspondent at Thomson Reuters to talk about Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery in South Asia at Hong Kong Baptist University this Thursday. Human trafficking is the second largest crime in the world with about 32 billion people fall victim to it every year, according to Bhalla. About 60 per cent of human trafficking victims are women and children, especially in North Africa and South East Asia. Six hundred thousand to 8000,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Worse still, the average price of a slave has increased from $40,0000 to $90,0000 today. As Bhalla explained, modern slavery comes in different shapes and sizes. The common ones include forced marriage, commercial exploitation, sexual exploitation and debt bondage. “In the US, prisoners being forced to work may be considered as a form of contemporary slavery. Likewise, children working in the agricultural sector in Pakistan, which is required by law, can also be counted,” said Bhalla. “People being trafficked were told that they get to work in a nice and wealthy home, you get three meals a day. But most cases is that they have to work 24/7, they may have no food and freedom of movement,” she added. She added that having documents withhold is one common practice among people bounded by slavery. “In the Gulf State, for example, there is this Kafala system in which employers can take away your passports for two years. The employer worries that slaves may switch jobs and therefore pay in advance to an agent so that the employee immediately becomes a bonded worker, “ said Bhalla. Bhalla illustrated her experience of witnessing a 19-year-old girl struggling in silence, …

Society & Politics

Bus Drivers Forced To Work Overtime

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Wing Li、Lin Si Han、Ma Difan、Li Suet WaEdited by: Richelia Yeung、Tiffany Lui、Choco Tang
  • 2017-10-04

The Federation of Bus Industry Trade Union is calling for shorter working hours and higher salaries for Hong Kong bus drivers, after a fatal bus accident killed three people in Sham Shui Po last week. Lau Kai-him, officer of the Union, said that bus companies have an unhealthy pay structure that forces bus drivers to work overtime. Hong Kong has five franchised bus companies, including Citybus, which was involved in the recent accident, and numerous minibuses and other non-franchised buses. Chu, a Citybus driver who didn’t want to reveal his full name, said he works 10 to 12 hours a day, depending on the route he is assigned. He calls this a disguised form of compulsory overtime. “You need to do it when the company assigned it to you,” Chu said. Lau also said the drivers don’t make enough money without working overtime, another reason for longer working hours. The basic salary for a bus driver starts from around $12,000 for new drivers up to around $15,000 for drivers with good records, including no customer complaints, Chu said. Nowadays more and more passengers like to complain, Chu said. But bus companies advertise a salary of $19,000 to attract new drivers; however, this includes overtime, Lau said. Bus companies need to hire more drivers to reduce the need for overtime, he added. Lau is saying bus companies are having a hard time attracting new blood. “If we only decrease the working hours without raising the salary, the problem cannot be solved,” Lau said. “Our bus company has never forced the drivers to work overtime. If the drivers think their working hours are too long, they can ask for a switch,” said Wong Ka-lok, Director of Citybus Branch.  

iPhone 8 battery is safe, local Apple Store claims

  • 2017-10-04
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Maggie Liu、Susan Gao、Melissa KO、Lloyd Hewitt-Robinson、Kenji ChanEdited by: Susan Gao、Melissa KO
  • 2017-10-04

The new iPhone 8 released on September 22, has reportedly had some battery problems. The Apple Daily newspaper reported that a Hong Kong buyer surnamed Lam reported that his gold-coloured iPhone 8 was already bloated when he opened the box even before getting a chance to use the phone. Lam took the faulty device back to the Apple Store where he bought it from, and the store gave him a replacement as it was determined that the device could not be fixed, said Apple Daily. This afternoon, The Young Reporter visited the Shatin store. “iPhone 6s also has had this kind of problem before. We would normally just recall the phone,” said its spokesperson, “No need to worry about (iPhone’s) safety.” Three such known incidents have all taken place in Asia, Japan on September 24, Taiwan on the 26th and Hong Kong on the 28th respectively. Karl Leung Ping-hung, the head of the department of information and communication technology at Vocational Training Council said, “batteries used by current mobile phones and pads usually swell when reaching their lifespans.” However, it is still unclear what caused the new iPhone 8 battery to swell up this time. Apple Store said it would investigate the incidents. Kylie Chen, a big fan of Apple product, who plans to buy a new iPhone said the phone bloating incident would not affect his decision. Two more iPhone 8 Plus users have reported problems with their devices. A Taiwanese woman surnamed Wu was the first to report the problem after her gold iPhone 8 Plus burst open whilst charging using an official charging cable, said Taiwan Apple Daily. Wu had the iPhone for three days and began charging when the device has 70% battery and after three minutes it burst open after becoming swollen, Apple Daily said. …

41-year-old rape suspect refused to answer questions related to the victim

  • 2017-09-21
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Ma Difan、Windy LI、Tracy ZhangEdited by: Nicole Kwok
  • 2017-09-21

Hung Ngam-Chung rape case in high courtA 41-year-old local man accused of raping a teenager refused to say whether he knows the victim, as a video showed by the prosecution today.The police officer who interrogated the defendant appeared in court as a witness.The video showed a trial by police in which the defendant said he did not know the blotted towel and refuse to talk about his whatsapp message sent to the victim.The blue towel was allegedly to be put under the 16-year-old teenager during the intercourse when she was in her periodHung Ngam-chung, the defendant, pleaded not guilty to the charge of rape. The next hearing is scheduled tomorrow. Posted by Jade Li on 2017年9月19日 Hung Ngam-Chung, an unemployed 41-year-old man, is accused of raping a 16 year-old woman, X,  last year in Hong Kong. Hearing continues at High Court yesterday. In a police interrogation video played in court, the defendant refused to answer whether he knows X, as well as other questions related to the X. The policeman in the video appeared as witness today in court, said that the defendant moved to Hung Yu Mansion in Sham Shui Po two days after X was raped. The video also showed that when the defendant was asked about a found blood towel, he said he did not recognize it. He also refused to talk about his WhatsApp message sent to the victim. The blood towel was allegedly said to be put under X when she was forced to have sex with the defendant. X tried to tell the defendant she was in her period at that time, but the defendant ignored her, then place the towel under X. It is also known that X just gave birth. The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge of rape. The next …

Yuen Yuen Institute accident exposes loosely regulated furnaces

  • 2017-09-13
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Caroline Kwok、Holly Chik、Michelle Ng、Elly WuEdited by: Isabella Lo、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-09-13

Yuen Yuen Institute accident exposes loosely regulated furnaces Loose regulations towards furnace are revealed as a woman died two days after leaping into an unattended temple incinerator. Temples and religious event organisers do not need to obtain permits from Environmental Protection Department for furnaces used for burning joss paper, incense and other rites , since these activities are not regulated by the Air Pollution Control (Open Burning) Regulation. Currently, no regulation or ordinance deal directly with the safety issue of furnaces other than the temple itself, said Wong Wai-kit, the Vice Chairman of the Tsuen Wan District Council. “We do not know which government department is responsible for the regulation”, said a spokesperson for the Fire Services Department. According to the spokesperson, the department is not directly responsible for regulating the burners but can provide advice to the design and location of furnaces upon other government bodies’ requests. The department can only take action if the incense burners pose threat to fire safety such as the width of fire escapes. Other departments can only exert limited control to the operation of furnaces. Environmental Protection Department can serve an Air Pollution Abatement Notice to require the owner of the furnace to take remedial action to cut down or even eliminate the smoke emission. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department can charge anyone who committed littering up to $1,500, including ashes after burning paper offerings. Compared to that in Yuen Yuen Institute, the "Qing Yan" Eco-joss paper furnace developed by Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) has a smaller opening. Temples operated by Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGH) have trained staff to handle the burning for the public, especially when there is a high demand for the service, said the HKPC, who designed the burners for TWGH. The HKPC also said they usually …

Hong Kong Free Speech

  • 2017-09-13

Reporter: Susan Gao, Maggie Liu, Melissa Ko and Lloyd Hewitt-Robinson Editor: Susan Gao and Melissa Ko The Hong Kong independence banner saga continues at local universities after the student unions of 13 higher institutions issued a joint statement condemning Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and university authorities for “making an explicit effort” to limit free speech. “The regime is now making an explicit effort to limit our freedom of expression through exerting pressure on university authorities to punish those whose speech may have intimidated the people in power,” the joint statement wrote. Student unions reiterated, “everyone enjoys the freedom of speech, and this is the line that we shall never compromise.” Last week, the banners declaring Hong Kong independence were put up on the Chinese University’s democracy wall, but later they were replaced with other banners while anti-independence posters were also put up. This action has provoked a heated debate over the freedom of speech after the banners advocating Hong Kong independence were shown on noticeboards at various universities. According to Amnesty International, freedom of speech applies to ideas of all kinds despite what may be offensive and it comes with responsibilities. The three universities, which are City University, Baptist University and Chinese University, all agreed that freedom of speech is the right to express one’s own ideas without censorship. City University's student union external secretary, Ng Chung-hing, said, noticeboards managed by the student union, serve as a platform for student members to express their own opinions freely. The student union itself is independent from the university, which does not have the right to take down the posters. Baptist University’s student union external secretary, Mak Kwan-wai, said, BU students are welcome to discuss whatever they want, including the Hong Kong independence issue because the principal promised that the school is not allowed …