HIGH TIDE (APRIL 16TH 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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No compromise yet on political reform; Filibustering kicks off in LegCo; Beijing annoyed by US’s report on HK. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

No sign of compromise on political reform despite meetings between CS and Pan-dems.
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam met with several Pan-dem lawmakers, including Democratic Party’s Albert Ho and Emily Lau, Professional Commons’ Charles Mok and Kenneth Leung, as well as Labour Party’s Cheung Kwok-che, yesterday to discuss political reform
– All three parties stated after the meetings that their stance on the issue is not going to change
– Lam admitted that the Government was yet to secure a single vote from Pan-dems lawmakers, while maintaining that “there is simply no room for the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s decision to be retracted, to be revised, or to be reversed”
– Lam will meet with lawmakers from the Civic Party today

Filibustering on the Budget kicked off. 
– LegCo started the second reading of the Appropriation Bill, during which it would go through more than 3900 amendments submitted by People Power’s Albert Chan and Raymond Chan, Leung Kwok-hung from League of Social Democrats as well as independent Wong Yuk-man
– DAB’s Tam Yiu-chung condemned the filibustering which is likely to continue today, and his party compatriot Ip Kwok-him said the DAB would deploy a rotation approach to deal with this war of attrition
– Lawmakers earlier approved a motion moved by Business and Professionals Alliance’s Andrew Leung to require ocean-going vessels berthing in the city to use compliant, clean fules
– The LegCo’s Public Work Subcommittee also discussed the Kai Tak Multi-purpose Sports Complex, during which the members expressed concerns over transport support for the Complex as well as its positioning

Government steps up to combat parallel trading.
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam inspected black spots for parallel trading in Sheung Shui yesterday and was briefed on street and traffic management problems caused by the activities
– 33 mainland visitors have been arrested by the Immigration Department and the Police for parallel trading in the past two days
– Meanwhile, the Acting Secretary for Security John Lee, in a written reply to DAB’s Christopher Chung on anti-parallel trading protests, stated that as at April 8 the Police arrested 72 persons who had participated in the protests

Advisory Committee on InnoTech holds first meeting.
– The Advisory Committee on Innovation and Technology held its first meeting yesterday to discuss its mode of operation and focuses
– Chairman of the Committee Nicholas Yang said “the Advisory Committee will advise the Government…with a focus on making the best use of the advantages of ‘One Country’ and ‘Two Systems’ and further strengthening the co-ordination among the government, industry, academia and research sectors”

Politics (general)

Former MTR chief received HKD15.7 million as “contractual settlement”.
– The MTR Corporation revealed that its former chief executive Jay Walder, who left the company last August after being accused of mismanagement of the Hong Kong Express Rail Link, received HKD15.7 million as “contractual settlement”
– Lawmakers, including NeoDemocrats’ Gary Fan and Democratic Party’s Wu Chi-wai, questioned whether the offer was intended as a form of ‘hush money’

Consumer Council on flight redemptions and home furniture.
– The Consumer Council released a report on flight redemptions offered under airline reward programme, in which it warned of “lack of transparency in seat availability for flights, unexpected expiration of redeemed air-ticket; high cost of redeemed products; and levy of service fee for reward points conversion into airline miles”
– The Council also published another paper reminding consumers to be aware of unsafe or unstable household furniture

China & World

Beijing strikes back on the US’s Hong Kong policy report.
– Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Hong Lei urged the US not to interfere with China’s internal affairs after the US Department of State published a Hong Kong Policy Act Report, in which it “called for the conduct of a multi-candidate competitive election for Chief Executive in 2017, which would enhance the legitimacy of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, would be a major step forward in Hong Kong’s political development and would bolster Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity”
– The People’s Daily also criticised the report, saying it is a product of explicit interference from the US