High Tide (May 3rd 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Ko Wing-man “lost control”; Interception and surveillance on Whatsapp; May Day tourists record a rise. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Ko Wing-man quarrels with elderly on political reform.
– Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man went into an ugly exchange of words with an elderly when promoting the political reform proposals in Ngau Tau Kok
– Ko later admitted that he “lost his temper” when the elderly came to him and accused the Government of “fooling the children”
– Meanwhile, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So and Secretary for Development Paul Chan were also down on the street while the latter encountered a man asking “CY Leung to be fired”
– CY Leung visited the Police Dog Unit in Sheung Shui without any announcement in advance and the visit was posted on a Facebook page called “Speak Out HK” – widely believed to be administrated by Andrew Fung Wai-kwong, Information Coordinator of the CE Office

Matthew Cheung on statutory and labour holidays.
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung noted a “subtle difference” between general holidays and statutory holidays when responding to a question on discussions to unify the two sets of holidays and on Labour Party Lee Cheuk-yan’s earlier claim that he would propose expanding the statutory holidays from 12 days to 17 days in the LegCo
– Cheung stated that while the matter has been discussed by the Labour Advisory Board for some time, it is a difficult issue – as always – as general holidays are in essence institutional holidays while statutory holidays are labour benefits
– Cheung said the authorities have initiated a study earlier on the adoption of the two sets of holidays among Hong Kong employers

Public hearing on interception of communications and surveillance.
– The LegCo Bills Committee on Interception of Communications and Surveillance (Amendment) Bill held a public hearing yesterday
– Concerns were again raised for communications through mobile apps (in Chinese) such as Whatsapp and Telegram as Government officials repeatedly refused to clarify whether these apps are included into the new regulation
– According to an official response to a question by Accountancy lawmaker and Professional Commons’ Kenneth Leung, the Government averaged about 1,000 requests a year to gain permission from the Court to intercept communications between 2009 to 2013 while averaging more than 4,000 cases a year requesting users’ information directly from service providers

Politics (general)

Geoffrey Ma: Senior Counsels should serve the public interest.
– Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, when addressing at the Ceremony for the Admission of ten new Senior Counsels, stressed that the appointment “is one that serves the public interest”
– Ma also called for “a true respect for the law and its spirit” and that “whether social, economic or political – the lawyer, or more specifically, the advocate must at all times understand that he or she is serving the law first and foremost”
– Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, meanwhile, welcomed the record high number of appointments, four from which are from the Department of Justice

Democratic Party to call for judicial review on cutting bus routes.
– The Democratic Party held (in Chinese) a press briefing yesterday announcing that it is considering to request a judicial review on the authorities’ decision to cut or amend 14 bus routes in Central and Western District and Southern District starting from May 10
– Chairwoman of the Central and Western District Council’s Traffic and Transport Committee Cheng Lai-king said the Council earlier requested the Transport Department to review current bus routes only until the West Hong Kong Island Line has functioned for three months

May Day tourists record a rise.
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So confirmed an increase in the number of incoming tourists on May 1 by 22% with Mainland tourists increased by 24% compared with last year
– Executive Director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners Michael Li Hon-shing said (in Chinese) that hotel occupancy rate on May 1 was close to 90%, similar to the figure in last year, while price has dropped by about 10%