High Tide (May 5th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Lo Wai-chung as new commissioner; Tax revenue hits record high; Beijing negotiator on HK dies at 87. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

New Police Commissioner eyes better relationship with the public.
– The State Council has approved the appointment of Deputy Commissioner Lo Wai-chung (profile) to take over the outgoing Commissioner Andy Tsang’s position
– Lo said he will work to “rectify the misunderstanding” that the Force have been biased since the Occupy Movement
– Tsang, in his leaving remarks, stressed that police-public relationship has not been worsened during his term while warning that there is an increased “sense of lawlessness”
– Senior Assistant Commissioner Chau Kwok-leung succeeded Lo as Deputy Commissioner

Tax revenue hits record HKD301.9 billion despite modest forecast.
– The Inland Revenue Department reported a record HKD301.9 billion tax revenue in the fiscal year 2014-2015, a 24% increase compared to last year’s figure
– Upsurge in stamp duty took up most of the rise, which rose by 80% to HKD74.8 billion
– Inland Revenue Department commissioner Wong Kuen-fai, meanwhile, noted that tax arrears in salaries tax and properties tax arrears rose by 19% and 37% respectively, which Wong said could be owing to taxpayers paying their taxes in installments as a form of disobedience

Hong Kong Housing Society to raise rents despite HKD32.3 billion worth of net assets. 
– The LegCo Panel on Housing discussed rents on public housing as CEO of HK Housing Society Wong Kit-loong said the Society plans (in Chinese) to raise the rents for the 30,000 public housing units and to disqualify residents who are above the income cap
– Lawmakers questioned the move as the Society held net assets of HKD32.3 billion last year

Carrie Lam briefed Members of the European Parliament on “alive and thriving” Hong Kong.
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam visited Brussels after a short stay in Amsterdam where she met with the newly-elected board members of the Netherlands Hong Kong society
– In Brussels, Lam met with Chinese Ambassador to Belgium Qu Xing, Head of Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union Yang Yanyi, Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness of the European Commission (EC) Jyrki Katainen, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the EC Karmenu Vella, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Work, Economic Affairs and Consumer Affairs of Belgium Kris Peeters, as well as Members of the European Parliament (EP)
– When addressing the EP, Lam touched upon an “alive and thriving” Hong Kong’s business connection with the EU, its role as China’s international financial hub, the Basic Law, the political reform proposals as well as the Occupy Movement

Commission on Poverty discusses retirement protection.
– The Commission on Poverty convened the fourth meeting in its second term to discuss topics on retirement protection
– Chaired by Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung, the Commission noted that the Government has spent HKD30 billion in 2014-2015 on Pillar 4 in retirement protection, which covers various public services including medical services and long-term care services and public transportation
– The Commission stated that the authorities will commission two independent consulting teams to prepare for the public consultation on retirement protection in the forth quarter

Politics (general)

James Tien commissions largest poll on reform in last bid to persuade Pan-dems.
– Former Liberal Party leader James Tien said he would pay HKD250,000 (out of his own pocket) to the HKU Public Opinion Programme (POP) to conduct the largest single poll on the political reform package 12 days before lawmakers vote on the proposals
– Tien said HKUPOP and its director Robert Chung is the credible choice is there is still any chance to persuade the Pan-dem lawmakers
– However, if the poll result goes against Tien’s wish, all five members of the Liberal Party will still vote for the reform package – heads I win, tails you lose

China & World

Lu Ping, former Director of HK & Macao Affairs Office, dies at age 87.
– Former Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Lu Ping, who played an important role in the negotiations between China and the UK on Hong Kong’s future back in the late 1970s, died at age 87
– CY Leung said “Director Lu left indelible footprints in the formulation and implementation of the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’. He continued to care about and deeply loved Hong Kong even after his retirement”
– Veteran democrat Martin Lee praised Lu as a politician who is willing to sit down and negotiate with democrats