High Tide (June 9th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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“Serious” response to MERS; Ronny Tong in search of the Third Way; ‘Long Hair’ acquitted of pushing a woman at City Forum. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Government raises response level for MERS to “Serious”.
– The Government has raised response level for MERS from “alert” to “serious”
– Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man noted the number of third tier transmission cases has surpassed that of second tier transmission cases, and that “the risk of a community outbreak in Korea has considerably increased”
– The Department of Health has also issued a travel health advice, which has content similar to the red Outbound Travel Alert but lacks binding power over the travel industry
– The Travel Industry of Hong Kong will hold a meeting later today to discuss further arrangements
– Public hospitals will shorten visiting hours to no more than 2 hours for general acute wards and 4 hours for convalescent and infirmary wards

LegCo on elderly care services, broadcasting spectrum.
– The LegCo Panel on IT and Broadcasting discussed the assignment of broadcasting spectrum in the post-ATV era
– The authorities reported (in Chinese) that applications for TV licence from three campanies namely HKTV, Fantastic Television and Forever Top (Asia) Limited were under process
– IT lawmaker Charles Mok criticised (in Chinese) the Government’s broadcasting policy for creating a monopoly in the market and called for a public hearing to discuss the issue
– The Government also admitted (in Chinese) that there is still room for improvement in installing wifi hotspots, which currently amount to about 2900 spots covering 600 places
– Meanwhile, Labour Party’s Fernando Cheung urged (in Chinese) the Government to review the sub-par care service voucher scheme for the elderly and the outdated care homes licencing system during the Panel on Welfare Services meeting

CS talks proven fruitless as Pan-dems reaffirm stance over political reform.
– Chief Secretary Carrie Lam met with lawmakers from Labour Party, the Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre, the Professional Commons and People Power to discuss political reform
– All pan-dem parties reaffirmed their stance to vote down the reform package while urging (in Chinese) the authorities to take up the responsibility to repair the damaged ties between the Government and the society

Politics (general)

Ronny Tong launches new think tank to search for the Third Way.
– Civic Party’s (if that categorisation still works) Ronny Tong announced the official launch of his think tank Path of Democracy
– Tong said while he would veto the political reform, he hoped to rebuild mutual-trust, safeguard the “One country, two systems” principle and to change the city’s political culture through the newly established platform
– Tong said the think tank will focus on studying the “One country, two systems” principle instead of the political reform and that there is no plan for the group to run for elections yet

Leung Kwok-hung acquitted of ‘assaulting’ a woman at City Forum.
– Lawmaker ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung was acquitted of pushing a woman at the City Forum last year as the Magistrate judged that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to prove its case
– It is judged that Leung’s action did not constitute a clear assault as the woman was said to be getting close to Leung in a provocative and offensive manner
– Leung accused the Government of using pro-Beijing groups to restrain his freedom of expression