High Tide (July 11th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Case of baton used on protesters deemed an assault by police watchdog; No filibustering in Finance Committee for most pan-dems; S Korea issues travel alert to HK. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Major pan-dem parties will not join filibustering to block funding request for ITB.
– The Democratic Party and the Labour Party confirmed that they will not join the filibustering to block the HKD39m funding request for Innovation and Technology Bureau in the Finance Committee
– Civic Party’s Alan Leong said his party’s stance on the subject will depend on the presence of Nicholas Yang, current Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Innovation & Technology, during the FC debate
– The FC yesterday approved 14 out of 20 projects passed from the Public Works Subcommittee, including the HKD2.9bn integrated basement for West Kowloon Cultural District and the construction of the HKD42bn East Kowloon Cultural Centre
– People Power’s Raymond Chan moved a motion to adjourn but was turned down by 6 to 45
– The Committee will continue to discuss the remaining six Public Works Subcommittee projects, five items related to people’s livelihood and two last concerning the establishment of the ITB throughout the next week

Lawmakers approve establishment of an insurance monitoring body.
– Legislators passed the Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014 yesterday at the general meeting
– Under the Bill, an Independent Insurance Authority (IIA) will be established to replace the current self-regulatory system
– Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury KC Chan welcomed the passage, saying that the establishment of the IIA is “the most important regulatory reform in the insurance sector since the passage of the Insurance Companies Ordinance (ICO) in 1983”
– Lawmakers also endorsed the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2015 which would expand the profits tax exemption of offshore funds to private equity funds

Superintendent’s use of baton an “act of assault”, Police watchdog rules.
– The Independent Police Complaints Council ruled that the case of a police superintendent’s use of baton on Occupy protesters and a pedestrian should be taken as an “act of assault”
– The superintendent earlier defended himself by claiming that his baton “came into contact with certain people”
– The decision will be passed to the police force’s internal Complaints Against Police Office; if the office disagreed to the conclusion, both parties would need to report directly to CY Leung

CY Leung hails “fruitful” HK-Shenzhen cooperation.
– CY Leung led a group of senior officials to Shenzhen CPC Shenzhen to meet Committee Secretary Ma Xingrui and Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin, stressing the fruitful cooperation on areas including finance and innovation and technology between the two places
– Leung will visit Beijing between Jul 12 and 13 to meet with officials in charge of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative
– Meanwhile, when attending the 40th anniversary party of the pro-est Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, Leung warned of increasing radical influences within campuses and urged students to nurture a correct view on the world and the country

Government authorities to follow up on cases of excessive lead in fresh water in public housing flats.
– The Housing Department released results of water quality test in a public housing estate in Ho Man Tin, confirming that four samples were found to contain excessive lead
– The department reported that lead was founding in pipeline binding materials in two of the four flats while stressing that they would not rule out other possible causes of the problem

Political (General)

CUHK postpones plan to allow exception medical students to skip first year programme.
– Chinese University announced that it was postponing a plan that would allow medical students who scored 44 points or more out of 49 in the Diploma of Secondary Education to skip the first year of medical school
– The announcement was made after the Medical Council and the Secretary for Education, Eddie Ng, expressed concerns over the controversial proposal
– As Ng noted, “On the education system-wise of the 3-3-4 system…will that [the proposal] be able to match and align with the spirit and the fundamental objective of the new education system? That will be the first question to be answered.”

China & World

South Korea issues travel warning to Hong Kong amid influenza outbreak.
– South Korea reportedly issued a blue travel warning – the lowest of a four-scale alert system – to Hong Kong amid influenza outbreak in the city
– An editorial in a Korean press said the number of deaths caused by season influenza in Hong Kong was far greater than that caused by MERS in South Korea
– The HK authorities had provided the South Korean counterpart with the latest surveillance data and stressed that the nature of the two diseases were very different
– HK Government earlier issued red travel alert to South Korea in wake of a possible MERS outbreak in the Korean community

No more booing of national anthem before match, FIFA urges.
– Hong Kong fans’ recent booing of the Chinese national anthem caught FIFA’s attention as it issued a warning to the Hong Kong Football Association over the seemingly disrespectful gesture
– The international football body, which was itself caught into corruption scandals lately, warned that if the situation continues, the Hong Kong team and the association could face punishments ranging from close-door match, point deduction and even disqualification
Here is a video clip of fans booing the anthem during the World Cup qualification match between Hong Kong and Maldives