High Tide (August 4th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Three more estates record excessive lead; Johannes Chan urged to step down; 40% of 999 calls deemed “unnecessary”. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Three more added to the list of lead-tainted estates.
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung revealed that excessive lead in drinking water was found in three more public housing estates in Shek Kip Mei, Wong Tai Sin and Hung Hom
– One water sample in Hung Hom Estate Phase 2 recorded a lead level of 44.4 mcg/litre, which exceeded the WHO safety standard of 10 mcg/litre by more than 300% and was the most serious case so far
– 33 more residents – 24 children aged below six, eight breastfeeding mothers and a pregnant woman were found to have higher-than-normal blood lead levels
– Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said the government will expand free blood test services for children aged seven and eight

Government sets up advisory body on Recycling Fund.
– The Environmental Bureau announced the establishment of the Advisory Committee on Recycling Fund
– The committee is tasked to facilitate the operation of a HKD1bn Recycling Fund put forth in the CE’s 2014 Policy Address with a special focus on waste management
– The Committee is headed by Sham Shui Po DC chairman, Jimmy Kwok Chun-wah from the pro-est Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA)

40% of 999 calls deemed “unnecessary”.
– The Police appealed to the public for proper use of the 999 hotline service as only 60% (668,668) of the calls in the first half of 2015 were genuine while the remaining 405 (446,151) were either nuisance calls or misdialled
– It was found (ch) that, compared with the first half of 2014, the number of 99 calls dropped by 1.6% while that of genuine calls increased by 11.3%

CY Leung slams “filibustering” against land development while on leave.
– CY Leung, while on leave, posted (ch) an article on his blog, noting a record 83,000 new housing units expected to be available in the coming three or four years
– Leung meanwhile questioned the motives behind those “who try every means to ‘filibuster’ the government’s work to increase land supplies” without elaborating further which particular cases he was referring to

Political (General)

People’s Daily calls on Johannes Chan to give up HKU managerial role candidacy.
– People’s Daily Overseas Edition published an article yesterday blasting students of the University of Hong Kong who stormed the HKU Council’s meeting for being “radical” and “totally irrational”, attributing their acts to “brainwashing by the opposition” led by the Civic Party
– The CCP’s mouthpiece then called on Johannes Chan, the pro-democracy candidate tapped to become the university’s pro-vice-chancellor, to withdraw from the appointment procedure, arguing that this would be “the best choice to safeguard the HKU and the social consensus”
– About 30 members of a pro-Beijing group Voice of Loving Hong Kong marched to the university, demanding the management to discipline of the ‘radical’ students
– Arthur Li, a CE-appointed council member and former Education and Manpower minister, hit back at Johannes Chan and Ming Pao‘s former chief editor Kevin Lau who both claimed that there was a middleman urging Chan to step down

Hundreds laid off as DSC shuts down.
– Furniture and home appliances retailer DSC shut down all 14 stores as it faced lawsuits over unpaid rents totalling HKD3.3 million
– About 900 employees were laid off, with more than 400 still awaiting salaries for July
– It was reported that the troubled retailer also owed its suppliers an estimated HKD10m
– More than 200 DSC employees had reportedly sought help from the Labour Department

Lawmakers urged to stop paying bonuses to assistants.
– It was reported (ch) that many lawmakers were offering double or even triple payments to their assistants
– According to Ming Pao, pro-est Tourism lawmaker Yiu Si-wing and Financial Services legislator Christopher Cheung from the BPA were paying annual bonuses totalling HKD405,000 to their assistants
– Other named lawmakers and parties included Poon Siu-ping representing the Labour Constituency, BPA’s Jeffrey Lam and Liberal Party’s Tommy Cheung as well as lawmakers from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) and the Civic Party
– CUHK’s Senior Lecturer Ivan Choy Chi-keung said lawmakers should restrain from making such payments to assistants with government funds