High Tide (September 5th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Police SMS mistaken as scam; ‘Hero Fai’: Chinese captain called me a ‘dog’; Record high applications for haunted flats. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

CY Leung condemns anti-tourism activities amid retail drop.
– CY Leung condemned anti-parallel trader protests which hindered Hong Kong’s tourism growth which would also affect the city’s retail, transportation and food and beverage industries
– While Leung’s concern is valid to a certain extent (the PMI, an indicator of economic health of the manufacturing sector, fell for the sixth consecutive month to 44.4 in August), the number of mainland visitors actually increased from 360m in April to 385m last month, suggesting that the drop in purchasing power of mainlanders is a more accurate cause of the economic downturn

Police mistaken as scammer for sending SMS alert on phone scams.
– A text message from the ‘HK Police’ to warn Hong Kong citizens over phone scams was itself mistaken by many as a scam – since it was all in Chinese characters
– It was later confirmed that the message was indeed sent by the Police following an earlier announcement that they are cooperating with four mobile operators to issue SMS alerts on phone scams

Ombudsman to probe Government’s axing of four trees.
– The Ombudsman has initiated a direct a direct investigation into the Government’s handling of the axing of four stonewall trees at Bonham Road
– The Highways Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Tree Management Office of the Development Bureau will be probed to examine whether any of these authorities failed to follow relevant policies and proper procedures in making the decisions and taking the actions

Gregory So to attend APEC ministerial meeting in the Philippines.
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So will represent Hong Kong at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Structural ReformMinisterial Meeting held in Cebu, the Philippines, on Sept 7 and 8
– The five topics of the meeting are namely Structural Reform for Inclusive Growth, Structural Reform and Innovation, Structural Reform and Services, Tools for Structural Reform and New Directions for Structural Reform in APEC

Political (General)

Ronny Tong meets top Beijing officials on Hong Kong affairs following military parade.
– Convenor of ‘Path of Democracy’ and former Civic Party core member Ronny Tong met with Fung Wei, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council after attending the military parade in Beijing, discussing issues concerning communications (ch) between Beijing and pan-dems and the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle
– Tong then dined with the Director Wang Guangya, expressing hopes to arrange a ‘Path of Democracy’ visit to Beijing to meet with mainland officials and scholars later this year or in early 2016

A Hero or a Dog? Hong Kong Goalie claims he was insulted by Chinese player on the pitch.
– Yapp Hung-fai, Hong Kong’s goalkeeper who was hailed by fellow citizens as a hero in the draw against China, claimed the Chinese skipper Zheng Zhi called him a ‘dog‘ by the end of the match
– Zheng Zhi defensed himself by saying that the referee was close enough and would have heard it if he did insult Yapp, and in turn critised Yapp for time wasting – a rather big call considering the fact that the referee is an Australian

15,000 voice out against proposal to abandon tram service in Central.
– The Town Planning Board received about 15,700 opinion letters concerning a proposal to kick tram service out of Central by a former Government town planner, of which most were opposing to the proposal
– Political parties from both camps earlier organised separate “one person, one letter” campaigns to garner opposition to the seemingly one-man crusade

Senior logistics official who cheated government out of HKD4.2m sentenced to 8 months in prison.
– Leung Chiu-ping, a senior official from the Government Logistics Department who defrauded the administration of HKD4.8m in monthly rental allowances and down-payment loans, was sentenced to 8 months in jail
– The sentence, meanwhile, was suspended for two years based on factors that allowed an exception

Government blasted for ivory trade loopholes.
– While the Hong Kong Customs recently seized a total of 24 kilograms of suspected ivory cut pieces from an inbound air parcel at the Hong Kong International Airport, the administration was criticised for its inaction (ch) in enforcing an international treaty on combating ivory smuggling after it was signed in 1989
– There are about 400 licensed ivory vendors holding a total of 111.3 tonnes of ivory and the figure only dropped by 9.8 tonnes (a mere 8% of the total stocks) over the past five years

Record high applications for haunted public housing flats.
– The Government received a record breaking 88,300 applications for some 1,200 flats under the Express Flat Allocation Scheme, many of which have had a record of murder or suicide cases (ch) happening inside the flats
– It was reported that Hong Kong’s housing price soared by 20.7% in the last quarter compared with the same period in 2014