High Tide (October 15th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Pro-est reclaim leadership in FC subcommittees; HK off the EC tax blacklist; DoJ dismisses complaint against Chief Justice.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

Pro-est camp scoops up funding subcommittees leadership
– The pro-Beijing camp regained leadership in two key subcommittees under the Finance Committee after being caught by surprise by the pan-dems last year
– Regina Ip of New People’s Party and unionist Wong Kwok-kin were elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Establishment Subcommittee respectively while Engineer lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok and Frankie Yick of Liberal party were elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Public Works Subcommittee respectively
– It was not without a scare though as Leung Che-cheung of the DAB was supposed to stand for PWSC vice-chairmanship under plan
– Yick was originally expected to stand for vice-chairman post of the Panel on Development but did not sign up to the panel as the Liberal Party (again)mistook (ch) it for the Panel on Economic Development

Government to review policy on taxi services amid Uber debate
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said at the LegCo general meeting that the Government will review taxi services and explore the feasibility of introducing premium taxi service, with details hopefully decided on by the end of the year
– Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Department will also consider refining regulation on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (USAs) to extend application requirement to flying UASs weighing not more than seven kilograms (without its fuel) for recreational purpose
– Lawmakers will continue to debate today on two separate members’ motions by Gary Fan and Cyd Ho to invoke the LegCo’s special power to investigate the lead-in-water scandal

Seven officers in alleged assault case to report to police
– The seven officers involved in an alleged beating up of Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu during the Occupy Movement will report to the Police headquarters later today and might face prosecution shortly afterward
– Meanwhile, about a hundred people, including Tsang himself and lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung of LSD and Civic Party’s Kwok Ka-ki, gathered at Tamar Park to mark the anniversary of the incident

HKMA demands seven banks recall contact-less credit cards with security flaw
– The Hong Kong Monetary Authority demanded seven banks to recall or replace credit cards that provide contactless payments service as the system was said to contain a security flaw that allows unauthorised sources to gain access to card holders’ names
– The HKMA issued guidelines back in 2012 asking banks not to install card holders’ names into the cards but no proper enforcement had been carried out
– The seven banks included Bank of China (Hong Kong), Bank of Communications HK, CITIC Bank International, Dah Sing Bank Limited, DBS Bank (Hong Kong), OCBC Wing Hang Bank, and ICBC (Asia)

Hong Kong off the EC tax blacklist
– The Government noted that The European Commission (EC) updated on Oct 12 a list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions amongst the European Union (EU) Member States after a “technical error” that put Hong Kong on the list
– “Following the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (CDTA) between Spain and Hong Kong in 2011, Spain has cleared Hong Kong from its national list as from April 1, 2013. The EC’s publication in mid June 2015 failed to take this into account and wrongly classified Hong Kong as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction listed by 10 EU Member States,” a Government spokesperson stated

DoJ dismisses criminal complaint against Chief Justice and two magistrates
– The Department of Justice, after consulting the Queen’s Counsel, concluded that a criminal complaint by an ex-magistrate, Symon Wong, against Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma and two of his colleagues disclosed “no possible criminal offenceagainst any of the persons”
– Wong earlier accused Ma and the two colleagues of misleading him into withdrawing from another complaint against Deputy High Court Judge Michael Stuart-Moore

Beijing to consider further relaxation of travel restrictions to Hong Kong
– Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said the Central Government would consider relaxing its travel restrictions to allows more residents of mainland cities to travel to Hong Kong
– Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury KC Chan however said the city should come up with new strategies to entice tourists instead of chasing after figures