High Tide (October 25th 2015) – Daily political round up

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3 arrested over damage to vital bridge; Former FS proposes developing 5% of country parks.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

Three arrested over damage to Hong Kong’s sole road and rail connection to airport
– Three men were arrested (ch) over a damage to Kap Shui Mun Bridge, resulting in a chaotic two-hour emergency closure of Tsing Ma Bridge, the only road and rail connection linking up Lantau Island and accordingly the Hong Kong International Airport to the rest of the city
– The vessel involved, believed to be a barge, was found to have exceeded the licence height limits of 41 metres and was later identified at the Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter
– Six non-structural rails for carrying the inspection platform near the mid-span of the bridge were founded by the collision
– CY Leung, after convening an inter-departmental meeting to discuss the follow-up actions, stressed the importance of an alternative route to and from the airport in the form of Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link, which was expected to be completed in about three years and will be the longest undersea tunnel in Hong Kong
– The Transport Department, which was criticised for poor arrangement in wake of the incident, stated that planned emergency ferry service was provided – this was nonetheless hardly known to the public

Government to cap emissions from power plants
– The Government published the fifth technical memorandum issued under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance which aims to further reduce the emissions of air pollutants from power plants from 2020 onwards
– Under the new memorandum, the annual emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and respirable suspended particulates (RSP) from the power generation sector will be capped from 2020 at 7 670 tonnes, 21 270 tonnes and 585 tonnes respectively, 16% to 17% tighter that the targets set for 2019 in the fourth technical memorandum

Politics (General)

Forgoing 5% of country parks in exchange for living space a million people, former Financial Secretary suggests
– Speaking at a ’roundtable’ conference held by the pro-est DAB, former Financial Secretary Antony Leung said (ch) the Government should increase the ratio of public housing residents from 50% to above 60% through several measures, including developing 5% of the city’s country parks to accommodate some one million people
– Leung criticised the rise of protectionism in the form of ‘localism’ which he said would be detrimental to the city’s advantages on human and capital flows

Legal experts join conference on criminal justice system development
– About 120 members of the judiciary, criminal law practitioners and academics participated in the 2015 Criminal Law Conference to discuss several issues related to the latest development in criminal law, covering human rights consideration in the operation and reform of the hearsay rule in criminal proceedings, enhancing the rehabilitative nature of the criminal justice system, test of “reasonable prospect of conviction” for the purpose of making prosecutorial decisions, and money laundering
– Meanwhile, the visiting principal deputy director of the US Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Kari Johnstone, urged the city’s administration to do more to tackle human trafficking amid an upcoming judicial review set to begin in January to challenge the Government over its commitment to handle the problem