High Tide (October 28th 2015) – Daily political round up

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1000 amendments for ITB proposal; HKUSU head barred from council meeting; First conviction over bid-rigging in recent years.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

Radical democrats to move more than 1000 amendments in bid to halt ITB funding proposal
– LegCo’s Finance Committee chairman Chan Kin-por said the secretariat received a total of 1133 amendments (ch) regarding the ITB funding proposal
– Chan earlier said he hoped the committee could vote on the proposal on Friday
– Independent lawmaker Wong Yuk-man filed 700 amendments while ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung, People Power’s Albert Chan and Raymond Chan submitted 247, 100 and 70 items respectively
– Chan Kin-por said it could take 28 hours to handle all amendments and that he would seek negotiations with the radical lawmakers to withdraw or merge their items

CY Leung blames judicial reviews for lack of alternative route to Lantau Island 
– CY Leung accused judicial review actions of delaying the city’s infrastructure projects, in particular the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link which “could act as a substitute for Tsing Ma Bridge” and is part of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge project
– Leung’s remarks came after the two-hour traffic chaos when the Tsing Ma Bridge was closed for emergency check last Friday
– Civic Party, which has been accused of being the mastermind behind the judicial review against the HZMB project, said the project would not have commenced late 2010 with or without the legal action and blasted Leung for misleading the public

Average waiting time for public flats hits three and a half years
– The Housing Authority’s latest figures showed that the average wait for families and single people to queue for a public flat had increased from 3.4 years last year to 3.6 with the number of applicants up from 248,100 to 285,300
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung attributed the issue to land shortage and strong local opposition over building flats

Tax revenue up by record 24%
– The Inland Revenue Department collected a record high HKD301.9bn tax revenue in 2014, an increase of 24% according to its annual report
– Stamp duty revenue recorded an increase of 80% from HKD41.5bn to HKD74.8bn

Politics (General)

‘Whistle-blower’ Billy Fung suspended from HKU Council meetings
– University of Hong Kong Students’ Union president Billy Fung Jing-en wasbarred from participating in the discussion on reserved items at the HKU Council meeting as he refused to promise that he would abide by the confidentiality agreement
– Meanwhile, two out of four academics involved in the mishandling of donations by Occupy co-founder Benny Tai, namely Johannes Chan and HKUPOP director Robert Chung, were seeking reviews on their verdicts
– CY Leung said appointments of university council members had been made in difficult circumstances due to an “overly politicised” atmosphere

Sub-contractors over HKD45m bid-rigging plots handed himself in
– A renovation subcontractor admitted his role over a HKD45m bribery win tenders for two projects, one of which involved a HKD260m worth of work at a Sha Tin private housing estate
– The subcontractor pleaded guilty at the District Court to four counts of bid-rigging activities between 2005 and 2014, becoming the first to be convicted over recent row on building management irregularities

MTR relaxes size restrictions on music instruments
– The MTR Corp revealed plans to relax size restrictions on music instruments to be taken on train with the maximum total dimensions of an item extended from 170 cm to 235 cm and any one side of that item from 130cm to 145cm
– Passengers carrying large music instruments will still need to apply for an “Oversized Musical Instrument Permit” valid for three years and will still be barred from taking the trains during the morning rush hour
– The new regulation will come into effect in November