High Tide (December 30th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Govt denies report that travel by XRL would take longer time; Last-minute cancellation of high-profile presser.

Photo: Chris Lusher


 

Government & LegCo

Government dismisses report that high-speed rail link would take more stops
– The Transport and Housing Bureau released a statement regarding the High-Speed Rail Link, denying a newspaper report which suggested that it would take longer to travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou with the rail services as two more stops were added to the mainland section
– “The Hong Kong side has been designing the project based on this scheme and discussing the operation details with the Mainland authorities and operators without making any changes…Their existence [the two added stops] on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Section does not mean that XRL trains to and from Hong Kong in the future have to stop at these two stations,” the statement read
– Meanwhile, it was found that the stations in mainland had indeed reserved space for immigration facilities in case the co-location arrangements (ch) did not work out, contrary to CY Leung’s earlier claim that co-location would be the only solution

Overseas visits of top officials cost more than HKD10m in 2015
– Hong Kong’s top officials made more than 180 official visits (ch) with an expenditure of more than HKD10m in 2015, at least HKD2m more than last year’s figure, according to a Ming Pao report
– Financial Secretary John Tsang reportedly spent HKD1.68m in 10 visits while Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So made 20 visits costing HKD1.59m
– Visits concerning the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative constituted around 10% of the total figures

Standard Working Hours report could be ‘flawed’ amid employee representatives’ boycott, committee chairman says
– Chairman of the Standard Working Hours Committee Edward Leong said a report due to be submitted to the government early next year would be “flawed” if six employees’ representative in the committee continue to boycott the meeting
– The employees’ representatives stormed out of a meeting last month, slamming employer representatives for refusing to back legislation on mandatory compensation for overtime works

General Politics

‘Shanghai Boy’ calls off press conference on CY Leung aides meeting
– An alleged former triad leader made a last-minute cancellation of a press conference which would reveal details of a meeting he had with CY Leung’s aides in 2012 before the CE election
– Kwok Wing-hung, nicknamed ‘Shanghai Boy’, allegedly blackmailed tycoons and involved in a HKD1.6bn fraud scheme in partnership with a retired police superintendent, according to several recent Oriental Daily stories
– Kwok called the press conference to counter the stories and to talk about “the inside story of the ‘underworld dinner’ during the 2012 Chief Executive election”

Australian MP resigns from ministerial post following scandal at Hong Kong bar
– Australian Liberal party member Jamie Briggs stepped down from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ministry following a late-night incident in which he put his arm around a female public servant and later kissed her on the cheek in a Hong Kong bar – apparently without the counterpart’s consent
– Briggs visited Hong Kong in late November as part of an international tour of major public transport systems

Judicial reviews sought against Johannes Chan decision and small house policy
– Hong Kong University Students’ Union President Billy Fung and External Vice-President Colman Li Fung-kei will be filing for judicial review regarding a HKU Council decision to reject the appointment of Johannes Chan as the university’s pro-vice-chancellor
– Meanwhile, Cheung Chau resident Kwok Cheuk-kin, dubbed ‘the king of judicial review’, added one more to his portfolio as he challenged the Home Affairs Bureau and the Lands Department in bid to abolish the small house policy rights granted to indigenous New Territories residents