High Tide (January 7th 2016) – Daily political round up

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Debate on copyright bill resumes; Govt expected to announce HKD95.5bn surplus; Lawmaker apologises for whoring speech.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

LegCo resumes copyright bill debate
– The quorum bell was requested for 24 times by lawmakers including ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung, Raymond Chan, Albert Chan and Fan Kwok-wai as the LegCo resumes debate on the copyright bill
– Lawmakers were still debating on a motion moved by Cyd Ho to adjourn the item when yesterday’s session ended
– Democrat Sin Chung-kai saved the efforts to delay the legislation as he was the only pan-dem who rushed back into the chamber and requested to speak when president Jasper Tsang invited Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So to conclude
– Lawmakers are expected to vote on the adjournment motion today

Eddie Ng questioned over duty trips expenditure
– During the LegCo’s question session, ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung of the League of Social Democrats asked Secretary for Education Eddie Ng over HKD433,700 that he spent on overseas duty trips, many of which were mainland-bound, in this financial year
– Leung requested details of all Ng’s duty trips, including the class of hotel accommodation, the mode and class of transport and the expense incurred
– Ng defended his trips and stressed the visits delivered results
– Meanwhile, in a separate question over the government’s counter-terrorism works, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said a total of 146 counter-terrorism and major incident contingency exercises were carried out in the past three years
– Democrat Sin Chung-kai was tapped as chairman of a subcommittee on Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance amendment order

PwC: Government surplus set at HKD95.5bn thanks to stamp duty
– PwC forecasted a HKD95.5bn surplus for the government in the current fiscal year, the highest since the 2007-2008 fiscal year
– The accounting firm attributed the huge surplus mainly to stamp duty revenue estimated at HKD77.4bn
– Financial Secretary John Tsang will deliver his budget speech on February 24
– A homeowner, meanwhile, urged the court to review the government’s property cooling measures, claiming that he was unfairly charged a stamp duty of HKD273,000

General Politics

Lawmakers welcome court decision to overturn convictions against former officials in alleged HKD700,000 fraud
– The Court of Final Appeal overturned convictions of former Secretary for Development Mak Chai-kwong and assistant highways director Tsang King-man in a flat-swap case that the duo were accused of defrauding the government out of HKD700,000 in housing allowances
– Several lawmakers, including Regina Ip of the New People’s Party, DAB’s Chan Han-pan, Democrat Emily Lau and People Power’s Albert Chan, responded positively to the court’s decision as they agreed Mak was a competent official

Mainland ‘hardline’ newspaper suggests ways to get around Hong Kong laws, lawmaker apologies for ‘whoring’ statement
– A mainland ‘hardline’ newspaper, the Global Times, added oil to the missing booksellers flame by suggesting in an op-ed that “power authorities in the world tend to have a way to get around laws to make the investigated cooperate (ch)”, hinting that mainland agencies indeed enforced laws in Hong Kong to take the booksellers north
– Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said they were still waiting for response from the mainland authorities in a request to assist investigating the case
– Meanwhile, finance lawmaker Ng Leung-sing ‘apologised‘ for suggesting that the booksellers could be arrested for whoring in the mainland, but stressed “the public has the right to know” about it even though the message may be incorrect