High Tide (December 11th 2015) – Daily political round up

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UN CAT urges Gov’t to prosecute officers who used excessive force; Two suspects sought after LegCo bin blast.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Gov’t & LegCo

Government watchdog slams Housing Department for ‘misleading information’ over public rental flats
– The Ombudsman criticised a misleading statement by the Housing Authority thatapplicants for public housing would be allocated a flat “within three years”
– The watchdog revealed that the ‘three-year wait’ claim was only correct when the waiting times for ordinary family were averaged by those of four other categories receiving priority treatment
– The report found that the average waiting time for ordinary family exceeded three years as of June, with 30% waited for longer than four years
– The report also looked into the management of permitted burial grounds in the New Territories

Government open to suspension of controversial primary school exams
– The Co-ordinating Committee on Basic Competency Assessment & Assessment Literacy held its first meeting, during which officials were said to be open tosuspending or even abandoning the controversial primary three TSA exams
– The Education Bureau proposed introducing new guidelines for TSA, including setting limits on the amount of homework and extra lessons
– The committee also agreed to form two task forces in respect of the TSA’s reporting and administration arrangement as well as its paper and question design

Medical Council to raise number of lay members
– The Food and Health Bureau responded positively to a Member’s Bill moved by Catering lawmaker Tommy Chueng of Liberal Party to increase the number of lay members in the Hong Kong Medical Council from four to eight
– The bureau stated it will introduce its own bill to the LegCo following a review to reform the Medical Council in the first quarter of 2016, and Tommy Cheung said he would withdraw his bill in accordance

Environment chief: Hong Kong’s carbon emission reduction target “aggressive”
– Speaking at a China Pavilion after attending the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said Hong Kong’s current target to reduce carbon emissions by 50% to 60% by 2020 was “aggressive”
– The Government also set a new target to reduce the city’s energy intensity by 40% by 2025
– Wong was earlier criticised by an NGO delegate for focusing only on the Government’s past efforts instead of its future plans during the COP21 conference

Postal services to Uruguay suspended
– Due to postal labour strike in Uruguay, postal services to the country was suspended with the exception of ordinary letters and Speedpost

Politics (General)

Two suspects sought after LegCo bin blast
– Police are seeking two male suspects after a rubbish bin outside the LegCo Complex was set on fire and exploded on Wednesday night
– The blast followed a protest outside the LegCo against an adjourned bill to amend the Copyright Ordinance, but no connection was made between the two so far
– Netizen group Keyboard Frontline said they already obtained a letter of no objection to stage a protest against the bill next Wednesday

UN Committee Against Torture urged Hong Kong Government to “duly prosecute” police officers allegedly abusing power during Umbrella Movement
– The UN Committee Against Torture released a nine-page Concluding Observations regarding Hong Kong, in which it expressed concern over “consistent reports of excessive use of tear gas, batons, and sprays against protesters during the 79-day protest…that police resorted to violence against more than 1300 people” and “allegations of threats of sexual violence and assaults by the police to demonstrators”
– The Committee urged the Hong Kong Government to conduct independent investigation into the allegations and “duly prosecute alleged perpetrators, including those officers who were complicit in or allowed those acts to occur”

Minibus driver arrested for abusing concession scheme for elderly people
– A minibus driver was arrested after cheating the Government out of HKD150,000 through abusing a transport fare concession scheme for seniors and persons with disabilities
– The driver was believed to have used 21 senior Octopus cards for around 7,500 times over the past six months
– Under the scheme, seniors and people with disabilities would be charged two dollars per trip and the rest of the fare is returned to minibus operators

Lee Cheuk-yan to step down as Labour Party chairman
Lee Cheuk-yan (ch) of Labour Party said he would step down as the party’s chairman but would run for executive committee member as a general meeting will be held on Sunday to vote for a new term of leadership
– Also stepping down was vice chairperson Cyd Ho
– Secretary General Steven Kwok Wing-kin, vice chairperson Cheng Sze-lut and former executive committee member Suzanne Wu Shui-shan would run for the chairman post