Truck owner fined $6000 over Pui O waste dumping

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Pui O (file photo)

In yet another failed attempt to protect Hong Kong’s environmental assets, a truck owner has been fined just HK$6000 over the dumping of waste in Pui O.

The owner, who has not been identified, was convicted over not revealing the name of the driver.

Under the Waste Disposal Ordinance, the offence of not providing information without reasonable cause carries a penalty of up to HK$100,000 – 15 times the fine levied by the Eastern Magistrates Court on Monday. Continue reading

Lantau taxi fares up again

Lantau taxi fares are on the rise once more. From April 9, the flagfall charge will be hiked 11.7% and the incremental charge 7%.

Under the new rates, approved by the Transport & Housing Bureau and endorsed Tuesday by the chief executive in council, the flagfall will increase from $HK17 to HK$19 and the incremental charge – for every 200m – will rise from HK$1.40 to HK$1.50.

Hong Kong and New Territories cab fares will also increase by HK$2 per flagfall. In the initial application last April, Lantau drivers had sought to increase the flagfall by HK$4, Apple Daily reported.

In the last price rise in December 2013, the blue taxi flagfall was hiked from HK$15 to HK$17 and the red taxi from HK$20 to HK$22.

Continue reading

The end of the liberal democratic experiment

This is how it ends.

Like the fall of the Soviet Union, the liberal democratic order collapsed noiselessly in an afternoon. Western democracies, unlike the USSR, might stagger on but they lack confidence and influence. Leaders and citizens no longer believe in their system and are turning inwards. The quasi-liberal democratic global order will gradually be subsumed by rules imposed by Beijing and its allies.

In any case the era of US world leadership is over. The new president might wield hard power but will carry little authority, even should he be interested in influencing events.

We are on the downward trajectory of one of the great human experiments. The USA was founded as an Enlightenment project: a human-centred, reason-based social order with institutions that restrain the powerful and protect individual rights. Continue reading

Think tank endorses ELM, hopes Lantau will somehow stay green

A classic case of cognitive dissonance: a think tank calls for preservation of South Lantau’s natural heritage, yet also urges construction of the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM).

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All roads to ELM run through Silvermine Bay

A report by Tung Chee-wah’s Our Hong Kong Foundation on the city’s land supply says Hong Kong has had no major land development for more than a decade and the focus now should be on Lantau.

Like the government-appointed LanDAC commitee, it’s an enthusiast about Lantau’s economic potential because of its location at the centre of the Pearl River Delta.

Continue reading

Eddie Chu wins in landslide, warns of violence to come

Conservation and pro-democracy candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has become the biggest election story after winning a seat with a record number of votes and warning of “a storm” of violence in rural Hong Kong.

Chu, 38, a former Ming Pao journalist, topped the poll for NT West, which runs from South Lantau north to the Shenzhen border, with 82,000 votes – a record for any single candidate. He campaigned on a platform of Heung Yee Kuk reform, Hong Kong self-determination and conservation, including opposition to the East Lantau Metropolis.

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Eddie Chu at his media conference this morning

Chu broke down in tears briefly at a press conference this morning after thanking his supporters and family. He  said he was followed on the last day of the election campaign by a car that he was told belonged to a Yuen Long landlord. Continue reading

Election ’16: The rural party line

More roads for Lantau, relocation of cattle, improved sewerage works, expansion of Mui Wo tourism.

If those seem familiar they should. They are the demands of South Lantau rural committees, so it is no surprise they should be the main planks of Leung Che-cheung’s Lantau platform.

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Leung, the sitting member for New Territories West, is a prominent Heung Yee Kuk politician as well as top of one of the DAB lists for NT West. The kuk is pro-government but not necessarily pro-DAB. Lau Wong-fat was a member of the Liberal Party for some years, and in recent years kuk leaders have canvassed setting up their own party (that would be a milestone; they already have their own LegCo seat). Continue reading

LegCo 2016: An election explainer for Lantau voters

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Whether you think Hong Kong has the world’s most “ridiculous political system or that it appropriately protects the interests of business, it takes some explaining.

As a registered voter, you have two votes in the LegCo election on September 4.

Here’s how it works.

The outgoing LegCo consists of 70 seats, of which 35 are from geographical constituencies and 35 from Hong Kong’s unique creation, “functional constituencies (FCs).” These are a frankly random and hard-to-explain assortment of sectors. To take one example: insurance, finance and financial services are all separate FCs.

Only 18 will actually be contested (fun fact: the Heung Yee Kuk seat has never been contested). Voting populations vary immensely – at one end agriculture and fisheries has 154 voters; at the other end education has 88,000. Of the 35 FCs, five are district council super-seats that we all get to vote on. More on that later. Continue reading