That time Mao declared independence from China

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang laid down the law on independence at the National People’s Congress early this month. Independence for Hong Kong will “lead nowhere,” he fulminated in his annual work report.

But what about that time when the Communist Party declared independence from China? Continue reading

Developer plans caravan park in Cheung Sha Coastal Protection Area

 

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Caravans in Tong Fuk

The Town Planning Board is weighing an application to build a caravan park in a Coastal Protection Area (CPA) at Cheung Sha.

A company called Well Power Investment Development Ltd has sought permission to place nine caravans on a site for three years and to build supporting facilities including a toilet, a storage area and a kiosk

The site covers 3,016 square metres, of which 85% is designated CPA, and applies to lots 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 S.B, 66 RP and 67 in D.D.331. The remainder is government land.

One of the directors of the company is Chan Shekmou, an indigenous resident of South Lantau, according to a company registry search by Apple DailyIt says the caravans will be placed on stone and will not impact on the vegetation and argues that the proposal is consistent with the government’s ambitions to make South Lantau a tourist zone. Continue reading

Tai O chief calls for end to Lantau closed road

img_8052-copyThe head of the Tai O Rural Committee has called on the Transport Department to lift all vehicle restrictions for South Lantau.

In a written question ahead of next Monday’s Islands District Council meeting, Lou Cheuk-wing argues that now the government has ruled out a direct Tung Chung-Tai O link, it should open up South Lantau to all traffic.

This would allow “Lantau residents and all Hong Kong people to bring their vehicles without having to apply for a permit. Free movement between Tung Chung and southwest Lantau would bring convenience for city residents,” Lou said.

His request will almost certainly be rejected out of hand because of the limitations of the road network. Rural committee leaders have been pressing for the upgrade of South Lantau Road into a standard highway to support the unrestricted flow of vehicles onto the island. The Transport Department eased permit rules last January, allowing 25 private cars and 40 tourist coaches daily.

Last May 60 residents blocked Keung Shan Rd near Tai O to protest the danger posed by the growing traffic on the narrow, winding road.

The government rejected the Tung Chung-Tai O road, which has been under discussion on and off for 30 years, because of the cost and impact on the sensitive coastal environment.

Mui Wo home prices set to soar, says CBRE

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Mui Wo property prices are set to rise sharply, a senior Hong Kong real estate figure predicts.

Kam Hung-yu, a Hong Kong managing director at global estate giant CBRE and a former president of of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, predicts a major hike in residential valuations.

Writing in the Economic Journal he says the Housing Authority will start selling its new Mui Wo apartments in August. Mui Wo prices currently are at around $7000-$8000 psf, but after subsidies this will fall to as low as HK$5000.

“Some Hong Kong people believe the location is not attractive because it is too far [from the city],” he wrote. But he says citizens who qualify for the HA ‘green form’ subsidy should genuinely consider it. “This most likely is a housing market with very strong potential to rise in value,” he wrote. Continue reading

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