The Young Reporter
Chief executive demands better control towards Hong Kong budget tourism from mainland
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has asked related officials to enhance the control of the crowds to solve the complaints from Hong Kong residents over the low-cost mainland visitors gathering on the street and in restaurants. Lee said on Tuesday that the city's tourism is recovering and has reached the first stage of returning to normality, hence making it necessary to manage the capacity. In the press conference, Lee said he had asked the related authorities, including Culture, Sport and Tourism Bureau as well as Hong Kong Tourism Authority to manage the tourism’s impact on transportation. After the three-year shutdown, many cross-border tourists have returned to the city, leading to crowding in Kowloon City, To Kwa Wan, Hung Hom and more. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the number of tourists from the mainland increased to 280,525 in January, 470.8% more than the same period in 2022. Hong Kong Express announced that they would operate 400 more flights every week to cope with rising levels of flights to Hong Kong. Cheng Xinyi, a customer manager from Donghai travel agency, said they have four to five tour groups to Hong Kong every day, and Hong Kong is the best choice for tourists with a lower budget. The tourists are usually guided by their tour conductors and travel among the districts for shopping. This caused complaints about noise, hygiene issues, and transportation congestion spark. “There are many mainland tour groups eating in my restaurant,” said Maa Hoi-ying, the owner of a local restaurant in To Kwa Wan. “I usually accept 50 customers at the same time, but I can only keep 10 to 15 seats for my neighbourhoods,” she said. Maa said although there are some complaints about the tour groups, she’s happy with them as she can earn more money. …
MTR new fares tie to property profits and an one-off 1.2% fare cut announced
The Hong Kong government has approved a one-off fare reduction of 1.2% points in MTR fares this Tuesday, which is the biggest reduction in recent years, as MTR decided to maintain stable fare prices for the public, according to Lam Sai-hung, Hong Kong Transport Secretary, at a press conference on March 21. The MTR’s Fare Adjustment Mechanism is a system regulating the fare increment of public utilities, including the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited (MTR). Meanwhile, the new mechanism will be directly tied to the MTR property development profits. Starting from this June, the more profit the MTR makes, the smaller the fare increases. Lam stated that the new calculation formula of fares has a long-term effect. A decline of 1.85% for fares is expected in 2024. “The fare should have been adjusted long ago. My monthly subway transportation fee is close to HK$400, such a big cost!” said Wong Youkum, 29, a Central agency employee. Specifically, if the MTR property profit reaches 5 billion to 10 billion Hong Kong dollars, the special deduction will be increased by 0.1 percentage points. If the property profit exceeds 10 billion yuan, the special deduction will be increased by 0.1 percentage points, and the special deduction will be up to 0.8%. Jacob Kam Chak-pui, the CEO of MTR Corp, claimed that it is necessary for the corporation to have stable revenue sources as the railway network reaches a mature stage and the expenses of keeping, modernizing, and replacing railway assets have been steadily rising. “I saw some news that the subway doors suddenly flew out and broke down,” said Wong. “There is no reason for the MTR to charge higher and higher fares when even the most basic safety issues are worrying.” The MTR’s Fare Adjustment Mechanism has led to an over 31% …
Australians volunteer to conserve endangered species
Native Australian animals are increasingly under threat as natural disasters fueled by a changing climate ravage their habitats. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 57,920 koalas left in the wild in 2022, possibly as few as 32,065. Koalas in the southern part of Australia face a threat of habitat loss because the woods and woodlands there are being destroyed for urban development and agriculture. Koalas are also killed in domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents. As a continent prone to a range of devastating natural hazards including bushfires, flooding and tropical cyclones, the government has committed to spend AU$2,300,000,000 (HK$11,740,000,000) on environmental preservation in the latest budget, Up to AU$100,000,000 is specifically allocated to biodiversity preservation. People from all walks of life work together, some volunteer to be firefighters or animal rescuers, all with the aim of saving the country’s natural environment before it is too late. In June 2019, a deadly fire swept across New South Wales and demolished 6.2% of the wildlife natural habitat. The country set aside AU$200,000,000 (HK$1,020,000,000) to restore the habitats, according to the Australian government’s website. Jane Willcock is the senior registrar and museum operations coordinator at the University of Queensland. “The koalas are too afraid in their place, and they are very picky about what they eat, so they are very difficult to accommodate,” Willcock explained. Financial and physical support since the woods were ignited in July 2019 put an end to the fatal bushfire that impacted three billion animals between 2019 and 2020, either killing them or reducing their homes to ashes, according to the data from World Wildlife Fund. “My school had posters about koala-saving techniques all over the campus,” said Chong Yan, a veterinary student at the University of Sydney. The veterinary society she joined …
Hong Kong elderly struggle to age with the extreme heat
Chan Yin-chi, 77, lives alone in Kwai Hing. Every Tuesday, he visits the local community centre to dance with other elderly people. She is health conscious and brews her red dates tea every morning. The hot summer nights in Hong Kong though make it hard to sleep without an air conditioner, yet the damp cold air is a problem for Chan. “The cold wind from the air conditioning during the night makes my muscles and bones ache,” she said. “From here to here, there is pain in the whole body,” she said, pointing at her shoulders and legs. Over the past two decades, the number of days when the temperature in Hong Kong was more than 33°C in a year has increased by 50%, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. Depending on how serious the greenhouse gas emissions are, the annual mean temperature of the city is expected to rise by as high as 1.7°C from 2041 to 2060. Joey Ho Wai-yan, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong, explained that elderly folks are particularly vulnerable to the effects of high temperatures. Her clinic is often packed with people who suffered from heat stroke after staying outdoors for a long time .“Elderly people are physically weaker, have lower energy, poorer perspiration and they have difficulty adjusting to air conditioning, which affects the balance of their body temperature,” said Ho. “Even after seeking medical advice and taking antipyretic medication, the fever may still recur.” Heat stroke is caused when the body temperature reaches 41°C or higher. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and mental confusion, according to the Centre for Health Protection. Ho explained that climate change is making Hong Kong becoming hotter and more humid from mid-spring to the end of summer. This makes it harder for …
Frequent tropical cyclones wash marine litter to the shores of Hong Kong. Hong Kong Clean Up, a local non-government organisation, helps to ease the aftermath of climate change by organising weekly collecting trash activities since 2000.
Hong Kong’s unsung heroes awarded in recognition of Hong Kong’s Spirit
Eight unsung heroes were awarded the Spirit of Hong Kong Award 2023 in recognition of their efforts to Hong Kong and representing the city's spirit for this year. Established in 2013, the campaign aimed to shine a light on the city’s unsung heroes and honour their achievements. The 11th edition of the annual campaign was co-organised by the South China Morning Post and property developer Sino Group. The award winners were announced at a ceremony on Friday evening at the Conrad Hong Kong Hotel. A panel of judges selected seven for their remarkable accomplishments in the perseverance, community, culture, innovation, teamwork and youth categories, with a new Spirit of Sustainability Award category. The eighth winner was chosen by SCMP’s readers and won the Lion Rock People’s Choice Award. Lee Hoi-wu, 52, who took over her family’s decades-old restaurant in Hong Kong in 2014, won the Lion Rock People’s Choice Award. “I will continue to make good milk tea, I will strive to use it to tell the good stories of Hong Kong,” she said. “I hope that people will continue to pay attention to Hong Kong and like Hong Kong,” She added. Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu congratulated the winners at the ceremony, saying that their different cultural backgrounds and upbringings represent the spirit of the city. “They are ordinary people but also heroes. Each in their own shining and singular way, they represent the spirit of Hong Kong,” Lee said. Hong Kong has had a difficult few years, particularly since 2019, according to Lee. “Nonetheless, the people of Hong Kong have persisted. Throughout, the Hong Kong spirit has prevailed,” Lee added. The city leader praised their selfless contribution in areas spanning technology, medicine, education, culture, sports, community service and more. “They make a profound difference,” Lee said. “For the …
World's first Frozen-themed land opens at Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland unveiled its new playland based on the theme of the movie, Frozen. It is the first and only playland on this theme among the world’s Disneyland Resorts.
Midland Realty and subsidiaries face commission manipulation allegations
The Competition Commission filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing Midland Realty. Holdings and its two subsidiaries over alleged sales commission fixing. The Competition Commission alleges that Midland Holdings and its subsidiaries instructed agents to charge a minimum net commission rate of 2 percent for first-hand residential properties, starting from December 2022. Some members of the public have given their support to further address unethical practices in the real estate industry. "I am very grateful to the Competition Commission for strictly supervising this matter," said Hurry Lee, 42 years old, a buyer who bought a home at Midland Realty in February. "The price-fixing in the real estate industry is deeply concerning," Lee said, "It means that homebuyers like me may have been paying inflated prices due to collusion. I paid nearly HK$200,000 in agency fees, but that could potentially be lower if there is fair competition." According to the data from The Land Registry, since the alleged commission manipulation artificially increased the rate to 2% in December 2022, the number of sale and purchase agreements of building units for that month hit its lowest point of the year at 3,565. Furthermore, last month witnessed a decline of 33.9% compared to October last year. "I also wish for lower agency fees, because it would make it easier for us to attract potential buyers when selling properties," said Galong Wong, a staff member at Midland Real Estate Agency. "Our salary is composed of a base salary and commissions earned for each transaction completed. While the entire real estate industry has collectively increased the commission rates to 2%, allowing the company to earn more money, our individual commission for selling a property has not seen a corresponding increase," Wong said. According to the investigation by the Hong Kong's Competition Commission, Midland had conspired with Centaline …