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By: REN Ziyi DavidEdited by: Robin Ewing


Tai Hang Sai Estate: elderly’s struggle under redevelopment

Today, Pun Git-fong, 90, doesn't take a nap with the TV on like usual. Instead, on this cloudy afternoon, she puts on her old blouse, closes the door and starts an arduous five-minute journey down the stairs from the fifth floor to the ground floor. Her neighbours are waiting for her. They are about to rally. More than 30 residents of Tai Hang Sai Estate, Hong Kong's last private housing estate for low-income families, are protesting a redevelopment plan that has been in the works for more than six years. The residents, many of whom have lived here for decades, say both the developer and the government are ignoring their needs and failing to communicate transparently.  Residents want to be given a place to live during the redevelopment, which is expected to last five years. Currently, they’ve been told they need to find their own housing. The crowd, mostly seniors, chants: "One house for one house; relocation needs common agreement. We only want to enjoy the old age; we don't want to drift from place to place." "Don't toss about the elderly; government helps placement,” they shouted. Established in 1965, Tai Hang Sai Estate offered shelter to tenants who lost their homes during the 1953 Christmas day fire in  Shek Kip Mei. The fire, which destroyed the entire estate and caused 3 deaths and 51 injured, brought the issue of safe public housing policy to light.  However, Tai Hang Sai Estate is not qualified as one. The British Hong Kong government offered a discount to developer Hong Kong Housing Corporation Limited (HKHCL) to buy the land for estate construction in 1961, which classified the site into private property.  "Either Hong Kong Housing Authority or any other Hong Kong authorities could manage the estate," says 64-year-old Tam Kwok-kiu, the former District …

Health & Environment

No phone, no entry

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Aruzhan ZEINULLA、Le Ha NGUYEN、Yu Yin WONGEdited by: Jenny Lam
  • 2021-12-29

Since November, scanning of the Leave Home Safe app has become mandatory for visitors to government buildings. This poses a problem for many homeless people in Hong Kong who do not have mobile phones. Chloe Wong, Joana Nguyen and Aruzhan Zeinulla report on how homeless people cope and what’s being done to help them


Lowest ever turnout under revamped LegCo Election system

The first Legislative Council election under the revamped electoral system ended last night with a 30.2% turnout rate in the geographical constituency races, the lowest since the handover in 1997. About 1, 350, 680 people cast their ballots in 10 geographical constituencies, a 28% percent decrease from the last Legco election in 2016. The turnout in the Election Committee constituency was 98.5% and 32.2% for the functional constituencies, according to official statistics. Click here to see the voting rates of different districts (made by Grace Koo). “Their votes are not only for choosing their own LegCo members. They are also a show of support for the improved electoral system and their aspirations for effective enhancement of the governance efficiency of the HKSAR as well as the resulting economic development and livelihood improvements,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a press release yesterday.  Beijing reformed Hong Kong’s electoral system in March, by creating an Election Committee constituency of 40 seats to be voted on by a body established in September. The electorate is made up of 1500 Election Committee members. The total number of seats in Legco also increased to 90 from 70. “The election committee is composed of elites from all walks of life,” said Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Group, and a member of the Election Committee. “I think the new system can really work.” Mr Zeman though failed to secure a seat in the Election Committee constituency. A total of 153 candidates competed for this term of LegCo. For the first time since the handover, there is more than one candidate running for every seat, including the functional constituency seats. Twenty members were directly elected in the geographical constituencies. Voting was changed to a double seat, single-vote system, which means each voter can vote …

Culture & Leisure

“Cinema for the Climate”: Environmental Crisis through Camera Lens

The Hong Kong French Film Festival collaborated with Greenpeace East Asia to hold a special movie screening of Animal and a roundtable discussion today.  Dr. Benoit Guenard and Dr. Janet Chan from the University of Hong Kong were invited to the roundtable discussion with the students. Students raised questions on multiple environmental issues and discussed solutions to alleviate the problems. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the HKFFF, the movie screening was held in Hong Kong City Hall. The HKFFF aims at promoting public engagement in creating positive impacts on the community and raising the public’s awareness of the environmental crisis. To achieve this, the HKFFF has curated a new series of movie screenings from today to 14 December, named “Cinema for the Climate”, taking the opportunity to connect with youngsters through this outreach programme. Tom Ng, Campaigner of Greenpeace, said this cooperation is a valuable opportunity to raise awareness among youngsters.  “Through this cooperation with the HKFFF, we would like more people, especially the younger generation, to be aware of environmental issues such as climate change and water resources,” he said.  There are a total of 170 students from more than 10 faculties from different educational institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Baptist University,  the Education University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the French International School. University students mainly come from the “French language", "Film and TV Directing" discipline who are interested in French culture and cinema. Directed by Cyril Dion, “Animal” is part of the “Cinema for the Climate” selection in this year’s edition of the Cannes film festival.  The film is about young campaigners and their stories of travelling around the world to search for another way of living alongside other species, as co-habitants rather than predators. …

Culture & Leisure

Asian contemporary art gallery holds exhibition "Prism" to celebrate 3-year anniversary and promote Eastern art

  Soluna Fine Arts, an Asian contemporary art gallery with deep roots in South Korea, located in Sheng Wan, hosted a month-long exhibition themed “PRISM” from September to October to celebrate its three-year anniversary. Prism - an optical term - is a piece of glass or transparent material cut with precise angles to reflect or disperse a beam of light, forming a rainbow. It symbolises ways people used to see things with respective judgements and prejudices, the organiser said, as they filter facts and live under their own spectrum. The exhibition displayed 36 pieces of artwork produced by sixteen South Korean artists and one Hong Kong artist collaboratively. One of the exhibits was “Buncheong Tiger” - a pair of classical Korean pottery of white slip and transparent glazes covered with dark stones - crafted by artist Huh Sang-wook. Agnes Wy Ching-yi, the gallery operation manager, said the exhibition aimed to promote Asian contemporary art with its items representing a diversity of cultures and styles across countries. “Many people have known us as an art organisation with a lot of Korean artists, but we are starting to represent and excavate Hong Kong artists as well,” she said. “PRISM” was a milestone to the gallery as for the first time it launched an exhibition on its anniversary, she said, and it gave artists a platform to reflect on their work over the years. Over 500 visitors attended the exhibition, said gallery assistant Hannah Lee. It was open to the public for free. “Since we have to display the artworks from 17 artists in our gallery which is not very spacious, the balance of exposure gained by every single artwork is one of our concerns,” Wu said, speaking of the challenges her team faced in running the exhibition. They had to thus switch …


Running District Councils in absence of colleagues arrested under NSL: work and a doubtful fate

For Sai Kung district councillor Cheng Chung-man, the charging of 47 opposition activists and politicians with “Conspiracy to Commit Subversion” under the National Security Law - including 23 district councillors with three from his constituency whom he has known for ten years - came as a shock. As their trial continued, he proposed to adjourn a general Sai Kung Council meeting on March 2. He said delaying the meeting in order to support his colleagues in court was the most he could do as a way of showing his disagreement with the arrests. "We shouldn't have focused on the meeting at that time," Mr. Cheng said. The motion was voted down. So Mr Cheng took the day off and walked out. A few pro-democracy councillors also left. The meeting could not go ahead because they did not have a quorum. Those charged were involved in an unofficial primary election last June to select pro-democracy candidates for the Legislative Council election, which was postponed by the government for Covid-19 concerns. Only 11 of the 47 defendants were granted bail. Mr Cheng is among a hundred or so pro-democracy councillors who are taking over the work of those in custody, with fear that they might meet the same fate amid Beijing tightening its grip over dissent in Hong Kong’s languishing democracy. With over a dozen of district councillors not able to attend meetings, some pro-democracy councillors, such as Mr Cheng, say there is a gap in representation at meetings. "Missing one colleague is missing one colleague when we put up our hand to vote," said Fleco Mo Kai-hong, 30, a Yuen Long district councillor. “That means we might lose a person to channel the views of the constituents,” he added. His colleagues Wong Pak-yu and Ng Kin-wai, both district councillors based in …


Camping staycation: A new form of vacation apart from staying in hotels

Mawin Cheung Man-wai was heading to his office to take a break, but another group of campers showed up. So he welcomed them to his campsite instead. Mr Cheung is the chief executive officer of Easy Organic Farming, a campsite located in Yuen Long. Although Covid-19 restrictions mean they can only serve half the usual number of customers, the campsite is fully booked every day. Since the start of the epidemic in January 2020, staycations have been a worldwide trend. Not only are hotels used for staycations, camping is a popular alternative. According to the Annual Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research survey in January this year, Hong Kongers ranked fourth among 32 countries as most wanting to travel. Of those asked, 46% said they wanted to travel in 2021, while 74% said they would probably or definitely get vaccinated if that is what it takes to travel. In November 2020, Hong Kong and Singapore tried to form a “travel bubble”, where citizens might enjoy quarantine-free travel between the countries. However, the plan was put on hold when a fourth wave of Covid-19 hit Hong Kong. “I felt sorry to reject some of the customers’ bookings, but I want to ensure that campers can enjoy a safe and spacious environment during their stay at my place,” Mr Cheung said. “That is also the main reason why my campsite can attract that many people for staycation even during Covid-19.” Ricky Chan Wai-kit, 44, a loyal customer of Easy Organic Farming, regularly goes camping there with his children. It is not only an opportunity for him to bond with nature, but also allows him to reminisce about the past. “When I was young, camping was no different from military training. We had to do everything from scratch, such as looking for logs, …


RTHK producer conviction a ‘dark day for the Hong Kong press’, Hong Kong Journalists Association says

RTHK producer Bao Choy was found guilty of making a false statement and sentenced to a fine of HK$6,000 today at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court.  Ms Choy obtained car license information from a publicly accessible database while producing an RTHK documentary on the Yuen Long mob attack in July 2019.  She was charged with making a false statement for saying the purpose was traffic-related. “I firmly believe registry search is not a crime, journalism is not a crime, uncovering the truth is not a crime,” said Ms Choy on Twitter, who emphasized that this will not stop her journalism career. Representatives of the RTHK Programme Staff Union showed their support for Ms Choy with more than 30 people hugging her before the trial.  Chris Yeung, the Chairperson of Hong Kong Journalists Association, described today as “a dark day for Hong Kong press and a day of shame in Hong Kong”.  “The trial is giving a fine of HK$6,000; it's a fine for all journalists.  Journalists are here to share the responsibility,” said Mr Yeung, emphasising that journalists must dig up truth for the public interest. He also criticized the judge for ignoring the role of journalists to monitor power.   Phoebe Kong, a journalist from Deutsche Welle, said the verdict will set limitations on investigative reporting.  “As a common method for journalists to investigate the truth, the criminalization of obtaining license information may result in the disappearance of previous stories and journalists may be afraid of being prosecuted,” said Ms Kong.   


Prison rights group calls for transparency in complaint system

Beyond the high grey walls and barbed wire fence, only a little sunlight shines through the barred windows into the cells where prisoners spend their days. Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre is a medium-security facility where people who are denied bail are often held while awaiting trial. Mr Ma, who doesn’t want to reveal his full name for fear of retaliation, was arrested in November 2020 due to the social movement. He has been in solitary confinement for more than a month, and he doesn’t know when he will get out.  “You lose all your rights in solitary cells where you spend 23 hours a day facing four walls,” said Mr Ma, who has been in the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre since late November 2020.  “Everything is worse in solitary cells.” Solitary confinement should only be used as a last resort and never longer than 15 days, according to the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. But Mr Ma didn’t file a complaint. The Correctional Services Department introduced the Complaints Appeal Board CSDCAB in 2016, chaired by the deputy commissioner of correctional services. It serves to improve the transparency and credibility of the Correctional Service Department’s complaints handling mechanisms. The appeal board is responsible for re-examining complaints and making final decisions on the appeal cases against the findings of complaints investigations.  But those held behind bars have limited channels to cry for help. Complaints in Hong Kong’s 24 prisons are first investigated internally. In 2019, prisoners, members of the public and prison staff filed 504 complaints to the Complaints Investigation Unit of the Correctional Service Department, according to the department’s website. Only two were substantiated and close to 60 percent were found to be unsubstantiated. Social organisations and prison right activists call for transparency to …

Compulsory Covid testing at Hong Kong Baptist University

  • 2021-03-30

Hundreds of people at Hong Kong Baptist University have to undergo compulsory Covid-19 testing on Tuesday after a student tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday. They include students and members of staff who visited three buildings on campus where the infected student had classes