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By: Yoyo Kwok Chiu TungEdited by: Vikki Cai Chuchu

Confusion and complaints as LeaveHomeSafe app becomes compulsory

  • 2021-12-09

From today, scanning the contact tracing app LeaveHomeSafe is mandatory for entry into all restaurants, gyms, pubs and some other public venues. Failure to comply will result in a $5000 fine. People over 65 years, under 15 years and those with disabilities are exempted under the government’s policy. That’s raising questions on why these groups don’t need to be traced.   At LokFu wet market and some restaurants in the district, the QR code for scanning LeaveHomeSafe was not displayed. Some restaurants continued to provide paper forms. “I think the exemption is a kind of discrimination, “ said Tsz-wai Kwok, 27, who works for an educational institution. He is worried that the government will use the LeaveHomeSafe app to collect personal data. The government had denied doing so earlier.   Wing-long Poon, 20, a student from the Hong Kong Baptist University said it is unreasonable that elderly people and children are exempted from using the app.   “It is still kind of weird, what if I lost my phone and I cannot scan the QR code? ” she said.   Poon has taught her grandmother to use the LeaveHomeSafe app but has found that to be challenging.   “Elderly people are not familiar with smart devices. If the app is compulsory for them, they may not be able to eat out,” she added.   Li Chung-wai, 42, who buys groceries in the wet market everyday, said the policy is meaningless.   “Elderly people are the most dangerous infection group. I want to know why they do not need to scan QR code before getting in the premises,” she pointed out.   Government figures show that vaccination rate in Hong Kong is lowest among people aged 80 years and above. “About 16% of confirmed COVID-19 cases are elderly people, and they …


Film censorship amendment bill passes, giving government power to ban films ‘contrary to” national security

The Legislative Council passed the film censorship amendment bill on Wednesday, giving the chief secretary the power to ban films “contrary to” national security.  Banned screenings will face penalties as high as HK$1 million and three years in prison. “The amendment bill is aimed at striving for a balance between the freedom of artistic expression and national security,” said Ma Fung-kwok, the chairman of this case conference. According to the film censorship ordinance, any action of glorifying violence or inciting hatred towards the country could be grounds for censorship.  “The phrase ‘contrary to’ is ambiguous. It is hard for us to define which kind of plots may threaten national security,” said Pao Wai-chung, 55, a local film and television screenwriter. "The amendment bill targets independent or crowdfunded films like Inside the Red Brick Wall,” he said. “The amendment won’t cause any trouble to commercial directors as producers of mainstream movies will never challenge the limit intentionally but comply with the rules so the amendments are not putting them at the risk of bearing losses,” said Pao.  The Equal Write Union, an advocacy group for local screenwriters, said that filmmakers tackling sensitive topics, such as political issues, now might be put into jail instead of just being banned. “The article is intended to be unclear for the film producers, which can make prosecution and conviction easier,” said the spokesperson for the Equal Write Union. “It heightens the risk for filmmakers,” said Pao.  Councillors said the bill should also regulate cinemas and local streaming media.  The movie Ten Years, which won the Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Award in 2016, exhibited in 2015. Leung Mei-fun, a Legco committee member thinks Ten Years was a gulf of hatred towards mainland China and Putonghua; they even romanticized violence such as self-immolation. Also, …

Vaccine passport scheme appears troublesome in Hong Kong

  • 2021-05-19

The Hong Kong government is now experimenting on vaccine passports, while it is not going too well as the public found it troublesome along with the recent COVID-19 cases spike in Asia. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said last month that Hong Kong vaccination passports already existed with both electronic and printed versions. Besides a printed version of certification given to those who received two vaccine doses in Hong Kong, an electronic proof of vaccination can also be found by downloading the iAM Smart app.  Even though there is not a globally recognised vaccine passport system yet, getting vaccination is the most effective way to walk out of the pandemic and return to normal activities, Lam said. She also said the record in the mobile application can be used as proof for COVID 19 prevention exemption in the future. The recent government measures include the reopening of bars and relaxing rules on restaurants if workers and customers showed they have taken vaccines.  “I highly doubt the Hong Kong government is able to promulgate and implement a practical vaccination passport,” said Liang Jia, the 30 year mainland citizen who works in Hong Kong and hasn’t vaccinated yet. “The government didn’t do a good job in coronavirus outbreak control and put people’s expectation off again and again in terms of opening the mainland and Hong Kong border,” she said. People’s hope to go back to China or Hong Kong without quarantine was dashed, she added.  There were 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases on April 18, of which 29 cases were imported and the one local case was connected to a patient with the highly infectious N501Y mutant strain. In preventing the spread of mutant coronavirus, the government suspended flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for 14 days since there had been …