Daily Information Bulletin
Issued by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Information Services
Garden Road, 5th-8th Floors, Murray Building, Hong Kong. Tel: 2842 8777

Tuesday, July 15, 1997 CONTENTS ======== 1. HKSARG land policy and first Land Disposal Programme announced 2. Land Sales Programme announced - July 1997 to March 1999 3. TAC discussed fare increase proposals of MTRC and KCRC 4. Grant of a new franchise to KMB 5. HKSAR to be represented at Hohhot Celebrations 6. Tuition fees for UGC-funded institutions 7. Hongkong Post launches new Performance Pledges 8. Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for service industries 9. Rates and Government rent for the July-September quarter 10. Construction site safety campaign to be launched 11. Multi-media computers provided to primary schools 12. Air quality report for June released 13. The weather of June 1997 14. Visa requirements to visit HKSAR 15. Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results 16. Fresh water cut in Mong Kok 1. HKSARG land policy and first Land Disposal Programme announced ****************************************************** ******** The Executive Council approved today (Tuesday) the manner in which the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should deal with land leases and related matters in exercise of its authority under Articles 7 and 123 of the Basic Law. Announcing the details at a press conference, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, said the arrangements had been worked out under the basic guiding principles of continuity, simplicity and certainty. "Clarity, consistency and certainty in the land lease terms are essential for the effective functioning of the property sector, especially in regard to undertaking property development and investment," said Mr Leung. Mr Leung explained that the new land policy is basically the same as those prevailing before July 1, 1997, except for changes that were justified under present circumstances. He said that the arrangements can be grouped into four categories, namely, new leases, modification of lease conditions, extension of non-renewable leases, and extension of special purpose leases. The details are: New leases will be granted - (a) at a term of 50 years from the date of grant at a premium; and (b) subject to payment from the date of the land grant of an annual rent equivalent to three per cent of the rateable value of the property at that date, adjusted in step with any changes in the rateable value thereafter. The exceptions to this arrangement are special purpose leases for recreational purposes and petrol filling stations will be for 21 instead of 50 years; special purpose leases covered by franchises or operating licences will normally be the same as those of the franchises or licences; and short term tenancies are normally for periods of not more than seven years. "The charging of the annual rent follows the past arrangements, for consistency in the treatment of leases. Mr Leung added that the exemptions from the liability to pay Government rent in respect of certain rural holdings could continue. Modifications of the conditions specified in leases will be granted at a premium equivalent to the difference between the value of the land under the previous conditions and its value under the modified conditions. In modification cases which do not involve any realignment of the boundaries of the lot(s) covered by the lease concerned and are conducted by a modification letter, all the conditions previously applicable to the lease, including the lease term and the rent, will remain unchanged, with the exception of the conditions being modified. In all other modification cases conducted by surrender/regrant, the new term will be 50 years from the date of regrant. An annual Government rent of three per cent of the rateable value will be charged from the date of regrant to be adjusted in step with changes in the rateable value. Non-renewable leases will, upon expiry and at the Government's sole discretion, be extended for a term of 50 years without payment of an additional premium. However, an annual Government rent of three per cent of the rateable value will be charged from the date of extension to be adjusted in step with changes in the rateable value. "It is also important to emphasise that the lessees do not have an automatic right of renewal of their non- renewable leases. Such extension of non-renewable leases will be at the Government's sole discretion, i.e. the Government may, if circumstances require in the public interest, decide not to extend certain leases." "We expect however that most of the non-renewal leases will be renewed," Mr Leung said. Special purpose leases will, upon expiry and at the Government's sole discretion, be extended for a term of 50 years, without payment of a premium, but an annual Government rent of three per cent of the rateable value will be charged from the date of extension to be adjusted in accordance with the rateable value. The exceptions to this are - (a) leases for recreational purposes may not be extended for a term exceeding 15 years; (b) leases for petrol filling stations may not be extended. New leases for a term of not more than 21 years may, however, be granted to the existing owner on payment of a premium; (c) leases covered by franchises or operating licences should normally be extended for a term to be the same as that of the franchises or licences; and (d) leases for kerosene stores may not be extended. However, short term tenancies at full market rental may be offered to the existing owner for an initial term of three years. These arrangements follow the past arrangements except for the lease term. Mr Leung also announced a five-year Land Disposal Programme which he said was targetted towards the Chief Executive's objective of producing around 85,000 flats per annum from both the private and public sector. He said that part of the programme was aimed at making available sites to increase the supply of low density larger units to meet the demand in that sector and to help Hong Kong maintain its place as a business centre and attract investments. In the five-year Land Sales Programme, land would be disposed of to produce around 146,000 flats of which around 15,000 would be aimed at the low density larger units residential market, and 50,000 flats would be for Private Sector Participation Scheme. "The Government is determined to deliver the housing production programme," Mr Leung said. End 2. Land Sales Programme announced - July 1997 to March 1999 ****************************************************** ** The Director of Lands, Mr Robert Pope, announced today (Tuesday) the Government's Land Sales Programme for the 21- month period from July 1997 to March 1999. The programme consists of 100 sites extending to some 157 hectares (ha) and is the precursor of future two-year rolling programmes. The two-year programme (April 1997 to March 1999) includes the four sites already sold since the beginning of the current financial year and two Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) sites now being tendered. The breakdown of the sites is as follows: 1997/98 ******* User Number of Sites Area(ha) ---- --------------- -------- (i) C 5 3.2856 (ii) CR/R1/R2 9 5.4757 (iii) R3/R4 12 18.8312 (iv) PSPS 5 10.3908 (v) Industrial 8 3.7545 (vi) Others 2* 10.4590 *Include Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Market Phase II 1998/99 ******* User Number of Sites Area(ha) ---- --------------- -------- (i) C 8 11.2550 (ii) CR/R1/R2 13 16.4348 (iii) R3/R4 24 51.1149 (iv) PSPS 8 27.7090 (v) Industrial 8 6.5829 (vi) Others 4# 0.7700 #Petrol filling station sites Mr Pope stated that the approximate number of flats to be produced from this programme would be as follows: (i) CR/R1/R2/R3/R4 - 21,329 (ii) PSPS - 33,895 He also said that an additional 7,750 flats would be generated from a number of private treaty grants, including one large grant of 6.79 ha in Tung Chung New Town to the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, with many other flats resulting from the processing of land exchanges and lease modifications during the period up to March 31, 1999. Some of the features he highlighted were the large number of comparatively small sites (under 5,000 square metres) in the programme, which addressed the Consumer Council's recent concern that, to the disadvantage of small developers, an insufficient number of such sites were being made available. Others were the inclusion of four hotel sites, the development of which will be an important contribution to satisfying the current high demand for hotel accommodation, a number of ex-government quarters sites, ex-military sites and the sale of the Tamar Basin site (13,200 square metres). Remarks: ------- C - Commercial CR - Commercial/Residential R1 - Residential 1 (categorisation relates to zoning; 1 denotes the highest density) R2 - Residential 2 R3 - Residential 3 R4 - Residential 4 End 3. TAC discussed fare increase proposals of MTRC and KCRC ****************************************************** The TAC was briefed today (Tuesday) by the two railway corporations on their 1997 fare increase proposals, and made a number of suggestions on the fare revision exercise and the introduction of contactless smart cards. Speaking after the special briefing, the TAC Chairman, Dr Cheng Hon-kwan, said: "After examining the two railway corporations' financial position and future plans, the TAC considers their proposals for 1997, which are below the forecast accumulated inflation of 8.3%, reasonable and acceptable." The overall fare increases of MTR and KCR services for 1997 are 5.5 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively Of its $11.2 billion of profits including the $3 billion from property development in 1996, KCRC has spent, or earmarked, most of this sum on a comprehensive capital and improvement projects to enhance its capacity and improve its service. Despite a substantial outstanding loan of $13 billion, the MTRC continues to invest heavily in several new railway projects and to undertake capital improvement measures. In 1996 alone, MTRC's capital expenditure amounted to $2 billion. In addition to the new railway projects under planning, the KCRC and MTRC are committed to a number of capital improvement projects over the next years - refurbishment and capacity expansion of existing MTR stations, modernisation of the existing MTR rolling stock fleet, the installation of platform screen doors in MTR stations, new signalling system, modernisation of East Rail trains; Hung Hom Station renovation; additional Light Rail vehicles; Light Rail platform improvements and noise reduction barriers along East Rail. "However, Members and I expressed concern about the conditions attached to the introduction of smart card, the Octopus, which will gradually replace the existing Common Stored Value Ticket and Light Rail passes," said Dr Cheng. "We consider that the two Corporations should retain all the concessions of the existing Common Stored Value Tickets and the Light Rail passes in the new Octopus fares, such as lower smart card fares and a bonus for frequent travellers, etc." Dr Cheng added: "We also request the two railway corporations to provide more incentives to encourage passengers switching to the new technological product." At the request of the TAC, the KCRC has agreed to consider the following: a. waiving part of the $50 deposit for a smart card and the extra $20 deposit for a personalised card; b. extending the phasing-out period of the existing Light Rail multi-ride passes, i.e. these passes will remain in use for a longer period. The TAC also requested the MTRC to give further thought to waiving the smart card deposit. The MTRC undertook to consider this seriously and liaise with other public transport operators introducing the use of smart card in September 1997. The TAC also expressed some concern about some proposed sectional fares such as, from Hung Hom to Tai Wai/Sha Tin and from Hung Hom to Fanling/Sheung Shui. "I hope the Corporation will reconsider these sectional fares in the light of the previous fare increase," said Dr Cheng. End 4. Grant of a new franchise to KMB ******************************* The Chief Executive in Council today (Tuesday) approved the terms of a new franchise for Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB) which would confer upon the company the right to operate a public bus service on 368 routes for the period from September 1, 1997 to July 31, 2007. "Having reviewed the performance of KMB, we are fully satisfied that KMB has been providing a proper and efficient bus service," a government spokesman said. "Considering that a longer franchise will enable the company to plan ahead and to secure the financial support of the banking sector of its investment, the Chief Executive in Council has approved the grant of a new 10-year franchise to KMB." Similar to other existing bus franchises, the new franchise will not be subject to any Profit Control Scheme. To pave the way for increased competition in the public bus services market, KMB's bus routes will be specified as non- exclusive routes, as in the case of bus routes operated by other franchised bus companies. The spokesman pointed out that a number of new provisions were incorporated into the new franchise. These include a new requirement for a mid-term review. "The mid-term review is to be conducted after the fourth year of the new franchise. Based on the results of such a review, the Chief Executive in Council may, if the need arises, and with the consent of KMB, amend the terms of the franchise," he said. The Executive Council also noted KMB's proposal to transfer, after the commencement of its new franchise, the ownership of its permanent depot site at Lai Chi Kok to its wholly-owned subsidiary company. Following the transfer, the subsidiary company will lease the site back for KMB's operations until a replacement depot on the West Kowloon Reclamation is ready for use. The West Kowloon Reclamation site will be provided to KMB on the basis of a short term tenancy agreement. At present, KMB has a fleet of 3,700 buses. Its operations are supported by eight short term tenancy sites and eight permanent sites. Six of the permanent sites, including the Lai Chi Kok site, were acquired by KMB on the open market previously using shareholders' funds. "The Administration will give KMB permission to transfer the Lai Chi Kok site to its wholly own subsidiary on condition that for so long as the Lai Chi Kok site is necessary for KMB's operations, the site will continue to be made available to KMB at no additional cost to commuters," the spokesman said. The Administration will therefore impose conditions on the transfer of the site, including a requirement for KMB's subsidiary company to charge a nominal rent as opposed to a market rent for its use; and restrictions on further disposal of the Lai Chi Kok depot by this subsidiary company. KMB's shareholders will pay for the cost of constructing a modern depot on the West Kowloon Reclamation to replace the Lai Chi Kok depot. Once this replacement depot is ready for use, the Lai Chi Kok site may be released from KMB's franchised operations. On the impact on passengers, the spokesman said, "KMB's shareholders will bear all the costs arising from the transfer, the construction and the use of the replacement depot to cope with its modern fleet of 12 metre buses. KMB will not pass on such costs to passengers. "The eventual relocation of the Lai Chi Kok depot will also go a long way towards rectifying the environmental nuisance caused by the depot to nearby residents. "From a land use point of view, as the site has been rezoned as a Comprehensive Development Area, its release from KMB's franchised operations would also ensure a better and more efficient use of land." End 5. HKSAR to be represented at Hohhot Celebrations ********************************************** The Secretary for Justice, Miss Elsie Leung, will join a delegation of the Central People's Government to attend the ceremony and activities in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. She will be attending as representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Miss Leung will leave on Thursday (July 17) to join the delegation in Beijing, and return on Monday (July 21). During her absence, the Law Officer (Civil Law), Mr Ian Wingfield, will act as Secretary for Justice. End 6. Tuition fees for UGC-funded institutions **************************************** The Government today (Tuesday) announced that the tuition fees for degree and sub-degree courses at University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions for the 1997-98 academic year. Actual Fees for Seven UGC-funded Institutions for the 1997-98 Academic Year --------------------------------------------------------- ------------------ A government spokesman said that the actual tuition fees for seven UGC-funded institutions (i.e. except the Hong Kong Institute of Education) for the 1997-98 academic year would be: Tuition Fee (as compared with for the the current level) 1997-98 academic year 96-97 Types of Courses ($) ($) +% ---------------- ------------- ----- -- * Degree Courses 42,100 37,350 12.7% * Sub-degree Courses 31,575 28,000 12.7% The spokesman said that the fee levels for the degree and sub-degree courses offered by UGC-funded institutions except the Hong Kong Institute of Education are $1,000 and $750 lower than those indicated in February last year, as a result of lower than anticipated increase in salaries for staff at the UGC-funded institutions. Since the promulgation of the partial cost recovery policy in 1991, the Government has been aiming at achieving 18 per cent cost recovery by 1997-98 in accordance with a phased plan endorsed by the previous Executive Council in 1991. "It is Government's target to achieve 18 per cent cost recovery by 1997-98. We believe that the 18 per cent cost recovery target is a modest share as the government's subsidy amounts to a significant 82 per cent. This represents a reasonable balance between students and the community in sharing the costs of tertiary education, especially when non-cash limited financial assistance is available under the Local Student Finance Scheme (LSFS)," the spokesman said. "At the levels of $42,100 for degree courses and $31,575 for sub-degree courses in the forth-coming academic year, we will achieve the target as scheduled," he added. Indicative Fees for the 1998-2001 Triennium ------------------------------------------- As regards the indicative tuition fees for the next three years, i.e. 1998-99 to 2000-01, the spokesman said that in deciding the level, the Government has taken into account the initiative by UGC to contain student unit costs for the UGC sector (except the Hong Kong Institute of Education) by slightly more than three per cent per annum or a total of 10 per cent over the 1998-2001 triennium and the agreement that UGC would retain half of these savings for redistribution to its funded institutions to meet new expenditure requirements and encourage special developments among the UGC-funded institutions, including the emerging centres of excellence. "As student unit costs will be reduced in real terms over the next triennium, it is expected that the increase in tuition fee will be kept below inflation," he added. The indicative fees for the 1998-2001 triennium will be set as follows: % Increase Degree Sub-Degree Cost over Course Course Recovery Preceding Year ($) ($) Rate Year ---- ------ ---------- -------- ---------- 1998-99 44,500 33,375 18% 5.7% 1999-2000 47,300 35,475 18% 6.3% 2000-2001 50,300 37,725 18% 6.3% The Hong Kong Institute of Education ------------------------------------ As regards the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) which came under the aegis of the UGC in July 1996, the 18 per cent cost recovery target by 1997-98 does not apply. "We are committed to the development of teacher training in a bid to enhance the quality of basic education. In the foreseeable future, we will require all new teachers for primary and secondary schools to have a university degree and teachers' training. These proposals will have far-reaching repercussions on the future development and directions of HKIEd. We will consider how best to achieve these objectives and review the tuition fee policy for the HKIEd in the light of these developments. "Meanwhile, the tuition fees for pre-service Certificate in Education will increase in line with recent trends. The actual tuition fee level for 1997-98 academic year will be $15,040, which is $1,220 lower than the indicative level of $16,260. This level represents a 20 per cent increase over 1996-97, which is in line with the trend of increase since 1994. "At this fee level, approximately nine per cent of the cost will be recovered. The level was set having regard to the Institute's relatively low starting fee inherited from the Colleges of Education and the undesirable effect of a sharp fee increase in teacher education," the spokesman explained. Student Finance --------------- To ensure that no qualified student will be denied access to tertiary education because of a lack of means, the Government operates the LSFS to provide full-time eligible students at specified tertiary institutions (including all UGC-funded institutions) with means-tested grants and/or loans. In the 1996-97 academic year, Government disbursed to 37,739 students, or 60 per cent of the entire student population a total of $981 million in grant and $970 million in loan, which are more than 14 times and seven times over their respective amounts in 1991-92. "While tertiary tuition fees have risen, so has the level of financial assistance provided by the Government to help students meet their tuition fee payment and the costs of living," the spokesman stressed. The maximum grant is set at a level to cover tuition fees, academic expenses and compulsory student union fees. Loans are intended to assist the students in meeting their living and personal expenses. "To enable more needy students to benefit from the LSFS, the Administration is considering various major improvement measures to the scheme recommended recently by the Joint Committee on Student Finance. These measures are intended to enhance the scheme's efficiency and cost- effectiveness. Meanwhile, a number of improvements have recently been made to the existing scheme," the spokesman said. "To provide an alternative channel of financial assistance to tertiary students, we are actively considering the proposal to introduce a Non-means-tested loan scheme. The proposal, if endorsed, will provide speedy financial assistance to students," the spokesman added. End 7. Hongkong Post launches new Performance Pledges ********************************************** "Our new Performance Pledges reflect our determination to provide quality services to our customers," the Postmaster General, Mr Robert Footman, said today (Tuesday) at a press briefing. "The Pledges have three important 'firsts': the results of our first independent survey of customer views on our services, our first customer service pledge, and our achievement for the first time of our pledge to deliver 98 per cent of local letters on the day after collection." The first customer perception survey: 94 per cent of respondents from the general public, 96 per cent from the business sector and 86 per cent from the philately sector were satisfied or extremely satisfied with Hongkong Post's services. The first customer service pledge formalises Hongkong Post's commitment to fulfill needs and exceed expectations, with professional and caring services which are on time, reliable, convenient and outstanding value for money. The first achievement of 98 per cent next day delivery of local letters assures customers that Hongkong Post will review its working processes and procedures to achieve the highest quality of service possible. Mr Footman said: "These results demonstrate that 1996 was a good year for Hongkong Post. But they also provide further impetus to our efforts to improve our services. "We have developed plans to improve in areas identified by customers in the survey, especially waiting time, customer friendliness and availability of philatelic products. "We have already implemented some new initiatives, including advance order schemes and selling new stamps on Sundays or public holidays, to improve availability of philatelic products and to reduce waiting times at the counters. "We are planning training for all staff on customer service, based on our customer service pledge." Mr Footman added that Hongkong Post was pressing ahead with new and improved performance pledges and services, including a freeze on postage rates until July next year, extended discounts for bulk postings and a new bulk economy service. Details of the performance pledges and the 100 Projects for Better Services are as follows: Specfic pledges --------------- In overall terms, 1996 was a very good year. For the first time, Hongkong Post achieved 98 per cent next day delivery of local letters regularly, particularly in the second half of the year when improvement measures in handling processes took effect. But the performance in despatching outward air parcels and outward Speedpost items as well as the preparation of philatelic products for Local Advance Order Service and the despatch of overseas philatelic orders fell slightly below the pledges. These will be further looked into with a view to achieving better results next year. Hongkong Post is committed to continuously improving its pledges. In 1997, 11 new pledges are made: Seven improved pledges ---------------------- * To deliver all local mail on the day after collection (extended to permit mail); * To serve customers within 10 minutes (from 95 per cent to 99 per cent); * To deliver all Speedpost items arriving in Hong Kong before noon on the same day (from 99 per cent to 100 per cent); * To deliver all outward airmail to the first available flight (from 99 per cent to 100 per cent); * To deliver all inward airmail arriving in Hong Kong before 2 pm to major commercial and industrial areas, on the next day (from two days); * To deliver all parcels to major commercial and industrial areas within two days (from three days); * To process various applications within seven working days (from 10 working days). Two new pledges --------------- * To process applications for the Household Circular Service within three working days (100 per cent); * To process applications for the redirection service within five working days (100 per cent). Two pledges for new services ---------------------------- * To deliver Bulk Economy letters within three working days (99 per cent); * To make available products ordered under the Local Standing Order Service from the third working day after the issue of the product (98 per cent). 100 Projects for Better Services -------------------------------- Hongkong Post is committed to implement specific new projects to improve services. In November 1996, 100 Projects for Better Services were announced. Eighty-two of these were completed by March 1997, 15 are ongoing, and three were delayed. Completed projects that most affect customers include: * Decentralisation of call-for arrangements for parcels and packets; * Extension of door-to-door parcel delivery to Central District and the New Territories; * Resumption of collection from street posting boxes on Sundays and public holidays; * Launch of the Local Philatelic Standing Order Service; * Extension of Local Philatelic Advance Order Service to include more products; * Extension of philatelic counter offices from eight to 19 post offices; * Extension of Recorded Delivery Service to the public; * Opening of the first Postshop; * Holding HONG KONG '97 Stamp Exhibition; * Commissioning Culler-Facer-Cancellers to facilitate mail operation. Later this year Hongkong Post will publish a further 100 Projects for Better Services. These will include: * Accept payment by credit card at 49 Speedpost acceptance offices; * Accept payment by Mondex Card on trial at two post offices; * Extend Local Advance Order Service to include mint stamps; * Sell new stamp issues on Sundays or public holidays; * Review posting box collection frequency in the New Territories; * Replace datestamps with bilingual indication; * Launch new Corporate Identity; * Set up the Philatelic Marketing Unit; * Make Performance Pledges; * Launch Hybrid Mail; * Restructure local postage rates; * Consider acceptance of meter items at mail rooms and posting boxes; * Review the need for postcode in Hong Kong; * Launch Local Bulk Economy Service; * Commission Track and Trace for Speedpost * Reprovision Tsz Wan Shan Post Office; * Improve the Local Standing Order Service (Phase II); * Accept and deliver parcels beyond 20 kg in weight; * Consider the feasibility of extending the business hours of some offices to include Sundays and public holidays. End 8. Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for service industries ****************************************************** **** Business receipts in most service industries showed year-on-year increases of various magnitudes in value terms in the first quarter of 1997. Comparing the first quarter of 1997 with the same quarter a year earlier, the value of business receipts in the real estate industry registered the fastest growth, by 34%. This was followed by those in the financing (except banking) and the communications industries, which grew by 23% and 21% respectively. These are the provisional figures on the new 1996-based business receipts indices for service industries released today (Tuesday) by the Census and Statistics Department. In support of Government's initiative in service promotion, the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) compiles and publishes more detailed business receipts indices starting from the reference quarter of the first quarter of 1996. In addition to the existing indices for twelve service industries, eleven more indices covering two additional industries, two service domains and providing more detailed breakdowns for some of the existing industries are compiled. They are all 1996-based. The existing series of 1992-based business receipts indices for twelve industries have also been rebased to 1996. The nine newly compiled industry-based indices relate to wholesale/retail, air transport, land transport, maritime transport, telecommunications, financial markets and fund management, real estate, professional services and film entertainment. The two new service domains are tourism, convention and exhibition services and computer and information services. The strong growth in business receipts in the real estate industry in the first quarter of 1997 was attributable to the buoyancy in the property market. The significant increase in business receipts in the financing (except banking) industry was due to markedly higher stock market turnover and strong performance of the capital market. Within the financing (except banking) industry, the financial market and fund management sector recorded robust growth of 37% in business receipts. The surge in business receipts in the communications industry was attributable to the rapid expansion of the telecommunications industry. Along with the significant increase in the number of customers demanding public mobile radiotelephone services, business receipts of the telecommunications industry went up by 21%. Meanwhile, considerable increases in business receipts were also registered in the film entertainment (+14%), business services (+10%) and transport (+8%) industries. As regards the storage industry, business receipts decreased slightly, by 2% in value terms. This was likely to be affected by the recent slow down in growth of import and export trading activities. As for the tourism, convention and exhibition services domain and computer and related services domain, business receipts recorded year-on-year increases of 4% and 10% respectively. Compared with the fourth quarter of 1996, and bearing in mind that this comparison might be affected by seasonal factors, decreases in business receipts were recorded in most service industries. A major source of data used for compiling the business receipts indices is a Quarterly Survey of Service Industries (QSSI) launched by the Census and Statistics Department in 1993. Regarding the tourism, convention and exhibition services domain, part of the data is obtained from the Hong Kong Tourist Association. A service domain differs from a service industry in that a domain comprises those parts of economic activities straddling different industries but somehow related to a common purpose. It may include all activities carried out by all establishments in a service industry that is closely related to the domain. In some other cases, however, only a portion of the establishments in an industry or even only part of the establishments' activities are related to the domain. Tourism is a good example. It includes all activities of travel agents; and some (those involving visitors as customers) but not all of the activities of restaurants, retailers and transport operators. Details on the compilation method of the business receipts indices are given in the report "Quarterly Business Receipts Indices for Service Industries, First Quarter 1997", which is now on sale at $8 per copy at the Government Publications Centre of the Information Services Department, Queensway Government Offices, Low Block, Ground Floor, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. It can also be purchased from the Publications Unit of the Census and Statistics Department, 19th floor, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. An approximation method for converting the twelve existing 1992-based series of business receipts indices to 1996-based to facilitate trendal analyses is also explained in the report. Enquiries about the survey results may be directed to the Business Services Statistics Section of the Census and Statistics Department at Tel: 2894 8120. End 9. Rates and Government rent for the July-September quarter ****************************************************** ** A spokesman for the Rating and Valuation Department said today (Tuesday) that in accordance with the Rating Ordinance (Chapter 116) and the Government Rent (Assessment And Collection) Ordinance (Chapter 515), rates and/or Government rent for the third quarter 1997 are payable on or before July 31. Payment can be made using autopay under payers' bank accounts, or the Payment by Phone Service (PPS), or by post addressed to the Director of Accounting Services, P O Box 8000, GPO, Hong Kong, or in person at any of the following offices: (a) The Treasury Headquarters Collection and Payment Office, Immigration Tower, first floor, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; (b) The Central Sub-Treasury, Central Government Offices (West Wing), 11 Ice House Street, Hong Kong; (c) The North Point Sub-Treasury, Max Share Centre, first floor, 373 King's Road, Hong Kong; (d) The Sai Wan Ho Sub-Treasury, Eastern Law Courts Building, ground floor, 29 Tai On Street, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong; (e) The Yau Ma Tei Sub-Treasury, Kowloon Government Offices, fourth floor, 405 Nathan Road, Kowloon; (f) The Kowloon City Sub-Treasury, Man Sang Commercial Building, first floor, 348-352 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon; (g) The District Offices of Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Tai Po, North, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan or Kwai Tsing. The spokesman said that if payers have not received demand notes for rates and/or Government rent for the third quarter 1997, they may bring along relevant demand notes for any previous quarter to any of the Treasury collection offices listed at (a) to (f) above, where replacement demand notes may be obtained and payment can be made. If there is no relevant demand note for any previous quarter, payers may make enquiry by telephone 2881 1033, by fax 2577 6066 or in person at the Accounting and Billing Division of the Rating and Valuation Department, Hennessy Centre, 23rd floor, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Non-receipt of the demand note does not alter the requirement that the rates and/or Government rent must be paid on or before July 31 and unless so paid, the amount payable may be subject to a surcharge of five per cent under the provisions of the two Ordinances. A further surcharge of 10 per cent may be levied on the outstanding amount (including the five per cent surcharge) which remains unpaid six months after the due date. Payers who recently submitted a valid direct debit authorisation should note that payment should still be made by other means as stipulated in the demand note unless the wording "Payment To Be Made by Autopay" is shown on the demand note. If payers currently pay rates by autopay, their original direct debit authorisation will also apply to the payment of Government rent for the combined demand on the same property. They should adjust the authorised limit for direct debit, if necessary, to ensure that there are sufficient funds in their bank accounts to meet these payments on the due date. To avoid the possible inconvenience of queuing, payers are urged to settle payment using autopay under which payers' bank accounts will only be debited on the due dates or using the Payment by Phone Service (PPS). Application forms for autopay are obtainable from Treasury collection offices, district offices and all major banks in Hong Kong or by telephoning 2881 1033. For additional information regarding PPS, please call 9000 0222 329. End 10. Construction site safety campaign to be launched ************************************************ The Labour Department will launch a special safety campaign tomorrow (Wednesday) to inspect construction sites in the territory, especially those with poor safety records. Chief Factory Inspector (Operations) of the Labour Department, Mr Tse Ming-sing, said today (Tuesday) that the campaign, which will last until the end of August, is aimed at reducing construction site accidents and reminding management and workers of the importance of site safety. "From our experience, launching a special safety campaign in addition to day-to-day inspections before the advent of the rainy season is effective in improving site safety performance," Mr Tse said. "Where necessary, Suspension Notices and Improvement Notices will be issued to contractors requiring them to take remedial action to render their work site safe. "Unscrupulous contractors and workers who choose to ignore construction site safety will be prosecuted without warning," he warned. A total of 10 special task force teams, each comprising two factory inspectors, have been assigned for carrying out the inspection. The teams will be paying particular attention to high risk activities such as working at height, in confined space or with lifting appliances and lifting gear. Safety in the use of electricity and housekeeping at construction sites will also be checked. They will also visit construction sites engaged in lift or escalator maintenance work with a view to enhancing safety conditions on these sites. End 11. Multi-media computers provided to primary schools ************************************************* The Finance Committee has approved funds for providing multi-media computers to all government and aided primary schools to improve the quality of education. The objective of the provision is to promote computer awareness among students and to enable teachers to use computer assisted learning (CAL) packages for enhancing teaching and learning in primary school. In each school site, a total of 15 sets of multi-media computers, each bundled with eight software packages will be provided, together with subsidies for site preparation and purchase of necessary furniture and electrical appliances. Recurrent grant for the purchase of CAL packages and consumable items will be provided to school starting 1998/99. The Education Department has suggested three modes of operation for the implementation of the project to suit the physical setting and curriculum need of individual primary school. A school will install 13 desktop computers in a computer classroom or in several classrooms, or may choose 13 notebook computers to be brought into the classrooms. In each school site, two computers with internet access facilities will be installed in the staff room or the school library for teachers and students. Each school may nominate not less than 20 teachers to attend teacher training courses. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 1999. Further details of the project will be announced this September. End 12. Air quality report for June released ************************************ The Environmental Protection Department today (Tuesday) released air quality information for June 1997. All measurements in the month complied with air quality objective values. The heavy rainfall in June helped to keep the air pollution at low levels by washing away the air pollutants. The report includes the monitoring results from Mong Kok, Central/Western and Kwai Chung, which represent three important land use types in the territory: * locations close to road traffic in built-up urban areas; * combined commercial and residential districts; and * districts close to industrial areas. The Mong Kok station was shut down in the second half of the month for modification work. Air pollutants reported included sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, total suspended particulates, and the respirable suspended particulates. All these pollutants can affect respiratory health in sufficient concentration. Air pollution originated from various sources, including combustion, industrial and construction processes. In terms of impact on local air quality, motor vehicle exhaust is the most important source of nitrogen dioxide and airborne particulate matter, especially the smaller respirable particles. End 13. The weather of June 1997 ************************ June 1997 was very wet with active troughs of low pressure affecting the south China coastal areas most of the month. The month's total rainfall of 783.6 millimetres was more than double the normal figure of 376.0 millimetres, also ranking the seventh highest for the month of June. Furthermore, the month's total bright sunshine duration of 99.7 hours was the sixth lowest for June. There were four days with rainfall exceeding 100 millimetres recorded at the Observatory on June 3,4,13 and 16. A Rainstorm Red Warning was issued on June 4 while Landslip Warnings and Flood Warnings were issued on three and eight occasions respectively. The accumulated rainfall since January 1 of 1,408.7 millimetres was 42 per cent above normal. The weather was generally cloudy with sunny periods on the first two days of the month. Temperatures rose to 32.1 degrees, the highest in the month, on June 2. An active trough of low pressure formed over south China on June 2, lingering over the coastal areas the next few days. Heavy rain and thunderstorms buffeted Hong Kong on June 3 and 4. Floods occurred in many places especially in Kowloon and the Rainstorm Red Warning was issued on June 4. Over 300 millimetres of rainfall were recorded in Kwai Chung. In a landslip in Kau Wa Keng Upper Village a four-year old boy was killed and five others were injured. Altogether there were 54 reports of floods and 31 reports of landslips in Hong Kong. Rain eased off on June 5 as the trough dissipated, but the weather remained cloudy with some isolated showers under the influence of a southwesterly airstream. Long sunny periods prevailed on June 8 and 9. Another trough of low pressure moved southwards, passing the coast of Guangdong on June 10 and bringing isolated thunderstorms to Hong Kong. It was misty and hazy on June 11 and 12. For the next week or so, the trough lingered over the northern part of the South China Sea and brought unsettled weather to the coastal areas. Heavy rain and thunderstorms affected Hong Kong on June 13 and early on June 14. A minor landslip in Tsing Yi and several floods in urban areas were reported, injuring at least 11 persons. The weather remained gloomy on June 15. Winds strengthened from the east late that evening but moderated the next day. Heavy showers returned on June 16 and 17. More than 200 millimetres of rainfall were recorded in the eastern and southern parts of the Hong Kong Island on June 17. A few floods were reported in Kowloon and the New Territories. Eleven persons were injured in weather-related incidents. Temperatures dropped to 22.3 degrees, the lowest in the month, on June 18. Rain stopped on June 19 as the trough finally dissipated and there were brief sunny intervals the next couple of days. However, such conditions did not last long. Starting from June 22, thunderstorms and heavy rain associated with another trough of low pressure again affected Hong Kong. Floods were again reported in Kowloon on June 24 and in Kowloon and the eastern New Territories on June 26. Sunny periods came back on June 27 and 28. However, thundery showers returned on June 29, becoming heavy at times on June 30. Three tropical cyclones occurred in the western North Pacific and the South China Sea in the month. Details of the issuance/hoisting and cancellation/lowering of various warnings/signals in the month are summarised in Table 1.1. Monthly meteorological figures and departures from normal of June are tabulated in Table 1.2. Table 1.1 Warnings and Signals in June 1997 ------------------------------------------- Beginning Time Ending Time Type of Warnings/ day/month hour day/month hour Signals Strong Monsoon 16/6 0115 16/6 0805 Signal Rainstorm Warning Red 4/6 0705 4/6 1330 Landslip Warning 4/6 0740 5/6 0900 13/6 1745 14/6 0910 17/6 0520 17/6 1430 Flood Warnings 3/6 0500 3/6 1215 4/6 0300 4/6 1330 13/6 0600 13/6 0800 13/6 1245 13/6 2000 13/6 2130 14/6 0600 17/6 0350 17/6 1010 24/6 0445 24/6 1005 26/6 1250 26/6 1410 Thunderstorm Warnings 3/6 0445 3/6 1245 4/6 0100 4/6 1400 5/6 0215 5/6 0530 5/6 2315 6/6 0615 10/6 1340 10/6 1540 10/6 1635 10/6 1835 13/6 0440 13/6 0840 13/6 1200 14/6 0700 14/6 1520 14/6 1720 14/6 2315 15/6 0915 15/6 2315 16/6 0615 22/6 0800 22/6 1000 22/6 1215 22/6 1415 23/6 0100 23/6 0545 23/6 0725 23/6 0925 24/6 0300 24/6 1130 26/6 1120 26/6 1420 28/6 1125 28/6 1425 29/6 0445 29/6 0645 29/6 1500 29/6 1700 29/6 1945 29/6 2145 30/6 0030 30/6 0730 30/6 0930 30/6 1130 30/6 1450 30/6 1650 Table 1.2 Figures and Departures from Normal - June 1997 -------------------------------------------------------- Departure from normal Meteorological Figure of the above normal below normal Element month Total Bright Sunshine (hours) 99.7 --- 61.4 Mean Daily Global Solar Radiation (MJ/square metre) 11.72 --- 4.83 Total Rainfall (mm) 783.6 407.6 --- Mean Cloud Amount (%) 84 9 --- Mean Relative Humidity(%) 85 3 --- Mean Daily Maximum Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 29.5 --- 0.8 Mean Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 27.3 --- 0.5 Mean Daily Minimum Air Temperature (Degree Celsius) 25.6 --- 0.3 Mean Dew Point (Degree Celsius) 24.6 0.2 --- Total Evaporation (mm) 96.9 --- 47.0 Remarks: All measurements were made at the Hong Kong Observatory except sunshine, solar radiation and evaporation which were recorded at King's Park Meteorological Station. End 14. Visa requirements to visit HKSAR ******************************** The Immigration Department published today (Tuesday) a list of visa-exempted countries for the general public's reference and reiterated that it will continue to adopt a liberal visa policy on the entry of foreign visitors. Under the liberal visa policy, people from about 170 countries and territories may visit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) without visas and stay for seven days to six months. Only people from about 40 countries need to apply for visas to visit the HKSAR. This is similar to the arrangements before. For the general public's reference, the Immigration Department has published two lists, one on visa-exempted countries and territories and the other on countries and territories which require visas for a visit to the HKSAR. People from countries which are the HKSAR's major trading or investment partners or major sources of visitors can all continue to benefit from the visa exemption arrangements. These countries include Japan, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Germany and France. "This liberal visa policy is beneficial to the further development of bilateral trade, investment and tourism. We will continue to review our visa policy on an on-going basis, taking into account the overall interest of the HKSAR and the strength of our ties with specific countries and territories," a spokesman for the department said. Information on the visa requirements may be obtained from the department's homepage at http://www.info.gov.hk/immd/. End 15. Hong Kong Monetary Authority tender results ******************************************* Tender date : 15 July 1997 Paper on offer : EF Bills Issue number : Q086 Issue date : 16 July 1997 Maturity date : 13 August 1997 Amount applied : HK$13,460 MN Amount allotted : HK$5,000 MN Average yield accepted : 5.93 PCT Highest yield accepted : 5.96 PCT Pro rata ratio : About 100 PCT Average tender yield : 5.98 PCT - - - - - Tender date : 15 July 1997 Paper on offer : EF Bills Issue number : Q729 Issue date : 16 July 1997 Maturity date : 15 October 1997 Amount applied : HK$5,660 MN Amount allotted : HK$2,000 MN Average yield accepted : 5.88 PCT Highest yield accepted : 5.90 PCT Pro rata ratio : About 62 PCT Average tender yield : 5.93 PCT - - - - - Tender date : 15 July 1997 Paper on offer : EF Bills Issue number : H769 Issue date : 16 July 1997 Maturity date : 14 January 1998 Amount applied : HK$3,310 MN Amount allotted : HK$1,000 MN Average yield accepted : 5.94 PCT Highest yield accepted : 5.97 PCT Pro rata ratio : About 14 PCT Average tender yield : 5.98 PCT - - - - - Hong Kong Monetary Authority Tender to be held in the week beginning - July 21, 97: Tender date : 22 July 1997 Paper on offer : EF Bills Issue number : Q087 Issue date : 23 July 1997 Maturity date : 20 August 1997 Tenor : 28 Days Amount on offer : HK$5,000 MN - - - - - Tender date : 22 July 1997 Paper on offer : EF Bills Issue number : Q730 Issue date : 23 July 1997 Maturity date : 22 October 1997 Tenor : 91 Days Amount on offer : HK$2,000 + 500 MN End 16. Fresh water cut in Mong Kok *************************** Fresh water supply to some premises in Mong Kok will be suspended from 11 pm on July 18 (Friday) to 6 am the following day for waste detection work on watermains. The suspension will affect all premises in the area bounded by Tong Mei Road, Mong Kok Road, Shanghai Street, Lai Chi Kok Road and Prince Edward Road West. End

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