Posts

New country park established

Image
The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD) today announced the establishment of Hong Kong's 25th country park, the 530-hectare Robin's Nest Country Park in Sha Tau Kok.   The country park lies on a continuum of mountain ridges stretching from the Shenzhen Wutong Mountain scenic area to the north and Pat Sin Leng Country Park to the south. Consisting of natural habitats including secondary woodland, shrubland and upland grassland, the park is rich in biodiversity with species of high conservation value such as red azalea, incense tree, Chinese grassbird and Chinese pipistrelle.   The undulating mountain ridges and intertwining natural streams at Robin's Nest provide a variety of habitats for wild animals and plants. It is geographically connected to Shenzhen Wutong Mountain, forming a cross-boundary ecological corridor between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The AFCD said it is co-operating with the Shenzhen Wutong Mountain Scenic Area Management Autho

Jack Chan named Ombudsman

Image
​The Government today announced the appointment of Jack Chan as the new Ombudsman for a term of five years starting April 1.   The appointment is made by Chief Executive John Lee in accordance with The Ombudsman Ordinance.   Mr Chan is a seasoned and experienced former senior government official, who had served the Government for nearly 40 years.   He was appointed Under Secretary for Home Affairs in the fifth-term Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and had served as Acting Secretary for Home Affairs from January 24 to June 30, 2022.   Mr Lee said: “I am confident that with Mr Chan’s excellent leadership, decisiveness and rich experience in public administration, he will lead the Office of The Ombudsman to continue carrying out its statutory functions and ensuring efficiency in the public administration of Hong Kong.”   Mr Lee also wished outgoing Ombudsman Winnie Chiu a happy life ahead, saying that Ms Chiu led her office with the mission of enhanc

Northbound car travel scheme refined

Image
The Transport Department today announced a refinement to the vehicle inspection arrangement for applications concerning Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles.   As agreed by Guangdong and Hong Kong authorities, from March 1, vehicle inspections will be exempted if the applicant and the vehicle remain unchanged when resubmitting applications for Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles within two years of passing the vehicle inspection and within the validity of the applicant’s electronic vehicle licence from Mainland authorities.   Currently, applicants for the travel scheme are required to conduct vehicle inspections at designated locations in Hong Kong. http://dlvr.it/T3SSfn

Xia Baolong concludes HK visit

Image
CPC Central Committee Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Director and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Director Xia Baolong today concluded his seven-day inspection visit to Hong Kong by viewing the Shenzhen Bay Control Point.   Accompanied by Chief Executive John Lee, Commissioner of Customs & Excise Louise Ho, Acting Director of Immigration Tai Chi-yuen and Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk, Mr Xia inspected the operation and traveller clearance services at the control point, and was informed about the situation during the Lunar New Year holidays when round-the-clock passenger clearance services were provided.   In addition, Ms Ho and Mr Tai briefed Mr Xia on the immigration and customs clearance arrangements for travellers at the passenger terminal building.   They also highlighted the measures taken during peak hours, festive periods or holidays to divert passenger flows, noting that such measures help ensure a smooth operation at the contr

Govt determined on islands project

Image
(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)   Financial Secretary Paul Chan today said the Government is determined to carry out the reclamation of the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands.   At the 2024-25 Budget press conference this afternoon, Mr Chan noted that two of the Government’s mega projects - the Northern Metropolis and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands - which involve reclamation, did not need to be implemented at the same time and could follow one another.    “At the moment, the Northern Metropolis mega project is proceeding very well. And we are proceeding at full speed with regard to the feasibility and technical studies relating to the reclamation.   “Given the time required to do the studies and take stock of the findings of the studies in order to roll out mitigating measures, if there are any, we do think we could allow ourselves a little more time.”   The finance chief pointed out that based on the studies, the

Let the market adjust itself: FS

Image
(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)   Financial Secretary Paul Chan said today that the decision to remove all demand-side management measures in relation to residential properties was made after taking into account the current market situation, future supply, and the wider economic picture.   Mr Chan announced in his Budget that no Special Stamp Duty, Buyer’s Stamp Duty or New Residential Stamp Duty needs to be paid on residential property transactions starting from today.   Elaborating on the measures outlined in his Budget at a press conference this afternoon, Mr Chan explained that the demand-side management measures are no longer necessary given that current supply and demand are more balanced.   He noted that the potential supply of first hand units for the next three to four years will be around 109,000 units, while there are currently about 20,000 unsold units in completed projects.   “The market conditions hav

FS outlines fiscal consolidation plan

Image
In the 2024-25 Budget announced today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan proposed a number of measures to increase revenue and outlined a fiscal consolidation programme which aims to restore fiscal balance in a few years’ time.   Mr Chan said even though the Government strived to reduce expenditure as the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided, the total expenditure for 2023-24 reached $727.9 billion, representing an increase of 36.9% compared with 2018-19, of which operating expenditure rose substantially by 40.2% whereas operating revenue increased only 13.1%.   On capital works, owing to the fact that the Government has been pressing ahead with land and housing supply projects, along with other infrastructure works for improving the environment and people’s livelihood, the average annual expenditure has increased from about $76 billion over the past five years to about $85 billion in 2023-24.   Fiscal reserves have dropped to the current level of $733.2 billion.   Fiscal consoli