Published: 12:56, May 21, 2024 | Updated: 16:17, May 21, 2024
CE advises cabbies against sting ops on Uber drivers
By Wang Zhan
Passengers board a taxi at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Aug 9, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Tuesday advised the taxi drivers to refrain from going “undercover” in order to tackle unlicensed ride-hailing services.

Lee’s remarks came after local media reported that several videos circulating online had showed residents, suspected to be taxi drivers, catching ride-hailing drivers red-handed and reporting to police after arriving their selected destinations.

Speaking to the media ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, the CE stressed that the function of law enforcement should be left to the police.

“Without an adequate legal understanding, the operation involves legal risks and may break the law,” Lee said, advising the taxi sector to refrain from going “undercover”.

Admitting that the government had noticed a heated discussion over ride-hailing services in the city, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the Transport and Logistics Bureau had been studying relevant legal matters and regulations in overseas, as well as residents’ demand for personalized point-to-point transport services

Pointing out that undercover operations conducted by law enforcement agencies are strictly regulated, he said, “These operations are conducted only after law enforcement officers have undergone trainings and gained an understanding of laws. They also have trainings to address any emergencies.”

Without proper trainings and legal knowledge, it might otherwise break the law unintentionally, the CE added.

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Admitting that the government had noticed a heated discussion over ride-hailing services in the city, he said the Transport and Logistics Bureau had been studying relevant legal matters and regulations in overseas, as well as residents’ demand for personalized point-to-point transport services.

The authorities would complete the preliminary study in July and present the findings to the Panel on Transport at the Legislative Council, he added.

Pointing out that there had been diverse views on ride-hailing services, Lee said the government would listen to views from various sectors and then decide the policy direction.

Tourists queue to enter the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) in West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong, May 1, 2023. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

Financing of West Kowloon Cultural District

Asked about the financing problems faced by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Lee said the government had been in communication with the WKCDA board and would unveil a plan very soon.

Stressing that the WKCDA was supposed to be a self-financing institution and it was a key performance indicator set by the government, Lee reiterated that public funds must be spent very carefully and the government would explore possible solutions

 

WKCDA chairman Henry Tang Ying-yen had said earlier that the WKCDA had not received the relevant authorities’ response after the government was said to have completed a report on the financing of WKCDA, saying that it might need to cut expenditures and reduce the opening time of some museums.

ALSO READ: Cash-strapped WKCDA may grind to a halt after March 2025

Stressing that the West Kowloon Cultural District was a self-financing and self-running institution, a key performance indicator set by the government, Lee reiterated that public funds must be spent very carefully and the government would explore possible solutions.

"We have high expectations of the successful operation of the West Kowloon Cultural District, and it has been creating value for Hong Kong," he said.

“Whatever option is eventually agreed, it is important that there will be KPIs set for some of the development and operation of the West Kowloon Cultural District,” he said, adding that the government wanted to ensure that there will be a long-term viable financing plan with good KPIs, and will be in communication with the WKCDA to achieve that purpose.

This screenshot captured on May 16, 2024, shows a Youtube page of the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong”. The note reads that according to a court order, this content cannot be broadcast within this country or region.

Protest song blocked

Regarding the protest song Glory to Hong Kong which had been blocked by video streamer Youtube, Lee said the court order was an injunction against four specified acts in relation to the song.

ALSO READ: Protest song banned after HK appellate court overturns previous ruling

There was no link shown on any local platform relating to the song, and also Google search did not show any link either, he said, adding that the authorities would keep monitoring the situation and notify relevant platforms over non-compliance with the court order. He said he believes online platforms would operate within the laws.

This photo taken on April 24, 2024 shows the Exchange Square in Hong Kong. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Securities trading during adverse weather

Asked about the arrangement of trading under adverse weather conditions, the CE said the government will announce the results of its consultation in July.

READ MORE: Hong Kong unveils new measures to cope with extreme weather

Rejecting a rumor that a new arrangement would be implemented in July, he said: “The actual operation involves trading and settlement, as well as the preparedness of the operation units and systems. We need to ensure there will not be any problem once a new arrangement is launched.”