Speech at Panel on Security

Results of study of matters raised in the Annual Report 2018 to the Chief Executive by the Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance

Compliance with the requirements of the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance

Mr CHAN Chun-ying considered that the three non-compliance cases in 2018 were relatively mild. He referred to paragraph 6 of the background brief prepared by the Secretariat and asked whether the forum provided by the Commissioner to frontline officers of the law enforcement agencies (“LEAs”) was a regular activity, and whether any reviews or assessments were being put in place to ensure relevant frontline officers were familiar with the requirements in the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance (Cap. 589) (“ICSO”).

S for S responded that the forum in which the Commissioner provided on the requirements in ICSO was held upon the invitation of and request from the Security Bureau (“SB”). The forum had active participation among LEA officers, and was useful. SB would liaise with the Commissioner as to whether the forum should be held again, considering in particular whether there were any specific issues arising from the Commissioner’s inspections that had not been raised before.Although relevant LEA officers were not required to undergo assessment on the requirements in ICSO, LEAs concerned consider training to be important, and had provided diversified training to relevant officers, including induction and refresher training, briefings, seminars, workshops, practical training, theoretical and case-sharing sessions, which particularly covered issues on legal professional privilege and journalistic material. All officers newly assigned to ICSO work would receive training, while existing officers would also receive refresher training.


Enhancements to the Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme

Implementation progress of the Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme

Noting that the Urban Renewal Authority (“URA”) had approached the persons in charge of around 840 applications of the FSW Scheme as at end November 2019 and it was estimated that URA could finish approaching the remaining some 1 000 applications by June 2021, Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether more manpower resources would be allocated to expedite the implementation progress of the Scheme.

US for S responded that the estimation of processing around 400 to 500 applications per year under the FSW Scheme was drawn up taking into account the market capacity of qualified professionals. There were currently some 800 registered fire service installation contractors and some 1 500 authorized persons in the market, and the estimation of the annual number of applications to be processed was made to avoid driving up the costs of the fire safety improvement works required under FS(B)O and to ensure the quality of the works carried out. That said, the Administration noted members’ concerns and would keep in view the implementation progress of the Scheme. Director, Building Rehabilitation, URA (“D(BR)/URA”) added that URA was willing to act in concert with the market demand, provided that qualified contractors were available in the market. Mr Holden CHOW considered that the Administration should take the initiative to strengthen relevant manpower training.

Additional funding to the Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme and the financial implication

Mr CHAN Chun-ying sought clarification on the number of TCBs estimated to be benefited by the additional funding of $3.5 billion. Given the slow implementation progress of the FSW Scheme, Mr YIU Si-wing was concerned as to whether the additional funding of $3.5 billion was required at this stage. He further sought information on the average subsidy per application and the estimated number of TCBs required to be subsidized out of the 10 500 TCBs regulated under FS(B)O.

US for S pointed out that the estimated average subsidy of about $0.8 million for each TCB, and taking into account the number of storeys of the buildings concerned, the subsidy in most cases was about 30% to 40% lower than the corresponding subsidy ceiling imposed. Out of the 10 500 TCBs regulated under FS(B)O, about 80% met the criteria for the average annual rateable value under the FSW Scheme, and among them, about 60% had owners’ corporations (“OCs”) formed; hence, very roughly speaking, about 5 000 to 6 000 TCBs would meet the eligibility criteria for the subsidy scheme. It was thus believed that the additional funding of $3.5 million should cover all eligible TCBs regulated by FS(B)O and in need for subsidy.

Referring to the Annex to the Administration’s paper, Mr CHAN Chun-ying queried why a decline was shown in the estimated cash flow requirement in 2022 to 2023. D(BR)/URA explained that the estimated cash flow requirement was calculated based on the estimated number of TCBs to be inspected by FSD and BD, as well as the estimated number of Directions to be issued per year.