Hong Kong – HKSAR Government strongly disapproves of and rejects US Government’s biased and misleading remarks on Basic Law Article 23 legislation

HKSAR Government strongly disapproves of and rejects US Government’s biased and misleading remarks on Basic Law Article 23 legislation


     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today (February 29) strongly disapproved of and rejected the biased and misleading remarks made by the United States (US) Government about the Basic Law Article 23 legislation (Article 23 legislation).

     A spokesman for the HKSAR Government said, “The US was found conducting long-term covert surveillance around the world and even against the governments of multiple countries. A former US national security advisor even publicly admitted that he helped plan coups in foreign countries. It is simply unconvincing for the US Government to comment at this juncture on the HKSAR’s legislative proposals for safeguarding national security, especially those on offences relating to ‘state secrets’ and ‘external interference’.”

     “The practice of providing for proportionate extraterritorial effect for offences endangering national security fully aligns with the principles of international law, international practice and common practice adopted in various countries and regions. The national security laws of the US and many other countries have extraterritorial effect. A lack of extraterritorial effect in the relevant laws in safeguarding national security is tantamount to condoning activities endangering national security carried out by ill-intentioned people overseas. Therefore, extraterritorial effect is an essential component of national security laws. The US even often abuses ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ and unilateral sanctions to target residents of other countries. The smears by the US Government on the extraterritorial effect of the Article 23 legislation are simply untenable.

     “Moreover, the HKSAR Government has pointed out publicly time and again that the proposed offences relating to ‘state secrets’ and ‘external interference’ have multiple conditions. It is necessary to meet all the relevant conditions concurrently before the offence concerned is committed, and hence it is impossible for anyone to violate the law unwittingly. In formulating the relevant offences and drafting the bill, we will target acts endangering national security with precision and ensure that the elements and penalties of the relevant offences are defined with clarity.

     “Furthermore, the HKSAR law enforcement agencies have been taking law enforcement actions (including arrest and detention) based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the persons or organisations concerned, and have nothing to do with the background or political stance of the person or organisation.

     “To safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is the top priority of the principle of ‘one country, two systems’. To legislate on Article 23 is precisely for safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity; and ensuring the full and faithful implementation of the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy. It will also better safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of the residents of the HKSAR and other people in the city. The US should immediately stop making irresponsible remarks on the Article 23 legislation and interfering in Hong Kong affairs which are internal affairs of China,” the spokesman stressed.

Hong Kong – Government announces 2024-25 Land Sale Programme (with photo/video)

Government announces 2024-25 Land Sale Programme (with photo/video)


     The Secretary for Development, Ms Bernadette Linn, today (February 29) announced the Government’s 2024-25 Land Sale Programme.

     “The 2024-25 Land Sale Programme covers eight residential sites, capable of providing about 5 690 flats; two commercial sites, providing around 120 000 square metres (sq m) of gross floor area (GFA); and an industrial site, providing about 544 000 sq m of GFA,” Ms Linn said.  

     On residential sites, Ms Linn said that in light of the market environment, unlike the past practice which all available and unsold sites on the Land Sale Programme of the previous year would be rolled over to the next financial year, those sites rolled over from 2023-24 to the 2024-25 Land Sale Programme were selected based on their location, size, market interests, in co-ordination with other sources of land supply. The two residential sites newly-added to the Land Sale Programme are smaller in scope, in a mature neighbourhood, and with considerable market attractiveness. 

     Apart from the eight sites available for sale, railway property development project and projects of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) will contribute to private housing land supply in 2024-25. The MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) plans to put up for tender its residential development project at Tung Chung East Station Package 1 in the coming financial year, providing about 1 200 flats. In addition, the URA plans to take forward three projects at Kai Tak Road/Sa Po Road in Kowloon City, Shan Tung Street/Thistle Street in Mong Kok; as well as Kwun Tong Town Centre, capable of providing a total of about 2 860 flats. As for private development/redevelopment projects, with reference to the figures in the past decade, the supply in 2024-25 is estimated to be around 5 400 flats.

     Taking into consideration the estimated land supply from Government land sale, projects of the MTRCL and the URA, as well as private development/redevelopment projects, the private housing land supply in 2024-25 is estimated to have a capacity to produce about 15 150 flats, exceeding the annual supply target (13 200 flats) by around 15 per cent. 

     Pursuant to the “Long Term Housing Strategy Annual Progress Report 2023” released by the Government in October 2023, the total housing supply target for the coming decade is 440 000 units and the public/private housing split remains at 70:30. The target for private housing land supply in 2024-25 is hence 13 200 flats. The potential supply from all various sources will exceed the annual supply target. That said, the actual land supply for private housing will depend on various factors, including market conditions, the timely completion of necessary procedures leading up to land sale, the progress of railway property and URA projects, and the intention and progress of developers’ private development/redevelopment projects. 

     On sites for economic use, in 2024-25, two commercial sites are included in the Land Sale Programme, respectively in Kai Tak and Sha Tin, providing around 120 000 sq m of GFA in total. The 2024-25 Land Sale Programme also includes an industrial site in Hung Shui Kiu / Ha Tsuen, providing around 544 000 sq m of GFA.  

     Reviewing the private housing land supply in 2023-24, Ms Linn noted that the Government has sold three residential sites in this financial year, which have a total capacity to produce about 1 890 flats. The aggregate private housing land supply in 2023-24 from different sources, including Government land sale, projects of the URA and private development/redevelopment projects, is estimated to have a capacity to produce about 14 000 flats, exceeding the total annual supply target (12 900 flats) by around 8.5 per cent.

     In addition, the Government has earlier announced the putting up of an industrial site near Yuen Long INNOPark for sale in the fourth quarter of 2023-24. The site will be put up for tender in mid-March 2024, providing around 160 000 sq m of GFA, for development of Multi-storey Buildings for modern industries (MSB), and specifically to be designated for logistics and/or vehicle repairing and maintenance uses. No less than 30 per cent of GFA of the MSB is required to be handed over to the Government for leasing to brownfield operators affected by Government-led development projects. Taking into account the dual policy objectives of MSB development, viz. to promote industrial development and consolidate brownfield operations affected by Government projects and assist them in upgrading their operations, we will launch this tender under the “Two-envelope Approach”. This approach effectively means that the Government will assess not only the land premium offered by the tenderers, but also non-premium aspects when considering the incoming bids, including how the relevant building(s) proposed by the tenderer will achieve the aforementioned policy objectives. These non-premium aspects are categorised into two domains, the first domain relates to industrial development, including how the building(s) could promote industrial development through pro-innovation proposals such as the application of technology, cutting-edge designs, and Modular Integrated Construction method, etc. The second domain relates to the 30 per cent GFA for accommodating brownfield operations, including whether the tenderers could offer to provide more than 30 percent GFA, or complete the development project within a shorter timeframe, or come up with a better design that can increase the flexibility of the floor space such that a higher variety of brownfield operations could be accommodated, etc. Tenderers are required to submit their premium proposals and non-premium proposals concurrently. A weighting of 70 per cent will be given to the assessment of the non-premium aspects, while 30 per cent will be given to the land premium. The Government will only consider tenders that comply with all requirements set out respectively for the premium and non-premium aspects. The Development Bureau will announce the details in due course.

     For the first quarter of 2024-25, i.e. April to June 2024, the Government will put up for tender a residential site in Sha Tin, which is capable of providing a total of about 280 flats. 

     Ms Linn said that the Government will hold on to its determination to increase land supply, and will continue to provide land to the market for economic and housing development in a prudent and paced manner, in order to maintain a sustained and steady land supply. The Government will continue to monitor the market situation and holistically consider supply from various sources so as to make fitting arrangements for each quarter. The Government will continue to announce in advance the quarterly land sale programme in order to provide transparency and certainty to the market. 

     The 2024-25 Land Sale Programme can be found on the Lands Department’s website (www.landsd.gov.hk).

Hong Kong – ASEAN states benefits through stronger ties through Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, ASEAN companies in Hong Kong on rise (with photos)

ASEAN states benefits through stronger ties through Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, ASEAN companies in Hong Kong on rise (with photos)


     Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) today (February 29) hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community Spring Reception for the ASEAN business community.
     Nearly 300 representatives from ASEAN consulates, chambers of commerce and companies from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined the celebration.
     The Director-General of Investment Promotion, Ms Alpha Lau, said, “Hong Kong is a two-way super connector – for businesses going into Mainland China, and for Chinese companies looking for expansion opportunities in Belt and Road Initiative countries. Hong Kong is an investor in many ASEAN projects, and a key service and fund-raising centre.”
     Doyenne of ASEAN consulates and the Consul-General of Brunei Darussalam, Mrs Ainatol Zahayu Mohammad stated, “Through strategic partnerships and mutual support, the ASEAN-Hong Kong relations has paved the way for a thriving ecosystem of trade and investment.”
     She said, “ASEAN member states could benefit from a potential increase in trade and investment as the regional bloc forge stronger ties with the world’s second largest economic powerhouse through Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.”
     She added, “Where investment and business expansions are concerned, Hong Kong remains a preferred choice due to factors such as simple tax system, low tax rate, geographical location, free-port status and corruption-free government. With ASEAN and Hong Kong forging closer economic ties, the number of ASEAN companies setting up their offices in the financial hub has been on the rise.”
     InvestHK will continue to focus on the ASEAN region to attract more strategic enterprises to do business in and through Hong Kong.

Hong Kong – FEHD joins force with Police to stringently combat shop front extension at Ngau Chi Wan Village in Wong Tai Sin (with photos)

FEHD joins force with Police to stringently combat shop front extension at Ngau Chi Wan Village in Wong Tai Sin (with photos)


     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Hong Kong Police Force today (February 29) conducted a joint operation to combat the serious shop front extension problem at Ngau Chi Wan Village in Wong Tai Sin which has persisted for many years. The spokesman for the FEHD said that the operation has achieved certain results as the pavement has resumed obstruction-free. The FEHD and the Police will continue to closely monitor and take stringent enforcement actions in order to eradicate the shop front extension problem in the vicinity.

     During the operation, the FEHD issued 11 fixed penalty notices or summonses against obstruction in public places, cleanliness offences as well as contravention of Food Business Regulation. Meanwhile, the FEHD had removed about 2.3 tonnes of goods and miscellaneous articles.

     Under the joint enforcement mode, if obstructions in a public place or carriageways were caused by articles illegally extending from shops, the offenders concerned would be prosecuted. Apart from that, the Police would issue warning notice under section 32(1) of the Summary Offences Ordinance (Cap. 228) specifying the time limit for removal of the obstructions (including goods). If the obstructions remain, the FEHD would remove the items and put them in temporary storage.

     The spokesman said that with the efforts by the FEHD and the Police, there has been visible improvement in the shop front extension situation across the territory over the past year and more. The spokesman appeals to shop operators to exercise self-discipline in complying with the law, and not to extend business areas illegally.

Canada – S-metolachlor and R-enantiomer and Its Associated End-use Products, Proposed Re evaluation Decision (PRVD2024-01)

Current status: Open
Opened on 29 February 2024 and will close for consultation on 29 May 2024

Health Canada is consulting the public and seeking your feedback on the proposed re-evaluation decision to continue allowing most of the current uses of S-metolachlor and R-enantiomer with updated risk reduction measures.

What is S-metolachlor and R-enantiomer
S-metolachlor and R-enantiomer (from now on referred to as S-metolachlor) is a herbicide registered for use in Canada. It provides broad control over weeds including broadleaved weeds (such as dandelions and thistles), annual grasses and yellow nutsedge. S-metolachlor is registered for use on:

major field crops (such as corn and soybeans),
vegetables (such as carrots, asparagus and squashes),
fruit trees (such as apples, peaches and cherries),
outdoor ornamentals (such as landscape plants and trees), and
forests and woodlots.

S-metolachlor is applied once per year using ground equipment, like a ground boom field sprayer, and can be applied to fields when crops are in the very early stages of development or before they are planted.

Currently, S-metolachlor is only used in commercial class products. Commercial class products are restricted to the commercial activities that are indicated on the product label. These products are not available to the general public for use in and around the home.

What is a re-evaluation
Re-evaluations are cyclical reviews that look at all aspects of a pesticide to determine if the pesticide meets current health, environment and value requirements. Re-evaluations are conducted using modern assessment techniques and current scientific information. If Health Canada’s scientific information requirements or evaluation procedures change, pesticides may also be re-evaluated.

What is the proposed re-evaluation decision
Health Canada proposes to continue allowing most of the current uses of S-metolachlor with updated risk reduction measures to protect people and the environment. Health Canada also proposes to cancel the use of S-metolachlor in impregnated granular fertilizers. Impregnated granular fertilizers are small, solid pellets of fertilizer that are coated or infused with pesticides. This cancellation is because the only granular fertilizer product containing S-metolachlor is co-formulated with the pesticide atrazine (product registration number 29358) and would align with recommendations in the proposed special review for atrazine (PSRD2023-01). In the proposed special review for atrazine, the co-formulated product is proposed to be cancelled because it does not meet the requirements for the protection of human health.

Risk-reduction measures are legally mandated actions that must be taken by growers and commercial users of S-metolachlor to protect human health and the environment. To protect human health, the addition of the following risk reduction measures are proposed:

Update personal protective equipment requirements for users.
Restrict the amount of S-metolachlor when using mechanically-pressurized handgun sprayers for application.
Update restricted-entry intervals (REIs).

To protect the environment, the addition of the following risk reduction measures and label requirements are proposed:

Spray buffer zones are required to protect terrestrial and aquatic environments from spray drift. Buffer zones are strips of land between the site of pesticide application and the terrestrial or aquatic areas.
Addition of precautionary label statements.

In addition to these risk reduction measures, labels will be updated to meet current standards.

To reach its decision, Health Canada conducted scientific evaluations to determine the potential impact of S-metolachlor in Canada. This included reviewing any new and applicable information related to conditions for use, toxicology, occupational and residential exposure, dietary exposure, value, and impact on the environment. Results from these evaluations show that with the implementation of updated risk reduction measures, S-metolachlor continues to meet Health Canada’s requirements for the protection of the environment.

How to get involved
This consultation comment period is open from 29 February 2024 and closing on 29 May 2024 (90 calendar days inclusively).

To comment on PRVD2024-01:

Step 1: Open “View a summary of the proposed decision” below to access the document.
Step 2: Submit comments to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency Publications Sectionon or before 29 May 2024

Please be sure to include the title of the consultation document on which you are commenting.

Health Canada will consider all comments received by the end of the consultation comment period (by 29 May 2024) before making a final decision on the proposed re-evaluation decision for S-metolachlor.

View a summary of the proposed decision

If you would like to request additional information on the supporting scientific documents for this proposed special review decision, contact the Pest Management Information Service. Include the following information in the request:

Active ingredient: S-metolachlorand R-enantiomer
Published document number: PRVD2024-01
Submission number(s):2014-5447

Related information

Summary of PSRD2023-01: Proposed Special Review Decision of Atrazine and Its Associated End-use Products
Pesticide Incident Reporting Program.

Reporting to the people of Canada
Health Canada will make the results of this consultation available on this website. Once the decision on S-metolachlor and R-enantiomer is finalized, the PMRA will post a re-evaluation decision document, which will include the decision, the reasons for it, a summary of the comments received on the proposed decision, and Health Canada’s response to these comments, on the Pesticides and Pest Management Reports and Publications portion of Canada.ca

If you have any questions, contact the Pest Management Information Service.

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