Hong Kong – Joint operation to remove dangerous scaffolding erected in rear lanes at Ma Tau Wai Road completed

Joint operation to remove dangerous scaffolding erected in rear lanes at Ma Tau Wai Road completed


     The Buildings Department (BD) in collaboration with the Lands Department (LandsD) and other relevant government departments, including the Home Affairs Department, the Highways Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Police, mounted a joint operation yesterday (August 18) to remove the scaffolding erected in the private rear lanes between 182-220 Ma Tau Wai Road and 1-9 Shek Tong Street and 484-510 Chatham Road North, and on the government land facing Shek Tong Street and the pavement of Ma Tau Wai Road. The operation was completed today (August 19).

     The BD earlier received public reports about the erection of large scaffolding at the rear lanes at the above-mentioned area. An on-site inspection by the BD found that the scaffolding was partly erected in the private rear lanes and partly on government land. The LandsD was then notified for follow-up in parallel.

     The BD’s investigations revealed that the scaffolding in the rear lanes and on the government land was erected by the same person. As the person failed to give a reasonable explanation for the use of the scaffolding, the BD had urged the person to remove the scaffolding as soon as possible.

     A recent inspection by the BD revealed that the scaffolding had continued to expand, causing serious obstruction to the emergency exits of nearby buildings, and was structurally unsafe. For the sake of public safety, the BD and the LandsD mounted the joint operation yesterday, pursuant to section 26(4) of the Buildings Ordinance (BO) and section 6(1) of the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance, and arranged for a government contractor to carry out emergency works to remove the scaffolding in both the private rear lanes and on government land. After the operation, the BD will recover the cost of works and the supervision charge from the person who erected the scaffolding.

     The BD is also conducting an investigation and collecting evidence on suspected contravention of the BO for consideration of suitable follow-up action.

     Regarding the unauthorised building works (UBWs) and the projecting signboards at the side of 182-186 Ma Tau Wai Road, the BD has earlier issued removal orders to the persons concerned under the BO, requiring them to remove the UBWs and the signboards. As the persons concerned have lodged appeals in respect of the removal orders, according to the provisions of the BO, the BD will proceed with further action after the appeal proceedings have been completed.

     Moreover, regarding the unauthorised stone house at the rear lane on the ground floor of 9 Shek Tong Street, the BD has earlier issued a removal order to the owner concerned, requiring him to remove the UBWs. The owner advised that demolition works will be carried out. To ensure the demolition works can be carried out smoothly, the BD applied to the court for a closure order today and was granted an order to close the unauthorised stone house. If the owner fails to commence demolition works within a short period of time, the BD will arrange for a government contractor to carry out  the demolition works and recover the cost of works, the supervision charge and the surcharge from the owner.

     As for the UBWs at the external wall and the flat roof at 2/F, 182-186 Ma Tau Wai Road, the owner was earlier prosecuted by the BD under the BO and was convicted and fined about $40,000 in total by the court last year. As the owner persisted in not complying with the removal orders, the BD is instigating another prosecution against the owner under the BO.

     A spokesman for the BD reiterated, “We handle cases of contravention of the BO in a serious manner. The Department will take enforcement actions under the BO if irregularities are found again at the above-mentioned locations.”

Operation Deploy Your Dress Hosts Free Pop-Up Boutique for Military Community

 Operation Deploy Your Dress will host a free pop-up boutique for military community members on Saturday, April 30th at the Headquarters of the Association of the United States Army in Arlington, VA. ODYD and AUSA will welcome over 600 military community members including active-duty service members, military spouses and eligible DoD ID card holders.

“We’re so excited to be coming back to the National Capital Region for our 5th annual Operation Deploy Your Dress pop-up event in partnership with the Association of the United States Army. There are so many military families, from all branches of service, in this area. We find this is the best, and most fun, way to show support for them,” said Yvonne Coombes, CEO and co-founder of Operation Deploy Your Dress.

Set-up for the pop-up boutique begins Thursday with the transformation of the AUSA conference space into a unique to ODYD shopping experience. Racks with close to 2,000 gowns will be set-up, make-shift changing areas will be constructed and display tables with jewelry, wristlets, shoes, and handbags will be displayed to mimic a high-end boutique with one major difference – all items are free to the military-connected shoppers.

“I am so excited about seeing the inventory of dresses. I love the thought of giving a beautiful dress another life. The traditions rooted in balls is something I’m so fond of, especially because I’m a third generation military wife, so my mother and my grandmothers once spent time finding the perfect dress to wear to their balls,” said Rachael Monique, active duty Army military spouse and first-time pop-up shopper and volunteer.

Over the last several months ODYD’s all-volunteer team have set up drop-off locations for formalwear and accessories to be deployed for the pop-up event. The response has been tremendous, and the team had to pause accepting deployments two weeks ahead of schedule because of the generosity of the North Capital Region civilian and military supporters.

“The amazing citizens in the area are so supportive that it allows us to bring our event to another level and Deploy the NCR’s Patriotism One Dress at a Time,” said Coombes, 2020–2021 Armed Forces Insurance ARMY Spouse of the Year.”

The pop-up boutique opens at 8:00am with exclusive shopping hours for AUSA members and then runs all day until 4:00pm. Registration for the event is required and a few open shopping spots remain. Visit the www.operationdeployyourdress.org to register and learn more about our 13 ODYD shop locations around the globe.

About Operation Deploy Your Dress

Operation Deploy Your Dress was founded by five military spouses who wanted to ensure attendance at military balls was not out of reach for junior enlisted families due to the cost of formalwear. Since 2016, ODYD has re-deployed over 16,000 gowns and saved the military community close to $2 million dollars through the Mission to Deploy America’s Patriotism One Dress at a Time.

Media Contact:

Corrie Andreacchio

Marketing Director


(215) 208-1335


Operation Deploy Your Dress

Corrie Andreacchio




Operation Deploy Your Dress hosts Free Pop-Up Boutique   for Military Community


  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Events & Concerts
  • Lifestyle
  • Trade Shows & Events
  • Veterans
  • Women’s Interest

Hong Kong – Smooth operation on first day reopening of LCSD venues

Smooth operation on first day reopening of LCSD venues


     A spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (April 21) said that, in view of the first phase of relaxation of social distancing measures announced by the Government, some leisure and cultural venues were reopened today and the first-day operation was smooth. All persons entering sports premises and other indoor venues under the management of the LCSD complied with the requirement of the Vaccine Pass.

     In response to media enquiries about touting activities, the spokesman said the LCSD has all along attached great importance to the condition of unauthorised transfer of the booked sessions and touting, and has introduced various measures to combat touting activities. Under these measures, hirers must produce valid permits or approval letters together with their identity documents for verification and registration before using the facilities. If the identity document provided by the hirer is inconsistent with the department’s booking record or any irregularities are identified, his/her right to use the facility will be rejected by the LCSD immediately. If a hirer is found to have engaged in unauthorised transfer of user permit, his/her booking right for use of facilities will be suspended for a period of 180 days by the LCSD. Upon receipt of any complaints about touting activities, the LCSD will conduct investigation and follow-up.

     To further combat touting activities, starting from May 1, the LCSD will implement a new measure targeting those who are suspected to engage in touting activities by unauthorised transfer of use of venue. In accordance with the provisions of the Conditions of Use of LCSD Recreation and Sports Facilities, the hirer must be present during the use of the booked sessions. Random inspections will be conducted during the booked sessions. If the hirer is not present during the use of the facilities, it will result in one count of breach of Conditions of Use by the hirer. Any two counts of breach within 30 consecutive days will result in suspension of the relevant person’s rights to book any of the LCSD’s fee-charging recreation and sports facilities starting from the third day subsequent to his/her second breach for 90 days.

     Meanwhile, the spokesman for the LCSD said with the easing of the epidemic situation, it is expected that some of the sports centres currently used for anti-epidemic purposes will be returned to the LCSD for public use next month. This will help alleviate the present situation.

Operation Toy Train and Tri-State Railway Historical Society Partner to Preserve Historic Hoboken and Middletown Locomotives

 The Tri-State Railway Historical Society and Operation Toy Train of New York have partnered to acquire former Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad locomotive No. 700 and Middletown & New Jersey Railroad locomotive No. 2 for historic preservation. These locomotives are the last remaining examples of historic rail equipment from the heydays of their respective railroads.

Both are 44-ton diesel-electric locomotives constructed in 1947 by General Electric’s factory in Erie, Pennsylvania. Middletown & New Jersey No. 2 was acquired secondhand in 1963 by the 15-mile railroad, which was built from Middletown to Unionville, New York in 1868). Originally painted solid red, the No. 2 became the railroad’s only operating locomotive from 1981 to 2007 in a more vibrant yellow and blue paint scheme. It is the sole surviving piece of equipment from the first 139 years of the M&NJ’s history.

Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad No. 700 was built to operate along the mile-and-a-half railroad along the bustling waterfront of Hoboken, New Jersey. This line was built in 1897 with the backing of grandsons of John Stevens III, who had held the first charter for a railroad in the United States. The No. 700 wore Stevens Institute of Technology colors – red and grey – to signify the railroad’s connection to Hoboken’s founding family, but it was later repainted in a striking green and yellow scheme. The engine operated for the Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad and its successor, the Hoboken Shore Railroad, until the latter railroad’s closure in 1976. The No. 700 is the sole remaining piece of rail equipment from the Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad.

Regional Rail, LLC of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, now owns both locomotives and recognized their historic and regional significance. The company reached out to Operation Toy Train of New York and the Tri-State Railway Historical Society to pass them both into preservation upon their retirement. The sale price for both locomotives, which graciously included a supply of spare parts, was not disclosed.

M&NJ No. 2 will join the display of Operation Toy Train of New York’s rail equipment at the new Port Jervis Transportation History Center in Port Jervis, New York, while the HMRR No. 700 will be added to the Tri-State Railway Historical Society’s railroad collection at the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey’s restoration and storage facility in Boonton, New Jersey. Both engines are slated for full mechanical and cosmetic restorations once they have been trucked to their respective new homes.

“The Middletown & New Jersey Railroad operated from Middletown, NY to the New Jersey state line, with the whole 15-mile line running less than 20 miles away from Port Jervis,” said Rudy Garbely, a director of Operation Toy Train. “When No. 2 became available, it made perfect sense to preserve it at the Port Jervis Transportation History Center as a prime example of equipment from a local railroad.”

“We are returning No. 700 home to New Jersey after an absence of forty-five years,” said Richie King, treasurer of the Tri-State Railway Historical Society. “This locomotive is the last piece of equipment from a railroad with deep ties to Hoboken, the Stevens family, Stevens Institute, and New Jersey’s industrial heritage – it had to be saved, without question.” King will become Tri-State’s president on January 1st.

The two organizations have launched a joint campaign, called Operation 88, to fundraise $15,000 to complete the project. These funds will be used to cover the remaining transportation costs, mechanical upgrades, and repainting the locomotives into their historic liveries. Funding for the acquisition and initial transportation costs was secured from Liberty Historic Railway, Inc., a New Jersey-based non-profit that has funded numerous preservation efforts in years past, as well as contributions from private donors. To learn more about the project and to donate to the restorations of both locomotives, visit Operation 88 online.

Operation Toy Train of New York, Inc.

Rudy Garbely

973-800-9251 (cell)




  • Railroad

Hong Kong – Speech by FS at Operation Santa Claus 2021 launch ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)

Speech by FS at Operation Santa Claus 2021 launch ceremony (English only) (with photos/video)


     Following is the speech by Operation Santa Claus 2021 launch ceremony (November 3):
Gary (Chief Executive Officer of South China Morning Post, Mr Gary Liu), Patrick (Director of Broadcasting, Mr Patrick Li), Consuls General, distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,
      Good evening. It’s a pleasure to be here with you tonight for the launch of this year’s Operation Santa Claus.
      I know some of us, certainly this speaker, had hoped to see Santa this evening. But then I realised Santa must be flat-out busy getting all those gifts together, not to mention tuning up the sleigh and readying the reindeer for the long good night.
      Perhaps it’s a little like that frantic period before the annual Budget, though, I don’t have to worry about reindeer of course.
      I realised, too, that we don’t need Santa here tonight – not when the spirit of giving is so visible everywhere I look, at everyone I see.  For that, my thanks to the organisers, the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong. You have made Operation Santa Claus synonymous with the spirit of giving. The spirit of Hong Kong.
      Even the room we’re in this evening exudes that ineffable spirit. As some of you will know, the TV series Below the Lion Rock 獅子山下was originally filmed right here in this room, when it still served as a TV studio in the 1970s.
      I took a moment, recently, to listen to the show’s theme song, that beloved Cantopop tune of the same name. As always, the song and its lyrics moved me. These lines, in particular, seem to speak of this splendid evening – and the boundless promise of Hong Kong:
“既是同舟 在獅子山下且共濟 拋棄區分求共對”
“Given that we are on the same boat,
We can all help each other
Beneath the Lion Rock
And leave our differences behind.”
      Yes, the spirit of giving is alive and well here this evening. And I am confident that, through Operation Santa Claus, it will inspire another memorable year in bringing donors and beneficiaries together. In bringing us all together.
      Thank you.