Members present the president the honourable andrew wong wang-fat, O. B. E., J. P



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LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL — 8 November 1995



OFFICIAL RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Wednesday, 8 November 1995
The Council met at half-past Two o'clock

MEMBERS PRESENT
THE PRESIDENT

THE HONOURABLE ANDREW WONG WANG-FAT, O.B.E., J.P.


THE HONOURABLE ALLEN LEE PENG-FEI, C.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE MRS SELINA CHOW LIANG SHUK-YEE, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE MARTIN LEE CHU-MING, Q.C., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE SZETO WAH
THE HONOURABLE EDWARD HO SING-TIN, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE RONALD JOSEPH ARCULLI, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE MRS MIRIAM LAU KIN-YEE, O.B.E., J.P.
DR THE HONOURABLE EDWARD LEONG CHE-HUNG, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE ALBERT CHAN WAI-YIP
THE HONOURABLE CHEUNG MAN-KWONG
THE HONOURABLE CHIM PUI-CHUNG
THE HONOURABLE FREDERICK FUNG KIN-KEE

THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL HO MUN-KA


DR THE HONOURABLE HUANG CHEN-YA, M.B.E.
THE HONOURABLE EMILY LAU WAI-HING
THE HONOURABLE LEE WING-TAT
THE HONOURABLE ERIC LI KA-CHEUNG, J.P.
THE HONOURABLE FRED LI WAH-MING
THE HONOURABLE HENRY TANG YING-YEN, J.P.
THE HONOURABLE JAMES TO KUN-SUN
DR THE HONOURABLE SAMUEL WONG PING-WAI, M.B.E., FEng., J.P.
DR THE HONOURABLE PHILIP WONG YU-HONG
DR THE HONOURABLE YEUNG SUM
THE HONOURABLE HOWARD YOUNG, J.P.
THE HONOURABLE ZACHARY WONG WAI-YIN
THE HONOURABLE JAMES TIEN PEI-CHUN, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE LEE CHEUK-YAN
THE HONOURABLE CHAN KAM-LAM
THE HONOURABLE CHAN WING-CHAN
THE HONOURABLE CHAN YUEN-HAN
THE HONOURABLE ANDREW CHENG KAR-FOO

THE HONOURABLE PAUL CHENG MING-FUN


THE HONOURABLE CHENG YIU-TONG
THE HONOURABLE ANTHONY CHEUNG BING-LEUNG
THE HONOURABLE CHEUNG HON-CHUNG
THE HONOURABLE CHOY KAN-PUI, J.P.
THE HONOURABLE ALBERT HO CHUN-YAN
THE HONOURABLE IP KWOK-HIM
THE HONOURABLE LAU CHIN-SHEK
DR THE HONOURABLE LAW CHEUNG-KWOK
THE HONOURABLE LAW CHI-KWONG
THE HONOURABLE LEE KAI-MING
THE HONOURABLE LEUNG YIU-CHUNG
THE HONOURABLE BRUCE LIU SING-LEE
THE HONOURABLE MOK YING-FAN
THE HONOURABLE SIN CHUNG-KAI
THE HONOURABLE TSANG KIN-SHING
DR THE HONOURABLE JOHN TSE WING-LING
THE HONOURABLE MRS ELIZABETH WONG CHIEN CHI-LIEN, C.B.E., I.S.O., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE LAWRENCE YUM SIN-LING
MEMBERS ABSENT
DR THE HONOURABLE DAVID LI KWOK-PO, O.B.E., LL.D. (CANTAB), J.P.
THE HONOURABLE NGAI SHIU-KIT, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE LAU WONG-FAT, O.B.E., J.P.
THE HONOURABLE CHRISTINE LOH KUNG-WAI
THE HONOURABLE DAVID CHU YU-LIN
THE HONOURABLE AMBROSE LAU HON-CHUEN, J.P.
THE HONOURABLE LO SUK-CHING
THE HONOURABLE MARGARET NG
THE HONOURABLE NGAN KAM-CHUEN

PUBLIC OFFICERS ATTENDING
THE HONOURABLE MRS ANSON CHAN, C.B.E., J.P.

CHIEF SECRETARY


THE HONOURABLE DONALD TSANG YAM-KUEN, O.B.E., J.P.

FINANCIAL SECRETARY


THE HONOURABLE JEREMY FELL MATHEWS, C.M.G., J.P.

ATTORNEY GENERAL


MR CHAU TAK-HAY, C.B.E., J.P.

SECRETARY FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY


MR HAIDER HATIM TYEBJEE BARMA, I.S.O., J.P.

SECRETARY FOR TRANSPORT

MR DOMINIC WONG SHING-WAH, O.B.E., J.P.

SECRETARY FOR HOUSING


MRS KATHERINE FOK LO SHIU-CHING, O.B.E., J.P.

SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND WELFARE


MR JOSEPH WONG WING-PING, J.P.

SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION AND MANPOWER


MR PETER LAI HING-LING, J.P.

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY


MR KWONG KI-CHI, J.P.

SECRETARY FOR THE TREASURY



CLERKS IN ATTENDANCE
MR RICKY FUNG CHOI-CHEUNG, SECRETARY GENERAL
MR LAW KAM-SANG, DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL
MISS PAULINE NG MAN-WAH, ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL

PAPERS
The following papers were laid on the table pursuant to Standing Order 14(2):
Subject
Subsidiary Legislation L.N. No.
Merchant Shipping (Safety) (Signals of Distress

and Prevention of Collisions) (Amendment)

Regulation 1995 486/95
Official Languages (Alteration of Text) (Oaths

and Declarations Ordinance) Order 1995 490/95


Official Languages (Alteration of Text)

(Road Traffic Ordinance) Order 1995 491/95


Accountant's Report (Amendment) Rules 1995 492/95
Food Business (Regional Council) (Amendment)

(No. 3) Bylaw 1995 493/95


Wills (Amendment) Ordinance 1995 (56 of 1995)

(Commencement) Notice 1995 494/95


Intestates' Estates (Amendment) Ordinance 1995

(57 of 1995) (Commencement) Notice 1995 495/95


Inheritance (Provision for Family and

Dependants) Ordinance (58 of 1995)

(Commencement) Notice 1995 496/95
Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance

(Amendment of Second Schedule) Order 1995 497/95

Birth Certificate (Shortened Form) Regulations

(Amendment) Order 1995 498/95


Births Registration (Special Registers) Ordinance

(Replacement of Schedules) Order 1995 499/95


Deaths Registration (Special Registers) Ordinance

(Replacement of Schedules) Order 1995 500/95


Marriage Reform (Forms) (Amendment)

Regulation 1995 501/95


Marriage Ordinance (Amendment of First Schedule)

Order 1995 502/95


Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text)

(Chit-Fund Businesses (Prohibition) Ordinance)

Order (C) 91/95
Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text)

(Demolished Buildings (Re-Development of Sites)

Ordinance) Order (C) 92/95
Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text)

(Oaths and Declarations Ordinance) Order (C) 93/95


Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text)

(University of Hong Kong Ordinance) Order (C) 94/95


Official Languages (Authentic Chinese Text)

(Road Traffic Ordinance) Order (C) 95/95

Sessional Papers 1995-96
No. 17 ─ Land Development Corporation

Annual Report 1994-1995

No. 18 ─ Hong Kong Productivity Council

Annual Report 1994-95


No. 19 ─ Hong Kong Industrial Technology Centre Corporation

Annual Report 1994-95


No. 20 ─ The Hong Kong Industrial Estates Corporation

Annual Report 1994-1995


No. 21 ─ Annual Report of the Director of Accounting Services

and the Accounts of Hong Kong

for the year ended 31 March 1995
No. 22 ─ Report of the Director of Audit on the Accounts of the

Hong Kong Government for the year ended 31 March 1995


No. 23 ─ Report of the Director of Audit on the

Results of Value for Money Audits



ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Drug addicts
1. MR WONG WAI-YIN asked (in Cantonese): Mr President, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of drug addicts, together with a breakdown of the number of those who are female and those who are under the age of 21 (to be further broken down by male and female), in each of the districts in the territory over the past three years;
(b) whether there is an upward trend in the number of female and young drug addicts; if so, what the reasons are;
(c) of the services available to help drug addicts to kick the habit; and


(d) what measures are put in place to curb the increase in the number of people taking drugs, particularly among women and young people?

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY (in Cantonese): Mr President,
(a) The statistics required in part (a) of the question are presented in tables 1 to 3, which are tabled before this Council.
(b) There is an upward trend in the number of young drug abusers between 1992 and 1994. However, the number of young drug abusers reported in the first six months of 1995 dropped by over 8% from 2 651 in the corresponding period in 1994 to 2 436. Members may also wish to note that there is a more significant drop, by 44%, in the number of newly reported young drug abusers, from 1 600 in the first six months of 1994 to 1 108 in the corresponding period in 1995. I believe that it is too early to regard this as a reversing trend since this has to be sustained over a longer period of time. The Government will continue to combat the drug problem vigorously and I hope our re-doubled efforts will bear fruit and alleviate the problem.
A Survey of Young Drug Abusers conducted by the Narcotics Division last year revealed that curiosity and to identify with peers were the main reasons for initial drug use among youngsters. In terms of the satisfaction they derived from drug taking, "to forget about trouble" was ranked the highest, followed by "to get high" and "to relax".
An upward trend is also noted in the number of female drug abusers since 1992. However, the number of newly reported female abusers in the first six months of 1995 dropped by 13% from 521 in the corresponding period in 1994 to 453. The Action Committee Against Narcotics has commissioned the Chinese University of Hong Kong to undertake a research study on female drug abusers, with a view to delineating the unique characteristics of female drug abusers and the factors leading to their drug abuse. This study will also look into prevention and treatment strategies to deal with female drug abusers. The findings of the study will be available towards the end of next year.
(c) We have launched a range of treatment programmes, using a number of treatment methods, to cater for the needs of different drug abusers. In the treatment of dependence on opiate drugs such as heroin, there are mainly three types of government-funded treatment programmes: (1) a compulsory placement programme in drug addiction treatment centres run by the Correctional Services Department; (2) a voluntary out-patient methadone programme provided by the Department of Health and (3) a voluntary in-patient programme run by the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (SARDA). On top of these, there are nine voluntary agencies providing religious therapeutic services for opiate abusers.
Counselling services for psychotropic substance abusers are provided by PS33 of the Hong Kong Christian Service and the "Direction" of SARDA. The Hospital Authority has established six substance abuse clinics to provide medical services for psychotropic substance abusers.
(d) Our overall strategy to combat the problem of drug addiction takes a multi-disciplinary approach, covering legislation and enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, preventive education and publicity, and research.
Our law enforcement agencies, including the police, Customs and Excise Department and the Department of Health, are taking vigorous actions to detect and prosecute offenders, and to clamp down on the illegal supply of drugs. We have strengthened the manpower in the Police Narcotics Bureau, and updated legislation against the laundering of drug proceeds with a view to taking more effective enforcement actions against drug traffickers.

The Medical Council and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board are discussing possible new measures to further tighten control on malpractice and the illegal sale of drugs. The Department of Health has increased the number of pharmacy inspections per month from 560 to 700, and set up a special task force to facilitate the prosecution of offending drug retailers.


Maximum penalties for the illegal or improper sale of drugs by pharmacies have been raised recently. We are also examining ways to impose heavier sentences on adult drug offenders who involve youngsters in the illegal drug trade. One possible way is to have the exploitation of minors included as an aggravating factor in the guidelines set by the Court of Appeal for reference by lower courts when sentencing convicted drug traffickers.
As regards measures to curb the increase in the number of drug abusers, particularly among females and youngsters, additional treatment facilities are in the pipeline. SARDA's Women's Treatment Centre is being reprovisioned to accommodate more female clients, and the new centre in North District is expected to open early next year. The Chimawan Detention Centre (Lower) is to be converted into an additional drug addiction treatment centre under the Correctional Services Department for both adult and young female abusers.
For male young abusers, SARDA is undertaking a pilot project to set up a treatment centre for young opiate abusers. A suitable site has been identified in Yuen Long. We will be consulting the district board and relevant local bodies shortly. I hope that they will understand that there is indeed the urgent need for the facility. As the centre will provide in-patient treatment in a closed setting, it should not cause any law and order problem or nuisance to the neighbourhood.

Besides, we are also committed to setting up two additional residential treatment centres for young opiate abusers and a new counselling centre in the New Territories for psychotropic substance abusers. An amount of $17 million has been reserved for the centres, and the operators for these centres have already started the necessary planning work.


Preventive education has also been stepped up to inculcate in our young people a positive and healthy attitude to life, and to encourage them to resist temptation and stay away from drugs. The Education Department has taken a series of measures to beef up preventive education, targetting not only youngsters but also parents. It also provides assistance and training to schools and teachers to enable them to perform their essential task of educating their students to stay away from drugs more effectively. The Social Welfare Department has also set up a team of specially trained social workers to help young drug abusers.
The Government is very concerned about the seriousness of the drug abuse problem. In order to highlight the need for a concerted effort from the community as a whole to fight against drugs, and to tap the ideas of all concerned, the Governor chaired a Summit Meeting on Drugs in March. We are now pursuing vigorously the action plans as proposed in the summit meeting. The second quarterly progress report on these initiatives will be released later today. To add further impetus to the Beat Drugs campaign, we will set up a Beat Drugs Fund of $350 million to finance worthwhile projects and work to counter the drug problem.
The drug problem will be tackled only by the concerted effort of the community as a whole. Together we can beat drugs.

Table 1 Analysis of Drug Abusers (Reported to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse) by District of Residence
















For comparison


District of residence

1992

1993

1994

1995

(Jan-Jun)

1994

(Jan-Jun)

Total


15 216

17 692

20 326

11 979

12 354

Table 2 Analysis of Female Drug Abusers (Reported to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse) by District of Residence
















For comparison


District of residence

1992

1993

1994

1995

(Jan-Jun)

1994

(Jan-Jun)

Total


1 265

1 656

2 179

1 309

1 191

Table 3: Analysis of Young Drug Abusers (Reported to the Central Registry of Drug Abuse) Aged under 21 by Sex and District of Residence


For Comparison

1992 1993 1994 1995 1994

(Jan-Jun) (Jan-Jun)

District of residence

M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

M

F

T

















































Southern

147

19

166

211

34

245

336

81

417

197

42

239

226

52

278

Total


1 570

387

1 957

2 528

602

3 130

3 365

923

4 288

1 931

505

2 436

2 133

518

2 651

Note : M - Male F - Female T - Total



MR WONG WAI-YIN (in Cantonese): In his reply just now the Secretary for Security said that there was a downward trend in the first six months of 1995 when compared to the first half of 1994. However, statistics show that when compared to the whole year of 1994, the number for the first half of 1995 has already exceeded half of the total number in 1994. This is, therefore, very worrying.
Mr President, in the first paragraph under (c) in the reply the Secretary mentioned that several kinds of drug addiction treatment services are provided at present. They include the original compulsory placement programme, voluntary in-patient treatment services and religious therapeutic services. In fact, these services have been provided for years. Can the Secretary provide data showing us how many drug addicts who have previously received such treatments have returned to these treatment agencies more than once or repeatedly in the past three years in order to show how effective these services are? And, has the Government ever attempted to conduct a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of these kinds of institutional drug addiction treatment services?

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY (in Cantonese): Mr President, I do not have the record on hand as regards relapses into drug addiction by drug abusers who have previously received treatment in each of the different treatment centres. However, I believe that there is such a case. A detailed study over a long period of time is required in order to identify which one of the different kinds of drug addiction treatment methods is effective and which one is not and which one of them can attain the desired result and which one cannot. The Action Committee Against Narcotics have started the work to launch a three-year study in detail to look into the effectiveness and effects of different kinds of treatment methods and see whether they can attain their objectives.

PRESIDENT: Can the figures be provided in writing, Secretary?

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY: Mr President, I shall see what figures may be provided. (Annex I)


DR JOHN TSE (in Cantonese): Mr President, what happens in Hong Kong now is that people with money take drugs whereas people without money take methadone. The Hong Kong Government is using the money of taxpayers to treat drug addicts to a cheap drug, namely methadone. This is so because, as far as I know, it is more difficult to quit methadone than to quit drugs in general. I would like to enquire about the effectiveness of methadone. Can the Government inform this Council how many people have given up drugs completely and switched to methadone? Besides, how many people are able to rid themselves totally of the dependence on drugs subsequent to their taking methadone?

SECRETARY FOR SECURITY (in Cantonese): Mr President, the methadone treatment programme is not mainly aimed at enabling drug addicts who take methadone to get rid of their dependence on drugs for good. In most cases it is conducted as a "maintenance programme" which means that drug addicts may take methadone as a substitute when withdrawal symptoms emerge. This programme, in fact, plays a very significant role and we should realize that if those drug addicts are not provided with the channel to take methadone, when they are in financial difficulties or when prices of drugs soar and when they succumb to temptation, they may resort to crime to procure money for drug consumption. In this connection, methadone serves as an alternative channel to combat the evils of drugs. The methadone programme plays a very significant role in society.

MR CHIM PUI-CHUNG (in Cantonese): Mr President, opium is certainly a kind of drugs. However, rumour has it that some people in our society are granted special licences by the Government which allow them to take opium. Can the Secretary confirm if this is the case or is it solely a rumour circulating around town?

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