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"In the News"

by Sukh Mantel and Jacqui Weir

Thanks to Lily Ng, Ariel Yeung and Gloria Chau (for providing translation of Chinese articles) and thanks to Wallis Chan and Gloria Chau (for finding Chinese newspaper articles). Reuters News Service can be accessed at

Around 9000 freshwater turtles (soi yue), a popular Chinese food item, destined for Mainland China were seized recently off Po Toi Island. (SCMP, 3.13.02)

A council for sustainable development will be set up in Hong Kong to advise the government on sustainability issues. How much power it will have and when it will be set up is as yet unclear. (Reuters News Service, 11.6.02)

The Hong Kong government is planning to let the forthcoming Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai be run by a profit-making company. This is despite recommendations from government-commissioned consultants (UK-based MET Studio Design and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) that it should be government-run. However the government will be involved in setting up objectives and policy for the park. (SCMP, 17.5.02)

The Hong Kong government will have to pay much more than originally expected to clean up dioxin contamination at the future Disney site on Lantau Island. The initial estimated cost was $30 million. The current estimate is $450 million. The under-estimate was due to the former owner – Cheoy Lee shipyard – restricting site investigations. Hong Kong legislation currently lacks ‘polluter pays’ policies which could prevent such incidents or force the polluter to pay for cleaning up. (SCMP, 3.5.02)

A new snake species for Hong Kong has been discovered in the New Territories. Four specimens of Trimeresurus mucrosquamatus were found dead on a road between Ma On Shan and Sai Kung, by Mr. Dave Willot. The snake – common name "branding iron head viper" – is closely related to the bamboo pit viper. It is venomous and aggressive. It is found in south China, Taiwan and Hainan, but has never before been recorded from Hong Kong. (SCMP, 28.4.02)

The two pandas kept at Ocean Park have been undergoing a training programme to increase their physical activity and amount of mental stimulation, following fears that they were too inactive. Methods are focused on retrieving food items in different situations. (Ming Pao, 25.8.02)

Ten thousand catties of cultured fish worth around HK$800,000 were killed in Kai Sai Mariculture Farm. Fishermen suspect it was due to pesticides from a nearby golf course. Response from the golf course was that they do not use pesticides in the rainy season. (Oriental Daily, 24.8.02)




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