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February, 2013:

Crooked mainland cadres prone to hide their dirty money in property

And without any doubt numerous properties are in the Hong kong money laundry ………………… yet our Government wants to hide company director identities ………………..

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Home > Crooked mainland cadres prone to hide their dirty money in property

Crooked mainland cadres prone to hide their dirty money in property

Submitted by admin on Feb 7th 2013, 12:00am



Jane Cai in Beijing

Luxury flats are a relatively easy and inconspicuous place to conceal dirty money

Their titles vary and they come from around the nation, but there is one thing the 10 corrupt officials reported by whistle-blowers in the past two months have in common: each owned more than a dozen properties.

From local police heads to bank executives, officials who own an unusually large number of properties – in an extreme case, one is suspected of having 192 – have been reported to authorities in the wake of the new leadership’s call for citizens to help in the fight against corruption.

Property, although relatively illiquid, is a favoured investment on the mainland because of the record high returns that it has delivered and the opportunity it provides to launder ill-gotten gains, economists say.

“Property has always represented wealth, especially so after China’s housing reforms in 1982, which sent property prices soaring,” said Professor Hu Xingdou, a political analyst at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

Under the reforms, property became merchandise for individuals to buy instead of housing assigned by an employer. Prices have been buoyant over the past decade as the rich and powerful snapped up investments and ordinary people scraped savings together to buy a place to live in.

In major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, prices have risen by more than tenfold over the past decade.

In Beijing, luxury housing cost as much as 300,000 yuan (HK$373,000) per square metre in 2011 before regulators pegged back prices to avoid social unrest. Urban residents’ annual disposable income was 21,810 yuan per capita that year.

“In big cities there are plenty of rich people and corrupt officials, so someone owning 10 or 20 properties is hardly noticeable,” Hu said. “Property is a bribe less traceable than straight cash, which leaves clues in bank accounts.”

Property is a bribe less traceable than straight cash, which leaves clues in bank accounts

Faking a hukou, or proof of residency, could easily make the real owner of properties less visible. Zhai Zhenfeng , a former director of the housing administration bureau in Zhengzhou in the central province of Henan , and three family members all had two hukou and between them owned 31 properties, it was revealed in December.

Reflecting robust demand for fake hukou, there was a thriving business in a county in Jilin , with a grass-roots police station charging 30,000 to 50,000 yuan for an extra hukou, according to Xinhua.

Yuan Gangming , a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Tsinghua University, said housing has the characteristic of being valuable but not high-profile.

“More importantly, you cannot easily tell whether money used to buy property is clean or not, so it could facilitate laundering of illegal gains,” he said.

The transfer of ill-gotten gains into property has been rampant on the mainland in recent years because the government condones it, Yuan added.

“The central government has been relying heavily on the real estate sector to drive economic growth, and thus it tolerates the plundering of wealth by the powerful,” he said.

No official data exists for the number of vacant properties, which would be an indicator of the severity of the situation. There is also no nationwide tax on property ownership and no estate duty on inheritance. These factors make property ownership low risk and low cost.

Since November, a large amount of luxury housing has been dumped on to the market by sellers including government officials and senior managers of state-owned enterprises, spooked by the latest round of corruption busting, a source told The Economic Observer. Some 714 officials fled overseas between September 30 and October 7 last year, according to the Beijing newspaper.




mainland cadres

dirty money

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Don’t let sex scandals distract from the bigger fight against corruption [2]

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Ming Landfill

Reverse Mine NENT , WENT, SENT , Tseung Kwan O

Dowload PDF : Minglandfill

Blanket coverage for a lung-burning issue

Submitted by chris.luo on Feb 3rd 2013, 2:51am

Comment›Insight & Opinion

Keith Zhai


Media doesn’t hold back in its reporting of the heavy smog that engulfed many of the big cities

China’s new rich are fond of saying “nothing is a problem if money can solve it”. But over the past week, nearly everyone in China realised there are things in the country that not even the rich can buy. Clean air was one of them. The recent air pollution reached such a horrifying level that brown clouds were actually observed over the country from space.

On Tuesday, Xinhua announced that smog had affected an area of 1.3 million square kilometres – more than a seventh of the country’s total area of 9.6 square kilometres.

It said the air in Beijing and Tianjin, and the provinces of Hebei  and Shandong was “gravely polluted”, and that in the provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Jilin, Anhui, Hubei, and Sichuan was “seriously polluted”.

This meant that of the 31provinces, municipalities and regions, 12 were hit by air pollution, an astonishingly high number even for a people used to being smothered by smog.

Zhong Nanshan, who is well known for his role in fighting the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, said on state television on Wednesday: “Air pollution is a combination of the external and internal environment, and it is much scarier than Sars. You can isolate Sars patients, but nobody can escape air pollution.”

The Guangzhou Daily newspaper’s front page on Wednesday carried photos of people from different regions of the country wearing various types of face mask.

The Southern Metropolis Daily’sfront page simply showed a smoggy Beijing street.

The capital city was hardest hit. The Beijing Newsran pictures of major city landmarks on its front page – including its airport and the Summer Palace – all smothered by grey smog, and called for new regulations to minimise air pollution.

“Beijing cannot change the city’s air quality by itself. There is an urgent need for national-level regulations on clean air, which should clarify the responsibilities of the government, enterprises and individuals,” the paper said in its editorial on Wednesday.

Real estate developer Pan Shiyi, who spearheaded a social media campaign calling on the authorities to release figures for fine-particle, or PM2.5, pollution, echoed the paper’s call. He started an online poll to gauge support for a “Clean Air Bill”. Over 30,000 internet users voted, with nearly 99 per cent in favour of the idea.

The Beijing Times used a full page to urge residents to set off fewer fireworks at Lunar New Year, to reduce the particulate matter hanging in the air. It said that on the eve of the Lunar New Year in 2012, the PM2.5 level reached 1,593 micrograms per cubic metre in the city after hours of fireworks. “That was even higher than the most polluted day so far this year in Beijing,” the paper said. “It is residents’ responsibility to create a good environment for themselves and their families.”

PM2.5 refers to particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter which can be inhaled.

Some citizens said they were thinking of fleeing the city. Among them was renowned actress Song Dandan, a Beijing native who lamented on her microblog that after having lived in the city for more than 50 years she was considering leaving.

“A flood of emigration and every other type of temptation has been unable to get me to leave this lovable city. But today, I keep asking myself: ‘Where should I go to spend my final years?’” she wrote on Tuesday beside a photo showing the thick smog outside her window.

Such concern prompted the government to respond. Nearly all mainland media reported Premier Wen Jiabao saying on Tuesday: “Recent smoggy weather is affecting people’s production and health. We should take effective measures to accelerate industrial restructuring, and push forward energy conservation and emissions reduction.”


Air Pollution




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“Review of evidence on health aspects of air pollution – REVIHAAP”

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‘Long Hair’ loses appeal challenging Legco filibuster decision

Clear the Air says: it is high time lawmakers represented the people of Hong Kong instead of cunning stunts and vested interests and stop being ejected from Legco.

Here is their oath:

The Legislative Council Oath

I swear that, being a member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, I will uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and serve the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region conscientiously, dutifully, in full accordance with the law, honestly and with integrity.

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Home > ‘Long Hair’ loses appeal challenging Legco filibuster decision

‘Long Hair’ loses appeal challenging Legco filibuster decision

Submitted by kerry.nelson on Feb 1st 2013, 5:30pm

News›Hong Kong

Austin Chiu

Lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung on Friday lost his appeal against a refusal, by the High Court, to hear his judicial challenge against the president of the Legislative Council.

Last May legislature chief Tsang Yok-sing decided to halt Leung’s filibuster against a piece of legislation, leading to the lawmaker’s challenge.

The panel of three Court of Appeal judges dismissed Leung’s appeal, emphasising the cardinal principles of separation of powers and parliamentary privilege. The panel upheld the earlier ruling that lawmakers have no constitutional right to filibuster.

It also upheld a lower court’s order that Leung, of the League of Social Democrats, should pay legal costs to Tsang arising from the original hearing. It further ruled Leung must pay Tsang, and the secretary for justice, costs related to the appeal.

Central to the case is Tsang’s decision, on May 17, to invoke for the first time powers in Legco’s rules of procedure to halt a long debate on a legislative bill. The legislation in question was to bar lawmakers who resign from standing in a by-election for six months.

In their filibuster, Leung – and lawmakers Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip – had proposed 1,300 amendments to the election law, dragging the debate out to about 36 hours before Tsang halted it.

The bill, which passed on June 1, was introduced to prevent a repetition of a “de facto referendum” on political reform, when five pan-democrat legislators resigned in 2010 only to contest the same seats.

Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung, Chief Judge of High Court, wrote in his judgment: “First and foremost, under common law, the courts do not interfere with the internal workings of the legislature.”

“The legislature has exclusive control over the conduct of its affairs,” he wrote. “The necessary check and balance is achieved not in the courts, but politically.”

Cheung, Madam Justice Susan Kwan Shuk-hing and Mr Justice Jeremy Poon Shiu-chor rejected Leung’s claim that his constitutional right to participate in the legislative process was infringed by Tsang’s decision.

Cheung wrote that if an individual legislators had the right suggested by Leung, it would open a floodgate of litigation by lawmakers dissatisfied with the rules of Legco’s meetings.

“This would have serious impact on the smooth workings of the Legislative Council,” Cheung wrote.

Poon wrote: “The application for judicial review was no more than a further but futile attempt by the applicant to delay the legislative process of the bill. Put bluntly, he wanted to pursue something in the court which he had already failed to achieve in the political arena.”

The Legco president must have the power to end debates in appropriate circumstances, the appeal court ruled.

But Cheung pointed out that this did not mean the president could disregard Legco’s rules of procedure as he liked, because at the end of the day he must be answerable to the electorate.

More on this:

Repeat offender ‘Long Hair’ has fines tripled to HK$4,500 [1]

‘Long Hair’ in appeal to challenge Legco filibuster decision [2]

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Japan looks west, holds its breath as mainland pollution heads its way

Submitted by admin on Feb 1st 2013, 12:00am



Stephen Chen

Pollution that has been choking the mainlandis heading our way, scientist in Tokyo warns

The choking pollution that has shrouded large parts of the mainland is moving east to Japan, threatening to push levels of health-threatening PM2.5 particles there beyond World Health Organisation health standards.

Japanese computer simulations show the fine air particulates could reach 40 micrograms per cubic metre today or tomorrow and cause smog in parts of western Japan such as Nagasaki.

Dr Toshimasa Ohara, head of the National Institute of Environmental Studies’ Centre for Regional Environmental Research, conceded this figure was very low by Chinese standards, as cities such as Beijing often measure PM2.5 levels in the hundreds. But 40 was twice the level generally seen in Japanese cities this time of year and higher than the 25 micrograms level set by the WHO.

Ohara said this had raised concerns among Japanese, and complaints had been growing louder in recent years as China’s air pollution worsened. Some fear the problem shows little sign of abating as China’s economy continues to grow rapidly on the back of heavy industry and development.

Much of eastern China remained smoggy yesterday, with poor visibility stranding tens of thousands of air travellers. More than 100 flights in and out of Beijing Capital International Airport were delayed or cancelled.

The conditions may improve today with the arrival of an Arctic cold front, but while those winds would come as a blessing to China, they could be a curse to neighbours such as South Korea and Japan, Ohara said. Pollution from Chinese coal-fired power plants, factories and cars would be blown far into the Pacific Ocean.

“To Japan, winter is not the worst season [for air pollution],” he said. “In the spring, the high pressure systems on the continent can pump a lot more pollutants out of China.”

But some mainland researchers disagree with their Japanese counterparts about the pollution threat to Japan.

Dr Wang Yuesi , a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Atmospheric Physics, said the impact of Chinese pollutants on Japan would be too small to matter. “Japan is a long, narrow strip of islands. The entire country would not catch many pollutants with such a landscape. Most of the pollutants end up in the ocean. It shouldn’t concern the people in Japan,” he said.

Ohara said the impact varied across different regions, being higher in the western part of Japan and lower in the east. “We have definitive proof. The challenge is getting a precise estimate on the severity of the issue.”

Scientists studying trans-boundary pollution in Asia are also struggling due to insufficient pollution data from China, according to Ohara.

Without the direct data, non-Chinese researchers can use only indirect ways to estimate China’s pollution, such as monitoring monthly energy consumption, the increase in the number of cars being bought and used, and the capacity of power plants.

Beijing and Tokyo should work out a united mechanism to protect the environment in the Asia-Pacific region, Ohara said.

Japan could also take steps to address the problem at its source.

“Japanese politicians should push for the migration of clean production technology from Japan to China,” Ohara said.


Beijing air pollution



More on this:

Hospital admissions for respiratory infections up 20pc amid Beijing smog [1]

Beijing smog scarier than Sars, says medical expert [2]

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Hospital admissions for respiratory infections up 20pc amid Beijing smog

Submitted by admin on Feb 1st 2013, 12:00am



Agence France-Presse in Beijing

Hospital admissions for breathing problems are up 20pc in Beijing; one leading doctor says the air pollution is ‘much more scary’ than Sars

Hospital admissions for respiratory complaints rose 20 per cent in the latest smog to hit Beijing, reports said yesterday as state media demanded greater government openness on pollution.

This week’s pollution across vast swathes of the northern mainland region – the fourth serious case of toxic air in recent weeks – has sparked online anger and prompted unusually outspoken calls for action, even from official media.

The number of patients admitted to several hospitals in the capital for breathing problems rose by a fifth in recent days, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

Half of those admitted to a city children’s hospital were suffering from respiratory infections, the newspaper said, citing doctors.

State broadcaster CCTV quoted Zhong Nanshan , the president of the China Medical Association who revealed the cover-up of the Sars epidemic of 2003, as saying: “Air pollution is much more scary than Sars, and affects the heart and veins.”

Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) infected 1,755 people in Hong Kong and 299 died. Worldwide, there were 8,098 cases across 29 countries with 774 deaths.

The China Daily urged the government to reveal details of the causes of the pollution, saying departments had yet to provide credible data.

Without such information “the government’s promise to tackle the problem may fail to materialise”, it said.

The pollution in the capital has been blamed on emissions from coal-burning in power stations and exhaust fumes from vehicles on choked streets.

The elderly, young and those with health problems in the city of 20 million were urged to stay indoors earlier in the week – or wear protective masks if they had to venture out – while dozens of flights were cancelled after visibility fell drastically.

Beijing ordered the emergency closure of factories and removed government vehicles from the streets to try to reduce the haze, but experts say more radical controls are needed to combat the problem effectively.

Real estate tycoon and internet blogger Pan Shiyi – who has 14 million followers on Sina Weibo, a mainland version of Twitter – started a campaign for clean air legislation. It had attracted more than 46,000 signatures as of yesterday afternoon.

Social media users reacted angrily to comments from an official at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, who said developed countries took up to 50 years to solve their pollution problems.

“It will take years and years and cost taxpayers all their money,” one user wrote.

Traffic policemen urged officials to change the dress code and let them wear masks on duty, the China Daily reported.

The US embassy’s air quality index in Beijing stood at 207 yesterday afternoon, or “very unhealthy”, after it peaked at more than 500 on Tuesday.

Forecasters predicted that the smog would begin to disperse overnight as strong winds arrived.


Beijing air pollution


respiratory infections

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First, Hong Kong roads must be rid of polluting vehicles

Submitted by admin on Jan 30th 2013, 12:00am

Comment›Insight & Opinion  30 Jan 2013

Christine Loh

Christine Loh sets out the priorities to clean up our dirty air, starting with taking the most polluting vehicles off our roads and retrofitting others to cut the harmful emissions that affect the health of thousands of people

Improving Hong Kong’s air quality is a top priority because pollution affects public health. Measures must be strong enough to make a difference.

Most of our daily exposure to air pollution occurs at the roadside. In Hong Kong’s dense urban areas, thousands of people are out and about every minute of every day. Many people work at the roadside or their place of business opens onto a busy road. And the windows of homes on the lower floors of a building open not far from these busy thoroughfares.

Moreover, our roads are relatively narrow, with tall buildings on either side. As a result, emissions from vehicle exhausts become trapped. The pollution in these “street canyons” cannot disperse easily, making it a daily health threat.

Hence, our near-term goal is to reduce roadside air pollution and our first targets are high-emission vehicles – diesel commercial vehicles (such as trucks, school buses and tourist coaches), franchised buses, LPG taxis and minibuses.

The most worrying roadside pollutant are the particulates – PM10 and PM2.5 (or particles that are 10 and 2.5 micrometres in diameter or less, respectively) – that arise from combustion in diesel engines. They can penetrate deeply into lung tissues, causing cardiopulmonary disease. The World Health Organisation recently confirmed that diesel particulates are also carcinogenic.

Our key solution deals with the 88,000 diesel vehicles in Hong Kong that do not meet the newer Euro IV emission standards. They make up about two-thirds of the total number of 128,000 diesel vehicles on our roads. Pre-Euro vehicles are now at least 18 years old, and emit 34 times more particulates than the Euro V models; even a Euro III vehicle emits five times more particulates.

The government has set aside HK$10 billion to provide subsidies to the owners of these outdated vehicles. They can either surrender their vehicle under a “cash for clunker” scheme or get a higher amount to replace their old vehicles with new ones. We offer the flexibility of a dual scheme because trade representatives say some owners may not wish to replace their vehicles – some may want to reduce the size of their fleet while others may wish to retire altogether.

The plan is to get these 88,000 polluting vehicles off our roads by a certain time – pre-Euro and Euro I vehicles by January 2016; Euro II vehicles by January 2017; and the rest by January 2019.

Some have said the subsidies were too generous, and that the phasing out would take too long. The truth is, the government is prepared to spend the money to improve public health, and it recognises that the trade needs time to replace such a large number of vehicles. For the plan to succeed, it needs to be feasible.

We have begun discussions with the trade on the details of the scheme. We will also legislate for a maximum life of 15 years for new diesel vehicles, as many other jurisdictions have done.

Another problem we face is the unusually high levels of nitrogen dioxide at our roadsides. There are two main causes – franchised buses and LPG vehicles.

While older franchised buses had particulate filters fitted to them some years ago, their nitrogen dioxide levels need to be lowered if we are to reduce the overall pollution. Fitting a selective catalytic reduction device on Euro II and III buses would enable them to perform like Euro IV and V models. Bus fleets in Europe have done similar retrofits successfully.

The Hong Kong government is proposing to fund the capital cost of these devices and for the franchisees to absorb the operating and maintenance costs. This scheme is estimated to cost HK$550 million and will take about two years to complete.

LPG vehicles are cleaner than diesel vehicles but a large amount of nitrogen dioxide can be emitted if their catalytic converters are defective. This is precisely the problem in Hong Kong. Local studies have shown that many owners of taxis and minibuses are not replacing the devices when they should. An agreement has been reached for the government to cover the cost of new devices on a one-off basis but for the trade to pay for future replacements.

There are currently about 18,000 taxis and 4,350 minibuses, 66 per cent of which are powered by LPG. For vehicles such as these, which cover a high mileage, the catalytic converter needs to be replaced about every 18 months. This scheme will cost HK$150 million and should be completed by 2014.

The above three schemes are end-of-pipe solutions. Other solutions are also needed. For example, the chief executive’s policy address called for bus routes to be rationalised. A successful reorganisation of bus numbers, routes and networks should result in shorter travel time, easy interchanges and good service, which will also improve roadside air quality.

The policy address also called for adjustments to cross-harbour tunnel fees, which will improve usage efficiency and relieve congestion.

Yet other solutions require planning changes, such as creating low-emission and pedestrian-only zones. We also have a series of measures to reduce shipping emissions. Hong Kong is a busy port for large oceangoing vessels, river trade vessels as well as local craft, such as ferries and hydrofoils.

Together, their emissions of the three major air pollutants – that is, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and respirable suspended particulates – now exceed those of our power plants.

The policy address proposed mandating a fuel switch at berth for oceangoing vessels, and for onshore power equipment to be built at the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Indeed, our longer-term focus is to work with the mainland so that emissions can be controlled in all the waters of the Pearl River Delta. It’s clear from research that significant public health benefits would be reaped from such a move.

To further reduce air pollution, we will explore further reducing local coal-fired electricity generation by about 2020, as well as deepening collaboration with Guangdong, particularly on how to deal with the thorny challenge of regional smog.

We accept that much more needs to be done, and will continue to strive to reduce the public health risk.

Christine Loh Kung-wai is undersecretary for the environment. This is based on her speech yesterday at a joint chamber luncheon with French, Canadian, German, Italian, Singapore and Swedish chambers of commerce members. The event was hosted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong



Air Pollution


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Advanced Biological Treatment of Municipal Solid Waste

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