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Half of stake sold to a French company, centennial tram conceded to foreigners
translated by cici@AsianEU
ticketing clerks sold tickets on tram in early days
Accompaning the people of Hong Kong for hundred years, the tram has become the most representative of Hong Kong local culture.
Yi Chi-ming (second from left) shakes hands with Cyrille du Peloux (right) and new management to show the two sides would work together to manage Hong Kong Trams.
Accompanying several generations of the people of Hong Kong, with more than hundred years of history, the tram will be half owned by a foreign company from now on. Wharf Holdings had signed a cooperation agreement with Veolia Transport China Ltd. from France, selling half of the company equity at less than 100 million Euros (about one billion Hong Kong dollars). In the future, each company holds half of the equity to operate the business together, but day-to-day tram operations and management will all be delivered to the hands of the French company. Many citizens worry that the change of management would 'tinted' and 'change' the collective memories of the tram shared by all the people of Hong Kong. Yet, Veolia made a commitment that they will try not to change the appearance and design of the tram, and there is also no increase in fares to consider.
Scholars who specialized in the research of Hong Kong's transport say that, aside from seeing Hong Kong having the need to build a mass transit system for major development areas in the future, the French Veolia ultimate goal is to enter China market through injecting capital into Wharf Holdings.
By Wharf and Veolia cooperation agreement, Veolia has priority to purchase the remaining 50 percent stake from the tram company, that is, to wholly-own the company. Switching from Managing Director to company Director, Yi Chi-ming didn't want to reveal much about the agreement, but only emphasize yesterday, "Giving up equity was not caused by not having the capacity to manage or not earning profit. Instead, we hope to introducte professional experience to improve service quality." He also praises the management of Veolia resume is "sound", who also says there have been many companies taking the initiative to negotiate shares in the past two years, and Veolia, one of the companies, show sincerity and commitment which finalize both into partners. Hong Kong Tramways Company has informed the changes in equity, without consent of the Executive Council, to the Government. Yi Chi-ming says Hong Kong is an international city, therefore Hong Kong Government has no reason to limit foreign investment. In the past, local bus companies also have foreign capital injection, so Hong Kong Tramways Company is not the first to set a precedent. Cyrille du Peloux, Chief Executive of Veolia Transport, says purchase price of shares is more than 10 million euros, that is well below 100 million euros. Buying the company's shares is because there is potential for development and Veolia hopes to use Hong Kong as the strategic platform to expand into China market. The newly appointed Managing Director of Hong Kong Tramways Company Ha Yee-Tak says he understood the tram is a unique cultural heritage for Hong Kong people, in the future they will strive to preserve tram's characteristics, and in the short term they will not make significant changes. Yi Chi-ming also points out that the current tram services and staff employment conditions remain unchanged, and has no plan to increase the fare. At the same time, he's interested in building a tram tour route at the waterfront in Central and Wan Chai Reclamation, arranging six different trams of different decades traveling from Central Star Ferry Pier to Wan Chai Convention and Exhibition.
Eva Cheng, Secretary for Transport and Housing says that the change in shareholding of The Hong Kong Tram Company is a general business practice; but because of the culture and history of the tram that has significant value in the minds of the people of Hong Kong, when the authorities communicate with the new operation company, it has repeatedly stresses the need to preserve good tram service tradition, and the operation company has undertaken to preserve historical and cultural assets of the tram.
Academics and logistics industry thinks that by managing tram business in Hong Kong, Veolia hopes to borrow tram's visibility in the world to open China and Asia markets. Hung Wing-Tat, Assistant Professor of Department of Civil Engineering at PolyU points out that despite Veolia has a number of tram lines in many major cities, its Empire, however, has not yet been formed in Asia. He believes investing in the Tram Company will facilitate a convenient entrance into China or Asia.
Firefighters owe debt, forced to take nude pictures
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suspected of using illegal means to collect debt, this debt collection company is located in a residential and commercial building in Mong Kok
A licensed finance company in Mong Kok dedicated to lend money to disciplined governmental servicemen who have "borrow all they can" from banks, using "lax" background checks to grant of about million dollars emergency loans to earn high interest rates. Earlier after one firefighter became debt-ridden filing for bankruptcy, he was lured to the finance company to negotiate loan payment, and was beaten and photographed nude as a threat. After Police investigated, they arrested eight men.
Eight men arrested had 14K gangster background, ranging from 26 to 33 years old. Temporarily, police classified case as assault leads wounding, theft and criminal intimidation, and the 8 men will be in Kowloon City Court today for those related charges.
The debt collection company allegedly using illegal means to collect debt was located in Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok. The company was inside a commercial and residential building where neighbors did not know the operation of the company. Police had cordoned off the area the day before yesterday, all day no one had come in or out, even the adhesive tapes police put around was not tear off, and there was only a large number of media left. According to reports, the finance company was a lending legitimate license holder, that specifically targeted customers who were refused by the banks for "borrowing again and again". Of all the customers, disciplined governmental servicemen were their main target, and was estimated that the borrowers were of thousands of people.
In this case, a firefighter borrowed to pay for debt, asking the company for over a million dollars, but because the amount couldn't cover the debt earlier, he filed for bankruptcy. When the finance company found he failed to pay off debt on time, staff called him and learned that he had filed for bankruptcy. Hence, the company lured him to the company to discuss the debt problem, but the firefighter was kicked and punched when he arrived, and was forced to take off clothes to take pictures. The staffs then forced him to think of ways to pay back the money. Because the victim had no way to solve the problem, he called the police to seek help, and the police went to the finance company in accordance with the relevant information to arrest people.
14 years old sexually assault domestic helpers; 5 people in one day
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In recent months, foreign maids on Cheung Chau island had been sexually assaulted by a boy, in which one Indonesian domestic helper was often assaulted. The day before yesterday, this little pervert wearing school uniform sexually assaulted five people in one day. One victim's breast was even squeezed and the pervert grabbed on tight that he wouldn't let go. The victim took off her shoe and kept on hitting him which alerted the neighbors and the pervert finally fled. Yesterday police arrested a 14-years-old boy at a school in connection with a series of indecent assault case. Initial investigation by the police estimated that the suspect was involved in two indecent assaults, he had been released on 300 dollars bail, and will report to the police at the end of this month.
A female victim said that in recent months a total of seven fellow sisters from her country had been sexually assaulted, which she was fightened of. She said that one of her fellow sister, of more than 50-years-old was most frequently assaulted, and it seemed she was the "number one target" of the little pervert. The female victim described the little pervert to be out of control. Many times, he came straight at them, embracing, stroking and pinching them. Sometimes, he attacked from behind with a bear hug. Because of her fellow sisters are foreign domestic helpers, they didn't want trouble so they didn't call the police. She said that one day before, there were five sisters under indecent assault. In addition, one of the most outrageous assault happened at around six in the evening the day before yesterday, in which an Indonesian domestic helper who had worked on the island for 7 years saw a juvenile in school uniforms when she threw out the garbage. Her chest was pinched, and the pervert was insolent enough to continue grabbing her chest not letting go. The Indonesian domestic helper was so angry that she took off her shoe to beat on the boy's head, but the boy still refused to let go. During the struggle, the Neighbors checked out the noise and saw them that finally scare him away.
The Indonesian domestic helper told her fellow sisters and her employer, to which the employer considered the situation to be serious that she brought the worker and worker's fellow sister to the police to report this situation. Because the victim recognized the pervert's school uniform badge, police locked on the target going to the school yesterday at around eleven in the morning taking away a 2nd grader involved in the case.
According to the Vice-Chancellor of the school, when the juvenile went to a female classmate's home to visit, he had once touched the body of a foreign domestic helper. The foreign domestic helper thought he was young so she didn't pursue the matter. The school was later informed, and had notified social workers to follow the case and referred case to a psychologist to check it out. But, expert believed there was no problem with him, and the boy is still counseled by social workers. Vice-Chancellor said the juvenile earns average grades, has no abnormal performance in school, and likes to play basketball.
"Online Grave visit Valet" is the new trend to pay respect
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Relatives in far away places can pay their respects simultaneously through "worship at the scene, internet broadcast" and even watch the whole process
With the growing popularity of the Internet, and quick pace and complexity of city life, in recent years, new types of worship service came into being, such as "simultaneous grave visit through live web broadcast", "grave visit Valet", "online cemetery" and "heaven mailbox", for Hong Kong and Macao residents who can't visit the cemetery for various reasons that has become a hot new trend pursued especially by young people.
Affected by financial tsunami and unstable employment environment, in order to secure their jobs, many Hong Kong and Macao white-collar workers had to work overtime during Ching Ming Festival, so cross-border "grave visit valet" businesses become more popular this year. In addition to directly sending money to relatives or friends entrusting them to do things, intermediary companies of "grave visit Valet" also increase. After these companies charge a fee, by agreement, they will clean up the grave and put on sacrificial items, and will also film the whole process burning it on a CD to send back the hands of the client.
With the Internet increasingly developed, "worship at the scene, internet broadcast" such modern means of worship has been accepted and acknowledged by people, in particular those living in far places, since it appears for the first time last year. This modern worshiping is a simultaneous respect-paying between the relatives of the deceased and friends from far away through computer live broadcast, where relatives from far away can watch the process, read out eulogy through their cellphones, have their relatives placing incense on behalf of them, offer flowers and toast; paying respect this way can avoid crowds and still honor the deceased which is more convenient, simple and environmental. At the same time, in some regional government and cemeteries, this year is the first time they launch the innovative service "online cemetery". For example, Government in Xiangzhou District of Zhuhai City allocated 5 million funding this year, selecting Bay street for pilot location to launch "Internet worship"; and the hometown of many overseas Chinese, Jiangmen, of which the Evergreen Cemetery also specifically activate "online cemetery" to facilitate the relatives and friends at home and abroad to hold an interactive memorial ceremony at any time. In this internet space, netizens can set up a memorial museum for their ancestors, publish condolence guestbook, photos, and memorial articles, a family memorial park, genealogy storage and information. In addition, some burial management also begin to promote "Heaven mailbox" service for memorial ceremonies. For example, since Shenzhen funeral service launches relative services since the start of last year, such service has remained popular that this year Shenzhen funeral service will place "heaven mailbox" in a conspicuous place, by the entrance and offer paper free of charge to people coming to pay respect. People can put their missing thoughts of the dead or blessing into written words like "letters", and put letters into "heaven mailbox" in person on the day they pay respects or have someone puts them in the mailbox on behalf of them. After the peak of grave visit is over, funeral management will burn letters all together for people.
2 janitors quarreled, one's finger gnawed and broken
translated by cici@AsianEU
Woman whose finger gnawed was taken to hospital.
Victim's female colleague arrived at the scene to visit victim
When fellow co-worker left the station, she said she still had lingering fear.
Thai colleague and female janitor argued on For Tan Station platform, janitor's finger gnawed.
1. A female janitor had a quarrel with her Thai co-worker. When the female janitor boarded the train, she was pointing and yelling at the co-worker, and her finger was gnawed
2. After the train started, friend of female janitor discovered janitor missing a partial finger, which was when janitor realized she was in pain and they called the police
3. Police found a small broken finger at For Tan Station
Last night, a female janitor resented that her Thai female colleague yelled at her, so as she was boarding a train, she yelled back at her colleague. Yet, the colleague standing on the platform suddenly gnawed and bit a part of her left index finger off. Female janitor was numb that she didn't realize her finger was broken off even when the train started. However, her friend exclaimed, "Where's your finger?", and that was when janitor became aware of the loss of a partial index finger. They immediately called the police and went to hospital. Police officers found missing finger at the track, and gave it to doctors to reconnect. The 56 years old Thail woman involved in the case was arrested in Sheung Shui last night.
Female janitor whose finger gnawed surnamed Lu (53 years old), also known as "Chen Jie". She had three children, living in Ma On Shan. The Thai female janitor involved in the case was "Ah Chong", about 5 feet 2, plump, and the two had strong resentment toward each other due to work problem.
Six o'clock last night after work, "Chen Jie" with a female co-worker were at For Tan station waiting for a train to go into Mainland China. When they were waiting on platform, they met "Ah Chong" who was going home waiting for the train. When the two met, "Ah Chong" suddenly approached "Chen Jie" yelling at her. The more they argued, the more intense, at which even pulling and shoving happened. Seeing this, the fellow co-worker discouraged them verbally.
At this point the train arrived at the station, "Chen Jie" and her co-worker stepped into the train, but "Chen Jie" resented that she was screamed at, and anger suddenly perked up again that she turned around and pointed her index finger at "Ah Chong" who was standing on the platform, yelling at her. "Ah Chong" then rushed forward biting "Chen Jie" fingers and wouldn't let go until "Chen Jie" struggled hard to pull away. Witnesses had described that after "Chen Jie" broke loose and got on the train, she did not feel the first section of her left index finger was gnawed. At the same time, "Chen Jie" female colleague exclaimed, "Wow! Where's your finger? There's a lot blood!", and that was when "Chen Jie" became alarmed that she was injured. The colleague called the police and accompanied her to get off at Tai Po Market station to hospital for medical treatment, in addition to her finger, "Chen Jie" left face also injured.
Police officers arrived to investigate at For Tan Station, and found a finger at the track, and used ice pack to take it to the Doctor for reconnection. As of the woman involved in the case, she had left the station. Police had went to the woman's apartment according to information, but she had been afraid to go home and police didn't arrest her until last night. As of the female colleague who witnessed "Chen Jie" finger being bitten, she was still in shock when she arrived at the hospital when she informed other coworkers on the phone, "Ah Chong bit Chen Jie's finger off!" She feared the two would get into a physical fight losing their jobs, she said, "They would get fired for being in this conflict! Chen Jie would certainly sue Ah Chong, Ah Chong probably had to go to prison!" It was reported that everytime "Chen Jie" and "Ah Chong" meet, they would be "Mars hitting Earth", one coworker also revealed, "They had an even more heated argument that time in Fanling!"