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Transcript of SCA's briefing

The following is a transcript of a stand-up briefing which was given by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, after he had visited the polling station of the by-election of the Kowloon City District Council Hoi Sham Constituency this morning (February 9):

SCA: Thank you very much for coming to cover today's by-election. Up to about 10.30 am, we have had a turnout of 330 voters. We have also measured this against the 1999 District Council election turnout. So far, the turnout rate is slightly higher than the one pertaining in 99, so it shows that the residents and voters in this district are keen to come and join today's by-election. Today's by-election has attracted six candidates representing different parties, political groups and individual independent candidates. Bearing in mind that the term of office for the current District Council election for the current District Council office would last less than one year, it is quite encouraging that we have so many candidates coming out to join today's by-election. I suppose that different parties and political groups want to test the water to see what sort of level of support they would be able to get later this year when we have the 2003 District Council elections. So, my call to registered voters in this district is that they should come out and exercise their civic right today and choose the candidate of their choice.

Reporter: Mr Lam, will there be any arrangement for the Government officials to meet the new director of the Kwang Hwa Travel Service ( Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Centre), Lu Ping?

SCA: May I first deal with the District Council elections first? There is one other point which I would like to make. We have set aside $140 million for conducting the 2003 District Council elections, this is slightly lowered than the budget which we had for the 1999 District Council elections. We believe that this is an appropriate amount and that this would both help us to economise while at the same time conduct the forthcoming elections smoothly.

Reporter: What about that question about any arrangement ....

SCA: Since we assumed responsibility for liaison with the Taiwanese organisations in Hong Kong in July last year, all the matters, which needed to be attended to, have been attended to by my colleagues in the Constitutional Affairs Bureau. If there is any thing, which requires my personal attention, I would of course devote my time and energy to covering whatever items that need to be covered. But, for now, there is no special plan for me to meet Ms Lu.

Reporter: Mr Lam, why are you not meeting Ms Lu?

SCA: I think what I have in mind is that anything which needs to be dealt with so far as liaison with Taiwanese organisations is concerned and so far as individual items of work are concerned, we already have colleagues to cover those aspects. So far as I am concerned, if there is anything which requires my personal attention as Director of Bureau, I would always attend to those matters. Thank you.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

End/Sunday, February 9, 2003.