Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, at a media session after attending a radio programme this morning (October 24):
Reporter: You said on the programme that the problem of zero or very low fee tours may not be solved by the means of legislation? Can you tell us why?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: On the programme, I was saying that the situation whereby some tours coming from the Mainland to Hong Kong have created tremendous concerns in recent days, especially the so-called "zero-fee tours". I was saying on the programme that whether we should allow or tolerate such phenomenon happening in Hong Kong is something that the society would have to discuss further. Especially the so-called "compulsory shopping", "強逼購物" in Cantonese, is something that I think is not commensurate with the international or cosmopolitan status of Hong Kong, (which is) a very advanced and civilised city. So I think the government would of course, in accordance with the law, arrest those people who violated the law. For the systemic design, whether we could do something further along this line would be for the existing liaison mechanism between the two places to discuss further, meaning the Hong Kong authority as well as the Mainland authority.
Reporter: What is the difficulty in using law to deal with the "zero-fee tours" or "no-fee tours"?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Well, if you stretch the argument further, it is a market behaviour. So if the so-called customers agree to the terms of the tour, there is nothing much that the government can do under the law, because it's a market behaviour. But to the extent that the behaviour is within the bounds of the law, there is still something that the society I think would have to discuss as to whether such market behaviour would tarnish the international image of Hong Kong. (This) would be something that I think the society would have to discuss further.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Saturday, October 24, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:33