Hot Weather No Issues At Cheung Chau Bun Festival

May 23, 2018

NewsStandOnline.Net (23-May-2018): The scorching weather did not stop tens of thousands of people to visit Cheung Chau yesterday for the annual grand parade of floats depicting traditional deities and the bun scramble.

The festival is held on the eighth day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, or Buddha’s Birthday, a public holiday in Hong Kong.

New World First Ferry Services said it ferried about 17,000 passengers to Cheung Chau from Central between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and about 10,000 went the opposite route during the day.  This year’s volume of passengers was about 20 percent smaller than last year, the company said.

Hot Weather No Issues At Cheung Chau Bun Festival

The temperature rose to as high as 34.8 degrees Celsius at around 2 p.m., making it the hottest Buddha’s Birthday holiday since records began in 1947, according to data from the Hong Kong Observatory.  The previous record for the day was set in 2011, when the temperature was 32.9 degrees.

The festival’s grand finale, the bun scrambling competition, was held at midnight, with two categories: individual and invitation relay. Twelve finalists fought for top honors in the individual event.

Kwok Ka-ming defended his crown, becoming the champion for the eighth consecutive year, while in the women’s group, Wong Ka-yan lost her titled to Wu Wing-yu.

Aside from watching the parade, which featured children dressed up as government officials, politicians and celebrities, people also went to the festival to sample the local buns, which included traditional ones and those depicting the iconic Sanrio cartoons.

Hong Kong’s IEC To Acquire Wigan Athletic

May 22, 2018

NewsStandOnline.Net (22-May-2018): Hong Kong’s International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) are poised to complete a takeover of former English premier league football club Wigan Athletic.

The Wigan chairman David Sharpe said the agreement to sell the club’s majority stake to International Entertainment Corporation is now subject to approval from the English Football League and the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The £22 million (US$40 million) deal includes a majority shareholding in Wigan’s DW Stadium and the training grounds.

Hong Kong's IEC To Acquire Wigan Athletic

The Whelan family have been the majority shareholders of Wigan Athletic since 1995, overseeing their rise to the Premier League and their FA Cup triumph in 2013, the season they were relegated from the top flight.

“It is important to confirm that this process, which has taken longer than expected, has now reached the next stage,” Sharpe said in a statement.

“Whilst we await formal approval and consent by the aforementioned parties, which may take some time, the Whelan family will do whatever it can to support the business operations and IEC during this transition.”

The Whelan family have been the majority shareholders of Wigan since 1995, overseeing their rise to the Premier League and their FA Cup triumph in 2013, the season they were relegated from the top flight.

80 Year-Old Banyan Trees Chopped Down Despite Protests

May 21, 2018

NewsStandOnline.Net (21-May-2018): The Lands Department yesterday brought the axe down on two decades-old banyan trees on Hong Kong Island despite opposition from conservationists, some of whom staged hours-long protests at the site and tried in vain to prevent the chopping activity.

Officials from the department had the trees removed, arguing that the old banyans had become weak and were at the risk of crashing to the ground, posing a danger to pedestrians.

The trees that got the axe were located along Bonham Road in Mid-Levels, right beside the entrance of Tang Chi Ngong Building of the University of Hong Kong.

Aged more than 80 years and standing several stories tall, the trees were perched very close to the road with their roots occupying a large part of the sidewalk.

According a document submitted by the Lands Department to the Central and Western District Council, one of the trees had been rotten inside its central part, while the other suffered from fungal infections, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The department also noted in the document that the wall, which the two trees had long merged with, was clearly at risk of collapse, given the multiple protrusions and cracks on it.

Apart from this, the trees might also lose support and fall down if heavy rain washes off the dirt around their roots, it said.  To protect public safety, the department decided to remove the tress on yesterday morning.

At around 6 am before workers arrived, conservationists, holding banners that read “Old trees are affectionate” and “Protect Hongkongers’ history”, gathered at the scene to demand the move be aborted.

They were joined by several lawmakers, including Tanya Chan Suk-chong from the Civic Party, Ted Hui Chi-fung from the Democratic Party, and Au Nok-hin.

80 Year-Old Banyan Trees Chopped Down Despite Protests

Hui, who is also a Central and Western district councilor, criticized the government for not exploring all of the other ways to preserve the trees.

District Officer Susanne Wong Ho Wing-sze claimed that the Lands Department has been preserving the trees since 2015, but now it was deemed that they should be removed immediately since no one knows for sure when they might collapse.

The officer said the trees had to be chopped down as there are no other ways to address the safety issue.

After several hours of fruitless negotiations and quarrels, the Lands Department staff ordered protesters to leave, warning they may be prosecuted if they don’t.  About 30 police officers were on stand-by at the scene.

Workers finally began their work in the afternoon, several hours after they arrived at the site to do the felling work. The protesters, meanwhile, were removed from the scene eventually.

After inspecting the trees, Chiu Siu-wai, a former professor at the School of Life Sciences of the Chinese university of Hong Kong, said she does not believe they were in immediate risk of collapsing.

She added that the government’s report did not provide objective data showing the conditions of the tree roots, thus failing to justify removal of them.

Authorities should have spent more time discussing how to preserve the trees, rather than rushing to cut the ancient banyans, Chiu added.