From Today’s Cantonese Press

ExCo property expert sold homes in advance of cooling measures

In the wake of the property market cooling measures introduced by the government, including new stamp duties, property sector insiders have said that prices may fall by 15 percent this year. Therefore, some people suspect that ExCo member and property market analyst Franklin Lam had insider information when he sold two Mid-Levels apartments for a combined total of HK$20 million less than two weeks prior to the government’s announcement of the new duties. By selling before the introduction of the cooling measures, Lam made HK$3 million more than he would have today. LegCo member Alan Leong says that if Lam did profit from a conflict of interest, the public would find his actions difficult to bear. Lam maintains that he had no knowledge of the cooling measures before the government’s announcement.


Government to discourage school switching to deal with drop in secondary student population

As the number of Secondary One students will drop by 5,400 in the next academic year, the Education Bureau plans to introduce measures to avoid shutting down classes and reducing faculty headcounts. According to a paper submitted to LegCo, the Education Bureau will strongly encourage schools not to accept students who do not receive places during the bureau’s school allocation exercise. A spokesperson from the bureau said it might even consider forbidding the practice so as to reduce competition among schools for students. Some parents complained that the Education Bureau’s decision could deprive their children of their last chance to enroll in the schools of their choice. Meanwhile, a group of pan-democratic legislators launched a signature campaign to call for smaller classes and a better teacher-to-student ratio to deal with the drop in the student population.


Woman who starved her baby receives six-year sentence

Yesterday, a mother of five, on trial for starving a three-month-old baby boy to death by depriving him of a sufficient quantity of milk powder, was handed a six-year prison sentence for child neglect. The District Court deputy judge who handled the case criticized the defendant for neglecting her responsibility as a mother by not helping the baby despite his emaciated appearance. The heavy nature of the sentence was meant to give a signal to other parents who might be tempted to neglect their own children.


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