On 19 February 2019, Hong Kong Ombudsman Connie Lau announced the completion of two direct investigations, namely “Government’s support for non-Chinese speaking students” and “Government’s handling of two trees in front of Tang Chi Ngong Building of University of Hong Kong”.
Government’s support for non-Chinese speaking students
With the increase in the number of people of ethnic minorities residing in Hong Kong, the Government has introduced measures to enhance the support for non-Chinese speaking students. Nevertheless, there have been criticisms from time to time that the Education Bureau (EDB) has not provided adequate support to cater for the needs of these students. In this light, the Ombudsman initiated a direct investigation to examine any inadequacies in the EDB’s support for non-Chinese speaking students with a view to making recommendations for improvement.
Government’s handling of trees at the University of Hong Kong
On 20 May 2018, the Lands Department (LandsD) removed two banyan trees located in front of Tang Chi Ngong Building of the University of Hong Kong on Bonham Road. The incident attracted wide media coverage and public debate. Some criticised that there was impropriety on the part of the departments concerned as they had neither taken due care of the health conditions of the trees, nor sufficiently consulted relevant experts and the local community prior to the removal. In this light, the Ombudsman initiated a direct investigation to examine whether the decisions and actions of the LandsD, the Tree Management Office (TMO) of the Development Bureau (DEVB) and the Home Affairs Department (HAD) were in line with the relevant policies and procedures.
To learn more about the Ombudsman’s direct investigation and recommendations, please visit the website of the Ombudsman Hong Kong. The relevant investigation reports are also available on the Ombudsman’s website for public viewing.
Source: Office of the Ombudsman, Hong Kong, China