SETW speaks on the ecological conditions of Tung Chung River and share exchange agreement between New World First Bus and Citybus

Following is the transcript of the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao's meet-the-media session held after her inspection of the Tung Chung River on Lantau Island today (December 10):

Reporter: Secretary, .....are you surprised that the damage that has been done?

Dr Liao: It's quite shocking to see how a river can be damaged to the extent that it is now. I have seen this before, you know before I became the Secretary. This is the kind of thing we are working very hard to stop from happening because we cannot police every inch of our ground but we really rely on people's public spirit to let us know what's happening. And also, most important are those people who are carrying out this kind of work know that they are doing something illegal in the first place and secondly, the damage they do to the environment is horrendous.
Reporter: (inaudible)?

Dr Liao: Actually, I have just spoken with Cliff from Green Lantau Group. I have done a preliminary investigation. The facts that he quoted are not the same as what I have heard so far. So it is important that we first of all, make sure that this illegal act is made known. But without pointing fingers until we have the facts straightened out and secondly, our departments have documentary files on what's happened. So, I would have to rely on solid evidence and I have asked Cliff to provide me with more evidence if he comes up with such allegations.

Reporter: The damage is done. Are you confident that the stream can be restored to normal?

Dr Liao: We are practically trying to rebuild the river. It will take time for the habitat to be reinstated and for life forms to come back. I think we will be able to reinstate if we do it properly.

Reporter: Secretary, your reaction to  the merger of ...............the two bus services ...............?

Dr Liao: It's a matter of merging of assets at the holding company's level. It does not involve the combination of the two franchises. However, we hope that in making the whole operation more efficient, the benefits can go to our citizens.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion)

Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2003