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Daily Archives: December 27, 2007

“Long Hair” says detained at border

An outspoken Hong Kong lawmaker said he was detained yesterday at the China border while trying to fly to Beijing to push for full democracy as Chinese officials discussed political reforms in Hong Kong.Legislator Leung Kwok-hung said he was among four democrats who were detained for about 30 minutes at the border with the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, from where they planned to fly to Beijing.They were taken away by 20 plainclothes Chinese police at the border where they were searched and detained, Leung said.Leung and two of the other activists who are barred from China because of their political involvement were refused entry.Leung, nicknamed "Long Hair" for his waist-length tresses, said the officers confiscated their banners and petition letters they planned to hand to Chinese officials in Beijing before being sent back to Hong Kong.Law Jou was the only activist who held valid a travel document for China and managed to board a plane to Beijing where he will Friday lobby officials for a swift transition to a full democracy in Hong Kong."It's our responsibility to represent the Hong Kong people and send a clear message to Beijing that we want democracy," Leung said.Their protest came as the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (China's parliament) was discussing, among other items, a democratic reform report submitted by Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang.In the report submitted this month, Tsang shied away from setting a timetable as to when Hong Kong citizens would be able to elect their own leader and the entire legislature.It only said opinion polls showed more than half the public expected the chief executive to be directly elected in 2012, although 2017 would stand a better chance of being accepted by most people.It did not mention specifics on the legislature, only half of whose 60 lawmakers are directly elected, while Hong Kong's political leaders are selected by a committee of 800 mostly Beijing loyalists.Hong Kong's democrats, who back universal suffrage by 2012, had denounced the report, saying it distorted public opinion. Since Sunday, Democratic Party members have taken turns to stage a hunger strike in protest.The outcome of the discussion is expected to be announced in Beijing tomorrow when several Chinese officials will arrive in Hong Kong to explain its decision.

It is widely expected that no clear timetable will be provided by the meeting.

HK employee turnover, job vacancy rates hit record highs in third quarter

Both the employee turnover and job vacancy rates hit record highs in Hong Kong during the third quarter of this year, said the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM) yesterday.According to the Third Quarter 2007 Survey of Manpower Statistics, conducted by the HKIHRM, the overall manpower turnover rate hit a record high at 4.54 percent in the third quarter of 2007. The figure was 0.32 percentage points higher than in the previous quarter, and 1.31 percentage points higher than in the same period in 2006.The highest turnover was recorded in the retail sector (9.64 percent), followed by the business service/professional services (7.65 percent) and wholesale, import/ export, trading (7.64 percent) sectors.The overall average vacancy rate also peaked in the third quarter of 2007 at 3.97 percent. This figure was 0.46 percentage points higher than the figure recorded for the second quarter of 2007 and 0.88 percentage points higher than that recorded for the same period in 2006.The retail sector recorded the highest vacancy rate (6.13 percent), followed by the engineering (5.61 percent ) and financial services/ banking/ insurance (5.36 percent) sectors."While the Institute is pleased to see the continuous improvement in the unemployment situation, companies are now facing tough challenges in recruiting and retaining talent." said Lai Kam-tong, president of the HKIHRM.According to Lai, both the turnover and vacancy rates have hit record high, in line with the latest continued decline of unemployment rate to 3.6 percent, the lowest level for over the nine and a half years.

The HKIHRM Quarterly Survey of Manpower Statistics, conducted since 2002, regularly tracks manpower movements in Hong Kong's labour market. A total of 112 companies participated in the third quarter 2007 survey, covering over 125,000 employees. Key data included turnover, vacancy and absence rates collected on a quarterly and annual basis.