District councillors' acts regrettable

The Home Affairs Department today expressed regret over the consumption of alcoholic drinks by four members of the Sham Shui Po District Council (SSPDC) at a meeting yesterday.   Based on online videos and the discussion at the meeting, the four District Council (DC) members were Janet Ng, Kalvin Ho, Eunice Chau and Lawrence Lau. Their consumption of alcoholic drinks at the meeting brought the reputation of the SSPDC into disrepute and failed to fulfil the public's expectation of DC members.   The District Officer (Sham Shui Po) referred to the Sham Shui Po District Council Standing Orders at the meeting, pointing out that a DC member should ensure that his or her conduct must not be such as to bring the DC into disrepute, should not at any time or in any respect do anything which might compromise or impair his or her integrity, impartiality, objectivity or his or her ability to perform his or her duties, and should not place himself or herself in a position which might be contrary to the generally assumed standard of conduct expected of a DC member.   The officer also requested the SSPDC chairman to make a ruling in accordance with the standing orders over the behaviour of the four DC members, and consider issuing a warning to them or asking them to leave the meeting if the incident continued.   However, the chairman decided that it was not necessary to issue a warning to those members consuming alcoholic drinks at the meeting.   The officer then requested the chairman again to make a ruling or issue a statement, so as to indicate that consumption of alcoholic drinks must not be allowed during the DC meetings and its committees and working groups and reaffirm standards regarding the behaviour of DC members at meetings. Regrettably, the chairman still declined.   The Government is of the view that consumption of alcoholic drinks in a DC meeting is an act of profound disrespect for other attendees and may compromise or impair DC members’ impartiality, objectivity or ability to perform their duties, putting themselves in a position contrary to the generally assumed standard of conduct expected of a DC member.   Accordingly, such an act should not take place in a DC meeting.   The department expressed deep regret over the incident and the chairman’s ruling, and has written to the chairman urging him to follow up on the incident in a fair and impartial manner as soon as possible by issuing warnings to members who contravened the standing orders.
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