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For Immediate Release

27 August 2002

In response to Mr Gordon Wu's comments regarding the construction of the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge ("the Bridge"), HWL Group Managing Director Mr Canning Fok would like to make the following comments:

"All the way along, when I talked about the Bridge, my focus has always been on the cost-effectiveness for cargo transportation. We are of the opinion that the cheaper way of transporting cargo would be by barges along the Pearl River. I am not opposed to building the Bridge for other purposes. I am only concerned about how the capital investment should be funded and questioned the wisdom of using taxpayers' money to build the Bridge. I therefore welcome the news that private corporations are interested in, and willing to fund the construction of the Bridge all by themselves.

However, there have been suggestions that the construction of the Bridge could be subsidized by the government by providing premium-free land for the development of new container terminals. I strongly oppose this suggestion as this would mean the building of the bridge is subsidized by the container terminal industry. Such a suggestion would seriously damage the existing mechanism, harm the interest of the existing operators and undermine the economic system as well as the confidence of future investments in Hong Kong. It is also extremely unfair to companies who had invested so substantially in this industry during the past years.

In short, we are not opposed to building the bridge as it is funded by private industry. We however oppose to the idea of sacrificing the interest of one of the most important industries in Hong Kong, which is the container terminal industry to subsidize a private investment."

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