20 September 2019
Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen (C) has yet to conduct any visits to districts in the 100 days since joining the Carrie Lam administration, according to a report. Photo: HKEJ
Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen (C) has yet to conduct any visits to districts in the 100 days since joining the Carrie Lam administration, according to a report. Photo: HKEJ

Among Lam’s top team, Yuen figures at bottom on district visits

Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung is yet to conduct any district visits while serving under Carrie Lam, who has just completed 100 days as Hong Kong’s chief executive, according to a report.

Apple Daily says it found that Lam’s cabinet members have a mixed record when it comes to touring the districts and interacting with the public. 

While some have followed Lam’s order and made field trips to exchange views with citizens and district council members, there were a few who were found lagging on such initiatives.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen were among those who were quite active, with both making at least five district visits since taking office on July 1, the paper found.

Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law Chi-kong surpassed the pair with 11 visits, if public visits to schools and hospitals are included in the count.

At the other end of the spectrum was Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, who has yet to open his account on such visits after joining the Lam administration.

After taking office, Lam had said that she wants senior government officials to interact more with the public so that they can listen to the views of ordinary citizens on various matters.

In keeping with that objective, Lam herself made duty trips to the Northern District, Kowloon City District, and the Central-Western District.

Meanwhile, the chief executive is believed to have requested all her top team members that they should conduct visits to all the city’s 18 districts within two years.

Chief Secretary Cheung wrote in a blog post on Sunday that the new government team has worked seamlessly and that it has actively visited citizens in order to exchange views.

The visits are “not just for show”, he said, stressing that such initiatives will help the government understand more about the underprivileged and their needs.

After poring through data from the Information Services Department, Apple Daily found that all the top-level secretaries undertook at least one district visit in the past 100 days, with the exception of Yuen.

Questioned about the matter, a spokesperson for Yuen was quoted as saying that the justice chief  will need to adjust his schedule to undertake district visits, given his heavy workload.

Once plans are made, the office will make some announcements, the spokesperson said.

While Secretary for the Civil Service Joshua Law topped the league table on field trips, the next rank was taken by Secretary for Food and Health Chan Siu-chee, according to the report.

Law is said to have undertaken a total of 10 trips, if one includes visits to hospitals and schools to the count, overtaking Cheung, Nip and Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung.

Financial Secretary Chan Mo-po, meanwhile, visited three districts, with his official engagements including interaction with members of the Shatin and Tsuen Wan district councils. He had also visited his alma mater, Pui Shing Catholic Secondary School, before the DSE results were released.

Among other top officials, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong, and Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury James Henry Lau Jr. are reported to have visited two districts each.

Yau visited the Northern District besides showing his face at the Book Fair in July, while Law had been to the Yuen Long district and also attended the “Sport for All Day” event in early August.

As for Lau, he had been in the Southern District giving away memorial packets related to the 20th anniversary celebrations of Hong Kong’s handover, and he also went to St. Francis Xavier’s College for a school visit a day before the release of the HKDSE results.

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