Major Speeches, Presentations and Press Releases

SCED speaks on strengthening regulation of person-to-person telemarketing calls

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at a media session on strengthening regulation of person-to-person telemarketing calls today (May 12):

Reporter: Why you have not decided to use a numbering system to help people to identify cold calls?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: This is a consultation exercise. We have a very open mind and we want to hear from people of Hong Kong which way exactly they would like to proceed. So we don't have a predetermined position. We just flowed some of the possible options for people to consider. It's no doubt that, from the survey we conducted in 2015, people feel that it is really a nuisance. A lot of people support legislating as one of the options. We keep an open mind and flowed three options. One is to intensify and strengthen the self-regulation by the industry. Secondly, we support the filtering system, but that only uses perhaps with your mobile phone. Fixed line or another phone that does not have this function would not benefit from having this filtering application. The third option is to have a Do-not-call Register. So we think these are the viable options. We are open to other options.

Reporter: Some lawmakers like Charles Mok suggested using a numbering system, like setting a specific number in front of the telephone number to let people identify a cold call. Why have you not set it as an option?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: We express an opinion that it may not be so viable because the telephone numbers in Hong Kong are limited in supply. We do not want to add one more digit to the telephone number. I don't think people would like to see that. And these person-to-person telemarketing calls may not be able to fill up all these numbers adding that one digit. That is one consideration. The second consideration is people may still engage in telemarketing calls even though they don't have that digit. They can call from other number prefixes. Then how do you enforce that, if not by regulation? How do you mandate them to call from those numbers? That is a bigger question and would require quite a sophisticated analysis and a model in order to make that work. So why don't we consider other options?

Reporter: Will you be staying after July 1?

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: All I want to say this time is that I intend to take a long vacation.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Friday, May 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:44