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Hearing arrangements to be reviewed

Chief Justice Andrew Cheung has instructed that the Judiciary should immediately review the overall arrangements of handling cases involving a large number of litigants and observers at all levels of courts.   The Judiciary made the statement today in response to enquiries on the arrangements for the hearing of a case involving 47 defendants at the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts, emphasising that the review is subject to the safeguarding of the due administration of justice.        The statement pointed out that the courts must adjudicate cases in accordance with the law and court procedures, adding that the courts have always sought to complete the hearing of each case as soon as practicable to ensure efficient administration of justice.   Regarding the case in question, the Judiciary explained that all 47 defendants must be heard before the same magistrate according to court procedures as they were charged with the same offence under the same case.   The case was first

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Views sought on plastic bottle plan

The Environmental Protection Department today released a consultation paper on the Producer Responsibility Scheme on Plastic Beverage Containers (PPRS) for the proper management of waste plastic bottles.   The consultation period will last for three months until May 21.   The Government recently announced the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035, which sets out the strategies, goals and measures to tackle the challenge of waste management, and to promote a circular economy and green living environment.   As one of the key waste reduction measures, the proposed scheme requires stakeholders to share the environmental responsibilities of collecting and treating plastic beverage containers to minimise their impact on the environment, the department said.   In line with the polluter pays principle, the scheme proposed a recycling levy to be collected at the beverage supplier level, including manufacturers and importers, to help recover the operation costs of the scheme.   It has been suggested that certain retail stores selling plastic-bottled beverages serve as collection points so that people can return used plastic beverage containers.   These containers will then be supplied to local recyclers so they can turn them into marketable recycled materials.   Furthermore, the proposed scheme will include rebates to encourage people to return used plastic beverage containers.   The public can submit views through the dedicated website, or by email, post or fax to the department during the consultation period.   Meanwhile, the department has rolled out a one-year Reverse Vending Machine Pilot Scheme to test the application of the machines in recovering plastic beverage containers.   Under the pilot scheme, 60 reverse vending machines will be set up in phases at locations such as public places and government facilities to collect used plastic beverage containers.   The machines provide an instant rebate of $0.1 through e-payment platforms for each plastic beverage container returned. Each e-payment platform account will allow the return of up to 30 plastic beverage containers a day.   The public can also choose to donate the rebate, with no daily limit, to designated charities.   At present, 40 machines are in service, with the remaining 20 to be available soon.   For enquiries and views on the reverse vending machines, call 9488 0277 or send an email.
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