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14 November 2007

LIE KY + U.S. STENCH EVEN FOREVER CANNOT STANCH,REPORT,SYLVIA,LIM&hlWords=%20domestic%20reported%20&hlTitle=&queryOption=1&ref=


Parliament No: 11
Session No: 1
Volume No: 83
Sitting No: 14
Sitting Date: 2007-10-22


MPs Speaking: Mr Wong Kan Seng; Ms Sylvia Lim


2. Ms Sylvia Lim asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs for the years 2005, 2006 and the first half of 2007, in respect of incidents of voluntarily causing hurt (a) what is the number of reports or calls for police assistance regarding such incidents received by the police; (b) what is the proportion of domestic to non-domestic incidents; and (c) what is the number and percentage of cases in which the police voluntarily initiated prosecution of the suspect and the reasons for police initiation of such prosecutions.

Mr Wong Kan Seng:

In 2005, 5,490 cases of Voluntarily Causing Hurt (VCH) were reported to the Police. In 2006, 6,406 VCH cases were reported while 3,697 cases were reported in the first half of 2007 (from January to June).

Police does not actively track the proportion of domestic to non-domestic incidents for VCH cases.

In 2005, out of the 5,490 VCH cases, Police initiated action on behalf of the victims in 734 cases, which constituted 13.4 % of the VCH cases reported. In 2006, out of the 6,406 VCH cases, Police initiated action on behalf of the victims in 468 cases, which accounted for 7.3 % of the VCH cases reported. In the first half of 2007 (from January to June), out of the 3,697 cases, Police initiated action on behalf of the victims in 319 cases, which constituted 8.6% of the VCH cases reported.

Police will initiate prosecution into VCH cases where there is harm to the public interest and safety, and when it is assessed that the assailant is a bully who is taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable - especially young children, senior citizens and physically or mentally-disabled persons. Police will also initiate investigations into suspected cases of maid abuse or road bullying.


Hitting a controversial patch
They regard some assault cases as civil disputes, raising public furore. By Seah Chiang Nee.
Aug 8, 2006

Not long ago, a gang of older girls beat up a 12-year-old girl in public, video filming the assault, and the tape was widely posted in the Internet.

The assailants were known, but the police said it would not act because nobody had lodged a report with them. It sparked questions about the responsibility of the police when public violence was committed.

Yesterday, another Singaporean wrote to the press to complain that her brother, a doctor in a Singapore hospital, was eating alone at a Geylang food-stall at night when he was approached by six to eight youths who accused him of staring at them

"When he denied doing so, they assaulted him, beating him in the face and abdomen," said Ms Liew Sok Kuan.

According to Ms. Liew, he suffered multiple facial fractures and damage to one of his facial nerves. He had to undergo a three-hour operation, which included having two metal plates inserted around one of his eyes, she said.

"He suffered multiple facial fractures and damage to one of his facial nerves. He had to undergo a three-hour operation, which included having two metal plates inserted around one of his eyes," related Ms. Liew.

They escaped in their motorbikes, but the victim noted two of the bikes' numbers and rang up 999 and reported to them what had happened.

Despite the serious injury in what was clearly a criminal case, she alleged the police shockingly declined to go after the assailants, and instead asked him to lodge a report with the Magistrates' Court, and left

"They advised that this was a civil case and it was for the magistrate to decide if any action was to be taken."

Ms Liew added: "It was only when an appeal was made that my brother's case was reclassified under Section 325 (from Section 323), 10 days after the incident, by which time witnesses would have dispersed and memories faded.

"Had the police acted promptly, especially when they were at the scene, they might have had a better chance of apprehending the culprits as there were witnesses around."

It sparked off a debate about the role and the priorities of the police. Two questions immediately arose: -

* Do they regard violent crime as less important than political activism? A dozen anti-riot policemen carrying shields and batons recently were rushed to disperse four opposition party activists protesting peacefully in central Singapore.

* How many such public assault cases have been classified as civil cases? If it is a general policy, how has it affected the record of crime statistics in Singapore, since civil cases are not classified under 'crime'. In other words, should crime statistics be higher than what is announced?

Public opinion was largely against the police in this case and I believe that a high-level public statement is needed to explain what the police role and responsibility is in the event of a public assault.

Comments online (excerpts)

By ardeedee
The incident (mentioned by Ms Liew) should have been classified as a riot as more than five members involved in this assault…
It appears from what the report that the Police were remiss in their action and that they also were not being properly advised as they had or should be in contact with Radio Police at 999 where there used to be a senior officer (an Inspector) on duty to ensure proper classification and action to be taken at the scene.
Someone should be telling the Police that their inefficiency is showing and affecting their reputation and eventually that of Singapore.

By "yingyang"
Some years ago, my daughter's flat was broken into, the (police) investigator didn't even bother to come down to her flat to look for fingerprints.
In another case early this year, there was a boy from a poor family who suffered two fractured legs as a result of a reckless driver near Woodland. The policeman in-charge of the case only called the father.
Despite of several appeals to ask him to come down to see for himself the seriousness of the injuries the boy had, this investigator simply just couldn't be bothered.
What is the point of having so many police investigators, if they do not want to perform basic functions?

Stayer Ong
I read with concern the letter in today's Straits Times, "Assault 'a civil case', so no police action".
With the upcoming IMF/World Bank meeting in September, such police inaction ...when police intervention and help are genuinely needed is totally unacceptable.
How will the world view Singapore's law and order when our police are not responsive to genuine needs?

Whispers from the heart said...
All his (police) are now practicing how to control violent protests and learning to operate those cool gadgets they bought to control violent crowds.
Singaporeans who still boast about being able to walk on Singapore streets without worrying about safety better have their brains examined.
You can't even eat at a hawker centre safely.
Probably, the whole Police force is mobilised at the Stadium today to look out for people wearing brown shirts (in support of blogger mrbrown) and making them change into red and white ones.

The modern sikh said...
I've lodged two complaints before and not one of them has been acted on. They're too busy stopping people from bringing DVDs across the Causeway.

Anonymous said...
Has any one wondered why our "efficient" police force always claims that Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world? The reason seems obvious now, isn't it?

Kevin said...
Perhaps it's a case of who's really working for whom. I hate to say this but I am seeing our government as more self-serving than actually citizen-centric. Where's the goodwill?

Radikaz said...
Three years ago, my mobile phone and wallet were stolen at Bishan sports complex. The items were taken off from my bag and incredibly I wasn't alone. Another guy's bag was stolen as well, I also realised the front desk's ceiling was installed with a round-camera system and a recorder as well. So quickly, we logged a police report at Bishan police post.
Despite my constant reminder that my wallet and phone were stolen, the police on duty logged it as a "loss" case.
I re-logged the case next day at another police post near my house and wasted 1/2 hour to remedy an incorrect police report. Because they need to call back to Bishan post and rectified the error and concerted it with the HQ whatever so.
I told them that the Bishan sport complex had a camera which recorded.. and they would look into the video.
I later checked. No police had viewed the tape. So routinely, the theft case at Bishan gym was chucked under the drawer. And god knows how many more wallets and phones were stolen there since?

Anonymous said...
When I was much younger, there was a gang fight taking place just downstairs at my flat, with two gangs approaching each other with parangs and other weapons. I called the police who arrived in half an hour or more by which time the fight was over.


RH: "No prosecutor in the world would even dream of prosecuting a man already certified insane in a marital causing hurt incident long forgotten by both sides for decades, if LIE KY had not intervened to thus secure for himself and Singapore billions of dollars worth of free publicity. This, simply, is what it is all about. The Americans were just evil and stupid to get involved."













10 November 2007

Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 4 Plan D


Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China

5/F, Central Government Offices, Main Wing,
Lower Albert Road,
Hong Kong
Telephone : (852) 2878 3300
Fax : (852) 2509 0577
E-mail :

Dear Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I do not presume that you remember me or my 4 emails to you [attached] so I crave your indulgence for a quick recapitulation of my last 3 emails detailing ideas to clean the polluted air of Hongkong. These 3 ideas are Plan A: Using jet engines to blow away the dirty air; Plan B: Using numerous water tanks to bubble dirty air through, thereby cleaning it; and Plan C: Making roads sticky with glue to stick most of the dirty vehicle exhaust particles to prevent them spreading into the air we breathe.

2. The more of these 3 Plans we implement TOGETHER, the more successful the overall effects. Plans B and C are simple to implement and so cheap they cost the Hongkong Govt or Hongkongers practically nothing. In return, these 2 Plans implemented TOGETHER should clear the air considerably. Probably enough to win kudos for the Hongkong Govt for taking effective action to solve a problem that is driving many expatriate and Hongkong families from Hongkong to cleaner places like Singapore, which has little air pollution.

3. However, my 3 Plans have been rejected outright without much thought, let alone experiment. The speed of rejection, within a few days, proves that little real consideration was given, further proven in the reasons for rejection. The rejections were directly from gut reaction, not rational thought. It was the bureaucrat's fear of doing anything unorthodox, that had not been established and precedented in the West, that had not been studied and trialled in the West and then taught to Asians. The simple fact that the West has not solved their air pollution problems means that Hongkong will continue to suffer along with them until ideas such as mine are studied and trialled there first. Meanwhile, people are migrating from Hongkong to cleaner pastures and the Hongkong Govt is seen as doing nothing except the standard, conventional, measures that the daily Air Pollution Index prove is inadequate. What a sad state of affairs.

4. The fact that this bureaucrat rejected my Plan B EVEN BEFORE I WROTE A SINGLE WORD OF IT TO YOU AND HIM is instructive. I need say no more. Further, the fact that he saw fit to reject my Plan C through a proxy shows that he is beginning to feel uneasy about rejecting my ideas, that he is beginning to realise that HE MAY BE GUILTY OF REFUSING TO SOLVE HONGKONG's AIR POLLUTION PROBLEMS. He stands in danger of going down in history.

5. Is Hongkong's air polluted enough to trouble us all into taking action? Is it bad enough for us to rouse ourselves from our comfortable routine of meetings and emails into direct action? Even unorthodox action? Here, I need only to point to your Environmental Protection Department website which has copious texts on how bad the air is. However, much of these read like Copy & Paste from Western sources, not surprising because much of the world do exactly this. Just to reiterate that the West has not solved its air pollution problems and so, if Hongkong refuses new ideas and solutions, it may continue driving away those who can migrate while harming those who cannot or would not.

6. I know that my ideas are kitchen science. Or kitchen chemistry. But the good thing about kitchen science is that THE PRINCIPLES ARE SO SIMPLE THEY WORK. For example, Plan B's idea of bubbling dirty air through water so that cleaner air emerges is A PROVEN CONCEPT, without me having to do a single experiment.

7. For example, there are many models of home water-filtration vacuum cleaners in Hongkong selling for about HK$1,000 that use exactly the principle of Plan B. These water-filtration vacuum cleaners suck in dirt [and necessarily, air, too], then trap the dirt in a small water tank, and the air that emerges is free from dirt and even some air pollutants. Of course, this vacuum cleaner is not an exact experiment to prove the concept and principle of Plan B because the bubbles of air are not tiny enough, the water tank not tall enough, etc, but the principle is clearly proven beyond doubt.

8. If you need further experiment, you can buy 1 of these water-filtration vacuum cleaners, and a cheap bottle of perfume [about HK$50], then find a fairly airtight room, empty the perfume onto an open dish, let the perfume fill the entire room with its telltale smell, then turn on the vacuum cleaner, and, returning to the room every hour or so, you will notice that almost all the perfume smell would have been removed by the water-filtration vacuum cleaner. This proves that the molecules of perfume, like the molecules of air pollutants, can be removed by water filtration.

9. If you need a more visual proof of the concept, find a fairly airtight room or shipping container, seal it airtight with simple household silicone from a tube, fill the room or container with thick, black smoke -- a smoke flare will do nicely -- switch on the water-filtration vacuum cleaner and see all the smoke filtered off by the water after a few hours.

10. Thus, Proof of Concept indubitably proven. All that needs to be done is to scale this Concept up enough to make a difference to Hongkong's air. If every rooftop in Hongkong, or most rooftops, house several large installations of this water-filtration air-cleaning tanks, big enough, that is, practically industrial scale, this Plan B alone will clean the air considerably. For best effect, the air should be sucked up from near street levels and returned to street levels after cleaning. This is not a problem as most tall buildings have wet and dry risers for firefighting and these riser holes run continuously from the bottom to the top of the buildings and so can house an air intake and air outlet ducting of up to 20 centimetres in diameter. Thus, these air ducts, which can be flexible or rigid. will run INSIDE the buildings, within the riser holes, but emerge OUTSIDE the building near street levels, say, either 1st Floor [Ground] or 2nd Floor. Further, if indoor air pollution within the building is bad, 1 of the installations can pump clean air to within the building, that is, indoors, to benefit the people working and using the building. This will motivate many building owners to install the installations since it will become an additional marketing advantage. Clean air is a big marketing advantage to any building owner and for self interest alone, they will do it.

11. Now, I will prove the Concept of Plan C, which is to make roads sticky enough to stick away most of the dirty vehicle exhaust particles especially the toxic Lead particles. For this, you only need an ordinary vehicle with the engine running for a few hours. Then, place a stool directly behind the exhaust tailpipe of the car. Fix to the stool, a thin material like cardboard or plastic sheet, etc, coated with glue, directly in the path of the exhaust tailpipe. The distance of the glued sheet to the tailpipe should be that of the tailpipe to the ground. That's all. To be more accurate, incline the glued sheet about 45 degrees to the path of the exhaust, as I have explained in my 4th Email on Plan C. After a few hours or so, bring the sheet to a chemistry laboratory to measure What particles and chemicals have been stuck and How Much of it. These particles and chemicals and their amounts will be those removed from the air we breathe. By simple scaling up, you can calculate roughly how many micrograms or grams of pollutants can be removed by how much surface areas of glued roads in what time.

12. In the Beijing sandstorms, if every available surface area is glued, a significant amount of sand and pollutants can be removed from the air we breathe. For example, if all tall buildings are coated with glue or, more reasonably, if every window is covered with glue, or pasted with a transparent plastic sheet covered with glue, this can remove much sand and other pollutants. In Hongkong, too. However, to reasonably enforce this without invoking the building owners' ire, the removal and pasting of new sheets should be done only during the regular window washing which is done only once or twice a year. But every little helps. If this new Plan D, of sticky windows, [which is a subset of Plan C], is done TOGETHER with Plans B and C, the overall effect will be considerable.

13. As I have said, the good thing about kitchen science is that it is so simple it works. The principles are simple and PROVEN. If you are sending Chang E 1 to the moon, you need rocket science. But if you merely want to reduce air pollution, the principles are much simpler. I suppose that if I had posed as a professor from MIT, written my ideas in scientific mumbo jumbo, added in regression analyses, tables of data, dozens of footnotes referring to academic theses authored by Western authors, then your bureaucrat may have given my ideas more credence and interest.

14. I don't blame him entirely. He is a bureaucrat whose comfort zone is meetings, email and reports. His entire training is Western-based and his entire work methodology is to adopt Western solutions and orthodoxies. He does not have a support system for evaluating new ideas for implementation, no matter how practical and feasible. A government is nothing but a complex web of systems and procedures. When my ideas come up against such a system that does not have prior procedures for evaluation and implementation, the inevitable result is total rejection of those ideas. This would be true of any government, not just yours. However, he had to struggle to find excuses to reject my ideas. EVERY REJECTION EXCUSE HE GAVE WAS FROM ME! I had, in detailing the best procedures and conditions for testing the ideas, warned of certain conditions and he simply restated these conditions as excuses. In the only excuse he gave that I did not anticipate, I did not anticipate it because it was ridiculous.

15. So where do we go from here? We could do what your bureaucrat suggested, which is to forward the entire set of ideas to experts or academics for evaluation. He has clearly shown he wants nothing to do with it. Of course, if experts and academics, preferably Western, succeed with the ideas, then these would become orthodox, which means that, then, he would be happy to adopt them. Here, I need your help. I cannot forward these to experts and academics because I do not know any. Nor do I have the clout. So could you exercise your executive prerogative and order that this be done? Just a sentence to someone to "Forward this to some expert or academic for evaluation and report back to me". This could be the start of the end of bad air in Hongkong. And Beijing in time for the Olympics in August 2008. And the rest of the polluted cities in the world. INCLUDING WESTERN CITIES.

16. Or you could call for a local or international Design & Build Tender to build a Working Prototype for Plan B [Bubble Tanks]. This would be quite cheap. Like all turnkey projects, this would be simple to write. Your bureaucrats would simply need to specify the required results, which is a sizeable reduction in air pollution by say, 50%, within a specified Test Area. And some of the suggested design features such as the water tanks and pumping systems, etc. Since this would be Design & Build, turnkey, this can be done within weeks and sent out, probably privately, to interested parties. However, there is no design and build for Plan C [Sticky Roads] which is more amenable to academic analysis and experiments. I suggest that Plan B be done first, and the success of which can then be the confidence to proceed with Plan C.

17. I would like to end by reiterating that I have absolutely no ownership of these ideas or intellectual property thereof. Please feel free to forward these ideas, in whole or in part, or edited and rewritten, to anybody and everybody, who may be interested. The more people get involved the better because they will improve and add new expertise from their individual training and experience. Again, you can achieve this with a simple executive prerogative. Simply ask your staff to "Forward and discuss these with any or all your colleagues here and overseas who might be interested, and report back to me."

18. This is my good deed for the day. I hope you will act and make it yours, too.

For Clear Air and Clear Minds,
I am,

Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: [+65] 68989553
HP: [+65] 90127417
7 Nov 07 1420





4 attachments — Download all attachments

Email To Donald Tsang 18 June 2005 On Govt By Referebdum .doc
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Email To Donald Tsang 12 Oct 07 Plan A Jet Engines.doc
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Email to Donald Tsang 23 Oct 07 Plan B Bubble Tank.doc
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Email to Donald Tsang 29 Oct 07 Plan C Sticky Roads.doc
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Dear Mr Lee and Mr Pun, cc Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I think you and your department have totally missed the whole point and the whole stupendous issue. I propose all these ideas NOT FOR PERSONAL VAINGLORY. Indeed, when all these ideas succeed, and I have proven that they will -- and you and your department have not shown the contrary -- HONGKONG AND CHINA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL BENEFIT FROM THE CLEANER AIR!

2. I will not reap a single cent in benefit nor do I need the publicity or fame. Far from it. Please don't even mention that I have been involved.

3. In other words, what I have been doing is to simply FEEDBACK to your government, like any concerned citizen or well-wisher would. I have been merely giving SUGGESTIONS just like any Hongkonger or well-wisher would. That's all.

4. What would your department do with FEEDBACK and SUGGESTIONS from the public? Reject them without even seeing them, as you have done? Discourage further ideas and suggestions like you have done in your last reply? Tsk, tsk.

5. Thus, the onus is NOT ON ME to prove the feasibility of the project by enlisting the services of a university or laboratory, etc. In fact, I have proven the feasibility of Plan B [Bubble Tank] beyond any shadow of doubt in my last email, [which includes the minor sub-idea Plan D]. Surely, when you draw a chicken, you need not be so detailed as to even draw its intestines? I HAVE PROVEN THE FEASIBILITY! BEYOND ANY DOUBT! NO NEED FOR A UNIVERSITY OR LABORATORY TO BUY THE HK$1,000 WATER-FILTRATION VACUUM CLEANER TO PROVE THE PRINCIPLE! ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS TO SCALE UP THE APPARATUS BIG ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE AIR IN A BIGGER AREA. AND THIS CAN BE DONE EASILY WITH A TENDER FOR THE DESIGN AND BUILD OF A WORKING PROTOTYPE, WHICH, IF SATISFACTORY, WILL LEAD TO MASS MANUFACTURE MEANING BIG PROFITS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL TENDERER! CAN IT BE SIMPLER? THERE ARE HUNDREDS, IF NOT THOUSANDS OF COMPANIES OUT THERE WHO WILL JUMP AT THE OPPORTUNITY!

6. At this stage, we are not talking or arguing about technical feasibility. That I have proven beyond doubt that it works, Plan B Bubble Tank, at least. The scientific principles are PROVEN! Which is to dissolve and filter out chemical and particulate pollutants using a water tank. All you need is a big version of the water-filtration vacuum cleaner. We are now at the implementation stage, where we need to make some administrative and maybe, political, decisions. If we believe that the people of Hongkong, China and other world cities do deserve a chance of cleaner air, so that foetuses do not die stillborn like some are doing now, from the toxic Lead and other pollutants, then should we not rouse ourselves from our usual routine of comfortable meetings, email and reports to stick our neck out just once and say, "Let's do it". We can do it all quietly, without publicity or fanfare. Simply write out your Design & Build Tender and send it out privately to interested companies. They will do the rest. Within months, you will have several Working Prototypes ALREADY TESTED BY THE COMPANY BEFOREHAND BEFORE THEY EVEN HAND THEM OVER TO YOU, AS THEY MUST BE SURE OF THE DESIGNs' VIABILITY. Then, you install them somewhere quietly and note the improvement in API readings. Then, and only then, do you publicise the whole thing. The people of Hongkong, China and the world will then applaud you for your brave decisions. And we all live happily ever after.

7. Now, having said that, I will cease and desist. The more and the harder I push, the more it seems that I GET THE MOST OUT OF ALL THIS! Which cannot be farther from the truth. I get nothing out of it. I just want Hongkong, which I admire, especially your tv serials, which my wife and I watch every night, to be more liveable so that 1 day, if my son decides to work and live in Hongkong, the air will be good. [He is now a second year Economics student in LSE]. Thus, I do have a small, little, personal interest in Hongkong's clean air.

8. I will now stop pushing and let you all take over. No need to email or reply me further. If you go ahead, that's fine. If not, it's your city and you have the prerogative to do what you want with it. Thank you for your time and my apologies if I have ruffled any feathers with my pushing.

I am,
Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: [+65] 68989553
HP: [+65] 90127417
9 Nov 07 1847

Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 3 Plan C


Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China

5/F, Central Government Offices, Main Wing,
Lower Albert Road,
Hong Kong
Telephone : (852) 2878 3300
Fax : (852) 2509 0577
E-mail :

Dear Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I have previously emailed you on 18 Jun 05 on my idea of Govt By Referendum [attached].

2. I have also emailed you on 12 Oct 07 on my idea of using jet engines to blow away the bad air from the worst polluted and most peopled parts of Hongkong. In this regard, I have had a short exchange of emails with someone in the Air Science Group but he did not consider the idea "workable" [attached].

3. I have also emailed you on 23 Oct 07 on Plan B which also aims to clear the air over Hongkong. It is an alternative to Plan A or it can be used together with Plan A for even greater effect. Plan B tries to dissolve most of dissolvable air pollutants such as Sulphur Dioxide [SO2], Ozone [O3], etc; and possibly convert dangerous Carbon Monoxide [CO] into its very safe cousin Carbon Dioxide through the simple expedient of adding some household bleach containing Hydrogen Peroxide [H2O2] into the tanks. Some of the Respirable Suspended Particles such as Lead will also be removed by bubbling the bad air through water and these can be further removed completely if the Emerging Air is FILTERED after passing through the tank. That same someone also considers this Plan B idea "unworkable".

4. Today, I would like to interest you in my Plan C, which can be deployed by itself or in addition to Plan A or Plan B -- or both -- for even greater effect.

5. Plan C is based on the fact that as I am writing this, Central/Western, Eastern, Kwai Chung, Kwun Tong, Sha Tin, Sham Shui Po, Tai Po, Tap Mun, Tsuen Wan, Tung Chung and Yuen Long [as at 12 noon just past], are all showing HIGH readings of the Air Pollution Index, except Kwai Chung which is MEDIUM. All are due to high readings of Respirable Suspended Particles except the Medium Kwai Chung which shows Nitrogen Dioxide.

6. Your Roadside Stations monitoring air pollution shows even higher [as usual the Roadside air is much dirtier than at the main monitoring stations] air pollution index readings, with Causeway Bay at 69, Central at 60 and Mongkok at 87. The first 2 are due to Respirable Suspended Particles while Mongkok is due to Nitrogen Dioxide.

7. Taking the past 24 hours at the 3 Roadside Stations, which probably strongly reflect the vehicular exhaust pollution, from 1300 hours yesterday to 12 noon today, Causeway Bay 'started' at about 75 and declined only slightly in 24 hours; Central 'started' at about 70 and declined a bit thereafter, while Mong Kok 'started' at 100 and declined a bit in 24 hours.

8. Thus, my Plan C targets vehicular exhaust pollution. First of all, should we be concerned about vehicular pollution? After all, most of us don't spend much time on the streets. We spend most times indoors, in offices or at home, where the air is better. I would venture that people DO spend more time at street level than they realise. For example, if you commute by bus, you would spend some time at a bus stop waiting for a bus. Then, even after you board the bus, you continue your bus trip AT STREET LEVEL, breathing in street level air. If your bus trip is 30 minutes x 2 every day, that is 1 whole hour breathing in street level air. Even the underground MTR stations where you wait may also be quite polluted. Has anyone taken air pollution readings in underground MTR stations? It may be quite high, too, given that the air would move down into the stations as well.

9. Thus, if the 3 Roadside Stations are any guide, street level pollution hovers around 75 almost round the clock, that is, 24/7/365. Since your expert has rejected my Water Tank idea to dissolve some of the bad air, my Plan C will try a mechanical method to reduce some of the vehicular exhaust pollution.

10. For this Plan C, I note that every vehicle has a tailpipe producing exhaust and that this tailpipe is low slung, beneath and behind the vehicle, and that the vehicle travels along roads mostly guided by white lane markings on the road. This means that the exhaust-producing tailpipe is only half a metre or so above the road and most of the exhaust smoke would emerge from the tailpipe and spread along the road almost exactly between the white lane markings painted on the road.

11. So, if we could spray a kind of glue on the busiest roads between the white lane markings, we could 'stick' away some of the lead and other particles produced from the tailpipe, as well as some of the chemical pollutants, too. It would be much more effective if we could fix a cheap and simple Deflector to the end of the tailpipe to deflect the exhaust smoke DOWN on to the sticky road. This would stick away a good percentage of the bad air particles and chemicals from the exhaust.

12. That's the basic idea. Now for some details. The glue should be longlasting, say, should remain sticky for weeks so that respraying need only be done once a fortnight or once a month, or so. It should remain sticky even after rains or strong sunshine. It should have the ability to stick most of the harmful particles from tailpipe exhaust. It should be easily sprayed from a special van modified for this purpose. The van would have a small tank containing the watery glue and a sprayer at its back operated by a small pump in the van. The van should be able to spray an effective layer of glue onto the road even when moving at fairly high speeds of say, 50 kmph so it won't hold up vehicles behind during its spraying. [Of course, it could spray at night, when there is far less traffic].

13. The sprayer should be able to spray at a single pass, the entire lane of the road, that is, between the 2 white lines marking the lane. Then do the other lane/s. You will need a small fleet of such vans. But then, you only need to spray the busiest and most polluted roads, not the entire Hongkong.

14. The glue will remain intact between the white lane markings. But nearer the white lane markings, the vehicles' tyres will run over the glue and probably remove much of it. This is not a problem because the tailpipes are slung well between the rear tyres, some cars more to the left and some more to the right, but both quite near the centre of the car. So there will be enough glue on the central parts of the road lane to stick the particles from the exhaust. Of course, the glue should not lead vehicles to skid or corrode the rubber tyres, which are highly unlikely. It's just glue.

15. I have mentioned the Deflector in Paragraph 11. The Deflector should not be 90 degrees straight down because this may cause some exhaust air to 'back up' into the catalytic converter, which most cars now have. It should be about 135 degrees obtuse angle measured from the catalytic converter so that the Deflector points about 45 degrees down and rear-wards. This will ensure a downward flow of exhaust towards the glue-road yet not block or reduce the speed of airflow from the catalytic converter. Experiments should be done to determine which obtuse angle is best to serve both purposes.

16. If this project goes ahead, the Deflector can be produced very quickly for about HK$10-20 each and fitted at all petrol stations when the vehicles come in for petrol top up. It can be plastic or metal. I have in mind the simple aluminium tightener that grips the rubber hose onto the tap by the simple means of turning a simple thumb screw. There are many ways to secure a Deflector onto the end of the tailpipe and it would take less than a minute to fit 1. It can be fitted when the driver is topping up his petrol tank.

17. How to proceed from here? I don't recommend getting a Spray Van yet. We should test the Concept. Which is that 'Glue on the road can stick most of the exhaust chemicals and particles produced in vehicle exhaust and thereby remove these from the air we breathe'.

18. To begin, find a flat material that best approximates the road surface. It could be a rough plastic sheet, strong paper, spongey layer, cardboard, cloth, cotton, metal plate like a thin sheet of aluminium, etc. Then coat this flat piece with glue of the kind of glue you will likely use. Then place this flat piece, glued-side uppermost, on a busy road for a period of time. Then retrieve it back into the lab and measure very accurately the amount of air pollutants stuck on the piece, both the chemicals like Sulphur Dioxide and the particles like Lead. [The glue may stick BOTH chemicals and particles]. The more chemicals and particles stuck on the piece the better because it will mean LESS chemicals and particles in the air to be breathed in.

19. To save time, do this with many pieces each time. After you have some indication of success, that the Concept works, then do the experiments with vehicles fitted with Deflectors. This will indicate how many more times the Deflector is more effective than a straight tailpipe.

20. Then, it will be time to conduct a large experiment near 1 of the 3 Roadside Stations. Persuade or force all the vehicles, by police road blocks if necessary, to fit a Deflector before allowing them to proceed near the Road Station experiment roads -- both directions of traffic flow -- and spray the roads near the Roadside Station, manually if necessary, and see how much reduction you get in pollution readings. If successful, then implement it country-wide with a fleet of Spray Vans and enforced fitting of Deflectors on every vehicle.

21. To end, I understand that emails are often considered as official communication and many emailers are therefore very cautious what they write in an email. I here append my Windows Live Messenger [an Instant Messenger] chat address so that anyone wanting to chat very casually can type a chat back and forth with me, that is, when we are both online at the same time. The nature of email has become quite official but Instant Messenger chats remain very informal because you can only type about 50 words in each paragraph before you must send it, so it is all very informal. So, IM me for a chat if you want a quick and casual chat. My Windows Live Messenger address is

For Clear Air and Clear Minds,
I am,

Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: [+65] 68989553
HP: [+65] 90127417
29 Oct 07 1520




Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 2 Plan B

From: Robert HO
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 3:35 PM
Subject: Idea: To Bubble Polluted Air Through Liquid Tank To Emerge Cleaner


Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China

5/F, Central Government Offices, Main Wing,
Lower Albert Road,
Hong Kong
Telephone : (852) 2878 3300
Fax : (852) 2509 0577
E-mail :

Dear Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I have previously emailed you on 18 Jun 05 on my idea of Govt By
Referendum [attached].

2. I have also emailed you on 12 Oct 07 on my idea of using jet engines to
blow away the bad air from the worst polluted and most peopled parts of
Hongkong. In this regard, I have had a short exchange of emails with your
Air Science Group but they did not consider the idea "workable" [attached].

3. Today, I would like to interest you in my Plan B, which also aims to
clear the air over Hongkong. It is an alternative to Plan A or it can be
used together with Plan A for even greater effect.

4. Background to the strategy in Plans A and B: When there is air
pollution over a city such as Hongkong or Beijing, you can ameliorate the
air pollution 2 ways -- either you legislate to PREVENT air pollution or
you try to CURE the air After it has been polluted. To PREVENT air
pollution, you can legislate to force polluting factories to relocate far
away or even to another country or province. Also, to PREVENT air
pollution, you can legislate cleaner exhaust from all or most vehicles. Or
you can ban all or some vehicles from designated areas of high pollution.
All these PREVENTION measures carry a very high economic cost and even a
social and political cost. I will not dwell on these PREVENTION measures
as I am sure you have already done them or are trying to do them.

5. Instead, I have chosen to try the CURE strategy. That is, to clean the
air after it has already been polluted. I know that much of Hongkong's bad
air is NOT created in Hongkong but wafts over from the Pearl River Delta.
So there is little you can do about PREVENTION in the Delta. Which means
you can only try the CURE. My Plans A and B are both CUREs.

6. The jet engine idea is direct and quick. It involves only a small
number of people and depts. The dept in charge simply buys an engine or
borrows 1, on its own. Tests it and monitors and studies the results. If
successful, then this dept would simply get down to the business of
implementing it in the most polluted areas WITH THE MOST PEOPLE. All done
by the Hongkong Govt with little need to involve too many people. Thus, it
is simple and everything is done with only a few layers of people and

7. For Plan B, which is to clean the air after it has been polluted, we
would need to involve slightly more people and companies; we would need to
[probably] legislate and to train and equip Govt officers to monitor all
the apparatus through regular checks, mostly to ensure effectiveness.

8. It is also a simple idea. Basically, it is to bubble the polluted air
through a LIQUID so that the air that emerges from the TANK is cleaner [not
necessarily completely clean]. Depending on the liquid and the size of the
bubbles [as tiny as possible] and the height through which the bubbles are
bubbled up [the tank to be as tall as possible] to emerge as cleaner air,
most of the particles and chemicals that make up bad air would be either
dissolved, trapped or removed by the Liquid, leaving much cleaner air which
is then pumped towards the street level, fitter for human breathing than
the bad air that goes into the tank.

9. So, to put it in words, you would need a small electric motor, which is
very cheap nowadays, to pump air [polluted air] into a tank of Liquid,
spraying the air into millions of tiny bubbles, the tinier the better, at
the bottom of the Liquid, to allow these millions of tiny bubbles to bubble
UP to the top of the Liquid, then emerge through another pipe or flexible
rubber hose at the top of the tank into the open air, preferably piped
towards the side of the rooftop so that this cleaner air, weighed down by
the moisture picked up from the liquid in the tank, will drift downwards to
street level.

10. So, to put it in a word diagram, the whole apparatus consists of the
electric motor, which pumps air through a fixed or flexible rubber hose,
the hose ending at the bottom of the liquid, where the air is sprayed into
millions of tiny air bubbles. These air bubbles will then float up to the
top of the liquid, in the process, dissolving some of the pollutant
chemicals and trapping some of the polluting particles or particulate
matter, to emerge at the top of the tank above the liquid surface, then
continue by pipe or flexible hose to the side of the rooftop so that the
cleaner air can be discharged downwards towards the street level, this
gravity-assisted downward air flow helped by the moisture the bubble-air
picked up through the bubbling process in the tank. You may even add an
air filter at the air outlet part of the system to further remove
particulate matter although changing the air filter will be quite a bit of
work, depending on how bad the air is and how tiny the filter holes.

11. This whole apparatus need not be big. The motor is small. The hoses
small and flexible, so easy to run along the floor to the tank and beyond.
The tank itself needs to be tall but not wide, so it will take up a minimum
footprint. That's all. [It would be better if the air intake hose is far
away from the air outlet hose so that we draw the worst polluted air --
possibly even from a dangling hose midway down the building; while the air
outlet hose should preferably dangle to be as near street level as possible
to best benefit those at ground level].

12. What Liquids would do the best job of dissolving the harmful chemicals
and trap the particles? Here, I don't know. Your team will have to
experiment with different Liquids. If water is used, then changing the
water is as simple as changing the water in an ornamental fish tank. The
water can simply be drained away onto the rooftop like rainwater and there
will be no pollution downstream of your roof drainage system. If seawater
is used, the seawater may corrode some metal pipes but that is not a big
problem if the system is flushed with tap water afterwards. If tap water
is used but with a simple household chemical like detergent added, it will
also not be very polluting since detergents are routinely flushed away
through the systems every day. I would suggest that your experiments begin
with tap water with added household chemicals like detergents, salt
[seawater], dishwashing liquids, etc, since these are the easiest and
cheapest to buy and put into the tank. Specialty chemicals may also be
used but beware of causing pollution when these liquid-chemicals are
flushed away -- probably not more than once a year].

13. After your experiments have confirmed which liquid solutions work best
in cleaning the air and which do the least harm to the environment and
sewer systems, then it will be time to proceed to the next step. Which is
to map out which rooftops need to install this air cleaning system. I
presume that your depts already know which areas are worst affected by air
pollution and which of these have the most people, so you will have to draw
up a list of rooftops [and their building owners] to force them to install
such a system at their expense [very cheap, actually, less than 1 month's
rent for 1 small office]. Politically, you will need to organise the mass
media to help in your "Clear The Air" Campaign. After you have identified
all the building owners and their rooftops for such installations, you will
need to interest about a few dozen companies to build prototypes for sale
to these building owners for installation on their rooftops, as mandated by
the Hongkong Govt. Green groups and environmental organisations should be
roped into this effort. They will not refuse because they have been
agitating for years and this time, when the Hongkong Govt presents them a
real opportunity to do something about it, they will gladly join in the
cause and maybe throw in a few ideas as well. Thus, the Hongkong Govt will
be seen as DOING SOMETHING about the problem. Which should help its image
and bolster its reputation. If this works, the expertise gained can then
quickly be brought to Beijing in time to clean the air there for the
Olympics in August 2008.

14. Thus, administratively, first, experiment to test the feasibility of
the idea. A Proof of Concept test. Test how big the whole apparatus must
be, how long it must run -- probably it has to keep running 24/7, I would
imagine -- the airflow though the system and how much cleaner the air is
that emerges.

15. Then, identify all the building owners who must install such a system.
This number will be the total size of the market for such systems. The
bigger the market, the more eager will be the companies to build good,
working systems to sell to them.

16. Privately, the Hongkong Govt would share the results and data from its
initial experiments and welcome companies to develop better, permanent
systems. When these companies are ready with their systems, then notify
all the building owners already identified to install such systems to
contact these companies to buy their systems. A list of such companies,
and their systems, should be made available to all the affected building

17. In your publicity programme, emphasise that this "Clear the Air"
campaign is not only for the good of the people on the streets, but also in
the entire vicinity of such installations. That is, a building owner who
installs a good and effective system is not only cleaning the air for
Hongkongers in general, but also the air in HIS vicinity, which appeals to
the self-interest of all people and therefore more effective. Thus, there
is a patriotic element or social good element in this programme. This
alone, should be a big plus for the Hongkong Govt. Even those building
owners or home owners not identified for compulsory installations can be
encouraged to install such a system, hence the importance of having several
models of such systems, from small to large, industrial sizes.

18. You may need to legislate or pass new by-laws to require identified
building owners to install and maintain such systems. Then, you only need
inspectors to check on such installations once in a while, a routine
procedure. It will not be a lot of work. These inspections would need to
test the effectiveness of such installations, such as the air throughput,
the quality of air before and after passing through the installation, etc.
Plus general tests of the air pollution over these selected areas to
determine how effective is the overall impact.

19. As with all rooftop installations, care will have to be taken to
ensure stability during typhoons and strong winds and rain. The liquid
should not attract mosquito breeding and should not be harmful. The
emerged air should also not smell bad or too distinctly obvious since some
people may be sensitive or may not like strong scents.

20. There may be a need to install multiple systems if 1 system is not
enough. This is probably preferable to installing a huge, industrial size
installation. Several smaller systems would be easier to manage, maintain
and install. Since the rooftops are big, several systems are not a
problem. The height of buildings is also not much of a problem in this
Plan B because the air intake hose and the air outlet hose can be dangled
right down to the very bottom of the buildng if required. So the air can
literally be drawn from the streets from among the vehicular pollution and
similarly, the air outlet can also reach down to the street to expel
cleaner air.

Looking forward to cleaner air when I next visit Hongkong,
Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: [65] 68989553
HP: [65] 90127417
23 Oct 07 1534


Major Air Pollutants in Hong Kong

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) SOLUBLE IN WATER
Sulphur dioxide is a colourless, reactive gas that is odourless at low concentrations but has a pungent smell at very high concentrations. It is emitted primarily during the combustion of fossil fuels and the processing of sulphur-containing ores. The major sources of sulphur dioxide are fossil fuel-burning power plants, (generating electricity) and industrial boilers. Another source of sulphur dioxide is vehicular exhaust emissions.

The many chemical species of the oxides of nitrogen are collectively termed as nitrogen oxides (NOx). This group of gases usually enters the air as a result of combustion processes which involve high temperatures, such as those produced by power plants and vehicular engines.

Nitric oxide is the main NOx emitted during combustion and it can be converted into nitrogen dioxide.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) INSOLUBLE IN WATER
Nitrogen dioxide is a corrosive and highly oxidising light brown gas which has a characteristic pungent smell at high concentrations. It is the reaction of nitrogen dioxide with reactive organic substances, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), in the presence of sunlight that produces ozone (see information on 'Ozone and Photochemical Oxidants)'. Nitrogen dioxide is, therefore, an important part of urban haze or photochemical smog.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is a by-product from the incomplete combustion of any fuel which contains carbon. Industrial processes contribute to CO pollution concentrations, but the principle source of CO in most urban areas, such as Hong Kong, is the automobile.

Ozone and Photochemical Oxidants OZONE SOLUBLE IN WATER, VERY REACTIVE
Ozone is not a pollutant directly emitted into the air from particular activities characteristic of urban or industrial areas, and can, therefore, be referred to as a secondary pollutant. Ozone and other photochemical oxidants (such as peroxyacyl nitrates and aldehydes) are formed by the action of ultra-violet (UV) light from the sun on nitrogen oxides (a process called photolysis). Its production and concentration is dependent on the presence of primary pollutants as well as ultra-violet light. In the presence of volatile organic compounds, high concentrations of ozone are formed.

This type of pollution first gained attention during the 1940's as Los Angeles smog. Now this smog is described in terms of its photochemical oxidant composition, which includes ozone and is termed 'photochemical smog'.

Respirable Suspended Particulates
RSP are the proportion of total suspended particulates with a size smaller than 10 micrometres and they have the ability to penetrate deeply into the lungs. Depending on their source and the existing meteorological conditions, RSP can be made up of a number of different constituents.

Particulates constituents
There are a number of chemicals that may form part of RSP. Two important constituents are lead and aromatic hydrocarbons.

Health Effects of Air Pollutants

Health Effects of Sulphur Dioxide
Exposure to elevated level of sulphur dioxide can cause impairment of respiratory function, aggravation of existing respiratory disease (especially bronchitis) and cardiovascular disease. In sensitive individuals, the lung function changes may be accompanied by perceptible symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Sulphur dioxide may also lead to increased mortality, especially if elevated levels of suspended particles are also present. Major subgroups of the population that are most sensitive to sulphur dioxide include asthmatics and individuals with cardiovascular disease or chronic lung disease (such as bronchitis or emphysema) as well as children and the elderly.

Health Effects of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) can irritate the lungs and lower resistance to respiratory infection such as influenza. Individuals with respiratory problems, such as asthma, are more susceptible to the effects. In young children, nitrogen dioxide may also impair lung development. Studies suggest that chronic exposure to nitrogen dioxide may lead to structural changes in the lungs, however, specific levels and exposure duration likely to cause such effects have not yet been determined.

Health Effects of Carbon Monoxide
Inhaled CO enters the blood stream and binds preferentially to haemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen to the cells), thereby replacing oxygen. It results in reducing the amount of oxygen which is delivered to body organs and tissues. The percentage of haemoglobin inactivated by CO depends on the amount of air breathed in, the concentration of CO in air and the duration of exposure. In a healthy person, elevated CO concentration exposure is associated with visual impairment, reduced work capacity, reduced mental function and poor learning ability. Persons suffering from heart and circulatory problems, fetuses, young infants, pregnant women and elderly people are likely to be more susceptible to the effects of CO.

Health Effects of Photochemical Oxidants
Ozone toxicity occurs in a continuum in which higher concentrations, longer exposure duration's and greater activity levels during exposure cause greater effects. Ozone has the greatest impact on the respiratory system, where it irritates the mucous membranes of the nose, throat and airways. Symptoms associated with exposure include cough, chest pain, and throat and eye irritation. Ozone can also increase susceptibility to respiratory infection. Acute adverse effects may impair normal functioning of the lungs and induce respiratory inflammation. Healthy individuals who exercise heavily for brief periods (1 to 2 hours) may experience respiratory symptoms at levels exceeding the Hong Kong Air Quality Objective of 240 microgrammes per cubic metre. They may also experience these symptoms at a lower concentration for longer exposure (6 to 8 hours) during moderate exercise. Individuals with sensitive respiratory systems (such as with asthma or respiratory disease) are more susceptible to the effects of ozone.

Health Effects of Total and Respirable Suspended Particulates
The health consequences of atmospheric suspended particulates depend on their ability to penetrate and deposit in the respiratory system. The respirable suspended particulates (RSP), i.e., particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less, which are able to reach and deposit deep in the lung, are most likely to be responsible for adverse health effects. The observed human health effects of RSP include breathing and respiratory symptoms (such as shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing), aggravation of existing respiratory disease and damage to lung tissues. Groups that appear to be most sensitive to the effects of RSP include individuals with chronic lung and heart disease, individuals with influenza, asthma, elderly people and children.

Health Effects of Lead
Lead is a toxic heavy metal which can be found in total or respirable suspended particulates. Lead particles from vehicular exhausts which are of a size smaller than 10 micrometres can affect both adults and children, but small children (and foetuses) are at greatest risk because of their smaller size, breathing patterns and the metabolism of lead in their bodies. The effects of lead exposure include damage to the nervous system, red blood cells, kidneys and potential increases in high blood pressure. Other health effects may result in decreased co-ordination and mental abilities. The effects of lead exposure can be treated and reversed, providing treatment is timely and lasts the entire course of therapy. If no treatment is given, permanent brain damage can result.

(Source: EPD, HKSAR Gov't)

RH 19 Nov 2010:

1. Today, it is time to revisit an old idea of 23 Oct 2007. Generally, it is good never to discard an idea completely but to revisit it now and then to see if various factors such as technical feasibility, price, social and political pressures, worsening conditions or the opposite -- improved conditions, changes in legislation, international practices, publicity and awareness, new inventions and product developments, etc, have so changed the factors leading to the earlier rejection of the idea, which may by now, due to the changed factors, make the idea now feasible when it was not so before. The idea of 23 Oct 2007 is here:

2. Just doing a cursory search on typing the search term "air purifiers", I found my idea already manufactured in the form of a little battery-operated system requiring only 3 AAA batteries:

3. In total, there are 9,839 results for "air purifiers" of which the air purifier in para 2 above is just only 1 example, which may or may not work as well as the others. It is beyond my effort to study all these thousands of air purifiers, some of which are powerful enough to clean the air in an entire home while others clean the air in just 1 room, or around a desktop, in the case of desktop air purifiers. The methods used vary from HEPA [] filters to eletrostatic methods and even ionisation and ozonisation. Some trap particles as small as 1 micron, which already makes the air very clean. HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. Some air purifiers require practically no maintenance while others need a cleaning or change of filter now and then.

4. The below is a good but brief and incomplete discussion on air purifiers but discussing only the effectiveness and drawbacks for a typical American home, which is very, very, different from what we are trying to achieve, which is to reduce air pollution in a typical city like Hongkong or Beijing. But do read this anyway:

5. Another viewpoint to read, but again, from an American-home point of view, which is different from what we are trying to do. The article is obviously a sales push for the more expensive air purifiers although this store also sells air purifiers below US$50. Here is the price range of air purifiers carried by this US store, but note that if you buy from China, it will cost probably at least 50% less:
Air Purifiers Under $50,
Air Purifiers $50 to $100,
Air Purifiers $100 to $200,
Air Purifiers $200 to $300,
Air Purifiers $300 to $400,
Air Purifiers $400 to $500,
Air Purifiers $500 to $600,
Air Purifiers over $600.
Article at:

6. Since, in the intervening years from 23 Oct 2007 to now, so many companies have designed and are making air purifiers, there has never been a better time to revisit my idea, only this time, instead of a DIY water-filtration tank on the rooftop of every block, we can now subsidise the purchase of approved air purifiers for every Hongkong or Beijing home. If we can get 70% of all homes in a city affected by air pollution to use air purifiers, not only will these homes [extend this subsidy to offices, too] enjoy cleaner air, but the cleaned air will also leak out of the homes into the air in the city, thus cleaning the air in the city as well. It is a numbers game, meaning the more air purifiers a city is operating, the cleaner the city air will be, since no room in a home or a home vs the outside air, is hermetically sealed, so, with the air constantly intermingling and leaking to and from the home to the outside, by cleaning the air inside all homes, we will also clean the air in the city, too.

7. Thus, if enough homes buy an air purifier or even 2 or 3 or 4, depending on the budget, number of rooms, the needs of the home, the govt publicity campaign, public education and most importantly, the amount of govt subsidy, the air pollution in any city can be reduced. This works best for dense cities with mostly high-rise blocks, and works less well in cities that are spread out, with mostly standalone houses.

8. An additional benefit is that air purifiers also clean out or filter out germs like bird flu germs and other harmful viruses and bacteria. So, having air purifiers in 70% of all homes in a city can reduce the spread of bird flu and other germs. The healthcare costs savings from this alone can pay for the entire monies spent for the subsidies although it is hard to estimate how much healthcare costs savings you have made from a bird flu epidemic that did not happen, that is, that has been prevented by air purifiers!

9. What govts like the Hongkong govt can do is to quickly test and evaluate all the purifiers offered on or submitted by manufacturers hoping to have their models approved -- which can lead to huge sales since Hongkong alone has >2.2m households. If this mass purchase and use of air purifiers is successful, the far bigger world market will be a seller's fantasy come true. If the idea works, further research & development, product development and better models, will really take off.

10. Note that, speaking generally, with cities becoming more and more crowded, with people jostling elbow to elbow in public transport, shops, malls, public places, offices, cinemas, practically everywhere, this puts everyone at risk from everyone else, whether the other person is carrying a flu germ or smoking a cigarette. This overcrowding cannot be prevented but we can reduce at least one of the effects of overcrowding, which is the bad air caused by Man's needs for polluting cars, buses, factories, etc. Since we cannot banish these sources of pollution, reducing the resultant pollution by a massive city-wide use of effective air purifiers is a good solution.

11. This means that not just homes, but offices, cinemas, shopping malls, govt offices, etc, should all operate air purifiers, only bigger and better ones, since these have more money than most homes, as well as operating bigger premises. Again, some subsidy will help the adoption. Maybe given as tax incentives, grants, co-pay schemes, etc. To encourage widespread adoption, all those public spaces operators will be allowed to display a decal or poster proclaiming "We're helping to clear the air" or something like that. Thus, these operators will be able to publicise their civic-mindedness and at the same time, inform their customers and patrons that the air within these premises are being cleaned for their better comfort and health.

12. The Hongkong govt need not be seen to be fully behind this idea, if it does not want to, in case the idea flops. It can encourage representations, petitions, feedback from the Green Groups in Hongkong. Listen to their representations, then 'agree' to subsidise the mass purchases of approved air purifiers. The testing and evaluation of the air purifiers can even be done by the Green Groups, who can outsource it to any local or international expert organisations. So, the Hongkong govt need not be seen to be fully backing the idea, if it does not want to.

13. As to how much subsidy to give, this is entirely an executive decision, balancing the possible gain in reduced air pollution vs the costs, vs alternative uses of the money foregone. Billionaires and rich companies may also want to help fund these purchases, meaning that in the end, it may cost the Hongkong govt very little, maybe no cost at all.

14. There is another salutary effect of this idea, which is that air pollution becomes not just a problem for the govt to solve, but that every household can do something on its own. This is an important civic development. That every household can help reduce air pollution, starting from its own home. For this kind of civic development in citizens, this may be the most important effect of the air purifiers in the end. Good Luck and Success!

15. Previous ideas:
Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 1 Plan A (1)
Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 2 Plan B (1)
Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 3 Plan C (1)
Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 4 Plan D (1)

[[[[[[[[[[ My wife, an accountant now a manager in an MNC drawing a 5-figure salary, can now confirm that I write the Truth in all these. ]]]]]]]]]]











Some Clean Air Ideas for HK Email 1 Plan A

From: Robert HO
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 10:34 AM
Subject: Idea: Used, jet engines mounted on rooftops to blow away polluted
air from worst affected areas of HK


Office of the Chief Executive
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China

5/F, Central Government Offices, Main Wing,
Lower Albert Road,
Hong Kong
Telephone : (852) 2878 3300
Fax : (852) 2509 0577
E-mail :

Dear Mr Donald Tsang,

1. I have previously emailed you on 18 Jun 05 on my idea of Govt By
Referendum [attached].

2. Yesterday, I read an article [below] on Hongkong's bad air pollution.
I have an idea that has a 50-50 chance of working.

3. It is to mount used [therefore very cheap] jet engines on selected
rooftops in Hongkong's worst air polluted areas to create enough powerful
winds and enough airflow to literally blow away the bad, polluted air.

4. How powerful is a jet engine? I remember an incident in Singapore's
Changi Airport that gives an indication. A plane's engines were being
tested in 1 part of the airport, near a perimeter fence. When the engines
were switched on, the gusts blew through the fence and overturned a car
parked beyond the fence [quite far away]. Thus, jet engines do produce
huge and powerful airflows up to a kilometre upwind and downwind. So, if
you have a series of jet engines mounted on selected rooftops of your worst
polluted areas, you could conceivably produce enough wind gusts to
literally blow away stagnant or still air that traps pollution particles
near ground levels.

5. There are some technical considerations. Since the jet engines produce
such powerful gusts, they cannot be 'aimed' at nearby buildings or
structures such as water tanks, roof structures, telecommunication masts,
advertising signboards, etc, as these would be blown away or damaged. So
this means that the jet engines should probably be mounted on high
buildings well away from such structures.

6. However, having said that, the engines should not be mounted too high
up like on the highest hills because clearing the air near the hills will
do little good. I doubt that the engines alone can create the kinds of
prevailing winds that Nature alone can. It is a localised solution to
clear the air in the worst polluted parts of the city to benefit the most
people -- meaning the most crowded parts of the city. Thus, the jet
engines should be mounted high enough to be safe to people and structures
yet low enough to clear the air off the most crowded parts of Hongkong,
thus benefiting the most people.

7. Considering that each engine will create about a Force 10-20 [I don't
know how big is a Force 10-20, really, just estimating] within a kilometre
of its location, both upwind and downwind, you probably only need 2-4 such
engines for your busiest and longest streets or crowded areas. These Force
10-20 winds should clear the air very quickly upon being switched on, even
though their effects will be quite localised. Thus, since they will not be
switched on all the time, they will be quite cheap to operate.

8. Of course, it is no use blowing away the stagnant, polluted air of 1
area if the air that rushes in to replace it is also polluted. So this
means that you should point the engines in such a direction that cleaner
air, probably from the sea, would be drawn in to replace the polluted air.
This should be easy given that Hongkong is an island surrounded by sea.
There may also be parts of Hongkong with cleaner air, such as the
non-industrial suburbs, whose air can be drawn in to replace the more
polluted air over the worst industrial or vehicular-polluted areas.

9. This means that the engines may have to be mounted on turntables or
large, circular gears so that a small electric motor [must not produce
sparks and must be shielded to prevent igniting the jet fuel] can rotate
the jet engine mounted on it, in any direction of choice. The jet fuel
will be stored in a simple, safe, tank like in airports, and pumped into
the engine, exactly like on a plane.

10. Since there is no danger to lives even if the engine fails to work,
you can buy old, used jet engines very cheaply, almost at scrap metal
prices. You only need to maintain and service it at very long intervals
since it may not be used daily or even often, so such maintenance and
servicing costs will also be cheap. Using used engines and standard fuel
systems means everything will be cheap because there will be standard
manuals and procedures for everything. Even spare parts and supplies. If
this idea succeeds beyond our wildest dreams, then you can develop real
prototypes of turbofan engines, etc, as real wind-makers, instead of just
cheap, off-the-shelf, second-hand engines and supplies. But that is for
the future. For now, we need to prove the concept first.

11. Since air pollution is not just Hongkong's problem but also much of
China's, it would be better if the China Govt sends its scientists and
engineers to Hongkong to help in and monitor this Proof of Concept test.
Beijing may also want to accelerate this test so that it can implement this
in time for the Olympics next year. If this works, the Pearl River Delta
may also want to do this to ease air pollution for itself as well as

12. If this works, looking ahead, precincts and districts or sub-districts
may also want to install their own rooftop engines to clear the air in its
vicinity so in the longterm, you may have to devise rules and regulations
for the safe and effective operations of such systems. You may also want
to require industrial estates or big polluters like some factories to
install their own engine/s to blow away their created pollution. Thus, if
this works, there will be some legislation or rules-making to devise proper
systems and functionings but these administrative measures will then be a
happy work because the crux of the problem will have been solved.

13. Currently, there is no market for used jet engines so you can buy many
at practically scrap metal prices. However, once this Proof of Concept is
done, there will be insufficient used jet engines for all the polluted
cities of the world. Hongkong alone will probably need a few hundreds. So
the prices will rise. This means that it may even be profitable for some
airlines and leasors to scrap their planes earlier due to the higher prices
for the used jet engines. Scrapping the old planes earlier will make
flying safer for all. A happy side effect of the idea.

14. However, there may be a bad side effect. Sometimes, an idea to solve
a problem solves it so well, but partially, that longer term and 'perfect'
solutions are therefore not attempted. The article below seems to
criticise your Govt for lack of legislation on punishing bad air polluters,
etc, and maybe you may have to devise 'perfect' solutions and maybe
legislation to restrict bad polluters. In the meantime, this is a
pro-active solution that any Govt or Municipal Authority can quickly and
cheaply implement and, if successful, become so publicised as a 'success'
and an effective 'action of Govt' that any criticisms of inaction or for
other restrictions on bad polluters will therefore become muted. In short,
it takes the heat off any Govt, especially criticisms of non-action. That
must be useful.

15. This idea is so new that other than what I have thought out, nothing
is established. Looking forward into the future, someday, some scientists
and engineers may well devise more effective arrangements of the jet
engines to create vortexes or vortices that, like a whirlwind, suck up bad
air into the higher atmosphere thereby drawing in cleaner air to replace
it. For example, by placing jet engines in a circle, each pointing up at
an angle of say, 45-60 degrees to the horizontal and slightly angled
inwards to each other, and switching them all on, a vortex of air may be
created that may, like a whirlwind, suck air up into the high atmosphere to
draw cleaner air to replace it. Thus, the science of JetStreaming or
WindShaping is created and maybe refined in the future.

16. I generally simply type out my ideas, email them off and leave them at
that. However, if you do want to discuss these ideas with me, in the
possibility that I may have further ideas and inputs when pushed or
challenged further, as has happened, do feel free to contact me. In the
meantime, all the best to you and Hongkong.

Salutations from Singapore,
Robert HO
12 Oct 07 1034

Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: (65) 68989553
HP: (65) 90127417

URL for the article on Hongkong’s bad air :


Dear XXX,
Air Science Group
Environmental Protection Department

1. I have anticipated all your objections except for the 1 that the engine will produce more pollution than it blows away. Interesting. However, the reason why I did not think of that is, as usual, it won't happen, or rather, the pollution from the engine is negligible compared to the polluted air that it removes. Also, the jet engine is operated only intermittently, for short periods of at most, an hour at a time, so not much pollution created.

2. I append below all the points that you have mentioned and my thinking on them plus all the ones I had already considered:

standard test kits to test air pollution in test areas, by vans? air pollution map of city

close windows, warning systems to close all windows to prevent papers sucked out

noise of engines to be muted by silicone window ledges and other soundproofings

simple concept to blow away bad air to explain to people

number of minutes or hours of operation to depend on severity of bad air

angle of aim of engine air thrust to be slightly coordinated not to counter each other in multiple installations

meteorogical advice on prevailing winds to help determine best aim directions

permanent air test stations near engines to help determine best aim directions

maps of wind directions to be charted more in detail at each engine; may need permanent wind mapping and data collecting over engine areas/districts for best aim direction

service personnel from engineers to engine mechanics to fuel pump mechanics

cranes to lift engines into place; maybe also fuel tanks -- bottled gas type? run hose from multiple bottles for convenience? determine how many litres/min of burn for tank size or number of bottles

engines to operate during specific times to minimise inconvenience? which times are worst air quality? night time disallowed/unnecessary?

highest buildings or mid highest? highest may be too high to be effective

consider special platforms purpose built for maximum effectiveness?

aim thrust vertically up? or at an angle towards up? in between building 'canyons'?

check rooftop building loads permissible; also stresses from engine thrusts, negligible

geared turntable to be firmly fixed to prevent flying off; emergency switch offs systems

turntable to rotate 360 degrees but not more, to be clock and then anti, not >360 for fuel lines and wiring

consider soundproofing walls/slats to minimise engine noise; consider channelling noise skywards; engine to be semi-enclosed by sound absorbers

warning to helicopters about starting engines to prevent being blown away; use emergency frequency at short range radio or helicopter frequencies to warn?

if rooftops near, warn people on nearby rooftops to avoid being blown away; may need system of nearby rooftop coordination when about to start engine; all these to be publicised in all media for general public, especially those who may work or visit rooftops near engine rooftop

no putting up of any permanent or temporary structures in line of engine, even if other rooftops

safety and stability of engine, tanks and others during typhoons and even lightning strikes

possibility of theft, sabotage, etc, of engine and arrangements

lightning conductors to be higher, thicker, etc, than engine, tank, etc, more numerous

Beijing tall buildings characteristics; those near Olympic avenues; Olympic duration and weather, bad air days, wind directions, find areas of good air for sucking into Beijing

sizes of engines available; their thrusts and fuel and other requirements; do survey

options to buy used engines; book early for cheaper prices and availability

good and bad air detailed map of city

explain and compare why even biggest industrial fans will not work, only jet engines; fans will not move air at ground levels while jet engines can create Force 1-2 winds even at base of building from Force 10-20 at rooftop

interesting possibility of using rooftop engines for non air pollution uses such as to 'cool' the streets on hot, windless days by creating light winds at ground levels



much alert and warning systems could be improved with permanent installations of CCTV cameras to check for open windows, people or structures on nearby rooftops near engine rooftop, etc, coupled with PA system installed together with CCTV for verbal warnings over loudspeakers

3. I have an alternative, which I call Plan B, which I will continue to refine. In the meantime, could you go through the above points and see whether they change your thinking and calculations? The thrust of the engine should not exceed rooftop building loads or sideway stresses, but do do some calculations on this. Thanks.

New Points in blue:
4. I know that this idea is quite startling in its boldness so may I suggest that if your department cannot test it out, why not let some other city take the lead in testing it out? You have my absolute permission and blessings to forward this to any other city authority or department that may be able or willing to test the idea. So, if you have contacts to similar departments in other cities or countries, why not forward these to them for testing? You can ask them nicely to let your department personnel be Observers to the test and if works, then you can implement it. But maybe, you should first contact Beijing because time is running out there to clean the air before the Olympics in August 2008. If they won't do the test, then forward to any other city in the world.

5. I also know that almost all companies and government departments don't like suggestions from outside their group. A suggestion from an Outsider is almost an insult, like saying, "I thought this up so how come you didn't?" so why not employ me as your subordinate? In name only of course, since I am in Singapore and you are in Hongkong. You need not pay me or pay me a nominal salary of HK$1 a month, if legally necessary. If you call me for a meeting or discussion, you simply buy return business-class tickets Singapore-Hongkong-Singapore. Plus hotel accommodation and daily expenses. That's all. As your employee, legally [I believe], any ideas and contributions I make will be your department's property and there need be no worry about later credit-claiming or litigation over intellectual property. I have a Plan B alternative idea that I am refining.

6. While you and your colleagues mull over the jet engine idea, why not do an Air Pollution Map of Hongkong? This will be necessary for any counter air pollution measure you may take so may as well proceed with it. It will be needed for both Plan A or Plan B or whatever measure you may want to take so you may want to collect the data for the Map. In fact, you probably already have such a map? Or can quickly create a computerised map from your existing data?

7. Your Air Pollution Map would be somewhat like a weather map, marking out the areas of highest air pollution at different times of the day, focusing on the highest density people places. There is probably little need to map the lush, green countryside, etc. Your map will guide you to future measures to counter air pollution. For example, if Central is most polluted Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 8pm, peaking at 2pm, and the Pollution readings exceed health standards, then, naturally, that may be where you want to take ameliorative actions, at the most polluted time/s. My Plan A and Plan B are ameliorative actions in that they REDUCE pollution rather than PREVENT it. Prevention can be done by forcing polluting factories to shut down or relocate well away or by forcing vehicular traffic to have cleaner exhaust or to ban some or all vehicles from designated areas but these prevention measures carry an economic cost and sometimes a social and political price. So it may be sometimes better to Reduce air pollution after it has been created, for economic, social and political reasons, although every means should be used for best longterm effects.

8. I hope I have made it a little easier for you and for our future cooperation. Feel free to phone me or email me. If you just want a quick and casual chat, you can simply begin a new email to me at this email address and begin with, "Just a quick and casual chat; do not cc to everybody" and I will treat it as just that. There, that's it for today. Regards,

Robert HO
28 Bukit Batok Street 52
#20-03 Guilin View
Singapore 659248
Tel: (65) 68989553
HP: (65) 90127417