Citizens have been urged to submit their feedback regarding a government proposal to strengthen regulations surrounding person-to-person telemarketing.

IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok and founder of William Wu held a press conference on Monday to encourage Hongkongers inconvenienced by spam calls to express their views.

Charles Mok (L), William Wu (R). Photo: Charles Mok, via Facebook.

The consultation paper was published by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) on May 11. Mok said that while the consultation period was set to finish at the end of July, the government had – as of Monday – only received around 100 responses.

Mok launched an online survey on Facebook this week to help citizens compile their suggestions into a written submission to be sent directly to the CEDB.

See also: 35% of Hongkongers receive unsolicited phone calls daily – survey

Wu said that, by’s calculations, Hongkongers receive approximately 4 million telemarketing calls per day, inclusive of both cold and warm calls.

Charles Mok. File Photo: Charles Mok, via Facebook.

Cold calling is a technique whereby individuals who have never expressed an interest in a product are contacted by a salesperson. Warm calling is when individuals who have previously used a product are contacted.

Wu said that the government’s 2015 consultancy survey on telemarketing calls had only considered warm calls. As a result, according to its industry survey of 42 responding companies, Hong Kong received only 210,000 such calls per day.

“Cold calls bring inconveniences to the lives of citizens,” Wu said. “Aside from warm calls, the government must also consider cold calls.”

See also: How to stop junk calls in Hong Kong

Wu said that users on HKJunkCall’s online forum estimated that many telemarketing calls originated from salespeople working on the mainland. Wu said that users on online forums said that these companies may use “dishonest methods” such as forging the names of companies to sell their products.

“Cold calls also have a negative impact on warm calls by damaging consumer confidence,” Wu said.

He added that cold-calling companies have recently developed methods of circumventing blocking tools. Despite potential difficulties in enforcing regulatory mechanisms, however, he urged the government to take action.

Jun Pang

Jun Pang is an independent writer and researcher. She has previously worked in NGOs advocating for refugees' and migrants' rights in Asia and Europe.