HSBC is to scrap the minimum balance fee that applies to 3 million customers in Hong Kong in a move likely to be followed by other big lenders as they brace for fierce competition from a wave of virtual banks due to come online later in the year.The monthly charge of HK$50 for small depositors with a passbook savings account and other basic accounts with a balance below HK$5,000 (US$640), has long been viewed as a penalty on some of the bank’s most loyal customers. It was introduced 18 years…
US President Donald Trump showed the “right attitude” in suggesting the dispute over Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill is a matter that can be resolved by authorities in the city and in Beijing, China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.“Trump said he believed the central Chinese government and the Hong Kong government can properly handle the issue,” ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. “I believe this is the right attitude.”Lu was speaking after Trump commented on the protests in an…
Hong Kong’s police chief has rushed to quell anger among frontline officers after the fallout of the anti-extradition bill protests and vowed to take action against those targeting them with online abuse and public humiliation.Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung and other top managers promised to set up a committee to review protest operations during a meeting with representatives from the four police associations at the Wan Chai headquarters on Wednesday.Separately, security chief John…
Demonstrations, tear gas and rubber bullets on the streets. You can see why the business community is in a flap. At first glance the events of the last week in Hong Kong look like a bad day in Belfast circa 1989.In response, American politicians are again muttering about how the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition bill undermines the “one country, two systems” model on which the United States’ relations with Hong Kong are based. More and more are calling for a review of the legislation…
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has offered a 'sincere and solemn' apology to the people of her city following record protests on Sunday in response to the controversial China extradition law. In her first press conference since crowds poured on to the streets to denounce Lam, the bureaucrat-turned-politician described going through an emotional period of 'self-reflection', and said she hoped to heal rifts in society. However, Lam refused to fully meet any of the protesters’ requests for her to resign, withdraw her extradition law, and apologise both for police brutality and for describing one protest as a riot
US President Donald Trump will discuss the mass protests in Hong Kong with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 summit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.“I think we’ll get the opportunity to see President Xi in just a couple weeks now at the G20 summit. I’m sure this will be among the issues that they discuss,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.“We see what’s happening, what’s unfolding in Hong Kong. We are watching the people of Hong Kong speak…
Hong Kong people come from a colony and ought to act “more civilised”. Taiwanese are “old-fashioned”. Mainland Chinese are “rich but rude”.Welcome to the awkward world of Chinese subethnicity in Canada, where its various communities tend to self-segregate, discriminate against each other and generally defy assumptions of homogeneity among “Chinese Canadians” that are imposed from outside the group.Subethnicity among Vancouver’s ethnic Chinese is the subject of new research by academics Miu…
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Overnight, the US Federal Reserve hinted that it may cut rates ahead, if needed, with the chairman noting "uncertainties" that made Fed officials “now see that the case for somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened."
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— Yujing Liu and Deb Price
China’s oldest securities firm Shenwan Hongyuan has named and shamed one of its cornerstone investors for failing to pay for stock subscriptions made during its recent initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.The brokerage said China Saite, a construction services firm, had defaulted on payments for almost 65 million shares during its US$1.16 billion IPO, the biggest in Hong Kong so far this year. It said it was considering legal action against the company.China Saite agreed to buy 64,193,600…
With her term probably reduced to lame-duck status, Hong Kong’s leader offered her most forceful apology yet for championing a massively unpopular extradition bill, but still declined to accede to the demands of 2 million people who took to the streets Sunday to call for her ouster.
For Romain Jacquet-Lagreze, the photography series "City Poetry" began as a personal project. Over the past year and a half, the French artist, who has been living in Hong Kong since 2012, has been taking photos of the city's neon, tiled and etched street signs in an effort to learn about Cantonese culture through his camera.
HONG KONG—Bonnie Leung and members of the Civil Human Rights Front have reason to feel triumphant. Demonstrations organized by the group in recent days have brought hundreds of thousands of people at a time to the skyscraper-lined streets of Hong Kong, chanting and marching through the city in defiance of a proposed law that would allow extradition to mainland China.
Any belief that the people of Hong Kong could not sustain their frustration and outrage has been definitively proved wrong this month. Leung and others in the group could take much of the credit.
Demonstrators had rallied earlier this month, and Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief executive, at first tried to placate the masses with praise, thanking them for marching despite their opposition to the bill. After protesters then flooded main roads and police opened fire with tear gas and rubber bullets to dispel the crowds, leaving dozens wounded, Lam changed tactics. She scolded demonstrators, comparing them to fussy children, and teared up as she spoke about accusations of selling out Hong Kong to Beijing. The reprimands only incensed people more, her tears dismissed as crocodilian.
Then, six days after one of the biggest protests in Hong Kong’s history, Lam announced the bill would be suspended for the time being, providing no timeline for when it would be reintroduced. Though it was not completely withdrawn, the proposal’s temporary shelving was a concession that had been unthinkable, even to the most committed demonstrators, just a few days earlier. It marked a deeply embarrassing retreat for Lam, who, in a humiliating press conference, repeatedly dodged questions about her ability to lead, the possibility of stepping down, and why she hadn’t moved to suspend the bill earlier—before the accusations of police brutality.
Hong Kong’s recent protests have drawn comparisons to the 2014 Umbrella Movement demonstrations, which saw young protesters occupy thoroughfares for 79 days to call for universal suffrage for Hong Kong. There are, however, significant differences, perhaps the most obvious of them being the lack of a clear leader. Five years ago, Joshua Wong, just a teenager at the time, rose to be the central figure of the movement. Time magazine put him on its cover, and the Financial Times called him “the teen doing battle with Beijing.” Wong was released Monday morning after serving nearly five weeks in jail on charges stemming from his involvement in the 2014 protests. Moments after being escorted from jail, he called for Lam to step down and the extradition bill to be withdrawn.
No single person has risen to Wong’s status this time around, but the Civil Human Rights Front—a coalition of 50 organizations, including pro-democracy political parties—has been instrumental in building and helping sustain the protest movement, and in the process has obtained remarkable results, even if incomplete by its own measure.
Each member of the group plays a different role, both officially and emotionally. Whereas its leader—or convener, as they call themselves—Jimmy Sham, is known for his impassioned, animated flair, Leung speaks firmly and clearly, often reiterating the importance of Hong Kong’s global standing and urging international residents to speak up. After Lam’s announcement on Saturday, Leung denounced the chief executive as untrustworthy and demanded she fully withdraw the bill and resign, as well as drop charges against arrested protesters. The legislation is viewed by many as Chinese overreach and the most egregious example to date of an attack on the “high degree of autonomy” Hong Kong was guaranteed for 50 years when Britain handed it back to Beijing in 1997. Wedged between a row of microphones and a set of police barricades in a park next to Hong Kong’s main government building, Leung, the Civil Human Rights Front’s vice convener and its de facto English-language spokesperson, said Hong Kong’s residents “have been lied to so many times, we have learned the government cannot be trusted.” At one point, she chanted: “Down with Carrie Lam!”
The group would rather credit go elsewhere. Asked about playing a leading role in these protests, members I spoke to instead offered effusive praise for the people of Hong Kong and shrewdly thanked the government for decisions that kept people coming back to the streets. “The momentum was not built up by us. It was built up by the government,” Leung told me. “It is the government’s indifference.”
To be sure, many people and groups have had a role in these demonstrations. On Wednesday morning, protesters, some of whom had spent the previous night outside, flooded a main road near the government complex. Word had been passed by protesters on secure messaging apps and social media, but with little centralized organization. Soon metal barricades were turned on their sides to create makeshift siege ladders, allowing people to scramble over concrete highway dividers into the road. The scene was at first chaotic, but within a few hours, labor was being divided, supply points established, first-aid centers manned. Avenues of inbound goods emerged, snaking their way to the front of the crowd, where protesters carried umbrellas and wore hard hats as they jostled with police along a line of barricades. To communicate, demonstrators devised hand signals, relaying the need for gloves and inhalers after police fired pepper spray, before the supplies were passed from person to person to the front. Protesters moved with a sense of urgency. If the Umbrella Movement was a war of attrition, this looked to be a fast-moving street battle.
Still, the sheer size of the latest protests owes something to the Civil Human Rights Front. The first demonstration organized by the group against the extradition bill was held on March 31, with about 12,000 people showing up—an impressive draw and one of the largest turnouts of the year, according to the Hong Kong Free Press. But in a city with a vibrant political and activist community, where demonstrations have for years been a family affair, that was hardly something that would make global headlines. Wong Yik Mo, another vice convener, told me people in Hong Kong were dismissive of the value of those protests at the time. “And, of course, it was useless,” he acknowledged, “because the government and pro-establishment lawmakers, they continued the process of the amendment.”
A month later, however, they ramped up efforts to get the word out about the bill, and 130,000 people marched. “We finally reached the people,” said Wong, who is in his second year of involvement with the Civil Human Rights Front and said he was “enlightened by the Umbrella Movement.” The goal for last weekend’s protest was originally 300,000, then reforecast to 500,000; the group finally announced the participation figure was just over a million, whereas police claim 240,000 attended. Eventually, it “had to call for help,” Wong said. A volunteer was enlisted to begin fielding media requests, and a WhatsApp group was established for journalists, pushing out updates in Cantonese and English. That group quickly reached the maximum capacity allowed by the messaging platform.
Leung, like many demonstrators here, is a veteran of the Umbrella Movement. When the main demand of that previous protest failed and the movement stopped, she told me, she was depressed and suffered from anxiety. “I was willing to die for my city,” she said. The lessons of 2014, though, have been useful—protesters learned then “how to not trust the police, not trust the government, but trust ourselves,” she said, adding that there are now fewer divisions among demonstrators, and more unity in their aims and how to achieve them. Leung, who is in her early 30s and serves as a district councillor from the pro-democracy Civic Party, was deeply involved in the 2014 protests. She said they made her question what lengths people would need to go to in order to achieve change in Hong Kong. “I did everything I could, so what else can I do?” she said she asked herself. The shortcomings of that movement, she said, left her with a feeling of “powerlessness.”
Leung said that while the Civil Human Rights Front’s name is on applications for marches to win official approval—thus they are technically organizers—they prefer to see themselves as facilitators. Rather than dictating orders from above and attempting to exert too much control, they have left decisions up to the masses. “People know that we are not telling them what to do,” she said. “Instead we are trying to give them the correct information, for them to make correct decisions by themselves.” Talk of facilitation aside, however, the group has a great deal of organizing power. After Lam said she was suspending the bill, the Civil Human Rights Front called for a planned protest to go forward anyway. Asked how it knew that the people of Hong Kong weren’t satisfied with the concession, Leung said her group had a large social-media presence and had already heard from many people that “they are not prepared to accept only the postponement” of the law. That feedback proved correct. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of protesters again took to the streets. This time, most of them dressed in black and carried placards condemning the police. Thousands also laid flowers on the street where a young man died on Saturday night while protesting on the edge of a building. Local media reported that his death is being investigated as a suicide.
Leung’s convictions were echoed by the masses there, spanning all ages and professions. By the time the final protesters finished the designated route, more than eight hours after Sunday’s march began, Lam had offered a vague apology. Leung stood onstage dressed in black, with a white ribbon pinned to her shirt. The numbers who came out were “a record in Hong Kong’s history,” she said, claiming close to 2 million people in attendance.
It appeared a vindication of the group’s strategy too—that, as Leung had told me, less leadership can be beneficial. “Not trying to control,” she said, “is the way to make things less uncontrollable.”
More young Hongkongers looking to get on to the property ladder are expected to seek homes in the “Greater Bay Area” cities of Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Guangzhou, as a result of policy easing and a depreciating yuan, property agents have said.The agents said they have witnessed a twofold year-on-year increase in home sales in these cities, while enquiries from Hong Kong buyers looking to buy apartments in 70-year-lease projects have also gone up.“We are seeing more inquires from young Hongkongers…
Hundreds of thousands of protesters shut down parts of Hong Kong yesterday, marching against a proposed law that would allow extradition to China. Organizers claim that more than 1 million demonstrators took to the streets to denounce the proposal, the largest such public demonstration in years. The city’s pro-Beijing leadership is showing no signs of backing down. As reported by the Associated Press, opponents in Hong Kong say the proposed changes “would significantly compromise [Hong Kong’s] legal independence, long viewed as one of its key distinctions from mainland China.”
Hong Kong was once again the scene of enormous peaceful demonstrations Sunday, a day after the territory’s chief executive bowed to public pressure by suspending a contentious extradition bill viewed as a challenge to the city’s autonomy.
Organizers estimate 1.9 million people attended the demonstrations,...
Authorities in Hong Kong have shut down government offices and postponed debate in the Legislative Council, one day after riot police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray at tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets to protest a bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. On Wednesday, demonstrators attempted to storm the Legislative Council Building, where lawmakers are debating the extradition bill. Human Rights Watch criticized Hong Kong authorities for using what it described as "excessive force" to suppress peaceful demonstrations. Protesters described police using indiscriminate force. We speak with Mary Hui, a Hong Kong-based writer and reporter for the news outlet Quartz. She has reported on the extradition bill and has been covering the protests.
Traditional herbal and modern medical practitioners are combining forces in the cultural melting pot of Hong Kong to boost the effectoveness of a range of modern day treatments, including cancer recovery.
Homebuyers in Hong Kong are looking at Malaysian property as second homes and for retirement, with Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru garnering a lot of interest because of affordable prices amid a supply glut.Terence Law, senior principal project director at Centaline Property Agency, said that more than half of the 21 units released on June 7 at a condominium project in Johor Bahru were snapped up within the weekend by buyers from Hong Kong. The units were priced from HK$787,331 (US$100…
Carrie Lam, the city's chief executive, has said she wants time to "continue to work hard" for the people of Hong Kong. But activists have promised to not back down, with Joshua Wong telling DW: "Now is the time."
Markets always have to react. Attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East prompt a higher oil price. China unveils measures to boost automobile sales and the price of palladium is affected. But, while immediate market reactions are perfectly rational in the moment, those decisions may not stand the test of time.
Take Hong Kong for example. Clearly, last week’s use of beanbag rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas in Admiralty was hardly going to elicit a positive reaction from investors, and the…
As Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam offered her latest apology Tuesday over her bungled attempt to push through a controversial extradition law, activists in mainland China busily posted video of the statement — again and again and again.
Each time, though, Chinese censors swiftly took the...
The message of the mass protests in Hong Kong is clear: China's interference is not welcome. But city leaders aren't listening. The basic principle of "one country, two systems" is in jeopardy, says Dang Yuan.
A Hong Kong customer has backed out of buying a HK$251.23 million (US$32.11 million) luxury home in the Deep Water Bay neighbourhood, marking the second property default in nine days.The buyer, who is unidentified, failed to conclude the sales contract for the 3,641-square foot (338 square metres) apartment on the ninth floor of Tower One at 8 Deep Water Bay Drive, forfeiting a HK$12.56 million initial payment made to the developer Nan Fung Development.Deep Water Bay, located on the southern…
One of the most unintended consequences of the two massive protests in Hong Kong against the government’s extradition bill is the city’s emergence as a bellwether for Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election.Since Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in 1996, cross-strait relations have dominated debate on the island, while Hong Kong issues have rarely been mentioned.However, the three massive protests in the past two weeks are all related to Hong Kong’s relations with Beijing. On June 4, 180…
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The aborted sale of a HK$11.1 billion (US$1.4 billion) plot of prime land has exposed a serious flaw in the tender process that may cause the Hong Kong government to suffer a huge loss if it is unable to sell the site for the same price in a depressed market, according to market observers.Property experts suggest the government should increase the deposit amount steeply from the current HK$25 million to prevent a repeat of such an incident in the future and introduce a guarantor to complete the…
Recent events in Hong Kong have highlighted risks arising from social unrest. Property owners in affected areas are undoubtedly reviewing their insurance coverage, particularly “SRCC” clauses, relating to strikes, riots and civil commotion. This will generally cover property damage and public liability under these situations.
However, insured parties can also be affected by what happens in their immediate surroundings, as businesses around Admiralty can testify. Even with minor damage or a…
As many as 2 million protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong Sunday demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. Protesters also called for the resignation of Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, and other top officials who pushed for the extradition bill. Lam has apologized for her handling of the legislation and indefinitely delayed a vote on the bill; however, the bill has not been fully withdrawn. Critics of the extradition bill say it would infringe on Hong Kong's independence and the legal and human rights of Hong Kong residents and visitors. Just a few days ago, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray at tens of thousands of demonstrators. We speak with Nathan Law, a pro-democracy activist who helped lead the Umbrella Movement, and Minky Worden, director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch.
Resistance to a planned extradition law has enlivened the opposition in Hong Kong after several years of placidity. But the danger of confrontation with Beijing is real and neither side seems ready for compromise.
Japanese authorities investigating Hong Kong’s connection to the country’s largest ever drugs bust have revealed they staked out the Chinese gang caught with 1 tonne of crystal meth for 18 months before pouncing.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police, the Japanese coastguard and Tokyo Customs on Tuesday showed off dozens of 2kg bags of “ice” that were seized in early June at a harbour in Minami-Izu, south-west of Tokyo, and have a collective street value of 60 billion yen (US$554 million).
The drugs were…
Hong Kong protesters showed up the rest of the world’s demonstrators when, after a 2 million-strong march, they worked through the night to ensure not a scrap of trash was left in their wake. Read Full Article at RT.com