Hong Kong Anti-Graft Watchdog Under Threat

Hong Kong Anti-Graft Watchdog Under ThreatThe march of Beijing into the core institutions that make Hong Kong a separate place continues. Last week saw the sudden dismissal of the head of investigations at the renowned Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). This is arguably the ICAC’s single most important position, being held by a long serving investigator while the top job,…

HK Concert Cancellation a Flash Point with Beijing

HK Concert Cancellation a Flash Point with BeijingThe announcement that Canto-pop singer and democracy advocate Denise Ho Wan-si is to host a free concert in Hong Kong on June 19 caps an extraordinary two weeks that demonstrate both attempts by Beijing to bully the territory and deep and continuing anger at China that has been boiling for months. The controversy has to…

HK’s Unpopular Chief Exec May Face Competition from Bureaucrats

HK’s Unpopular Chief Exec May Face Competition from BureaucratsHong Kong’s top two bureaucrats are limbering up to present themselves as challengers to the deeply unpopular incumbent Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, 62, whose term ends next year. The two are Chief Secretary for Administration, Carrie Lam, 59, and long-serving Financial Secretary John Tsang, 64. Both are life-long civil servants. However, it is not clear…

China’s Taxman May Axe HK Economy

China’s Taxman May Axe HK EconomyHong Kong’s economy, already looking a little wobbly, could suffer a major blow if China is serious about cutting down on tax-dodging. With capital flowing out and debt problems mounting, Beijing has both economic and political reasons to clamp down on the use of the territory for re-invoicing of trade transactions. This not only is…

Can Food Trucks Replace Hong Kong’s Dai Pai Dongs?

Can Food Trucks Replace Hong Kong’s Dai Pai Dongs?With Hong Kong’s dai pai dongs – open-air food stalls – all but driven from the city by inheritance restrictions, the government is trying to replace them with food trucks, the brainchild of Financial Secretary John Tsang. Over the weekend, in an effort to jumpstart the phenomenon, the Food Truck Hong Kong Festival took to…

Malaysian Tycoon Dismembers HK Paper for Beijing

Malaysian Tycoon Dismembers HK Paper for BeijingWhy did Sarawak timber tycoon Tiong Hiew King stir up a hornet’s nest in Hong Kong by sacking the executive editor of Ming Pao, the once-respected Chinese language daily newspaper he owns, apparently over the publication of the Panama Papers? The action by Chong Tieng Song, the Malaysian earlier made editor in chief of the…

Hong Kong Now Wants Silence from Business Critics

Hong Kong Now Wants Silence from Business CriticsOn March 31, the Appeals Tribunal of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission fined Moody’s Investor Services HK$11 million for what the tribunal claimed were inaccuracies in a 2011 report entitled “Red Flags for Emerging-Market Companies: A Focus on China.” The assault on Moody’s is the latest indication that freedoms in Hong Kong are…

South China Morning Post Shows its New China Stripes

South China Morning Post Shows its New China StripesAlibaba’s Jack Ma has made an immediate impact on his new acquisition, the South China Morning Post. Concerns are rising that the newspaper, considered one of the most authoritative in Asia on China despite its drawbacks, is going to become a cheerleader for Beijing. The front page on April 5 led with an innocent enough…

Beijing Blows Hot Over Hong Kong’s Nationalist Party

Beijing Blows Hot Over Hong Kong’s Nationalist PartyWill China prevail upon the Hong Kong government to use a sledgehammer against the tiny if vocal minority calling for the territory’s independence? The announcement last week of the formation of the Hong Kong National Party stirred the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Beijing’s representative in this Special Administrative Region into self-righteous wrath, calling…

The Plight of Hong Kong’s Domestic Workers

The Plight of Hong Kong’s Domestic WorkersEarly in the morning on a street in Hong Kong’s Central district, workers rushing to offices, hands occupied with briefcases and Starbucks, pay little attention to a woman in dark colors holding a package. “I am waiting for my friend from the Philippines to give her something to carry to the Philippines to give my…