HK police clear Occupy sites,
traffic resumes in Admiralty
By Yan Hao, Zhang Yashi, Annie Cheung and Zhao Jingjing
Hong Kong authorities cleared occupy sites in Admiralty on Thursday of December 11 and got the traffic in front of the government headquarters moving again before midnight.
The clearance began in the morning at around 10:30 local time ( 2:30 GMT) after bailiffs read out to protesters injunction orders issued by the High Court of Hong Kong.
The bailiffs and their aides successfully cleared tents, fences and other barriers in the occupied areas banned by the court’s injunction around noon, which was followed by a comprehensive clearing action in Admiralty taken by the police in the afternoon.
Police Senior Superintendent Kwok Pak-chung said earlier there was enough manpower to maintain order and they would not hesitate to intervene if the protesters resort to violence to interfere with the bailiffs’ work.
The clearance barely met resistance and many protesters left the Occupy sites peacefully. But still a large crowd of protesters ignored the police’s appeal to withdraw from the protest sites and sat on the ground, shouting slogans.
After repeated warnings, the police started to take away the sit-in protesters from around 16:30. According to Cheung Tak-keung, assistant police commissioner, the police arrested a total of 209 protesters during Thursday’s clearance operation.
The arrested protesters included Alex Chow, a key member of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, and several Legislative Council members.
The police also collected personal ID information of more than 900 protesters who stopped sit-in and left after the police cordoned off the illegal occupy areas. Those protesters may face criminal prosecution in the future.
“If anyone attempts to occupy any roads again, the police will take resolute action for law enforcement,” Cheung told a press conference late in the evening.
As of 22:00, the police completed clearing all barriers in Connaught Road Central, Harcourt Road, Tim Wa Avenue, Tim Mei Avenue and Gloucester Road. Traffic had been resumed in the Connaught Road Central and Harcourt Road, the main thoroughfares in Hong Kong Island, before midnight.
The police said they would start clearing the last remaining Occupy site at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong Island at an appropriate time.
The chaotic scenes have raised worries and irritation among Hong Kong citizens. Small venders close to the Occupy sites in Admiralty said that getting the traffic running again would help their businesses and they were concerned that the Occupy movement would affect consumer sentiment.
“We have lost much sales in the past two months and only hope the society could restore order,” a florist’s shop owner in Admiralty told Xinhua.
The Occupy protest in Hong Kong started on Sept. 28 and blockaded several main roads and streets in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, which has resulted in serious traffic disruption, less tourists, temporary closure of schools and banks and a slump in local stock market trading. There had also been a series of clashes between protesters and police.
A survey regarding the Hong Kong’s economic outlook for 2015 reveals that 40 percent of the respondents were pessimistic about Hong Kong’s future economy, while many said the Occupy protest stifles the its economic growth.
Simon Wong, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, told the media on Wednesday that more than 3 billion HK dollars (about 387 million U.S. dollars) of business loss was recorded in major business centers of Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay, the main occupy sites, since the Occupy protest started in September.
Hong Kong police assisted bailiffs in clearing the protest site in Mong Kok on Nov. 25 and 26.
The main appeal of the protesters is to oppose a framework set by China’s top legislature on the election of Hong Kong’s next chief executive by universal suffrage slated for 2017.
Under the Basic Law, the top legislature has decided that chief executive candidates to run the universal suffrage must be nominated by a 1,200-member nomination committee.
opposition to British lawmakers’
interference in Hong Kong affairs
By Bai Jie
China on Thursday of December 11 reiterated that Hong Kong affairs are part of China’s internal affairs, urging British lawmakers to stop badgering China for refusing to allow them to visit Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. China firmly opposes the interference of any country, institution or individual in any form in Hong Kong affairs,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a daily press briefing.
According to Reuters, a group of senior lawmakers said on Wednesday that China’s refusal to allow them to visit Hong Kong last month was an insult to Britain and called on the government to react more strongly, including formally summoning China’s ambassador over the issue.
“I would like to reiterate that the Chinese central government and the government of Hong Kong Special Administration Region have full right to deal with relevant issues in accordance with the law,” said Hong. “We hope certain British lawmakers will stop their meaningless hype.”
Chinese Mainland takes
major share of HK’s DI outflow in 2013
By Wang Xin
The Chinese Mainland was the most important destinations for Hong Kong’s outward direct investment (DI) in 2013, receiving about 396.9 billion HK dollars, which accounts for 41.1 percent of Hong Kong’s outward DI at the end of 2013, according to the latest Hong Kong statistic report.
The Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government released Hong Kong’s DI statistics for 2013 on Thursday of December 11.
The statistics said The British Virgin Islands (BVI) was Hong Kong’s second largest destination of investment, accounting for 39. 1 percent of the total position of Hong Kong’s outward DI at the end of 2013.
Hong Kong’s total outward DI stood at 646.3 billion HK dollars, smaller than that of 683.4 billion in 2012. In the same year, the total DI inflow amounted to 596.1 billion HK dollars, larger than that of 580.9 billion in 2012. Taking the inflow and outflow together, a net outflow of 50.3 billion was recorded in 2013.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) was the major source of Hong Kong’s DI inflow in 2013, taking 33.7 percent of the total position of Hong Kong’s inward DI of the year. The Mainland came next, accounting for 31.9 percent of the total inward DI.
The Mainland’s investment in Hong Kong covered a wide range of economic activities, including banking, construction; import/ export, wholesale and retail trades, and investment and holding, real estate, professional and business activities.
A HKSAR government spokesman said the Chinese Mainland continued to feature prominently in Hong Kong’s external direct investment, both as a source and as a destination, accentuating Hong Kong as an ideal platform for both Mainland companies to go global and large multinationals to expand their business in the Mainland.
The spokesman noted that the positions of direct investment liabilities and assets remained large relative to the size of the economy, reaching 534 percent and 493 percent of Hong Kong’s GDP respectively, saying it is “a manifestation of Hong Kong’s competitive strength as an international financial and business center.”
Looking ahead, the spokesman said investment activities between the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong should continue to grow amid the deepening Chinese economic reforms, strengthening economic integration between the two places and further development of offshore Renminbi business in Hong Kong. (1 U.S. dollar equals to about 7.75 HK dollars)
• Hong Kong stocks close 0.90 pct lower
By Wang Xin
Hong Kong stocks moved down 211. 98 points, or 0.90 percent, to close on Thursday of December 11 at 23,312.54 points.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 23,169.67 and 23, 382.83. Turnover totaled 98.08 billion HK dollars (about 12.66 billion U.S.dollars).
• First HK sukuk listed in Dubai
By Liu Yuqian
Dubai saw on Thursday of December 11 the listing of the very first Islamic bond or sukuk in its stock market by China’s Hong Kong Special administrative region.
Hong Kong’s financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah rang the bell to celebrate listing of the one-billion U.S. dollar sukuk.
The listing marks Dubai as one of the top three listing venues in the world for sukuk, with a currently listed nominal value of 24.05 billion dollars. The Nasdaq Dubai competes with the sukuk hubs in Kuala Lumpur and in London.
Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, chairman of the board of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, said “our expanding links with Hong Kong underline Dubai’s role as a dynamic international financial center that attracts active participation from around the world.”
John Tsang Chun-wah said “Hong Kong looks forward to expanding its capital markets connections with the UAE and other middle east and north africa countries, as part of a growing trend of international cooperation and collaboration.”
Essa Kazim, secretary general of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, said “Hong Kong’s sukuk has added new impetus to the growth of Islamic finance around the world, as Sharia’s compliant solutions prove increasingly attractive to an expanding range of market participants.”
Dr. Nasser Saidi, a leading Dubai economist and former minister of economy in Lebanon said Asian economies can attract foreign investments from the Gulf Arab countries more easily through sukuk as Arab investors regard them as financing vehicle with lower risks and in line with their strategy to expand the Islamic finance industry.
A total of 14.15 billion dollars of sukuks have been listed on Dubai’s exchanges so far in 2014, up 107 percent from 6.85 billion dollars in 2013.
Sukuks do not pay interest but they periodically distribute profit shares of excess returns.
Dubai aims to become the capital of the global Islamic economy, which according to the Dubai Islamic economy development center is going to rise from two trillion dollars last year to 3.7 trillion by 2019 as more non-Muslim countries jump on the bandwagon.