Hong Kong dilemma 

The Hong Kong protest has been going on for 7 weeks and it does not look like it will end soon. Many people are hoping the silent majority will come out to stop the protest. The protest is escalating into heated confrontations between police, democracy activists, pro-Beijing triad gang members, and local residents. As demonstrations continue, protestors have increasingly called for direct elections to choose Legislative Council members and the Chief Executive, an issue that itself triggered mass protests in 2014.

Most Hong Kong people are anglophiles. They worship the British and the West. They look down on the Chinese from the mainland. Many of the elites and civil servants including Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her family, have foreign passports.

Many people expect the Chinese army to come to help the Hong Kong police to stop the protest. But I do not think so because China has given the British a 50 years extension agreement of 1 country 2 systems. The British should take appropriate action. But the British like the mainland Chinese are just watching the show as bystanders.

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Why are they protesting?

The Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests are a series of ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong against the fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters legislation (Amendment) Bill proposed by the Hong Kong Government. The amendment bill was proposed by the Security Bureau in February 2019 ostensibly in response to a murder that occurred in Taiwan previous year where the murder suspect had fled to Hong Kong. The regional government was unable to repatriate due to the lack of formal extradition arrangements between the two jurisdictions, being jurisdictionally distinct from mainland China as it maintains a separate governing and legal system under the “one country, two systems” principle.

If enacted, the bill would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in countries or territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan. Opponents of the legislation fear that it would place Hong Kong residents and visitors under the jurisdiction of mainland courts (which are controlled by the Communist Party of China) and apply not only to criminals, but political dissidents as well.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the extradition bill on 15 June and further declared it to be “dead” on 9 July. However, she did not state that the bill would be fully withdrawn from the legislative process and has not addressed other protestors’ demands.

The protestors should worry more about their bleak future in Hong Kong.   

The stock market is dropping rapidly which is affecting a lot of people because their savings are mostly in the stock market. The Hang Seng Index is 8 months low and there is no indication that it will rebound soon. Moreover, property prices are the lowest for many years. A few years ago, Hong Kong properties were one of the most expensive in the world due to the influx of Chinese immigrants from China. Moreover, foreign businessmen who wished to do business in China would prefer to go through Hong Kong. Currently they can go directly to any city in China without any difficulties.

The glorious days are over for Hong Kong. As a result, a large number of people are wanting to sell their properties to migrate to some other countries. In fact, most of the elites and civil servants including Carrie Lam and his family members have foreign passports.

How did I start investing in the Hong Kong stock market?

In 1983 when China gave notice to the British Government to recover the sovereignty of Hong Kong, the stock market crashed. The Hang Seng Index fell below 600 points. I took advantage of the cheap sales and made a lot of money. The 1st stock I bought was Hong Kong Reality & Trust (HKRT). A Jew by the name of Willock Marden was the controlling shareholder. Just before the market crash, HKRT sold the Willock House. As a result, its cash value per share was more than HK$10.00 and the share was selling at $13.50 before the crash. During the crash, I could buy it at $3.00. Within 3 years, I made so much money that I bought 46% of a small broking company called Kaiser Stock and Share Co, Ltd. Fortunately I sold all my shareholdings in Kaiser to a mainland Chinese with a reasonable profit.

The Hong Kong stock market will not rebound for a long time. In view of the bleak future, I will not invest in the Hong Kong stock market until I can see a brighter future.

The Hong Kongers must remember that China gave 50 years extension to the British after the expiry of the 99 years lease in 1997. The 50 years extension will expire in 2047. Smart people are already fearful, if only vaguely, of what will happen after the “one country, two systems” framework with China, which gives Hong Kong “a high degree of autonomy,” reaches its 50-year limit.

Some worry they might be deprived of the freedom they currently enjoy. Uncertainty is partly fostering pro-independence sentiment among the young.

Bleak and murky future

Last year Bethy Tam, acting chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, publicly called on the Hong Kong government to address the issue as soon as possible.

The first thing to be affected by the “year 2047 problem” is residential mortgages. From next year, newly signed 30-year mortgages — the longest possible term in Hong Kong — will include a period beyond that year.

In Hong Kong, all land is owned by the government and leased to developers and others through auctions. In the New Territories, a suburban district, as many as 350,000 such lease contracts will expire in 2047. Banks argue that uncertainty over the legal structure beyond that year will make it difficult to extend loans, which could cause turmoil in the property market.

In fact, it was residential mortgages that in part prompted the U.K. and China to start negotiations on the return of Hong Kong to China. Unlike Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon area, both of which were ceded to the U.K. by the Qing dynasty after the Opium War, the New Territories were leased by the U.K. for 99 years from 1898 until 1997. In the late 1970s, as the end of the lease approached, people started talking about what might happen to mortgages whose terms extend beyond 1997 — at the time the maximum term for a residential mortgage was 15 years. Some voiced concern that lending would dry up in the New Territories because the area may be integrated into socialist China.

In 2017, Hong Kong will mark the 20th anniversary of its return to China. Though almost halfway through the 50-year term, the Chinese government has not made clear whether it will seek to continue the “one country, two systems” framework or realize the full restoration of Hong Kong.

No regulation says the Basic Law — the effective constitution of Hong Kong — will be annulled after 50 years, said Rimsky Yuen, Hong Kong’s secretary for justice, arguing that the “one country, two systems” framework will likely continue after 2047. But that view does not always sit comfortably with people in mainland China.

Protestors must not forget  

The majority of Hong Kongers though living in cramped and dirty apartments have always looked down on their China cousins.  The growth of Shenzhen just across the border shows how much Hong Kong has been left behind in the past three decades and the feeling of now being bested adds to their disdain of the Chinese.

The elites are anglophiles. They worship the British and the Americans and are uncomfortable with China.

The young now see a limited future and they are taking their frustration to the streets supposedly to demand reforms etc. The sight of the protestors waving British and American flags is a PR coup for the US. and the irony is not lost on the Chinese.  These protestors seem to be oblivious of the century of humiliation of China at the hands of the West. They forgot that China ceded Hong Kong and part of Kowloon to the British because China lost in the 2 opium wars, 1839-42 and 1856-60.

When the Chinese refused to buy opium from the British, the British gun boats attacked Shanghai. As a result, China ceded Hong Kong and part of Kowloon as compensation.

My suggestion:   

I strongly recommend the rich Hong Kongers come to invest in Malaysia. It is so easy to get a permanent resident (PR) status. All he needs is to invest Rm 100,000 only.  

Although Malaysia is a multi-racial country with about 75 percent Muslim, we all live in peace and harmony. A recent survey shows that Malaysia has the best health care system in the world and the 2nd best country, next to Thailand for retirement. You can even get an open-heart bypass surgery in the Government heart hospital free of charge.  

For your information, I have a cousin who is a British citizen, had to wait for 1 month to see a cancer specialist.


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