Massive Extradition Bill Protest Fills Hong Kong Streets

June 10, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (10-June-2019): Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong yesterday to voice their opposition to legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China where they could face politically charged trials.

The massive demonstration took place three days before the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s government plans to bring the highly contentious bill to the full legislature in a bid to win approval by the end of the month.  Police estimated the crowd at 240,000, but organizers said more than 1 million took part.

The protest was one of the largest in recent Hong Kong history, underscoring fears over China’s broadening footprint in the former British colony. It appeared to be even bigger than a massive pro-democracy demonstration in 2003 against a proposed national security law.

Late last night, a group of demonstrators broke through barriers at government headquarters, where the march had ended. The crowd briefly pushed its way into the lobby, but police in riot gear used batons and pepper spray to push the protesters outside. Most had dispersed by 1 a.m., but police continued pushing protesters away for kilometers over a period of two to three hours.

There was still a strong police presence on streets throughout downtown Hong Kong as of 3 a.m. this morning.  A small group of protesters sat with hands tied on the side of Gloucester Road, surrounded by police.

People of all ages took part in the march, some pushing strollers and others carrying canes, chanting slogans in the native Cantonese dialect in favor of greater transparency in government.

Kiwi Wong, 27, was among the throng, a member of the younger generation who’ve grown up enjoying relative prosperity but also growing insecurity about what many see as an erosion of the rights Hong Kong residents have enjoyed.

“If I didn’t come out now, I don’t know when I would have the chance to express my opinion again,” Wong said. “Because now we’ve got to this stage, if you don’t come out to try to do what you can, then it will end up too late, you won’t be able to say or do anything about it.”

Massive Extradition Bill Protest Fills Hong Kong Streets

Alex Ng, a 67-year-old retiree, said he joined the protest because “I think that there was never any public consultation about this law, and there are a lot of uncertainties.”

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, has pushed forward with the legislation despite widespread criticism from human rights and business groups. The amendments have been criticized as eroding Hong Kong’s judicial independence by making it easier to send criminal suspects to mainland China, where they could face vague national security charges and unfair trials.

“What can we do to get Carrie Lam to listen to us, how many people have to come out to make her reconsider listening to the public?” said Miu Wong, a 24-year-old office worker who was among the protesters.

Tommy Lam, a 29-year-old who is working on his master’s degree, said: “All these people coming out and marching sends a definite message. If the government doesn’t listen, there will be tension.”

The Hong Kong government said in a statement late Sunday that it respected the right of its opponents to protest.  ”We acknowledge and respect that people have different views on a wide range of issues,” the statement said. “The procession today is an example of Hong Kong people exercising their freedom of expression within their rights as enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance.”

Hong Kong was guaranteed the right to retain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years following its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997, the so-called “one country, two systems” framework. However, China’s ruling Communist Party has been seen as increasingly reneging on that agreement by forcing through unpopular legal changes.

Hong Kong currently limits extraditions to jurisdictions with which it has existing extradition agreements or to others on an individual basis under a law passed before 1997.

Pig Supply Farms Possibly Hit By African Swine Fever

June 5, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (5-June-2019): Since the outbreak of African swine fever in mainland China, Hong Kong has been suffering from a shortage of live pigs.

Chan Kin-yip, vice president of the Federation of Hong Kong Agriculture Association (FHKAA), and Lam Wing-yuen, president of the Hong Kong Livestock Industry Association (HKLIA), said unconfirmed reports indicate that no less than 30 percent of the hog farms in the mainland have been hit by the fever outbreak.

However, there is no official information from Hong Kong and mainland authorities yet.  According to Chan, the mainland government no longer offers compensation to affected pig farmers, forcing some of them to continue selling their problematic produce to earn a living, thereby causing trouble for Hong Kong.

Pig Supply Farms Possibly Hit By African Swine Fever

Legislator Steven Ho Chun-yin, representing the functional constituency for agriculture and fisheries, said live pigs from the mainland typically weighed about 100 kilograms, but some of the recently imported stocks weighed only 60 kg.

He is concerned that pig farmers could be disposing of their stocks earlier than usual because they knew the animals were sick.  Ho urged mainland authorities to improve transparency in the release of information regarding the exported hogs.

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan accused mainland authorities responsible for pig farm inspections of keeping Hong Kong importers in the dark.

As the Veterinary Public Health Section of the Center for Food Safety carries out regular inspections of mainland farms, the government should be able to give a better account of the situation, Wong said.

Bank Of East Asia Chief David Li To Step Down

May 23, 2019

NewsStandOnline.Net (23-May-2019): Bank of East Asia chairman David Li Kwok-po, the most senior banker in town, is stepping down from his day-to-day role after 38 years as its chief executive officer.

But that doesn’t mean he is retiring. The 80-year-old banker, who once served as a member of the Legislative Council as well as the Executive Council, will remain as chairman, a post he has held since 1997.

In fact, Sir David just got a three-year extension as executive chairman until 2022, after which – who knows, his family owns the bank – he may still be re-elected to the post.  His chief executive role will be split between his two sons – Adrian David Li Man-kiu, 46, and Brian David Li Man-bun, 45.

This dual chief executive arrangement is not uncommon in Hong Kong. Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee, for example, will pass the baton next week to his two sons – Martin Lee Ka-shing and Peter Lee Ka-kit.  Like David Li, the 91-year-old Lee will remain on the property group’s board.

Li, of course, will continue to enjoy the remuneration and perks of being the bank’s chairman, aside from sitting on the boards of two dozen other listed companies – now down to six outside directorships, including Hong Kong and China Gas.

According to the bank’s announcement, Li will receive an annual salary of approximately HK$11.8 million (US$1.5 million) and is entitled to a discretionary bonus and share options to be determined by the board with reference to the company’s remuneration policy each year.

Bank Of East Asia Chief David Li To Step Down

In that case, Li’s remuneration is on par with global standards. HSBC chairman Mark Tucker, for example, makes something like 1.6 million pounds (US$2.02 million) for overseeing a global empire of over 235,000 staff in 67 countries. We’re sure Sir David has an equally demanding job.

In late 2017, BEA said, it set up a search committee comprising four independent non-executive directors and hired international search firm Korn Ferry to facilitate the search process for a new chief executive for the bank upon Sir David’s retirement.

And “after a rigorous global search process assessing internal and external candidates” – a painstaking and impartial one, if we may add – the panel came up with Li’s two sons as the most worthy to take on the job.

Well done, Korn Ferry, and nice pay, too.  According to the bank’s stock exchange filing, the board believes the co-chief executive structure is beneficial to the bank as a whole.

“Mr. Adrian Li’s and Mr. Brian Li’s complementary skill sets will support the bank’s continued business growth, allowing the bank to dedicate sufficient resources to focus on its two major markets – mainland China and Hong Kong – as well as maximize its cross-border capabilities and collaboration between different operations of the bank,” it said.

Aside from being executive chairman, Sir David will remain as executive director, chairman of the board and a member of the nomination committee of the bank.  Adrian and Brian Li are currently executive directors and deputy chief executives of the bank.