High Tide (June 19th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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Reform vote blocked in a dramatic pro-est walk-out; Pan-dems blast CY Leung’s ITB move; Hong Kong blacklisted as tax heaven. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Political reform package rejected with an unexpectedly hilarious ending.
– The debate on political reform resumed yesterday at 9am with an expectation that the voting process would begin around 5pm – and it soon turned out to be too mild an ending for the 20-month-long tug of war
– The voting process began at about 12noon instead as no pro-establishment lawmaker stepped out to speak
– After LegCo president Jasper Tsang rang the division bell, the drama began – almost all pro-establishment lawmakers left the chamber, turning the result from a technical defeat to an embarrassing debacle (8 for; 28 against)
– Those who walked out later explained that they wanted to wait for Lau Wong-fat who was late because of health issue, expecting that the process would be adjourned because of a lack of quorum – a bad move as some pro-establishment lawmakers, including unionist Chan Yuen-han and Poon Siu-ping were left dumbfounded (ch) and stayed in the chamber alongside all five Liberal Party lawmakers, Insurance sector’s Chan Kin-por and Industrial (second) Lam Tai-fai (list)
– James Tien, leader of Liberal Party, said he received a call from the Liaison Office praising their decision to stay and vote
– Tien, the “bad boy”, posted on his facebook page a picture of a pig with a caption: “There aren’t that many conspiracies, people are just stupid”
– Jasper Tsang announced after the vote that the Amber Alert was lifted, police officers had left the LegCo Complex and all public services will resume today, while saying that the walk-out was an “unfortunate accident” and lawmakers should reflect on themselves
– CY Leung, for his part, put all the blame on the 28 pro-democratic lawmakers and did not comment directly on the walk-out

Pan-dems blast CY Leung’s ITB move in Finance Committee.
– In the midst of the political reform debate, several lawmakers, including Civic Party’s Alan Leong, Democratic Party’s Emily Lau, People Power’s Albert Chan and Raymond Chan as well as Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan came out of the chamber and criticised CY Leung’s request to change the Finance Committee meeting agenda to make way for the Innovation & Technology Bureau funding
– They accused Leung for ignoring livelihood matters and holding the LegCo to “ransom” to enhance his own political agenda
– Albert Chan called the request “an insane move by a mentally sick CY” and vowed to filibuster the funding approval in the FC
– Meanwhile, Allen Yeung Tak-bun, Chief Corporate Development Officer of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, was appointed as the new Chief Information Officer with effect from July 2

Politics (general)

Undocumented boy will return to Hong Kong documented, grandmother says.
– Chow Siu-shuen, grandmother of the undocumented boy Siu Yau-wai who was earlier repatriated back to the mainland ‘voluntarily’, said her grandson would apply to return to Hong Kong
– Chow said she managed to meet with the Wai Chai’s father and obtained the boy’s household registration, allowing her to apply for a two-way permit for the boy which was pending
– Chow has also applied for custody over the boy but would “need to prove to the mainland authorities that the parents were missing” according to a social worker

China & World

Hong Kong blacklisted by the EU as non-cooperative tax jurisdiction.
– The EU released its first list of international tax-evasion havens with Hong Kong named among 29 other territories
– The Hong Kong Government “expressed regret over the inclusion” and stated that the allegation was totally unfounded
– Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the EU commented on the city’s political reform expressed its continuing support for universal suffrage that is in line with the Basic Law to offer “a genuine choice in a credible, transparent and inclusive election system”