High Tide (August 15th 2015) – Daily political round up

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HK economy grows by 2.8%; HKD5m spent on political reform Ads; Compensation demanded for wartime ‘military yen’. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Hong Kong signs MoU on Tourism with Australia.
– A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Co-operation was signed by Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Sydney (HKETO) Arthur Au and Board Director of the South Australian Tourism Commission Jane Jeffreys with the presence of Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So
– Meanwhile, a Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreement (CDTA) signed between Hong Kong and Italy came into force while the former remains a ‘blacklisted’ region under Italian tax law

Hong Kong economy grows by a higher-than-expected 2.8%.
– The Government released the economic situation in the second quarter of 2015, during which the city saw its economy expanded by a higher-than-expected 2.8% year-on-year in real terms
– The total exports of goods was down by 3.6% while exports of services recorded a faster growth of 1.0% over a year earlier

New Privacy chief in bid to propose stricter regulation spam calls.
– The new Privacy Commissioner Stephen Wong Kai-yi refreshed call to regulate person-to-personal marketing calls
– Wong said such spam calls, even when no transfer of personal data was involved, could constitute a nuisance case

Government reportedly spent HKD5m on political reform vote adverts.
– The Government revealed that it had spent HKD5m on propaganda in two months before the political reform vote
– The “2017 Make it Happen” promotion video, in particular, was played 5,238 times by five TV stations
– The report also suggested that the Government could have spent as much as HKD24.4m on the whole reform campaign including two public consultations

Political (General)

Protesters demand compensation as Abe expresses “profound grief” for WWII.
– About 20 members of the Hong Kong Reparation Association were protesting outside the Japanese Consulate General, demanding compensation for wartime ‘military note‘ – currency that was used during Japanese occupation which became worthless as the invaders left
– The HK Government will also host a series of events to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in WWII
– Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe expressed “profound grief” for the suffering caused by Japan’s acts of aggression but stressed that the country’s future generation should not “be predestined to apologize” for the wrongdoings of their ancestors

Online Uber petition gains more than 50,000 signatories in less than two days.
– An online petition launched by Uber itself to garner support against recent police arrests of its drivers and staff gained more than 50,000 signatories over the past two days
– Meanwhile, a Government spokesperson stated that while the Government “is open-minded in respect of application of technology in the area of transport policy…the use of such applications and the services provided should comply with the laws of Hong Kong for the interest and safety of passengers”

Former Birmingham City boss released on bail pending appeal.
– Former Birmingham City boss Carson Yeung was freed on HKD7m bail and cash surety of HKD6m after being granted the right to challenge his conviction of money laundering
– Yeung was convicted on five charges of laundering HKD721m and was jailed for six years in March 2014

Temporary border shopping mall would operate for three years.
– It was reported that a border shopping mall proposed by Import & Export lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong from the pro-est DAB would run for just three years before making way for a permanent mall put forth by property giants Henderson and Sun Hung Kai
– The intermediate project, which would occupy 39,722 square metre area, was run by an organisation calling itself Non-profit Making Shopping Centre Foundation

China & World

Connection between CY Leung and Tianjin ‘rediscovered’.
– CY Leung was found revealing his role as a consultant for Tianjin (ch) City back in 1993 as he visited Tianjin some two years ago and praised the city’s planning on housing
– It was reported (ch) that the container area where the explosion incident took place was surrounded closely by residential buildings, breaking the regulation that no public building should be located within a 1000-metre line from the container area

South Korea lifts travel alert on Hong Kong.
– As Hong Kong lifted the red travel warning on South Korea on Aug 1, South Korea also dropped its own blue travel warning (ch) on Hong Kong
– The South Korea blue warning was issued on July 9 concerning influenza outbreak in the city