Hong Kong

Law
New UK visa for Hong Kong citizens
British Passport
British Passport Credit: Ethan Wilkinson

Up to 5.4 million people in Hong Kong could apply to the new visa and relocate to the UK. The government estimates 300,000 might apply in the next five years.

Regional News • Asia
Hong Kong police has arrested 53 pro-democracy activists
Hong Kong police has arrested 53 pro-democracy activists
Credit: Studio Incendo / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hong Kong media reported that 53 pro-democracy activists have been arrested in connection with the unofficial primaries held last year by opposition forces ahead of the election to the Legislative Council, Hong Kong's parliament, which was later canceled due to the Corona pandemic. According to the report, those arrested were accused of endangering the state by participating in the primaries and the goals pursued there, and thus of violating the security law introduced at the end of June.

Business • Markets
China pushes Alibaba founder Jack Ma to break up his fintech empire
Jack Ma
Jack Ma Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Chinese regulators want Jack Ma's Ant Group to go back to its digital payment roots, stating Ant's corporate governance was "not sound". The Ant Group started as Alipay, which became China’s largest digital payment platform, though it eventually expanded to offer investment and savings accounts and lending, insurance and wealth management services.

The latest salvo in Beijing's battle against Ma - who had been feted as China's greatest modern-day entrepreneur until he started speaking out against strict regulations - wiped 8% off the value of Alibaba's share price in Hong Kong trading on Monday.

In November, Chinese regulators blocked Ant’s $37 billion IPO just two days before dealing was due to begin in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Regional News • Asia
Hong Kong democracy movement media entrepreneur Lai detained until trial

Shortly after the verdict against Joshua Wong and two of his comrades-in-arms the media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai, another prominent supporter of the Hong Kong democracy movement has been sent to prison. He is accused of fraud and is now expected to remain in detention pending a planned court hearing in April.

Regional News • Asia
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong sentenced to prison
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong sentenced to prison
Credit: Honcques Laus / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Joshua Wong has been sentenced to thirteen and a half months in prison, and the co-defendants Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam have been sentenced to ten and seven months in prison, respectively. This was decided by a court in Hong Kong's Kowloon district. The prosecution had accused the three of having participated in an unauthorized demonstration last year against the growing influence of the Chinese leadership in Hong Kong.

Regional News • Asia
Joshua Wong faces jail after guilty plea over pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong
Joshua Wong faces jail after guilty plea over pro-democracy activism in Hong Kong
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

During a trial facing charges relating to pro-democracy protests outside Hong Kong police stations the three activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam have pleaded guilty to the charges.

According to local media reports, Joshua Wong pleaded guilty to organizing and inciting the unauthorized assemble but not participation due to missing evidence by the prosecution. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted under the charges he pleaded guilty for.

Sentencing is expected for next week.

Regional News • Asia
United Kingdom announces that China has breached Hong Kong treaty
United Kingdom announces that China has breached Hong Kong treaty
Credit: Foreign and Commwealth Office / via Wikimedia Commons (Open Government Licence v3.0)

By imposing new rules to disqualify elected legislators Hong Kong, China has broken the biliteral treaty according to the United Kingdom.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has stated that "Beijing’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration". The United Kingdom is now considering sanctions against officials.

Business • Markets
Ant Group's record IPO suspended in Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges
Ant Group logo
Ant Group logo Credit: Ant Group

Ant Group’s record-breaking dual IPO has been halted. The decision comes after Ant executives—including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who controls the fintech giant—were summoned to a meeting yesterday with Chinese regulators.

While the IPO had initially been given the all-clear, Shanghai has since determined that Ant Group may no longer qualify for a listing due to “information disclosure requirements” that it failed to meet, CNBC reports.

Ant Group, the parent company of Alipay—the world’s largest digital payments platform—said last month it planned to raise more than $34 billion for the IPO, which would have made it the biggest market debut in history.

Regional News • Asia • China
China warns UK not to offer citizenship to Hong Kong residents
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Credit: eGuide Travel

China has told Britain to "immediately correct its mistakes" after the UK reaffirmed its plan to offer a route to British citizenship to almost three million people living there.

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Regional News • Asia
Pro-democracy activist and politician Joshua Wong has been arrested in Hong Kong
Pro-democracy activist and politician Joshua Wong has been arrested in Hong Kong
Credit: Joshua Wong courtesy of Facebook

After reporting to a police station in Hong Kong, pro-democracy activist and politician Joshua Wong (Huang Zhifeng) has been arrested for participating in an illegal assembly on October 5 in 2019. In addition he has been charged with violating the anti-mask law in 2019.

Technology • Internet & Web
Customs and Border Protection seize 2,000 OnePlus Buds claiming they are "counterfeit Apple AirPods"
Customs and Border Protection seize 2,000 OnePlus Buds claiming they are "counterfeit Apple AirPods"
Credit: CBP

US Customs and Border Protection tweeted that officers at John F Kennedy International Airport had "recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at $398K had they been genuine."

The box from the tweet picture states that the product is from OnePlus and not Apple, but according to a CBP spokesperson: "Upon examining the shipment in question, a CBP Import Specialist determined that the subject earbuds appeared to violate Apple's configuration trademark."

Regional News • Asia • China
Hong Kong: ~100 arrested in protests against postponed elections

Around 100 people were arrested in Hong Kong on Sunday while protesting against delayed legislative elections. Elections were supposed to happen on September 6th but were allegedly postponed due to the Coronavirus.

Health
Netherlands, Belgium confirm Covid-19 reinfections
Netherlands, Belgium confirm Covid-19 reinfections
Credit: unsplash.com / National Cancer Institute

Individuals in Belgium and the Netherlands have been reinfected with the coronavirus, Dutch media have reported. Some experts believe it is a good sign.

A patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium have been reinfected with the coronavirus, Dutch media reported Tuesday, following reports that scientists in Hong Kong had confirmed the first known reinfection.

Jesse Goodman, a former US Food and Drug Administration chief scientist has stated as a responses to the Hong Kong case that: "if there is a reinfection, it suggests the possibility there was residual immunity that helped protect the patient'' from getting sick again. 

Health
Hong Kong scientists reported a case of Covid-19 reinfection
Hong Kong scientists reported a case of Covid-19 reinfection
Credit: Fusion Medical Animation

Scientists from the University of Hong Kong reported Monday the case of a 33-year-old man who became reinfected with Covid-19 four and a half months after his first bout.

Dr. Kelvin Kai-Wang To, the microbiologist who led the work, said genome sequencing shows the two strains of the virus are "clearly different", making it the world's first proven case of reinfection.

The paper has been accepted by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases but not yet published, and some independent experts urged caution until full results are available.

Regional News • Asia
Multiple journalists have been arrested by Hong Kong police including journalist for UK's tv channel ITV
Multiple journalists have been arrested by Hong Kong police including journalist for UK's tv channel ITV
Credit: Wilson Li via LinkedIn

The Hong Kong Police Force has announced via their Twitter account that nine people have been arrested for alleged breaches of the national security law.

One of the arrested people is the freelance journalist Wilson Li who works for the UK-based television channel ITV. A spokesperson from ITV News has stated that: "We can confirm that Wilson Li works for ITV News in a freelance capacity. We are concerned to hear of his arrest and are urgently seeking clarification of the circumstances."

In addition to the arrests, the Hong Kong Police Force has raided and searched the office the media outlet Apple Daily.

Regional News • Asia
Pro-democracy owner of Apple Daily media outlet Jimmy Lai arrested by Hong Kong police

The Hong Kong police have arrested Jimmy Lai on grounds of the new national security law in Hong Kong. According to a close aid of his, he has been arrested at 7am and lawyers have been sent to the police station.

The news agency AFP has stated that a police source has stated that Lai had been arrested for the alleged collusion with foreign forces and fraud. His house has been searched by the police, as well as the house of his son. Multiple other members of his group have reportedly been arrested.

Regional News • Asia
Hong Kong issues arrest warrant for Samuel Chu - a United States citizen - under new security law
Hong Kong issues arrest warrant for Samuel Chu - a United States citizen - under new security law
Credit: Samuel Chu via Twitter

Under the new national security law Hong Kong has issued multiple warrants for pro-democracy activists. Included in these warrants is one for managing director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council based in D.C., Samuel Chu.

Chu stated on his Twitter account that he heard about the arrest warrant from the media and that Hong Kong is searching for him for the alleged crimes of "inciting secession" and "colluding with foreign powers". He added that he is and has been for 25 years an American citizen.

Six other pro-democracy activists have gotten outstanding arrest warrants according to Chinese state media including the activist Nathan Law.

Regional News • Asia
Germany suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong
Germany suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong
Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States (Public Domain)

The German foreign minister Heiko Maas has announced that Germany will suspend the extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Germany as a consequence of the postponed Legislative Council General Election in Hong Kong.

Maas has stated that "the Hong Kong government’s decision to disqualify a dozen opposition candidates for the election and postpone the elections to the legislature is another infringement on the rights of the citizens of Hong Kong" adding that China needs to ensure international law and to provide free and fair elections.

Regional News • Asia
Hong Kong legislative election postponed due to Covid-19
Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam Credit: Asia Society (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has announced that she'll invoke the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to postpone the legislative elections.

She stated that "it is a really tough decision to delay the election, but we want to ensure public safety and health, and to make sure the elections are held in an open and impartial manner. The decision is therefore essential".

The elections were originally scheduled to take place in September, and democratic politicians have stated that they oppose the decision to postpone the elections.