Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Wednesday, Jan. 29:
SHKP Kwok family reaches agreement over interests
The Kwok family, the majority shareholder of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (00016.HK), has reached an “amicable agreement” over their interests in the property empire, a family statement said. Kwong Siu-hing, head of the SHKP-Kwoks’ Foundation, has decided to split her stake in the company evenly among her three sons, ousted chairman Walter Kwok, Thomas Kwok, Raymond Kwok, and their families, according to the statement. Meanwhile, the company said Walter Kwok has resigned from his non-executive director position with immediate effect.
Power fight in SHKP may not end just yet
The power feud in the Kwok family, the controlling shareholders of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (00016.HK), may not end simply by an even split of the interests in the real estate empire, analysts said. It would be best for the developer to set up a mechanism to avoid a similar saga from happening again, such as a feud between the two younger brothers who are still working for the company, the analysts said. They also said Walter Kwok’s resignation as non-executive director won’t have any material impact on the developer’s daily operations, given that he has not been involved in the management of the company for a long while.
Hang Seng Index seen losing more ground
The Hong Kong stock market is expected to finish in negative territory for the fifth day in a row on Wednesday ahead of the final settlement day of Hang Seng Index Futures and the release of a statement from the Federal Open Market Committee on Thursday, analysts said. The benchmark Hang Seng Index has lost 4.9 percent or 1,122 points over the last four trading days, closing at 21,960 points on Tuesday.
Civil nomination not in line with Basic Law, Rimsky Yuen says
Hong Kong’s Justice Minister Rimsky Yuen gave the clearest warning that the idea of civil nomination being championed by the pan-democrats was not in line with the Basic Law. He said although some people have argued the Basic Law was a “living document”, that could not make the idea of civil nomination in compliance with Article 45 of the the Basic Law. The article says a broadly-based nominating committee should name candidates for the election of chief executive by universal suffrage. Yuen’s remarks, made in a lengthy article published in some newspapers on Tuesday, were the first time a senior government official made it clear the idea of civil nomination has deviated from the Basic Law.
Govt must find ways to separate local and mainland chickens amid H7N9 scare
The Hong Kong government must find ways to separate local and mainland chickens after more than 20,000 chickens were culled Tuesday in the wake of findings that one from the mainland had the H7N9 strain of the avian flu virus. As local chickens are not allowed to be sold in the next 20 days, the government should discuss with local chicken breeders about compensation. More efforts should be made to step up inspection of chickens imported from the mainland. If the health risk remains, the idea of a ban on the importation of chickens from the mainland should be seriously considered.
New media to play bigger role in free expression of views, Wong says
The room for tolerance of criticism against the central government’s policies among mainstream media in Hong Kong will narrow, former civil service minister Joseph Wong wrote. This is because the Beijing leadership’s tightening grip on freedom of expression will make an impact on proprietors of media establishments who have investments in the mainland. Beijing will try to influence Hong Kong media for them to better support the government. Even if mainstream media moderate their stance, that does not mean there will be no freedom of speech in the city. New media will play a bigger role for people to freely express their views.
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