Date
23 May 2017
A Hong Kong man is receiving therapy after suffering huge losses and incurring debts due to wrong-way bets in relation to the Occupy protests last year. Photos: HKEJ
A Hong Kong man is receiving therapy after suffering huge losses and incurring debts due to wrong-way bets in relation to the Occupy protests last year. Photos: HKEJ

Man receives gambling counseling after Occupy-related stock bets

A Hong Kong man lost HK$500,000 in soured stock market bets related to the 2014 Occupy protests and is now receiving counseling for his gambling problem, according to the Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counselling Centre.

The group, which aims to help compulsive gamblers, said it is counseling a person who suffered huge losses in speculative trading during the pro-democracy protests last year.

The person, who bears the surname Cheung, is said to have taken out a series of put warrants betting that the local stock market will decline significantly due to the civil disobedience in the city.

But he came to grief as the Hang Seng Index remained relatively stable at above the 23,000-points mark during the 79-day Occupy period, and as the US markets also stayed buoyant during the time.

Prior to the soured Hong Kong equity trades, Cheung is also said to have borrowed HK$400,000 take a put warrant bet that the Japanese yen will depreciate to a certain level in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant crisis.

That calculation also misfired as the currency was supported by the Japanese central bank’s intervention, the Caritas help group said, according to a report carried by the Hong Kong Economic Journal Wednesday.

Cheung is said to have admitted that playing with warrants is no different from gambling. After being persuaded by his wife, he is now receiving counseling.

In a related topic, the report said that Hong Kong people were found to be the most short-sighted in stock investing, in a survey carried out in 22 nations and regions. 

According to a Franklin Templeton survey on the emotional side of investors across the world, 43 percent of Hong Kong investors were found to give less than a year’s time to evaluate the effectiveness of an investment, the shortest time-frame among all counterparts.

The survey involved interviews with 11,500 investors worldwide from February to March, including 502 people in Hong Kong in the age range of 25 to 65 and who had investible assets of at least HK$200,000.

About 55 percent of surveyed Hong Kong investors said they expect the stock market to rise this year, while only 13 percent believe it would fall.

The results show many stock investors in Hong Kong behave more like gamblers. Social workers, meanwhile, have raised concerns over the investors’ tendency to amass a large amount of debts.

About 24.1 percent of such problematic investors owed at least HK$600,000, according to the Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counselling Centre.

Other types of addicted gamblers, involved in betting on events such as soccer matches or horse racing, usually owed about HK$100,000 to HK$200,000.

Economist Andy Kwan advised stock investors to hold a longer-term view and consider putting money in index tracker funds and utility plays that offer high dividend yields, instead of seeking short-term gains in volatile environment.

Investors will be wrong if they think that they can time their trades correctly in the market, he said.

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JP/RC

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