Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York
Hong Kong

What’s New in Hong Kong 2019

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Bank for International Settlements to set up fintech hub

Hong Kong welcomes (Jun 30) the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to establish an Innovation hub in the city to foster collaboration within the central banking community on fintech issues. The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority Norman Chan said the move is a clear recognition of Hong Kong’s leading role in the development and application of innovative financial technologies and its vibrant fintech ecosystem. Details here.

  Bank for International Settlements to set up fintech hub
     
Robotic system wins gold medal in Silicon Valley

The Highways Department's intelligent robotic system won a Gold Medal at the Silicon Valley International Invention Festival 2019 (Jun 26) in the US. The system, co-invented and built by the department and the Hong Kong Productivity Council, is the first of its kind in the world. It is fitted with cameras, sensors and robotic arms to understand its surroundings with full cognitive abilities for placing and collecting traffic cones and lanterns on public roads. The system had earlier won awards at the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. Details here.

  Robotic system wins gold medal in Silicon Valley
     
Government heeds public opinion

Security Secretary John Lee has urged protesters (Jun 27) not to take their anger out on police officers, adding that in the future the Government will seriously take into account public opinions and sentiments, particularly those of young people. Pointing out that Hong Kong is the home of each resident, he believes everyone would like to make the city better. Details here.

  Government heeds public opinion
     
Prosecution evidence-based: DoJ

In response to protesters' request to not initiate prosecutions for cases under investigation, the Department of Justice said in a statement (Jun 27) that all investigations are conducted by law enforcement agencies which will after investigation and when necessary refer to the department for independent decisions on whether to prosecute. The Department makes each prosecutorial decision based on evidence, the applicable laws and the Prosecution Code. Details here.

  Prosecution evidence-based: DoJ
     
Academy of Finance established

The newly established Academy of Finance will nurture financial leadership, encourage monetary and financial research, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the inauguration ceremony (Jun 26). He added that these were critical requirements for Hong Kong to maintain its standing as a global financial center. Details here.

  Academy of Finance established
     
Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering system lauded

The Government (Jun 26) welcomes the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s recognition of the compliance and effectiveness of Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing system. Hong Kong is the first jurisdiction in the Asia-Pacific region to have achieved an overall compliant result. So far only five out of 23 assessed jurisdictions have been rated overall compliant by the FATF. Financial Secretary Paul Chan said this is a proud testament to Hong Kong’s commitment to uphold the integrity of the financial system. Details here.

  Hong Kong’s anti-money laundering system lauded
     
May exports dip 2.4%

The value of Hong Kong’s total exports decreased to US$43.9 billion (HK$343.1 billion) in May, down 2.4% on the same month last year (Jun 25). The value of imports fell 4.3% to US$48.4 billion (HK$377.8 billion) in May. Comparing the three-month period ending May with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of exports increased 6.3% while that of imports rose 6.6%. Details here.

  May exports dip 2.4%
     
Extradition bill amendment legislative process stopped: SJ

The Government has stopped the legislative process relating to the amendments of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, said Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (Jun 24), adding that there’s no chance that the government will suddenly reactivate the extradition legislation. Cheng also said any prosecutorial decisions relating to the June 12 public order event will be based on the relevant law, admissible evidence, and the Prosecution Code. Details here.

  Extradition bill amendment legislative process stopped: SJ
     
Government appeals to protesters

Respecting the public’s rights to procession and assembly, the Government called on (Jun 24) protesters to act peacefully and rationally and take other people’s needs into account when expressing their opinions. The government spokesperson said the protests (Jun 21 and June 24) had disrupted public services, and caused inconvenience to members of the public who were seeking government services. Details here.

  Government appeals to protesters
     
May inflation edged down slightly

Overall consumer prices rose 2.8% year-on-year in May, with the underlying inflation rate also edged down slightly to the same level. Price pressures on most major components of the Consumer Price Index were largely contained, although price of basic foodstuffs showed a visibly larger year-on-year increase due to supply disruption to fresh pork. Inflation will likely remain moderate in the near term. Details here.

  May inflation edged down slightly
     
Proactive and vigorous fight against human trafficking

Responding to the US State Department’s latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the Hong Kong Government considered some comments in the report not entirely fair or well founded. TIP has never been a prevalent problem in Hong Kong and there is no sign that Hong Kong is being actively used by syndicates as a destination or transit point for TIP. Furthermore, the Government has been vigorously combating TIP proactively through enhanced overall and inter-departmental coordination on enforcement, addition of resources, an effective framework of over 50 legislative provisions and fostering stronger partnership with civil society. For the 2019-20 financial year, the Government has allocated additional annual funding of US$8 million dedicated to the fight against TIP. Details here.

  Proactive and vigorous fight against human trafficking
     
Maintaining vigilance with increasing market uncertainties: HKMA

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) cautioned the public to remain vigilant amid the increasing uncertainties in the US economic outlook. Chief Executive of HKMA Norman Chan said future direction of fund flows has become more uncertain in view of the increased uncertainties in the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy direction. Details here.

  Maintaining vigilance with increasing market uncertainties: HKMA
     
Commissioner for Belt and Road appointed

Denis Yip Shing-fai has been appointed as the Commissioner for Belt and Road following an open recruitment exercise. He will assume office on June 24. Mr Yip has served in senior positions in a number of large enterprises, including EMC, Digital China Holdings Company and Fujian Start Group. He has also worked in major cities around the world, including in Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, San Francisco, Shanghai and Tokyo. Details here.

  Commissioner for Belt and Road appointed
     
Unemployment rate remains at 2.8%

Hong Kong’s unemployment rate stood at 2.8% in March - May 2019, same as that in February - April 2019. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods. The labor market stayed tight and is expected to remain largely stable in the near term. The Government will stay vigilant and monitor the situation closely in view of the various external headwinds facing the economy, said Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong. Details here.

  Unemployment rate remains at 2.8%
     
Chief Executive apologizes to Hong Kong

Apologizing to the people of Hong Kong for deficiencies in the work of the SAR Government over the fugitive law amendment exercise, which had caused concerns over the past few months, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said her government has put a stop to the legislative exercise on the extradition bill by informing the Legislative Council that the bill will no longer proceed to second reading debate. Speaking to the media (Jun 18), Mrs Lam said she will not proceed again with this legislative exercise if fears and concerns over the bill were not adequately addressed. She added that it is very likely that the bill will not proceed before the end of the current term of the Legislative Council expires in July 2020. The bill will then expire and will not be valid. Should that happen, the Government will accept the reality. Details here.

  Chief Executive apologizes to Hong Kong
     
Strengthening bilateral ties

Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Dr Bernard Chan, expressed the hope that Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can further strengthen co-operation by making full use of the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement just signed between the two places and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office which will soon be set up in Dubai. Continuing his visit (Jun 17) to Dubai, Dr Chan met with the Assistant Undersecretary for Trade Remedies of the Ministry of Economy of the UAE, Mr Abdalla Sultan Alfan Alshamsi. Details here.

  Strengthening bilateral ties
     
April’s exports drop 4.2%

April’s volume of total exports of goods fell 4.2% year-on-year, according to the Census and Statistics Department. The volume of imports dropped 7.2% over the same period. Comparing the first four months of 2019 with the same period last year, the volume of goods exports fell 4.2%, while that of goods imports dropped 5.6%. Details here.

  April’s exports drop 4.2%
     
Financial Secretary welcomes issuance of sovereign bonds

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan welcomes (Jun 17) Ministry of Finance’s plan to issue RMB 5 billion in sovereign bonds in Hong Kong this week. “This demonstrates clearly the Central Government’s support in reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as the global offshore RMB business hub, an is conducive to the development of the bond market in Hong Kong,” he said. This marked the 11th consecutive year the ministry has circulated RMB sovereign bonds in Hong Kong. Details here.

  Financial Secretary welcomes issuance of sovereign bonds
     
Government responds to public procession

Having regard to the strong and different views in society, the Hong Kong Government issued a statement (Jun 16), saying that it has suspended the legislative amendment exercise on the extradition laws at the Legislative Council and there is no timetable for restarting the process. The Chief Executive, admitting deficiencies in the Government’s work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public. Details here.

  Government responds to public procession
     
Hong Kong and UAE forge closer economic and trade ties

Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) (Jun 16) to strengthen mutual investment protection. The pact also enhances the confidence of investors, expands investment flows and further strengthens the economic and trade ties between the two places. The IPPA with the UAE is the third similar agreement that this term of Government has signed since taking office in July 2017. It is also the 21st investment agreement that Hong Kong has signed with a foreign economy. Details here.

  Hong Kong and UAE forge closer economic and trade ties
     
US visual analytics software firm seeks to help businesses capture Greater Bay opportunities

US data visualization company Tableau opened an office in Hong Kong (Jun 13) to meet the growing analytics demands of businesses and to tap opportunities arising from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The company has recently launched a product in traditional Chinese to make it easier for businesses that operate in the local language to seamlessly draw insights from their data to inform decision making. Details here.

  US visual analytics software firm seeks to help businesses capture Greater Bay opportunities
     
CE urges peaceful assembly

Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged for calm and appealed to Hong Kong citizens to resolve any problems through a peaceful, rational and law-abiding manner. “I hope that society will return to order as soon as possible and I don’t want any more people to get injured in the riot,” she said, responding to the riotous acts on the streets earlier today (Jun 12). Details here.

  CE urges peaceful assembly
     
Human rights guaranteed: CE

Any party making a fugitive request would be required to guarantee a set of human rights protections before the Chief Executive decides to activate the surrender process. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Jun 11) these human rights protections hew closely to the international standards and the guarantees under the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights. Mrs Lam added that the Government had introduced further amendments to the proposed extradition law change, after listening to public views. Details here.

  Human rights guaranteed: CE
     
Fugitive bill to be further clarified

Understanding the concerns of residents who took part in the protest, the Government will further explain the fugitive bill to allay residents’ concerns, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Jun 10). These include improving communications on the bill with the public, focusing on explaining the additional safeguards that were introduced on May 30, and providing regular reports to the legislature on extradition decisions. Details here.

  Fugitive bill to be further clarified
     
Government responds to procession

In response to a public procession (Jun 9) on the fugitive bill, the Government said it acknowledges and respects that people have different views on a wide range of issues, and will continue to engage, listen and allay concerns through calm and rational discussion. The Government reiterated that the bill was prompted by the murder of a Hong Kong citizen in Taiwan which brought into sharper focus deficiencies of the existing regime dealing with mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and the surrender of fugitives. Noting that the Second Reading debate on the bill will resume on June 12, the Government urged the Legislative Council to scrutinize the bill in a calm, reasonable and respectful manner to help ensure Hong Kong remains a safe city for residents and business. Details here.

  Government responds to procession
     
HK to promote investment and trade

Pointing out that international trade and investment have been key to global economic growth and development, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the upsurge in trade protectionism posed a major threat to the global economy. Speaking during a session at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (Jun 7), Mr Chan added that trade wars do not have winners. As the world’s leading financial center, Hong Kong will continue to promote investment and trade flows between China and other countries, and also assist as China continues its reforms and opening up. Details here.

  HK to promote investment and trade
     
HK active in international crime fight

As a highly connected global city, Hong Kong has always been an active and responsible player in the international fight against crime, wrote Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (Jun 7). Under the principle of “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong is allowed to establish its own regime of reciprocal juridical assistance with other jurisdictions. Pointing out that such a framework provides the appropriate safeguards for the fugitive offenders, and more importantly be applicable to all the jurisdictions in the world, she sincerely hoped that the city is now moving in that direction. Details here.

  HK active in international crime fight
     
Stringent procedures and safeguards when handling surrender of fugitive offenders

The Department of Justice (DoJ) reiterated (Jun 6) that the surrender of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance regimes in Hong Kong are devised with reference to the guidelines and model treaties endorsed by the United Nations, and are consistent with human rights protection principles that are commonly followed by the international community. The Government has been adopting extremely stringent procedures, with appropriate human rights and procedural safeguards, in handling requests for surrender of fugitive offenders. The Judiciary and all its judicial officers will continue to exercise judicial power in a fair and just manner, free from any interference. Details here.

  Stringent procedures and safeguards when handling surrender of fugitive offenders
     
Government adopts multi-pronged approach amid trade tensions

Amid the China-US trade dispute, the Government will continue to adopt a multi-pronged strategy to explore more opportunities for Hong Kong, leveraging on the city’s unique advantages under the “one country, two systems,” said Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Jun 4). Hong Kong will actively attract foreign investors to the city and leverage on the opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development. Details here.

  Government adopts multi-pronged approach amid trade tensions
     
Multiple safeguards for extradition

Secretary for Security John Lee said (Jun 4) there are several steps to be taken when handling the surrender of fugitives, according to Section 24 of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (FOO). He pointed out the Chief Executive’s decision on whether or not to issue a surrender order is not based on directives from the Central Government but in accordance with Hong Kong laws. If Hong Kong courts are not satisfied with the set of legal conditions, the Chief Executive would not be able to issue a surrender order. Details here.

  Multiple safeguards for extradition
     
Law change benefits HK: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Jun 4) the fugitive bill is important for the city's future development and for ensuring the safety of its citizens, and allows Hong Kong to fulfill its international obligations. Speaking before the Executive Council meeting, Mrs Lam added that a lot of people welcomed the six additional measures introduced by the Government last week to alleviate public concern. The Government will continue its effort to explain the bill to the community. Details here.

  Law change benefits HK: CE
     
Government addresses concerns raised by AmCham

Responding to questions from the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham), the Government reiterated (Jun 3) that extensive human rights and procedural safeguards are in place to protect the rights of fugitive suspects, adding that the rule of law, independent judiciary as well as freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc. are Hong Kong’s core values and cornerstones of the city’s present-day success and the Government will spare no efforts to protect these values. The administration will continue its efforts to reach out to all stakeholders, including the international business community, to explain the proposed amendments, listen to their views, clarify any misunderstanding and address any concerns. Details here.

  Government addresses concerns raised by AmCham
     
FS to attend economic forum in St Petersburg

Financial Secretary Paul Chan will depart Hong Kong for Russia on June 5 to attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. The forum, running from June 6 to 8, offers a global platform for members of the business community to meet and discuss key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole. Details here.

  FS to attend economic forum in St Petersburg
     
Government to protect human rights

Speaking to media regarding the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said (Jun 2) that human rights of suspects will be protected under the proposed case-based surrender arrangement while Secretary for Security John Lee noted the Government would ask for a competent authority to represent a party requesting the surrender of a fugitive, and discuss the matter with Taiwan if the fugitive bill passes. On a separate occasion, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung stressed the Government will fully co-operate with the Legislative Council in its vetting of the fugitive bill.

Transcript of remarks by SJ and S for S on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

Vetting of fugitive law backed

  Government to protect human rights
     
April retail sales dip 4.5%

Hong Kong retail sales, provisionally estimated at US$4.8 billion (HK$37.7 billion), dipped 4.5% in April, year-on-year(May 31). The weak sales were attributed to still-cautious consumption sentiment amid external uncertainties. Details here.

  April retail sales dip 4.5%
     
Bill changes ease public concerns

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (May 31) the new measures relating to the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 addressed concerns and suggestions from a wide spectrum of bodies in the community, including lawyers who want additional assurances on the human rights front. On a separate occasion, Secretary for Security John Lee said the policy intent is to make minimum change to the current mechanism. While the process would be started by a certificate issued by the Chief Executive, the whole regime and process of examining surrender matters by both the Government and the court remain the same.

Transcript of remarks by CE at media session (with video)

Transcript of remarks by SJ and S for S at media session

  Bill changes ease public concerns
     
Government proposes bill changes

The Government has proposed additional measures to the proposed extradition bill, narrowing the scope of extraditable crimes, introducing further human rights safeguards, and strengthening protection of fugitives, said Secretary for Security John Lee (May 30). The security chief added there will be further safeguards to ensure the rights of suspects, pointing out that the Government will only consider extradition requests from other countries that are made through their top level of government. Details here.

  Government proposes bill changes
     
HK among world’s most competitive economies

Hong Kong was again ranked (May 29) the second most competitive economy by the International Institute for Management Development in its World Competitiveness Yearbook 2019. Among four competitiveness factors, Hong Kong maintained the top rank in government efficiency and was ranked second in business efficiency. Details here.

  HK among world’s most competitive economies
     
Greater Bay Area gives impetus to development: CE

Cooperation on all fronts in the Greater Bay Area will give new impetus to the development of Hong Kong and Macau as well as build a new system of open economy. Delivering the keynote speech at the AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards Gala Dinner (May 29), Chief Executive Carrie Lam added that Hong Kong will play key roles in many areas, including financial services, transport and high-end logistics. Details here.

  Greater Bay Area gives impetus to development: CE
     
HK helps investors tap into China’s growth

Hong Kong’s friendly business environment, coupled with a sound legal and regulatory regime, will enable the city to operate as a strategic center to facilitate international trade and investment, and as the pivotal gateway to the “Growing China’s Market,” said Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng at the flagship annual event (May 29) in Asia for compliance and legal organized by the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Details here.

  HK helps investors tap into China’s growth
     
Multiple safeguards and legal protection in place: SJ

Executive and judicial safeguards are in place to protect defendants’ rights, said Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng (May 29), addressing media inquiries on the proposed case-based surrender of fugitive offenders. She said the subject has the right to judicial review and a right to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal should a surrender order be issued. Committal hearing of the person will be held in open court. If the court is not satisfied with the set of conditions, no surrender action can be taken.

  Multiple safeguards and legal protection in place: SJ
     
Apolitical judiciary to consider extradition requests: CS

Hong Kong courts have the experience and expertise in handling of extradition cases, said Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung when responding to media inquiries (May 29) about the proposed extradition laws. Mr Cheung believed that Hong Kong judges can handle all these cases coming up in future with professionalism and with their skills. He added that it was inappropriate for judges to comment on political affairs, particularly on cases which may appear before them in future. Details here.

  Apolitical judiciary to consider extradition requests: CS
     
Government to address fugitive bill views

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 28) said the Government will shortly respond to feedback from different organizations on the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. She also thanked lawmakers for their support and understanding by backing the Government’s move to resume the second reading on June 12. Regarding calls for a televised debate on the bill, Mrs Lam said the law amendment is a policy and legal issue, and therefore the Legislative Council will be the most appropriate place to discuss it. Details here.

  Government to address fugitive bill views
     
Residents born in 1966 or 1967 to apply for new smart ID cards

Hong Kong residents born in 1966 or 1967 should apply for a new smart identity card at Smart Identity Card Replacement Centres from June 3 to July 26, the Immigration Department announced (May 27). Bookings can be made online, on the department’s mobile application or by calling the 24-hour hotline at (852) 2121-1234. Details here.

  Residents born in 1966 or 1967 to apply for new smart ID cards
     
Bill explanation enhanced: CS

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung (May 25) said the Government has been stepping up outreach efforts to ease concerns over the fugitive bill, adding that a lot of misconceptions about the bill stem from a lack of understanding and unnecessary fears. He reiterated the law amendment is a protection of people and also about justice in Hong Kong, making sure that the city would not become a haven for fugitive criminals. Details here.

  Bill explanation enhanced: CS
     
CE objects to asylum move

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 24) told Germany’s Acting Consul General in Hong Kong David Schmidt that she strongly objects to, and deeply regrets, the granting of asylum to two Hong Kong residents who jumped bail. She stressed that the Hong Kong’s rule of law, law enforcement agencies and judicial independence have long been held in high regard by local and international communities. Eminent judges from other common law jurisdictions serving on the Court of Final Appeal as non-permanent judges is a testimony to the integrity of Hong Kong’s rule of law and independent judiciary. She questioned whether the German authorities’ decision had been based on facts, adding that the two men were facing serious charges, including rioting and assaulting police, and their action had seriously jeopardized public order and safety. Mrs Lam said anyone accused of breaching the law in Hong Kong would face an open and fair trial. Details here.

  CE objects to asylum move
     
DOJ promotes mediation

The Department of Justice held the Mediate First Pledge Event 2019 (May 24) to highlight the wide spectrum of disputes that are suitable for mediation as well as launching a new round of social media awareness campaign. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said the department is committed to promoting mediation at the local, regional and international levels, adding that an Inclusive Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Office was established this January to co-ordinate and implement various initiatives in promoting the use of mediation and other means of dispute resolution.

Government committed to promoting mediation in Hong Kong

Speech by SJ at opening ceremony of "Mediate First" Pledge Event

  DOJ promotes mediation
     
April inflation up 2.9%

Hong Kong’s overall consumer prices rose 2.9% year-on-year in April, the Census & Statistics Department announced (May 23). Netting out the effects of all Government one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 2.9%, compared to the 2.6% increase in March. The department projects inflation will likely stay moderate in the near term. Details here.

  April inflation up 2.9%
     
Former UK judge to join HK’s top court

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has accepted the advice of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission on the appointments of two judges (May 22). One of them is the former UK Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption, who will be joining the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) as a non-permanent judge. His presence will expand the count of non-permanent judges form other common law jurisdictions at the CFA from 14 to 15. Mrs Lam said the appointments manifest Hong Kong’s judicial independence. Details here.

  Former UK judge to join HK’s top court
     
HK keeps graft in check

Speaking at an international anti-corruption symposium (May 22) that attracted well over 500 professionals from over 50 jurisdictions, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said decades of anti-corruption efforts had been rewarding for Hong Kong, making the city a vibrant international economy underpinned by the rule of law and free enterprise. Hong Kong is consistently ranked among the cleanest economy in the world. In the latest Rule of Law Index published by the World Justice Project in February, Hong Kong was ranked 16th among 126 countries and territories for its overall rule of law performance. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng added that Hong Kong will work with other jurisdictions to forge an “inclusive coalition” to fight corruption globally.

Speech by CE at opening ceremony of 7th ICAC Symposium

Speech by SJ at opening ceremony of 7th ICAC Symposium

  HK keeps graft in check
     
Inaugural green bond offering successful

Hong Kong is making strides to build its green bond market, with the successful offering of its inaugural government-backed green bond program. The deal, with an issuance size of US$1 billion and a 5-year tenor, drew a diverse group of conventional and green investors, attracting orders more than 4 times the issuance size. Financial Secretary Paul Chan (May 22) said the strong demand from global investors indicated not only their recognition of Hong Kong’s credit strength, but also their support for Hong Kong’s determination and efforts in promoting sustainable development and combating climate change. Details here.

  Inaugural green bond offering successful
     
CE backs bill reading request

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 21) said the Government’s decision to seek a second reading of the fugitive bill was a difficult one to make. Speaking before the Executive Council meeting, Mrs Lam endorsed Secretary for Security John Lee’s move to consult the House Committee Chairman to put the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 to the Legislative Council (LegCo) for a resumption of a second reading on June 12. She added that her administration is committed to enhance the relationship between the legislature and the executive and that the decision is not an act of disrespect to LegCo, but a responsible and decisive act to break the deadlock. Details here.

  CE backs bill reading request
     
Postal services to Chicago resumes

Hongkong Post announced (May 21) that, as advised by the US counterpart, mail delivery services to Chicago (postcodes 400XX to 799XX) have returned to normal. Details here.

  Postal services to Chicago resumes
     
Fugitive bill reading requested

The Government has written to the Legislative Council's House Committee asking for a second reading of the fugitive law amendment bill to be resumed on June 12. When making the announcement (May 20), Secretary for Security John Lee said that the move is being taken as the bills committee that is meant to scrutinize the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 has become ineffectual. The Government will continue to explain to various stakeholders on the Bill so as to enhance public understanding of its content. Details here.

Opening remarksby S for S at media session on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

Transcript of remarksby S for S at media session on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

  Fugitive bill reading requested
     
Strengthening free and open trade alliances

Hong Kong and like-minded economies are seeking to strengthen alliances for free and open trade through free trade agreements (FTAs), said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau at a discussion session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile (May 18). Citing the signing of the Hong Kong-Australia FTA and Investment Agreement in March, he said Hong Kong is a steadfast supporter of rules-based trading system against the prevailing uncertainties in the global economy. Details here.

  Strengthening free and open trade alliances
     
No need to adjust GDP forecast

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said (May 18) it is currently premature to adjust this year’s Gross Domestic Product forecast. Speaking to reporters after attending a radio programme, Chan said while the ongoing Sino-US trade negotiation brings volatility to financial market and business sentiment, the Government is closely monitoring the situation and will be following regular practice to update GDP forecast in August. Details here.

  No need to adjust GDP forecast
     
Unemployment steady at 2.8%

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.8% in the February-April period, unchanged from the January-March period, the Census & Statistics Department announced (May 20). The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods. Secretary for Labour & Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the labor market stayed tight and the unemployment situation improved in many major service sectors compared with a year earlier. Details here.

  Unemployment steady at 2.8%
     
CE mourns I M Pei

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 17) expressed deep sorrow over the passing of renowned Chinese American architect I M Pei. Noting that Pei lived in Hong Kong for a period of time when he was young, Mrs Lam said that his works are widely known to those in Hong Kong, including the iconic Bank of China Tower in Central, which has become the landmark of the city and the pride of the Hong Kong people. Details here.

  CE mourns I M Pei
     
Economy grows modestly in Q1

Hong Kong’s economy expanded modestly by 0.6% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Government said (May 17), as it was affected by a slowdown in exports and investments amid Sino-US trade tensions. The first quarter’s pace compares with an annual expansion of 1.2% in the previous quarter, and was slightly higher than its advance estimate of 0.5% growth. The Government will leave unchanged its full-year GDP growth forecast of 2% to 3% as announced in the Budget. Details here.

  Economy grows modestly in Q1
     
Hong Kong, Guangdong team up on tech and services

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui co-chaired the 21st Plenary of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference in Guangzhou (May 16). At the meeting, both sides reached consensus on a range of areas of co-operation, and signed an agreement on the work plan for the coming year which covers nine areas including cross-boundary infrastructure development and clearance facilitation; jointly developing an international innovation and technology hub; fostering co-operation in modern service industries; internationalised business environment; as well as taking forward the development of key co-operation platforms and arrangement of a mechanism. Details here.

  Hong Kong, Guangdong team up on tech and services
     
HK-ASEAN pact to take effect

The Investment Agreement between Hong Kong and five Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, namely Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, will enter into force on June 17. Meanwhile, the Free Trade Agreement with Laos and Vietnam under ASEAN framework will enter into force on June 11. Details here.

  HK-ASEAN pact to take effect
     
March goods exports slip 3%

The volume of Hong Kong’s total goods exports dropped 3% year-on-year in March, the Census & Statistics Department announced (May 16). Comparing the first quarter of 2019 with the same period last year, the volume of goods exports fell 4.2%, while that of goods imports dropped 5%. Details here.

  March goods exports slip 3%
     
Bill withdrawal impossible: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 16) reiterated the purpose of the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 is to remove the loopholes in the existing mechanism for surrendering fugitive offenders. She added that it is not possible to withdraw the bill as the work to mend such insufficiencies in the current mechanism is not complete. Details here.

  Bill withdrawal impossible: CE
     
Hong Kong launches Laureate Forum

The first Hong Kong Laureate Forum, a platform built on the basis of the Shaw Prize to inspire young scientists from around the world, was launched on May 14. Speaking at the launch ceremony, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said promoting science and technology education in schools at every level could ensure Hong Kong maintain a sustainable flow of talent to capture the promise of innovation and technology. The inaugural Forum will be held in November 2021 in Hong Kong and applications to attend the Forum are expected to start in 2020. Details here.

  Hong Kong launches Laureate Forum
     
CE urges respect in bill scrutiny

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 14) called on lawmakers to respect each other and fulfill their duties to vet the proposed changes to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, adding that the Government will proactively listen to legislators' views during their scrutiny of the bill at LegCo. Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said that the door is always open to any political party to exchange views on the bill. The Government will consider adopting those constructive ideas which can clarify the concerns about the bill.

CE urges respect in bill scrutiny

Transcript of remarks by CS and S for S (with video)

  CE urges respect in bill scrutiny
     
Rational discussions on extradition laws urged

The Government called on Legislative Council members to adopt a rational approach and resolve differences of opinion over the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (May 11). The Government urged lawmakers to resume rational discussions with mutual respect for each other so as to enable the legislature to restore its normal operation and scrutinize legislative proposals in a pragmatic manner. Details here.

  Rational discussions on extradition laws urged
     
Exporters backed amid tariff hike

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said (May 10) additional credit insurance measures will be extended until 2020 to support Hong Kong exporters amid the Sino-US trade dispute. He added that the general feedback from Hong Kong’s small and medium size enterprises remain calm partly because they have been preparing for the uncertainties. Meanwhile, Hong Kong will expand new market and enter new FTAs with trading partners. Details here.

  Exporters backed amid tariff hike
     
E-info required for mail to US

Starting June 1, all mail items except small and large letters to be sent to United States must have electronic customs information submitted in English at the time of posting, Hongkong Post announced (May 10). The electronic customs data can be provided using Hongkong Post's online platform or its mobile app Easy PreCustoms. Details here.

  E-info required for mail to US
     
More virtual banking licenses issued

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has issued four more virtual banking licenses to Ant SME Services, Infinium, Insight Fintech HK and Ping An OneConnect, which take effect May 9. Chief Executive of HKMA Norman Chan said the launch of virtual banks in Hong Kong, a key component of the Smart Banking Initiatives, will facilitate financial innovation, enhanced customer experience and financial inclusion. The HKMA is working closely with the eight virtual bank licensees to prepare for the launch of their business operations in around six to nine months. Details here.

  More virtual banking licenses issued
     
Hong Kong – ASEAN trade pact to take effect

The commitments made under the Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and the three Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, namely Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, will come into effect on June 11. Upon implementation, Singapore will commit to binding all its customs duties at zero, while Myanmar and Thailand will progressively eliminate and reduce their customs duties on goods originating from Hong Kong. To enjoy the preferential tariff treatment for exporting Hong Kong goods to these three places, Hong Kong traders need to comply with the relevant preferential rules of origin and requirements. On trade in services, Hong Kong service providers will enjoy better business opportunities and legal certainty in market access for a comprehensive range of services sectors. The agreement’s dates of entry into force for the remaining seven ASEAN member states will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Details here.

  Hong Kong – ASEAN trade pact to take effect
     
Applications for next generation travel documents to start

Applications for Next Generation Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Electronic Passport (e-Passport) and Electronic Document of Identity for Visa Purposes (e-Doc/I) will be accepted effective May 14. The new travel documents will be produced in compliance with the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization, with the holder’s personal data and facial image stored in digital form in the contactless chip embedded in the back cover of the documents, along with enhanced security features. The time required for processing such applications will also be shortened from 10 to five working days. Details here.

  Applications for next generation travel documents to start
     
Boundless opportunities for European business

Financial Secretary Paul Chan encouraged European businesses to harness the boundless opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and under the Belt and Road Initiative. Speaking at the Europe Day Reception (May 9), Mr Chan highlighted the strong trade ties between Hong Kong and the EU, with merchandise trade totaling €77 billion (US$86.5 billion). This makes the EU, as a single entity, the largest trading partner for the city. Details here.

  Boundless opportunities for European business
     
Government refutes US report

The Government (May 8) said that amending local extradition laws is to enhance Hong Kong’s capability to deal with fugitives of serious criminal offences and to make the city a better partner in the international fight against crime. It was responding to media enquiries on the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report on the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. Attaching the utmost importance to Hong Kong’s core values, including the rule of law and judicial independence, the Government explained that the proposed amendments make reference to the guidelines and model prescribed by the United Nations, and is fully underpinned by human rights protection principles that are prevailing in practicing regimes in many jurisdictions around the world. Details here.

  Government refutes US report
     
Business environment safe: SCED

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said (May 8) Hong Kong, as an international commerce center, attaches great importance on its ties with foreign countries, adding that such relationships, particularly economic and trade relations, are not based on the views of a particular country or its parliament, but rather on mutually beneficial relations. He said that it was implausible to suggest the proposed fugitive law amendments will affect the city’s business environment. Pointing out Hong Kong’s practice to tackle issues through an objective and systematic way of handling legislative proposals, he said that the way forward is to have the Legislative Council Bills Committee examine, scrutinize and discuss the details of Government’s proposed extradition bill, so that the Government can make the bill workable and allow different views to be expressed. Details here.

  Business environment safe: SCED
     
Government responds to European report

In response to media enquiries about a report on Hong Kong issued by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government said since its return to the Motherland, it has been handling Hong Kong affairs strictly in accordance with the “one country, two systems” principle, the Basic Law and the laws of Hong Kong. Attaching great importance to human rights and civil liberties, which are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Government attaches great importance to them and is determined to safeguard them. Details here

  Government responds to European report
     
Fugitive law scrutiny urged

Chief Executive Carrie Lam (May 7) called on the pan-democrat lawmakers to scrutinize the Government’s proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, urging them to fulfill their duty as legislators. At a press conference, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng and Secretary for Security John Lee reiterated that the proposed fugitive law change, which will maintain all existing human rights and procedural safeguards, is the best option to deal with a Taiwan homicide case involving a Hong Kong suspect and plug existing legal loopholes. Options proposed by the community, including allowing local courts to try Hong Kong suspects for serious crimes committed abroad, were impracticable and would involve fundamental changes to the city's criminal law system.

Fugitive law scrutiny urged

Opening remarks by S for S at press conference on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (with video)

Opening remarks by SJ at press conference on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (with video)

  Fugitive law scrutiny urged
     
Financial risks manageable: FS

Overall systemic risks in the local financial markets are manageable despite recent developments in Sino-US trade talks, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan (May 7). He noted Hong Kong’s financial system is in good health, adding that the Government will closely monitor the banking sector and capital markets and ensure there was adequate liquidity. Details here.

  Financial risks manageable: FS
     
HKMA introduces key measures on sustainable banking and green finance

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has unveiled three sets of measures to support and promote Hong Kong’s green finance development. Speaking at a forum (May 7), HKMA Chief Executive Norman Chan said that the Hong Kong will collaborate with the industry and other stakeholders to combat climate change risks and deliver on the green finance goals. Details here.

  HKMA introduces key measures on sustainable banking and green finance
     
Enhanced collaboration with I&T sector

The Government is keen to collaborate with leading international I&T companies and industry players to promote the sector’s development in Hong Kong, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the opening ceremony of Singapore-based ASM Pacific Technology’s Hong Kong office and R&D center (May 6). Pointing out that the government had introduced a super deduction in profits tax for companies’ R&D spending, Mrs Lam urged private enterprises to also invest in R&D so as to achieve the target of increasing total R&D expenditure to 1.5 per cent of Hong Kong’s GDP. Details here.

  Enhanced collaboration with I&T sector
     
HKMA, World Bank Group cohost session on impact investing

Hong Kong will continue to work with market leaders to build industry capacity in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and impact investing management, with a view to further promoting sustainable infrastructure, particularly in emerging economies, said Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office Eddie Yue at a seminar cohosted with World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (May 6). Details here.

  HKMA, World Bank Group cohost session on impact investing
     
Intellectual Property List in Court of First Instance of High Court set up

To better protect intellectual property (IP) rights, specialist Judges will be assigned to handle IP cases, the Judiciary announced (May 6). The efforts aim to better manage court cases and increase efficiency in resolving the IP disputes. Details here.

  Intellectual Property List in Court of First Instance of High Court set up
     
Slower economic growth in Q1 2019

Hong Kong’s economy grew by 0.5 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, following an 1.2 percent increase in the fourth quarter last year, according to advance estimates (May 2). The slower growth was attributed to weaker global economic performance, and weaker exports and investments. The modest year-on-year growth in the first quarter also reflected the high base of comparison in the same quarter of last year, when the economy grew strongly by 4.6%. Details here.

  Slower economic growth in Q1 2019
     
Gov’t urges lawmakers to discuss extradition laws on Bills Committee

While the Government has taken quite a bit of time to study Hong Kong’s domestic legislation and overseas jurisdictions’ practice before coming up with the legislative proposals, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Apr 30) the Administration will attentively listen to lawmakers’ opinions on the bill. The government would follow up if there are good suggestions and practical proposals which would allay public concerns and achieve the two objectives of this legislative exercise. Secretary for Security John Lee urged the Legislative Council to start the process of scrutinizing the bill, and discussing with and exchanging opinions with the Government.

Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo meeting (with video)

S for S speaks on Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

  Gov’t urges lawmakers to discuss extradition laws on Bills Committee
     
Law change views will be heard

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said (Apr 28) the Government would listen to the community’s views on the proposed legislative amendments to the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019. Urging the Legislative Council (LegCo) Bills Committee to start its work as soon as possible, Mr Cheung said the government would also explain the amendments in details when they are examined by the LegCo in order He added that all existing human rights and procedural safeguards are in place under the case-based arrangements, including the double criminality principle. The executive authority and the court will perform their respective gate-keeping roles in handling surrender requests. Details here.

  Law change views will be heard
     
Award-winning Hong Kong film featured in Chicago

Hong Kong award-winning film “Tracey” had its Chicago premiere as the Closing Night film of the 8th Asian Pop-Up Cinema (Apr 26), with director Jun Li in attendance. Taking part in the question and answer session, Li spoke about his involvement in the movie as a scriptwriter and director and his experience helming his first feature-length film. Nominated for nine awards, “Tracey” won the Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor prizes at the recent Hong Kong Film Awards. The film was screened in partnership with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York. Details here.

  Award-winning Hong Kong film featured in Chicago
     
HK-US cooperate to combat illegal hazardous e-waste

Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has been working closely with international law enforcement agencies to combat illegal hazardous waste import and export activities. Recently, the EPD cooperated with US authorities in the successful prosecution of a US recycling operator, who was involved in illegal export of e-waste to Hong Kong. Since 2016, the EPD has intercepted a total of 30 cases of illegally imported hazardous waste from the US. Details here.

  HK-US cooperate to combat illegal hazardous e-waste
     
HK contributes to Belt & Road connectivity: CE

A high-level Hong Kong delegation, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, participated in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing (Apr 25). Addressing the international audience at the opening of a thematic forum, Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong, as a well-developed city with rich experience in city management, is prepared to share its knowledge and expertise with the Belt and Road counterparts to contribute to people-to-people connectivity. Also joining the forum included Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau, and Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas W Yang, each spoke at different thematic forums on Hong Kong’s advantages in dispute resolution, finance and professional services, as well as innovation and technology development. Details here.

  HK contributes to Belt & Road connectivity: CE
     
HK suspends poultry meat and products import from Monterey County, California

In view of a notification from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about an outbreak of low-pathogenic H5 avian influenza in Monterey County, California, Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety has instructed the trade to suspend imports of poultry meat and products like eggs from the county until further notice. Details here.

  HK suspends poultry meat and products import from Monterey County, California
     
‘All must abide by the law’: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Apr 24) Hong Kong is a society where the rule of law is always upheld, and both the Government and the public must respect and strictly abide by the law. Speaking ahead of the court sentencing on the Occupy Central case, Mrs Lam said the Government fully respects freedom of speech, assembly and the right to take part in public processions, adding that the case has not affected such rights. Details here.

  All must abide by the law: CE
     
March inflation up 2.1%

Overall consumer prices rose 2.1% year-on-year in March, according to the Census & Statistics Department (Apr 23). The government expects inflation to remain moderate in the near term, due to earlier consolidation of fresh-letting residential rentals and easing external price pressures. Details here.

  March inflation up 2.1%
     
HK Laureate Forum created for cross-cultural dialogue

The inaugural Hong Kong Laureate Forum will be held in November 2021, bringing together the current and next generations of scientific leaders. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the creation of such an international platform, leveraging on the homegrown international award, the Shaw Prize, will foster international dialogue and cooperation in scientific research. It will also further the understanding of science and its contribution to humanity. A launch ceremony will be held on May 14, with several Shaw laureates joining the ceremony to pledge their support for this initiative. Details here.

  HK Laureate Forum created for cross-cultural dialogue
     
HK to participate at 2nd Belt and Road Forum

Chief Executive Carrie Lam will lead a high-level Hong Kong delegation to the second Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing (Apr 25 - 27). The forum will discuss development policy co-ordination, infrastructure connectivity, sustainable development and other topics of common interest. Mrs Lam said Hong Kong’s participation will enhance its role and position as a key link for the Belt & Road Initiative. Details here.

  HK to participate at 2nd Belt and Road Forum
     
Unemployment stays at 2.8%

Hong Kong’s labor market stayed tight in January – March 2019, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate staying unchanged at 2.8% and 1.0% respectively. Looking ahead, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong (Apr 18) expected the labor market to remain largely stable in the near term. Details here.

  Unemployment stays at 2.8%
     
HK: International arbitration hub

Hong Kong is determined to continue enhancing itself as an international hub for legal and dispute-resolution services, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the International Dispute Resolution Conference 2019 (Apr 17). Aside from dedicated training for mediators, the city is also deploying innovation and technology in dispute resolution. Mrs Lam added that Hong Kong will be implementing the world’s first online deal-making and dispute-resolution platform for cross-border commercial and trade disputes, electronic Business Related Arbitration and Mediation (eBRAM), in hopes of cutting arbitration costs by removing face-to-face meetings and long-distance travel. Details here.

  HK: International arbitration hub
     
Extradition law changes needed urgently

Speaking ahead of Executive Council meeting (Apr 16), Chief Executive Carrie Lam reiterated the two purposes of amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. The first is to provide a legal basis to deal with the Taiwan case, and the other is to plug a loophole in the existing arrangements for the return or the surrender of fugitive offenders. No matter what the circumstances may be, the Government will continue to improve the current legal framework to discharge an international obligation that will help to safeguard and uphold the rule of law and justice in Hong Kong. Details here.

  Extradition law changes needed urgently
     
Film industry to be bolstered

The Government welcomed the Central authorities’ five relaxation measures to further facilitate the entry of Hong Kong films and film practitioners into the Mainland market, and expanding markets for film industries of the two places. Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said (Apr 16) he believed Hong Kong’s film industry would take full advantage of the new measures, while continuing to leverage existing advantages, to expand Mainland and overseas markets and further promote the brand of Hong Kong Films. Details here.

  Film industry to be bolstered
     
Jan, Feb exports dip 4.8% y-o-y

Total exports of goods for the first two months of 2019 decreased by 4.8% compared with the same period last year (Apr 16). The volume of imports of goods decreased by 6.7%. Details here.

  Jan, Feb exports dip 4.8% y-o-y
     
Tech heavyweights gather at HK’s Internet Economy Summit

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Hong Kong embraces innovation and technology as the city’s new growth engine with renewed commitment to increase R&D capability. Addressing renowned experts, industry leaders and government officials gathering at the two-day Internet Economy Summit (Apr 15-16), Mrs Lam said the government R&D expenditure as a ratio to GDP will be doubled to 1.5 per cent by 2022. In parallel, there has been encouraging response from international firms, universities and research institutions to set up their laboratories in Hong Kong, especially in the health technologies and AI and robotics research clusters. Details here.

  Tech heavyweights gather at HK’s Internet Economy Summit
     
HK wins awards at 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva

Hong Kong enterprises have garnered multiple awards at this year’s 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (Apr 10-14), including the Grand Prize for a recyclable lithium car battery that does not create any pollution throughout its life cycle. The world’s first robot system for replacing and collecting traffic cones and warning lanterns for road works, by Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Highways Department, earned an Honorable Mention and a Gold Medal with Congratulations of the Jury. The robotic system is tailor-made for busy road conditions and aimed at improving worksite safety. Details here.

  HK wins awards at 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva
     
FS concludes US visit

Financial Secretary Paul Chan met with innovation and technology (I&T) firms as well as a related organization to explore how to spur Hong Kong’s economic development through further promoting I&T. On the last day of his visit in San Francisco, Mr Chan said Hong Kong’s tech and innovation push involves multiple fronts, namely enriching the talent pool, increasing R&D capability, and building a solid ecosystem. He encouraged US tech companies to leverage Hong Kong’s connectivity to springboard new ventures in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and beyond. Details here.

  FS concludes US visit
     
HKMA, IFC ink landmark deal on green finance

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has signed a MOU (Apr 11) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in Washington DC to co-organize IFC’s Sixth Annual Climate Business Forum in Hong Kong in early 2020. The agreement signifies HKMA’s commitments toward green finance and establishing Hong Kong as a global hub for environmentally-aware investments.
Details here.

  HKMA, IFC ink landmark deal on green finance
     
Secretary Chief speaks on extradition amendments

Speaking to the media (Apr 12), Secretary for Security John Lee said the Government will ensure that any person, who may be subject to extradition, will have his/her legal and human rights fully protected. These safeguards are currently contained in the present Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, which has been in operation smoothly and successfully in the past almost 22 years. Details here.

  Secretary Chief speaks on extradition amendments
     
FS promotes I&T co-operation in San Francisco

Financial Secretary Paul Chan promoted innovation and technology (I&T) cooperation between Hong Kong and the US and encouraged venture capitalists to look to Hong Kong for investment opportunities as he began his itinerary in San Francisco (Apr 10), He said that the Government has devoted resources to take advantage of the huge opportunities brought about by the development of AI and robotic technologies. Details here.

  FS promotes I&T co-operation in San Francisco
     
Mails to Chicago area subject to delay

Hongkong Post announced (Apr 11) that, as advised by the US postal administration, due to mail backlog at the Chicago mail processing center, all mail delivery services to Chicago (postcodes 400XX to 799XX) are subject to delay. Details here.

  Mails to Chicago area subject to delay
     
Judicial independence upheld: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said claims that judicial means were used to carry out political prosecution in a recent court ruling are unfounded. Speaking to the media (Apr 10), Mrs Lam said the Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong has an independent judiciary, and that prosecutorial decisions made by the Department of Justice were free from interference. She also cited remarks by Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Geoffrey Ma who said it is no part of a court’s function or duty to adjudicate on political, social or economic issues. Details here.

  Judicial independence upheld: CE
     
FS explores I&T collaboration in Seattle

Financial Secretary Paul Chan called on (Apr 9) Seattle’s tech industry executives to tap into Hong Kong’s world-class infrastructure and deep pool of professionals and explore more innovation and technology (I&T) collaboration between Hong Kong and the US. He added that the Greater Bay Area is poised to become an international I&T powerhouse, connecting the region’s upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. Details here.

  FS explores I&T collaboration in Seattle
     
Hong Kong maintains competitiveness

Despite a dimmer global economic outlook, Hong Kong will continue to enhance the resilience of its financial system, further improve the regulatory regime, and boost investor confidence and protection, consolidating Hong Kong’s unrivalled status as an international financial and risk management center, Acting Financial Secretary James Lau told industry executives and policymakers at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association annual general meeting in Hong Kong (Apr 10). Details here.

  Hong Kong maintains competitiveness
     
“Insurance Connect” mooted

The “insurance connect” initiative, covering medical and motor insurance products, could be implemented as part of the mutual access to financial products between Hong Kong and other cities in the Greater Bay Area, said Acting Financial Secretary James Lau (Apr 10). The recently-released Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area supports enhanced connectivity in the bay area with respect to financial products, which would include insurance. Details here.

  “Insurance Connect” mooted
     
Fourth virtual banking license issued

Hong Kong Monetary Authority has granted a banking license to Welab Digital Limited (Apr 10), making the homegrown fintech company the 4th virtual bank in Hong Kong. Welab Digital plans to launch its services within six to nine months. Details here.

  Fourth virtual banking license issued
     
Safeguards in place for extradition law

There are clear safeguards for the proposed revisions to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, said Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung (Apr 9). He noted that with the city’s rule or law and judicial independence, the entire procedure will be transparent, with the Department of Justice and the Court of Final Appeal as gatekeepers and judicial review procedures to provide protection. Details here.

  Safeguards in place for extradition law
     
FS promotes I&T ties in Seattle

Financial Secretary Paul Chan started his US visit program in Seattle (April 8), meeting with Senior Deputy Mayor of Seattle Michael Fong and senior executives of the tech industry to bolster Hong Kong-US links in economy and trade as well as in innovation and technology (I&T). Mr Chan said the Government is pushing for I&T development in four key areas, namely biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city and fintech amid growth opportunities from development in the Greater Bay Area. Details here.

  FS promotes I&T ties in Seattle
     
USTR withdraws incorrect statement about Hong Kong from its report

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has retracted an incorrect statement about Hong Kong from its recent 2019 National Trade Estimate Report published on March 29. The move came a week after Hong Kong government’s Economic and Trade Offices in Washington and Geneva followed up with the relevant US authorities on April 1 to convey its concerns and clarify that Hong Kong has, since 1996, fulfilled its notification obligation. Details here.

  USTR withdraws incorrect statement about Hong Kong from its report
     
Customs seizes US$2 million record haul of rhino horns

Hong Kong customs confiscated 82.5 kilograms of rhino horns from South Africa worth over US$2 million (HK$16.5 million) from a transshipment cargo at the Hong Kong International Airport. This was the highest single seizure by the department in the past five years. Under Hong Kong laws, anyone found guilty of importing an endangered species faces a maximum fine of US$1.28 million (HK$10 million) and up to 10 years in jail. Details here.

  Customs seizes US$2 million record haul of rhino horns
     
FS to visit US West Coast

Financial Secretary Paul Chan will depart Hong Kong for the United States on April 7 for a four-day visit to strengthen innovation and technology (I&T) ties between the two places. Mr Chan will visit relevant companies in Seattle and San Francisco and meet with US officials to exchange views on I&T’s role in economic development. Details here.

  FS to visit US West Coast
     
Hong Kong: Leading aviation hub

Hong Kong will play a leading role as an international aviation hub, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Airports Council International World Annual General Assembly, the aviation industry’s flagship event held in Hong Kong for the first time. Mrs Lam said as the world’s busiest cargo airport as well as the world’s third-busiest international passenger airport, Hong Kong International Airport constantly enhances services through innovative measures, such as inter-modal code-sharing, connecting travelers with more than 220 destinations worldwide. A third runway is scheduled to be commissioned in 2022, along with new and expanded passenger facilities. Details here.

  Hong Kong: Leading aviation hub
     
Government responds to US trade report

A report by the US Trade Representative has made an inaccurate statement about Hong Kong due to its misinterpretation of the World Trade Organization requirement, the Government said (Apr 2). Responding to the 2019 National Trade Estimate Report, the Government clarified that Hong Kong, as a founding member of the WTO, has fulfilled its notification obligations under the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement since 1996. Hong Kong, as a free port, does not impose any customs duties on imported goods. Meanwhile, the Government acknowledges the positive remarks made in the Report on Hong Kong’s robust intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. Details here.

  Government responds to US trade report
     
Progress in Hong Kong-Shenzhen cooperation

Substantial progress has been made on different fronts as Hong Kong and Shenzhen continue to co-operate and actively participate in the Greater Bay Area development, said Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung at the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Co-operation Meeting in Shenzhen (Apr 2). Mr Cheung cited the Lok Ma Chau Loop’s Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park as an example for I&T collaboration between the two cities, where the first batch of land parcels will be made available for construction by 2021 or earlier. Details here.

  Progress in Hong Kong-Shenzhen cooperation
     
Agreement on arbitral proceedings signed

Hong Kong and China signed an arrangement on mutual assistance in court-ordered interim measures in aid of arbitral proceedings (Apr 2). Following the signing, Hong Kong has become the first jurisdiction outside the Mainland where, as a seat of arbitration, parties to arbitral proceedings administered would be able to apply to the Mainland courts for interim measures. Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said the arrangement would strengthen legal co-operation between the two places and further enhances Hong Kong’s status as a center for international arbitration, international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific Region. Details here.

  Agreement on arbitral proceedings signed
     
HK int’l airport plays key role in connect and excel: CE

The 21-year-old Hong Kong International Airport has helped shape Hong Kong into the global financial services and trade center it is today, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told the audience at the Airports Council International Joint World Governing and Regional Board Dinner in Hong Kong (Mar 31). By taking full advantage of the Greater Bay Area with the commissioning of the third runway in 2022, she believes the world-class Hong Kong airport will play a critical role in carrying Hong Kong into the future, connecting the city with the Greater Bay Area and the Mainland, with Asia and the world beyond. Details here.

  HK int’l airport plays key role in connect and excel: CE
     
World’s Best Airport Immigration Service

The Hong Kong Immigration Department has been voted the winner of the 2019 best airport immigration service award in Skytrax’s World Passenger Survey. This is the third time for Hong Kong to receive the award after winning the title in 2015 and 2016. More than 13 million air passengers took part in the survey, which covered over 550 airports worldwide. Details here.

  World’s Best Airport Immigration Service
     
Security chief continues to explain fugitive law revision

Secretary for Security John Lee said (Mar 30) revisions to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance aims to fight organized crime and would benefit the city’s business environment. Under the revised mechanism, Hong Kong will be allowed to deal with a jurisdiction’s request on a case-by-case basis when that jurisdiction does not have a long-term agreement with Hong Kong. Details here.

  Security chief continues to explain fugitive law revision
     
Weak retail sales recorded for first two months of 2019

Hong Kong retail sales growth slowed in first two months of 2019 and dampened consumer sentiment due to external uncertainties. The Census and Statistics Department estimated the value of total retail sales for the months of Jan. and Feb. decreased by 1.6% compared with the same period in 2018. The near-term outlook for retail sales should continue by moderating global economic growth but Hong Kong’s full employment situation and the sustained growth in inbound tourism should provide some support, the Government said. Details here.

  https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201904/01/P2019040100341.htm
     
HK envisions closer relations with ASEAN: CE

Hong Kong will leverage its unique “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement to continue develop meaningful economic, trade and cultural ties with ASEAN nations, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the “ASEAN-China Governors/Mayors' Dialogue” session at the Boao Forum (Mar 29), adding that Hong Kong is an ideal partner for Belt and Road projects and other regional cooperation initiatives. Details here.

  HK envisions closer relations with ASEAN: CE
     
Museum of Art to reopen in November

Closed for renovation since August 2015, the Hong Kong Museum of Art located in Tsim Sha Tsui is set to reopen this November. The total exhibition area will increase by about 40%, with the number of galleries up from seven to 12. This includes a 9-metre-high gallery in the new annex block, which can accommodate large-sized artworks. Details here.

  Museum of Art to reopen in November
     
New adventures at HK Disneyland

The first Marvel attraction based on the “Ant-Man and The Wasp” movie at any Disney theme park in the world has opened at the Hong Kong Disneyland (Mar 28). At the opening ceremony, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the theme park located on Lantau Island has been a major tourist attraction since it opened in 2005, attracting more than 77 million visitors from all over the world to date. Details here.

  New adventures at HK Disneyland
     
Applications for Common Recruitment Examination and Basic Law Test to open

The 2019 Common Recruitment Examination (CRE) and Basic Law Test (BLT), prerequisite for applying for Hong Kong Government positions at the degree or professional level, will be held in Hong Kong on June 1 and 8. Application period to sit for the exams will open from March 29 to April 11. Details here.

  Applications for Common Recruitment Examination and Basic Law Test to open
     
Three virtual banking licenses issued

Hong Kong Monetary Authority has granted virtual banking licences to Livi VB, SC Digital Solutions and ZhongAn Virtual Finance. The Authority's Chief Executive Norman Chan said the introduction of virtual banks in Hong Kong is a key pillar supporting the city's entry into the Smart Banking Era and is a major milestone in reinforcing Hong Kong's position as a premier international financial centre. Details here.

  Three virtual banking licenses issued
     
Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise

The second cycle of the Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise will start on Jun 3. Eligible applicants (holders of existing HKICs born in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967) are encouraged to pre-fill the application form when making appointments through the Internet or mobile application. Details here.

  Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise
     
Decreases registered in external merchandise trade

Similar to the situations in many other Asian economies, Hong Kong's merchandise exports remained weak in early 2019, dampened by easing global economic growth and the US-Mainland trade tensions. Total exports and imports of goods in Feb 2019 fell 6.9% and 3.8% year-on-year respectively. The Government would remain vigilant amid the challenging external environment. Details here.

  Decreases registered in external merchandise trade
     
Fugitive law revision to be gazetted

The Chief Executive-in-Council (Mar 26) endorsed the submission of the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 to the Legislative Council. The Bill will be published in the Gazette on March 29, with First Reading on April 3. The government reiterated the objectives of the Bill are to address a homicide case and to plug the loopholes in Hong Kong’s overall mechanism in juridical assistance. Details here.

  Fugitive law revision to be gazetted
     
HK, Australia sign free trade and investment agreements

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment Simon Birmingham in Sydney (Mar 26), covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment and other related areas between the two places. Hong Kong will continue to make full use of its unique status conferred by the Basic Law and the principle of "one country, two systems" to expand its FTA network, with a view to achieving deeper economic integration with different parts of the world. Details here.

  HK, Australia sign free trade and investment agreements
     
HK to play an active role in Greater Bay Area

Hong Kong’s financial prowess and connectivity will be on full display with the development of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the China Development Forum in Beijing (Mar 25). She said Hong Kong will play an active role in GBA development, with various initiatives to advance Hong Kong’s I&T capability. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s deep and liquid capital market would promote the commercial application of technological achievements. Details here.

  HK to play an active role in Greater Bay Area
     
Government backs green finance development

Hong Kong was the No.1 green bonds trading venue in Asia and fifth in the world last year, said Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung at a Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency event (Mar 25). The Government will continue to support and develop Hong Kong into a green finance hub and encourage local, Mainland and overseas enterprises to make use of the city’s capital markets for financing their environmentally aware projects. Details here.

  Government backs green finance development
     
Government rejects US Report

In response to media enquiries (Mar 22) about the US Department of State’s Hong Kong Policy Act Report, the Government said human rights and freedom in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation. The Government is determined to safeguard them. Details here.

  Government rejects US Report
     
HK strengths clearly recognized in Greater Bay Area plan

The Greater Bay Area will strengthen Hong Kong’s status as a global offshore RMB business hub and international asset and risk management center, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the Bloomberg Invest Asia forum in Hong Kong (Mar 21), adding that the development of the megalopolis would create massive opportunities for businesses. Hong Kong’s unique advantage under the “one country, two systems” along with a legal system rooted in the rule of law makes Hong Kong an ideal place to connect the Mainland and the world. Details here.

  HK strengths clearly recognized in Greater Bay Area plan
     
Exchange rate stability well maintained: HKMA

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority would continue to maintain exchange rate stability in accordance with the linked exchange rate system, said Chief Executive of HKMA Norman Chan. He pointed out that despite the US Fed’s decision to hold rates steady, interest rate differentials between Hong Kong dollar and US dollar remains. Details here.

  Exchange rate stability well maintained: HKMA
     
Grasping opportunities brought by Belt & Road Initiative

The Government will continue to forge economic partnerships with other economies, including the Belt & Road countries and regions to help Hong Kong enterprises and investors expand overseas, said Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Bernard Chan. Addressing lawmakers (Mar 20), he added that the Government and HKTDC will again be co-organizing the 4th B&R Summit in September to promote and foster Hong Kong as an international commerce and trading platform. Details here.

  Grasping opportunities brought by Belt & Road Initiative
     
Extradition law revision urgently needed: CE

The Government’s proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance are intended to pursue judicial justice in criminal cases and protect public safety, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam before attending an ExCo meeting (Mar 19). She added that it is important to plug the loophole as soon as possible. Details here.

  Extradition law revision urgently needed: CE
     
HK committed to I&T development: FS

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said the Government is committed to the development of the I&T sector, with investment priorities in I&T infrastructure, R&D, and talent development. Progress has been made with the HK$10 billion (US$1.28 billion) earmarked in 2018 to boost two innovative clusters (AI/robotics and healthcare tech). He told business leaders at the Joint Business Community Luncheon (Mar 19) that Hong Kong universities are partnering with top overseas schools such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and MIT to set up research projects in Hong Kong, creating new opportunities. Details here.

  HK committed to I&T development: FS
     
Key Economic indicators

· Q4 2018 GDP increased by 1.3% year-on-year
· Overall 2018 GDP increased by 3.0% year-on-year. Details here.

  Key Economic indicators
     
HK continues to enjoy full employment

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the labor market remained in full employment in Dec 2018 – Feb 2019. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.8%, while the underemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 1.0%. Details here.

  HK continues to enjoy full employment
     
CE meets members of Congressional US-China Working Group

Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed the hope that Hong Kong and US will strengthen mutually beneficial co-operation and expand common interests during a meeting with members of Congressional US-China Working Group (Mar 18). Mrs Lam pointed out that Hong Kong is striving to advance the development of I&T and more US institutions and technology firms are encouraged to establish a presence in the city. Currently, US is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner and enjoys the highest trade surplus with Hong Kong among all other economies. Details here.

  CE meets members of Congressional US-China Working Group
     
HKU partners with Japan’s Tohoku University for transformative AI development

A transformative AI or robotics technologies research centre will be jointly set up in Hong Kong by the University of Hong Kong and Tohoku University. Witnessing the signing of the collaboration agreement (Mar 16), Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang said the Government is providing policy and tax incentives to enhance Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem with the vision to make the city a global hub for R&D. Details here.

  HKU partners with Japan’s Tohoku University for transformative AI development
     
“One country, two systems” successfully implemented: CS

The “one country, two systems” has proven a successful innovation, said Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung at the plenary meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (Mar 15) in Geneva, adding that the Government is committed to upholding the principle of “one country” whilst leveraging Hong Kong’s unique advantages under “two systems.” The SAR will seize the immense opportunities of the national Belt & Road Initiative and Greater Bay Area development to propel forward. Details here.

  “One country, two systems” successfully implemented: CS
     
Human rights fully protected: Gov’t

Human rights and freedom in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other relevant legislation, said a government spokesperson in response to a US Department of State' report. Details here.

  Human rights fully protected: Gov’t
     
STH promotes HK’s maritime strengths in Copenhagen

As one of the world’s busiest ports, Hong Kong provides about 310 container liner services per week connecting to around 450 destinations worldwide. With more than 800 shipping-related companies, the city offers professional service ranging from ship management, ship broking and chartering to marine insurance, maritime law and arbitration. The Government is providing tax incentives and additional support so more enterprises can take advantage of Hong Kong’s status as an international maritime hub and seize the opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area developments and beyond. Details here.

  STH promotes HK’s maritime strengths in Copenhagen
     
HK imposes temporary ban on Boeing 737 MAX

The Civil Aviation Department has decided to temporarily prohibit operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into, out of and over Hong Kong, as a precautionary measure to ensure aviation safety and protect the public. The temporary ban took effect 6 pm, Mar 13 (Hong Kong time) and will continue until further notice. Details here.

  HK imposes temporary ban on Boeing 737 MAX
     
HK removed from EU tax watchlist

Hong Kong welcomed the European Union’s decision to remove the SAR from its watchlist on tax co-operation. Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury James Lau (Mar 13) said Hong Kong has all along supported and facilitated the efforts of the international community in enhancing tax transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion. Since 2018, Hong Kong has implemented various initiatives such as the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, fulfilling the commitments made to the EU. Details here.

  HK removed from EU tax watchlist
     
Smart Government Innovation Lab to open in April: FS

More I&T initiatives and programs are in the pipeline as Hong Kong forges ahead with its Smart City goals, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan (Mar 12) at the 30th anniversary gala of GS1 Hong Kong, the pioneer in global barcode standards. Mr Chan noted that smart government programs such as eID are making good progress while the government’s innovation lab will open this April, allowing tech startups to bid for digital public services contracts. Details here.

  Smart Government Innovation Lab to open in April: FS
     
No Boeing 737 registered in HK: CAD

Responding to media inquiries, the Civil Aviation Department said (Mar 12) there are no Boeing 737 aircraft (including B737 MAX) registered in Hong Kong. CAD added that it will closely monitor the developments as the US Federation Aviation Administration affirms the airworthiness of B737 MAX aircraft and as the investigation into the Ethiopian Airlines accident continues. Details here.

  No Boeing 737 registered in HK: CAD
     
CE opens Malvern College Hong Kong

Recognizing the importance of a vibrant international school scene to meet the needs of Hong Kong’s large and growing global community, Chief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the opening of Malvern College Hong Kong (Mar 11). Drawing on its British boarding school heritage, the school will help expand the educational horizons and affirms Hong Kong as “Asia’s world city”. Hong Kong is home to Asia’s largest international school sector, with more than 50 international schools in the city. Details here.

  CE opens Malvern College Hong Kong
     
HK courts to be gatekeeper on extradition: FS

Financial Secretary Paul Chan said he had heard the concerns raised by the business community on the proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance (Mar 9), explaining that justification for the extradition must be an act that is considered to be criminal in both Hong Kong and the jurisdiction where the act has been committed. Plus, Hong Kong courts will be the gatekeeper as there will be a court procedure in deciding whether the extradition is allowed. Details here.

  HK courts to be gatekeeper on extradition: FS
     
HK set for rewarding future

Asset and wealth managed in Hong Kong hit a new high of US$3.1 trillion in 2017, with 66% of that coming from external investors, amply demonstrating Hong Kong’s attractiveness to international investors, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the Alternative Investment Management Association’s APAC Annual Forum (Mar 7). Aside from stock connects and development of the bond market, Mr Chan said, the Government is taking steps to leverage opportunities arising from the Greater Bay Area to develop high value-added financial and professional services. Details here.

  HK set for rewarding future
     
HKU and Tencent collaborate on fintech

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Tencent Academy of Finance are teaming up to cultivate local fintech talent and collaborate on fintech R&D projects. HKU will also launch a fintech course in September that allows students to take on internship at Tencent as well as participating in professional workshops and guest lectures. Witnessing the MoU signing (Mar 6), Financial Secretary Paul Chan said this business-education partnership will further enhance Hong Kong’s position in fintech. Details here.

  HKU and Tencent collaborate on fintech
     
HK appoints new member to HKEX Board

The Government has appointed Mary Ma Xuezheng to the board of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. Anita Fung Yuen-mei, Rafael Gil-Tienda and Stephen Yiu Kin-wah were re-appointed. They will serve for a term of around two years till 2021. Financial Secretary Paul Chan believed the directors would work closely to further develop of Hong Kong as a capital raising and risk management platform. Details here.

  HK appoints new member to HKEX Board
     
Measures to facilitate HKers to work in GBA announced

Chief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the eight measures endorsed by the central government, after attending a high-level meeting in Beijing over the Greater Bay Area development (Mar 1). The measures involve giving tax subsidies to Hong Kong professionals who go to work in the Guangdong cities and encouraging young Hong Kong entrepreneurs to set up business in the region. Details here.

  Measures to facilitate HKers to work in GBA announced
     
HK looks to become top exchange in Asian time zone

HKEx has unveiled its new strategic plan to accomplish the vision of being the global markets leader, connecting China and the world. Already a leading global IPO venue and fundraising hub, the bourse aims to reinforce Hong Kong as an international financial center with a rich product ecosystem. Details here.

  HK looks to become top exchange in Asian time zone
     
HK looks to close legal loophole on fugitives

The Security Bureau has submitted a proposal to the Legislative Council to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters to allow Hong Kong to handle requests for assistance and surrender of offenders on a case-by-case basis with any place with which Hong Kong has not signed a long-term agreement. Secretary for Security John Lee explained that the suggested changes aimed at plugging the legal loophole, so that criminals can no longer escape the long arm of the law. The Government will carefully analyze the community’s views on its proposals before submitting the bill to LegCo, Lee added. Details here.

  HK looks to close legal loophole on fugitives
     
CE opens Bangkok ETO, expanding HK’s global network

Hong Kong’s 13th overseas office and the 3rd in ASEAN has opened (Feb 28). Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the establishment of the Bangkok office will further enable Hong Kong to explore the ASEAN market and expand the market coverage in the region, following the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Hong Kong and ASEAN in 2017. The new office will serve as a catalyst for closer cooperation in trade and economic, as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Details here.

  CE opens Bangkok ETO, expanding HK’s global network
     
FS uses Budget to help diversify economy, promote financial services and I&T

Hong Kong’s economic fundamentals remain strong, with a 3% GDP growth in 2018, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan in his budget speech (Feb 27). The 2019-20 Budget included a raft of measures and new spending initiatives to spur economic development and diversify the city’s economy. Details here.

  FS uses Budget to help diversify economy, promote financial services and I&T
     
HK PolyU, Royal College of Art to partner for AI design

The two universities will set up an AI design lab in HK to boost product design and service delivery. Witnessing the MoU signing (Feb 26), Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was hopeful the collaboration would contribute in building Hong Kong into an I&T hub, a policy priority of the government. Details here.

  HK PolyU, Royal College of Art to partner for AI design
     
Developing future-ready talent in HK

HK has launched a 3-year pilot upskilling program for higher diploma students of the Vocational Training Council (Feb 25). The Future-Ready Talent Incubation Program, sponsored by JP Morgan Chase Foundation, prepares students for STEM careers and fosters HK’s goal to become an innovation-driven smart city. Details here.

  Developing future-ready talent in HK
     
Robust growth for HK’s green bond market

Green bonds arranged and issued in HK had a banner year in 2018, totaling US$ 11 billion, a 237% surge from 2017. With gov’t backing and new opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, the SAR is taking steps to become a major hub of green finance, providing funding for environmentally aware projects. Details here.

  Robust growth for HK’s green bond market
     
HK envisions new momentum in Greater Bay: CE

It’s time for HK to change from being a “connector” of the overseas world with the mainland, into an “active participant” and thus turning the SAR into a major beneficiary of the Greater Bay Area plan, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the symposium on the Greater Bay Area Outline Development Plan (Feb 21). She also vowed to deepen cooperation with stakeholders in the Greater Bay in search for new growth areas. Details here

  HK envisions new momentum in Greater Bay: CE
     
HKMA chief Norman Chan to retire in October

Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan will retire from his post on October 1, ending a decade-long tenure. Financial Secretary Paul Chan praised him for playing a pivotal role in the international financial system reform agenda after the 2008 global financial crisis. Details here.

  HKMA chief Norman Chan to retire in October
     
New fraud alert system to protect homeowners

Hong Kong’s Land Registry offers a “Property Alert” service that can help the city’s property owners residing overseas to stay on top of potential issues, such as any repair notices or orders issued by the Building Authority, and identify possible fraudulent activities against the property’s title. Details here.

  New fraud alert system to protect homeowners
     
HK welcomes Greater Bay Area development blueprint

HK has welcomed the promulgation by the Central Government of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Feb 18). Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Gov’t had actively participated in the drafting process. The comprehensive plan that involves HK and Macau SARs and nine southern Chinese cities highlighted HK’s strengths in market-driven mechanism, I&T, international connections as well as identifying new areas of growth for HK. Details here.

  HK welcomes Greater Bay Area development blueprint
     
Corporate summer intern scheme 2019 accepts applications

Eighteen leading companies in HK are participating in the Gov’t scheme to provide more than 280 mainland and overseas summer internship places for college students who hold a valid HK Permanent ID Card. Internship placements cover industries such as financial services, the energy sector, property development and management, and public utilities services. Details here.

  Corporate summer intern scheme 2019 accepts applications
     
Key Economic indicators

Merchandise trade volume in Dec 2018 fell 7.4% year-on-year. Details here.

  Key Economic indicators
     
HK Customs seizes 40kg of rhino horns

Rhino horns, with an estimated market value of US$1 million, have been seized from two arriving air passengers at HK International Airport (Feb 14). HK is continuing its efforts in combatting illegal import of endangered species. Anyone found guilty of importing an endangered species faces a maximum fine of HK$10 million (US$1.28 million) and up to 10 years in jail. Details here.

  HK Customs seizes 40kg of rhino horns
     
HK’s IFC role highlighted in Dublin

Aside from offering traditional financial services, HK aims to grow and expand to take on leadership roles in I&T, trade and finance sustainability, and regional connectivity, said Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury James Lau at the fourth European Financial Forum in Dublin (Feb 14). Details here.

  HK’s IFC role highlighted in Dublin
     
HK Customs seizes million worth of smuggling goods during LNY holiday

A 27-day special operation has been carried by the Customs before and during the Lunar New Year at the airport, seaport, land boundary, railway and ferry control points in a bid to combat smuggling and other illegal activities involving endangered species, drugs, and infringing products. The Customs seized US$16.7 million (HK$130 million) worth of items and arrested 1,203 persons in connection. Details here.

  HK Customs seizes million worth of smuggling goods during LNY holiday
     
Most HKers value IP rights protection: survey

Most of those respondents in a government survey share the view that IP rights protection is instrumental to the development of local creative industries and the overall economic development of HK. Details here.

  Most HKers value IP rights protection: survey
     
New law changes to enhance IP regime

Legal amendment is on the way to implement the Madrid Protocol and the mechanism thus provided will enable businesses to save time and cost in obtaining and managing international trade mark registrations. It will empower the Customs and Excise Department to enforce criminal provisions against acts of trademark infringement. Details here.

  New law changes to enhance IP regime
     
Postal services to United States resume normal

Hongkong Post announced (Feb 8) that, as advised by US authorities, postal services to the Midwest have returned to normal after the cold spell.

  Postal services to United States resume normal
     
Stunning fireworks on 2nd day of Lunar New Year

Spectacular fireworks have lighted the sky above Victoria Harbour (Feb 6) and delighted thousands of tourists and locals viewing from both sides of the harbour. Details here.

  Stunning fireworks on 2nd day of Lunar New Year
     
HK celebrates with CNY Night Parade

On Chinese New Year day, Feb 5 (Hong Kong time), tourists and locals enjoyed the yearly CNY Night Parade along Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. It featured a glittering procession of sumptuously decorated carnival floats and delightful dances of 20+ local and international performing groups. Among them were NFL Atlanta Falcon’s cheerleaders and Chicago’s dancing group Hiplet Ballerinas. Celebrating the festive moment with the audience, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the CNY celebration would continue with a fireworks extravaganza, a well-wishing festival, brilliant lantern displays and much more. (Photo credit: ISD; SCMP(below))

  HK celebrates with CNY Night Parade
     
Wishing everybody A Healthy and Prosperous Year of the Pig

Chief Executive Carrie Lam sent her Lunar New Year greetings on this auspicious day (Feb 5). Details here.

  Wishing everybody A Healthy and Prosperous Year of the Pig
     
Girl Power: Young HK female chefs scoop top awards

In a male-dominated catering industry, 5 young graduates from HK’s Chinese Culinary Institute have formed the first-ever female chef team to compete at the 2018 Asian Culinary Exchange in Shanghai last October. “The Misty Rain of Jiangnan” was the theme they selected for their dishes which won them the Distinguished Styling Award. Details here.

  Girl Power: Young HK female chefs scoop top awards
     
HK welcomes Lunar New Year with unseasonably warm weather

Temperatures across most parts of HK rose on Feb 4 to 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) or above, making it the mildest at this time of the year since 1953, while the Observatory noted the past January was one of the warmest in record. Details here.

  HK welcomes Lunar New Year with unseasonably warm weather
     
HK seizes record-breaking amount of pangolin scales

HK Customs has seized 8,300 kg (18,300 pounds) of suspected pangolin scales and 2,100 kg (4,600 pounds) of suspected ivory tusks from a 40-foot container ship that was supposed to be transporting frozen beef from Nigeria to Vietnam. It was as a result of a joint raid with their Mainland counterparts. The haul is the largest endangered species smuggling seizure the city has ever recorded. Details here.

  HK seizes record-breaking amount of pangolin scales
     
HKSAR passport getting more visa-free convenience

The total number of countries and territories that offer visa-free entry or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders has gone up to 165, with Panama and Armenia lately joining the roll, on Feb 10 and Mar 3, respectively. Details here.

  HKSAR passport getting more visa-free convenience
     
HK UNESCO Global Geopark Visitor Centre gets new look

The revamped visitor center is set to open on Feb 7, featuring new exhibits including 3D miniature models which allow visitors to learn about the changes and characteristics of HK’s geology as well as the oldest outcrops known to mankind (3.9 billion years old rock from Acasta Gneiss in Canada) and in China (3 billion years old rock from Baijiafen Gneiss). Details here.

  HK UNESCO Global Geopark Visitor Centre gets new look
     
Suspended postal services to US Midwest

Hongkong Post has suspended mail services to certain postcode areas after being notified by its US counterpart that due to the cold snap, the US has ended mail delivery services to those areas. Details here.

  Suspended postal services to US Midwest
     
CUHK partners with Swiss, UK, US institutes on medical robotics R&D

Three top-notch institutions (ETH Zurich, the Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University) will collaborate with Chinese University of HK to set up a Multi-Scale Medical Robotics Center, aiming to develop effective and accessible imaging and robotic technologies that will reshape the future of medical diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Details here.

  CUHK partners with Swiss, UK, US institutes on medical robotics R&D
     
Avenue of Stars re-opens

The tourist hotspot, Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, has been reopened after a 3-year makeover. In addition to the current roll of 107 movie stars will be 9 handprints of popular HK actresses Carol Cheng, Helena Law, Teresa Mo, Sandra Ng, Nina Paw, Pauline Wong, Miriam Yeung, Cecilia Yip, Anita Yuen. The new handprints will be mounted on handrails with QR codes providing more information about the stars on i-gadgets. Details here.

  Avenue of Stars re-opens
     
HK sees lowest overall crime rate in half a century

On the city’s crime figures in 2018, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said (Jan 29) there was a 3.2% drop in the total reported crimes y-o-y. The number (54,225) is the lowest since 1970. However, the fraud cases had seen an alarming increase. They included social media deception and email scams, which almost doubled that of the previous year. Details here.

  HK sees lowest overall crime rate in half a century
     
Customs seizes fake luxury goods

A special operation by HK Customs (Jan 27) smashed a counterfeiting ring in Kowloon, seizing about 18,000 suspected fake goods including handbags, wallets and shoes with an estimated market value of over US$1.4 million. Details here.

  Customs seizes fake luxury goods
     
StartmeupHK Festival discusses trends and entrepreneurship

The week-long annual festival in HK focusing on startups and innovation has ended Jan 25 with over 17,000 delegates exchanging ideas on the latest trends and creativity. Attending one of the sessions, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung reiterated the Gov’t’s commitment to R&D and building a funding ecosystem for startups. Details here.

  StartmeupHK Festival discusses trends and entrepreneurship
     
“I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change” (movie) amazes HK

The famous Broadway musical “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change” has been made into a movie and hit HK cinema (Jan 29). Financed by the Film Development Fund, homegrown popular comedian Wong Cho-lam has directed his first feature film starring himself, joined by versatile singer-actress Ivana Wong Best Actress Teresa Mo, and Eric Tsang. The movie is set to be a Lunar New Year blockbuster bringing heartwarming moments to HK. Details here.

  “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change” (movie) amazes HK
     
Judicial independence well engraved in HK’s legal system

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has met with Heritage Foundation Founder Edwin Feulner in the Government House (Jan 28), after the US-based think tank released its 2019 Index of Economic Freedom report. The Heritage ranked HK as the world’s freest economy again, for the 25th consecutive year in a row. Welcoming the top ranking, Mrs Lam reaffirmed that the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary had been and would continue to be upheld.

In another occasion, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said different ratings over the years have recognized HK’s legal system, adding that the World Bank Indicators showing that HK’s ranking on the rule of law has moved from 69.9% in 1996 all the way up to 93.8% in 2017. Details here.

  Judicial independence well engraved in HK’s legal system
     
Cycling star Sarah Lee claims 2nd gold

Sarah Lee Wai-Sze earned her second gold of the International Cycling Union Track Cycling World Cup (Jan 27) in HK in front of a home crowd while teammate Jessica Lee Hoi-yan won a bronze. Details here.

  Cycling star Sarah Lee claims 2nd gold
     
HK rated world’s freest economy for 25th year

The Heritage Foundation has ranked HK as the world's freest economy again. This is the 25th year in a row that the city got the title. HK's overall score remained at 90.2 in this year’s economic freedom report, making the city once again the only economy attaining an overall score higher than 90, followed by Singapore and New Zealand. Details here.

  HK rated world’s freest economy for 25th year
     
Call on WTO to preserve trade system integrity

Speaking at the WTO Informal Ministerial Gathering (Jan 25), Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau suggested ways to advance the trade agenda and to preserve the relevance and credibility of the multilateral trading system. Details here.

  Call on WTO to preserve trade system integrity
     
At Davos, CE highlights HK’s strengths under B&R

HK will continue to contribute to the B&R Initiative, including 5 areas of strengths (policy co-ordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds), said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the 3rd B&R Davos Forum (Jan 24). Details here.

  At Davos, CE highlights HK’s strengths under B&R
     
Emerging filmmakers awarded funding

Three new movie directors and their teams have been selected to receive funding from the Gov’t’s film development fund to make their first commercial feature films. The First Feature Film Initiative, which funds the three films, has been a success in identifying talented young directors and producing a number of quality films since its 2013 launch. Details here.

  Emerging filmmakers awarded funding
     
Boosting ties at Davos

Chief Executive Carrie Lam continued her visit to Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. She also met with leaders of various economies such as Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, as well as key members of the business sector. Details here.

  Boosting ties at Davos
     
Shipment of strategic commodities subject to licensing control

HK strategic trade control lists are drawn up on the basis of the control lists adopted by relevant international non-proliferation regimes and conventions, said Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bernard Chan at LegCo (Jan 23). The Government has all along implemented trade control on strategic goods in accordance with Hong Kong laws, and such efforts have been recognized and respected by our trading partners. Details here.

  Shipment of strategic commodities subject to licensing control
     
Custom enforcement in place to fulfill international obligation

HK has a robust system to implement sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. Addressing LegCo (Jan 23), Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bernard Chan said in the past 5 years, the Police Force and the Customs and Excise Department investigated 201 and 99 suspected cases of sanctions violations respectively. Details here.

  Custom enforcement in place to fulfil international obligation
     
Top musicians to celebrate International Jazz Day in April

A 2-day “Jazz Marathon” will be staged to celebrate UNESCO's International Jazz Day in HK’s Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Distinguished local and international jazz musicians such as Steve Smith’s jazz-rock band from the US will perform a rich range of styles and also present a series of workshops on April 27-28. Details here.

  Top musicians to celebrate International Jazz Day in April
     
Xiqu Centre opens

The first major performing arts venue at the West Kowloon Cultural District - the Xiqu Centre has been open to the delight of Chinese opera afficionados. Speaking at the opening ceremony (Jan 20), Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it was timely as Cantonese opera had been added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage exactly a decade ago. She hoped the new venue would help promote different genres of traditional Chinese theatre and take Cantonese opera to the world. Details here.

  Xiqu Centre opens
     
State-of-the-art venue to house fine Chinese art tradition

It is curtain up for the Xiqu Centre at the West Kowloon Cultural District on Jan 20. The landmark performing arts venue will offer audiences a unique opera-going experience by bridging the rich heritage of xiqu and tea-drinking at its Tea House Theatre. Details here.

  State-of-the-art venue to house fine Chinese art tradition
     
New single-day record for flight movements

The Civil Aviation Department handled 2,342 flights on Jan 18, setting a new single-day record. The total number of aircraft movements thus handled in 2018 increased by 7.1% y-o-y. Details here.

  New single-day record for flight movements
     
HK-Georgia FTA to enter into force on Feb 13

The FTA, signed in June last year, covering trade in goods and services, investment as well as dispute settlement mechanisms, is expected to give HK exporters and service providers the legal certainty of favorable treatment and market access to Georgia, a key country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia and along the Belt and Road route. Details here.

  HK-Georgia FTA to enter into force on Feb 13
     
InvestHK helps record number of overseas and mainland companies

Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) announced (Jan 21) that the agency had assisted 436 overseas and Mainland companies to set up or expand in Hong Kong in 2018. This number represents an all-time high and a y-o-y increase of 8.5%. Details here.

  InvestHK helps record number of overseas and mainland companies
     
Mutual enforcement of court rulings on civil/commercial matters

The 6th of its kind since 1997, the new agreement (Jan 18) signed on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters will reduce the need for re-litigation of the same disputes in both places. It will thus offer better protection to the parties’ interests. It also covers IP rights cases, which will help innovative industries in the Greater Bay Area. Details here.

  Mutual enforcement of court rulings on civil/commercial matters
     
Businesses expect slower growth

One in fifth HK businesses surveyed has anticipated a challenging Q1 economic outlook citing slower growth and rising transport costs, according to the Census and Statistics Department (Jan 18). Details here.

  Businesses expect slower growth
     
Gov’t committed to promote I&T: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam addressed top-notch STEM talents of Heidelberg Laureate Forum(Jan 17) who are gathering in HK, adding that the Gov’t has committed US$10 billion towards a variety of I&T initiatives. Plus, under the new Technology Talent Admission Scheme, tech talents are provided with a fast track to work in HK in areas such as biotech, AI, cybersecurity, robotics and data analytics. Details here.

  Gov’t committed to promote I&T: CE
     
Single E-lock network expands to increase efficiency

The number of clearance points under the Single E-lock Scheme in Guangdong Province will be increased from 32 to 51, with a new checkpoint set up in Zhuhai. The scheme will enhance cross-border cargo clearance efficiency, benefiting truck shipments through the HK-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Details here.

  Single E-lock network expands to increase efficiency
     
HKIAC-HKMC to mediate CEPA investment disputes

The Gov’t has named the HK International Arbitration Centre’s Mediation Council a designated institution to handle disputes between Mainland Chinese investors and the SAR Gov’t, under the newly implemented CEPA Investment Agreement which seeks to promote fairer and fuller protection for investors.

  HKIAC-HKMC to mediate CEPA investment disputes
     
Creations and trends presented at HK Fashion Week

The largest of its kind in Asia, the 50th edition of HK Fashion Week for Fall/Winter welcomed some 1,400 exhibitors from 11 countries and regions during its four-day run (Jan 14-17) which featured a number of fashion parades and industry seminars. Details here.

  Creations and trends presented at HK Fashion Week
     
Tributes pour for HK’s first Chinese prosecutor, Dr Patrick Yu

On the passing of Dr Patrick Yu (余叔韶), 96, who was one of HK’s most distinguished and well-respected advocates, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng both expressed their deepest condolences. The first ethnic Chinese to be appointed Crown Counsel during the 50s, Yu had helped found the city’s first law school at the University of Hong Kong. Details here.

  Tributes pour for HK’s first Chinese prosecutor, Dr Patrick Yu
     
Air purification feature set to run at new Island highway

A state-of-the-art air purification system, the first in HK and, one of the largest in the world, will start running in the tunnel of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link when the latter opens to traffic on Jan 20. The new feature will effectively remove at least 80% of the air pollutants such as particulate matter and NO2. The new bypass highway, which includes a tunnel, from Central to North Point, will greatly ease traffic flow along the northern part of Hong Kong Island.

  Air purification feature set to run at new Island highway
     
HKUST, Harvard, Stanford & UCL to partner for neurodegenerative diseases research

The four top universities will join forces to establish the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, first of its kind in HK, focusing on Alzheimer's disease. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was hopeful the collaboration would lead to significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment. Details here.

  HKUST, Harvard, Stanford & UCL to partner for neurodegenerative diseases research
     
HKETO-NY Arts Activators 2019 announced

Two arts administrators from HK, Alice Wong and Ian Leung, have been selected as the new HKETO-NY Arts Activators administered by the Yale-China Association. They will spend the next 6 months at Yale campus , taking courses and partnering with arts and creative bodies in the New Haven community to generate works and insights that will help push forward HK’s growing arts and cultural landscape. Details here.

  HKETO-NY Arts Activators 2019 announced
     
Asian Financial Forum seeks innovative ideas

Bringing people together, creating connections, finding ways to excel … HK remains open and inclusive, embracing challenges as opportunities, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the annual two-day Asian Financial Forum (Jan 14) where business leaders and financial regulators from over 40 countries and regions discussed a wide range of topical issues such as fintech and cyber security. Details here.

  Asian Financial Forum seeks innovative ideas
     
Judiciary hosts ceremonial opening of Legal Year 2019

Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma has stressed the importance of an independent judiciary at the opening of the Legal Year (Jan 14), saying judges are free from any outside interference and their only mission is to uphold the rule of law. Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng, meanwhile, highlighted the importance of common law to HK, adding that any unwarranted misunderstanding and malicious attacks on judges should not be tolerated. Details here.

  Judiciary hosts ceremonial opening of Legal Year 2019
     
Air Transport Licensing Authority follows up on airliner finance

The Air Transport Licensing Authority has requested the Hong Kong Airlines to provide additional clarifications to ensure they are meeting their financial obligations under the laws. Details here.

  Air Transport Licensing Authority follows up on airliner finance
     
HK universities to boost research capability

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has stressed the importance of upgrading the research capabilities of the higher education institutions with a view to the development of HK as a global I&T hub, in a meeting with the University Grants Committee members (Jan 11). Details here.

  HK universities to boost research capability
     
Minimum wage to rise from May 1

HK is set to raise the statutory minimum wage from HK$34.5 (US$4.4) per hour to HK$37.5 (US$4.8) on May 1, which is also the Labour Day public holiday. Details here.

  Minimum wage to rise from May 1
     
Paternity leave in HK to rise to 5 days

HK male employees with a child born on or after Jan 18, 2019 could enjoy paternity leave entitlement of 5 days, up from 3 under current laws. Details here.

  Paternity leave in HK to rise to 5 days
     
HKMA hosts cross-border fintech collaboration meeting

Regulators from 18 jurisdictions took part in a high-level fintech roundtable held by HKMA (Jan 9). The themes were on strengthening cross-border fintech collaboration among jurisdictions in order to bring greater convenience and efficiency while ensuring financial stability. Details here.

  HKMA hosts cross-border fintech collaboration meeting
     
HK, Japan sign MOU on arbitration and mediation

As one of the top int’l arbitration centers, HK signed an MOU with Japan (Jan 9) to lay down framework for the two places to strengthen co-operation on issues relating to int’l arbitration and mediation and to facilitate the development of the related professional services. Details here.

  HK, Japan sign MOU on arbitration and mediation
     
HK spares no effort in combating human trafficking

A high-level inter-bureau/departmental steering committee was formed last March to tackle trafficking in persons and enhancing protection of foreign domestic helpers, Secretary for Security John Lee said (Jan 9). He added that a total of 15 UN human rights conventions are applicable to HK and the gov't is actively taking actions to identify victims, investigate, as well as provide victim protection when incidents occurred. Details here.

  HK spares no effort in combating human trafficking
     
HK committed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing

As a member of the inter-governmental body Financial Action Task Force (FATF) since 1991, HK has put in place a robust anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regime over the years, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury James Lau responded to inquires in the LegCo. From 2003 to 2017, 828 persons were prosecuted for money laundering offences and 620 persons were convicted while proceeds confiscated amounted to over US$20.4 million. Details here.

  HK committed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing
     
Overseas doctors facilitated to serve in public hospitals

Measures have been taken to increase doctors’ manpower, said Acting Secretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi in the LegCo. There are 10 non-locally trained doctors working in public hospitals under Limited Registration and 5 of them have just gained the Medical Council of HK’s renewal approval. Details here.

  Overseas doctors facilitated to serve in public hospitals
     
StartmeupHK features tech innovation

InvestHK’s annual StartmeupHK Festival will run from Jan 21 to 25, offering a unique platform for entrepreneurs, investors, industry leaders, and students to exchange ideas. The convention this year is expected to draw 8,000+ delegates from around the world. They will focus on new trends such as healthtech, retail technology, smart city, AI, and ways to leverage HK’s connectivity to springboard new ventures. Details here.

  StartmeupHK features tech innovation
     
Call on overseas HKers to change for new ID cards

For overseas Hongkongers, there’s no need to rush back to Hong Kong to have their ID cards replaced by new smart version, Assistant Director of Immigration Chan Tin-chee said at NY-based WZRC AM1480 about the current ID replacement exercise. Chan said the gov’t is allocating replacement time windows for residents of different age groups. Even if the specified call-up periods for Hongkongers living abroad have expired, they can still have their ID cards replaced by visiting a replacement center within 30 days of their return. They are urged to make appointment online since walk-in slots are subject to availability. Details here.

  Call on overseas HKers to change for new ID cards
     
HK’s biggest outdoor farmers’ market opens

The annual 3-day FarmFest being held at Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok (Jan 4-6) features more than 390 stalls selling local agricultural and fisheries products. Visitors can also learn about the latest farming technology and enjoy various fun activities such as cooking demonstrations at the event. Details here.

  HK’s biggest outdoor farmers’ market opens
     
Acclaimed Cantonese opera stars to share experience

HK’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department will hold a series of talks to promote the understanding and appreciation of Cantonese Opera from Jan 19 to Mar 16. Renowned stars such as Yuen Siu-fai and Law Ka-ying will share their experience of performing and interpreting the libretti of various well known repertories. Cantonese opera has been added to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Details here.

  Acclaimed Cantonese opera stars to share experience
     
HK Catholic Bishop Michael Yeung dies at 73

Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed deep sorrow (Jan 3) over the passing of the HK Catholic Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Yeung. She said that Yeung had led the Diocese to make significant contributions to Hong Kong in areas including medical care, education and welfare services. Yeung was ordained a priest in 1978 and became the head of HK’s Catholic Church in 2017. Details here.

  HK Catholic Bishop Michael Yeung dies at 73
     
Film Archive's "Morning Matinee" to feature iconic martial arts duos

Starting February, HK Film Archive will screen the works of 4 iconic action star pairs from different eras at its cinema as part of the "Dynamic Duos: Neck and Neck" programme. Watch the Kung Fu grandmasters such as Kwan Tak-hing and Sek Kin as they staged the successful Wong Fei-hung film series in Hong Kong. Details here.

  Film Archive's "Morning Matinee" to feature iconic martial arts duos
     
HK welcomes 2019 with a bang

A fireworks extravaganza lit up the sky over Victoria Harbour to usher in the New Year. More than 300,000 people gathered on both sides of the harbour to watch the 10-minute spectacle. Video here.

  HK welcomes 2019 with a bang


 


    
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