March 23 - 29, 2018

Business & Economy

New tax plan

Companies in Hong Kong will benefit from a new two-tiered profits tax rates regime beginning April 1. Profits tax rate for corporation on the first US$256,410 will be lowered to 8.25%. Profits above that amount will continue to be taxed at the current rate of 16.5%. For unincorporated businesses, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships, the two-tiered tax rates will be correspondingly set at 7.5% and 15%. The new tax arrangement will reduce the tax burden on enterprises, especially small and medium enterprises and startups. It will also help foster a favorable business environment, drive economic growth, and enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness.

Investing for the future

Hong Kong is investing for the future through bolstering its high growth sectors, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan at the Joint Business Community Luncheon on the 2018-19 Budget (Mar 28). Tapping into the city’s strong fiscal reserves and revenue, over US$6.4 billion has been allocated to support the innovation and technology sector while US$64 million will go towards sustaining growth in the financial services industry, in areas such as the further development of the bond market. The increase in expenditure will result in great returns in the future development of the economy. 

Law

First female judges in top court

Chief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the first women judges to Hong Kong’s top court. Mrs Lam had accepted the recommendation to appoint Baroness Brenda Hale of the UK and Beverley McLachlin of Canada as non-permanent judges of the Court of Final Appeal. Pioneers in their own rights in their respective jurisdictions, Hale was appointed President of the Supreme Court of the UK in 2017 while McLachlin served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 2000 to 2017. McLachlin will also be the first non-permanent judge from Canada. Mrs Lam said their appointment, once endorsed by the Legislative Council, will be a historic moment in Hong Kong. 

Arts & Culture

Promising future for the arts

The future is exceptionally bright for Hong Kong’s arts and cultural scene, with the impending openings of the contemporary arts museum M+, and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District as well as the expansion of the Hong Kong arts museum, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the opening ceremony of Art Basel Hong Kong. In its sixth edition, the arts extravaganza this year features 248 leading galleries from 32 territories, with works by both emerging and established artists.

Pianist's Carnegie Hall debut

Hong Kong pianist Rachel Cheung made her recital debut at New York's Carnegie Hall (Mar 27), performing classic pieces by Rameau, Schumann, and Liszt.  HKETONY Director Joanne Chu was in attendance and offered the young musician her enthusiastic support. Cheung, a Steinway Artist, was the winner of the Audience Award and the first Hong Kong finalist at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  She says her objective as a performer is to pay tribute to the composers by conveying the emotion behind the music.

Aviation

HKIA named "Best Transit Airport"

Hong Kong International Airport was named the world’s 4th best in the annual Skytrax World Airport Awards in Stockholm (Mar 21). Hong Kong also scooped up the "World's Best Transit Airport" and "World’s Best Airport Dining" titles, out of more than 550 airports evaluated from around the world. Dubbed "the Oscars of the aviation industry," the 2018 Skytrax rankings were based on more than 13 million airport passenger surveys and involved 30+ criteria including staff friendliness, security wait time, ease of access and terminal comfort and design.

Sports

Top athletes honored

The winners of the Samsung 2017 Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards were feted at a gala ceremony (Mar 27). Snooker champ Ng On-Yee cinched the Best of Hong Kong Sports Stars Award, which she previously won in 2015, and the Cricket National Men’s Squad won the Team Only Sports Award. Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah congratulated all the athletes, calling them role models for today’s youth. In the 2018-19 Budget, the Hong Kong government had allocated more resources to sports development, supporting elite athletes and encouraging corporate sponsorship of large-scale sports events.

Basic Law

Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems". 

Q: Has there been any interference in the independence of the Judiciary?

A: No. Hong Kong's robust and respected court system exercises judicial power independently, free from any interference. The power of final adjudication is vested in the Court of Final Appeal of the HKSAR, which may as required invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to sit on the Court of Final Appeal. The principle of trial by jury previously practised in Hong Kong is maintained. ( BL Articles 2; 19; 81; 82; 85; 86 )

 

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