January 26 - February 1, 2019

RULE OF LAW

Judicial independence upheld in Hong Kong

On the ranking of judicial effectiveness, which was lower than previous year in the Heritage Foundation’s latest report ranking Hong Kong as the World’s Freest Economy, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said (Jan 28) the Court of Final Appeal exercising final adjudication power of local court cases, and the NPCSC’s final interpretative power of the Basic Law is a unique arrangement which realizes “One Country, Two Systems” and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong. The constitutional order has been implemented fully in Hong Kong since its return to the motherland, ensuring the city’s prosperity and stability, she added. Meeting Dr Edwin Feulner and thanking Heritage for reaffirming Hong Kong’s commitment in upholding the free market principles over the years, Mrs Lam said the Government would continue to facilitate free market operation and improve the environment for doing business.

The independent judiciary under the “OCTS” arrangement has been widely recognized, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said (Jan 28).  The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report has consistently ranked the city’s judicial independence number one in Asia for a number of years while a World Bank report shows that Hong Kong’s ranking on the rule of law has moved up from 69.9% in 1996 to 93.8% in 2017.

NYETO EVENTS

Chinese New Year celebrations start in Atlanta

HKETONY has kicked off its Chinese New Year celebrations in a few major cities, starting in Atlanta with a reception (Jan 31). Attending as part of a two-day duty visit, Hong Kong Commissioner Eddie Mak highlighted the mutually beneficial partnership between Hong Kong and the United States. Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu updated the guests on the business opportunities. The other cities will be New York, Miami and Chicago.

Strengthening ties with Atlanta

Hong Kong Commissioner Eddie Mak has met with senior government and business leaders in his first visit to Atlanta (Jan 31 and Feb 1). In the call on Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Pat Wilson, they discussed five potential areas of mutual collaboration: agribusiness, technology, fintech, e-gaming and film. Mr Mak also met with the President (International) of UPS Nando Cesarone and exchanged views on the impact of the US-China trade tensions on international commerce and how the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is facilitating ground logistics. Meeting Hong Kong students currently studying at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Mr Mak encouraged the young guests to forge new frontiers in Hong Kong on their completion of studies.

LAW & ORDER

Lowest number of crime recorded in half a century

The law and order situation has continued to improve in 2018, with the lowest number of 54,225 cases recorded since 1974. Most major crimes, such as robbery and burglary, hit record low. However, a big jump was seen in deception cases. Maintaining cooperation with overseas enforcement parties, the Police called on the public to keep their guard up

Record haul of pangolin scales seized

Hong Kong Customs have seized a record 9-ton of pangolin scales and over 2 tons of ivory tusks, with a total estimated market value of US$8 million, in a joint operation with Mainland Customs (Jan 16). Two people were arrested and were on bail. The maximum penalty on any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a license is a fine of US$1.2 million and a 10-year jail term.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY

New global center to take medical robotics to new level

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is partnering with three prestigious institutes from the US and Europe (Johns Hopkins University, Imperial College London, and ETH Zurich) to set up the Multi-Scale Medical Robotics Centre at CUHK. It will advance imaging and robotic technologies that reshape the future of medical diagnosis and treatment. Speaking at a signing ceremony (Jan 31), Chief Executive Carrie Lam reiterated the government’s commitment to a broad spectrum of I&T initiatives, including the creation of two research clusters in healthcare technology, and robotics and AI.

TOURISM

Avenue of Stars re-opens

The Hong Kong’s version of Hollywood Walk of Fame, along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, has reopened after a three-year makeover, with enhanced elements, more seating and greenery. Nine Hong Kong award-winning actresses have added their handprints to the original 107, which are relocated to wooden handrails to allow better access. Visitors also have closer access to the bronze statues of superstars, such as Bruce Lee, which are now placed on fountain platforms.

SPORTS

Cycling ace shines at world cup

Sarah Lee, the golden girl of Hong Kong cycling, delighted home fans by racing to victory in the Keirin and Sprint events of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup (Jan 25-27). Another local favorite, Jessica Lee, won her first medal, clinching bronze in the Keirin event.

ECONOMY

Key indicators

• Total exports of goods rose by 7.3% in value and that of imports by 8.4% in 2018 year-on-year, thanks to the strong performance in the earlier part of the year. Significant decline was, however, registered in its last quarter.

• Total retail sales in 2018 grew 8.8% in value and 7.6% in volume, compared to 2017. While double-digit growth was recorded in the first part of the year, the growth weakened in the latter months of year, reflecting cautious consumption sentiment.

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: What is the role of the People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong under the Basic Law?

A: The maintenance of public order in the HKSAR is the responsibility of the HKSAR Government. The People's Liberation Army stationed in the HKSAR is responsible for the defense of the HKSAR and does not interfere in the local affairs of the HKSAR. In addition to abiding by national laws, members of the garrison shall abide by the laws of the HKSAR. Expenditure for maintaining these military forces is borne by the CPG. (BL Article 14)

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