Hong Kong Situation Update from Teneo, 18 October 2019

Overview – Friday, 18 October:

·         Sunday march denied by police while peaceful flash protests again take to city streets
·         Financial Secretary in Washington for meetings, as Senators add support for HK bill passage
·         NBA outlines impact of backlash from China, while HK businesses remain on the decline
 
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HK Protests & Related Developments

The police denied a letter of no objection to a planned march on Sunday in Kowloon organised by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), which CHRF said they will appeal (Chinese – link; Chinese – link). Flash mob protesters took to the streets in five districts including Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok at lunchtime today. (Chinese –  link; link)

The Ministry of Justice in Taiwan urged the HK Government not to release Chan Tong-kai alleged to have murdered his girlfriend in Taipei, the case which led to the Extradition Bill. The Ministry stated it has offered to provide evidence and that HK has appropriate jurisdiction (Chinese – link). Reports also cited sources stating Chan has been convinced to stand trial in Taiwan when released (Chinese – link).
 
Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday participated in a Facebook Live Q&A on the Policy Address (Chinese – link). She said the police are essential to HK and discussed her new housing and land policies from the Policy Address. (link; link)

Transportation Secretary Frank Chan told RTHK that normal MTR service may be restored in two weeks time (link). MTR also announced that it will no longer display adverts related to the upcoming local elections across its transport network (link).

Rocky Tuan, Vice-Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) stated that he will write to the CE to request she begin an independent investigation of the recent police cases involving CUHK students. He said that any proven case of improper procedures must be condemned. (link)

Regional & Global Political Affairs

Financial Secretary Chan has travelled to Washington for the IMF and World Bank meetings. Chan also met with the Commerce Department, Heritage Foundation, Cato and Brookings Institutions, and “reiterated that the “one country, two systems” principle has been fully and successfully implemented” in HK. (link)
The Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed the nomination of HK protesters for a Nobel Peace Prize as foreign interference, and urged the nominator, Guri Melby of Norway’s Liberal Party, to exercise caution. (link)
 
More Senators have signed-on as cosponsors of the Senate’s draft version of the HK Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, including Democratic Presidential contender Senator Warren. (link)
 
Business & Industry Developments

The HK government announced a business survey today which found 32% of respondents believed their situation would be worse in Q4 versus Q3, with only 7% expecting it to improve. (link)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the financial consequences of the recent HK protest tweet have and may continue to be dramatic. Silver also stated that despite requests from officials in China, the Rockets manager would neither be fired or penalized. (link)

Cathay Pacific Group’s traffic has fallen 7.1% year-on-year since September 2018, the company announced on Friday. The airline expects the rest of the year to remain challenging. (link)

Additional Articles & Themes of Interest

NBC: Chinese mainlanders living in Hong Kong feel stuck between a rock and a hard place
Around 1.5 million Chinese mainlanders migrated to Hong Kong after July 1, 1997. In 2014 I was inspired by my friends and protested alongside with them [in the Umbrella Movement]. As China has become more aggressive and more assertive on the international stage, the disconnect between mainlanders and Hongkongers has become wider and wider. Protesters frustrated by what they see as a lack of progress are now starting to turn that anger on mainlanders living in Hong Kong.
 
FT Magazine: Inside the battle for Hong Kong (subscription)
During Umbrella, we didn’t escalate our protests so we failed. It was stupid…We believed in the system then…but now we’ve learnt the system is stacked against us so we’ve become less peaceful.” The stakes for China’s future…could hardly be greater. If…protesters prevail in wresting concessions for a more democratic future for Hong Kong, it would indicate that Beijing is ready to tolerate diversity. If it cracks down again, as it did in 1989, it will not only jeopardise the viability of Asia’s financial hub but also create a new crisis in relations between China and the west.

The New York Times: Why the Protests in Hong Kong May Have No End in Sight (subscription)
Resolving the increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong will most likely fall to an influential group of Beijing’s local allies. The trouble: They don’t agree on much. The divisions were visible on Wednesday when Mrs. Lam gave her annual policy address, Hong Kong’s equivalent of the State of the Union speech in the United States. After months of internal meetings, she delivered a fairly narrow set of initiatives on issues like housing and did not even try to address broad political tensions.
 
Breakingviews: Hong Kong shopkeepers live on borrowed time – Undue Diligene (subscription)
Four months of protests have hit small business owners hard, and they generate 45% of local jobs. Regulators want banks to help, but tiny companies are risky borrowers, and lenders’ enthusiasm is rightly tempered by compliance concerns. The HKMA now claims only one in 20 applications for a bank account are rejected, from one in 10 back in 2016. But loans can still be hard to come by. The new credit application failure rate shot up 10 percentage points in the second quarter to 13%.
 
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Potential Significant Protests

*NOTE: The below includes an overview of potential upcoming events, many of which are subject to change as developments unfold. This is provided only as an FYI of potential impact on travel or logistics arrangements in Hong Kong

Date & Time Event & Potential Size Location &
Affected Areas
Additional Details
Daily Wear a Mask Day ·         Hong Kong ·         Encouraging HK citizens to wear a mask under the anti-mask law
Saturday,
19 October
7:30-9:00pm
International Humanitarian Aid HK SOS Rally ·         Chater Park, Central ·         In support of the US Congress’s decision to pass the human rights act
Sunday,
20 October
2:00pm
Kowloon March ·         From Salisbury Garden to HSR West Kowloon Station ·         Organized by Civil Human Rights Front
·         Applying for Letter of No Objection from HKPF
·         Gather at 1:30pm and start at 2:00pm
Monday,
21 October
7:00-11:00pm
Sit-in Yuen Long Station ·         Yuen Long Station ·         Three months from the attack at Yuen Long Station on 21 July
Thursday,
31 October
7:00-11:00pm
Never forget 31 August, give us the truth ·         Prince Edward Station ·         To commemorate those injured during the 831 incident
·         To urge the government to investigate police’s use of violence
27 October to 30 November
12:00-6:00pm
“Umbrella Movement” 5th Anniversary Exhibition ·         June 4th Museum, Mong Kok ·         Seminars, screenings, sharing and various activities will be held during the exhibition period.
·         Organized by Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China

Potential Additional Protest Events

Date & Time Event & Location Location &
Potential Size
Additional Details
Every Monday Secondary School Student Strike ·         Students ·         Rallies and strikes at schools
Friday,
18 October
5:00pm
Students’ Anti-Police Violence Assembly ·         Sun Yat-Sen Place, University of Hong Kong ·         Protest against police in response to the suspicious death of a secondary school student
Friday,
18 October
8:00pm
18 Districts Masked Human Chain ·         MTR stations along Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line, Island Line, and East Rail Line ·         Protestors may gather at 7:00pm and start a human chain at 8:00pm
·         In support of secondary school students whose opinions were repressed and to voice dissatisfaction over the emergency law
Saturday,
19 October
3:00pm-7:00pm
Exhibition themed “Police’s violence to human rights” ·         Near Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui ·         Aims to show tourists and foreign press the current use of violence by HKPF
Saturday,
19 October
7:00pm
Mass Prayer for International Humanitarian Aid ·         Edinburgh Place, Central ·         Police have issued letter of no objection
Sunday,
20 October
1:00pm-5:00pm
Exhibition themed “Police’s violence to human rights” ·         No. 9 Pier, Central ·         Aims to show tourists and foreign press the current use of violence by HKPF
Friday,
25 October
7:00am
Going to Work with You ·         Hong Kong Island
·         Kowloon
·         Participants asked to wear masks due to influenza peak season
Saturday,
26 October
1:00pm
Anti-white terror; anti-totalitarianism
rally
·         Tamar Park, Admiralty ·         Stand with the sacked employees because of political stance
Every day in November Salute to Police Month ·         Hong Kong ·         Supported by DAB, Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, and Junius Ho
·         Calling for citizens to salute or bow to police officers
·         Asking the public to take photos/videos of those who do not follow and report to the organizer

 
Injunctions

Date of Grant Plaintiff Effective Date Injunction Orders
Friday,
23 August
Airport Authority This Order will remain in force until trial or further order Link to the injunction order
Friday,
23 August
MTR Corporation Limited This Order will remain in force indefinitely unless it is varied or discharged by a further Order of the Court Link to the injunction order

HK Travel Advisories – October
 

Location Updated Key Advisory Notes
Hong Kong Airport Still current ·         Until further notice, only bona fide passengers with a valid air ticket or boarding pass for a flight in the next 24 hours and a valid travel document will be allowed to enter the terminal buildings.
·         Passengers should arrive at least three hours before departure to allow sufficient time to pass through newly added control points.
·         Other members of the public, including those who may want to accompany departure passengers or receiving arrival passengers at the airport, should not travel to the airport unless absolutely necessary.
Singapore Foreign Ministry Updated: 18 October ·         Large-scale protests have been taking place across Hong Kong since June 2019 which have become increasingly unpredictable.
·         These protests can take place with little or no notice and could turn violent. Road closures and traffic disruptions in the aforementioned areas are expected.
·         Singaporeans are advised to defer non-essential travel to Hong Kong, given current developments. If you are already in Hong Kong, you should take all necessary precautions to ensure your personal safety. You are advised to stay vigilant, monitor developments through the local news, and heed the instructions of the local authorities.
·         You should avoid protests and large public gatherings and stay in touch with your family and friends so that they know you are safe.
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
LINK UPDATED
Updated: 18 October

Still current

·         Hong Kong (All the country): Level 1: Please be careful (new)
·         Protests, some guerrilla-like, take place despite police disapproval. There is also a tendency for conflicts between protesters and police authorities to escalate.
·         Protests are taking place in a wide range of Hong Kong, including airports and some tourist spots.
U. K Foreign Ministry Updated: 16 October

Still current

·         While a number of peaceful activities have taken place, many other protests have led to clashes between police and protesters involving significant violence.
·         Some Mass Transit Railway (MTR) metro stations have been closed – including in major tourist areas – due to damage caused by the protests. You should follow the MTR website for the latest updates before commencing your journey.
·         The situation around protests and public gatherings can change quickly, with the potential for violence, especially during unauthorised protests.
·         Protests can deviate from planned routes or rally locations and spill over into nearby public spaces, such as shopping centres, housing estates and public transport hubs.
·         For important safety and security information surrounding protests, see Political situation
Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Updated: 15 October

Still current

·         Since the beginning of June 2019, large-scale demonstrations, unannounced protests and calls for strike have repeatedly led to disruption of public life, inner-city traffic, such as the closure of metro stations (MTR), as well as partial interruptions of air traffic at Hong Kong International Airport.
·         Violent clashes between demonstrators and the police also take place during the protests, in part with the use of water throwing and tear gas. The protests are occasionally increasingly without prior notice in districts for which no demonstrations or rallies are allowed.
Ireland Foreign Ministry Updated: 11 October

Still current

·         High degree of caution
·         The violence intensified around the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October and further demonstrations are likely to take place in the coming days and weeks.
·         Such demonstrations can close off large sections of the city and affect public transport. While Causeway Bay and Admiralty and surrounding districts have been the focal point of demonstrations, protests have occurred in many other areas of Hong Kong.
·         Urge people to be extra vigilant and are strongly advised to avoid areas where protests and unplanned public gatherings are taking place and to follow the advice of the local authorities.
U.S Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs Updated: 7 October ·         Hong Kong – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
·         While protests are generally peaceful, they sometimes become violent and disrupt transportation across Hong Kong.
·         The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighbourhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies.
·         U.S. citizens, as well as U.S. Consulate General employees, have been subject to a People’s Republic of China propaganda campaign falsely accusing the United States of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong.
Australia Foreign Ministry Updated: 4 October

Still current

·         Exercise a high degree of caution.
·         Protests continue and are less predictable. There is an ongoing risk of violent confrontation. Protests may cause traffic disruptions and affect transport services, including to and from the international airport.
·         ‘Flash mob’ demonstrations can take place with little or no warning, clashes between opposing groups and individuals have become less predictable and are expected to continue.
Canada Foreign Ministry Updated: 2 October

Still current

·         High degree of caution due to ongoing large-scale demonstrations.
·         Although many protest sites are made public in advance, authorised and unauthorized demonstrations can take place with little or no notice. They can quickly spread to surrounding areas, including those frequented by tourists.
Consulate General of India Updated: 13 August ·         Indian passengers are advised to be in touch with airlines to find alternative travel routes to avoid inconvenience, till normalcy is restored in airport operations.
·         Indian passengers who are already in Hong Kong and waiting to depart are advised to be in touch with their respective airlines for information about likely timelines for resumption of their flights.

Upcoming Key Events

Date Event & Location Relevant Parties Potential Developments
Tuesday,
Weekly
HK Executive Council Meeting ·         Chief Executive Lam and all senior administrative officials ·         Chief Executive has held occasional press conferences prior to private ExCo meetings
·         Has been a primary government channel on the protests to date
23 October Chan Tong-kai (extradition bill case) released from prison ·         HK Police, Lam Administration, Taiwan Government ·         Chan has indicated he may return to Taiwan to face trial for murder
·         Case may draw public scrutiny
·         (Chinese – link)
Thursday,
31 October
Joint Business Community Luncheon with CE Lam ·         Chief Executive Lam ·         Business Community Luncheon with Chief Executive Lam
·         HK Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sunday,
17 November
Xi and Trump’s APEC Meeting ·         Chinese President Xi
·         US President Trump
·         Trump said on 11 October the US and China have reached phase one of a trade deal, and that a finalized agreement could take three to five weeks
Sunday,
24 November
HK District Council Elections ·         Local political parties and groups ·         Pending announcement of the nomination period
·         Young individuals with no political affiliation are seen setting up Facebook pages to promote visions
·         Election Affairs Commission
Saturday,
11 January
Taiwan General Election ·         Presidential and local elections ·         HK and ‘One Country, Two Systems’, may become the defining issue of the election, alongside economy

****

Taylor Brown
Senior Associate

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