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Archive for the ‘Gripes’ Category


Third Runway Yes, Its Price Tag No

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Hong Kong needs a third runway and everyone can agree that it can help the economy.  The price tag of HK$ 130+ billion for building it is just insane.  Frankfurt airport managed to build a runway recently and it cost them HK$ 10 billion all in - why should it take us 13x that amount. Frankfurt has a minimum wage level that is higher than Hong Kong.

I think the government should offer a break down for that HK$ 136 billion before we should even consider this option further.

Lowering compulsory sale threshold from 90% to 80%

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Coming into effect today (1st April, 2010) is the new legislation that allows developers to force small owners to sell their flats within a building after it has acquired 80 per cent of the property interests in the building. This affects residential buildings older than 50 years.

Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) mentioned on the radio the day before Legco voted on the notion saying that this new law was in the interest of the Hong Kong public and revitalisation of Hong Kong but in reality the law lowers the leverage and bargaining power of small flat owners agains developers.

A seven-storey tenement block on Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (55 years old) along with three neighbouring blocks, has been an acquisition target. Richfield Realty which is helping Henderson Land to acquire this block stopped negotiating with one of the owners since January because they suspected that the law to lower the threshold would be passed and said the owner that they will talk contact him again in April.  Now the owner is worried that the developer will offer him an even lower offer than the one he had rejected before.

The original offer made by Richfield was ~HK$ 4 million or HK$ 5,700 /sq.ft. for the owner’s 700 sq. ft. flat which measures 1,200 sq. ft. if his share of common areas is included. A new flat developed in same spot would sell for ~3 times that; so effectively once the owner is compelled to sell he would need to move elsewhere.

A similar incident happened to an owner (Victor Sin Ho-yuen) who had a shop on Haven Street (希雲街) , in causeway bay who had to sell his shop on ground floor for ~HK$ 2 million. The court case cost him HK$ 4 million in legal fees. He laments that he would probably lose his second shop too in a similar way. Sin said that the supplementary measures and the mediation system were useless, because the developed showed no intention to mediate last time.

It is appalling that this is happening in Hong Kong. Individual rights are being eroded and it is sad to see Hong Kong heading down this route.

Hong Kong government’s SME Loan Guarantee Scheme

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Although the government has the best of intentions; it’s SME Loan Guarantee seems to have more discernible benefits to its participating banks than SMEs.

The government loan guarantees guarantee 80% of the loan; however all banks still require the owners of SME’s to personally guarantee 100% the loans and the government guarantee only applies when the owner is unable to repay the loan and is forced into bankruptcy. The interest charged on the SME loans by the banks are the same as what they were charging without the SME Loan guarantee. So in effect the SME owner; with or without the government loan guarantee is receiving exactly the same deal with the banks except they have to fill in more forms.

The banks on the other hand benefit in everyway; guaranteed return, guaranteed profitability, guaranteed no loan default and guaranteed retention of the same interest rates and bank charges.

The most obvious argument is that the government has helped give confidence to the banks to lend money to SMEs that they may not have had otherwise. However this is inherently flawed, because the banks' primary business is lending money and if they chose not to do that they will go under; therefore it is as much in the bank’s interest to lend money as it is in the SME’s interest to borrow money with or without government aid.

If the government genuinely wants to help SME’s; they should lend money directly to the SME’s without the banks' involvement This would reqiure a separate department be setup for handling these affairs and this department would actually serve a useful purpose.

So instead of the an SME Loan Guarantee Scheme it should be called a Banks' Profitability Guarantee Scheme.

Hong Kong Bank Scam

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Unbeknownest to many in Hong Kong….

If you have 2 bank accounts in the same bank (Account A and account B) and you write a cheque (withdrawing from Account A) to your other account (receiving at Account B)  and have deposit it with your bank on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday - the funds will not be available in Account A and yet it would not be available in Account B. Apparently the funds are sent to a centralised banking facility that keeps the funds whilst it’s being transferred… This doesn't seem logical and what happens to the interest during these two days?

Owner Ng Yuet-Yee ordered to pay HK$ 386,000 for canopy Collapse

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

On 1 August 1994, there was an building in Aberdeen, Albert House, whose canopy and illegal fish tank collapsed killing one 80-year-old woman and injured 12.

In 1997, an individual called Ng Yuet-Yee bought an apartment in that building.

In November 2008, judge Stephen Chow Siu-Hung ordered that Ms Ng has to pay a share of the compensation even though she bought the apartment three years after the accident.

This house believes that the sentence is completely unfair and absolutely absurd. The fact that she bought the apartment 3 years after the accident means by default that she has absolutely nothing to do with the accident- therefore how on earth should she be liable for the payment of the compensation?

Surely, only the owners of the building whilst the accident occured should be liable for compensation payments?

Police Search

Friday, November 16th, 2007

A bunch of us were in Soho the other night and a plain-clothed policeman and 2 policemen came by and started to interrogate my friend because he was smoking rolled cigarettes. They asked my friend to empty his pockets and other embarrasing things. Should the plain-clothed cop show his ID or badge before making such requests? What is the general procedure?

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