🌊 Free Tide: CY Leung named in Pandora Papers
Former Chief Execs caught in financial data scandal, HKU may remove Pillar of Shame statue, HK fails to reach UN biodiversity targets and more...
Welcome back to another edition of High Tide! Today Hong Kong news is overlapping with some pretty big scandals in the global finance world, so buckle up.
~ Sze Yu
CY Leung allegedly sold shares for HK$2.3 million; used offshore accounts to dodge taxes
Former Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung has been named in a major leak of offshore financial data. The cache—branded the Pandora Papers—contains 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. The papers have exposed the offshore financial affairs of hundreds of world leaders, business leaders and celebrities.
The Stand News reports that Leung allegedly sold shares worth HK$2.3 million of international property services firm DTZ in 2015 whilst he was being investigated by an anti-corruption watchdog. Leung and fellow former chief executive Teung Chee-Hwa also allegedly used offshore accounts to shelter their funds and those of their family members from taxes.
Leung warned that his lawyers would be contacting Stand News. “Hong Kong has made a lot of effort eliminating so-called media outlets like Apple Daily, and we must not allow the flames of so-called media outlets to rise again from the ashes,” he said.
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 4 (imported)
Macau suspends quarantine-free travel with Zhuhai, resumes citywide testing
The Macau government has resumed compulsory citywide testing after three positive cases related to cross-border construction workers were detected, leaving thousands of commuters have been stranded at the Macau-Zhuhai border. The citywide screening is scheduled to last three days.
Vaccinated travellers coming to Hong Kong via Macau will still need to isolate at home for 14 days, while unvaccinated travellers are subject to seven days of quarantine.
Rumors swirl that HKU plans to remove Pillar of Shame statue
Former vice-chair of the group behind annual commemorations of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre is urging Hong Kong University not to remove the Pillar of Shame statue. The artwork pays tribute to the victims of the Tainanmen Square Massacre.
“Many of the Hong Kong people treat the Pillar of Shame as a symbol or image about June 4,” Tsoi told HKFP. “Any removal of the Pillar of Shame will definitely give the impression that the university authorities are trying to erase all the ideas and also the image [of] June 4 in Hong Kong.”
Rumours have swirled in recent days that university authorities plan to remove the statue but the university declined to comment.
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Hong Kong fails to reach UN biodiversity targets
A report by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society has revealed that Hong Kong has failed to meet 14 of the 20 global biodiversity targets set by a United Nations convention. The group found Hong Kong had failed to protect biodiversity through measures by controlling pollution and preventing habitat loss.
The Society concluded by urging the government to adopt conservation and biodiversity-oriented policies, and to avoid developing country parks, wetland buffer zones and green belts.
Heavily indebted property giant Evergrande has suspended trading in its shares in Hong Kong, pending a ‘major announcement‘. Reports say Hopson Development Holdings planned to buy a 51% stake in Evergrande’s property services arm.
Another 16 opposition district councillors have had their allegiance called into question following the mandated oath-taking ceremony. As of Monday evening, officials were contacting the 16 with questions about their past behaviour and stances on social issues.
A former Hong Kong police officer has been jailed for a second time over up-skirting offences. The 29 year-old was previously jailed for taking up-skirt photos of a female inspector (his then-colleague). He has now been locked up again for committing the same offence against five other women.
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