🌊 RIP HK's Hamsters
Is an AmCham exodus on the cards?
Apologies for the confusion of all our paying subscribers who got a notification saying their subscription had been ended. We’re working on some system updates to our payment funnel and none of the subscriptions have been cut off!
Please expect receive High Tide as usual, but apologies in advance for any issues in the meantime (like this issue not sending out properly this morning).
Today’s full High Tide free to all of our readers to thank you for your patience and understanding!
On Today’s Tide
COVID-19 | Owners turn in their hamsters to the authorities.
Penny’s Bay quarantine centre hires more staff.
Two more centres to offer Pfizer jabs.
Three residential buildings go under lockdown, and more.
Events | Become spiritually acquainted with Southeast Asian art.
Government | LegCo votes for virtual meetings for high-level officials.
AmCham | Over half of surveyed members think about leaving Hong Kong.
Protests | Joshua Wong gets reduced sentence. Edward Leung released after four years in jail to a quiet night.
Hamster owners bid cold farewell to their pets
The call to exterminate an entire shop of hamsters after samples tested positive with COVID-19 was met with loud opposition throughout the city. Although a petition calling to stop the slaughter of the 2,000 hamsters surpassed its original goal of 25,000 signatures, the government is not backing down on its decision.
The traitors – I mean – pet owners who turned in their hamsters were reportedly made to sign a form agreeing that they would not further inquire about their fuzzy friends after turning them in. The signed form also relinquished their right to compensation.
A father shares his experience of bringing two of his hamsters Coke and Sprite in:
“I put down the bag [with the hamsters in it] and signed the document. They stuck a piece of paper on the bag and then took it away … They said I could not ask them about the hamsters any more.”
— Chan (aka the world’s worst dad according to his kids, probably)
Chan said that his children understand that they need to bring their beloved Coke and Sprite in. So, you know, take that as you will.
Since this whole fiasco began, Hong Kong has ordered a temporary suspension of small animal imports (apparently HK gets its hamsters from the Netherlands) and ordered those who bought their hamsters from Little Boss to go into self-quarantine.
Speaking of state-backed animal extermination, the policy allowing for officials to catch and kill wild boars found in city limits has lead to the euthanisation of 38 boars.
New cases: 16
The government is taking steps to improve conditions at Penny’s Bay with an increase in staff numbers from 600 to 1,000 as demand rises in the quarantine centre.
As of today, you can make arrangements to get a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 jab from two vaccination centres, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Centre and Boundary Street Sports Centre.
Three residential blocks have been put under overnight lockdown operation (Tower 3 of Grand Central on 33 Hip Wo Street, Fu Yuet House of Fu Cheong Estate and Yat Kwai House of Kwai Chung Estate), expected to finish by 7 AM.
Honduras will be added to the Group A specified place list as of tomorrow (Friday 21 January).
Compulsory testing has been announced for those who were present at 39 specified premises. See the Annex for details.
If you attend one of the events we share, let us know by tagging us on Instagram and Twitter @harbourtimes. We’re also on Facebook @HarbourTimesHK. We’ll give you a month of our paid subscription benefits for free!
Spirituality in Southeast Asian Art With Tyler Rollins
Immerse yourself into the spirituality of Southeast Asian art during tomorrow’s fireside chat with Tyler Rollins and S. Alice Mong. You can join in on Zoom, YouTube, or Facebook.
When: Friday 21 January, 10 - 11 AM
Thanks for reading High Tide so far!
Normally there’s a paywall here, but today’s edition is free for all our readers.
If you’d still like to support our work but cannot upgrade to a paid subscription, you can share us with your friends!
Or open a business account with Neat and get a US$65 welcome gift!
LegCo catches up with the rest of us
The legislative council has passed two resolutions that will allow them to have senior-level meetings online. It’s nice to hear that three years into the pandemic, our lawmakers will be able to enter the 21st century of virtual meetings and conferences.
Lawmakers will now be able to hold council meetings and remote meetings for the committees online under pandemic circumstances. Before the new resolutions, only lower-level panel and subcommittee meetings were allowed to be hosted virtually.
House Committee chair Starry Lee emphasised that virtual meetings will only be used as a last resort. So much for moving to the digital age.
Kung fu master, movie producer, and maybe Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive? Checkley Sin Kwok-lam announced he will be running in the chief executive election.
The Chief Executive mourned the passing of Hong Kong Taoist Association Chairman Tong Wai-ki.
Over half of American Chamber of Commerce consider leaving HK
Results from a survey taken with 262 members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong show that over 50% have considered leaving the city due to its strict travel restrictions. These restrictions have hindered members from making new investments and fulfilling their roles as senior executives.
Joshua Wong’s sentence reduced by two months in 4 June case
Well-known pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong got a two-month reduction to his jail sentence for participating in 2020’s banned 4 June vigil. His original sentence was 10 months, now down to eight after he filed the appeal.
As Wong faces his jail term(s), localist Edward Leung was quietly released in the middle of the night from Shek Pik prison after a four-year sentence at a high-security prison. Leung says that he will be keeping off of social media and would like a life out of the public eye and “cherish the precious time I have with my family”.
That’s all for today
Remember to share High Tide with anyone who could use a daily roundup of Hong Kong.