Full lockdown in Kowloon district | Weekly Briefing
Banning bananas, Irish calendars, Ocean Park makeover, Lunar New Year fairs go forward, and more.
This week in Hong Kong, the government enforced its first full lockdown on a heavily populated area in Kowloon after an influx of COVID-19 cases. Also, the travel ban for Ireland and Brazil begins today.
Get our daily briefings for free! This offer is only available until Monday, so don’t miss out.
Harbour Times This Week
by Thomas Chow
Environmental organisations in Hong Kong urged the government to establish goals and measures to achieve net-zero emission in transportation.
by Jasmine Lee
As of today, travellers who have been to Ireland or Brazil for at least two hours in the 21 days prior to arrival are strictly banned from entering Hong Kong.
A 48-hour lockdown of about 200 buildings in the Yau Tsim Mong district was announced yesterday, effective as of this morning. Here’s an SCMP Explainer of what is permitted during the stay-at-home enforcement. A temporary hospital built for COVID-19 patients is set to open in February.
Lunar New Year
This year’s festivities may not be completely tossed out after all. After the initial decision, the government went back on its fair cancellation and announced that tight restrictions will be made to ensure the sanitation and safety of fair attendees and vendors. There will also be an online platform set to replace the night parade.
National Security Law
Queen’s Counsel David Perry has withdrawn from the Jimmy Lai case not long after the announcement that he would be one of the lawyers handling the prosecution. This announcement came not long after pressure from the UK, with Foreign Minister Dominic Raab calling this “pretty mercenary”.
Tourism & Entertainment
Ocean Park is undergoing a transformation. The government is set to give the park billions to makeover its business model, opting to have a retail-focused area of the park that is free to enter. Some of the rides will be removed and replaced, exchanging rollercoasters for zipline rides.
Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!
COVID ain't going to stop Australia Day in Hong Kong – and you can join. The Australian Consulate invites friends of the land down under to join their short online event from 6 PM on Tuesday, 26 January. Their special presentation will be streamed live through the Consulate’s Facebook page; so grab a VB (or glass of fine Aussie wine) and kick back and join the show!
“The Night of Ideas (Nuit des Idées)” returns to Hong Kong
Co-organised with the Hong Kong Museum of Art, under the theme “ST[ART] AGAIN”, this event will take place online from 6-10 PM on Thursday, 28 January. It will explore the following ideas:
To what extent art can unite us in these exceptional times and accompany us through the great changes we are experiencing.
In which way art, culture and museums are essential to our modern societies.
You can pre-register here.
WhatsApp decides to postpone changes to its privacy terms to May after a public outcry caused many to leave the app, leaving for its rival encrypted messaging app, Signal.
Elliott Management, New York-based hedge fund, is set to close its HK office and move remaining staff members to its existing offices in London and Tokyo.
RTHK journalist Nabela Qoser was removed from her civil service contract with the news outlet, told to either choose a short-term contract or face termination. Qoser upset pro-establishment officials in 2019 when she posed tough questions to HK officials like Chief Executive Carrie Lam during the protests.
HK Bar Association
The Bar Association has a new chairman, Paul Harris SC, who wants the government to adjust the national security law so that other countries will bring back its extradition agreements with HK. In his outgoing interview, former HKBA chair Philip Dykes told SCMP that he hopes to see some reparations made regarding the Association’s relationship with Beijing.
2021, will you think about Ireland?
The Consulate General of Ireland has partnered with colleagues in Enterprise Ireland in Hong Kong to produce a limited edition calendar, featuring photographs and stories of the deep historical links between Hong Kong and Ireland that dating back 200 or so years. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An EU resolution passed on Thursday called for "targeted sanctions" against Chinese and HK officials behind the arrests of 50+ pro-democracy figures. Unsurprisingly, China wasn’t too happy about this decision, calling it a “gross interference” on its own affairs.
Save time without sacrificing insight
Now for some satire
Satirical piece Hong Kong must ban bananas claims the potassium-ridden fruits "pose a direct threat to Chinese sovereignty, especially the ones that have been shamelessly yellow since time immemorial and continue to do so without remorse”.