Zeman calls on city to move on from dispute
Updated: 2019-06-22 06:41
By Edith Lu in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
Hong Kong business magnate Allan Zeman has appealed to people from all walks of life to move on from the controversy surrounding the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws, and help the special administrative region return to stability as soon as possible.
From the perspective of a businessman, Hong Kong needs stability and development rather than division and chaos, Zeman said in an interview with China Daily on Friday.
The chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings, also known as the “Father of Lan Kwai Fong”, added that “for business people, stability is always the best thing”.
“The reason why Hong Kong always has benefited from foreign investment is the stability here, as people have trust in Hong Kong.”
The tensions in the city have had an impact on its economy and development, Zeman said, citing the struggling property market.
Media outlets reported on Thursday that an unidentified Hong Kong property buyer has canceled a luxury-home deal in the Deep Water Bay neighborhood worth HK$251 million ($32 million), forfeiting a HK$12.56 million deposit in the process.
It marked the second property default after Goldin Financial Holdings on June 11 abandoned a HK$11 billion commercial land deal on what had been the runway of the former Kai Tak Airport. The company, which will forfeit a HK$25 million deposit, attributed its decision to the city’s downbeat sentiments.
‘Is HK safe right now?’
“Those cases do send a very negative message and could wind up hurting Hong Kong,” Zeman said. “I just arrived in Boston, the United States. Everywhere I go, people are asking me: Is Hong Kong safe right now?”
He said the situation is something that really needs to be examined, and a way must be found to ensure Hong Kong remains seen in a positive light.
Now that the Hong Kong SAR government has suspended the extradition law amendments and shouldered much of the responsibility for the situation in the city, people should accept the city officials’ apologies, Zeman said.
He said the suspension of the bill is “the same as cancellation basically”, as it will not be placed on the schedule of the Legislative Council either this year or next. The current term of LegCo members will end in July 2020.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has apologized twice, in a written statement and then in a public speech. At a news conference on Tuesday, she offered her “sincerest apologies” to all people of Hong Kong for the anxiety and disputes caused by the SAR government’s handling of its proposed amendments to the city’s extradition laws.
On Wednesday, Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu apologized to the Hong Kong people for the deficiencies in his work in connection with the extradition law amendments.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah expressed regrets on Friday for the recent controversies and unrest in society that arose in the past few months.
Zeman said he believes the SAR government has listened to the public. What the government could do more now is to further let people cool off a little bit, he added.
(HK Edition 06/22/2019 page2)