The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was founded in Hong Kong on March 3, 1865, and in Shanghai one month later. In 1980, HSBC acquired 51 per cent of Marine Midland Bank, buying the rest in 1987. HSBC Holdings was established in Britain in 1991 as the parent of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation ahead of its purchase of the UK-based Midland Bank and the impending 1997 transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from Britain to China.
HSBC moves court to occupy lost ground below its feet
As foretold in yesterday's Lai See, HSBC went to court yesterday and took out a summons for possession of the area under the bank, and named 'the occupiers of the ground floor of 1 Queens Road Central' and three defendants. The matter will be heard before Master K Lo on July 16 at the High Court.
In an affidavit in support of the summons, HSBC's chief operating officer Mark Boyne said the defendants 'remain decentralised, leaderless and unco-ordinated', were generally unwilling to vacate the property, and did not accept that the space was the bank's private property. The affidavit noted the movement had posted a declaration on its website saying it would not vacate the property voluntarily and called for wider public participation, and that the defendants would try to resume occupying the area even if they were removed.
The bank also noted that it had 'concerns about the potential disruption and risk (if there were to be violent reaction by any defendant(s) to the public and negative publicity resulting from the process of removal)'.
In addition, the bank provided a large number of documents and photographs in which it detailed the movement's activities since starting the occupation on October 15. HSBC noted that the encampment was attracting homeless and otherwise vulnerable people. On one occasion, the bank's security guards arrested a man wanted by the Commercial Crime Bureau in connection with an investigation. HSBC said it was concerned that the encampment was attracting people unconnected with the original intention of the movement, and the possible commission of illegal acts.
You can come back, Henry
Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying caused something of a stir when he turned up in the members' bar of the Hong Kong Club on Thursday evening. The problem was that he brought his bodyguard in with him. The club rules do not allow bringing bodyguards into the premises and most certainly not into the members' bar. Most are left hanging around outside the club.
A number of members were miffed at what appeared to be a breach of club regulations and wondered why Leung needed protection inside the club. Was he in danger from some angry tycoon fired up by those generous measures of alcohol served by the club, which apparently led to Albert Lam Kwong-yu's confusion over insider dealing?
We wondered if Leung had been given a dispensation to bring his bodyguard with him, but the club would only say 'no comment'.
We know he doesn't like to give the impression that he's above the law, as shown by the speed with which the illegal glass enclosure in his garden was taken down after he was alerted to its illegality by Ming Pao. All of which goes to show, as his friend Lew Mon-hung told RTHK yesterday, the 'mistake' shows that '[Leung] is just a human being, not god'. On this basis, what does that make Henry Tang?
Bankers and their phones
Only weeks after a Macquarie Group banker got into trouble by refusing to turn his mobile phone off on an aircraft, we hear a UBS banker has got himself into a spot of similar bother on the mainland. Joseph Chee, vice-chairman of UBS investment banking, refused to turn his phone off as the plane was preparing to take off, despite repeated requests by cabin attendants. The police were called and he was taken off the plane and invited to explain himself. He was photographed by someone on the plane who immediately posted it on Weibo and subsequently attracted hundreds of hits and comments. One suggested UBS get its revenge by downgrading airline stocks.
We shouldn't forget the UBS motto is 'We Will Not Rest'. Chee is testimony to that.
When troubles Surface
Microsoft hit the headlines this week with the launch of its tablet, the Surface. But a product launch from Microsoft wouldn't be the same without a glitch - remember when Windows 98 froze on Bill Gates at a technology conference? This time, Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky had one of those please-let-the-earth-open-up-and-swallow-me moments when he was showing off the Surface - when it froze. Sinofsky handled it smoothly. 'Whoops, hang on. Excuse me just a second,' he told the audience as he sprinted off to grab a back-up. Check it out on YouTube.
In one of yesterday's Lai See items, we said Adam Harper 'had been caught up in restructuring at Credit Suisse'. We would like to make it clear that he left the company on his own volition and that his job is being advertised.