Lai See

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:23pm


So many policemen yet so much illegal car parking

Readers will know that from time to time we have fulminated about the ease with which some cars - particularly the seven-seaters beloved of tycoons - are parked wherever their drivers may please, with little likelihood of their owners being told to move on, or - God forbid - being ticketed by police or traffic wardens.

Indeed, the police have shown a marked reluctance to take a tough approach to illegal parking. Their public information bureau rationale for this approach is: 'Road safety is one of the Commissioners' Operational Priorities in 2012. Police take enforcement action against illegal parking in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and road safety.

'Officers are given a certain degree of discretion in parking enforcement such that, depending on circumstances, the driver of an illegally parked vehicle may be directed to move on and/or given a verbal warning if he is present at the vehicle.'

There you have it. In the meantime we are continually receiving complaints from readers about illegally parked cars, as well as widely flouted engine idling laws, and laughable enforcements that have yet to result in a single penalty.

The latest complaint we have received notes that double parking outside Prince's Building continues unabated and, if anything, is getting worse. Our spotter reports that a number of cars including a distinctive yellow and white Rolls Royce were parked outside the building for at least two hours with engines idling. This is despite having one of the world's largest police forces in relation to the population and one of the lowest crime rates. Given that Prince's Building is right in the centre of town you have to conclude the police don't really care.

Post-Olympics bonanza

Chinese Olympic gold medallists tend to be well rewarded once they return victorious to the motherland. Forbes magazine reckons that hurdler Liu Xiang picked up 14 commercial contracts after equalling the world record at the Athens Olympics. His popularity is such that last year, his income was about 29 million yuan (HK$35.4 million), according to the magazine.

It now seems reasonable to think that Sun Yang, the 21-year-old who won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the London Olympics, is set to do as well, if not better. Ye Shiwen, the 16-year-old swimmer who won gold and broke Olympic records in the 200 and 400 metre medley events, can also expect a post-Olympic cash bonanza.

Both swimmers come from Hangzhou and this has prompted Hong Kong-listed property developer Greentown China Holdings, which is based in the Zhejiang city, to give each of these two, two 140 square metre (1,500 square foot) houses worth about 3 million yuan each. And that is just the start.

Best left unsaid

The 'you f***ing Americans' observation that was supposedly made by a Standard Chartered Bank executive in response to a US investigation of supposed money laundering of Iranian funds has prompted the HereIsTheCity website to remind us of those other quotes and e-mails that have been made public over the years.

Some of the best are from analysts.

'If I so much as hear one more f***ing peep out of them, we will put the proper rating ... on the stock.' (Citigroup)

'Question - What's so interesting about GoTo except investment banking fees? Answer - Nothin' (Merrill Lynch)

'Triangle is a very important client. We could go out with a big research call trashing their lead product' (UBS)

'For the record I have attempted to downgrade RSL three times over the last year but have been held off for investment banking reasons each time.'(Lehman)

Trebles all round

Which US-listed internet stock has tripled in value over the past year? Not Facebook , Zynga, Groupon, Demand Media, or any of the other red-hot IPOs, according to Business Insider. Priceline after a strong decade has slowed, and although LinkedIn has done well it has not doubled. Nor has eBay or even Apple.

The answer is AOL, which has more than tripled in value. Part, though by no means all, of the rise was due to its decision to sell and license patents to Microsoft for US$1.056 billion.

Only in America

We read with some interest of a resident of Washington who ordered a flat-screen television from a third-party retailer via, only to receive a semi-automatic assault rifle instead.