Life in Hong Kong an oligarch's paradise

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 12:00am

Leaving aside the 'pro' and 'anti' camps' reactions to the government's announcement that it is to legalise soccer gambling, does anyone in this town have any shame when looking at the absolute stranglehold that monopolies and cartels have in the so-called bastion of free market capitalism?

From supermarkets to banks, placing a bet to buying pork, to operating an airline, life in Hong Kong is an oligarch's paradise.

Are there no voices that could even feign a limp protest that it might just have been healthier for the consumer if the Jockey Club's gambling monopoly was ignored on this occasion? Should not multiple gambling licences be issued for soccer or even other sports and then put out to tender?

Free, fair and open competition, in politics, business, and practically every other walk of life here, remains as illusory as the attempts to promote the SAR as an unregulated paragon of laissez-faire are disingenuous.

As a result, I doubt if William Hill or Eurobet will be losing any sleep at this latest dirigiste abuse since the punter, along with the shopper, shipper, banker and passenger is still offered only Hobson's choice.


Jardine's Lookout