Bankruptcies up 37pc
Personal bankruptcies in Hong Kong last month were up 37.5 per cent on those in January last year, further evidence that the effects of the global financial crisis are deepening.
There were 1,266 bankruptcy petitions last month, a 5.1 per cent decrease from December.
But last month's total far surpassed the 921 in January last year, and was the second highest since March 2004, when 1,296 were recorded.
Thomas Tse Lin-chung, a senior partner at the law firm Yip, Tse and Tang, said the January figure might not represent the full picture because people usually did not file bankruptcy petitions during the New Year or Lunar New Year holidays. Mr Tse estimated the number of bankruptcies would go up again this month.
He cited research figures that showed there had already been close to 1,000 so far.
One problem that led to a great number of the bankruptcies was that many people had lost their jobs and could not repay credit card debts.
Mr Tse said he expected bankruptcies to continue going up until the employment situation started to improve.
There were 11,620 bankruptcies in the whole of last year.