Lai See

HSBC action to put hunger strikers out of their misery

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 12:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 12:29am

HSBC has taken legal action against the pan-democrat hunger strikers encamped on the ground floor of its headquarters at 1 Queen's Road Central. It took out a summons earlier this week against the occupiers, seeking "to recover possession" of the premises. The occupiers were invited to attend the High Court on April 29 at "9.30 o'clock in the forenoon", as the summons quaintly puts it, for an order that "the plaintiff do recover possession … on the ground that it is entitled to possession and that the persons in occupation are in occupation without licence or consent". The hunger strike is in support of universal suffrage.

The bank's patience for people who use the ground floor of its headquarters as a protest venue appears to have atrophied significantly since the days of the pre-Benny Tai Occupy Central movement. That protest lasted about nine months before HSBC felt sufficiently emboldened to go to the courts for an order to get the occupiers to leave. But the pan-democrat hunger strikers have only been there for two weeks. Indeed, they say they will end the strike on Sunday, when lawmakers end their trip to Shanghai to discuss arrangements for the 2017 chief executive's election.

It seems hard to believe that the bank felt more sympathy for the anti-capitalist Occupy Central movement. It is possible that in assessing the risks, as bankers like to do, of legal action, it calculated that whereas it was uncertain of public support for the original "occupiers", it feels there is little support for the pan-democrat hunger strikers.


Sohn comes to HK

The prestigious Sohn Conference Foundation, which is to hold its inaugural Hong Kong conference in June, has announced that stars of the hedge fund world such as Carl Huttenlocher, Morgan Sze, Eashwar Krishnan and Seth Fischer will be speaking at the event. The decision to hold a conference in Hong Kong follows on from the success of the first event it held outside the United States, in London.

The Sohn conference is well known as the venue where prominent hedge fund managers occasionally give insights into their strategies. For its Hong Kong event, Sohn has linked with the Karen Leung Foundation, and proceeds will go to the charity.

Karen Leung was an equity and derivative trading professional who died in October 2012 at the age of 35 after contracting cervical cancer. Before she died, it was her wish to educate and spread awareness in Hong Kong about gynaecological cancers and provide women access to breakthrough research and treatment options being developed in the US. The Karen Leung Foundation aims to make her wish a reality by working closely with the local and international medical communities, as well as other non-government organisations committed to improving women's health.


Back-office jobs galore

JP Morgan's annual shareholder letter is an interesting indication as to what the big banks are up to these days. Chief executive Jamie Dimon says where the bank has been hiring. About 13,000 people will have been added between the end of 2012 and the end of 2014, the efinancialcareers website reports. These posts occur across regulatory compliance and control in areas such as risk, compliance, finance, technology, oversight and audit. As for investment banking, the news is that management wants to keep a tight grip on costs.


Taipan Day

Now that you've all had time to recover from the Sevens, another opportunity beckons for a day of rugby. This takes the form of Taipan Day, which is hosted by the Hong Kong Football Club. The event is free and features a full day of rugby, including mini, colts, ladies and varsity games, culminating in the Taipan versus Challenger match at 6pm. This game features many of Hong Kong's best players in a Barbarians-style game that, shall we say, has a historical ring to it.

The charity of choice for the event is Enlighten Action for Epilepsy, which aims to tackle the epilepsy stigma in Hong Kong and encourage children and youth with well-controlled epilepsy to participate in sports. The charity's chairman, Rob Blain, is this year's Taipan. The event dates back to the '50s and, for many years, was a match between the armed services and the civilian members of the football club.


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