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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 10:45am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 4:29am

Only a crash will rid market of greedy speculators


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Public Eye totally opposes the government's latest market-cooling measures. Blind greed has already possessed the entire property market. What we need to do is to exorcise this greed. Cooling measures won't do that. Home prices will soon rebound, as they did within months of past measures. Greed always finds a way. It was on full display within minutes of the government's Friday afternoon announcement of new cooling measures. Property tycoons rushed to sell flats before the measures took effect at midnight on Friday. They proved once again what we have long said - that lining their own pockets comes before the city's overall good. To cleanse the market of greed we have to let it crash. Cooling measures only delay a crash that is inevitable anyway. A market collapse would not hurt innocent homeowners. If you're an owner-occupier, you'll only suffer a paper loss. If you sell to upgrade, you'll get less for your flat but your new home will cost less, too. A bubble burst will only hurt greedy speculators and developers. Decent Hongkongers want to see them squirm. So let's hasten the crash.


Tycoons to donate land? Watch this space

Has guilt finally knocked a bit of conscience into some of our property tycoons? Or does that newfound conscience come with a catch? Two tycoons took turns offering free land to the government to build cheap homes. You don't have to be a cynic to suspect there's got to be a catch somewhere: that was our first reaction. Lee Shau-kee of Henderson Land Development and Henry Cheng Kar-shun of New World Development are among the world's richest people, profiting obscenely from Hong Kong's ever-crazy property market. But the wealth our tycoons amass, they keep. Bill Gates they are not. Lee and Cheng have hoarded huge reserves of farmland, and suddenly they want to give some of it away for nothing to benefit society? Have they belatedly been visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future? Or are there strings attached? Now that Lee and Cheng have talked big, Public Eye will wait for them to deliver. A word of warning to them: the spirits don't take kindly to a conscience with a catch.


Tourism boss needs to come back to earth

Has he gone loopy? If not, he must have joined our bureaucrats in la-la land. Tourism Board boss James Tien Pei-chun thinks Hong Kong needs still more mainland tourists. He's going to spend HK$51 million of the people's money to lure them. Last week he mocked Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for saying we should not blindly increase tourist numbers. He challenged Leung to pinpoint how, exactly, the mainland influx had disrupted the lives of Hongkongers. If Tien doesn't know that, he must indeed be in la-la land. We suggest he beams back to earth and try riding the MTR, buying baby milk powder, visiting Ocean Park and Disneyland, walking in Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui, trying to look for school places in border towns such as Sheung Shui, or getting the attention of sales staff in shopping malls frequented by mainlanders. But Tien, a very wealthy man, doesn't live like a normal Hongkonger. He rides around in a chauffeured car, schools his children abroad, gets VIP treatment at the theme parks, and never has to compete with mainlanders for necessities. So maybe we should forgive him for being clueless about how the 35 million mainlanders who visited last year threw local life out of whack.



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talking about Mainlanders, a friend at mini rugby last week put his flat in Taikoo Shing on the market and was offered 10 million cash for it by a Mainlander - he said he wanted 12 million if paid in cash - he got it.
Likewise a barrister commented on the fact a solicitor told him a Mainlander dumped large suitcases of foreign currency and asked her to 'buy property, any property' - did she report it to the task force ? what do you think ? The HK property market is the local cesspit laundry for corrupt funds - they do not care if it costs an extra 15% to conceal their ill gotten funds being stashed away before they scarper. In California they have the Fictitious Names index to prevent directors hiding behind lawyers and nominees - we could do with that here too. As for cooling the market I see 1 house at Gough Hill road just sold for US$ 86 million this week to a BVI company.
John Adams
Good stuff Michael
Keep saying it and eventually - just maybe - these selfish tycoons and their offshoots ( e.g James Tien) will get the message that we have had enough of them .
Dear PDB 1688 ......who are your 'we' ? Name me one person who is not selfish and rational and walking free on the streets and I'll gladly tell you why they are not selfish or certifiable. As for the author...he would make me scared if more than a half dozen people bought his emotive, popularism ( but not intelligent) spin on I'll conceived ideas uttered as if intellect was completely irrelevant. This chap just loves his own voice and rhetoric inane as it is.
Only a crash will rid market of greedy speculators- What absolute tripe...How does this guy get space to write such ill conceived rubbish asserting rational pursuit of gain = greed? I suppose the 'crash' he is looking for can be called 'public charity'.
Chugs - just remember James "Heavenly" Tien wants more mainlanders to buy at G2000, that's why he has 7 cars - the mainlanders pay for their upkeep.
If Lee Shau-kee or Henry Cheng Kar-shun want to give away farmland i'm interested. I understand your concerns as well dynamco. But we cannot have a lassie faire system with too much regulation. Free markets require a separation of economics and politics. However, I have non-economical and personal issues that abuse hong kong' free(er) economic system and the hospitality of the Chinese culture and Chinese people. Greed is not the love of money, its the fear of scarcity. I made up a joke with a friend of mine. I said: Tourism is a nessessary evil. He said: Only if they enjoy their trip.


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