Hong Kong 'gave inspiration, but not protection'
A great city for business, but don't count on Hong Kong to stand up to the US, says Dotcom
Kim Dotcom came to Hong Kong because it was a smart business choice; he stayed because of its "electrified soul".
But now the self-styled entrepreneur is banned from returning to his penthouse suite at the Grand Hyatt in Wan Chai.
Instead, he lives under house arrest in New Zealand ahead of his August court showdown with the US authorities who desperately want him extradited to the United States to face mass criminal copyright charges.
Dotcom moved to Hong Kong in 2003 and built Megaupload, the site which forms the backbone of the US case against him.
What does he miss the most about the city?
"I miss the good Hong Kong life," he said. "Hong Kong has an electrified soul; the colours, the lights, the noise, the good people."
Shortly before the dramatic raid to arrest him at his holiday home in New Zealand last January, Dotcom was about to extend his rental contract with the Grand Hyatt where he lived with his wife, Mona Verga, and three young children. His wife has since given birth to twins.
"Mona and I have great memories in Hong Kong," Dotcom said. "She gave birth to two of our kids in Hong Kong and it was heartbreaking to lose our home. It's so sad because we renovated our home and were going to extend our agreement with the Grand Hyatt for another three years, but then the unthinkable happened.
"Because all our assets were seized we could not pay the rent. All of our items had to be put in storage and our home was gone."
Despite the raids, Dotcom said Hong Kong was an entrepreneur's dream.
"Hong Kong is the best place to open a business," he said.
"The tax is the most competitive, the set-up is quick and easy, bureaucracy is kept to a minimum and the rules are easy and straightforward.
"What saddened me the most was that my favourite place in the world, Hong Kong, has not provided any protection for my business or assets against the US government."