• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 3:43pm
NewsHong Kong

John Tsang warns that Occupy Central may cut confidence in city

Finance secretary fears that civil action may lead to loss of investor confidence in SAR

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 4:33am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 5:09am

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has warned that the Occupy Central campaign planned by democracy activists could hit the economy and weaken the city's competitiveness.

Tsang, who was briefing legislators on the economic outlook at a meeting of the Legislative Council financial affairs panel yesterday, also said the planned protest could dampen investors' confidence in the territory.

It was the first time the financial chief had commented so explicitly on the so-called civil disobedience campaign that plans to mobilise at least 10,000 protesters to block the streets of Central next year, unless the government comes up with what organisers consider a true democratic system for the 2017 chief executive election.

"We are … concerned that it will shake the investors' confidence in Hong Kong," Tsang said. "And in the long term, it will also affect competitiveness."

Tsang's remarks came as pro-establishment legislators urged the government to be prepared to cope with the possible impact of the campaign on the economy.

"The last thing we want to see is that Hong Kong's situation becomes like that in Thailand," Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions said, referring to the anti-government protests that have brought chaos to parts of Bangkok.

Chan Kam-lam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: "Occupy Central could degenerate into occupying government headquarters. It would be a big mistake if our financial officials are not doing any assessment of the possible impacts of the campaign."

Tsang said: "If the Occupy Central plan goes ahead, it will certainly affect the economy."

Tsang also reiterated that the government had no plans to drop or tone down the anti-property-speculation measures, warning there was a still a high risk of the property bubble bursting.

He said purchases by non-locals and overseas companies in the first 10 months of this year averaged only 89 a month, or 1.9 per cent of total transactions, compared with a monthly average of 365 or 4.5 per cent in January to October last year.

But he said flat prices were still 134 per cent that of the 2008 level.



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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
Perhaps it is unkept promises of Hong Kong people being allowed to choose their own representatives, and the erosion of "one country two systems" promises, that are in danger of hitting the economy and damaging the city's competitiveness. Mr Tsang is confusing the cause with the response.
john tsang your incompetence is a far greater threat to this city than occupy central
This guy Tsang is an utter Chicken Little idiot not fit for the position he OCCUPIES. Did you ever hear Wall St bankers saying the Occupy movement there would undermine investor confidence? In London?
This is typical alarmist, patrician Chinese "logic" to explain away a situation he has no control over and in the end will not affect anything in the investment of HK by multinationals or mainland home speculators.
[He said flat prices were still 134 per cent that of the 2008 level.]

Yes, and who has been Chief Financial Nitwit all that time?

Oh right!

Grow some b8lls instead of that ridiculous walrus moustache, and implement some actual measures that would restore some normalcy to the housing market. Pretty much every other civilised jurisdiction has taxes on property capital gains, and on property ownership. Why do you keep Hong Kong stuck in the 19th century and only tax property transactions?

Instead of even just talking about implementing such basic measures that would greatly enhance our tax base and to some extent fix our distorted property market, all you can think of is more stamp duty, which is even being bypassed left and right. And to add insult to injury, you give anybody regardless of income an electricity subsidy, and also waive the little tax we do have on property ownership (the government 'rates').

This man is so incompetent it just makes you want to bang your head against the walls of your 360 sq ft 'apartment,'
The single biggest thing that is actually cutting confidence in Hong Kong, is our slowly but steadily sinking standard of government. The Chief Financial Nitwit is a prime example of how our government struggles to get anything right (take his completely wrong budget figures and laughable policies like the 6k handout as an example).

All John Clueless-about-middle-class Tsang and his fellow out-of-touch cronies do, is serve the vested interest of the (business) elite, suck up to Beijing when needed, and meanwhile reward themselves handsomely with salaries exceeding HKD 300k per month.

If Occupy Central temporarily disturbs the confidence in Hong Kong, but in return succeeds in stopping this long-term trend of declining quality of leadership by achieving a more democratic system, then so be it.
Scaremongering, nothing more, nothing less.
The fact is, allowing a peaceful demonstration STRENGTHENS Hong Kong's hand and reputation on the international stage.
But you wouldn't expect a puppet do anything other than let his strings be pulled. Or in the specific case of Muppets, have his sticks waved. So you get this rubbish. Which in itself damages HK's reputation.
hard times !
I just wonder why an non-violent civil-disobedience movement,'Occupy Central' would probably hurt our economy and damage our competitiveness as Financial Secretary, John Tsang warned publicly.As the movement can be staged outside the Government headquarters at Admiralty, Central as many large-scale protests or demonstrations have done before. How can such a protest block the traffic flow or even hurt our economy if it is carried out from Saturday afternoon to the evening of the following Sunday ?
Tom Holland debunked this pathetic claim brilliantly just a few days ago.


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