• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 3:15pm
Occupy Central
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Occupy Central ‘unwise’, says Peter Woo of Wharf, a likely loser from protest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 9:56am

The chairman of developer Wharf (Holdings), Peter Woo Kwong-ching, says he does not expect the central government to make any concessions in the election of Hong Kong's chief executive or on electoral reform. And he urged protesters not to occupy Central, arguing it is "not worth it".

"[Protesters] hope to use an illegal movement - Occupy Central - to try to seize control of Hong Kong's administration. It is an unwise move," he said yesterday after the company's annual general meeting.

Woo - who came third in the vote for the first chief executive in 1996 - said the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law were clear about the limits of Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" and its ultimate sovereignty. "When they talk about civic nomination, it is [the protesters'] one-sided wish," he said.

The central government had made its stance very clear in remarks by various officials, including National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, and Woo said it was in no mood to make concessions.

"The young generation could sacrifice their future over the next 30 years to join an illegal movement to fight for something that they will not achieve. Is it worth it? I think it is not," he said.

Woo, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is the third leading Hong Kong developer to publicly oppose the Occupy Central movement. Li Ka-shing said in March that the movement would be harmful to the city. Lee Shau-kee of Henderson Land has also voiced his disapproval.

A report by Swiss bank UBS said Wharf would be one of the biggest losers from the mass civil disobedience Occupy Central has threatened if its supporters disapprove of government proposals for electoral reform.

Meanwhile, the government's monetary and securities regulators have prepared contingency plans for Occupy Central.

Securities and Futures Commission chairman Carlson Tong Ka-shing has told the stock exchange, local brokers and fund houses to prepare for its impact. The SFC's offices are in Central, as are those of most of the brokers and fund houses it regulates.

"All SFC licensees need to check on their back-up facilities to make sure their operations will not be affected by any emergencies such as Occupy Central," he said. "The SFC will … work closely with the stock exchange and licensees to make sure they can continue to operate … as usual."

A Hong Kong Monetary Authority spokesman said it would hold business continuity drills with banks in the next two weeks. Banks have been told to put in place adequate plans to protect critical areas of their business against disruption.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

virokick
As long as HK does just the 'opposite ' to what these property developers say - it will be for the greater good of all.
Property developers will say - we need more mainland tourist- we actually don't .
Property developers will say - we don't need democracy, we actually do.
Property developers will say - don't occupy Central- we must!
Property developers will say- property prices will continue going up- we must push it down!
Property developers will say- we need to import cheap labor - I say we need to export these property developers out of HK!
Property developers start whining = HK starts laughing !
impala
I am still waiting for someone from UBS or elsewhere to explain how any developer or landlord will loose even a penny due to Occupy Central.

Say, I am a landlord of one of the highly demanded, always fully occupied office buildings in Central. I rent my floors out to the likes of J.P. Mordor, KPOMG, Lankliters and so on. And my retail spaces are eagerly taken by the likes of Ching Bling Tai, Louis Vulture and ShitySuper.

These tenants are invariably on multi-year contracts. Great. They pay rent. Every month. Lovely. Ka-ching for Wharf, HKLand, SHK and so on.

Now come July 2014, a couple of thousand protesters show up on the pavement outside these buildings. So what? Are my tenants going to stop paying rent? Is there something in their lease that says: 'you pay the rent monthly, except when some pavement nearby is partially blocked by protesters'?

Is the long-term value or cash flow of my buildings going to be significantly impacted by a couple of weeks (at most!) of protests outside the door? Nope.
chuchu59
Does Beijing have to resort to getting this sort of person to denounce 'Occupy Central'. Beijing didnt even want him as our first CE and he is an out-and-out businessman with likely much business with the mainland. So there you have it. A guy with little clout and is not even worth a glance from Beijing speaking out.
fmhung
and listening to a property tycoon like Peter Woo is extremely unwise.
XYZ
All these tycoons and business leaders are lining up to tell the Occupy Central supporters what to do, specifically not to go through with their protest.
.
Do you think they're being equally forthright with their advice to their CCP contacts, urging them to trust their patriotic kids and grand kids with the basic democratic right of electing their government, especially given the CCP's abysmal track record of choosing Hong Kong's leaders over the past 17 years?
.
Somehow I doubt it.
mdap
Poor Old Peter - living proof that if you can't make it, marry it - where would this man be without Y.K.Pao's daughter's money ......
impala
Currently, at least a half dozen years of their freedom.
wiseman
idiotic comment
ntmount
The fact is that more protesters will come out due to these sort of comments. People realise the only practical way to get more compromise on flawed, mostly unsupported, unsuitable policies is by mass protest. It worked with Article 23, National education, HKTV licensing etc. Logic dictates that democratic reform will follow.
What happens if 500000 suddenly hit the streets like in 2003 and sit down en masse? The choice is to forcefully crackdown or compromise. Hopefully, Beijing realises that most people here are very switched on to their rights and not used to communist type robotism and control.
The next few months will be crucial for Hk's future and China. Hopefully common sense will prevail on all sides.
scmpcoolguy
wailamtmhk - No. It was Sir Gordon Woo, chairman of Hopewell Holdings who said only pple who paid salary tax should have the right to vote.

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