As a fund manager who has been heavily involved in the Hong Kong stock market, may I add to the debate about the Government's recent intervention in the stock and futures markets. To me, those who criticise the action don't know what they are talking about. They feel that the Government has interfered in the free market. What I can see is that the Government has made a tactical move to reduce the opportunities for speculators to make a profit out of Hong Kong's problems. Since late last year, speculators have made easy profits in Hong Kong by short-selling in the local futures market and then attacking the Hong Kong dollar (while spreading a lot of rumours to increase nervousness among investors). They knew that once they attacked the Hong Kong dollar, local interest rates had to go up, which inevitably caused stock prices to fall heavily. Each time, the Government was able to defend the currency successfully - but the speculators were still able to make big profits out of the Hang Seng Index futures market. So the Government is right to make a direct attack on the real source of the speculators' profits - the stock and futures markets. The message for speculators is that this is not a one-way street - only profits, no loss. For sure, the Government has made the correct move. It has reduced the incentive for speculators to attack the Hong Kong dollar, and thus has made it more likely that local interest rates can come down to normal levels, thus helping Hong Kong. Seen in this light, the critics who accuse the Government of violating free-market principles have confused what is clearly a tactical move with much larger principles of keeping our financial markets open and free. Were the stock and futures markets really free when one group of people - the speculators - were able to make 'sure win' profits? However, it is important that the Government must stop its intervention the moment pressure eases on the Hong Kong dollar. It's the Government's job to defend the Hong Kong dollar's link with the US dollar, because this is vital to Hong Kong's stability. But it is not the Government's job to use public funds simply to support prices in the stock and futures markets. As far as I can tell, government officials understand this point clearly, based on statements they've made to the public. CHEAH CHENG HYE Managing director, Value Partners ? Business Post welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to edit them. All correspondence must carry the author's name and address, not necessarily for publication.