Beijing’s third highest-ranking official, Zhang Dejiang, was given a warm welcome by the city’s top officials during the three-day visit, but shops and restaurants near his hotel in Wan Chai felt the chill. Some shops and restaurants inside Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre were forced to suspend services for a day when the state leader gave a 20-minute keynote speech at a forum on Wednesday. Two trade fairs – which were scheduled to take place at same venue as Zhang’s speech – were relocated to AsiaWorld-Expo, next to the airport on Lantau. Hold that construction: Hong Kong officials to halt works in Wan Chai for Zhang Dejiang’s visit Other retailers in Wan Chai also saw a significant drop in sales during the three days as key roads were sealed off for security purposes, with a book retailer describing the situation as being as bad as it was during the Occupy movement in 2014. Construction work at two sites near the exhibition centre for the Sha Tin-Central rail link and Wan Chai bypass, were suspended for four days from Monday, with the MTR saying any cost incurred would be borne by the government and that the workers involved were deployed to other construction sites. It is not known if shops will be compensated, as the venue operator Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Limited as well as the forum organiser Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Commerce and Economic Development Bureau all declined to disclose whether they were responsible. A spokesman at Trade Development Council – the associate organiser of the Belt and Road Summit– said the Hong Kong government was responsible for the summit. However, the government told the Post that the closure of some shops during Zhang’s visit were part of police’s security operation, and placed responsibility with the police. Police said it was“not appropriate to disclose” any operational details. A spokeswoman at the exhibition centre said all the restaurants in the centre were closed on Wednesday due to “private functions” and said “commercial information cannot be disclosed”. Three frontline employees at the shops affected told the Post the closure was due to “private purposes”, and refused to answer further questions. Business operators in Wan Chai saw fewer customers from May 17 to 19, as many roads were temporarily suspended by the police. Maximum security: elite police teams inspect Wan Chai neighbourhood ahead of Zhang Dejiang’s visit Liza Lai, shop manager at a traditional Chinese restaurant, Super Star, in Wan Chai said it lost one-third of its business during the three days when Zhang was in town. “We lost at least tens of thousands dollars,” Lai said. “Some clients cancelled reservations because it would take a while for them to get here.” She said police officers were checking ID cards of people in the area and asked them to take a detour to enter the building. Book Zine, a bookstore at Shui On Centre, across the road from the Grand Hyatt hotel where Zhang was staying, said its sales went down around 60 per cent compared to ordinary days. “[The situation] was as bad as the time during the Occupy Central,” said a shop staff member, Irma. She said her only customers were mainly those who worked at the office building during the three days, as some entrances were blocked by police. “People who came from outside did not know how to enter the building,” said Irma. Shop manager Susana Law at florist Flowers at the Square, said at least one-third fewer people visited her shop during Zhang’s visit and she had to postpone deliveries. “It was the first time that I experienced such a thing,” said Law, who opened the shop three years ago. She said the management office of the building had notified her about blocking certain entrances, but it did not mention anything about compensation. By contrast, the Grand Hyatt, the hotel where Zhang stayed in Hong Kong, appeared to have experienced a business boom. A spokeswoman at the hotel said rooms were fully booked and tables in its restaurants were also reserved for “private activities” on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The spokesperson declined to disclose the identity of clients involved, but she said there were available rooms for Friday, the same day Zhang left Hong Kong.