No time to read the news this week? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Just one minute with the Localiiz news roundup and you’ll have all you need to appear up-to-the-minute and worldly-wise when out and about this weekend – well, almost.
Tens of thousands of passengers had a memorable commute for all the wrong reasons this week. Droves of people were left stranded during the evening rush period as parts of the MTR’s Kwun Tong Line were halted because of a power outage that also plunged stations into darkness. The MTR Corporation has since come under fire as it has emerged that the problem took 10 minutes fix. Except it took them an hour to find the problem. I myself suffered during this time, being stuck at a ludicrously busy Wan Cha station, I was very close to being in danger of becoming quite sweaty.
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Fare increases which kicked in this week have Hong Kong’s taxi drivers raging. The bumped up prices will only benefit operators due to increased rent on taxis heavily offsetting any increase on fares and the inevitable fall in people using taxis as a result. The initial charge for urban taxis is now $24, while for New Territories taxis it’s $20.50, and $19 for Lantau taxis. Just so we’re all crystal clear on the new prices in their totality – the incremental charges of first-tier distance for each 200 meters are now $1.70 for urban taxis, and $1.50 for New Territories and Lantau taxis. For long-distance travel, the new incremental charges are $1.20 for urban and New Territories taxis, and $1.40 for Lantau taxis. It is $6 for each baggage for the three taxis.
After weeks of hoping people would just forget about it and stop being really mean to them, the Registration and Electoral Affairs Office has finally admitted it was inappropriate to use the personal data of all 3.78 million registered voters as backup for last month’s chief executive election. The data was stored in two laptops stolen from a locked room at AsiaWorld-Expo. The laptops remain missing.
The government has further tightened its housing policy by announcing yesterday that if a buyer acquires more than one flat within one transaction, the properties will be subject to a 15 percent stamp duty. Up to this point, cash-rich plutocrats have been able to buy as many properties as they want without any real legislative consideration to the extremely competitive nature of the market for those of us still to buy their first property. To put it another way, they’ve been taking the p**s. In one case, a local buyer splashed out $140 million to buy 15 flats from K Wah International’s K City at Kai Tak in one go. The buyer saved about $19.6 million in stamp duty payments while simultaneously denying 14 properties to other prospective buyers.
Live Long and don’t Prosper
A new government-funded annuity plan will see women receiving about 10 percent less than men in monthly payouts, due to their longer life expectancy. Hong Kong’s equality watchdog has said it will “look into” the new plan to see if it’s discriminatory (which it clearly is). The plan is potentially in breach of a stated official directive to promote gender neutrality and may go against a court case that forbade gender stereotyping policies, according to a Women’s Commission member and a human rights lawyer. Due to women’s longer life expectancy, their monthly return would be $450 to $530 per $100,000 premium paid – contrasting with $500 to $580 for men.