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News in a Nutshell – March 10

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.


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Forget it

The idea of independence for Hong Kong was dismissed out of hand by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as he outlined a plan to develop a “big bay area” covering Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau. Addressing the National People’s Congress annual plenary session that opened in Beijing yesterday, he reiterated that the principles and a high degree of autonomy would be upheld to ensure that the “one country, two systems” principle “would not be bent or distorted” in either Hong Kong or Macau.

More on this story: Premier Li Keqiang’s warning on Hong Kong independence highlights Beijing’s displeasure, party mouthpiece says – SCMP

 

 

Chief’s beef

Leung Chun-ying will sue pro-democracy legislator, Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, for alleged defamation over a $50 million payment made to the chief executive by Australian firm UGL. Kenneth Leung, of the Professional Commons, made the alleged defamatory remarks during a press conference by 26 pro-democracy lawmakers this week about their open letter to Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman, Yu Zhengsheng, in which they asked that the chief executive not be named a vice chairman of the top advisory body. A worrying precedent if a lawsuit like this goes ahead…

More on this story: CY Leung sues lawmaker for defamation over UGL saga

No bus causes fuss

It has emerged this week that the Government has failed to meet thousands of requests from handicapped people for special bus services. There were nearly 10,000 unsuccessful requests for “Rehabus” services in 2015, and more than half of them came from people who needed to attend clinics. In other news, the Government recently announced during its budget address a $92 billion dollar surplus. Hmm…

Erroneous

Disgraced former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has appealed to the High Court against his misconduct conviction and sentence. Tsang’s legal team filed the appeal yesterday on grounds that the trial judge committed a “legal error”. Tsang had faced a 30-month jail term – one that could be attributed to a lack of good character and social responsibility – but it was shortened by 10 months for his “good character and contribution to society”.

Sin city

After falling into a nullah in Wong Tai Sin and shouting for help, a drunk, naked man, known only as Chung, evaded a rescue-team for six hours as he was convinced they were trying to kill him. He eventually emerged out of a drain cover and was subdued, completely rebuilding his dignity in the process by covering himself with mud and leaves like any respectable gentleman would.

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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.


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Shark Bait

A loan shark operation targeting Filipino domestic helpers was busted this week. The syndicate cleared $12 million in profit from March to October last year from charging a very illegal 10 percent interest rate a month, twice the legal limit. A Hong Kong couple, aged 49 and 50, and eight Filipino helpers, aged 34 to 58, were arrested in a series of raids across the city. The couple are believed to be the masterminds who hired the eight women – including their own maid – as assistants to find borrowers and expand the business.

More on this story:
Eight Filipino helpers, HK couple busted for loan sharking – The Standard
HK couple, 8 Filipino maids arrested over loan-shark operation – ejinsight

Charitable

A union has found that top executives at 15 non-governmental organisations were paid huge cash allowances – amounting to $6 million in 2015 – on top of their very generous salaries. Over the past six months, the Social Welfare Organisation Employees Union, using annual reports of 60 social welfare organisations, investigated salaries for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The union, an affiliate of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, found that the allowances were on top of hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries for the executives of the 15 NGOs. Good to know where your donations are going.

What a Riot

Three protesters face at least five years in jail apiece after they were convicted of rioting – the first riot conviction in 17 years – for hurling glass bottles and bamboo sticks at police in the 2016 Lunar New Year – commonly known as the ‘fishball’ riot in Mong Kok. University of Hong Kong student Hui Ka-ki (23), student Mak Tsz-hei (20), and chef Sit Tat-wing (33), were remanded in custody after their bail requests were denied. In the first riot convictions in 17 years, District Court Deputy Judge Sham Siu-man ruled all three were among the rioters, rejecting the main defense argument that they were mere bystanders.

Fare Play

Hundreds of taxi drivers will go on strike in Central district to protest against the Government’s “franchise taxi” scheme, which aims to bring 600 luxury cabs to the market catering for high-end customers. When they say luxury, they have a wifi and you can charge your phone. About 100 of the 500 cabs in the protest will surround government headquarters and the Legislative Council building on Friday morning, when Legco’s transport panel will start discussing the scheme, said the Hong Kong Taxi Workers’ Alliance Against Malpractice, which wants to negotiate with the Government to halt the plan.

This Week’s Drunk Idiot News

This week authorities pulled a 23-year-old man surnamed Ngai out of the waters near Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen after he was spotted by a security guard. Ngai told police he’d jumped into the sea after getting drunk with three friends on Ap Lei Chau Bridge, and that his friends had also jumped into the water, but were nowhere to be found. Fire Services Department divers and a Government Flying Services helicopter were deployed to search the area for the three missing people, but gave up at 7am after turning up empty handed. Ngai, who was taken to Queen Mary Hospital, later sobered up and told police that no one else had gone in the water with him. Moron.

Also…

The three candidates for the chief executive position had a debate. It was boring, attritional, and won’t change the outcome. I didn’t forget. So there.

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