Political tensions could undermine Hong Kong as China’s top financial centre: Joseph Yam

Hong Kong’s former central banker Joseph Yam Chi-kwong has warned that the city could lose its status as China’s top financial centre if political developments unnerve the country’s leaders.

The Hang Seng index dropped 389 points yesterday, its biggest fall in three months, amid growing concerns about political instability.

And Chow Chung-kong, chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, weighed in by warning that the increasingly tense political atmosphere could shake the confidence of international investors.

In the preface of his new book, Gui On Si Ngai, Yam writes: “The politics of finance is already complex … It may well be that political developments in Hong Kong are eroding the willingness of the leadership to rely too much on Hong Kong as a venue for the conduct of international financial activities of the mainland. If so, this would be regrettable.”

The book, in which Yam comments on global financial affairs and looks back at his time as chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority from 1993 to 2009, is published this week. Its title roughly translates as “In Prosperity, Think of Adversity”.

The warnings come amid growing tensions over electoral reform. More than 720,000 ballots have been cast in the controversial Occupy Central “referendum”, which has riled Beijing.

Yam, now an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, also calls on local leaders to guard against the risk of Hong Kong being marginalised as a result of financial liberalisation on the mainland, and points out that Hong Kong is losing ground to Shanghai and Singapore. He says it is inevitable that the Hong Kong dollar will pale in significance in the long term, with the yuan bound to play a bigger role.

“It is unrealistic to expect that a significant proportion of the international financial activities between the [future] largest economy in the world, now with 1.3 billion people, and the rest of the world be conducted using the currency of merely seven million people,” he writes.

Yam notes that the city’s leaders face the imminent task of enhancing the “utility” of Hong Kong as a global financial centre for the mainland and creating a critical mass of financial activities that “is big enough to pre-empt Hong Kong, as the middle man, from being marginalised”.

Referring to rising competition from Shanghai as it becomes a free-trade zone and from other regions running offshore yuan centres, he says: “Hong Kong interests are being pushed aside.”

Meanwhile, Chow said the city needed to worry more about the political situation than competition from mainland cities.

“I hope there will be no Occupy Central. We would like to see people use legal ways to discuss the way forward for our political situation,” he said.

“I would like to see a situation in which international investors would not lose confidence in Hong Kong due to political risk.”

 

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1539240/political-tensions-could-undermine-hong-kong-top-financial-centre

Police: Bus Driver Lied About Race-Fueled Attack By Three Black Youths

Police: Bus Driver Lied About Race-Fueled Attack By Three Black Youths

 

Ohio bus driver Rickey Wagoner‘s (pictured) claim that three Black teenagers shot and stabbed him has been unfounded by lack of evidence and a police investigation, according to the Dayton Daily News.

 

Wagoner initially told police the attack happened February 24th as he was checking outside his trolley bus to see why it had lost power.

According to Wagoner, he stabbed one of them with his pen knife and fired a handgun he as he wrestled from one of them.

Afterward, he radioed to a dispatcher and claimed a religious book inside his shirt pocket stopped two of the bullets fired his way.

But Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said that it was “not credible” that the book would’ve stopped the bullets from penetrating Wagoner’s torso. Biehl also added that Wagoner’s interpretation of events and ballistics testing on the gun showed major holes in his story.

“After conducting a comprehensive investigation that has spanned nearly four months, the police department has concluded Mr. Wagoner fabricated his statements,” said Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Mark Donaghy. “All of us at the RTA are angry at the thought that an employee would allegedly mislead the police, the public, and us and use ugly racial stereotypes in doing so.”

Wagoner also told officers that one of the suspects said they were there to “shoot a polar bear,” which is apparently slang for a Caucasian person.

Biehi said Wagoner’s wounds were inconsistent with defensive ones; rather, they were hesitation woundsIn addition, the knife Wagoner allegedly used to stab one of the attackers has never been found.

Though the department concluded Wagoner lied about the incident, he will not be charged with any crimes. He also remains on paid administrative leave, having violated the RTA’s Employee Standards Of Performance. The RTA will grant him a chance to explain his position and provide evidence at a later time.

Biehi said financial woes may have factored into Wagoner’s false report. An auditor office’s records show he owes Dayton County over $100,000 in property taxes on his multiple homes.

Wagoner declined comment outside his house to reporters Wednesday, saying, “Do what you need to do.”