Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hong Kong developers dismiss fears over national security clauses in land documents

Hong Kong developers dismiss fears over national security clauses in land documents

Land tender documents found to have clauses to warn potential buyers of disqualification for national security breaches

Hong Kong property developers have dismissed fears about a drop in investor confidence after the authorities added national security clauses to land sale documents.

Provisions from the Beijing-imposed national security law were found in recent tender documents for land sales, including one for a site at the junction of Sai Yee Street and Argyle Street in Mong Kok, where submissions will close on February 24.

The document warned potential buyers they could be disqualified if they engaged in activities that endangered national safety or affected public order.

Stewart Leung Chi-kin, chairman of the executive committee of the Real Estate Developers Association, said he had heard no objections from members, despite there being no consultation on the change.

“The latest practice will not have an impact on a developer’s desire to tender for land or not,” he told the Post. “It will not scare away foreigners who are true investors, but only those that hope to disturb and obstruct the city’s development with political motives.”

Real estate experts say national security clauses in land sale documents will not affect appetite for construction.

Leung, also the chairman of real estate giant Wheelock Properties, said he believed the new arrangements were related to the 2019 anti-government protests.

Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June 2020 with penalties of up to life in prison for people convicted of subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism.

“Now it must be clearly stated, and it’s not just Hong Kong, many countries across the world have such a security law to protect themselves,” Leung said. “Even though there are no such clauses for old land leases, the law is enforced in the city already, and people have to obey and follow it.”

Other developers echoed Leung’s views.

Nick Tang, chief executive officer of Wang On Properties, said the clause was reasonable from a business perspective.

“While it is in place, in practice I don’t think anyone will trigger this clause. Chances of that happening are very slim. So it definitely will not affect land prices,” Tang predicted. “If a Hongkonger buys anything in the US, the US government will also examine the background before allowing the investment.”

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said the Lands Department had added new provisions in land sale papers and short-term leases after the government’s Stores and Procurement Regulation was updated last August to take account of the national security law.

“Safeguarding national security is the shared responsibility of the entire Hong Kong society. For law-abiding bidders, the relevant terms should not affect their willingness to bid, and we are not worried that the terms will affect the government’s push for land,” he said.

He added the first land sale in Kai Tak Area 2A, which included the national security terms, had attracted six bidders and the site was sold by the end of last year.

The city’s property stocks were down as much as 4.9 per cent to the lowest level in six weeks on Monday, compared with a 0.1 per cent slip in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Donald Choi Wun-hing, chief executive of property giant Chinachem Group, said: “The government always has the right to withdraw the tender or choose who can win. The government is like any landlord, who can choose the tenant or buyer. This is naturally their right.”

Allen Fong, a veteran developer who earlier worked for a state-owned developer and has more than 25 years of experience, said he did not see how construction of residential property could violate the national security law, despite the legislation’s range.

“If you talk about residential, industrial property or street shops, I don’t think there will be any major violations,” Fong said. “The biggest chance is when an office is leased to a renter who violates the national security law.”

Polly Chu, a partner at law firm Withers, said the insertion was designed to underline that the national security requirement was one of the criteria along with price and specification under the government procurement process.

“Most land developers mainly consider the development cost, future revenue and income that can be generated, strategic expansion or portfolio and risk, funding and ongoing management,” Chu said.

Gary Ng Cheuk-yan, a senior economist at Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank, said the move to extend the scope of the national security law was not a surprise.

“It should not drastically change investors’ sentiment, but it will also not stop businesses from reassessing the risks in geopolitics and policy predictability in Hong Kong,” Ng said.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club said last November it had secured a three-year lease extension on its part of the Old Dairy Farm Depot in Central after it became embroiled in controversy and was targeted by the city’s pro-establishment camp in recent years.

The club revealed the new lease contained other provisions which were standard in all government leases, including allowing the authorities to terminate it at any time with three months’ notice or with immediate effect on national security grounds.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.