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Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020

Hong Kong horse races canceled over fears of political unrest

Fears of political unrest have forced the cancellation of one of Hong Kong's biggest money makers: The city's weekly horse races.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club, which holds a government-granted monopoly on gambling, said it was canceling its races on Wednesday because of an "imminent threat" to the safety of racegoers, jockeys and employees.

The Jockey Club says it is the largest single taxpayer in Hong Kong. According to the organization's website, it contributes 16.3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.1 billion), or 1.3%, to the gambling-mad territory's GDP.

"Our concerns are tied to potential social unrest in the vicinity tonight, the very real threat of a disturbance or possible violence at Happy Valley Racecourse, and uncertainty regarding transportation in and around" the area, a Jockey Club spokesperson said.

Protestors had earlier threatened to disrupt Wednesday's races, a night set to feature a horse belonging to pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho.
It is the latest blow to Hong Kong's economy linked to a political crisis that has lasted for months. Pro-democracy protestors in the city have taken to the streets for 15 straight weekends.


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