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Property News Weekly Digest
2021/1/30
〈Asian Post, Jan 30, 2021〉Hong Kong authorities ordered another "ambush-style" lockdown last night, confining residents of four old tenement buildings in North Point to their homes without advance warning for mandatory Covid-19 testing.

The third such operation in six days was launched as 39 new infections were confirmed citywide, all but one locally transmitted and including 20 untraceable cases.

And in a reflection of the challenges the government was facing ahead of a mass vaccination roll-out, a survey released yesterday found that more than half of respondents did not intend to take Covid-19 shots.

As part of the government's ramped-up campaign to contain the latest outbreaks, residents of blocks A to D of Tung Fat Building in North Point were told last night that they would have to be tested from 7pm until 2am, before the lockdown would be lifted at 7am today.

Around 60 residents of Block C were evacuated on Wednesday to address concerns about possible vertical transmission of the coronavirus, with authorities having confirmed 13 infections in the building so far.

〈The Standard, Jan 29, 2021〉A consortium of four developers - New World Development (0017), Empire Group, CSI Properties (0497) and Lai Sun Development (0488) - has been awarded the tender for package 5 at The Southside development atop Wong Chuk Hang station.

MTR Corporation (0066) said New World Development and CSI Properties had previously participated in its property development projects at Tai Wai Station and Yau Tong Ventilation Building.

The package five development, which will offer up to 1,050 homes, received a total of six bids. The valuation of the project is between HK$10.16 billion and HK12.3 billion, with an average price of HK$16,000-HK$19,000 per square foot.

The gross floor area of the project is around 636,000 sq ft.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's average home prices fell for the third straight month in December amid the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lowest for eight months, data from the Rating and Valuation Department showed.

〈China Daily, Jan 29, 2021〉Only one infection was picked up among 330 residents tested in a sudden overnight lockdown of three Yau Ma Tei buildings.

But Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung defended the 11-hour operation that ended at 6am yesterday, saying the positive rate was 0.3 percent - compared to the 0.17 percent for the 13 cases found among 7,000 residents in a larger lockdown in Jordan at the weekend.

He warned of more "surprise, quick and targeted" lockdowns to "achieve zero cases."

Still, in the operation at 9-27 Pitt Street and Shun Fung Building at 3 Tung On Street beginning at 7pm on Tuesday, officers knocked on the doors of 306 households but 93 did not answer. Home affairs officers were following up.

Despite unsealing the area at 6am yesterday, watchers remained at exits of the three buildings to check residents' negative test results.

〈Apple Daily, Jan 28, 2021〉China’s economic outlook has attracted even more international attention after the U.S. election. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has vigorously promoted the idea that the economy of China has outperformed the rest of the world and will become the world’s largest economy within a few years.

The international media has been mixed in its analysis of China’s economy. The uncertainties in the U.S.-China relationship have made it even more difficult to gauge China’s economic prospects.

It may be a bit of a dilemma for the people of Hong Kong in the face of this confusing assessment of China’s economic outlook. The economy of Hong Kong has long been deeply integrated with that of China, thus an improvement in China’s economy will lead to an improvement in Hong Kong’s economy.

Yet, a booming Chinese economy will boost the confidence of the CCP, and Western countries will take a greater interest in the Chinese economy, so that there will be less international resistance to the CCP’s efforts to mainlandize politics in Hong Kong.

〈China Daily, Jan 27, 2021〉The Chinese national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region fly above the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, China, Aug 5, 2019. [ I was shocked to learn of the shutting down of a major law firm in Hong Kong by the Law Society of Hong Kong. Among the grievous breaches alleged was the misappropriation of clients' funds by a former employee.

The Law Society claimed that as the regulatory body of Hong Kong lawyers, it had no choice but to take swift action, saying: 'Delayed intervention would only cause more clients to suffer bigger losses'. I cannot accept the ridiculous logic of this justification for freezing the funds of clients of the legal profession.

The shutting down and the freezing of funds were purportedly intended to protect the clients of the firm. But the move itself would cause immediate and probably even bigger losses.

In any case, the alleged losses that could potentially be avoided through the freezing of the accounts are not proven. If the Law Society is sincere in 'protecting the interests of the clients', it certainly should not be insensitive to the potential losses incurred by the action