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Letters from leaders of Hong Kong's political parties and government departments.

    Letter To Hong Kong

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    Leaders from Hong Kong's political parties and government departments take their turn to have their say.


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    22/11/2020
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    Legislator Lam Cheuk Ting

    Dear Hong Kongers,

     

    I handed in my resignation letter last week. This marks the end of my work in the Legislative Council.

     

    10 years ago, when I decided to leave the ICAC to return to work for the Democratic Party, during an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal, I said, “When we look back at the events that happened in the past hundred years in Chinese history, we should be grateful that dissidents like us are still able to speak our views freely and continue to make a living, and not be subject to exile, imprisonment and decapitation.” Looking back, the only thing that has not happened yet is decapitation.

     

    To be frank, I have never underestimated the Communist Party’s cruelty. I was only 12 years old when the Party used machine guns and tanks to massacre the students in Beijing in order to preserve their power. When I decided to rejoin the Democratic Party, I was well prepared for a gradually increasing level of suppression by the regime; I just never expected the pace to skyrocket the way it did this past year.

     

    Under an authoritarian regime, it is considered normal for politicians to face imprisonment. I have no regrets: this is my vocation and responsibility. I have this responsibility because of my love for Hong Kong and because of my stubbornness. I firmly believe times will change and that one day, full democracy will triumphantly take root in Hong Kong.

     

    The night is always darkest before the dawn. We must persevere despite the challenges. There is no doubt that the authoritarian regime will further crack down on journalists, academics, members of the judiciary, those in the medical profession, social workers, civil servants, pro-democracy activists and supporters, etc. I believe that the new wave of suppression will consist of the following:

     

    1. It will include District Councillors and public officers in the existing oath provisions so that they can politically screen candidates and disqualify those they deem “disloyal” to the CCP;

     

    2. Markedly restrict mass gatherings and demonstrations even after the pandemic is over, citing public order and safety concerns; organizers will be charged with serious offences;

     

    3. Cite the Emergency Regulations Ordinance as an excuse to maintain social stability, execute seizures of outspoken media outlets, and block websites to deter public donations in support of the movement.

     

    4. Intervene in different professional sectors: government and quasi-governmental bodies will be established to issue licenses as a way to control professionals’ “political stance” and override professionalism;

     

    5. Recruit Administrative Officers (AO) based on political allegiance; fully review the political backgrounds of candidates so that AOs can become party members;

     

    6. Government officials and pro-establishment figures will initiate defamation lawsuits frequently, so that pro-democracy figures will face paying hefty sums and will be under constant psychological pressure;

     

    7. Continuously create a climate of fear causing a chilling effect: members of civil society will think that they have no choice but to self-censor themselves; the regime encourages reporting on others, causing a breakdown of mutual trust; an increasing number of people will be forced to leave the city and they will be replaced by large numbers of Mainlanders.

     

    How can Hong Kongers not feel sad and depressed when Hong Kong’s well treasured core values and system are crumbling so rapidly? However, the world is changing: international and domestic political environments are constantly evolving; the internal and external pressure faced by the regime will only increase further in the future. I trust I do not have to elaborate much on what will happen if that continues to be the case. Who can go against history’s course?

     

    Furthermore, Hong Kong is still the Hong Kong we deeply love, we have to come together, unite and march on. We, especially those of us within the democratic camp, must put aside our differences, as we are all protesters under the suppression of the authoritarian regime. We must gather as much force as we can to oppose the regime’s suppression, but also stay alert and flexible in response to the government’s persecution. I will continue to stand firm, fight, and work together with the public in the local community, in cyberspace, and on the streets to guard the truth of the events that happened in the Yuen Long attack, and counteract all the untruthful allegations and spurious statements of the government and the pro-establishment camp.

     

    Under the current climate, some friends felt they were left with no choice but to leave Hong Kong. I fully understand their reasoning and difficulties in making such decisions. However, I respectfully ask all of you not to forget our roots. Help one another out as much as possible: a little support goes a long way. Hold on to the passion for change as long as you can: we, namely all those working for democracy and justice, will rise again. Apart from staying healthy, Hong Kongers should also think outside of the box when it comes to participating in democratic movements: we should all strive to outlive the authoritarian regime. Youngsters should keep equipping themselves, because the future is yours. We should all remember the words of coach Anzai, from the well-loved comic Slam Dunk: “If you give up, the game will be over.”

     

    Lastly, I would like to thank the 39,327 New Territories East voters who voted for me back in 2016. My slogan when I ran for LegCo was “Anti Bid-rigging, Anti-Corruption.” Looking back, I seem to have only achieved half of my mission. The triads no longer monopolize building renovation works, the market is now back on track and there are no building renovation works with sky-high prices anymore. Unfortunately, corruption seems to have gotten worse, and those in power stay in power at the expense of citizens. I also want to thank my team, my colleagues, volunteers and pro-democracy supporters from the bottom of my heart for weathering the storm with me all these years. It is my honour to have fought this battle with you all.

    Add oil Hong Kongers!

    Lam Cheuk Ting

     

    Hong Kongers, the fight for democracy is far from over. Despite the many difficulties ahead, I will continue to march towards and work for a better future for Hong Kong. Please take care. With you, I look forward to the day when we will celebrate our victory at dawn. 

    22/11/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)

    重溫

    CATCHUP
    09 - 11
    2020
    香港電台第三台

    22/11/2020

    Legislator Lam Cheuk Ting

    15/11/2020

    Legislator Holden Chow

    08/11/2020

    Legislator Ip Kin-yuen

    01/11/2020

    Legislator Junius Ho

    25/10/2020

    Dr Arisina Ma, president of the Hong Kong Public Doctors' Association

    18/10/2020

    William Leung, chairman of Estate Agent Authority

    11/10/2020

    Legislator Ted Hui

    04/10/2020

    Executive Councillor Ronny Tong

    27/09/2020

     Legislator Claudia Mo

    20/09/2020

    HKFTU legislator Alice Mak
    X

    William Leung, chairman of Estate Agents Authority

    Dear Maggie,

     

    It was a pleasure meeting you and your family again at the dinner yesterday. You told me that you were planning to buy an off-plan shop and acondominium in London, which can be used as an investment and a temporary home for your son who will go there to study soon. We did not have much time discussing this topic over the dinner table, but as the Chairman of the Estate Agents Authority, I would like to share some advice with you so that you would not commit mistakes others have made.

     

    In recent years, the trend of Hong Kong people purchasing non-local properties is on the rise. The risk they face is high especially when purchasing uncompleted properties situated outside Hong Kong. 

     

    There is a pattern for bad property investment experiences. First, the property concerned is uncompleted. Secondly, the purchase transaction is closed on remote basis with inadequate due diligence done by the buyer. Thirdly, attractive incentives or investment returns are offered by the foreign developer. When these three factors come together, it is highly likely that the investment would turn sour.

     

    Of the 65 complaint files opened by the Authority this year, most of them were related to uncompleted properties Some of them were about misrepresentation on the location of the properties or the identity of the developer, while some were about misrepresentation on the rental return of the properties.

     

    Most consumers don’t realise that there is currently no relevant legislation or regulations governing the sale of non-local properties in Hong Kong. Selling properties situated outside Hong Kong is not under the purview of the Estate Agents Authority. A person or companyengaging in estate agency work exclusively in relation to properties situated outside Hong Kong is exempted from the requirement ofobtaining a licence from the Estate Agents Authority.

     

    The risk however could be alleviated if a licensed estate agent is involved in the transaction. This is because he is required to comply with the Estate Agents Ordinance, its subsidiary legislation, Code of Ethics and otherguidelines issued by the Estate Agents Authority or else he may be subject to disciplinary actions by the Authority.

     

    According to a practice circular issued by the Authority in 2017, estate agents are required to obtain a report issued by a reliable authority confirming the vendor’s source of funds or financial arrangement and to provide key information of the development such as the location, tenure, current ownership, subsisting encumbrances etc.

     

    Besides, estate agents must obtain a legal opinion to ascertain whether there are restrictions on foreign ownership before they participate in the sale or the promotional activities and provide a copy of the same to the purchaser, together with a written warning statement and a sales information sheet, before they enter into any agreement with the purchaser. 

     

    Moreover, estate agents must verify the accuracy of the information contained in the advertisements and obtain the vendor’s express endorsement in writing before issuance. They must also advise purchasers to seek independent professional advice on the types and amounts of taxes and mortgage terms regarding their own case.

     

    In spite of the above guidelines, consumers should note that the functions of the Estate Agents Authority is to regulate the practice and conduct of licensed estate agents, and discipline those non-compliant ones. It is not the Authority’s function to assist consumers in recovering their loss suffered from propertytransactions. Even if sanction in the form of a fine is imposed by the Authority on non-compliant licensees, the fine will go to the government and not the consumers. Consumers should be wary that they need to negotiate with the developers direct or seek independent legal advice by themselves in pursuing any loss against any parties.

     

    Thus, consumers are strongly advised to do their own homework and consider thoroughly the risks they face before making a purchasedecision. They must consider various factors such as location of the property, property details, payment terms, financing arrangements, and purpose of their investment etc. Consumers may visit the website at smart.eaa.org.hk or obtain a copy of the booklet titled “Purchasing Non-local Properties Be SMART” from the Authority to learn more information about purchasing properties situated outside Hong Kong. 

     

    Though licensed estate agents are better regulated than unlicensed ones, consumer should still bear in mind that even if the transaction is handled by licensed estate agents who fulfill all the relevant guidelines in their practice, there could still be potential risks in buying properties situated outside Hong Kong, particularly the uncompleted ones.

     

    For example, the developer may fail to complete the construction of the properties on schedule or may even fail to complete it at all. Making a trip to inspect the site and consult local professional is perhaps costly and time consuming, but it is a major investment decision worthy of the hasslesinvolved.

     

    Another popular category of complaints is about rental return. A developer's promise of investment return is skeptical. How can itrealistically forecast the return before the development is completed, occupied, or even in operation? If the developer guarantees an attractive return, it is either taking a major business risk or is not serious with the offer.Choosing to believe the guarantee at face valueis again a risky decision.

     

    The Estate Agents Authority has handled a real case of similar nature. A complainant purchased a shop in an uncompleted shopping mall in the Mainland and concurrently signed a “rent-back agreement” with the management company. According to the agreement, the management company would handle the leasing of the shop for the purchaser and pay him interest and rent regularly. After receiving a few rental payments,the management company stopped its payment. The purchaser then went to the shopping mall site to find out that the management company had closed down and the construction work had not yet started. A lesson learned from this case isthat consumers should consider carefully whether the guaranteed return offered is legally protected and could genuinely be honoured.

     

    In conclusion, purchasing uncompleted properties situated outside Hong Kong is complicated and risky. There is no guarantee thatuncompleted properties would be completed in time or even completed at all. The utmost importance is to make correct decisions because taking legal actions to recover losses iscomplicated as it concerns laws of different jurisdictions. Hence, apart from relying on the professional service provided by licensed estate agents, consumers should consult their own legal advisor for their own protection. 

     

    I hope you will find the above tips useful in making your property purchase decisions. Property investment can be rewarding and therefore it is absolutely worthy of your efforts,diligence, and serious consideration. No matter how much you trust your agent and how reputable the developer is, I strongly suggest that you take a trip to inspect the properties you have in mind before you sign your name above the dotted line.

     

     

    Yours sincerely,

     

    William

     

    香港電台第三台

    18/10/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)

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