No.5  May, 2020  
Latest from Hong Kong
National security must be safeguarded
The HKSAR Government supports the National People's Congress' (NPC) deliberation of the Decision to establish and improve at the national level the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security, the Chief Executive of HKSAR Mrs Carrie Lam said in a statement. The Decision only targets acts of secession, subverting state power and organising and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as activities interfering with the HKSAR's internal affairs by foreign or external forces. Speaking at a media session on 26 May, Mrs Lam said Hong Kong’s freedoms will be preserved and Hong Kong’s vibrancy and the core values in terms of the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the various rights and freedoms enjoyed by people, will continue to be there.

Read more about the statement and the press release.

In an article on her blog, the Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said national security is never part of HKSAR’s autonomy, and indeed never a matter that concerns only the HKSAR. National security affects 1.4 billion nationals and it is trite that it has to be and is a matter that is entirely within the purview of the Central authorities. When the threats to territorial integrity, secession and subversion of a nation persist coupled with a lack of laws that address these, it is natural and indeed proper for the Central authorities to take action and propose to the NPC to make a decision and to introduce a national law applicable to the HKSAR.

Read more here.

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said the draft Decision is needed for the city. Mr Yau said that in his meetings with many chambers and international interlocutors, while they expressed concern about Hong Kong in general, they also expressed their concern on whether Hong Kong will continue to be a safe city, which is a very important element in supporting international businesses in Hong Kong. He hoped the draft Decision can pass and the enactment of the relevant law in Hong Kong would help to ease the business sector's concerns and prevent social unrest in the city.

Read more here.
  Updates on Hong Kong’s pandemic measures
  • Social distancing measures extended
    The situation in Hong Kong has become more stabilised in terms of the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. As at 27 May, there were 1,066 confirmed cases so far. The HKSAR Government gazetted on 19 May directions and amendments under two regulations to extend social distancing measures and make appropriate adjustments to these measures having regard to the latest situation. The prohibition of group gatherings with more than eight persons in public places, and current social distancing measures for catering businesses are extended for 14 days until 4 June. Restrictions in relation to group gatherings for religious gatherings are relaxed subject to fulfilment of suitable infection control requirements. The measures would help maintain social distancing while allowing room for gradual resumption of social activities. The Government also announced on 26 May that bathhouses, party rooms, clubs or nightclub, and karaoke establishments will be allowed to resume operation from 29 May. Hong Kong airport will resume transit services from 1 June.

    Read more here.

  • Employment Support Scheme receives overwhelming response on first day of application
    The Employment Support Scheme (ESS) has received an overwhelming response on 25 May, the first day of the three-week application period. Up to 6pm on 25 May, the Government has received a total of over 41, 000 applications from employers and about 27,000 applications from self-employed persons. Eligible employers and self-employed persons can submit online applications for the first tranche of wage subsidies through the ESS Online Portal at until 11.59pm on 14 June. The HK$81 billion (about AUD$16.2 billion) ESS provides time-limited financial support to employers to retain their employees. The first tranche will provide wage subsidies for three months from June to August 2020.

    Read more here or visit the ESS website for details.

  • Resumption of classes in phases in Hong Kong
    As the epidemic situation has shown signs of easing, and having regard to the advice of health experts and views of schools, the HKSAR Government considered that schools in Hong Kong can resume classes by phases in a gradual and orderly manner. Classes for S.3-S.5 resumed smoothly on 27 May. Classes for P4-P6 and S.1-S.2 will resume from 8 June; and P.1-P.3 and Upper Kindergarten from 15 June. To minimise the risk of infection and facilitate schools’ cleaning of their premises, schools will provide half-day classes and will implement adequate preventive measures before resumption of classes.

    Read more here (Chinese only).

  • HKSAR Government to distribute free reusable masks to all citizens
    The HKSAR Government announced on 5 May that free reusable CuMask+™ will be distributed to all Hong Kong citizens to guard against COVID-19. Developed by the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, the CuMask+™ complies with the American Society for Testing & Materials F2100 Level 1 Standard in terms of particle and bacterial filtration efficiency, resistance to penetration by synthetic blood, and flammability and pressure resistance. It is reusable for up to 60 washes. All holders of valid Hong Kong identity cards are eligible to obtain a CuMask. Citizens can register online till 6 June. Upon successful registration, the mask will be delivered to the door by Hongkong Post within two weeks.

    Read more here or visit the CuMask+™ website for details.

  • HK$10,000 payout an appropriate sum
    The HKSAR Government considers that the HK$10,000 (about AUD$2,000) to be disbursed to residents under the Cash Payout Scheme is an appropriate amount, after having thoroughly examined all the counter-cyclical and mitigation measures and their financial impact. The Government strives to start registration at the end of June and start making payments within July. The majority of eligible citizens will receive payment by the end of August.

    Read more here.
  HK Immigration Department wins 2020 Skytrax Award for Best Airport Immigration Service
The Hong Kong Immigration Department has been voted the best airport immigration service in the World Passenger Survey commissioned by Skytrax, an international specialist research agent of the air transport industry. The survey was conducted between September 2019 and February 2020, covering over 550 airports worldwide, and the survey questionnaires were collected from air passengers of more than 100 nationalities. This is the fourth time that the department won the award after winning the title in 2015, 2016 and 2019.

Read more here.
  Thematic study report by Independent Police Complaints Council submitted to CE
The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) submitted to the Chief Executive of HKSAR, Mrs Carrie Lam, its “Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response” on 15 May. The report set out the IPCC's detailed review to gain a broad picture of the large-scale public order events and the corresponding Police actions since June 2019, as well as 52 recommendations in improving Police practices and procedures made in accordance with Section 8(1)(c) of the Independent Police Complaints Council Ordinance. Mrs Lam said that the IPCC had examined a large volume of information and had made detailed and objective representation of facts in the report. The report is comprehensive, objective, fact-based and weighty. Overall speaking, the HKSAR Government accepts the 52 recommendations proposed by the IPCC. Mrs Lam had requested the Secretary for Security to set up a task force and to supervise it personally to study and follow up on every recommendation, as well as to consult the IPCC when necessary and report to her on a regular basis.

Read more here or read the full IPCC report for details.
HKETO event
Hong Kong House Webinar #1 “Getting Ready for 2020 2.0”
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO Sydney) held its first webinar of “Hong Kong House Webinar Series” on 6 May. Speaking at the webinar, the Director of HKETO Sydney, Mr Raymond Fan, updated participants on the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong. He said with the comprehensive measures implemented by the Government, Hong Kong has managed to keep the number of confirmed cases at a relatively low level and prevent large scale community outbreak. Mr Fan also gave details of the Government’s relief package which costs about $AUD59.9 billion to support businesses. He stressed that with strong fundamentals, Hong Kong remains a dynamic global financial centre with a high degree of competitiveness and openness, and the city is well positioned for Australian and New Zealand businesses to look for opportunities in the post-epidemic era. The Head of Invest Hong Kong for Australia and New Zealand, Dr Luca de Leonardis, spoke on InvestHK’s assistance for Australian and New Zealand companies to invest in Hong Kong. Director, Australia and New Zealand, of Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Ms Bonnie Shek, gave details of HKTDC’s support for businesses on virtual business connections during this global health crisis. The Regional Director, Australia and New Zealand, of Hong Kong Tourism Board, Mr Andrew Clark, explained the three phases specified by HKTB to get tourism in Hong Kong back on track.

Watch Webinar#1 video here.
Upcoming event
  Startmeup HK Festival 2020 (Hong Kong)
The StartmeupHK Festival 2020 will be returning from 6-10 July this year and is going virtual. The week-long extravaganza of startup conferences featuring keynotes with renowned speakers, startup village, services marketplaces, job fair and business matching will be open to attendees across the globe. Their core event organisers will bring participants the latest industry developments in smart city, retail tech, digital lifestyle, global startup trends and insights from the most promising startups, investors and corporates. Immerse yourself in this full online series of events to get connected, learn great ideas and business opportunities in Hong Kong, China and Asia.

Read more here.
  Together, we fight the virus!
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