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How safe is it to visit Hong Kong?

It is unlikely that businesses with operations in Hong Kong or sending employees to the region will be unaware of the current unrest.  But some employers may be uncertain about the scale of the risks and what guidance to give to employees. Sebastian Liu, Global Threat Analyst for the Asia

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Birmingham City Council Signs £5m Deal with HK and Macau Investors

Investors from Hong Kong and Macau have signed a £55 million residential development deal, Birmingham city council has confirmed. At least 214 apartments are set to be built on a brownfield site at 21 William Street in Ladywood. The Cedar House was formerly a data centre. In September, Birmingham City

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BDC 319 : Aug 2024

hong kong

How safe is it to visit Hong Kong?

It is unlikely that businesses with operations in Hong Kong or sending employees to the region will be unaware of the current unrest.  But some employers may be uncertain about the scale of the risks and what guidance to give to employees. Sebastian Liu, Global Threat Analyst for the Asia Pacific region at Healix International, the global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services, has identified some of the key issues that firms should consider. “Overall, Hong Kong is assessed by Healix International as a LOW security risk country owing to the relatively low levels of crime, conflict, and militant activity. However, over recent weeks, ongoing unrest in the territory has resulted in significant operational and travel disruption, and has eroded confidence in the territory being a safe and reliable global hub for economic activity. Therefore, Healix currently assesses the risk of unrest to be HIGH in Hong Kong. “The likelihood of protests taking place in the short term is determined to be LIKELY and whilst the majority of the initial demonstrations were concentrated around government buildings in the vicinity of the Legislative Council (LegCo) in Central, more recently the protesters have changed their targeting patterns. Protests are increasingly impacting transport infrastructure, including Hong Kong International Airport [HKG], as well as the Mass Transit Rapid (MTR) network. Protests took place at HKG airport from 9th – 13th August, and resulted in the disruption of hundreds of flights on 12th and 13th August. Clearly this presents a very disruptive issue for businesses. “The risk of foreign nationals being caught up in the protests has also increased as the decentralised nature of them is making it more difficult to project the next protest location; ‘hit and run’ tactics are increasingly being used, with demonstrators avoiding prolonged confrontation with the police and moving from location to location on foot or via the metro. “Whilst the unrest is the current focus on Hong Kong, there is also a HIGH risk of natural disasters in the region, predominantly deriving from typhoons. The rainy season tends to run from April until October annually and the highest risk period for typhoons runs from July to September. Strong intensity typhoons can cause damage and localised flooding, and result in a significant impact to business operations. “The risk to foreign nationals from crime is, however, considered LOW. Non-violent and opportunistic crimes, notably petty criminality in the form of pickpocketing and snatch theft, are the most common.  And there is a slightly increased incidence of such crime in areas frequented by foreign nationals, including the Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai districts, particularly around nightlife areas. Areas with high pedestrian traffic, such as the large marketplaces throughout the city and the MTR network, present attractive targets as perpetrators are able to utilise crowds to remain undetected. Other pickpocketing hotspots include tourist attractions, like the Peak Tram and Star Ferry.” Healix advice to travellers visiting Hong Kong Travel to Hong Kong can continue but itineraries should be flexible owing to likely operational disruption in the short-to-medium term. Developments regarding the ongoing unrest should be closely monitored via social media, local news outlets, the Telegram encrypted messaging platform, and local internet forums, like the LiHKG website. Routes should be planned to bypass the vicinity of planned protest locations, and flashpoints for unrest. It is important to not stop, watch, film or take photographs of protests owing to the incidental risk of violence. Civilians, journalists and bystanders have all been targeted or indirectly impacted previously. In the event of encountering a potentially hostile demonstration, move from the area and return to a secure accommodation or office location. Black and white clothing have both been associated with protesters and counter-protesters; it’s advisable to refrain from wearing these colours on protest days. Also, limit carrying any items that may give the impression to the authorities of involvement in protests; this includes masks, hard hats and umbrellas. Refrain from political discussion in public and making statements on social media. If travel is essential through protest locations, the MTR is likely to be a better option as opposed to over-ground transport. However, business people should be aware that MTR services have been disrupted previously and delays may be encountered. Airport Express services may also be impacted on days when protests are due to be held at Hong Kong International Airport [HKG]. Remain aware of surroundings, especially when using the public transportation system or in high congestion areas such as tourist attractions. Abide by all official directives issued by the relevant authorities. Take note of typhoon warnings issued by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) and the type of signal issued. Businesses and facilities are expected to close when a Typhoon Signal 8 or above is issued. Utilise the ‘Watch Country’ function on Healix’s Travel Oracle app to receive notifications on alerts for potential security incidents and disruption. For more information about the security and health risks in Hong Kong visit https://healix.com/sharing-knowledge-and-news/hong-kong-travel-advisory/

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Birmingham City Council Signs £5m Deal with HK and Macau Investors

Investors from Hong Kong and Macau have signed a £55 million residential development deal, Birmingham city council has confirmed. At least 214 apartments are set to be built on a brownfield site at 21 William Street in Ladywood. The Cedar House was formerly a data centre. In September, Birmingham City Council signed a joint statement of investment commitment with County Garden, the fifth biggest property developer in China, which it said could be worth up to £2 billion for the city’s economy with regard to direct investment into infrastructure and housing. John Clancy, the council’s leader, said that the deal could be worth up to £5 billion to the city. During a trip to Singapore, China and Hong Kong last year, Mr Clancy met with investors where he outlined Birmingham’s open approach to Asian investment, in particular residential development in the city. He explained: “This is excellent news and demonstrates that Birmingham is open for business in a challenging post-Brexit landscape. “Coming on top of the £2bn agreement with Country Garden to deliver much-needed homes for our citizens, this is proof that Birmingham can attract global investors. “There’s a housing crisis in this country and Birmingham is no exception. We need more affordable homes, we need more social housing, and we need to give people hope.” Waheed Nazir, Birmingham City Council’s Strategic Director for the Economy, said that the new investment is of vital importance to this growth agenda. Nazir continued: “Announcements like this, together with the recent launch of a £724m investment plan to maximise the benefits of HS2, demonstrate that confidence in the city is high. “The delivery of new homes, quality of life and employment opportunities will continue to see Birmingham as an attractive place to invest.” Top Capital Group will act as the funder and ultimate owner of the site through the establishment of William Street Investment Co, which will buy a long lease on the land.

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