News

Junior Police Officers' Association v EAC
HK Court of Appeal, 22-Oct-2019
An interim injunction preventing public inspection of names linked to their addresses in the Electoral Register is granted. Validly nominated electoral candidates will still be entitled to the details on their electors.
Empress Carrie Lam off to Naruhito's enthronement
HK Government, 20-Oct-2019
Under Basic law Article 13, foreign affairs are a matter for the Chinese Government. Still, with the recent Emergency Regulations she has been behaving somewhat like an absolute ruler.
Does your candidate live where you do?
Webb-site.com, 18-Oct-2019
A knee-jerk amendment to the laws on nomination of DC and LegCo candidates goes too far by removing your right to know whether the candidate even lives in your constituency and/or District. We call on LegCo to amend the subsidiary legislation.
MK v HKSAR Government
HK Court of First Instance, 18-Oct-2019
Justice Anderson Chow rules that the denial of same-sex marriage under HK law is not unconstitutional, nor is the lack of an alternative framework for recognition of same-sex relationships. However, he calls on the Government to undertake a comprehensive review of its policies and laws to avoid ongoing challenges on discrimination or other grounds. He also notes that "it is open to the legislature to recognise and provide for same-sex marriage by legislation if it chooses to do so".
ERO: one judicial review, two judges
Webb-site.com, 16-Oct-2019
Webb-site has learned that in a very rare move, the Chief Justice has directed that 2 judges sit together in the Court of First Instance to hear the judicial review of the Chief Executive's use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance.
Govt proposes to scrap home address disclosure for DC candidatesThe 2015 nominations
South China Morning Post, 12-Oct-2019
There's no need to know the exact address, but voters have a right to know whether the candidate lives in their constituency or District or neither, as many DC's don't. So at least disclose that. We should also know exactly who is running. Without an address, that becomes harder, so instead publish HKIDs so we can check their directorships and other info without guessing which Chan Chi-Keung or John Doe is running. In the meantime, since it is public anyway, we include a link to the 2015 nominations in the Gazette.
Caterers need help in lean times: Tommy Cheung
RTHK, 12-Oct-2019
The Catering Legislator and ExCo member supported proceeding with the Extradition Bill after the 9-Jun-2019 mass rally, triggering 4 months of chaos and now wants his sector compensated for loss of business. He has disserved them and should resign. Scrap corporate voting and democratise his constituency with one worker, one vote.
A closer look at Maxim's
Webb-site.com, 11-Oct-2019
Recent filings reveal the true profits of Hongkong Caterers Ltd, the 50% owner of Maxim's run by the Wu family, and how they take out a substantial management fee from Maxim's on top of the 50% of profits. We also estimate that about 1 in 7 dollars of HK restaurant receipts go to the Maxim's group. Annie Wu has only a 0.33% stake of HC, although her parents and siblings control an estimated 18.6%.
Daughter of Maxim's founder hits back at critics
South China Morning Post, 10-Oct-2019
"I absolutely have no links with Maxim's personally because I don't work at Maxim's" Wu said. Well, not quite. Our research shows she owns 100 shares (0.33%) of HK Caterers Ltd, which owns 50% of Maxim's Caterers Ltd. The latest year's dividends of HKC were $13k per share, so she received HK$1.3m on her shares.
Webb in a Webinar: HK-Invocation of emergency powers
AIMA, 9-Oct-2019
A discussion on the HK Government's use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, whether the ERO and the anti-mask regulation made by it are constitutional, and the broader issue of where HK may go from here. A form is required to listen but any answers will do. Held at 17:30 on 9-Oct-2019.
HKICPA fines Ernst & Young HK$350k and Andrew Wu Kwok Keung HK$100k
HKICPA, 9-Oct-2019
Over 14 years after optical frame-maker Moulin collapsed in a heap of fraudulent accounts, the auditor and its ex-managing partner, who retired in 2010, are fined for their myopic see-no-evil approach to the work. We note that Mr Wu now chairs the audit committee of SPT Energy (1251). Let's hope his vision has improved. Mr Wu's fine takes into account his "personal circumstances", which presumably include pay of RMB340k last year from SPT Energy. Moulin paid E&Y HK$10.8m for the 2 years in question.
Carrie Lam and the separation of powers
Webb-site.com, 8-Oct-2019
After trying to breach the firewall between the 2 Systems with the Extradition Bill, she's at it again, invoking the ERO to enact law by regulation. The PFCR, which she says is subsidiary legislation, sets penalties higher than permitted by Ordinance. Subsidiary legislation cannot override existing Ordinances, so she had better not try. Meanwhile, basic maths and weekend events suggest the anti-mask law fails the rational connection test and is unconstitutional.
SFC obtains DQ orders against ex-EDs of Inno-Tech (8202)Raking muck, Part 4
SFC, 4-Oct-2019
For breaching their duties in hotel acquisitions, amongst transactions covered in our "Raking Muck, Part 4" article of 2012. Incidentally, the owner of the BVI vendor has still not been disclosed.
Making laws via the ERO may be unconstitutional
Webb-site.com, 4-Oct-2019
The Basic Law establishes a clear separation of powers between executive and legislative branches. A law that allows the Chief Executive to make laws appears unconstitutional. We expect a judicial review if she tries it. Even if she succeeds, draconian laws don't address the root problem: a deficit in democratic accountability for both the CE and LegCo. We again propose local legislation to scrap corporate voting and democratise the system.
Webb on the HK protests: 'Hard crackdown likely'
CapeTalk Radio, 2-Oct-2019
Jump to 02:15 in the podcast. We again explain how to democratise the Functional Constituencies and the Chief Executive Election Committee seats by scrapping corporate voting, replacing tycoon votes with worker votes. This can be done by amending HK laws, without NPCSC approval. Without meaningful democratisation, the protests will likely continue until a hard crackdown.
HKICPA fines Vincent Ho Pak Tat, Eliza Yuen Suk Ching & HLM CPA Ltd HK$250k
HKICPA, 30-Sep-2019
For bad work on the Mar-2015 audit of Chinese Energy (8009). The committee notes that Yuen and HLM have previous sanctions which indicate a "persistent failure to comply with professional standards".
Listing Committee criticises Yashili (1230), but none of its directors, for repeated breach of Listing Rules
SEHK, 27-Sep-2019
This "settlement" requires some director-training but none of the "relevant directors" are named and it appears that the company, a legal entity, did this wrong all by itself. In our view, the directors got off too lightly.
Decision on shareholdings of TVB (0511)
HK Communications Authority, 27-Sep-2019
In amazing legal contortions, the CA revokes its 2015 and 2016 approvals but issues new approvals based on new, unpublished "deeds of undertaking" and "statutory declarations" that although Dr Chan does not control the majority of the board of YHL, there is an "understanding and practice… that he would lead the YHL Board in relation to how votes in TVB were to be exercised". Therefore, mainland firm CMC and Mr Li Ruigang are not voting controllers of TVB, despite various rights in a "Relationship Agreement" that was not disclosed earlier. The decision follows a referral by the SFC.
Concentration warning in S. Culture (1255)Our warning
SFC, 27-Sep-2019
This follows our bubble warning on 15-Sep. The top 20 holders on 16-Sep hold 91.09% of the stock. Since our warning, the stock has dropped 26%. It's a start.
SFC freezes a corporate officer's assets, seeks HK$252m compensation for Listco
SFC, 27-Sep-2019
The man has accounts worth HK$32.4m at KGI Asia Ltd as at 30-Jun-2019. The SFC plans to sue 6 officers of the unnamed listed company, including the man, for compensation for breach of duties to the Listco.
New World (0017) to donate 3m sq ft of land
RTHK, 25-Sep-2019
There was no mention of a farmland giveaway in today's annual results. Having bought the land with shareholders' money, the directors should explain how giving it away enhances shareholder value. If it doesn't, that's a breach of fiduciary duty. What do they expect the company to gain in return? Is this just a kowtow to deter further government intervention, or to get permission to develop better land? Why not instead support abolition of corporate voting for the CE Election Committee and Legislative Council? No, that would be too much!

Our stories

Does your candidate live where you do?
A knee-jerk amendment to the laws on nomination of DC and LegCo candidates goes too far by removing your right to know whether the candidate even lives in your constituency and/or District. We call on LegCo to amend the subsidiary legislation. (18-Oct-2019)
ERO: one judicial review, two judges
Webb-site has learned that in a very rare move, the Chief Justice has directed that 2 judges sit together in the Court of First Instance to hear the judicial review of the Chief Executive's use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance. (16-Oct-2019)
A closer look at Maxim's
Recent filings reveal the true profits of Hongkong Caterers Ltd, the 50% owner of Maxim's run by the Wu family, and how they take out a substantial management fee from Maxim's on top of the 50% of profits. We also estimate that about 1 in 7 dollars of HK restaurant receipts go to the Maxim's group. Annie Wu has only a 0.33% stake of HC, although her parents and siblings control an estimated 18.6%. (11-Oct-2019)
Carrie Lam and the separation of powers
After trying to breach the firewall between the 2 Systems with the Extradition Bill, she's at it again, invoking the ERO to enact law by regulation. The PFCR, which she says is subsidiary legislation, sets penalties higher than permitted by Ordinance. Subsidiary legislation cannot override existing Ordinances, so she had better not try. Meanwhile, basic maths and weekend events suggest the anti-mask law fails the rational connection test and is unconstitutional. (8-Oct-2019)
Making laws via the ERO may be unconstitutional
The Basic Law establishes a clear separation of powers between executive and legislative branches. A law that allows the Chief Executive to make laws appears unconstitutional. We expect a judicial review if she tries it. Even if she succeeds, draconian laws don't address the root problem: a deficit in democratic accountability for both the CE and LegCo. We again propose local legislation to scrap corporate voting and democratise the system. (4-Oct-2019)
Lose your marbles
Webb-site issues a bubble warning on marble miner ArtGo (3313), which is up 812% since the end of May and now trades at 24x estimated net tangible assets, making a HK$29bn bubble. (15-Sep-2019)
Avoid: S. Culture (1255)
Webb-site issues a bubble warning on this stock. The Chairman has pledged a majority shareholding to a lender. The loss-making firm is trading at 13 times its net tangible asset value and ownership may be highly concentrated. (15-Sep-2019)
Where can one protest if not near MTR stations?
Police have banned a protest march on HK Island on Sunday, partly because it goes near several MTR stations. Of course, the whole point of Mass Transit is to take people near urban areas. This image shows what a 500 metre no-protest zone around stations on the MTR Island line would look like. (13-Sep-2019)
MTR videos are not Personal Data under PDPO
The MTRC and Police are hiding behind a "personal data" excuse for not releasing videos of the incident in Prince Edward Station on 31-Aug-2019. The law on this is clear: if the video doesn't name the subjects, then it isn't personal data. So said the Court of Appeal in 2000. HK badly needs a Freedom of Information law. (10-Sep-2019)
A curious addition to the Transport Constituency
After yesterday's ICAC allegations of vote-rigging in the I.T. sector, should the Taxi Drivers & Operators Association still be added to the list of Transport sector voters? (6-Sep-2019)
The most likely outcome for HK
A systemically unstable equilibrium of civil liberties without democracy may have irrevocably tipped towards an authoritarian outcome. We suggest a way to salvage the situation, but we consider the most likely outcome is now a crackdown. We look at what form that might take, the possible aftermath and the looming 2047 expiry of Basic Law promises. (3-Sep-2019)
Why Carrie Lam must go
The "suspension" of the Extradition Bill, which will likely lapse in July 2020, is not the end of an increasing erosion of HK's autonomy. With a rubber-stamp legislature, the only thing that now prevents draconian legislation is massive public pressure. Mrs Lam has irrevocably lost the public trust. Beijing will hold her accountable for the loss of control last week, after a suitable interval to disconnect the issues, but this will not prevent the increasing erosion of HK's autonomy. (16-Jun-2019)
The Trump Dump: war-gaming the next move against China
The US Administration has so far focused entirely on the trade account, but when the potential for tariffs is exhausted, if not sooner, Trump may start to wonder why US funds have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in stocks and bonds of Chinese state-backed companies, and use OFAC powers to order them to divest. (2-Jun-2019)
Andrew Fan, Universal INED
A quick look at tomorrow's new listing sees an INED taking his 10th board seat. In our view, he should have found time to check his prospectus biography more carefully. (15-May-2019)
Stop the Scripless U-turn
Investors were in the dark for 4 years about plans to tear up a model that was first recommended by the Hay Davison Report in 1988, has worked in Australia since 1999, and was legislated in HK in 2015 but never actioned. Our extensive discussions with SFC and HKEX reveal no legitimate issues. We urge legislators to reject this U-turn and the SFC to proceed with the legislated model. The stench of vested interests is overpowering. (30-Apr-2019)

Other news

Junior Police Officers' Association v EAC
HK Court of Appeal, 22-Oct-2019
An interim injunction preventing public inspection of names linked to their addresses in the Electoral Register is granted. Validly nominated electoral candidates will still be entitled to the details on their electors.
Empress Carrie Lam off to Naruhito's enthronement
HK Government, 20-Oct-2019
Under Basic law Article 13, foreign affairs are a matter for the Chinese Government. Still, with the recent Emergency Regulations she has been behaving somewhat like an absolute ruler.
MK v HKSAR Government
HK Court of First Instance, 18-Oct-2019
Justice Anderson Chow rules that the denial of same-sex marriage under HK law is not unconstitutional, nor is the lack of an alternative framework for recognition of same-sex relationships. However, he calls on the Government to undertake a comprehensive review of its policies and laws to avoid ongoing challenges on discrimination or other grounds. He also notes that "it is open to the legislature to recognise and provide for same-sex marriage by legislation if it chooses to do so".
Govt proposes to scrap home address disclosure for DC candidatesThe 2015 nominations
South China Morning Post, 12-Oct-2019
There's no need to know the exact address, but voters have a right to know whether the candidate lives in their constituency or District or neither, as many DC's don't. So at least disclose that. We should also know exactly who is running. Without an address, that becomes harder, so instead publish HKIDs so we can check their directorships and other info without guessing which Chan Chi-Keung or John Doe is running. In the meantime, since it is public anyway, we include a link to the 2015 nominations in the Gazette.
Caterers need help in lean times: Tommy Cheung
RTHK, 12-Oct-2019
The Catering Legislator and ExCo member supported proceeding with the Extradition Bill after the 9-Jun-2019 mass rally, triggering 4 months of chaos and now wants his sector compensated for loss of business. He has disserved them and should resign. Scrap corporate voting and democratise his constituency with one worker, one vote.
Daughter of Maxim's founder hits back at critics
South China Morning Post, 10-Oct-2019
"I absolutely have no links with Maxim's personally because I don't work at Maxim's" Wu said. Well, not quite. Our research shows she owns 100 shares (0.33%) of HK Caterers Ltd, which owns 50% of Maxim's Caterers Ltd. The latest year's dividends of HKC were $13k per share, so she received HK$1.3m on her shares.
Webb in a Webinar: HK-Invocation of emergency powers
AIMA, 9-Oct-2019
A discussion on the HK Government's use of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, whether the ERO and the anti-mask regulation made by it are constitutional, and the broader issue of where HK may go from here. A form is required to listen but any answers will do. Held at 17:30 on 9-Oct-2019.
HKICPA fines Ernst & Young HK$350k and Andrew Wu Kwok Keung HK$100k
HKICPA, 9-Oct-2019
Over 14 years after optical frame-maker Moulin collapsed in a heap of fraudulent accounts, the auditor and its ex-managing partner, who retired in 2010, are fined for their myopic see-no-evil approach to the work. We note that Mr Wu now chairs the audit committee of SPT Energy (1251). Let's hope his vision has improved. Mr Wu's fine takes into account his "personal circumstances", which presumably include pay of RMB340k last year from SPT Energy. Moulin paid E&Y HK$10.8m for the 2 years in question.
SFC obtains DQ orders against ex-EDs of Inno-Tech (8202)Raking muck, Part 4
SFC, 4-Oct-2019
For breaching their duties in hotel acquisitions, amongst transactions covered in our "Raking Muck, Part 4" article of 2012. Incidentally, the owner of the BVI vendor has still not been disclosed.
Webb on the HK protests: 'Hard crackdown likely'
CapeTalk Radio, 2-Oct-2019
Jump to 02:15 in the podcast. We again explain how to democratise the Functional Constituencies and the Chief Executive Election Committee seats by scrapping corporate voting, replacing tycoon votes with worker votes. This can be done by amending HK laws, without NPCSC approval. Without meaningful democratisation, the protests will likely continue until a hard crackdown.
HKICPA fines Vincent Ho Pak Tat, Eliza Yuen Suk Ching & HLM CPA Ltd HK$250k
HKICPA, 30-Sep-2019
For bad work on the Mar-2015 audit of Chinese Energy (8009). The committee notes that Yuen and HLM have previous sanctions which indicate a "persistent failure to comply with professional standards".
Listing Committee criticises Yashili (1230), but none of its directors, for repeated breach of Listing Rules
SEHK, 27-Sep-2019
This "settlement" requires some director-training but none of the "relevant directors" are named and it appears that the company, a legal entity, did this wrong all by itself. In our view, the directors got off too lightly.
Decision on shareholdings of TVB (0511)
HK Communications Authority, 27-Sep-2019
In amazing legal contortions, the CA revokes its 2015 and 2016 approvals but issues new approvals based on new, unpublished "deeds of undertaking" and "statutory declarations" that although Dr Chan does not control the majority of the board of YHL, there is an "understanding and practice… that he would lead the YHL Board in relation to how votes in TVB were to be exercised". Therefore, mainland firm CMC and Mr Li Ruigang are not voting controllers of TVB, despite various rights in a "Relationship Agreement" that was not disclosed earlier. The decision follows a referral by the SFC.
Previously on Webb-site.com
Check out our full list of articles in the archive, since our launch in 1998.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Recommend Webb-site to a friend

Copyright & disclaimer, Privacy policy

Back to top