Saturday 16th February 2019

Dear Reader,

Time for a a bit of Saturday sleuthing.

Also, tune in to Backchat on RTHK Radio 3 at 08:33 on Monday (or podcast later). We'll be talking about the MPF scheme and the FSDC's proposal to subsidise high-earners' savings in the MPF, in line with the Government's cherished principle of "one bad intervention deserves another". Having realised after 20 years that people don't like the Mandatory Payment of Fees scheme, the FSDC is trying to offset that by putting in up to $17 of tax-savings for every $83 you save, depending on your Salaries Tax band, up to 15% of your salary. For those nearing the payout at 65, or planning to leave HK permanently and cash-out early, it would be an undeserved windfall.

Revealed: SFC probes Chairman, CEO of Hua Han Health (0587), freezes their accounts
The SFC has frozen accounts at 3 brokerages up to HK$3.81bn, the amount raised by HHH in 2015 in an open offer ($3.19bn) and a CB ($0.62bn) issued to Huarong (2799) and CCB (0939). The SFC suspects false or misleading statements and misappropriation of part of the proceeds. (16-Feb-2019)

Chairman pledges controlling stake in IBO Tech (2708) to China Fortune (0290)
Webb-site can reveal that Mr Lai Tse Ming has pledged his 55.8% stake for a HK$155m loan from a money-lender, something that neither he nor IBO Tech has disclosed. (8-Feb-2019)

A simpler, fairer tax system
There are calls for a rental deduction for HK salaries tax, to compensate for the mortgage interest deduction. Both miss the point. Governments should not use tax breaks to distort consumer choice. Give people unconditional higher personal allowances instead, and introduce a flat rate of tax above that. Also, abolish the tiered rate of profits tax and the R&D deduction, 2 gimmicks introduced by Carrie Lam. (30-Jan-2019)

HKICPA bans Henry Mok Wing Kai, ex-Financial Controller of Greencool, for 6 months
HKICPA, 14-Feb-2019

SFC revokes licence of W. Falcon Asset Management (Asia) Ltd
SFC, 4-Feb-2019
For window-dressing its month-end liquid capital with dud cheques.

And much more besides...
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David M. Webb