Tuesday 28th January 2020

Dear Reader,

Happy Year of the Rat! Fun fact: Yersinia pestis, the bacterium which causes bubonic plague and can infect humans via the Oriental rat flea, was discovered in Hong Kong in 1894 by Alexandre Yersin while working here during a plague epidemic, which had spread from its origins in Yunnan Province, China via trade routes and steamships to the rest of the World, killing over 12 million people globally in the Third plague pandemic. Many ports imposed a quarantine on vessels arriving from HK. History rhymes.

Getting to 601: How Beijing controls the HK Chief Executive election
Carrie Lam continues to peddle the lie that the Chief Executive Election Committee is "broadly representative", often unchallenged by foreign media. We explain exactly how it is rigged, and how with enough political courage, she could unrig it and introduce democracy through local legislation, without Beijing's approval. (28-Jan-2020)

Your right to insult the national anthem
The HK Government is preparing to ignite fresh protests by resuming the Second Reading of the Bill, which must occur by July, or the bill lapses. Last night, it ridiculously claimed that the Bill is not a restriction of free speech. Of course it is. The only question is whether that is constitutional. (11-Jan-2020)

Convoy (1019): Key findings of independent forensic investigation
Company announcement, 24-Jan-2020
Slipped out on CNY eve, the announcement refers extensively to our "Enigma Network" takedown of 2017.

SFC to commence proceedings for suspected manipulation in China Ding Yi Feng (0612)
SFC, 22-Jan-2020
Against a number of individuals including at least 1 officer of the company. It's unclear whether the proceedings will be civil or criminal. Trading resumes tomorrow, but 32.37% remains frozen by the investigation. The bubble stock was suspended at $23.08 but net assets are just $0.07, so prepare for a spectacular, HK$28bn crash.

Webb on "Backchat" re taxes and handouts
RTHK, 21-Jan-2020

Criticism of directors of Asia Resources (0899)Acquisition announcement
SEHK, 20-Jan-2020
For failing their duty of care in an acquisition of a "spring water mine". The valuer, now known as AP Appraisal Ltd, also comes in for criticism.

Ex-civil servant & husband jailed for HK$4.9m housing allowance fraud
ICAC, 15-Jan-2020
Why does the Government pay more to those who rent a home than to those who don't? In the private sector, people get what their skills are worth, no more, no less. Mr Luk was worth what his employer paid him. If he had received it as salary rather than housing allowance then his wife would have been in the clear, but he probably wanted the weird HK tax break in which housing is only assessed as 10% of cash pay, regardless of value. That should be scrapped.

HKICPA fines Ng Ka Hong HK$20k plus costs of $80,530
HKICPA, 16-Jan-2020
For bad work on the 2014 audit of Superb Summit (1228).

SFC lifts sponsorship suspension of UBS
SFC, 14-Jan-2020
UBS gets a 2-month reduction in its 1-year suspension for good behaviour. The firm that brought you China Forestry, China Metal Recycling and Tianhe Chemicals (all now delisted) is back in business.

And much more besides...
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David M. Webb
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