The Rape of the Public Purse
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Xi Jinping and other top dog politicians are no different from other kleptocrats in history who have used their position for personal gain. e.g. Marcos of the Phillippines, Ceaușescu of Hungary, Suharto of Indonesia, Milosevic of Serbia and the list goes on!
WTPOHK believe the current crop of repressive, totalitarian monsters (I won't call them politicians or leaders) are no different from the rest, though they are so narcissistic they think they are better than the rest and even more deserving.
Hong Kong's public purse, the government fiscal reserves, belong to the public - it is not the property of the CCP! (see the Basic Law, Article 106, below).
The only way for there to be 'consent' for the use of funds in the 'public purse' is for the appropriate 'democratic' body to allocate the money! If there was 'consent' it means that all parties agree to what is taking place, yet clearly there is not wide approval on a number of financial concerns so we believe what is happening in Hong Kong (HK) can only be described as a crime in the vein of 'rape', theft, fraud, etc.
WTPOHK have repeatedly stated that the Legislative Council is illegitimate, as is the office of the Chief Executive. Until these two bodies are lawful under the HK Bill Of Rights Ordinance (HKBORO) there can be no democracy and therefore no agreement by the people for the use of the Public Purse - i.e. spending from the public purse is RAPE!
HK's District Councils are currently the only legitimate democratic body in HK and they must be treated as such by the CCP and HK government.
Without democratic elections using universal and equal suffrage for the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council HK there is no method by which public consent can legally and ethically be given for the release of the city's fiscal reserve funds!!
Politicians like HK Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam are paid handsomely - some say she is paid too much - especially considering the havoc she has brought to the SAR. Lam reportedly has one of the highest paid salaries of any world leader, earning an annual HK$5.2 million (US$671,000). She is just another in a string of HK CEs who have effectively sold out to the whims and promises of CCP. Since November 2020 the CE has to keep 'piles of cash' at home because U.S. sanctions against her now mean that no bank will deal with her.
Much more than acting as puppets for CCP, WTPOHK believe that in the SAR CEs have successively been accomplices in undermining and breaking Article 106 of the Basic Law that says HK government revenue is NOT to be handed to Central Government. Finding any evidence of murky backroom negotiations, evidential paper trails, and litigious banking transactions can hardly be the work of this small organisation, however, some would say "I smell a rat!" or that "Where there's smoke there's fire!"
There's a suggestion that the CCP wants HK's staggering fiscal reserves for its own use, and that given its straightened financial position it could be getting a little desperate for those funds. It's clear at least that the CCP has designs on the SAR, regardless of what people there want.
We understand that if CCP decided unilaterally to take advantage of HK's fiscal reserves for its own purposes, it could no doubt easily act to do so in an instant. However, it would then be over-riding a raft of statutes, ignoring traditional practice and precedent, and flying in the face of international and domestic opposition. The scarey thing is that we know what CCP is capable of, and its track record is not exactly a glittering one that instils either faith or trust that it would respect international law, the will of HK people, or the rigours of HK's constitutional legislation.
CCP repeatedly acts as a law unto itself!
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We note that on 8 December 2020, the CE stated publicly that 'Ted Hui can't be trusted'.....despite the fact that she herself and her government are hardly trusted by the people of HK. Trust is certainly the issue at stake here.
Interestingly, in April 2019 when the CE was pushing her bill that would have allowed extradition from HK to the Chinese mainland, and the majority of HK people strongly opposed it, she refused to say whether she herself would trust the mainland's legal system. (Hong Kong Free Press)
On 1 December 2020 the CE gave a press conference in which she said that she 'would not during her current term amend the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance to include the Chief Executive, because of the “constitutional position of the Chief Executive in the SAR political system.”' (Hong Kong Free Press) It's 'complicated', she explained, backtracking on an earlier election pledge to extend an anti-bribery law so that it covers her own job, saying such a move would raise constitutional problems.
According to Financial Crime News, the CE won't act because such a law change is not supported by Beijing.
Even the tame pro-Beijing South China Morning Post editorial of 7 December 2020 indicated that the "Bribery exemption for Hong Kong leader must end despite complexity", and that a way has to be found at this difficult time in cross-border relations to allay Beijing fears and avoid the public perception that the chief executive is above the law.
It's only right to think about where all that money HK leaders and legislators apportion to themselves comes from - the public purse, our tax money, the government fiscal reserves. In fact only about a third of HK citizens pay tax on their salaries, with the major share of government income coming directly and indirectly through property and land taxes, and government rent.
All too easily those in authority help themselves to public money, spending up large on lavish projects that are of questionable value to the public at large. They offer costly perks and privileges to their friends and allies, and feather their own nests, while pandering to the interests of those with influence, buying votes, and covering any costs they incur along the way.
FOREPLAY : A LITTLE BIT OF FIDDLING (with the books)
In HK we have documented a series of government infrastructure projects that can only be termed 'White elephants' (see our blogs-links below). In many cases, the costs have been astronomical, and serious questions have been raised about the process by which contracts are tendered out. It appears lately, that either those with political connections to the current HK government, or mainland-based businesses are benefitting from the HK government's willingness to spend on things like face masks for the general public, PPE equipment for hospitals and frontline staff, and mass Covid testing for the populace (see our blog: Unmasking HK's free Cu mask: SCAM for Sept 2020 LegCo elections?).
There has been a sting in the tail for the 2020 spending on the "CU Face mask" giveaway: firstly many people did not wish to register online to receive the masks due to data privacy concerns, then criticism came to light that the much-vaunted 're-usable' masks had not been fully appraised and were only suitable for filtering dust from the air - NOT for blocking coronavirus!
In August the HK government rolled out a plan to provide mass Covid-9 testing for asymptomatic residents, in a bid to find carriers of the disease in the community. The scheme drew criticism once again over security fears, and because some mainland laboratories and medical staff were assisting with the campaign.
The involvement of doctors and companies from the mainland in the health scheme spurred rumour mills and fears of the encroachment of Beijing’s surveillance state. Many local healthcare experts also raised concerns about the efficacy of the programme, particularly as it was being introduced at a time when new daily infections had fallen substantially from triple digits to low double digits.
Pro-Being newspaper SCMP reported on 15 September 2020, that the mass testing scheme availed by a total of 1.78million people over about two weeks had cost taxpayers HK$530million, (of which HK$370 million was spent on salaries for health care and support staff) and had uncovered just 42 cases of infection.
PENETRATION (going the whole way!)
In recent years people in HK keep hearing grand plans to connect the SAR with neighbouring Macau and parts of mainland China through the 'Greater Bay Project'. Now we have the High Speed Rail and the HK-Zhuhai-Macau bridge that both literally do go the whole way! Many would say that it's such a shame that both are massively under-utilised thanks to the covid pandemic, but others would say the infrastructure projects have already served their purpose - to facilitate the transfer of funds from HK fiscal reserves to mainland interests.
Giving her annual policy address in November 2020, CE Lam announced that the government had not given up on the idea of a massive land reclamation project known as "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" (LTV) aimed at solving the serious long-term land and housing supply shortage in the SAR. It was first mooted by government planners under a different name - East Lantau Metropolis (ELM).
Although the required financing for initial investigations into the LTV reclamation plan never materialised according to media reports back in July 2020, the project was revived with determination by the CE after the resignation of pan-democrat legislators from the Legislative Council (LegCo). Up to that point pan-democrats had been the strongest voice of opposition in LegCo to the project on the gounds of its cost, and environmental impact among other concerns.
To some in HK it's just rather too much like the stealth with which Ms Lam was secretly involved in a museum development on West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD). Virtually out of the blue in 2017 it was announced that Carrie Lam herself had been involved in confidential negotiations with a mainland donor who wished to see a portion of Beijing's Palace Museum Artifacts on display in HK in a purpose built facility in the heart of the WKCD. Controversies have since ensued concerning the initial funding of the planned Palace Museum and WKCD as a whole, as well as the appointment of contractors without a proper tendering process. It's another saga that is so typical of the Lam's style of 'governance'.
But I digress!
Media notes on the rape occurring:
That was then....
Protesters demand gov’t scrap Lantau development project as public consultation launched
Doubts expressed over Lantau reclamation's financial feasibility
More people oppose Lantau reclamation plan than support it: poll
Everyone loves reclamation! Except they don’t – East Lantau Reclamation
"The government plans for 70 per cent of the homes on the island to be public housing. However, the plans has not been received positively by all of Hong Kong's residents, with several groups protesting over the financial and environmental impact of the giant infrastructure project.
Protests against the cost of the development have been spearheaded by the Save Lantau Alliance, which has written an open letter to Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam, calling the project a "white elephant" and demanding it be withdrawn "immediately".
This new island would be almost twice the size of Dubai's 560 hectare Palm Jumeirah, and at HK$624 billion (£60 billion) would cost six times as much as much as the Palm's reported US$12 billion (£9 billion).
HK$624 billion to reclaim land off Lantau Island: One think-tank asks, how will Hongkongers benefit?
When, in November 1986, property tycoon Gordon Wu proposed building an artificial island in Hong Kong’s central waters, the then-colonial government vetoed the idea as too costly and environmentally destructive. But now, the proposal has assumed a repackaged form, the East Lantau Metropolis (ELM) – an estimated HK$624 billion plan to fill in swathes of the sea surrounding the territory’s biggest island in order to create new land. The goal, according to the government, is to alleviate the demand for housing and create a “core business district.”
“I would raise two questions: one is whether autonomy in town planning is still enjoyed by the Hong Kong government. This kind of consideration is no longer restricted to local needs, but also regional needs. We cannot deny this is a trend, because regional cooperation is a kind of reality. But the government has to come clean,” he said.
HK$624 billion Lantau reclamation project will cause traffic chaos in rest of Hong Kong, warns transport expert
...this is now!
"Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the territory will push forward with the 'Lantau Tomorrow Vision' development project despite environmental and cost concerns, during a press conference presenting her annual policy address titled 'Striving Ahead with Renewed Perseverance' in Hong Kong, on Wednesday.
"Of course, as for every government initiative, we want to proceed with consensus. But, unfortunately, in every place, particularly in Hong Kong, it is quite a luxury to ask for a complete consensus," she said, "If you ask me, I would say the Lantau Tomorrow Vision is wonderful for Hong Kong."
The 'Lantau Tomorrow Vision,' Hong Kong's most expensive infrastructure project to date, with plans to build large artificial islands at an estimated cost of at least $624 billion Hong Kong dollars ($80,51 billion, €67,61 billion).
"League of Social Democrats (LSD) activist Leung Kwok-hung slammed Lam’s plan to push Lantau Tomorrow Vision amid high unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic: “It costs HK$100,000 for each of the seven million Hongkongers to build the most expensive artificial island in the world, so that Carrie Lam can please her master and Chinese tycoons can profit from it,” he said.
He and his LSD colleague Raphael Wong protested outside the Legislative Council ahead of the policy address on Wednesday. They criticised the government’s three rounds of anti-epidemic spending for benefitting private corporations more than the working class, adding a suggestion that HK$30 billion should be earmarked to fund unemployment benefits.
"Don’t do it! That’s what the opposition pan-democrats had been shouting, sloganeering and filibustering about for the past two years. But now, thanks to the long arm of Beijing, they are no longer sitting in the Legislative Council (LegCo), and funding for this ill-advised and grandiose scheme is free to make its way through a lapdog legislative chamber.
Even so, some of the remaining lapdogs are asking questions and expressing concern. In the end, however, you can count on it — they will sit, stay and obey, and we will see a 1,700-hectare, environmentally lethal Land of Oz rise in the South China Sea.
If a referendum had been held on this colossally bad idea, the scheme would have been dead on arrival. Indeed, if the people of this city had their way, Hong Kong’s property cartel would long ago have lost its suffocating grip on the real-estate sector and there would be no more subdivided flats and cage homes. Hongkongers know very well where the real problem and the true solution lie — with a government-coddled tycoon class that will reap yet another Midas-sized fortune from Lantau Tomorrow.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po last month said the project should proceed despite the city’s fiscal reserve dropping from HK$1.1 trillion (US$142 billion) in March to about HK$800 billion (US$103 billion) in August this year, the equivalent of 12 to 13 months of government spending as it would contribute to the city’s long-term development.
Property developers are sitting on swathes of land in the New Territories – the large area of Hong Kong that borders mainland China. Three developers alone – New World, Henderson and Sun Hung Kai Properties have amassed land banks totaling around 100 million square feet.｜Alex Price
The environmental protection group [Greenpeace] urged the government to give priority to the development of brownfield land, pointing out that the cost of developing brownfield land is only about HK$33.3 billion. It is conservatively estimated that at least 139,000 units can be provided, which is similar to the number of units for reclamation. The group strongly condemned that if the authorities continue with the “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” project, it will not only cause Hong Kong to fall into a financial crisis, it will also have an irreversible impact on the precious marine ecology.
Policy Address 2020:
Details of a HK$60 billion Hong Kong-Shenzhen joint innovation zone were unveiled
CE Executive Carrie Lam proposed a series of policies on Wednesday to promote closer cooperation between HK and the neighbouring Greater Bay Area, and unveiled more details on the development of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Cooperation Zone (SITZ). The park’s development plan was first announced in 2017.
Making a pathetically weak reference to China's 'one country-two systems' model that is the supposed model of governing the SAR, Lam said that HK and Shenzhen are on the way to creating a “one zone, two parks” development near the cities’ borders. The SITZ will consist of two areas: the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, on the Hong Kong side, and on the other side of the border the Shenzhen Futian Innovation and Technology Zone.
-Hong Kong Free Press, 25 November 2020
Democrats slam Carrie Lam as prioritising development of China over HK
Wu Chi-wai, chairman of the Democratic Party, said that the  address was not delivered for Hong Kong people, but for the Chinese government: “She thanked the Central government for their trust in her… you can’t see anything mentioning her thanks for Hong Kong people,” Wu said. “This is more like a report of Hong Kong for the Chinese government, than Hong Kong’s policy address.”
“She bet on the future of Hong Kong on the greater bay area and on the mainland economy. That will ruin the international city of Hong Kong,” he added.
Helena Wong from the Democratic Party also criticised Lam for a lack of political reform plans in the policy address. She said – in reality – Lam’s administration is only responsible to the Central government, and one country, two systems had ended under her rule.
Government as we see it in HK is dirty - the SAR's autonomy is in tatters. CCP and the HK government like to make pronouncements of their policies on universal suffrage - but they are not lawful under HKBORO because elections in HK are not by universal and equal suffrage (see HKBORO, Article 21 below). Similarly the HK government does not have legitimacy under the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article (UDHR) Article 21.
It's clear that time and again this government and its CE keep pushing policies like LTV against the will of the majority of HK people. They repeatedly act in ways that are less than transparent and that are inconsistent with the SAR's consitutional framework.
These CCP legislators won't come clean, so it's time to get rid of the current lot and weed out their accomplices!
The kleptocrats are despicable people and the long term effects of their rape of the public purse are devastating as well as wasteful. They are corrupt and think nothing of breaking the law.
They impact daily life in the city. They ruin people's lives. They harm the environment. They rob us of our future and its potential.
The rape has to stop!
BLOGS - It's no sin to read and distribute the links widely!
HK Basic Law: (see this blog for more details)
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall have independent finances.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall use its financial revenues exclusively for its own purposes, and they shall not be handed over to the Central People’s Government.
The Central People’s Government shall not levy taxes in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Other key Articles that govern the financial operations of government and LegCo are:
"(a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;
(c) to have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in Hong Kong."
UDHR (follow this link for further details)
1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
2. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Rare Pink Dolphin Population Rises Greatly Due To COVID-19 Shutdowns, Outsider, 16 September 2020
Rare pink dolphins are back thanks to COVID-19 lockdown, New York Post, 16 September 2020
Pink dolphins resurface in Hong Kong's waterways since pandemic, NZHerald, 17 September 2020
2020 has shined a light on corruption. Now an Alliance of Democracies is pushing back, 9 December 2020, US Embassy in Cambodia, Apple Daily (By Keith Krach & Nathan A. Sales)
Hong Kong: Tax relief, economic stimulus (COVID-19), KPMG, 10 April 2020
Exclusive: Hong Kong gov’t spent millions on failed lobbying bid to defeat Washington’s Human Rights and Democracy Act