Populist and Offshore Corporate Shells
in Hong Kong
So CY rode in to office on a wave of populist rhetoric about the status quo politicians being out of touch with regular HKers.
Yet even before he took office, he was lying about whether he had illegal structures at his home on The Peak. His officials also had illegal structures. A lot of HKers probably do have illegal structures, so I guess this i is a bit of a populist touch, though it would be a populist touch for the much reviled Henry Tang as well.
The problem wasn't the structures themselves, but the lying and the fact that CY's government continues to hypocritically push policies to demolish illegal structures regardless of whether they withstood a T10 and would pass architectural safety inspections.
Then came the scandal over his first Secretary of Development and misuse of government housing reimbursements. Some might argue CY sacrificed his first Secretary of Development to ensure certain other senior civil servants involved in similar scams would be compliant. After all, men with possible jail terms hanging over their heads are far less rebellious.
And now comes the kerfuffle over the second big housing policy of the administration: coffin rooms in sub-divided flats. CY's nominee to replace his first Secretary of Development has been discovered to be involved in ownership of exactly this sort of sub-divided coffin rooms. Of course there is the requisite lying about what he knew and when he knew it. It makes one wonder about CY Leung's vetting of his staff.
But what I really want to point out is that Paul Chan's home is owned by two shadowy off-shore corporations. Given the kerfuffles over ex-CE Donald Tsang's Shenzhen flat and ex-Chief Secretary Rafael Hui's flat, you'd think ownership of Paul Chan's flat would have been investigated.
A minority of Hong Kongers can even afford their own home, even with government subsidised flats, due to rampant housing speculation. Of those that own their own homes, the vast majority of them own their properties in their own names. But Hong Kong's elite exist in a different world, a world filled with shell corporations, many of them based in off-shore tax havens. Anyone that has studied the corporate structures of HK's top companies knows of the shells within shells and cross-linked directorships. So it's not surprising that a man of the elite with a home on The Peak, like CY Leung, would find nothing out of the ordinary about the ownership of Paul Chan's home being held by shadowy shell corporations in off-shore tax havens.
For the rest of Hong Kong though, it's a reminder that CY was convenor of Tung's and Bowtie's ExCos. His campaign populism was a sham and really he's just as out of touch with the masses as the DAB, whose grassroots are only as deep as the gift bags they give to the elderly.