Odds are it’s rigged

In the UK, bookmakers are allowed to accept bets on anything, including financial market movements, that come with probabilities the gambling industry can calculate reasonably well. One example is election results. No-one would believe a politicians’ forecast, and even opinion polls can be biased or based on faulty samples. The betting companies’ odds, by contrast, are rooted in cold, hard-headed, unemotional calculation.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club monopoly is allowed to accept bets only on local horse racing and some overseas soccer games. Offering odds on the forthcoming Chief Executive ‘election’ would be fraught with theoretical hazard. Beijing rigs the poll behind the scenes, so China’s leaders could, if they wanted, give the impression that Henry Tang will be the winner while secretly betting huge sums on CY Leung, then install the latter as victor at the last minute and, say, retire to Tahiti on their winnings.

Even if the nation’s senior officials would not stoop as low as the team managers and referees who run mainland soccer games, the HKJC would still have to offer odds on a one-horse race for next Chief Executive. The probabilities must be something like 90% Henry, 7.5% a pro-Beijing figure drafted in at short notice, and 2.5% CY.

CY Leung’s hopes of getting 150 signatures from the 1,200-strong Election Committee, and thus himself on the ballot, do not look too good. The Standard reports that he could have around 120. Given many EC members’ instinctive fear of backing the wrong horse, we can be certain that some who have quietly pledged to nominate him will have flu or an urgent business trip when the time comes. So CY will need nominations from at least some EC members from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of HK and its labour affiliate, the Federation of Trade Unions. But these are solid, loyalist groups; a few FTU members might at a stretch put their working-class conscience before the interests of Beijing’s pet tycoons, but most will follow United Front orders.

If the DAB-FTU bloc nominated CY (or an as yet unknown), it would imply, as the article says, that Beijing has come down against Henry at the last minute. This would require unimaginably dreadful – as in way-too-juicy-to-be-true – public scandal. It would also pull the rug out from under the array of establishment sycophants already openly supporting Henry.

This is why A.N. Other gets a 7.5% probability. The Friends of Donald and other shoe-shiners could hurriedly scuttle to a new entrant on the field and tut-tut about Henry’s problems while saving their own faces. But if the new ‘winner’ were CY, they would be tainted publicly as losers, even hostile ‘outsiders’, compared with the little elite who had sided with the underdog from the start. In short, CY as CE at this stage would disrupt harmony among Hong Kong’s great and good in unimaginable ways – think the URA’s Barry Cheung lording it over Bank of East Asia’s David Li. And that can’t happen. Even 2.5% is overdoing it.

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13 Responses to Odds are it’s rigged

  1. Rinky Dinky says:

    CY Leung is a revolutionary. He’s just working the system for fun at the moment. With inside knowledge of the way the property market works, he is well placed for being subversive as soon as Tang takes over. CY doesn’t care. At the moment he’s working things out with the change of regime guys in Peking. There area changes happening up North too, you know. CY is going to be in on that. Hong Kong is small potatoes in the real scheme of things. Imagine that.

    Wake up and smell the congee!

  2. Mary Hinge says:

    There’s no way Big Brother
    will allow A N Other.
    A one-horse race
    is all we’ll get in this place.

    We’re doomed … to 5 years of hilarity,
    It’s 100% Henry, in spite of infidelity
    So faites vos jeux, mesdames et messieurs …
    As the Big Lychee goes down the sewer.

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    Personally, I find this all very sad…… and very sick

    I actually did believe CY had a sporting chance

    Ah well……. we will have 5 years of laughing all the way the aisles if enery takes over .

    And surely he can’ t do worse than donald in his last couple of years… or can he ?

    BTW : A Baptist college prof resigns over such a tiny thing as this slightly botched opinion poll. Since when has ANY govt minister resigned since Regina * despite f***cking up HK for the past few years ?

    * I think York Chow did offer to resign, but was refused permission to do so – I guess because it would have set an embarrassing precedent

  4. Joe Blow says:

    Dr Yeoh was pushed out as health minister in the wake of the bird flu disaster. He didn’t want to go though. I think they were happy to see the arrogant twat go.

  5. Revolution says:

    Can’t remember whether Yeoh resigned or was sacked, but that was pre-Don. Since Tsang took over, the number of resigning secretaries under the “accountability” system amounts to…one, which was of course Henry’s resignation to run for CE.

  6. darovia says:

    Shouldn’t they be as accountable for inaction as they are / should be for mistakes? If that were the case, there would be quite a few more not resigning.

  7. Real Tax Payer says:

    I am halfway through Julia Lovell’s ” The Opium War” – and a better written. better-researched book I have rarely ever read.

    Astonishing to see what the editorials in The Times were opining 150 years ago

    So I can just imagine what our successors 150 years from now will think when a future Julia Lovell writes about this past 10 -odd years as we struggle towards some kind of representative govt vs the encroached and vested interests of the property cartel and their tame poodles : Donald, Henery and all the rest of the bunch.

    The drivel these bureaucrats are talking these days will seem as preposterous and repulsive to HK-ers 150 years from now as what we feel when we read of Times editorials 150 years ago referring to Chinese as people with : ” tails on the top of their heads, round faces and no whiskers” and that the only way to deal with them is that ” something approaching to absolute terror must be inflicted” ( this all to be able to continue to sell opium to China)

    Guess I can see shades of REDA protesting that to publish fair and honest apartment prices would “not survive a constitutional challenge in court”

    Mr superman may have unjustly been called a ‘devil’ by a certain catholic priest , but by God, history will make mincemeat of Mr Li and his cronies, and their puppy dog govt stooges and he and his ilk will go down is history as even worse than the british of 1841 – in fact far worse because these tycoons are doing it to their own kind

  8. Stephen says:

    Of course he could easily get on the ballot if the pro-democrats played their cards cleverly for once – fat chance!

    Only problem for Beijing and the establishment is how does a guy massively behind in the opinion pools get “elected” unopposed ?

    Even the p*ss poo foreign press will now come to realise how rigged this is and report accordingl – but does anyone care anymore?

  9. ushekim says:

    Even the most pure-as-snow, straight-laced HKJC does not allow a one-horse race in the annals of racing. Be real.

  10. Probably says:


    What do you mean by “their own kind”. One world, one people, surely.

  11. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Probably

    In an ideal world, yes. I know what you mean

    But sadly racial differences still divide the world

    ( But not me – my wife is Chinese and we are in life truly ; ” one world, and one people” I wish all the world was this way. You can’t imagine the fun we have laughing at the stupid things both westerners and Chinese do , and admiring the great things both “races” do when they work together for common good )

  12. Probably says:


    My wife is Chinese also and over the past few months she has learnt all about the holocaust and Nazi Germany (where she can see a lot of parallels with Mao). Now understands about not discrimating against people for the colour of their skin (or lack of foreskin) as she was previously of the typical local tendancy to see some other races as beneath Chinese.

    Just need to keep on chipping away at racism wherever it rears it’s ugly small-minded head.

  13. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Probably

    Seems we have a lot in common.


    Mixed marriages are – I think – God’s way of solving all racial problems .

    After all – the biggest “racial” divide in the world is not based on skin colour , or religion ( or foreskins / lack thereof)

    Rather, it’s the difference between Mars and Venus : male and female.

    If one can overcome THAT great divide, the rest is easy

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Seems you and I are the only ones left in this thread.

    If you care to meet one day over beer incognito , I’m sure Hemmers could arrange an intro . He knows my private email address.

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