A little bit of justice

While Hong Kong’s police round up ‘instigators’ of the great Kids-Camping-on-Streets outrage on desperate-sounding charges of incitement or willful singing of carols in Causeway Bay, a little bit of justice is about to take place – the sentencing of one of the city’s rapacious property tycoons to prison. In the words of a long, long-ago TV commercial for a now-forgotten local fast-food chain: “Yummy Yummy Yum!”

But first: disgraced former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui. He has legions of supporters scribbling letters to the judge pleading for leniency. The missives are indeed stomach-churning, presuming that he deserves special treatment because he is vulnerable to the cold and takes Chinese medicine, as if the thousands of socially inferior felons put behind bars every year enjoy their unheated cells during winter. (As head of the government’s policymaking team in the mid-2000s, he could have suggested that the Correctional Services Department improve living conditions for convicts, couldn’t he? Sadly, it seems he overlooked it.)

Rafael is a tragic case, and a thinly fictionalized movie is no doubt in the works as we speak. It is impossible not to squirm: the compulsive acquisition of musical records, the porn laser discs (which is worse – having porn or having laser discs?), the inevitable simpering Shanghai flight-attendant bimbo (played by Cecilia Cheung). And one of the groveling letters appealing for mercy has to come from then-Chief Executive Donald Tsang, whose loyalty to his friend requires him to sacrifice the Rafael-Thomas-Jailchance not to call attention to his own infatuation with real-estate barons’ lifestyles.

No-one is writing pleas for clemency on behalf of Sun Hung Kai Properties’ Thomas Kwok (or hardly anyone, though his mother is putting in a good word). For reasons that are beyond non-lawyers, he has been found guilty of fewer corruption-related charges than Rafael, and his brother Raymond innocent, though each offence was surely a transaction between two parties. He will presumably do less time in prison. But none of this really matters. After a life of (I am guessing) housemaids, silk pajamas, abalone and other entitlements of those who inherit a slice of the property cartel, he is going to have an unimaginably horrible experience, even if he only serves six months.

In the eyes of right-thinking Hong Kong people, he will be paying at least a little for the sins of this whole caste of parasites. The property tycoons bleed the middle-class dry by extracting much of families’ lifetime earnings from them in exchange for a place to live. A place not only grossly overpriced, but tiny and otherwise miserly. And they even lied about the size of the home, and employed agents to pressure buyers into making the purchase now, before someone else gets it. Effortlessly accumulating countless billions in profit margins, the tycoons bought up transport, utilities, retail and other easily monopolized sectors of the domestic economy, cornering the supply of other essentials to a captive population.

It was and is all legal, but in other countries you would be imprisoned for the collusion, the suppression of competition and the fraudulent sales practices. Locking one SCMP-TheShadowsup for slipping a few million to some bimbo-addled bureaucrat-wretch is the least we deserve.

It would be interesting to know what Jesus Christ thinks about the karmatic side of all this. When bearing witness several years ago, Thomas Kwok said: “God was asking me to do something, but I didn’t know what it was.” Maybe it was ‘stop ripping millions of people off’.

To read the South China Morning Post’s full-page story on the need for more accountability, you get the impression that too much Lafite is the problem. An anonymous official says that he and his colleagues have to hobnob with businessmen ‘to collect their views on policy formation to meet market needs’, and the paper reports this without pausing to consider whether it is true, or whether perhaps tailoring policy to tycoons’ preferences might have something to do with causing the whole stinking mess.

(Just in: five years. Adding insult to injury, SHKP’s share price ends the morning 1% up.)

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14 Responses to A little bit of justice

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    And justice for all? Well…it’s a start. Let’s see how the Bowtie affair goes…

  2. Cassowary says:

    Let’s play wumao Madlibs. Circle any of the following.

    All this goes to show is that if the democrats/ Jimmy Lai/ the OC brats/ Christians were in charge, Hong Kong would be as corrupt as America/ India/ The Philippines/ the backside of an elderly gigolo. When will those spoiled brats/ CIA running dogs/ victims of liberal studies/ mentally retarded whitey arselickers/ learn that democracy doesn’t produce honest government/ solve poverty/ save the environment/ give everyone a pony/ make happy magic sparkle fun time? We should all be grateful that our esteemed President/ Genius Engineer/ Heir to the Great Helmsman/ Lord and Saviour Xi Jinping is taking a hard line on corruption/ so understanding and patient towards misguided children/ has rainbows coming out of his arse!

    That just about covers it.

  3. PCC says:

    Five years sounds right to me.

  4. Stephen says:

    Often we are critical however, the ICAC, Judiciary and Jury do Hong Kong credit today. Good to see some appropriate jail time for this high ranking official and tycoon, who, along with his senior executives, thought they were above the law. The puke inducing letters written by those, whose time may come, shows the mindset and arrogance of this truly rotten ruling class. Whether this will sound the death knell for Tycoon / Government Collusion, which anyone with eyes in their head knows have been going on for too long, remains to be seen. Society is not a corporation and don’t believe you can govern like it is one and solely for its benefit.

  5. Mjrelje says:

    Can’t wait to see that inbred ear oddity once the shears come out. Snip snip buzzzz.

  6. FunB3 says:

    I don’t know how big the cells are in HK prisons but I would imagine they are a lot larger than the metal cages that some of the less fortunate in HK have to live in.

    Mr Hui & Mr Kwok should consider themselves extremely lucky.

  7. Monkey Reborn says:

    @cassowary lol … ponies for all.

    of course everyone knows the way influence is peddled in this here town, the line between unethical market collusion (as Hemmers notes, illegal in any place where the antitrust legislation is written by any body not entirely beholden to the antitrusters), bribery and corruption is conveniently fuzzy – at best – and takes on the mysterious and intangible properties of dark matter the rest of the time.

    Want your kid to go to Winchester / Oxford / Harvard or join the Hong Kong club / country club / golf club? Or want a connection to my patriotic cadre friends over there? Well there is this land auction coming up and I know your third cousin removed works in the lands department and it would be helpful to know the bids of the few fellows who aren’t already in bed with me…

    As they would say over @zerohedge … Highly unrigged markets, these are.

  8. Cassowary says:

    The thing that strikes me is how stupid it all is. Hui didn’t pull some kind of elaborate scam requiring an army of forensic accountants to decipher. He accepted bribes because he spent all his money on pointless crap. What a dumbass.

    I’m not sure whether to be thankful or mildly disappointed that we don’t have a better class of criminal.

  9. reductio says:

    Can’t understand why his missus stayed with him. Maybe for the married persons tax allowance.

  10. Hills says:

    And the sad thing is that SHK is one of the better (well, relatively) developers. Compared to the crap Mr Lee&Son, uncle Four or Chinachem is building, SHK is the good one.

  11. Only in HK says:

    Oh dear…..and they will have to pick up the soap themselves in the shower now……hope they do catch “slip a dick in me” in the big house – that would be justice.

  12. Real Tax Payer says:

    DISGUSTING in the extreme

    “Loathsome spotted reptiles “

  13. Incredulous says:

    Made my Christmas! Just hope they don’t get bail whilst on appeal!

  14. CCC - assisted says:

    (To the tune of Old King Cole)

    Rafael Hui was a very naughty boy
    And a very naughty boy was he.
    He called for squeeze and he got it very big
    From Kwok brothers two and three

    Now two of the three are sitting in cells
    And so they deserve to be
    But a billion here and and few wigs there
    On appeal will set them free

    Has justice been done? ” you may ask me
    Well let’s just wait and see.
    We saw them crawl in Court and all
    Like the yellow spotted reptiles they do be

    So do we cheer the whole charade?
    That’s a matter for history.
    What certainly now is very very clear
    Is beware of the ICAC !

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