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By: Lokman YuenEdited by: Jenny Lam


Hongkongers’ Book Fair goes online after last-minute cancellation

A private book fair was forced to go online after the owner of the venue where it was to be held threateend to take legal action against the organiser.  Raymond Yeung Tsz-chun, organiser of the Hongkongers’ Book Fair, received a notice of from Mall Plus in Wan Chai on July 12. The venue owner, Permanent Investment Company Limited issued a lawyer's letter through Man Hing Hong Properties Company Limited the following day, accusing Yeung of “sub-letting” and “causing nuisance, annoyance or danger to occupants or visitors” and would no longer rent out the premises. As a result, the online version of “Hongkongers’ Book Fair” can only showcase products from  Yeung’s bookstore, Hillway Culture. Publications from seven other publishers and at least six commercial outlets which originally participated in the book fair are not in the online event. “I believe that anything related to the name “HongKongers’ Book Fair” is considered politically sensitive now,” said Yeung. Yeung organised the private book fair after the Hong Kong Trade Development Council being rejected his application to take part in the Hong Kong Book Fair by on May 16. Yeung claimed he then invested more than HK$500,000 to run his own fair instead. He said he contacted Man Hing Hong Properties after receiving the notice and scheduled a meeting with the property agent on July 12 at 10:30 a.m., but the agent did not show up. He did not have the contact number of Permanent Investment, the venue owner. TYR tried to contact Man Hing Hong Properties Company Limited and Permanent Investment Company Limited through email. They did not respond to our inquiries. “We made sure we followed all laws and regulations. We believed we can hold an independent book fair under the Rule of Law in Hong Kong,” Yeung said. “But it seems …


Hong Kong virtual social platform offers escape from reality

Buying train tickets, karaoke with friends, feeding ducks by a lake, or visiting art exhibitions. Those are some of the activities that “Siubak” and “Winter” enjoy with each other, not in reality, but in a virtual world. Both of them are young men in real life.   They are administrators of LIHKG VR (連登VR群), a Hong Kong VRChat Telegram group. They organize online activities regularly through instant messaging. Members log in to the virtual world to hang out with each other’s avatars and chat on the audio channels.     But there are no regulations on how users portray themselves in the virtual world. A middle-aged man can appear as a young girl, or a teenager can become a superhero. The origin of VRChat and virtual social platform  The first avatar-based social platform was launched in 2003 by the San Francisco based online multimedia platform, Second Life. Similar products have since appeared, such as Roblox and Mole Manor in the US and China respectively.   Created by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey in Texas in the US, VRChat started in 2017 as early access. Similar to Facebook and Instagram, avatar based social networks like VRChat enables users to build social connections online through a video game platform “steam”. In 2020, Siubak rallied for people from LIHKG to join VRChat in a telegram group . Since last year, he has been administrating a chat with 1700 users. Today, LIHKG VRChat has an average of 200 daily users. The identity crisis Siubak and Winter manipulate an avatar of a white-haired Japanese anime girl. A male character with purple hair speaks in Cantonese, asking the girl to make cute poses. In the virtual world, users can be anybody they can imagine.    Clinical psychologist Adrian Wong believed some users gain self-esteem in virtual reality when they fail …

Health & Environment

Study finds 70 percent recovered patients suffer from long Covid

A preliminary study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2022 has found that nearly 70% recovered COVID-19 patients reported suffering from moderate or severe long COVID symptoms such as fatigue and coughing.   The pilot study that included 554 recovered patients found that fatigue (33.7%) was the most common symptom, with another 23.8%-31.9% reporting respiratory symptoms. Other “Long COVID” symptoms may include, insomnia, hair loss, anxiety, brain fog, chest pain, shortness of breath, and joint pain. CU Medicine claimed 76% COVID-19 patients had at least one symptom six months after recovery in Jan, 2022.  With the support of the Hospital Authority, medical researchers announced today that they will launch the first territory-wide long COVID study. The mass study will consist of two parts, an electronic survey and a self-volunteer follow-up in-depth microbiome research, with the purpose of facilitating long COVID healthcare policy, said Dean of CU Medicine Francis Ka Leung Chan.  The electronic survey will include a question about long COVID symptoms and duration, and seven multiple-choice questions on long COVID. Basic Information including name, age, sex, month of diagnosis, history of hospitalisation and vaccination will also be collected, but not phone numbers or HKID number. The authorities expect at least 10,000 respondents.   Physical poster with QR code of the electronic survey will be displayed at Western and Chinese medicine outpatient clinics under the Hospital Authority.    Respondents can also apply for the second phase of the study. This involves microbiome analysis of up to 1000 volunteers through bi-annual stool sample donation, for up to three years. 


Flat buyers seek help from legislators about changed mortgage conditions

  • By: Lokman YuenEdited by: C.K. Lau
  • 2022-07-06

Buyers of The Vertex, a residential estate in Cheung Sha Wan, have sought the help of two legislators to demand the development’s new owner abide by the more generous mortgage package set by its former owner. They say the VMS Group, which purchased the development from the China Evergrande Group last year, should provide them with loans equivalent to 90% of the values of their respective flats, as promised by China Evergrande, instead of lowering the loan cap to 80%. In a letter dated June 15 to the buyers, VMS said the buyers’ deposits would be forfeited if they failed to complete their purchases according to the new terms by yesterday (July 5).  A buyer surnamed Chan told the TYR earlier that she had paid HK$400,000 as a deposit and the stamp duty for a HK$7 million unit, and felt helpless about meeting the purchase deadline she would have to top up her deposit after the mortgage cap was lowered. A buyer representative surnamed Lee said about 20 buyers currently faced having their deposits forfeited by VMS. On Monday, the buyers held a meeting with legislators Bill Tang Ka-piu and Doreen Kong Yuk-foon, who agreed to help them pursue their case. Kong said she hoped the government would follow up on whether the developer concerned had breached any rules governing the sale of new flats by asking flat buyers to sign supplementary contracts on mortgage terms and arrangements.   She said the Consumer Council had agreed to continue to mediate between the buyers and VMS and the management committee of its Consumer Legal Action Fund (CLAF) would make a decision by early August on whether to provide financial support for the buyers to take legal action to pursue their claim. Yesterday, Tang said the developer may not forfeit the buyers’ deposits …


New Executive Council to consider border reopening and Article 23 legislation

  • By: Lokman YuenEdited by: Jenny Lam
  • 2022-07-05

Chief Executive, John Lee Ka-chiu has promised that the government will strike a balance between reducing inconvenience to travellers and public health safety in reopening Hong Kong’s border. He was speaking at the first Executive Council meeting of the new administration. He added that his government will also consider legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law. Lee was joined by the Convenor of the Executive Council, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and 15 non-official members in this morning’s meeting. Secretary for Health, Lo Chung-mau expressed hope yesterday for the border with the mainland to reopen in August.  Lee said this morning that he has asked Lo to look into measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 while reducing inconvenience to travellers. Hong Kong recorded an average of 1600 new COVID-19 cases a day in the past week. “ If the figure goes up, then hospitalisation will increase and other hospital services will be affected.“ Lee said. “Even if emergency services can be maintained, other services will be affected, particular for patients who require consistent and persistent treatment,” Lee said ahead of the Executive Council meeting.   Lee said the government has the responsibility to legislate under Basic Law Article 23 , and this administration will conduct thorough legal research and consider new and ‘very harsh’ national security measures practised in another common law jurisdiction. Article 23 states that Hong Kong "shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government. “We will do it as soon as possible … I hope this law, when it is completed, will work and can handle all kinds of problems that we can imagine. I do not want to see any amendments,” he said.


Food for sustainability: a local practice of organic and sustainable agriculture in Hong Kong

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Ziyu Bruce Zhao、Summer LiEdited by: Ziyu Bruce Zhao、Summer Li
  • 2022-07-02

With almost 8 million people crowding in a just over 1000km² land, Hong Kong is not famous for its agriculture. However, a number of local organic farms have started up for several years to teach people not only how to grow their own food, but also the benefits of improving the sustainability of agriculture. Link to full video:  


Community service for engineer who advised client to place $550,000 purchase orders with his own company

A maintenance engineer was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for fraudulently placing purchase orders worth $550,000 with a company controlled by his mother while acting as a contractor for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dillion Leung Ka-wah, 46, a former chief maintenance engineer of Hong Yip Service Company Limited, had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud at the Kowloon City Magistrates Court for deceiving the university’s Hong Kong Community College. The Independent Commission Against Corruption brought the charges against Leung, who was seconded by Hong Yip to take charge of the campus’s maintenance works between December 2017 and September 2019. During the period, Leung was alleged to have deceived the college into placing purchase orders worth over $550,000 with Mulan Trading Company, which was set up by him in June 2017 and subsequently controlled by his mother, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance. In mitigation yesterday, Leung’s lawyer told the court that he had returned the $53,862.50 profit that he earned from the orders and that his ex-employer considered him a diligent employee and would be willing to rehire him if he was not jailed. In letters sent to the court, both Leung’s wife and grandmother said Leung had been a law-abiding citizen with no bad habits and was remorseful that he had committed the fraud because of greed. Magistrate Frances Leung Nga-yan sentenced Leung to 200 hours of community service for each charge to be served concurrently.


Security zone in Wan Chai during President Xi Jinping’s visit on 25th Anniversary

  • By: Lokman YuenEdited by: Jenny Lam
  • 2022-06-28

Police said today that there will be strict security measures and control of the press around Wan Chai north from June 29 to July 1 in anticipation of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Hong Kong to mark the 25th anniversary of handover. There will be an inaugural ceremony for the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Carparks and parking meters within the area will be shut down from 10 p.m. on June 28. There will be road closures and traffic diversions in the area near Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre from June 29 to July 1. All guests and vehicles entering the area will be subjected to security screening. The MTR Corporation said Exhibition Centre Station will be closed from June 30 to July 1. Eighteen bus routes will be affected. Lui Kam-ho, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations, advised motorists not to drive in the area. He said the force will adjust the security plan accordingly if President’s Xi doesn’t visit Hong Kong in the end. Different levels of security zones will be set up according to the itinerary and activities of President Xi. A designated interview zone will be allocated for the press inside the security zone. Video clips inside the venue and information will be provided by the Information Services Department.  Chan Po-ying, Chairwoman of League of Social Democrats, published a statement today, stating the organization will not hold any protest on July 1 after the national security police invited them to a talk.  When asked if the police are discouraging protest and the freedom of expression, Lui replied that the police will fully respect the rights of the people, and there is a designated public activities area outside the security zone. “The measures are a balance of the people’s …


No insurance compensation for the Jumbo floating restaurant, the company says

The company’s loss is not covered by the insurance from the incident of Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant that happened on June 18, the statement from Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited said on Sunday night.  The floating restaurant holds insurance only to indemnify and compensate the third party, according to the statement. “Where the assured has effected an insurance in express terms against any liability to a third party, the measure of indemnity, subject to any express provision in the policy, is the amount paid or payable by the assured to the third party in respect of such liability,” according to section 74 of Cap. 329 Marine Insurance Ordinance.  Until June 26, the floating restaurant and its tugboats remained in the area of Xisha Island in the South China Sea. The company has noticed the Sansha Maritime Affairs Bureau.  According to the statement released by the company on June 20, the seawater entered the vessel soon after the accident due to the poor weather conditions and capsized on June 18. It said that the vessel was sunk over 1,000 metres, which made the salvage works extremely difficult. Local media reported that the vessel was “sunk” on June 20 but their public relations representative did not clarify the sayings.  The Hong Kong Marine Department (HKMD) mentioned that before the media began reporting on the sinking of the floating restaurant, HKMD had not received any notification from the vessel’s owner before June 23.  While HKMD responded to the media request that the vessel’s owner submitted the written report regarding the incident on June 23. They cited from the report that the Jumbo floating restaurant was “capsized” and it is still in the water near the Paracel Islands. The official did not indicate that it was “sunk”.  The company replied in the statement on …

Photo Essay

Flowers Bloom in Sha Tin Park for 25th Anniversary of HKSAR

  • By: Lokman YuenEdited by: C.K. Lau
  • 2022-06-23

A festive atmosphere pervades the city as it gears up for the 25th anniversary of its establishment as a Special Administrative Region of China. Sha Tin Park is one of 51 prominent parks and locations where the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has carried out beautification works. TYR takes you on a photographic tour of the park.