Hong Kong's 'unwise policies' fuelled protests, unrest in city, Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan says

By Chad Bray chadwick.bray@scmp.com / https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3027057/hong-kongs-unwise-policies-fuelled-protests-unrest-city-hang?utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=contentexchange&utm_source=EdgeProp | September 18, 2019 2:47 AM SGT
Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung said the "unwise policies" of Hong Kong's government had contributed to an atmosphere that sparked protests and civil unrest and are now threatening the city's business community.
Chan, who is a supporter of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her predecessor Leung Chun-ying, said the unrest "cannot but negatively affect business" and reduce "confidence among the international business community".
"In the past month and a half, the city has erupted into a tumultuous place. It was the result of unwise policies made locally and not initiated by Beijing, which has since basically kept quiet," Chan said in Hang Lung Properties' interim report issued on Thursday. "But the trouble on the streets today are not just directed at the local government but also at the central government in Beijing."
Protests and increasingly violent confrontations between police and more radical groups of demonstrators have disrupted the city's streets for more than three months, hitting retailers and tourism-oriented businesses particularly hard.
The city's government also cut its outlook for economic growth in 2019 to zero to 1 per cent last month, with several economists saying they expect the economy to contract this year.
Last week, Lam formally withdrew a proposed bill that would have made it easier to send criminal suspects to the mainland for prosecution. The protests were originally sparked by the bill, but have evolved into a broader conflict on income inequality and suffrage in Hong Kong.
The statement by Chan came on the same day as Sun Hung Kai Properties, the largest developer by value in the world's least affordable housing market, said that occupancy rates at its hotels have plunged on average by 30 to 40 per cent and some hotels were only half full.
"Fewer customers came when a lot of Western countries issued travel warnings so the hotel industry has been affected quite a lot," Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, SHKP's chairman and managing director said.