Pro-China and Chairman Mao supporter, Stanley Ng Chau-pei, denounces Li Ka Shing as “The Cockroach King” for calling for leniency towards protesters…







Hong Kong’s Richest Man Diversified His Empire Years Before Political Crisis

  • Li Ka-Shing’s CK Hutchison is less reliant on city’s fortunes
  • Only 10% of company’s revenue came from Hong Kong last year

As Hong Kong’s fortunes swelled alongside mainland China’s, the city’s richest man was already investing elsewhere. That move has shielded Li Ka-shing’s flagship company from the brunt of the tumult now enveloping the city.

CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., which encompasses the Li family’s assets including ports, telecommunications and retail, counted on its home base for only 10% of revenue last year. The share was 16% in 2015 following the separation of its property business eventually into CK Asset Holdings Ltd. in a reorganization of the group.

Years of diversification into Europe, North America and Australia have made CK Hutchison the least exposed among Hong Kong conglomerates to the months-long political protests against Beijing’s grip over the semi-autonomous city. After tumbling to a seven-year low this month, the shares of the company have pared some of their losses, outperforming local peers in the past week.

Li, 91, saw the risks of placing all his bets in one place and started diversifying 25 years ago to “ensure he’s out of Hong Kong when everything hits the fan,” said Richard Harris, chief executive officer of Hong Kong-based Port Shelter Investment Management. “Li does stand out as easily the smartest of the big guys in Hong Kong.”

Representatives for CK Hutchison and CK Asset didn’t respond to requests for comments.

After the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Li — called “Superman” by his admirers for his investment calls — started to look for assets outside China. He bought Canada-based Husky Oil Ltd. and expanded his telecommunications business into the U.K. and Australia. Last year, the energy and telecom businesses accounted for 33% of CK Hutchison’s profit before interest and tax.

The family’s real estate arm is more exposed. With about 73% of CK Asset’s revenue coming from Hong Kong and mainland China, Li’s son and successor, Victor, is following in his father’s footsteps by looking overseas to expand the property business.

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Beijing berates Li Ka-shing over protest comments

2019-09-13 HKT 16:08
The powerful Communist Party body that oversees law enforcement on the mainland has accused Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, of “harbouring criminals”, after he called on the authorities to offer young people an olive branch amid the ongoing anti-government protests.

In a WeChat post, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission – which comes under the Central Committee that comprises of the party’s top leaders – says Li is not thinking of what’s good for Hong Kong if he advocates showing mercy to law-breaking protesters, and he would have the city slip into an abyss.

The commission questions whether Hong Kong’s land-hoarding property developers would “offer a way out to young people”, as the tycoon had suggested the government should do.

The post also says many young people in Hong Kong are angry because of the sky-high property prices that developers benefit from.


Li had made his comments to a small group of people during a visit to a monastery in Tai Po last Sunday, but video footage of him speaking was later widely shared online.

He had also warned that the ongoing protests are presenting Hong Kong with its biggest challenge since the Second World War and said he hoped that young people would also “look at the bigger picture”.

In a statement issued on Li’s behalf on Friday, a spokesman said the billionaire regretted that his remarks had been misinterpreted but he is used to receiving such unnecessary criticism.

He said showing tolerance does not mean connivance or ignoring the law, and stressed that no form of violence is ever acceptable.






Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing urges love in response to growing protests

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, urged people to “love China, love Hong Kong and love yourself” on Friday in his first public comments on the escalating pro-democracy protests that have disrupted the city for weeks and challenged China.

Li’s message in front-page advertisements in major newspapers in the Asian financial hub urged the public to “cease the anger with love” and “stop the violence”. The advertisements were signed “a Hong Kong citizen Li Ka-shing”.

Ten weeks of confrontations between police and protesters have plunged Hong Kong into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997, and have presented the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jingping since he came to power in 2012.

China has likened the increasingly violent protests to terrorism and warned it could use force to quell them, as U.S. President Donald Trump urged Xi meet protesters to defuse the tension.

More mass demonstrations are expected through the weekend. Police tactics against protesters have been hardening and Li, 91, warned that “the best cause can lead to the worst results”.

More than 700 people have been arrested since the protests began in June, and tear gas has frequently been used by police in attempts to disperse protests across the city.




Hong Kong business leader Li Ka-shing invokes poetry in call for end to protests and violence

  • The 91-year-old publishes a statement in Hong Kong newspapers that ‘the melon of Huangtai cannot bear the picking again’
  • The phrase, a reference to a Tang dynasty poem, is used to suggest something has suffered so much that any further attack would completely ruin it

The message may have seemed cryptic to many, but it is rich in meaning and open to interpretation. It is also not the first time that Li – nicknamed the Superman for his Midas touch – has used the phrase.

In fact, this has become his favourite line in addressing contentious political issues. The last time Li, the city’s most influential businessman, used the line was in 2016, when he was asked whether then-Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying would run for a second term. Leung did not enter the race in the end.

The phrase – derived from a Tang dynasty poem – means that something has suffered so much that any further attack would completely ruin it.

The seemingly cryptic advert placed by Li Ka-shing, which read: “The melon of Huangtai cannot bear the picking again.” Photo: SCMP
The seemingly cryptic advert placed by Li Ka-shing, which read: “The melon of Huangtai cannot bear the picking again.” Photo: SCMP

Li issued a statement to media on Friday through his spokesman, who said Li had shared his thoughts because he believed Hong Kong’s prosperity hinged on the principle of “one country, two systems”.

He said the tycoon believed the most pressing issue for the city was to stop the violence and maintain the rule of law.

“The road to hell is often paved with good intentions,” the spokesman quoted Li as saying. “We need to be mindful of unintended consequences.”

He said Li believed violence in thought and actions should not be the way to achieve any vision, “because they misrepresent”.

“We need to cherish ourselves, our identity as Chinese and a Hong Kong citizen, just as we treasure freedom, empathy and rule of law,” Li’s statement said.

On the surface, Li’s reference to the melon of Huangtai seemed an apt description of Hong Kong, torn by violence and radical views.

But it also carries another layer of meaning.

The poem was written by Li Xian, the crown prince of the Tang dynasty who lived between 654 and 684AD.

The sixth son of emperor Gaozong and the second son of the legendary empress Wu Zetian, Li Xian was known as an intelligent and capable prince. As his brothers fell one by one in a Byzantine court intrigue, he was installed as the crown prince and the heir apparent.

But his ambitious mother concentrated all of the power in her hands as her ailing husband succumbed to illness. She became suspicious of Li Xian and put him under house arrest.

In desperation, Li wrote the poem as a subtle protest to his mother.

Here is a rough translation:

Growing melons beneath Huangtai,

Hanging heavily, many grow ripe,

Pick one, the others will be fine,

Pick two, fewer are left on the vine,

If you want to get yet another one,

That’s where we must draw the line,

For if there is any more reaping,

You will end up with an empty vine.


The prince’s lament did not move his mother. The empress accused Li Xian of treason and he was sent into exile. In 684, shortly after his father’s death, empress Wu forced her son to commit suicide.

The melon of Huangtai, however, became a popular expression in Chinese culture, symbolising suffering in the face of persecution.


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