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Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong’


‘Hong Kong’s ATM network has been hit with a surge in withdrawals by customers using China UnionPay bank cards in the wake of facial recognition technology being introduced at cash dispensing machines in Macau.

Monetary chiefs in Hong Kong have declined to deny or confirm information obtained by the South China Morning Post that ATMs have seen a “staggering’’ rise in withdrawals since the casino hub introduced the recognition technology in May as part of a bid to stem illegal capital flight from mainland China.

“The rise in ATM withdrawals in terms of volume and number has been staggering. The taps are gushing,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.

“It seems quite clear that as the introduction of ATM facial recognition technology in Macau has put the squeeze on cash dispensing withdrawals in Macau, the pattern of withdrawals has followed the path of least resistance – and that is to Hong Kong,” the source added.’

Read more: Bank runs in Hong Kong following introduction of facial recognition withdrawals in Macau

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Coffin apartments in Hong Kong and one-room-families in LA

The world isn’t getting any bigger, but it’s population certainly is. And for many of its most condensed cities, its the poorest who must bear the brunt of a worsening battle for space. Pictured, clockwise from top left, a Hong Kong resident who lives in a ‘cage home’ and pays around the equivalent of $200 per month in rent for it; a woman and her son live in a 60-sq-ft ‘coffin’ apartment for around $600 per month; in South Korea, 73-year-old divorcee Kong Kyung-soon makes do with little more than six square feet in Seocho-gu, adjacent to the wealthy Gangnam suburb in Seoul; and In 2011, Tracy Burger, his wife Elizabeth and their son, were forced to move into the cramped one-room garage attached to the house of Elizabeth’s mother after losing their jobs during the 2009 financial crisis.

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  • Before it was demolished in 1994, Kowloon Walled City was regarded as the most densely populated place on earth 
  • About 33,000 people lived in the overcrowded slum in Hong Kong, where crime was accepted as part of daily life
  • The six-acre settlement was essentially lawless due to a territorial dispute between China and British Hong Kong
The former Chinese military site became an urban settlement after Japanese forces retreated during World War II and squatters moved in

The former Chinese military site became an urban settlement after Japanese forces retreated during World War II and squatters moved in

 

Life inside Kowloon Walled City, the most densely populated place on earth, was far from easy before the chaotic cluster of interconnected high-rise buildings was demolished 20 years ago.

Around 33,000 people lived in the overcrowded Hong Kong slum, which was blighted by poverty, organised crime, including drug dealing, gambling and prostitution, poor sanitation and inadequate services. 

Populated by families, business owners, drug addicts and gang members, the settlement was essentially lawless due to a territorial dispute between China and British Hong Kong, but both sides agreed in the 1980s to demolish it and replace it with a park.

The former Chinese military site became a sprawling urban settlement after Japanese forces retreated during World War II and squatters moved in. 

Over the following decades it fell under the grip of the Triads, who were eventually forced out in the 1970s, and was notorious for brothels, casinos and opium dens as it lagged behind the rest of Hong Kong, although crime rates dropped in its later years.

Before Kowloon Walled City was finally demolished in 1994, photographers Greg Girard and Ian Lambot spent five years capturing jaw-dropping images of daily life within the six-acre site – from children playing on rooftops to heroin addicts shooting up on the street.

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‘Instagram has reportedly been blocked in China, amid fierce clashes between pro-democracy supporters and police in Hong Kong.

The photo and video-sharing service, which is owned by Facebook Inc, has been put on lockdown by police, according to various sources. Reuters cited Hong Kong-based reporters with The New York Times as being among those to report the story.

The website http://www.blockedinchina.net also indicated that Instagram was blocked across China, including in Beijing and Shenzhen. It suggested that Facebook has also been limited.’

Read more: Hong Kong protests: Instagram ‘blocked’ in China as candid images expose reality of rallies

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Japan’s homeless recruited for Fukushima radiation clean-up

29 Dec 2013 Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head. This is how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong.

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By Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com

Freeman's Perspective

The news is full of stories of Detroit, and understandably so. It’s an unmitigated disaster. But I know how to fix it.

Seriously, I do!

I have a plan that would cost the state of Michigan nothing – not a cent. It wouldn’t cost DC anything either, and it would turn Detroit into the most thriving city in North America. As a bonus, it would give the remaining property owners in Detroit a financial windfall.

Here’s the plan:

  • The federal government (in writing) forbears taxes, regulations, laws, and impositions for a hundred years to the area of the current municipality of Detroit and to all persons and commercial entities resident there.
  • The government of the state of Michigan forbears taxes, regulations, laws, and impositions for a hundred years to the area of the current municipality of Detroit and to all persons and commercial entities resident there.
  • All municipal government agencies within Detroit are disbanded.
  • All state and federal offices within the city of Detroit are disbanded.
  • The federal government guarantees that entry and exit to/from Detroit will remain unchanged from the current conditions, and that no obligations will be placed upon residents of Detroit in any other place.
  • Federal and state governments immediately cease all payments to residents of Detroit. (They may resume payment to those persons if and when they are no longer resident in Detroit.)

The final legal document would be more complex than this, but those are all the main points necessary.

What this plan does is to return Detroit to its natural state – to the way it was managed when the first settlers arrived. (In other words, not managed at all.)

And think of the money that will be saved by Michigan and the feds. Billions per year.

And Then…

And then we have a free for all… and a good one. Think of Hong Kong, but easy to get to.

Businesses would begin to relocate the next morning. Hundreds of them, thousands of them. The people who still owned and lived in their homes would be offered lots of money for their properties.

Libertarians and conservatives, disgusted by the gang in DC, would load up and drive to Detroit. Productive former residents would return. Thousands of opportunity-seekers, anarcho-capitalists, and pot-smoking hippies would be gathering their money and buying property.

Detroit would, within only a few years, become the coolest city on the planet – by FAR.

But, But…

“But there won’t be any police!”

“There won’t be any courts!”

“It will be non-stop murder, death, and mayhem!”

You wanna bet? Do ya? (And you don’t think Detroit has non-stop mayhem already?)

The people who come to Detroit would be coming to escape from their chains and to be productive. These are precisely the kinds of people who clean up a town. And with no taxes to pay for a hundred years, they’d have plenty of extra money to spend on whatever services (security or otherwise) that they wanted.

The Truth

The truth, of course, is that the state and fed guvs will never agree to a plan like this one, for a single reason:

Because they fear it would succeed.

They’ll let every last person in Detroit rot before they’ll let a group of producers live free of their chains.

Detroit returned to its natural state would expose the great lie of the government game – that we can’t survive without them.

[Editor’s Note: Paul Rosenberg is the outside-the-Matrix author of FreemansPerspective.com, a site dedicated to economic freedom, personal independence and privacy. He is also the author of The Great Calendar, a report that breaks down our complex world into an easy-to-understand model. Click here to get your free copy.]

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China accuses US of hypocrisy over internet spying

28 Jun 2013 The Chinese Ministry of National Defence has accused the United States of hypocrisy over cybersurveillance and said the disclosures made by Edward Snowden bolstered the case for China’s internet security efforts. These were the harshest public comments so far from the Chinese government about Mr Snowden’s revelations. Until now, the Chinese government’s comments on the disclosures have come through its foreign ministry, which has used relatively muted words to answer reporters’ questions about Mr Snowden’s allegations. Mr Snowden, a former CIA employee, has described US monitoring of Chinese internet sites and installations, and Prism, a National Security Agency program to mine internet information.

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”Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.”

Edward Snowden

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‘In another shameful decision by the US Department of Justice, earlier this month federal prosecutors reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with UK banking giant HSBC, Europe’s largest bank.

Shameful perhaps, but entirely predictable. After all, in an era characterized by economic collapse owing to gross criminality by leading financial actors, policy decisions and the legal environment framing those decisions have been shaped by oligarchs who quite literally have “captured” the state.

Founded in 1865 by flush-with-cash opium merchants after the British Crown seized Hong Kong from China in the aftermath of the First Opium War, HSBC has been a permanent fixture on the radar of US law enforcement and regulatory agencies for more than a decade.’

Read more: Fraud, Money Laundering and Narcotics. Impunity of the Banking Giants. No Prosecution of HSBC

 

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It seems the AsiaPac central bankers did not get the ‘shut up and print’ memo as today during another speech, an Australian central banker followed Hong Kong’s lead and pronounced quantitative easing as potentially harmful and the volatility-dampening effects of excess monetary policy as “ultimately inimical to financial stability and hence macroeconomic stability.” In the speech below Glenn Stevens (RBA Governor) provides some much-needed doses of sanity to the grossly addicted world desirous of moar money printing.

Central banks can provide liquidity to shore up financial stability and they can buy time for borrowers to adjust, but they cannot, in the end, put government finances on a sustainable course… They can’t shield people from the implications of having mis-assessed their own lifetime budget constraints and therefore having consumed too much.

Why are these AsiaPac bankers breaking ranks with the status quo? Perhaps they see a looming threat and prefer to front-run their governments’ demands to “get to work”.

 

more here

 

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For many years the American media said that “Israel receives $1.8 billion in military aid” or that “Israel receives $1.2 billion in economic aid.” Both statements were true, but since they were never combined to give us the complete total of annual U.S. aid to Israel, they also were lies—true lies.

Recently Americans have begun to read and hear that “Israel receives $3 billion in annual U.S. foreign aid.” That’s true. But it’s still a lie. The problem is that in fiscal 1997 alone, Israel received from a variety of other U.S. federal budgets at least $525.8 million above and beyond its $3 billion from the foreign aid budget, and yet another $2 billion in federal loan guarantees. So the complete total of U.S. grants and loan guarantees to Israel for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800,000.

One can truthfully blame the mainstream media for never digging out these figures for themselves, because none ever have. They were compiled by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. But the mainstream media certainly are not alone. Although Congress authorizes America’s foreign aid total, the fact that more than a third of it goes to a country smaller in both area and population than Hong Kong probably never has been mentioned on the floor of the Senate or House. Yet it’s been going on for more than a generation.

Probably the only members of Congress who even suspect the full total of U.S. funds received by Israel each year are the privileged few committee members who actually mark it up. And almost all members of the concerned committees are Jewish, have taken huge campaign donations orchestrated by Israel’s Washington, DC lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), or both. These congressional committee members are paid to act, not talk. So they do and they don’t.

The same applies to the president, the secretary of state, and the foreign aid administrator. They all submit a budget that includes aid for Israel, which Congress approves, or increases, but never cuts. But no one in the executive branch mentions that of the few remaining U.S. aid recipients worldwide, all of the others are developing nations which either make their military bases available to the U.S., are key members of international alliances in which the U.S. participates, or have suffered some crippling blow of nature to their abilities to feed their people such as earthquakes, floods or droughts.

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While HSBC’s Canary Wharf masters are back-peddling furiously over charges that they gave a leg up to terrorist financiers and drug traffickers as a recent U.S. Senate report charged, new evidence emerged that its business as usual for the multinational banking giant founded by Hong Kong-based British opium merchants.

Earlier this month, The Independent reported that French police had “intercepted one of the dozens of ‘go-fast’ cars which transport cannabis at high speed from Spain to Paris. The seizure–banal in itself–unravelled an extraordinary network of drug-trafficking, money-laundering, fraud and tax evasion which sprawled over the invisible barrier which separates Paris from the city’s poor, multiracial suburbs.”

The bank embroiled in this latest scandal? Why HSBC, of course!

According to reporter John Lichfield, “bank notes handed by clients to street drug dealers in the suburbs were ending up, French and Swiss investigators discovered, in the safes of seemingly law-abiding, well-heeled citizens in the French capital.”

But that’s not the only place where crisp bundles of cash were turning up.

“A trio of Moroccan brothers, including a prominent fund manager in Geneva, are alleged to have concocted an elaborate scheme to launder money by balancing two illegal flows of cash,” The Independent averred.

At the center of this multimillion euro money laundering spider’s web were: Meyer El-Maleh, the managing director of the fund management firm GPF SA, and brothers Mardoché El-Maleh, the alleged bagman of the cannabis-for-cash scheme and Nessim El-Maleh, a fund management specialist with the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC, HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) S.A.

The Independent reported that the trio “are suspected of handling up to €12m (£9.6m) in cash in the past seven months (and far more over the past four years). Assets seized by the police include €2m in cash, gold ingots, art treasures and guns.”

“The HSBC bank has confirmed that its employee was involved in the affair,” Swiss Info disclosed, “but says that it has been ‘cooperating actively with the authorities about this over the past few months’. The Swiss newspaper Le Temps reports that GPF SA is about to dismiss the other brother.”

Talk about closing the barn door after the horses have escaped!

more here

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Südafrikanische Krügerrand von 1974 und 1984, ...

Image via Wikipedia

This October, bankers in Hong Kong were in for a rude shock when they discovered some gold bars from the US to be actually gold plated tungsten i.e., fake gold bars. Acting fast, the Chinese officials found the perpetrators within hours. It seems that fake Tungsten blanks, between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz, were manufactured in the US about fifteen years ago during the Clinton administration. Said to have been done by a very sophisticated refiner, 640,000 of these tungsten planks were gold plated and shifted to Fort Knox. The remaining also gold plated, but sold into the international market. (Fort Knox , as you may be aware, is the United States Bullion Depository, where the official gold reserves of the federal government are stored. This depository of about 4,603 tons (4 176 metric tonness) is the second highest gold depository in the US after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s underground vault in Manhattan (5,000 metric tonness of gold). Whoever pulled this one on the gold bars had connections inside the government, big banks and also a top-of-the-line fabrication facility. For, counterfeit is not something new for the US government, it did this is 1964 when zinc dimes clad in silver were introduced. That’s why the pre 1964 coins are valued more. Elsewhere, early this year, another counterfeit story made rounds as some of the gold bars in the vaults of the National bank of Ethiopia were found to be gold plated steel. It made news when the shipment of gold was returned by South Africa. It only could have been the work of a genius as fake gold bars made of steel are among the easiest to detect as they are lighter. Among gold coins, 22k Gold coins such as Krugerrand, are less likely to be counterfeited because the density of 22k gold minted from gold alloy that is 91.67 percent pure, is far apart from that of tungsten. Tungsten has the same density (19.25g/cm3) as gold, so a fake bar is indistinguishable by weighing it. In comparison the density of pure 24k gold is within 0.26% of tungsten.

CONTINUED HERE

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500mL bottle of Lemon Coke & Lemon Coke Light ...

Image via Wikipedia

Who says American companies aren’t investing? They are.  Billions, in fact. Only, they are just not investing here in the U.S.

Atlanta based Coca-Cola (KO) plans to invest $4 billion in China, the company’s CEO Muhtar Kent told reporters in Shanghai this week. It’s the company’s biggest planned investment in China since the 2009 investment of $2 billion. The investments will start next year and is part of the company’s China capex until 2014.

Kent said the company is even considering listing its shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, adding itself to the list of mainstream brands listing their depositary receipts on exchanges outside of their home base. Massachusetts luggage maker Samsonite opted to list in Hong Kong in the second quarter rather than do its initial public offering on the NYSE.  The new China investments will focus on innovation, infrastructure and expansion of its production capacity. The company now has six manufacturing centers in the country.

CONTINUED HERE

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Translation: Shit just got real, and is about to manifest itself in limit ups in both regular, and black gold.

As if a dollar in freefall was not enough, surging oil is about to hit the turbo boost, decimating what is left of the US (and global) consumer. Xinhua, via Energy Daily, brings this stunner: ” Chinese oil giant Sinopec has stopped exporting oil products to maintain domestic supplies amid disruption concerns caused by Middle East unrest and Japan’s earthquake, a report said Wednesday.

CONTINUED HERE

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