You don't spend the $5,000, you grow it

Woohoo! Hong Kong people were yesterday celebrating the government's free gift of HK$5,000 for every adult. I was thinking of spending it on some nice meals, but my locally born friends were way ahead of me. "No! You park it with an online broker who gives you a margin to take it up to HK$50,000,...

Nury Vittachi

Friday, February 26, 2021

Woohoo! Hong Kong people were yesterday celebrating the government's free gift of HK$5,000 for every adult.

I was thinking of spending it on some nice meals, but my locally born friends were way ahead of me.

"No! You park it with an online broker who gives you a margin to take it up to HK$50,000, which you use to buy cryptocurrency, and when it doubles, you pay off the margin and use the fifty grand profit to get a new margin of HK$500,000, which you double again on the stock market," one said. By September you can retire.

This is why Hong Kong will always thrive. And this is why America is so scared.

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Of course, Westerners who believe what they read in the media have a different impression of Hong Kong. According to them, our entire population has been wiped out! This conversation between Chicago-based Matt Corso and his friends about "the literal genocide in Hong Kong" was yesterday spotted by Temur, a popular Twitter voice.

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Many Twitter users were deleted this week when the social media app introduced a new crime: "Undermining faith in the NATO alliance." Not a joke. This shows that it's just a pro-Western propaganda tool, no different to the People's Daily, just sneakier.

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Property-price watchers in Hong Kong are measuring the "ghost discount" to see where the market is going.

During downturns, flats associated with ghosts, suicides, murders or premature deaths get stuck on the market with huge discounts of 30 to 40 percent.

But during property market upturns, the discount shrinks, as people say, "Never mind the ghosts, take my money."

Recently, a Taikoo Shing apartment associated with a death sold for HK$14,300 per square foot - about 25 percent lower than the HK$18,965 average for the estate.

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But the gulf between private and public property in Hong Kong remains stunning.

Most renters at the new public housing developments opening shortly in Diamond Hill and Tai Po will pay less than HK$2,500 a month, including rates and management fees, housing officials revealed this week.

In comparison, a single car park space at Taikoo Shing was rented out this week at HK$5,200 a month - or the same as TWO complete apartments in Diamond Hill.

Taikoo Shing residents: "Can I lease a Diamond Hill flat for my lambo?"

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Hong Kong's cyber-security god Michael Gazeley told me this week that the LeaveHomeSafe app was "as benign as any such app could possibly be" - but the city has other problems.

Most of Hong Kong's security infrastructure uses American equipment and services "which are almost certain to include backdoors and vulnerabilities", he said.

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I really hope the Sinopharm vaccine plants a microchip tracker in me so that my wife can find me next time I get lost in IKEA.

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Users of personal vehicles - electric unicycles, Segways, powered skateboards - have been given permission to motor up and down the waterfront at Science Park in Tai Po from today until Sunday. This is the latest test run for the possible legalization of such devices. The future is coming towards us at high speed - on the pavement.

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Talking of hi-tech transport, I was in favor of self-driving cars until I spent 10 minutes watching my wife's Roomba in action. No. Don't do it.

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