HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Victor Li, the elder son of legendary Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing, is hoping that a security law proposed by Beijing would help the semi-autonomous Chinese city bounce back from months of social unrest.
"Hong Kong is now in an atmosphere of political turmoil and business uncertainties," the 55-year-old, who seldom comments on politics, said in an e-mail sent on Tuesday (May 26) through representatives of his property flagship CK Asset Holdings Ltd.
"I hope the related draft can stabilise Hong Kong and help its society and economy return to normal."
China last week announced it would write a new national security law into Hong Kong's charter to quell demonstrations seen as challenging its authority, sparking outrage among some residents and risking further turbulence in the territory. The city's US$363 billion (S$516 billion) economy is already battling a recession, with the second blow coming from the coronavirus pandemic that's decimated industries from retail to tourism.
The proposed measure is expected to pass through the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament, before the end of its annual session on May 28. The lack of details surrounding the new law has generated alarm among businesses and lawyers, while China sought to reassure Hong Kong that its judiciary would remain independent.
The junior Li is one of the first among Hong Kong tycoons to express an opinion on the recent political developments. During the prolonged political unrest last year, the senior Li, 91, pleaded with Beijing to be lenient towards the city's youth, while imploring pro-democracy activists to show more understanding.
Those comments prompted China's highest law-enforcement body, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, to lash out on social media by accusing Hong Kong's richest man of encouraging crime.
Victor Li, who took over in 2018 as chairman of his father's sprawling empire spanning ports to telecommunications and retail, is also a local delegate to China's top advisory body, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. The scion is now the chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., CK Asset and CK Infrastructure Holdings Ltd.