US consulate completes Hong Kong property sale after Beijing greenlight

The gates of 37 Shouson Hill Road, part of a multibillion-dollar property of six mansions owned by the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, on Dec 30, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - The US Consulate in Hong Kong has completed a multi-million-dollar property sale that was previously put on ice after Beijing refused to grant permission, the buyer announced Thursday (Feb 25).

The deal for six luxury pads in a swanky part of the island will see the US State Department pocket some US$330 million (S$ 434.88 million). The sale was previously announced last year but then suddenly put on hold in December, an apparent victim to growing tensions between Washington and Beijing, who insisted it was no ordinary property transaction and needed a specific go-ahead.

On Thursday, Hang Lung Properties, the buyer, said the sale had now been processed after Washington obtained written consent from Beijing. "Completion of the acquisition of the property by the tenderer took place on 25 February 2021," the company said in a statement.

The residences, nestled on an oceanview hillside in one of Hong Kong's most ritzy neighbourhoods, were previously used to house staff.

The US and China have been at loggerheads for months over trade, human rights and a clampdown on Hong Kong, with Beijing increasingly willing to wield its economic power to push back against what it says is American interference in internal affairs.

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