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Thursday, July 18, 2019, 18:12
Residents urge end to unrest in Hong Kong
By Xinhua
Thursday, July 18, 2019, 18:12 By Xinhua

This undated photo shows visitors at the Victoria Harbor in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, in June 2017. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG — "I hope the turmoil will subside soon and everyone can live in peace again." This is the desire of pharmacy manager surnamed Cheung which is shared by numerous Hong Kong residents. 

Tsim Sha Tsui, an area where Cheung's pharmacy is located and known for large shopping centers, is still bustling with people, but he could hardly be happy. 

"Despite the demonstrations, we stayed open last week as usual because our local customers still need medicines, but our turnover fell by at least half," Cheung said. "We were anxious every time there is a protest." 

An unstable society means no incomes. We are only ordinary people and we only want to work and live peacefully.

A clerk surnamed Chan

His words were echoed by a taxi driver surnamed Tang, who said nearly all his colleagues complained bitterly in these days. "As protestors were all over the streets from morning to night, roads were sealed many times. It has a big impact on our business." 

Hong Kong witnessed a series of protests against the government's proposal to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance during the past months. Some protestors turned violent and stormed the Legislative Council (LegCo) Complex and even attacked police officers. The amendment bill has since been suspended and declared "dead" by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

READ MORE: CE: Hong Kong has zero tolerance for violence

Retailers and companies from the tourism sector were the first to take the brunt. 

Simon Wong Ka-wo, chairman of the Hong Kong Brand Development Council, said some retail stores were temporarily closed because of the demonstrations. 

"The aggregate turnover of Hong Kong's retail and catering industry in June is estimated to fall 10 percent, and some companies in areas affected by the protests will even see an over 25 percent slump," Wong said. 

LegCo member Yiu Si-wing said the violent incidents triggered concerns among travelers, particularly business travelers, which will lead to a decline in hotel occupancy and a 10-percent drop in the combined revenue. 

"Companies in the tourism are the staunchest believers of peace and we hope peace can be restored in Hong Kong as soon as possible so that visitors can feel secured and enjoy themselves here," Yiu said. "If it goes on like this, it will affect everyone's livelihood." 

The ongoing protests have dampened the market sentiment,  with three initial public offerings being shelved in the world's major fund-raising market, all in part due to concerns about current market conditions

READ MORE: Stability essential for Hong Kong's well-being

Hong Kong residents have strongly condemned the violence and flooded streets for pro-police rallies. 

"Police officers greatly refrained from using force but were still assaulted," a clerk surnamed Chan said. "We need police to keep order and I will continue to trust and support them." 

"An unstable society means no incomes. We are only ordinary people and we only want to work and live peacefully," she said. 

The ongoing protests have dampened the market sentiment as three initial public offerings (IPOs) were shelved in the world's major fund-raising market. 

In the past month, biopharmaceutical company Hutchison Chi-Med, logistics real estate developer ESR Cayman and brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev scrapped their IPOs on Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), all in part due to concerns about current market conditions. The three deals were intended to raise a total of 90 billion Hong Kong dollars (about US$11.5 billion). 

HKEX Chief Executive Charles Li Xiaojia said global investors have told him their concerns but fortunately there have been no actual moves as far. 

Li hoped Hong Kong could get rid of the plight in a short term and restore its image as a free, open, tolerant, peaceful and rational region. 

ALSO READ: No capital flight from Hong Kong, says advisory body

Seasoned investment banker Ronald Wan said Hong Kong's biggest advantage stems from the support from the Chinese mainland in talent, capital, business opportunities and enterprises. "If the current situation continues, investors will be worried." 

Wan said Hong Kong needs a peaceful and rational circumstance for development and should actively participate in major national strategies of development so as to seize opportunities and achieve synergy effects.  

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