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APRIL 2009, NUMBER FOURTEEN


CONTROLLING TRIADS AND ORGANIZED CRIME IN HONG KONG

By Harold Traver

Triad societies—criminal gangs—have existed in Hong Kong ever since the British took over the territory in 1841, writes Harold Traver, professor of sociology at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. But their continued activities are now marked by two long term trends: improved police work, including by use of recent anti-racketeering laws, has kept them in check though not eliminated, while surviving triads have stronger links to criminal gangs overseas.
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By Daniel Po-min Chan

The global economic crisis continues to batter Hong Kong and the low point has not yet been reached, according to Daniel Po-min Chan, senior investment strategist for DBS Bank (Hong Kong). Its economy may contract by 3.5% this year, worse than the government predicts, despite the buffer of a relatively prosperous mainland China.


HONG KONG’S ENGLISH TEACHING CONUNDRUM

By C.K. Lau

Programs designed to expand and improve the teaching of English in Hong Kong schools have yet to produce the desired results despite years of policy experiments, writes C.K. Lau, editor of the South China Morning Post. Contrary to widespread belief, however, the standards of English have risen over the past 30 years and efforts to raise them higher are continuing. Most parents want their children to master the language for pragmatic reasons and, even under the Chinese flag, there is no political objection to it.

By Helen F. Siu

Major population flows across the Hong Kong-mainland China border are continuing but their composition has changed in important ways, writes Helen F. Siu, professor of anthropology at Yale University. The Hong Kong government needs to find more effective means of aiding the poor and unskilled newcomers—some of whom in fact have been in place for years—while using the talents of the professionally trained—who cross the boundary in both directions—to strengthen Hong Kong’s international role.


THE DECLINE OF MACAO’S CASINO ECONOMY AND THE CHALLENGES AHEAD

By Sonny Lo

China has had second thoughts about the wisdom of letting Macao rely so heavily on the casino industry and has told it to diversify, according to Sonny Lo, associate professor of political science at Waterloo University in Canada. Partly because gambling is especially vulnerable to adverse international financial trends, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping recently proposed others for Macao to integrate itself into the larger Pearl River Delta economy. This has serious implications for Hong Kong and perhaps also for Taiwan.

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By Robert Keatley

Global economic trends battered the services economy of Hong Kong, pushing down business and pushing up unemployment. Whether relatively buoyant China would provide an effective buffer remained an open question. Meantime, concerns rose again about a slowed movement toward universal suffrage and environmentalists remained worried about dirty air and water. But these long term issues were only temporary distractions from economic problems.


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