Consequence For Hong Kong Office Tenants Who Violate National Security Law
HONG KONG – Veteran developer Allen Fong, who has 25 years of experience in the industry, thinks that while he does not see how construction of residential developments could contravene the national security law despite the law’s broad coverage, office tenants are more likely to be impacted, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Monday evening (13 February, SGT).
“If you talk about residential, industrial property or street shops, I don’t think there will be any major violations. (But) the biggest chance is when an office is leased to a renter who violates the national security law,” said Fong, who earlier worked for a government-owned real estate developer.
His comments come after provisions under the national security law were discovered in recent tender documents for land sales, including one for a land plot at the intersection of Argyle Street and Sai Yee Street in Mong Kok, wherein the tender closes on 24 February 2023.
Notably, the tender documents stated that would-be land buyers can be disqualified if they engaged in activities that impacted public order and endangered national security.
Wang On Properties’ CEO Nick Tang believes the inclusion of the clause is reasonable from the perspective of the business sector.
“While it is in place, in practice I don’t think anyone will trigger this clause. Chances of that happening are very slim. So, it definitely will not affect land prices,” opined Tang.
“If a Hongkonger buys anything in the United States, the US government will also examine the background before allowing the investment,” he added.
A representative from the Development Bureau disclosed that the Lands Department had incorporated new provisions in land sale tender documents and short-term leases after Hong Kong’s Stores and Procurement Regulation was updated in August 2022 to incorporate the national security law.
The spokesperson added that the first land sale with the clause was the land sale in Kai Tak Area 2A. The tender drew 6 bidders and the land plot then formally changed hands at the end of 2022.