Hong Kong Intelligence Report #87 香港應做中美衝突的化解之地
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Open-source intelligence (OSINT)
譬如，2019年3月15日到2021年1月7日為止持續的反修例風暴以及2022年10月5日起至10月20日暫時爆發的避風港風暴都是極佳例證。之後，主要由於2022年10月8日後的美國國務院的克制以及2022年10月15日被南華早報和俄羅斯衛星通訊社證實的香港上海滙豐銀行（HSBC）的政治仲裁（除了個人儲金及其他銀行服務支援外，禁止俄羅斯本港客戶的投資行為）而解除了新中美衝突的狀態了。本港俄羅斯人口不到1600人（2021年 LINK）。甚至，其對港貿易總額一直不成比率。進出口貿易排名前20名中也都沒有俄國，連0.5%，0.4%都不到（2021 年 香 港 的 主 要 貿 易 夥 伴 LINK）。因此，整體貿易數據明確顯示某個本地人氣賺手NGO（其運作模式如同IWJ的岩上模式）猜想的2021年/2022年俄國企業踴躍進入香港市場一事是站不住腳的，甚至，公司登記上的冠名為「俄羅斯-」的企業也仍然不一定是俄國的企業，因此那還是未經證實的猜想。記得，「台灣拉麵不是台灣的，而源自名古屋的」。
The greatest political risk in Hong Kong is that the Hong Kong government, a special local government of China, can most easily involve the whole of China in a direct conflict with the United States. This is a national security issue. For example, the anti-extradition amendment bill storm from March 15, 2019 to January 7, 2021 and the temporary outbreak of the Russian safe heaven dispute from October 5 to October 20, 2022 are excellent examples. Afterwards, the new US-China conflict was lifted mainly due to the restraint of the US State Department after October 8, 2022 and the political arbitration of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) on October 15, 2022, confirmed by SCMP and Sputnik, which banned the investment behavior of Russian domestic customers except for personal savings and other banking services. The population of Russians in Hong Kong is less than 1600 (in 2021). Even its total trade with Hong Kong has been disproportionate. Russia is not even among the top 20 countries in terms of both import and export trade, not even 0.5% or 0.4% (Hong Kong's main trade partners in 2021). Therefore, the overall trade figures clearly show that the speculation of some popular local LIKE earner NGO (which operates like IWJ's Iwakami model) that more and more Russian companies entering the Hong Kong market in 2021/2022 is untenable, and even the companies registered under the name "Russia-" are still not necessarily Russian companies, so it is still an unsubstantiated speculation. Remember, "Taiwan- ramen is not from Taiwan, but from Nagoya".
Anyway, the positive side of the whole 'Russian safe haven' conflict is that Hong Kong can be a place of conflict resolution between the US and China, a buffer zone/middle ground for the conflict between the US and China, and an international arbitration centre for the conflict between the US and China. This time, it is not any Hong Kong government bureaucrat or any "politician" (corporate representative) of the so-called "political party" (limited company/association) that proves political excellence, but the British HSBC. So, what is the negative? That is, the Hong Kong government (accidentally?) At any time, it can drag the whole of China into the flames of a new Sino-American conflict. Therefore, Hong Kong itself should never be relegated to the stage of any new Sino-American conflict. This time, the restraint of the United States is also an important factor. The Hong Kong community is grateful to the U.S. for its diplomatic wisdom and restraint in the face of Russian machinations. The outcome of the conflict in the alleged Russian safe haven is now half and half, even. As a whole, hostility has been lifted. The main danger to Hong Kong now is only the epidemic because this community has effectively de-escalated the new Sino-American conflict in a short period of time in October 2022. This is largely due to the political excellence of the HSBC and the strategic restraint of the US State Department.
NORD (North) had applied to the Marine Department in the evening of October 19, 2022 (confirmed at 11:50 pm) to leave Hong Kong (the entire China was directly involved in the new Sino-US conflict without any political risk assessment when applying for berthing from Vladivostok to Hong Kong on September 28, 2022).
Then, at 12:00 noon on October 20, 2022, after the scheduled departure of NORD for Cape Town, South Africa, Sputnik in Beijing published at 15:46 pm that the new Russian Ambassador Igor Morgulov already had arrived in Beijing to start his work.
The timing of this release clearly shows that the Russian side wants to draw a clear line between the conflict in the alleged Russian safe haven and the trust in the term of the new ambassador to China. It is as if the incident took place in between the transitional period, when the new ambassador was not present. The Chinese Foreign Ministry's courtesy response on October 21, 2022, accepted this narrative. Then, on October 22, 2022, the Russian Foreign Ministry alerted its citizens to the political risks of overseas travel. This contradicts the (highly political) act of continuing NORD cruises around the world.
In fact, Alexey Mordashov, the largest Russian oligarch who chairs Severstal, the owner of the NORD ship, was not on board. The location and route of its Hong Kong mooring show the obvious purpose of the political demonstration placed in Hong Kong. However, the safest place to call to avoid the risk of sanctions is, of course, Russia. It is predictable that the arrival of a sanctioned Nord in any country, especially a pro-Russian one, will certainly trigger a conflict between the host and the United States.
Even the Russian safe heaven dispute proved that the political losses brought by NORD were mostly brought to the Russians in Hong Kong. That is, HSBC revealed that the Russians in Hong Kong have been subjected to US/EU sanctions. This, in turn, disproves that the Russian narrative of using Hong Kong as a "safe haven" is simply not true.
Russians lose access to some banking services in Hong Kong due to Western sanctions over Ukraine
HSBC sends out letter, seen by Post, saying lender unable to provide investment services to Russian nationals who are not European Union residents
While HKMA notes local banks can ignore unilateral sanctions imposed by foreign governments, legal experts say most lenders will not take the risk
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The biggest political risk in Hong Kong is always the Hong Kong government's ability to drag the entire country into a new Sino-American conflict at any time. As a result, it was the HSBC, which conducted political mediation, and the U.S. State Department, which strategically restrained itself, that lifted this new U.S.-China conflict which named the 'Russian safe heaven' dispute. This reveals that Hong Kong should be a place of conflict resolution, a buffer zone/middle ground, and an arbiter of Sino-US conflicts, rather than a stage for Sino-US conflicts.
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