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Country Reports

Hong Kong, SAR China Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The 24 November district election results confirm earlier anecdotal evidence that anti-government protests, despite turning increasingly disruptive, still have the broad support of the general public. Further city-wide protest-induced disruptions are likely throughout 2019. In the meantime, widespread use of extra crowd-control equipment including water cannons and live rounds by the Hong Kong SAR police is highly likely because of anti-riot police fatigue following continuous deployment. Chief Executive Carrie Lam is expected to remain in power at least until protests end but is increasingly likely to step down before her term ends in June 2022. Official deployment of mainland Chinese troops remains unlikely at present, but the likelihood will increase if protests persist throughout the fourth quarter of 2019. People's Liberation Army (PLA) deployment will be indicated by signs that the Hong Kong police can no longer secure government offices and key infrastructure assets. Should they deploy, the most likely scenario would involve the PLA garrison in Hong Kong securing vital infrastructure while the People’s Armed Police support Hong Kong police in public order and riot control. Hong Kong's economy has plunged into the worst slump in 10 years. Real GDP contracted sharply by 2.9% year on year (y/y) in the third quarter of 2019, marking the sharpest drop since the second quarter of 2009. In seasonally adjusted terms, the economy also slumped by a sharp 3.2% from the preceding quarter, accelerating from a 0.5% fall recorded in the second quarter, sending the economy into a recession. Heightened domestic and external headwinds will continue to place the near-term outlook under stress amid escalating mainland China-US trade tensions, a slowdown in the mainland Chinese economy, and weaker global demand, compounded by escalating social unrest. Most of the disruptions to tourism, business, and economic activities by the political unrest are expected to be felt in the third quarter.
Last update: December 4, 2019

Operational Outlook

Government intervention in the market has traditionally been minimal; the territory's first anti-monopoly regulation only took effect in December 2015. The legal system, based on English common law, will continue to be a unique feature for foreign investors looking to invest in Hong Kong and mainland China. Tax rates are low, with no tariff barriers.

Last update: September 7, 2019

Terrorism

Low

The threat from terrorism is low in Hong Kong. There has been little indication of Hong Kong being a main target for terrorist groups. The authorities have stepped up security, mainly at airports and cargo ports, and the police conduct regular counter-terrorism drills and training exercise.

Last update: September 7, 2019

Crime

Violent crime against foreigners is highly uncommon in Hong Kong. However, there are incidents where criminal gangs were active during political protests, which can lead to risks of collateral harm to bystanders around protest hotspots. Rising levels of cyber crime represent a moderate risk, following the hacking of bitcoins worth USD72 million in August 2016. The authorities are likely to introduce tougher laws and more extensive training to combat money laundering and improve cyber security.

Last update: September 7, 2019

War Risks

Hong Kong has no border disputes with nearby countries and faces no immediate risk of war. The mainland Chinese military maintains about 6,000 lightly armed troops in Hong Kong and is capable of rapidly deploying thousands more to defend the city.

Last update: September 7, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

Political activism has risen during recent years, and large-scale protests involving hundred of thousands of students and other residents have been increasingly common. Antagonism against the Hong Kong police, which suffered significant reputational damage following its alleged heavy-handed approach against protesters, makes the likelihood of violent confrontations between protesters and the police very likely. Hotspots have expanded beyond government offices to city-wide transport and commercial hotspots. However, most protests are still likely to be peaceful and the risks of deliberate violence or asset damage against commercial properties remain low.

Last update: September 7, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Travelers should take note that Hong Kong is predominantly threatened by two natural hazards: typhoons and earthquakes.

Typhoons can strike the region at any time of the year but are most common during the monsoon season (July to November), with a peak of storms in the last weeks of August and the first weeks of September. The government is well aware of this risk and a system of alerts is in place; the population is informed when a typhoon is within 800 km (500 mi) of Hong Kong’s coasts. The alert system also warns residents of other types of storms, landslides, and floods. During the monsoon season, visitors should follow local media reports to keep informed of any approaching storms. Over the past few years, no typhoons have led to high numbers of casualties; nevertheless, material damages from such weather events can be significant. On July 24, 2013, Typhoon Vincente, with gusts above 150 kph (93.2 mph), was the strongest storm to hit the region in over 15 years, although no deaths or major property damages were reported.

Moreover, Hong Kong is located in an active seismic zone; the region was struck by a series of relatively minor earthquakes between March 2005 and September 2006. While no major earthquakes have been observed in the area, the risk of a tsunami would be significant if one were to occur.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Hong Kong's climate is dominated by seasonal monsoon winds that bring rain from May until September. During the winter days are mild and evenings cool but temperatures never fall below freezing. Summers are hot, humid, and rainy, particularly in July and August (cyclone season).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +852
Police: 999
Fire Dept.: 999
Ambulance: 999

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019