The protests in opposition to a planned change to Hong Kong’s extradition plan continued as several thousand protesters showed up in the streets regardless of the rubber bullets and tear gas police fired at them a day earlier. The mass political display has previously had an impact on trade and business in the city. The national government offices in the city’s financial district have been shut for the rest of the week following several days of protest. For their part, top international banks counting Bank of China, Standard Chartered, and DBS stated that they had suspended branch services across the city’s central business district area till further notice. For several financial companies based in the Central district, it business was conducted as usual.
In the meantime, Hong Kong’s Heng Seng Index slipped by 1.5% in early trade, extending previous losses as tensions escalated. Reportedly, the mass political demonstration has increased long-term fears over the prospect of doing business in the region. In a statement released in March, the HKGCC (Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce) indicated its distress regarding the city administration’s proposal to facilitate extradition to many places—counting China—where it does not presently have any obligations to send those allegations of crimes.
On a similar note, recently, a research firm stated that the proposed extradition bill can get Hong Kong entrapped in the US-China dispute. Hong Kong runs the peril of losing its special customs position with the U.S. if its sovereignty is seen to be eroded with the controversial extradition bill, as per to one analyst. In a note, Eleanor Olcott—China Policy Analyst at research company TS Lombard—stated that there is much at stake for Hong Kong with the jeopardy that it is more and more perceived as an “inferior link” in the middle of the U.S-China trade war.