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News in a Nutshell – May 5

No time to read the news this week? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Just one minute with the Localiiz news roundup and you’ll have all you need to appear up-to-the-minute and worldly-wise when out and about this weekend – well, almost.


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                            Bare Minimum

Hong Kong’s first statutory wage rise in two years took effect this week with some workers wages rising from $32.50 to a marginally less depressing $34.50. For workers earning less than HK$14,100 a month, their employers are now legally required to keep a record of their total working hours. Considering that the average rent for a shoebox apartment in the city is $4,000 a month – making up over half of many people’s income on the new minimum wage – it’s probably safe to say the increase doesn’t go far enough.

More on this story:

What can you buy with the new HK$34.50 minimum wage? – SCMP
Union calls for annual minimum wage review in Hong Kong – SCMP

Show of Force

More than a third of the entire Hong Kong Police Force will be deployed to protect state leaders during their visit next month to mark the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese ­sovereignty, the biggest deployment since the handover actually happened. 10,000 police officers protecting a handful of politicians? Seems reasonable. Good use of resources. Nice one. Well played. Great.

Gay Rights 

In a landmark victory with (hopefully) far-reaching implications for Hong Kong’s sexual minorities, a gay civil servant’s husband will be entitled to the same benefits as his heterosexual colleagues’ spouses after a successful legal challenge against government policy. Wrapping up a case that has become one of the only instances in which the judicial system has recognised the city’s gay community, the High Court on Friday rejected the Civil Service Bureau’s stance that it was denying benefits for same-sex spouses to protect “the integrity of the institution of marriage”.

Terrorism

Extremists inspired by the Middle East terror group calling itself Islamic State may have sneaked into Hong Kong or are already lurking in the city, putting anti-terrorist police on alert to prevent lone wolf-style attacks. Police on Wednesday said the danger was real, but the city’s terrorism threat level remained moderate as there was no specific intelligence indicating an imminent attack or Hong Kong being targeted. So really, what’s the point in saying anything?

  Bus Stopped

Ever been on a minibus and started writing a will in your own head because you’re certain that death is imminent? Well, hopefully, those days will soon be behind us as police will be cracking down on public service vehicle drivers for careless or dangerous driving. According to a government press release, a six-day territory-wide operation, taking place this week, will see police officers take unspecified “stringent enforcement actions” against drivers of taxis, franchised buses, minibuses, private light buses, and private school buses for traffic offences like speeding, texting while driving, and “seatbelt-related offences”.

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