Hong Kong's DNA will win back talent: John Lee - RTHK
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Hong Kong's DNA will win back talent: John Lee

2022-10-21 HKT 10:23
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  • Hong Kong's DNA will win back talent: John Lee
Chief Executive John Lee on Friday expressed confidence in his measures to attract talent to Hong Kong, saying the SAR has the right 'DNA' to attract talent, and that Covid restrictions are a short-term problem.

Lee was speaking on a special RTHK phone-in programme to discuss his maiden Policy Address, which he unveiled on Wednesday.

He said he had set a target of recruiting at least 35,000 people a year under his various talent schemes, which involve special visa arrangements and tax breaks.

"We have lost a figure of around 140,000 people in the last two years and about two-thirds of them are in the managerial or upper-end grades. So the intention is to attract talents of this calibre, that is why we have rolled out very ambitious plans," Lee told Radio 3 presenters Jim Gould and Janice Wong.

The Chief Executive cited Hong Kong's attractive 'DNA', which included a low and simple tax regime, one of the world's freest economies, a vibrant east-meets-west culture, and the SAR's strategic position in the centre of Asia.

Lee also defended his 'light public housing' plan as the fastest way to ease housing concerns. The plan involves building 30,000 prefabricated modular units as transitional homes for people on the public housing queue.

He was responding to a caller who questioned whether landfills could be used as future public housing sites.

Lee said preparing landfills for liveable use took too long. He said current estimates showed only one-third of what was needed for public housing could be built in the first five years, so his 'light' housing plan could help bridge the gap.

"Our suggestion of building 30,000 light public housing, in locations where we have identified, for occupants to occupy for at least five years so that we can then – when the next five-year supply comes in – then the problem will be solved in that way. That is certainty," said Lee.

One caller complained of how Covid restrictions were impacting trail races, with limits on participants and on the serving of food – despite such races being socially-distanced. She asked the Chief Executive when the races would be allowed to return to normal. But Lee cited the continuing Covid situation, and expressed concern about recent cases involving children.

He also defended the government's refusal to lift its requirement for mask-wearing in public, after one caller said he had been threatened with a fine for pulling down his mask in the street to take a drink of water.

"More important is protecting those who need to be protected," Lee said.

Hong Kong's DNA will win back talent: John Lee