Rural chief: HK fortune favours end to property duties - RTHK
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Rural chief: HK fortune favours end to property duties

2024-02-11 HKT 12:15
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  • Rural chief: HK fortune favours end to property duties
The head of the Heung Yee Kuk, Kenneth Lau, said on Sunday he hopes the government will take note of the Lunar New Year fortune he drew for Hong Kong and remove its remaining property cooling measures.

The rural leader drew a No 15 “neutral” fortune stick in the annual Lunar New Year ritual at the Che Kung temple in Sha Tin.

The stick corresponds to a poem that reads: “Carrying an axe and entering a forest, where to find something that you have not yet obtained? Wasting good material and losing one’s strength, offering oneself and waiting for the arrival of spring.”

Interpreting the fortune stick’s message, Lau noted that the SAR's economy had weakened in the past few years, with both the property and stock markets declining. The fortune means that the government must roll out precise measures to revive the territory's economy, he said.

“There's a chance for good outcomes the prophecy says 'spring will come'. Do not waste time and resources, but issue very precise measures to boost the economy ... and everyone has been expecting effective ones," Lau said.

"Just like we at the Heung Yee Kuk have suggested, remove the 'spicy' property measures – because there's no speculation in the property market now,” the rural leader added.

The so-called "spicy" measures introduced since 2010 include extra stamp duty for owners who resell a property within two years and levies on buyers who are not Hong Kong residents or who already own another property. They were eased by Chief Executive John Lee in his Policy Address last year.

Lau added that while he supports the authorities in further developing the innovation and technology sectors, the government should maintain finance and property as two foundations of the local economy.

He said the National Security Law, and new legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law, would also help stabilise economic development and give investors confidence.

The long-standing ceremony, conducted on the second day of the Lunar New Near, sees a rural leader draw a fortune stick by gently shaking a bamboo container until one falls out to suggest a fortune.

Lau earlier made four unsuccessful attempts to draw the fortune stick, seeing multiple sticks fall out of the cup at the same time. He bowed again before the statue of Che Kung before finally obtaining stick No 15.

Separately, the chairman of the Sha Tin Rural Committee drew a "positive" No. 50 fortune stick for the Sha Tin community.

Of the 96 sticks in the cup, 35 are “positive” sticks, 17 are “negative” ones, while 44 are "neutral".

Many residents also came to Che Kung Temple on the day to pray for good luck and an auspicious year ahead.

Rural chief: HK fortune favours end to property duties