Complete Intelligence


BBC: Hong Kong’s Lawmakers Pass Tough Security Bill

This podcast is originally published by BBC Business Matters in this link with title “Hong Kong’s lawmakers pass tough security bill”:

BBC’s Description:

The new law broadens the definition of state secrets in a way that could scare away investors. Will the city be able to maintain its place as a top financial hub?

The British band Chumbawamba is trying to prevent its biggest hit from being used by a politician in New Zealand. The lead singer tells us why.

And Star Wars creator George Lucas steps into the boardroom power battle at Disney to support the firm’s CEO, Bob Iger. Will the Force be with him?



The new law also broadens the definition of state secrets to include information about the economic, technological and scientific development of Hong Kong or mainland China. And this has caused concerns among investors. Tony Nash is the CEO of AI forecasting platform complete intelligence. He also ran the Economist’s research business and their Asia headquarters in Hong Kong.

Tony Nash

Do I think first, we’ve seen legal agreements move to other jurisdictions, so that’s an easy thing to do. They can write it with UK law or something like that. We’ve also seen financial services staff and multinational staff move to other locations, like Singapore. I lived in Singapore for 15 years, and it’s a great place, but Hong Kong always had a very special buz. It had a level of hard work, creativity, intelligence. That Singapore, although it’s a really great pace, it didn’t have that special buz that Hong Kong had. So this stuff has people moving, it has business moving, and sadly, that specialness of Hong Kong is going with it.


Do you think there might be some businesses that might stick around in Hong Kong, or do you think that the rules are just too much for them?

Tony Nash

Sure, Hong Kong’s not dead. Companies still need people to do work in Hong Kong, but I think the decision makers and the people who are, say, the regional heads or the sea levels or the board members, those people will want to be in other places because of the potential liability that they have. Traders can trade on all kinds of information, and so if something is deemed a state secret and a trader uses some information that they’ve heard, there could be criminal prosecution for that. And so this was never a part of Hong Kong. Of course, things like insider trading are illegal, but I’ve been in the research business for a long time, and there’s a company called IHS that probably ten to twelve years ago had one of their researchers in China put in jail for getting some information that was relatively easy to get. It wasn’t hidden, but it was later deemed a state secret, and that person was put in was.


Sorry to interrupt you, Tony, but that uncertainty is just going to make it very difficult to do any business out there.

Tony Nash

That’s right, it is. And especially if decisions are made after the fact. Right. So this person had this information, it was deemed a state secret after this person had it, and that person went to jail for a long time. So these are the difficulties that executives and business leaders and researchers and media people face as and if they stay in Hong Kong.