Follow the money if the PLA kills the Hong Kong protesters
Few understand how big an influence Hong Kong money is on the PRC. Over two decades ago I followed that money.
In The Year of The Rat days in the late nineties, as the financial crimes investigator for the House Committee on Rules, I followed the actions of one of the wealthiest men in the world. Based in Hong Kong, multi-billionaire Li Ka-shing was one of the most important and richest men in Asia.
His financial empire, Hong Kong based, was an important PRC early indicator of Chinese ruling class money and influence in their emergence into global financial markets. By all accounts it was recognized that the leaders of China in Beijing saw Li as a very smart man. I was told he actually had a financial “hot line” phone directly to the Chinese Communist Party Politburo.
In trying to go direct in following PRC funds illegally flowing into the Clinton Administration, the biggest takeaway in those years was that the Bank of China was brilliant at hiding sources and uses of money.
One of the best money tracking organizations in the world is the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. ”FinCEN” reported that the best we could do in following money was to look at English banking transparency in the Hong Kong capital markets. Additionally, in those days, individuals in the former Portuguese Colony of Macau, often a Triad center for graft and corruption, also laundered illegal money into the Clinton Administration.
Li Ka-shing’s family now is part of capital flight -- his invisible financial hand is being made visible. This 2015 article is very insightful about Li's relationship with the truly supreme rulers of China. They are informally known as “the Shanghai Mafia,” in the sense they network each other into very powerful positions.
"He has fallen from the moral high ground," it said, reminding Li that his huge wealth as head of the Hutchison Whampoa conglomerate had come from his connections to powerful Chinese officials, not from a level playing field in a market economy.
Now that Li is at age 90+, his sons, the oldest and by all accounts the “wicked smart” Victor Li Tzar-kuoi and younger Richard Li Tzar Kai (spelling always drove us nuts) are Canadian Citizens. World financial writers have been sensing that following closely what one of the wealthiest families in the world actually does during this time of testing for HK can bring interesting insights.
I hope the Hong Kong protests ends peacefully, but I have my doubts. And where it gets very interesting is a current left/right unity of purpose. The left also follows China's nasty oppression very closely (except the “Feel the Bern” phony). The numerical range of dissidents killed at Tiananmen, was quoted In The Progressive no less:
No one knows the exact number of deaths. In the aftermath, a government spokesperson understated the figure, saying 300 civilians and soldiers died. Edward Timperlake, late director of technology assessment of the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, put the number between 4,000 and 6,000.
I do not know what is the smart move to ultimately have China turn into a Chinese version of freedom and non-belligerence, but President Trump has unleashed an economic war plan that could lead to a tectonic shift in the leadership model of the People’s Republic of China and what they choose to do in Hong Kong will be a global seismic event.
It is very simple: many in China see that very successful leaders and their families have become extremely wealthy, essentially economic leaches, while preaching and enforcing communism for all others. So much for benefits of Communist equality. And like Li’s family, they also have explored moving money out of China.
The horrific lesson learned from Tiananmen is that if the PLA/People Armed Police do make a move, I suspect it will be swift and brutal. If history is a guide they will kill the kids, kill the medical teams, kill the relatives identifying the victims, and then burn the bodies and claim minor or no casualties using every denial and deception trick in their book.
I reported on their gross denial and deception, hang-tough position over a decade ago by the PLA Chief of Staff:
Gen Chi stated on PBS, “I can tell you in a responsible and serious manner that at that time not a single person lost his life in Tiananmem Square.”
Consequently, it is now time to see how many Party Leaders and others in the economically rigged upper class families in China have followed Li’s family odyssey to leave their PRC citizenship behind and have taken huge sums of money out of China. They should be put on notice right now that if they have anything to do with killing the protesters and if off-shore ill-gotten gains exist, they are vulnerable.
The very simple point is that those giving a genocidal “go” order against the legitimate Hong Kong protesters should be identified and if possible have off their offshore money legally targeted for confiscation by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and those funds then used to establish a trust fund for Hong Kong victims. The ICC already has authority:
The Fund's mission is to support and implement programmes that address harms resulting from genocide, crimes of humanity, war crimes and aggression. To achieve this mission, the TFV has a two-fold mandate: (i) to implement Court-Ordered reparations and (ii) to provide physical, psychological, and material support to victims and their families. By assisting victims to return to a dignified and contributory life within their communities, the TFV contributes to realizing sustainable and long-lasting peace by promoting restorative justice and reconciliation.
It may soon be a time to see the full power and reach of the International Criminal Court emerging,
The Court may exercise jurisdiction in a situation where genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes were committed on or after 1 July 2002 and:
the crimes were committed by a State Party national, or in the territory of a State Party, or in a State that has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court; or
the crimes were referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) pursuant to a resolution adopted under chapter VII of the UN charter.
Photo credit: Studio Incendo