Uber, Hong Kong gov profiled ‘success story’, raided by HK police, Uber drivers arrested

Tuesday, 11 August, 2015
Uber, Hong Kong gov profiled ‘success story’, raided by HK police, Uber drivers arrested

Uber, Hong Kong gov profiled ‘success story’, raided by HK police, Uber drivers arrested

Uber, a controversial taxi alternative that connects private drivers with riders, has its Hong Kong office raided by Regional Crime Unit of Kowloon West today as reported by ABC news. Three Uber Hong Kong employees (age 21 to 29) and five Uber drivers were arrested according to the Hong Kong Chinese media Apple Daily news.

While Uber has run into various legal troubles in different parts of the world including Canadian cities like Calgary (brief operation in 2014, currently halted), Edmonton (pending court case), and Ottawa (taxi drivers released vigilante-style video, Ottawa police and bylaw officers laying 32 charges against Uber drivers), this may be the first time Uber employees and Uber drivers have been arrested in a high profile police sting operation. Especially considering the fact that Uber was just recently in May 2015 featured in an investHK Success Story (PDF file) (investHK is a Hong Kong government department tasked “to attract and retain foreign direct investment which is of strategic importance to the economic development of Hong Kong”.) (2015/05 investHK Success Story 投資推廣署 – 成功個案 PDF)

According to the HK government official May 2015 investHK Success Story (PDF) ,

“InvestHK provided Uber with significant support, including information on public transportation and advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch.”

Let’s think about it for a moment. A government department helping a multi-billion foreign high-tech company with “significant support” including “advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch” sounded like a perfect task and job well done for investHK. And that would fit HKSAR Chief Executive CY Leung‘s often talked about desire to establish an Innovation and Technology Bureau (創新及科技局) very well.

It is not like Uber has changed its business model since May 2015 when Hong Kong government talked about her “significant support” including “advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch” in its investHK Success Story. This reporter is not a lawyer but to many casual observers, the Hong Kong government’s prior “significant support” including “advice on market entry strategy prior to its launch” might be seen by some, fairly or unfairly, as potentially a form of entrapment.

Does Hong Kong still have a stable business environment where innovative entrepreneurs can work under a fair legal system where rule of law still matter? Will the Hong Kong government explain what rules, laws, or regulations have changed between May 2015 (a “success story”) to August 11th where people were arrested and equipment and records confiscated as part of a criminal case investigation?

An earlier version of this report is cross-posted to examiner.

Note 1: Uber is not operating in Calgary even it operated briefly in 2014 before insurance concerns halted the service. In separate polls conducted by the city and the company finds majority of Calgarians embrace idea of Uber. And more importantly, officials from cities like Calgary are willing and working with Uber to try to bring more choices to citizens in a manner that protect the safety of riders.

Note 2: This reporter has uploaded saved copies of the English version of investHK Success and Chinese version of investHK Success Story 投資推廣署 – 成功個案 as part of this news reporting as per fair dealing provisions of copyright law for readers to read and research for themselves. At press time, it appears that both the English and Chinese “success story” files have been deleted from the investHK website. Some Hong Kong Facebook users voiced their suspicion that the HKSAR government might have deleted the files to avoid embarrassment or incriminating evidences.

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted - English

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted – English

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted - Chinese

20150811 Uber Sucess Story deleted – Chinese

11th August 2015 Update: On the night of August 11th, Uber Hong Kong stated “Uber ensures that all trips have insurance coverages” and they will “fully support their drivers” and “fully cooperate with government officials, work to improve current legislation, putting safety and benefits of passengers and drivers first.” (rough translation from Chinese).

For the record, here is the media in Chinese as reported by Apply Daily,

「一直以來,香港市民已明確、清楚的表達,欲享有更多元化和更完善的交通方式。Uber 致力提供安全、可靠及優良的服務,以滿足市民對高效交通服務的需求。與 Uber 合作的司機,使用創新科技平台,提升工作安排的彈性並增加收入。Uber 亦確保所有行程都有保險保障,每位 Uber 司機都必須通過全面的背景審查。我們百分百支持與我們合作的司機,亦期待與有關當局通力合作,推動完善現行的法例,將乘客及司機的安全和利益放在首位。」

Further report here (首次放蛇搗信用卡收費白牌車 警打擊Uber 拘5司機3職員) and here (警檢控 料將案件作測試個案).

Lose money for the firm – New quote I love

Thursday, 2 July, 2015

I hope I am wise enough to copying Warren when I do my own hiring. Adding this quote that I’ve used many times over the years to my long list of Quotes I Love,

Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.” – Warren Buffett (YouTube clip of Warren Buffett’s Testimony before the subcommittee on the conduct of Salomon Brothers, September 4th, 1991)(full 4+ hours on YouTube or on C-Span)

P.S. In hindsight, almost 24 years later, it is remarkable to see how Warren’s reputation can be “enhanced” in his darkest hours.

Federal Court of Appeal gives sword of transparency to air passenger rights advocate

Monday, 8 June, 2015
Dr. Gabor Lukacs pix on twitter in Fed Court of Appeal

Dr. Gabor Lukacs pix on twitter in Fed Court of Appeal

Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) took the position that its own “Public Record” is NOT “Publicly Available”. Dr. Gabor Lukacs, a Halifax-based Canadian air passenger rights advocate, disagrees and took the matter all the way to a judicial review and won the argument for all Canadians today.

A panel of three Federal Court of Appeal judges has unanimously agreed with Lukacs and concluded that the redactions of its Public Record (in this case, a dispute resolution proceeding between Air Canada and a family whose flight from Vancouver to Cancun was delayed) were “impermissible.” The panel held that since the documents sought by Lukacs were already on the CTA’s Public Record, they were Publicly Available, and thus the Privacy Act does not restrict their disclosure.

David vs Four Goliaths

The path to official recognition as a Canadian air passenger rights advocate by the court and the unanimous judgement did not come easy. Lukacs has spent over a thousand dollars of his own money, hundreds of hours of his spare time in research, documents filing, preparations, and moot courting with friends (one of the friends is a lawyer). All the hard work and money culminating in a March 17th, 2015 formal self-represented court room appearance (above picture) by Lukacs, a Mathematician, against four experienced lawyers representing the CTA, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and the Attorney General of Canada in front of the panel of three Federal Court of Appeal judges.

The judgment vindicates Lukacs, who wanted to view the complete file of the complaint to decide if the CTA’s decision was based on grounded reasoning or biased to benefit Air Canada. Common sense would lure people to believe CTA would not be so blatant in its bias to help Air Canada in a dispute resolution by redacting details such as the names of Air Canada’s lawyers. Yes, the names of the lawyers. Are those Air Canada lawyers 12 years old minors needing Of course, common sense is not common. And names of Air Canada’s lawyers were redacted under the pretext of compliance with privacy legislation.

Lukacs saw through the guise of “privacy” protection and challenged the redactions based on the fact that none of the documents were subject to a confidentiality order, and the open court principle, which requires adjudicative proceedings to be open and available for public scrutiny. “This principle has been hailed by the Supreme Court of Canada as one of the hallmarks of a democratic society, held to be tied to the freedom of expression and press guaranteed by the Charter, and is frequently invoked by the media to gain access to court documents.” states Lukacs.

Airlines’ dirty laundry, Cans of worms

Lukacs explains, “The CTA is a federal tribunal that adjudicates transportation-related disputes, such as passengers’ complaints against airlines. The CTA operates like a court, and its adjudicative members function like judges. According to the CTA’s own rules, all documents filed by parties must be placed on “public record,” unless a confidentiality order is granted.”

This landmark decision is like giving the advocate (and all Canadians) a can opener which may be used to open many cans of worms in CTA. Lukacs replied, “Certainly, I intend to open more cans of worms.” And tellingly, the official Air Passenger Rights tweeted, “CTA can no longer keep the airlines’ dirty laundry in secret.” Dirty laundry indeed should be Read the rest of this entry »

Meta-analysis: Snoop Dogg’s sexist comments about camerawoman ‘creepy & awkward’

Sunday, 7 June, 2015
Snoop Dogg tweet - Pix 07

Snoop Dogg tweet – Pix 07

In a way, rapper Snoop Dogg lit fuses in the minds of two CBC reporters and one camerawoman last Thursday and the social media firestorm exploded in Canada yesterday with 2790 shares at press time (compare to an OPEC story posted 2 hours earlier getting only 36 shares). (Sunday 10am MT Jun 7, 2015 update: Snoop story 12,849 shares, OPEC story 501 shares)

You see, last Thursday, Snoop came to Canada to guest star and film an episode of the Trailer Park Boys (a hit Canadian mockumentary crime black comedy-drama sitcom TV series in its 10th season) in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.


On the surface, everyone including Snoop and eagerly awaiting fans seemed to have a great time according to a written and video report by CBC reporter Elizabeth McMillan. Snoop was quoted in saying “he’s a big fan of the show and considers Bubbles a cousin“! A wonderful plug coming from the famous rapper which may get the TV show more viewers in US and around the world. McMillan even provided some timely tweets with photos (see slideshow in this report).

Creepy and awkward

But behind the scene, not originally shown in the first CBC aired report, now shown in a Saturday followed up 37 seconds video as part of an analysis entitled “Snoop Dogg’s sexist comments about camerawoman ‘creepy and awkward’” by CBC reporter Catharine Tunney, it is likely the interviewing reporter and camerawoman did not have a “great time”.

In the 37 seconds video in Tunney’s analysis, CBC reporter McMillan asked Snoop, “How’s the hospitality?

And Snoop is heard to answer in the video, “Hospitality has been awesome, baby. I like your camera girl, too. She’s thick. Damn. I wasn’t even looking down like that. Now I’m forced to look down at the camera. Look at that. Look at that. Look at the shit on that quitter.

Tunney (author of the analysis) wrote, “His entourage, mainly men, erupt in laughter. Trying to brush it off, the reporter — also female — tries to continue with the interview.” And Tunney made sure readers understand the meaning of the word “thick” (this reporter has no idea), “For those unfamiliar with the world of Urban Dictionary, thick translates to “nice ass, nice legs.” A girl who has “meat on her bones in all the right places.”

According to the analysis, CBC camerawoman Stephanie Clattenburg said, “It was creepy and awkward but I just laughed it off. Then later on I realized, why does he get a free pass because he’s a rapper?” And Reporter Elizabeth McMillan said: “It was uncomfortable. In retrospect I wish I handled it differently. But it felt like a no-win situation. So I just gritted my teeth and tried to get through.

Free pass and double standards

Tunney made a case that, “Certain sources [like Snoop Dogg] shouldn’t get a free pass.” And suggest the public may have double standards  by making these points,

How is it that some people tolerate misogyny from one group, but not another?

We watched a national furor break out when soccer fans yelled “F–k her right in the p—y” at a CityNews reporter. She fought back, opening the door for more reporters to share their stories.

Every female reporter in the CBC Halifax bureau has had that sentence hurled at them. Every one.

News reporting, sexist, and racist

To be clear, this reporter has zero tolerance for random strangers shouting vulgarities at female reporters or camerawomen on the street. None what so ever. And actually don’t mind seeing a few of those idiotic men be charged in the court of law or getting fired from their jobs. Female reporters in Canada and everywhere in the world should not have to tolerate or endure idiot random men on the streets disruptive to their jobs.

At the same time, speaking as an independent reporter (and I think this applies to reporters everywhere), it is a bit unrealistic or naive to expect the interview subjects to change themselves for us, for our one interview. Read the rest of this entry »

Thank You HKTV10

Saturday, 30 May, 2015


Dear Danny, 敏, 可兒, 芝, Ken, 揚, Jill, 蜜瓜, 蔡, Joe (留守十子 HKTV10, in alphabetical order by last name),

Thank you all so much! In October 2013, I saw you guys for the first time at Civic Square, HKSAR Government and said that I would like to interview you all and potentially make a documentary about what you guys were going through with the HKTV protest, etc. Time flies, it is now 19 months later in May 2015 and after working on the documentary on and off during this time, I am finally “finished” with my documentary “HKtv Revolution”. I’ve started the process of submitting it to film festivals for their consideration. The film is far from perfect (or even “good”) but I’ve tried my best given the limited resources I have and I will see what happen with the film.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kind help and your time for the first weeks since October 2013 and then the months and months following those faithful days in October 2013 when you said yes to this stranger. In total, we have done hours and hours of interviews, some in-person, and some over Skype video. Interviews between Calgary, and Hong Kong, Japan and even Australia! All of these chat helped me better understand the issues and shape the film even many precious footage couldn’t fit my 1 hour 9 minutes long documentary.

While I am too biased to judge, I hope “HKtv Revolution” tells an illuminating story on an important page of history in Hong Kong.

In closing, I would like to share one of my favourite quotes I love with you all. We often like others to do something for us or fight for something for us, but you guys actually stood up and tried to do something for us all, and to try to change things for the better.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Many Thanks and keep in touch,

P.S. As some of us are “Facebook friends”, I feel like I have slowly get to know you guys a little bit more over the last 19 months. And I hope you see me as “Facebook friends” too and may be some days, some more years down the road, you will see me as “friends” and then friends without the double quotes. :)

P.P.S. Your book “政總留守抗爭日記” is great! I hope you are ok with me using your book’s back cover here for me to let you all quickly say something and it looks nice with a picture of you all!

NDP Anam Kazim wins Calgary-Glenmore in official count

Friday, 15 May, 2015
Anam Kazim's photo on official NDP candidate page (posted April 8th, 2015)

Anam Kazim’s photo on official NDP candidate page (posted April 8th, 2015)

NDP candidate Anam Kazim for Calgary-Glenmore​ has won the riding by the tightest of margin of six votes in the official vote count after an election night cliff hanger of statistical tie of 7,015 votes! In the official votes count for Calgary Glenmore (screen capture) released by Elections Alberta at 12noon today, Anam Kazim NDP received 7,018 votes and Linda Johnson PC received 7,012 votes.

In a phone interview with this reporter, Kazim expressed excitement in winning the riding by just six votes and said,

“The other party has eight business days to decide if they would like to have a judicial review or not. […] But we don’t know what will happen next if we go to a recount. At this time, it feels good. But it is such a close gap we come up with a conclusion after having a tie. But what is going to happen next, it is uncertain at this point. “

According to Kazim, because of this uncertainty, she is still not be able to participate in any caucus meetings yet until this uncertainty has been resolved.

In the 2009 Calgary-Glenmore by-election, the riding was won by just by 278 votes. Paul Hinman of Wildrose Alliance receiving 4,052 votes and Avalon Roberts of Liberal candidate receiving 3,774 votes. Kazim was to tell voters how important their votes are given she won by just six votes.

“I would like to tell everybody that having this right to vote is very good and they should utilize this opportunity. Their votes have value and lead to decisions of what they want or their government to be. So their vote is very important and precious. And they should consider voting every time they have the opportunity. As you can see that this tie happened and we can see how each individual vote is important.” said Kazim

At press time (1pm MST), Linda Johnson cannot be reached for comments and there has been no official announcement via Johnson’s tweeter account if there will be a request of judicial review. Johnson has eight business days (until May 28th) to decide if she would like to have a judicial recount in front of a judge where ballots can be disputed or challenged.

P.S. Here is an interesting observation. When all dust settles and if Kazim remains the Calgary-Glenmore MLA, she may be sharing the same office building with Prime Minister Stephen Harper! Yes, currently the federal Member of Parliament office for Calgary South West and provincial Member of Legislative Assembly for Calgary-Glenmore office share the same second floor in a building in Glenmore Landing! So Mr. Harper may have a new NDP neighbour! Exciting time indeed.

note: This article is cross posted by me at examiner.com

May 15, 2015 5:06pm MST Update: According to a 3:16pm tweet (screen capture, link) from Linda Johnson’s official Twitter account @lindajohnsonyyc, Johnson was “still considering my options.”

May 15, 2015 7:46pm MST Update: Here is a good @CBCHomestretch radio interview w @lindajohnsonyyc which includes a chat re Johnson’s view on calling for a judicial review of the vote in the next 8 business days.

The Rachel Notley Alberta NDP Majority Government’s Missing Platform Found

Wednesday, 6 May, 2015
Broken Alberta NDP Platform Link

Broken Alberta NDP Platform Link

2:51pm MT, May 8th, 2015 Update: It appears the Alberta NDP government has finally put the platform page back up (see screen capture) on its website. Albertans will have to make up their minds if they will forgive their newly elected government for this rookie mistake. The way this reporter sees it, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes sometimes, it is more important we face up to these mistakes quickly to fix them. Since in the future, with the passage of time, the government will have legitimate reasons to modify its website and post new information, this reporter has decided to permanently keep the NDP 2015 election platform (PDF file) for the record and future research purpose. It is important to be able to hold our elected government accountable to their promises and if they deviate from their promises to seek their reasoned justifications.

May 7th, 2015 Update: It appears the newly elected Rachel Notley Alberta NDP government could possibly be seen to have deliberately deleted their platform as the previous posted archived link does NOT work anymore and their platform is still nowhere to be found at the NDP’s website. As a result, this reporter has uploaded a full PDF copy of the NDP platform and will keep it there permanently as part of this report and for other Albertans’ research purpose. This reporter believes the uploading of NDP 2015 election platform (PDF file) is well within the Copyright “fair dealing” protection by the Supreme Court of Canada case “CCH Canadian Ltd v Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 SCR 339,[1] 2004 SCC“.


The Alberta election 2015 results are in and premier-elect Rachel Notley‘s Alberta NDP has swept across province in a historic win of 53 seats (at press time). Note that there may be one more seat because at press time, according to Elections Alberta, Calgary-Glenmore riding is at a statistical tie with NDP’s Anam Kazim and PC’s Linda Johnson both having exactly 7,015 votes, 33.17% of total votes. Incidentally, a lesson to voters everywhere that it is real and important that “every single vote counts”.

As an NDP majority government was not expected by many Albertans in the beginning of the election (and possibly even now), many Albertans may want to find and read up the Notley NDP platform. Well, those who want to find NDP’s platform to read on election night (and at press time) are definitely out of luck as it was missing/removed from NDP’s website completely! Not a good sign for a brand new government and may give people the incorrect/bad impressions that the promises in the platform are just election promises not meant to be kept.

After a bit of searching around and the great Internet Archive, this reporter was able to track down and find an archived version of NDP platform web page and an archived PDF version of the Notley NDP platform file. Of course, the most likely scenario is technical mistakes by the NDP web tech team and not a deliberate attempt to remove premier-elect’s promises & platform right after election.

At the end of the day, in a healthy democracy, it is the jobs of opposition parties’ MLAs, Albertans, reporters, media, and many others to keep the government in check and honest. After all, “restoring honest and open government” is promised in the platform (PDF) and it makes sense for Albertans to get to know their new government’s platform. Have a read.

Note: This article is cross-posted to examiner by this reporter.


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