A Hong Kong real estate tycoon is offering to build a new city for 50,000 Hong Kong residents in Ireland to help them escape the new Chinese security law.
Ivan Ko has presented his plans to Irish officials over the controversial new Hong Kong legislation that has prompted many residents to move to the UK.
The national security law has created new crimes that could send Hong Kong residents to mainland China for trial.
Ko is considering six locations between Dublin and Belfast to build the new city, which he called "Nextpolis". Above, a potential stretch of land that Ko is considering is considering between Drogheda and Dundalk (see figure above)
The move prompted London to offer a path to citizenship or residence for up to three million Hong Kong nationals who wanted to leave the region from January 2021.
The change in immigration regulations would allow anyone with a UK supervisory passport and their immediate family members in the region to move to the UK to work and study for five years.
Then they can apply for status and citizenship.
Ko, who founded the Victoria Harbor Group (VHG), is considering six locations between Dublin and Belfast to build the new city, which he calls "Nextpolis".
Although the Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom, the tycoon believes it would be a good location for the charter city due to its low population density and the opportunities in the financial sector after Brexit.
Ireland has also had special economic zones in the past, including the Shannon Free Zone.
One area he keeps an eye on is a piece of land between Drogheda and Dundalk near the border with Northern Ireland.
In his original plans, Ko had imagined the city to be a sprawling metropolis home to 50,000 Hong Kong people spanning 500 km² and mimicking the autonomous model of Hong Kong, The Times reported last week.
Since then, however, he has had to reverse his plans after talking to Irish officials.
According to the latest design, the city extends over 50 km². The idea of autonomy was also rejected because the Hong Kong people were seen as "separated" from the rest of the population.
Ivan Ko (pictured) presented his plans to Irish officials against the background of the controversial new Hong Kong security law, which has prompted many citizens to emigrate to Britain
Speaking to The Guardian, Ko said: “We found that replicating the Hong Kong model is not as if we were imposing anything and that people are seen as separate from the rest of the population.
"So we switched to a different model."
The tycoon said: “We like Ireland.
& # 39; Corporate taxes are very low. You have a very strong manufacturing and biomedical company. Large technology giants have their European headquarters there.
"Overall, we find Ireland very good."
Ko & # 39; s plan provides that settlers in Hong Kong will have access to several universities, three airports and fast broadband.
He added that the city would benefit "both sides" as the newcomers "integrated into local businesses".
If the Covid 19 restrictions allow, Ko plans to lead a delegation this year to inspect the potential locations and discuss the idea with local residents.
Ko, who has decades of real estate development experience, said he was considering other countries for his "international charter city," although he would not disclose which.
Ko plans when China announced the suspension of Hong Kong's extradition contracts with Canada, Australia and the UK yesterday after similar decisions by these countries on the security law were made.
Beijing's spokesman also asked New Zealand to correct its "mistakes" immediately after Wellington beat Beijing on Tuesday and suspended its extradition agreement with the Asian financial center.
China has accused countries of interfering in their domestic affairs and has defended the security law as crucial to Hong Kong after a wave of protests against democracy characterized by violence
Western nations have angered Beijing with their reactions to the Hong Kong law, which they see as an erosion of the civil liberties and human rights that the city has enjoyed since it was handed over from Britain in 1997.
The United States has decided to lift Hong Kong's special trading privileges.
Washington has also signaled that it is preparing to do the same with its Hong Kong extradition treaty as its Five Eyes intelligence partner.
China has accused countries of interfering in their domestic affairs and has defended the security law as crucial to restoring order in Hong Kong after a wave of protests against democracy characterized by violence.
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