October 18, 2019 / 6:55 AM / a month ago

Hong Kong police association to build retirement property for staff in mainland China

HONG KONG, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A Hong Kong police association has told its members it is in talks with Chinese property developer Agile Group to develop a “Hong Kong City” in southern China for their retirement, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

The letter from the Hong Kong Junior Police Officers’ Association, dated Wednesday and posted on the association’s website, coincides with more than four months of sometimes violent protests in the Chinese-ruled city.

Demonstrators have hurled petrol bombs and other objects at police, who have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon. Two protesters have also been shot and wounded during skirmishes with police.

Many protesters have accused the police of using excessive force but police say they have shown restraint despite increased violence.

A Hong Kong court granted an injunction earlier this week to ban anyone from blocking or damaging areas used to house married police officers and other disciplined services that have been targeted in the anti-government protests.

“Hong Kong City” will be located in Zhaoqing, 200 km (124 miles) or 1.5 hours by high-speed rail from Hong Kong, according to the letter. The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

“(The city) aims to provide a high quality life with low cost,” the association said, adding it would try to get a good price from Agile for its members.

The Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants’ Association was also involved in the collaboration, it said.

Agile said it had entered into a letter of intent with the Zhaoqing municipal government to build a community featuring Hong Kong culture in a diversified project that is suitable for post-retirement living. It said it had been in discussions since the end of 2018.

The Guangzhou-based developer said the sales of the project would target all walks of life so that it was not limited to retired civil servants from Hong Kong.

An increasing number of Hong Kong people are moving outside the financial hub - one of the world’s most expensive cities - to mainland China for cheaper and better retirement options, helped by faster transport links and an integration push by the Hong Kong and Chinese central governments under the Greater Bay Area initiative. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Additional reporting by Felix Tam; Editing by Paul Tait)

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