In mid-July, some 64,000 members and 700 employees were left in the lurch when California Fitness suddenly closed all of its outlets in Hong Kong pending a winding-up application. In addition to the estimated millions the firm owes in outstanding debt in rent, operating costs and overdue wages, its consumers could also lose up to HK$1 billion. The gym chain, operated by JV Fitness and once famously fronted by action movie star Jackie Chan, was Hong Kong’s second-largest gym operator.
While not a common occurrence in Hong Kong, other widely reported sudden business closures (eg, the electronics and furniture store, DSC, and a play centre for kids, My Gym World Development Centre) have left some questioning whether more is needed to protect consumers and counterparties in Hong Kong from the risks of businesses that trade when in financial distress. The author of our Insolvency feature examines the current legal protections for consumers seeking redress in such situations and whether a better solution is needed.
Also included in our August issue is a Family Law piece that examines how different jurisdictions have dealt with child protection cases related to exposure to domestic violence and then advocates for firm(er) recognition of exposure to domestic violence as a form of child abuse in Hong Kong. The Criminal Law feature outlines key issues in the Court of Final Appeal’s judgment in the Carson Yeung and Salim Majed money laundering cases, highlighting the key findings of import for criminal law practitioners.
Additionally, we have included the On China article that examines ways in which Hong Kong can develop as a regional and international hub for maritime arbitration and better position itself to be a “super-connector” for China as it pursues its Belt and Road Initiative. In a similar vein, to encourage you to start thinking about future business opportunities in the global context, the Message from the Secretariat provides useful information about the legal profession in Mongolia.