This trip was our second time staying in Hong Kong, but our first real opportunity to spend any meaningful time there. Our last trip out, we stayed only one night at the Regal Airport Hotel well outside of the city.
I must say I like Hong Kong very much. Owing largely to its century and a half existence as a British colony, Hong Kong is an Asian city with a Western vibe that makes it a comfortable destination for Europeans or Americans such as myself. It is a culturally and commercially vibrant metropolis that is safe, orderly, and clean (except for the air and water pollution!) If I were an expat, Hong Kong is definitely a city that I would like to live in for a long stretch of time.
That being said, our stay there was not completely without an element of danger to it. Wherever I go for vacation, I like to read the local papers, not only to get the news from a different perspective, but also to get a feel for the local scene. On the morning of Friday, July 6, I was reading the day's edition of The Standard, a local business newspaper, which was provided to us complementary by our hotel, the Renaissance Harbour View. I was disturbed to read some unknown persons were attacking hotels and other properties owned by a company called New World Properties. And the reason why I was disturbed is that one of the hotels that was attacked was the Renaissance Kowloon Hotel, which is a sister hotel of the Renaissance Harbour View. What had happened was that one or more person's had slammed a car into the front entrance of the Renaissance Kowloon at 5 a.m. on July 4. On the morning of July 5, another car was driven into the front entrance of the JW Marriott Hotel in nearby Central.
Fortunately, no such attack happened against our hotel. Either the attackers just did not get around to it, or they determined that it was too difficult. I don't know what the entrances to the other two hotels looked like, but the entrance to the Renaissance Harbour View can only be reached by driving around a short curve, which does not allow for approaching the entrance with speed. As of our departure from Hong Kong, it was still not clear who was behind the attacks and why. However, the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau was investigating organized crime links to the attack. A recent article on Yahoo's Hong Kong news board reports that suspects have been arrested.
On a more amusing note, that same morning on July 6 when I was reading about the hotel attacks, the police had to be called in to restore order after several thousand Hong Kongers had lined up outside The Landmark in Central to purchase an environmentally friendly designer bag titled "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" by Anya Hindmarch. In the end, no one ended up getting the bags because the five outlets selling them closed because of the crowds. The South China Morning Post noted the irony of a large crowd of people gathering to get "an environmentally friendly" bag leaving "the area around The Landmark looking like a rubbish dump after the crowd discarded plastic water bottles and other refuse."