Fears of underage drinking as flagship Hong Kong Starbucks that sells beer and cocktails opens in Causeway Bay

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source:  SCMP

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    Starbucks will serve an expanded alcoholic drinks menu when it opens its new flagship store in Hong Kong’s teeming Causeway Bay on Friday, raising fears among some youth groups that the shop could be a haven for underage drinking. 

    The 5,500 sq ft store, located at Lee Garden Three, is the largest in the city and the first to serve a complete menu of coffee-infused craft beers and cocktails. The company is looking to offer its expanded drinks menu at other locations if the bar in Lee Garden is well-received, the company said. While the chain offers a limited alcohol menu at one of its locations in Central, some are worried that the shop’s location in Causeway Bay – a popular district for teens younger than the city’s legal drinking age of 18 – will attract underage drinkers.

    Sky Siu, executive director at the youth charity KELY Support Group, said the shop should be proactive in helping stop underage drinking by alerting customers that some of the drinks contain alcohol, especially parents.  “Coffee shops are a popular choice among young people for hanging out, reading or even studying. We recommend the shops being vigilant in checking IDs for those who may be younger than 18,” Siu said.

    Norbert Tan, executive director of Starbucks Hong Kong, said the company was taking measures to ensure that underage drinking would not be an issue, including displaying the city’s drinking laws in the store. “If needed, our [employees] will request identification to verify the age of the customers,” Tan said. Businesses caught selling alcohol to minors are subject to a HK$50,000 (US$6,371) fine, according to the law passed in February. The law will take effect on August 1.

    Starbucks opened its biggest shop in Hong Kong at a time when it is closing about 150 cafes in the US. The world’s largest coffee chain is facing competition both from high-end niche cafes such as Blue Bottle and fast-food stores such as McDonald’s. There are about 250 independent coffee shops in Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Professional Coffee Association, while the city’s biggest chain Starbucks owns 174 stores.

    A Hong Kong-born mini-chain, The Coffee Academics, started from one store in 2012 and now has nine in some of the city’s trendiest locations, including Taikoo Shing, Lan Kwai Fong, Causeway Bay and Repulse Bay. The speciality cafe which places an emphasis on “coffee culture” is expanding on to mainland China and Singapore. “Retailers and restaurants – whether mass market or niche – need to constantly change winds as consumer trends shift,” said Tom Birtwhistle, digital consulting director at consultancy PwC Hong Kong. “Niche brands that cater to specific customer segments or lifestyle are now really emerging.”

    Starbucks’ Hong Kong chief said the company had been looking for the location of its first flagship store in the city for about four years, given the city’s limited shop space and high rents. “We focus on Causeway Bay because it’s got a great blend of residential, commercial, shoppers and tourists,” Tan said. “There are not that many opportunities for a large store. We really waited for Lee Garden Three to be open.”


    Crowd gathers in Sheung Wan to watch two men having sex

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: Coconuts HK/On.cc/Youtube

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    The people of Sheung Wan had a rare moment of unity yesterday as they gathered on a balcony opposite a tenement building, and watched through a window as two men made sweet sweet love to the delight of onlookers.

    Videos of the two people in action — one thrusting while the other lies on his back, legs over his companion’s shoulders — first appeared on Facebook yesterday evening, but were taken down shortly afterwards (can’t imagine why!), and 

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    The crowd had gathered below trying to guess if one of the people involved in the frisson was a man or a woman. A male bystander can be heard telling a pair of presumably underage onlookers, “hey, you two aren’t adults yet, don’t watch,” while at one point members of the crowd started chanting “stand up,” before being shushed by others. When the pair finally finished, the crowd below waited, with bated breath, and cheered when it was revealed that the legs belonged to a man.

    According to on.cc, some netizens speculated as to whether or not the pair wanted to be watched, while others even joked “this is better than watching the World Cup!” Barrister Athena Kung told the news outlet that the two men were in a private place, but that deliberately exposing yourself to the public — by like, you know, not closing the curtains for business time — can land you up to six months in jail and a HK$1,000 fine (US$127).

    Police on the hunt for man who robbed and tried to rape woman near Hong Kong public housing estate

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP/Appledaily

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    Police were on Monday still hunting for a middle-aged man two days after he grabbed a 20-year-old woman, robbed her and tried to rape her near a public housing estate in Kowloon Bay. Officers had stepped up patrols near the crime scene and were doing identity checks on Kai Ching Estate.

    The attack happened at about 8.30pm on Saturday on a path off Shing Kai Road, where the victim was walking alone, according to police. The path links Shing Kai Road and Kwun Tong Road. “The culprit grabbed her neck from behind and threatened the victim with a key, demanding that she surrender her valuables,” Chief Inspector Leung Lap, of Sau Mau Ping district crime squad, said. He said the woman handed over her bank card and told the man its PIN. The attacker then tried to rape her, but stopped and fled. Leung said the victim shouted for help and police thought that might have been why the attacker stopped.

    The woman called police at about midnight, after getting home on public transport. Officers scouted the area but no arrest was made. The attacker was thin and about 1.7 metres tall. He was aged between 45 and 50. Police said he was a Cantonese speaker and wore a white cap, a face mask, a dark polo shirt and shorts at the time of the incident.

    Leung said police had stepped up patrols in the area, and that officers were checking CCTV footage to identify the attacker and work out his escape route. A police spokeswoman said on Monday that officers were investigating whether any money was withdrawn from the victim’s bank account.


    Man robbed 7-Eleven store to make money for ‘kidnapped’ girlfriend’s ransom – only to later learn he had been scammed by her

    sh33pymd
    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP

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    A Hong Kong man held up a convenience store with a pellet gun and stole more than HK$5,600 (US$718) to get cash to save his kidnapped girlfriend in mainland China – only to later find out he was the victim of a scam, a court heard on Friday.

    Part-time swimming instructor Lee Ho-yin, 23, pointed a black gun at a shopkeeper when he robbed the 7-Eleven convenience store on Shanghai Street in Kowloon on May 22 last year. He stole HK$5,650 after the frightened employee unlocked the till and handed over the takings. 

    Defence counsel Jasper Kwan Hang-fun told the High Court that Lee stole the money because he wanted to save his girlfriend, who claimed to have been kidnapped on the mainland. But it later turned out to be a scam, making Lee the “victim of a fraud”, he said. The barrister also said Lee picked a gun – which fired small plastic pellets – with weak firing power to avoid causing injuries. But Madam Justice Susana Remedios, who presided over his mitigation session, replied: “It looks quite real.” She sought reports on Lee’s mental condition after learning he had suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger syndrome. She adjourned sentencing to July 23.

    Lee pleaded guilty at Eastern Court to one count of robbery in February. According to prosecutors, he turned up at the store at about 5am, wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask. He pointed the gun at the shopkeeper, Gao Guoan, in his 30s, who handed over the money. After checking closed-circuit television footage, police arrested Lee three days later. Tests showed the weapon could only fire tiny plastic pellets at such a low velocity that they “fell to the ground shortly after leaving” the gun, prosecutors said. In mitigation, Kwan said the incident stemmed from a relationship Lee had developed with a woman he met while studying electrical engineering at a vocational school in Hong Kong years ago. He said Lee had found love with the woman, who later dropped out of school. The woman, who returned to the mainland, told Lee she had been kidnapped and asked him to pay the ransom.

    Lee’s father strongly believed his son had been deceived so he took away his permit to visit the mainland. Without any money, Lee “came up with this very stupid idea to rob the convenience store”, Kwan said. Lee gave her the money, and “of course, this lady disappeared”, he said.


    Miss Hong Kong 1995 Winnie Young sued for beauty pageant crown and California house over HK$3.76 million debt

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP/Ming Pao

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    A former Miss Hong Kong is being sued for her beauty pageant crown as part payment for HK$3.76 million (US$479,000) in unpaid debt owed by her and her husband, a court writ shows.

    Winnie Young Yuen-yee, the 1995 winner, and her partner, Wong Shuai-fun, pledged Young’s crown as collateral along with a property in the United States to secure a loan three years ago for their Samoa-registered business Little Einstein Academy. The couple borrowed HK$2.4 million from Trinity Aim Capital Limited for the venture, which was based out of CC Wu Building in Wan Chai. The money was granted between December 2014 and November 2015, but due to their failure to repay in full, the debt has since snowballed to HK$3.76 million including interest, according to a writ filed last Friday by the creditor.
     
    Trinity Aim Capital has lodged a civil suit asking a court to compel the couple to hand over the beauty crown and house in San Francisco, California. “Wrongfully ... the defendants have failed to deliver the pledged properties to the plaintiff, even after the ... default occurred,” the writ said. It is not the first time the former beauty champion has faced legal action. In March Young became the target of a lawsuit filed by a kindergarten of which she was a director. Steam International Kindergarten accused her of transferring fees amounting to HK$147,000 into Marker Spaces Limited, another company she owned. Her husband had earlier filed a winding-up order to close a kindergarten called Golden Gate, for which he was a creditor. Young had opened the business but later shut its doors. Wong’s order was an attempt to recoup part of the couple’s investment in the project, but the High Court in February refused the application.

    In the present case, lawyers for Trinity Aim Capital said the couple’s company had first asked for a loan of HK$2 million in December 2014. They then repeatedly postponed the dates of repayment and failed to keep up with the instalments, the creditor said. A further HK$400,000 was requested and granted in November 2015, the lender said, but since then the failures to repay had continued, prompting the court action.

    Mandy Cho, Miss Hong Kong in 2003, once told local media her crown was worth about HK$1.4 million. Lukfook Jewellery, which has been sponsoring the crowns for the beauty pageant, said in 2011 the price had risen to HK$3.5 million. The 2016 crown was reportedly worth HK$4.6 million. It is often decorated with diamonds and gold. 

     

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