Hong Kong Observatory has denied issuing typhoon warnings based on economic considerations and dismissed the existence of a forcefield developed by billionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing to protect the city from Mother Nature.

The denial came after mischievous netizens speculated whether Li’s Field would stop Hong Kong forecasters from having to hoist the T8 on Thursday as Typhoon Linfa approached.

It is said that billionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing invented the forcefield to prevent typhoons from reaching the city and causing employees to be released from work early, in order to minimise his own economic losses.

A banner of Li Ka-shing asking residents to "get back to work punctually" the day after. Photo: Li's Field via Facebook.
A banner showing Li Ka-shing asking residents to “get back to work punctually”. Photo: Li’s Field via Facebook.

Cheng Cho-ming, assistant director of the Observatory, this morning dismissed speculation about the existence of Li’s Field, telling interviewers on Commercial Radio: “To put it simply, it doesn’t exist.”

He added that “public safety” is the department’s top priority when issuing typhoon warnings, rather than economic considerations.

 “Some are concerned that the T8 is only hoisted after working hours, but one only works for eight or nine hours a day. The proportion of hoisting a T8 or above during those hours is simply lower,” he said.

Cheng added that a decrease in the number of typhoons affecting Hong Kong this year would be due to the El Nino effect, whereas Taiwan and Japan would be more prone to violent storms.

A parody of Li Ka-shing reporting the news, asking employees and students to reutnr to school. Photo: Li's field via Facebook.
A parody of Li Ka-shing reporting the news, asking employees and students to return to school. Photo: Li’s field via Facebook.

During a Facebook discussion on Li’s field, one user quipped: “Although Li’s field allowed Linfa to arrive in Hong Kong, it prevented any rain or wind.” Another posted: “Li Ka-shing’s message to residents: please get back to work punctually tomorrow.”

One instance of the supposed influence of Li’s field came in 2012, when Typhoon Tembin was heading towards Hong Kong. Instead of making landfall the storm changed course erratically, looped around on itself hitting Taiwan twice and eventually petered out in South Korea.

Typhoon Tembin's zigzag route was speculated as a result of Li's field. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Typhoon Tembin’s zigzag route was speculated to be a result of Li’s field. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Benedict Lee is an undergraduate law student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Paul has previously contributed to HK Magazine and Radio Television Hong Kong, covering issues ranging from local heritage conservation to arts features. He has also worked as a legal intern at local human rights firm Daly & Associates.