The Police Married Quarters (PMQ), promoted as a new local creative hub after its reopening in 2014, has been rented out to tycoons and chains, reported Next Magazine. The historic structure in Central was leased from the government for a token fee of HK$1 per year in part for the “promotion of creative industries,” but has been populated by chain stores and international brands.

The magazine reported that Victor Lo Chung-wing, one of the members of the board at PMQ, is the chairman of Gold Peak Industries Ltd. The company owns GP Batteries International Limited, a famous batteries brand in Asia. The paper reported that the tycoon, who was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal this year, has close ties with the Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation Ltd, which is managing PMQ on a 10-year lease. His daughter-in-law’s company is also running a restaurant at the location, the newspaper reported.

PMQ. File Photo: Wikicommons.

Restaurants on the sixth and seventh floor are also run by the family members of other tycoons. Next Magazine reported that Isono and The Drawing Room, are both part of Drawing Room Concepts, a dining group which includes shareholders such as real estate tycoon Raymond Kwok’s son, Christopher Kwok.

A creative hub?

Tommy Li, a designer who once helped pick candidates for shops, told the magazine that “they will take some brand that is mainstream which everybody knows… its character is fuzzy.”

A shopper also told the publication that “most products can be bought elsewhere.” She also said that the location was “like a shopping mall.” Hong Kong designer-chain G.O.D, international luxury brand Vivienne Tam, as well as Japanese chain store Found MUJI have all opened stores at the location.

Prudence Mak, of Chocolate Rain.

Local artist Prudence Mak, who created Chocolate Rain and opened a themed restaurant at PMQ in 2014, told Next Magazine that the venue wanted her to attract more business despite the fact she was holding workshops every day. They told her “family brand” restaurant to “sell more alcohol,” she said. She added that “they do not know the difficulties of running a small local store, and they are running this creative hub. So what is the outcome?” Mak closed the restaurant in 2015.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.