Hong Kong’s chief executive has said that “stability and certainty” are the number one concerns of Hong Kong businesses investing in Myanmar, as they are putting a lot of money into the country.

Carrie Lam tours a knitwear factory owned by a Hong Kong businessman in Yangon. Photo: GovHK.

“[T]hey want to have a business environment that is clear, that is certain, and that is stable,” Lam told the Myanmar Times during a visit last week. “They don’t want to be put in a situation where there’s always a lot of disruption to their business, [or] where government policies are uncertain or, in another words, would change from one day to another.”

The tour took place days after the UN’s rights chief said the authorities were instigating “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” against Rohingya Muslims in the north. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak and Bangladesh’s foreign minister have each deemed the conflict a “genocide.”

Carrie Lam presents Aung San Suu Kyi with a photo of her by Steve McCurry. Photo: GovHK.

Lam told the paper that Vice-president U Myint Swe and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi were “working very hard in attaining peace in the country, so I wish Myanmar every success in achieving peace.”

The UN says 400,000 refugees have fled the violence, with thousands continuing to flood into neighbouring Bangladesh amid shortages of food, clean water and other necessities. The government’s military offensive in Rakhine state came after a series of guerrilla attacks on security posts and an army camp on August 25.

China has voiced support for Myanmar authorities, who deny a genocide is under way, claiming that they are fighting terrorism and that villagers are burning down their own villages.

The Chief Executive’s Office said Hong Kong’s relationship with Myanmar will be strengthened in light of the free trade and investment agreements the city has signed with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Lam addresses an industry conference in Yangon. Photo: GovHK.

On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed “deep concerns” to Suu Kyi over the treatment of the Rohingya, according to the National Post.

When asked whether Lam had raised concerns about the conflict, her office told HKFP it had no further comment.

Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.