Driving commercial and political engagement between Asia, the Middle East and Europe

  • Asia House
  • 63 New Cavendish Street
  • London W1G 7LP
  • enquiries@asiahouse.co.uk
  • +44 (0) 20 7307 5454
  • Driving commercial and political engagement between Asia, the Middle East and Europe

    Asian Insider 11 November: Hong Kong violence escalates again, Najib Razak, bushfires in Australia

    Published On: 11 November 2019

    Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.


    11 November 2019

    In today’s bulletin: A man was shot and another set alight in separate incidents as violence broke out again in Hong Kong; a court has determined that former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has a case to answer in a 1MDB-linked trial; Australia declares a state of emergency as bushfires rage; and more….



    It’s a cycle that has been repeated continually in Hong Kong since the protests began months ago: Days, sometimes weeks of relative calm, punctured by an outbreak of violence. And each time it repeats, the violence seems to be getting worse. Today, a live broadcast showed at least one protester shot during a scuffle with police. In a separate incident, a video shows a man criticising people sympathetic to the protesters getting doused with liquid and set ablaze. He is in hospital in critical condition. Authorities and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam have condemned the violence, but as before, the cycle looks set to repeat itself with no end insight to the unrest. The next major milestone will be the Hong Kong local elections on November 24.

    Other top stories from Hong Kong through the weekend:

    Hong Kong police investigating videos of man set on fire

    China calls for tough security laws to end Hong Kong turmoil

    Thousands gather for ‘martyrs’ vigil amid Hong Kong protest



    It is just one step forward in the broader legal wrangle that former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is in, but it is a significant one. A judge ruled today that Najib has a case to answer involving the misappropriation of RM42 million from from former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International. The court had in July heard testimony from 57 witnesses as it sought to decide if Najib needed to put up a defence. He is now expected to make a sworn statement from the dock when the trial proceeds on Dec 3. Najib has a total of five court cases involving 1MDB, spanning 42 criminal charges.

    Keep up to date on all the latest developments on 1MDB at our special website



    Australian authorities raised the fire threat forecast to its highest levels in a decade for greater Sydney as bushfires flared up in the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. Over the weekend, fires killed three and destroyed more than 150 homes. More than 100 schools will be closed tomorrow. While bushfires are an annual summer threat in Australia, concerns are especially high this year, not just because of the intensity of the fires but also because the fires are raging weeks before the start of summer.

    Australians warned worst bushfires may be yet to com



    Self-exiled Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy – who in the past week has sparked awkward diplomatic negotiations in Asean with his bid to return to Cambodia – will meet Malaysian MPs in Parliament tomorrow. Malaysian MP Nurul Izzah, daughter of likely next prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, confirmed that she had sent a letter to Mr Rainsy inviting him for a meeting. The awkwardness of the situation stems from Asean’s stance of not interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries in the South-east Asian bloc.It was based on this principle that Thailand last week refused to let Rainsy board a Thai Airways plane last week from Paris to Bangkok.

    Why Sam Rainsy is back in the news: Cambodian political exiles’ bid to return blocked by Malaysia and Thailand



    For our last item today, I thought I’d highlight a rare celestial event. Mercury will very soon pass between the Earth and the Sun. The Mercury transit will be visible at 7.35am EST from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Western Asia (sadly not in Singapore as it will be 8.35pm). This happens only 14 times a century and won’t be seen again until 2032.

    What’s a Mercury transit?



    Spain’s repeat election fails to end deadlock:Spain’s Socialist premier Pedro Sanchez emerged as winner but was weakened from Sunday’s (Nov 10) repeat election that propelled the far-right Vox into third place in a result set to deepen years of political turmoil.

    Singapore invests in climate action: Singapore will invest US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) in funds that have a strong green focus as part of its ambition to be a leading centre of green finance in Asia and globally.

    Cyclone Bulbul: The death toll from a cyclone that barrelled into the coasts of Bangladesh and India has risen to 24, authorities said on Monday (Nov 11), as the two nations assess the scale of devastation wreaked by the powerful storm.


    These insights are produced by The Straits Times, the official media partner for the Asia House Global Trade Dialogue, which took place in Singapore on 7 November 2019.

    Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? The sign-up page is here