30th November 2022 – (Hong Kong) The lease for the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) premises at North, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central was originally scheduled to expire on 1st January next year. It is reported that the government has decided to renew the lease to FCC at market rate, but the lease period will be reduced from the previous 7 years to 3 years but the new rent amount was not disclosed.
It is reported that the new lease of government properties stipulates the terms of complying with Hong Kong laws including compliance with national security. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club has been involved in political turmoil in recent years, including inviting Andy Chan Ho-tin, a Hong Kong pro-independence political activist and a founding member and the convenor of the Hong Kong National Party to give a speech in 2018. In recent years, FCC has turned low-key. In May this year, it announced that it would suspend the “Human Rights Press Awards” to avoid inadvertently breaking the law.
The current lease agreement is entered into by the Government Property Agency, with a monthly rent of about HK$60, starting from 2nd January, 2016 to 1st January, 2023 day, for a period of 7 years. On 18th December, 2009, the site was reclassified as a first-class historical building.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Security, Chris Tang commented on the lease today, “although you know I am not involved in the contract, I think it is very sensible that if a location is being used to act against the national interests of our country, why we should allow them to use the premises. I think this is a very simple question.”