HK millionaires seek Irish residency amid unrest

Unrest in Hong Kong is driving citizens away. (AFP pic)

HONG KONG: Some millionaires in Hong Kong are seeking fast-track residency in Ireland because of political unrest in the Asian city, the Sunday Times reported.

About 100 residents contacted Bartra, which promotes Ireland’s immigrant investor program to wealthy Asians, in the past eight weeks, compared with less than a handful before protests started in June, the paper said, citing Bartra Wealth Advisors.

To qualify for the program that provides residency rights, applicants must invest at least €1 million (US$1.1 million) in the country, the Times said.

Triggered by a controversial extradition bill, months of protests have turned into the biggest crisis for Beijing’s rule over the former British colony since it returned to China in 1997.

The rallies against the now-withdrawn legislation have gradually morphed into a pro-democracy, anti-China movement, with universal suffrage among key protester demands.

The city was in near shutdown on Saturday with banks and businesses closed, and rail services suspended for the first time in more than 20 years after violent protests on Friday.