‘Pandemic challenges’ behind Nam Kwong premature closure at HZMB

The early termination of the contract for retail space leasing services at the Hong Kong-
Zhuhai-Macau Bridge was caused by challenges amid the post pandemic period, a security forces official has told the parliament.

The contract was between Beijing-financed Nam Kwong Group and the government and concerned leasing retail space at the Macau checkpoint of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

The contract was not set to expire until next year.

There was no prior explanation from the government. Lawmaker Si Ka Lon has questioned the Security Forces at a recent parliamentary interpellation session. Lawmakers Pereira Coutinho and Ron Lam also criticized the government for its lack of transparency in its handling of the matter.

Coutinho questioned the rationale behind the early termination of the contract and asked who initiated the termination. He further questioned how public interests can be protected when early contract terminations have happened twice in several months.

Coutinho was referring to the early closure of the Macau Jockey Club when the license was valid until 2042.

Additionally, while agreeing that business under the pandemic was difficult, Lam questioned why the government had chosen to simply terminate the contract rather than pursuing other options, such as lowering the service charge on Nam Kwong.

The government recently started leasing commercial spaces at the Qingmao Border Checkpoint building. Lam said that he worried the same would happen at this border checkpoint.

Lao Sio Leng, department head for land borders at the Public Security Forces Affairs Bureau (FSM), said that measures such as lease reduction and advertising had taken place, but the situation did not improve.

A total of 19 lease persuasion sessions were held between December 2019 and August 2023, she said.

While acknowledging that Nam Kwong had made significant efforts, she disclosed that the enterprise had decided to terminate the contract before its expiry, and this decision was approved by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng.

The original expiration date of the contract was May 31, 2025.

Categories Headlines Macau