Security Concerns Arise Over No-Bid Contract With Hong Kong Firm

March 24, 2006 – The Bush administration is currently finalizing a no-bid contract with Hong Kong firm Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. that would put them in charge of inspecting U.S.-bound cargo for radioactive materials.

Concerns are already being raised around the owner of the firm Li Ka-Shing’s substantial ties to China’s Communist government.  Also drawing concern is a U.S. military intelligence report that cited Hutchison as a potential risk for smuggling arms and other prohibited materials into the United States from the Bahamas.

According to the Associated Press, the now-declassified assessment said Hutchison’s port operations in the Bahamas and Panama “could provide a conduit for illegal shipments of technology or prohibited items from the West to the People’s Republic of China, or facilitate the movement of arms and other prohibited items into the Americas.”

The CIA World Fact Book describes the Hong Kong – China relationship:
Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its “one country, two systems” formula, China’s socialist economic system will not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.

Read the entire Associated Press article here.