Keesal, Young & Logan’s Hong Kong office opened on January 1, 1997 to assist the firm’s Far East clients who encounter U.S. legal problems and to provide advice to the firm’s world-wide clients who have problems throughout Asia. The Hong Kong office complements the firm’s other Pacific Rim offices in Long Beach, San Francisco, Seattle and Anchorage. Long-term Hong Kong resident, Jon Zinke, heads up the office and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Hong Kong. Prior to joining the firm he practiced in both New York and Hong Kong with a New York based law firm for 17 years. The office is conveniently located in the Central business district of Hong Kong.
Matters handled by the Hong Kong office are principally in the maritime, aviation and commercial fields. The office often assists other U.S. law firms with problems in Asia. With regard to U.S. litigation, the Hong Kong office conducts depositions for use in U.S. proceedings, locates and interviews witnesses, assists with the production of documents and information in response to discovery requests and formulates and coordinates strategy with Far East clients. The Hong Kong office also handles maritime and commercial arbitrations on behalf of Far East clients, primarily involving charter party disputes. U.S. legal advice is also provided in foreign legal proceedings, by expert testimony and/or affidavit, where questions of U.S. law arise.
The Hong Kong office has also conducted numerous casualty investigation concerning vessel collisions, groundings, cargo losses occurring ashore and at sea and personal injury claims by seamen and longshoremen. Representative clients include all major protection and indemnity associations and various Far East based owners and operators of vessels. Jon Zinke has also been involved with various business and community based organizations, including the Hong Kong Maritime Law Association, of which he is Deputy Chairman, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, of which he was the 2005 Chairman and on whose Board he served from 1998 through 2007. He was also the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Charitable Foundation in 2006 and 2008 and serves as a permanent Trustee of that organization. He has been on the Board of Editors of the Institute of Seatransport’s “Seaview” magazine since 1991 and is an Honorary Member of the Marine Insurance Club.
Hong Kong is a gateway to Asia with an international and diverse population and a style of its own. After 156 years of colonial rule under Britain, the territory reverted to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997 under the “one country, two systems” concept whereby Hong Kong was guaranteed to be able to maintain its capitalist society for a further 50 years.
Hong Kong has two official languages, English and Cantonese, the Chinese dialect spoken throughout Guangdong Province. Mandarin, the official language in the People’s Republic of China, is increasingly spoken in Hong Kong. The population of Hong Kong is approximately 7.3 million people, some 95% of which are Chinese. There are approximately 60,000 American expatriates in Hong Kong.
There is a common law legal system in Hong Kong with its own ordinances (many based on the English Acts of Parliament) and case law. When Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty, a Final Court of Appeals was established to take the place of appeals to Privy Council in London. Hong Kong still follows the British practice of a split legal profession where the solicitor deals with the client and then briefs a barrister to appear in court. The judiciary is independent and rights of individuals are well protected.
Hong Kong has been described by economist Milton Friedman as the “last laissez faire economy.” Hong Kong’s economy is based on free enterprise and there are a minimum of restrictions placed on business. Hong Kong is consistently ranked the World’s Freest Economy in the annual Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. The small territory is now the eighth largest trading economy in the world and boasts one of the world’s largest container ports in terms of container throughput. The airport is the busiest in the world in terms of airfreight tonnage handled. There are no restrictions on foreign exchange and the transfer of capital in or out of the territory. The Hong Kong dollar has been pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 7.8/$ since 1983.
KYL Hong Kong
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