There are several countries where an anti-vaccine sentiment still exists, even after witnessing the horrors of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hong Kong is one such place where a nudge to get vaccinated and soon, is required. But Hong Kong being Hong Kong, has to do everything by spending large amounts of money. Why rely on positive propaganda when you can incentivize the shots and help boost a sluggish inoculation rate by offering Tesla cars and even piled of gold to people? The city’s tycoons and companies are trying innovative and lucrative ideas to seduce people to take both their shots.
Li Ka-Shing’s CK Group, along with his charitable foundation, announced Tuesday it would give away HK$20 million ($2.6 million) in shopping vouchers via a lottery to people who had received two shots. New World Development Co., led by fellow billionaire Adrian Cheng, also said it would offer HK$10 million in subsidies for lower-income people who had gotten vaccinated. Early this year, people were offering vacations and vaccines in the same deal.
The ultra-rich were literally lining up to pay $55,000 to fly in a private jet to the UAE or India for their shots. The Knightsbridge Circle charged its members an annual fee of $34,000 to be looked after by personal managers, took first-class flights on Emirates, stayed in posh villas, and enjoyed the best sights in these countries. In Hong Kong, instead of spending big bucks for a vaccine shot, people are actually on the receiving end of the vaccine and luxury watches. Yet another example of an expensive attempt aimed at boosting Hong Kong’s vaccination drive is Hong Kong politician Regina Ip who offered diamond-studded Rolex watches as part of HK$1 million vaccination lottery for members, ‘friends’ of the New People’s Party. The party doesn’t stop just there; they donate jewelry, rare Da Hong Pao tea leaves, HK$10,000 cash vouchers, and electronics to its members and those who register as its ‘friends’ while conveniently adding it has nothing to do with it the upcoming elections.
Similarly, Hong Kong’s largest developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., offers prizes, including iPhones, while tycoon Lee Shau Kee’s Henderson Land Development Co. has gold bars up for grabs. The city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, “The value of various lotteries or reward programs, we have learned from news reports, has exceeded HK$120 million.” so far, Only about 15.1% of Hong Kong’s population of 7.5 million has been fully inoculated. They fall really behind when compared to financial centers like London and Singapore. I hope these glittering gifts help them up the numbers.