Phillip Khan

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Phillip Khan
Chinese name
Chinese 簡浩名
Urdu name
Urdu عبدالغفار خان

Abdull Ghafar Khan (born 21 July 1962), better known as Phillip Khan, is a Hong Kong businessman and political activist. A Pakistani national born and raised in Hong Kong, Khan's ambitions to stand for election to the city's Legislative Council reportedly have been blocked by the refusal of the Hong Kong Immigration Department to consider his application for naturalisation as a Chinese national.[1]

Early life[edit]

Khan concurrently holds Pakistani nationality and British National (Overseas) status. His father came to Hong Kong in 1915, when the city was still ruled by the British Empire.[1] His uncle served in the Hong Kong Police Force, and was killed in a bombing in 1944 during World War II. After the war, his father settled in Diamond Hill, where he ran a dairy farm. Khan himself was born in Hong Kong in 1962 and studied at the former Mansfield College in Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui; he was the only member of his class not of Chinese ethnicity, and thus became fluent in Cantonese. He graduated in 1976.[2] During the 1980s, when the wave of emigration from Hong Kong was reaching its peak, Khan made the decision to remain in Hong Kong, stating that he saw it as his home.[1] He runs a trading company, due to which he travels frequently to Shenzhen for business and speaks Mandarin Chinese as well.[2][3][4]

2008 Minibond protests[edit]

Khan suffered financial losses in the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers due to his investments in so-called "Minibonds" – structured financial products similar to equity-linked notes which were marketed to many members of the Hong Kong public with claims of being a safe and low-risk product. In the aftermath, he became involved in efforts to gain compensation for affected noteholders. In November 2008, Khan organised a protest march from Sogo Department Store in Causeway Bay to the Central Government Offices in Central; attendees shouted slogans calling for then-Chief Executive of Hong Kong Donald Tsang to step down and criticising the opacity of the banks' operations.[5] The following month, when former US president Bill Clinton visited Hong Kong for the first annual meeting of the Clinton Foundation, Khan organised protests outside of the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong where Clinton was staying, in an attempt to draw attention to the issue. Roughly 90 people attended the protests.[6]

Khan continued leading protest activities throughout 2009 and 2010. In January 2009, Khan and four fellow protestors collected signatures from over two thousand affected noteholders and set off for neighbouring Macau to submit a petition to then-Vice-President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, who was visiting the city.[7] In 2010, after Standard Chartered admitted that they had made errors in estimating the risk associated with Minibonds, Khan led a protest outside of the Legislative Council Building, during which he stood in the middle of the street in an attempt to block a Standard Chartered company bus from departing the scene.[8]

Naturalisation attempts[edit]

Khan has twice attempted to submit applications to the Hong Kong Immigration Department for naturalisation as a Chinese national; however, each time, the immigration officer on duty refused to accept his papers, stating that he did not have a close relative who was a Chinese national.[9] According to an Immigration Department spokesperson, applications will be taken from all persons submitting them, but under the Chinese Nationality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap. 540) § 5, the Department is not required to inform the applicant of the reason for rejection.[1] His inability to naturalise has also meant he cannot obtain a Home Return Permit for travel to mainland China; instead, he has to use his passport, waiting in line at immigration control at Luohu Port for more than half an hour each time and quickly running out of pages for passport stamps, requiring him to pay additional fees to add pages to his passport or renew it.[2]

News of Khan's troubles prompted Equal Opportunities Commission Chairman Lam Woon-kwong to write a letter of concern to the Immigration Department.[1] In December 2012, Khan organised public protests over the issue, marching and holding signs at the Central Government Complex in Tamar with roughly twenty other South Asians whose applications for naturalisation had similarly been rejected.[9]

Other activities[edit]

In the early 2000s, Khan participated in a number of Hong Kong political activities, including the Hong Kong 1 July marches against Basic Law Article 23 security legislation, as well as candlelight vigils in Victoria Park in memory of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[1] He has also spoken out against the Hong Kong Education Bureau's refusal to develop a local Chinese-as-a-second-language curriculum for students from non-Chinese-speaking households.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "香港仔巴漢申特區護照被拒 (Aberdeen Pakistani man's application for SAR passport refused)". Ming Pao. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c 李君萍 (Lee Kwan-ping) (15 October 2012). "身份不明 (Unclear Identities)". Radio Television Hong Kong. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Cheung, Simpson (14 August 2012). "Businessman Phillip Khan born in Hong Kong cannot get passport". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Li, Xueying (12 November 2012). "Minorities facing challenges in HK". The Straits Times. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "網民圍禮賓府被阻截 不滿政府漠視基層 喊特首下台 (Internet users blocked from surrounding Government House; dissatisfied with government's neglect of grassroots, call for Chief Executive to step down)". Ming Pao. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "90苦主向克林頓請願不果 (Ninety debtholders fruitlessly petition Clinton)". Oriental Daily News. 4 December 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "5名雷曼苦主準備乘船往澳門向習近平表達不滿 (Five Lehman debtholders prepare to board a boat to Macau to express their dissatisfaction to Xi Jinping)". Radio Television Hong Kong. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "渣打高層認錯估雷曼倒閉風險 (Standard Chartered executives admit error in estimating Lehman's risk of collapse)". Oriental Daily News. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "植根港百年 巴漢被拒入籍 入境處原因:沒有近親是中國人 (Rooted in Hong Kong for a hundred years, Pakistani man's naturalisation refused; Immigration Department reason: does not have close Chinese relative)". Apple Daily. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "南亞裔港人:不懂中文等如「殘廢」 (Hong Kong South Asian man: not understanding Chinese like being "handicapped")". Now News. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 

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