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Hong Kong Chief Says ‘No Basis’ to Ban Russian Superyacht

John Lee said the city will take no action against a superyacht linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, which has been allowed to anchor in the harbour.

Hong Kong says it will take no action over yacht owned by Russian oligarch.
The superyacht "Nord", owned by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Alexey Mordashov is seen in Hong Kong, October 7, 2022. Photo: Tyrone Siu, Reuters.


Hong Kong’s leader has said the city will take no action against a superyacht linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch, which has been allowed to anchor in the harbour.

Chief executive John Lee said on Tuesday that Hong Kong would comply with United Nations sanctions, but would not act on measures imposed by individual countries.

“That is our system, that is our rule of law,” Lee said during a regular press conference. “We cannot do and will not do anything that has no legal basis.”

Lee made the remark after the US State Department warned that harbouring the Nord, believed to be owned by Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov, could harm the city’s reputation as an international financial centre.

Lee is himself under United States sanctions over his role in cracking down on dissent in Hong Kong.


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Steel Magnate

Mordashov, a billionaire steel magnate, is among several wealthy Russians sanctioned by the US, the United Kingdom and the European Union over their alleged links to the Kremlin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mordashov, who is the chairman of Russia’s largest steel company Severstal, has challenged the sanctions in European courts and insisted he has nothing to do with “the current geopolitical tensions”.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council, both China and Russia have a veto over international sanctions.

The Nord, which has two helipads and a swimming pool and is worth an estimated $500m, has been Hong Kong since last week following visits to the Maldives, Seychelles and Vladivostok.

Officials in the Chinese territory earlier said they would not enforce sanctions imposed by individual countries or blocs following the megayacht’s arrival in the city.

While US and European authorities have seized more than a dozen yachts believed to be owned by sanctioned Russian tycoons, some luxury yachts have travelled to jurisdictions with friendlier ties with Russia to avoid seizure, including Turkey.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard





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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.


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