One of Hong Kong’s major appeals as a base for international companies doing business in Asia has been recourse to its British-established common law courts. But recent Hong Kong rulings have raised the unsettling possibility that a whole class of potential defendants may have legal immunity from claims.

These are government parties. And, while it is hardly surprising that sovereigns themselves can claim immunity in courts, the long reach of government into the private market in Asia means there are a host of potentially immune state actors that are difficult to identify at first glance.

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