It’s not often that Hong Kong’s laissez-faire government finds itself aligned with Bernie Sanders.

But the self-described democratic socialist may well applaud the Asian financial hub’s surprise decision on Wednesday, Feb 24, to raise its tax on stock trades for the first time since 1993.

The stamp-duty increase, which contributed a sell-off in Hong Kong’s US$7.6 trillion ($10 trilliion) market and sent shares of the city’s exchange operator down the most in five years, shows that even one of the world’s most capitalist-friendly governments is under growing pressure to target financiers and wealthy investors as it tries to address worsening inequality.

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