A HONG KONG property tycoon is looking to build a brand new city in Ireland for 50,000 Hong Kongers to live in.
The city - which would be called Nextpolis - would be located between Dublin and Belfast, somewhere in the Irish countryside.
Ivan Ko, founder of the Victoria Harbour Group (VHG), says he hopes to find a 50 sq/km stretch of land to build the new city in order to house tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents looking to flee their home amid China's recent crackdown.
Six locations are reportedly under consideration, the favourite of which is a site between Drogheda and Dundalk near the Northern Irish border.
Ko pitched a plan for the new city to Irish officials that would include schools that teach in Cantonese and brand new infrastructure linking the city to Dublin Airport.
He argued it would fit the government's desire to develop areas outside the capital.
"We like Ireland," Ko told the Guardian.
"Corporate taxes are very low. You have very strong manufacturing and biomedical companies. Major tech giants have European headquarters there.
"Overall we think Ireland is very good."
A department of foreign affairs spokesperson confirmed that talks to construct the new city had taken place, though it's understood that Irish officials have poured cold water on the idea, after initially being approached with the idea late last year.
"Following an initial approach in December 2019, the department had limited contact with the individuals involved to provide helpful and realistic guidance about Ireland," the spokesperson said.
"Since providing this guidance, there has been no further action taken by the department in this matter."
Hong Kong is currently grappling with an uncertain future.
Tensions between the former British colony and China have been rising for over a year ever since China began imposing its will on a number of Hong Kong-based judicial laws.
Mass protests and violent demonstrations have hampered the country since May 2019, and after China announced new national security laws which may argue threaten the freedoms of many Hong Kongers, residents have been expected to emigrate in huge numbers.
The UK and Australia have made special immigration provisions for Hong Kong residents looking to relocate, and Ireland could be about to join the plight, in the most bizarre of ways.
"We are in pursuit of freedom and democracy, which is a little bit similar to the pilgrims and the puritans who left Europe in pursuit of religious freedom," Ko added.