I know the idea of introducing a identity card in the UK is very controversial but pretending that Hong Kong only has recently been issuing ID card to the residents is re-writing history!
The Smart ID card referred in the BBC article is a new card with digital certificate, and that enable it to be used with post office and other commercial outlets. However, the permanent ID card has been issued by the British Government in Hong Kong since 1950s(?) and every Hong Kong residents are required to carry it at all time. I had (still have?) one since I was around 8 and had lost and replaced it twice. In fact, a number ‘2’ is appended to the end of my ID card number to indicate that. I have used this permanent ID card for immigration point at the Hong Kong airport many times in the last decade so this is not new either!
So the British Government please stop pretending that you have no prior experience in the subject of ID card, or how to efficiently issue and maintain 6+ million ID cards. Just ask your colleagues at the Foreign Office.
Of course the British Government won’t have any experience in the privacy issue in Hong Kong since that was hardly a consideration when ID card was introduced there all those years ago!