After years in denial, top names in Hong Kong's conservative shipping industry are finally admitting that the crisis in the former colony's streets threatens to puncture their high-rise bubble.

However, none of them are willing to be identified.

But the phrase "business as usual" seems more difficult for everybody to pronounce.

To be sure, four months of mass marches, plus street clashes between masked democracy demonstrators and the heavily-armed Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) have hardly brought a ruffle to the office suites.