The platform for the win was set by the opener Irfan Ahmed who top-scored with 75, in Hong Kong's total of 263 for 7 in 50 overs, after being asked to bat. Scotland's charge was led by Preston Mommsen, who made a 109-ball 118, but the left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed dealt vital blows to return figures of 4 for 37 to derail the chase. With only one other batsman crossing 30, Scotland lost steam to be bowled out for 246 in 48.4 overs.
That Hong Kong first recovered from a precarious 159 for 5 to post a 263 was largely due to sizeable contributions from the middle order after the dismissal of Mark Chapman for 36. The sixth-wicket stand of 67 between Babar Hayat (31) and Tanvir Afzal (42) gave the innings some momentum towards the death overs, and the icing on the cake came right at the end when Aizaz Khan, the No. 8 batsman, smashed two fours and two sixes in his 8-ball 22 to finish on a high.
Scotland was pegged back right at the outset by the medium pacer Haseeb Amjad who dismissed the openers inside the 10th over. Mark Machan made a run-a-ball 34, but his dismissal triggered an implosion in the middle order, with Mommsen waging a lone battle.
But, he nearly pulled off a coup single-handedly, taking the team to within 20 runs of victory before being the last batsman to be dismissed in the penultimate over.
Scotland will have an opportunity to redeem itself when it takes on Nepal on Thursday in Queenstown (January 16), while Hong Kong would look to consolidate its position against Canada on Friday in Rangiora.