Ex-Midland chief denies playing role in protest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 May, 2012, 12:00am


Midland Holdings' former deputy chairman has denied market speculation that he orchestrated a protest in February by hundreds of property agents who demanded full payment of their commissions.

Albert Wong Kam-hong says he was then taking care of his dying son at a hospital.

'The accusation is unfounded and defamatory,' Wong said.

'The protest was simply a labour dispute, and the issue has been submitted to the Labour Department.'

Wong yesterday broke his silence on the matter and resigned with immediate effect, three weeks before he was due to step down.

In February, more than 200 Midland agents gathered outside World-Wide House in Central, while dozens of its directors and some managers stormed the offices on the 25th floor.

They were demanding to meet chairman Freddie Wong Kin-yip, and pressed for 'the same rate of commission that other property agencies provide'.

The protest began after some agents sent text messages to the media, saying nearly 1,000 agents would go on strike outside the company headquarters.

Following the protest, Midland issued a statement saying its staff wanted to 'convey their views' and that the incident did not involve any wage cut.

Wong, a management consultant, also dismissed rumours that he was after the chairman's position.

'I owned a company that for 12 years has helped turn around struggling businesses,' Wong said.

'I was invited to join Midland Holdings as early as 2001 but I wasn't invited to work full-time until 2008 when the market was deteriorating.

'So it makes no sense for me to try to take over the chairman's position.'

As deputy chairman and executive director, Wong was paid HK$17 million a year, according to Midland's 2011 annual report.

Wong said he terminated his contract early because his 15-year-old son died of brain cancer on March 17.

'The past three months were the toughest time of my life. I need to take a rest and spend more time with my wife,' he said. After that he will focus on being a company doctor.