Clubman's yellow-line charm gets red card

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 May, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 May, 1995, 12:00am

LIKE many status symbols, those magic permits that allow car-owners to ignore double yellow lines can have a very limited life span.

To be precise, the magic permit that allowed tycoon Hari Harilela to stop his Rolls-Royce outside the India Recreation Club was revoked yesterday morning - by coincidence, just a few hours after the existence of these magic permits was revealed in Lai See .

We reported yesterday that Hari and two other senior officials of the club, which is a short walk from the MTR, had been given such a permit, allowing him to ignore yellow lines recently painted because there were concerns about ambulances getting to a nearby casualty department.

The transport department said yesterday that Hari's permit had been issued 'by mistake' by a member of staff who had only been with the department for four weeks.

They said that a member of the public had complained, presumably a Post reader, and this had led to the file being reviewed.

Case closed.

Or is it? It appears that unbeknown to the ordinary motorist, Section 60(h) of the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations pretty much allows the Commissioner for Transport to issue almost any sort of permit.

Permits can allow holders to drive through red lights, or park on a pedestrian crossing - anything.

We hear Hari isn't the first well-known business figure to be issued with a permit, and it would be interesting to know how many have been issued.

The Transport Department is collecting statistics on these permits for Lai See readers, which we will be happy to share.

Ironically, Hari himself was issued a permit only on May 24, and the epic roadworks that ring the club like a moat mean he hasn't been able to use it.

Life work IT'S the time again for Peter P F Chan to issue his ever-increasing volume, A Dean at Work .

Every year, Peter, who is dean of Shue Yan College Faculty of Business and has many other roles in life, issues this remarkable volume, which this year has 64 pages and a colour cover.

Printed by the thousand, everyone who has any dealings with Peter in the past year gets a copy.

It contains sections from his speeches over the year, abstracts from his writings and a 29-page, highly detailed diary.

The diary tells them not only what he's done but also in which file in Peter's office the relevant papers are filed - information which as far as we can tell would be of use only to burglars.

We can, with some confidence, say Peter is the only person who has ever been permanent adviser to the Road Safety Association, the honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Liver Foundation, a past member of the Vegetable Marketing Association, and until March, on the advisory committee of the Marine Fish Scholarship Fund.

Next year we wouldn't be surprised if Peter publishes A Dean at Work on CD-ROM.

Shouganged THE folks at Shougang Concord Grand - and by ''folks' we mean Deng Xiaoping's son and his colleagues - have been doing a nice job of 'sell high, buy low'.

They had a big push a year ago, flogging 100 million Swiss francs worth of convertible bonds to investors in Europe and the US.

Now, they are buying them back again - at rather less than they sold them.

The annual report shows they have bought about 10 per cent of them.

The good news is they're now buying them back for about 20 per cent less than the issued price - quite a difference for something that's supposed to be a stable investment.

Guess these so-called sophisticated international investors wish they had been a little more sophisticated when the Shougang roadshow came into town.

Dirty man 'I WENT to Kwun Tong swimming pool this morning at about 9.30am,' says a reader who enjoys a morning swim.

'I found a worker was cleaning the edge of the pool with detergent and the dirty water flowed back into the pool.' So she complained to the worker. His witty reply was: 'So? I haven't asked you to drink the water in the pool.' Snow report ALWAYS eager to find interesting new emerging markets, Global Finance magazine has been looking in Latin America, notably Colombia.

Good news from Colombia: the economy is being transformed. Bad news from Colombia: it is because of drug money.

So the cover has been arranged like an optical illusion.

It appears as though a corner of the magazine is bent upwards and someone has laid a couple of lines of cocaine on it, chopped it into place with a razor blade, and is all ready for a sharp snort.

If this is the publisher's idea of grabbing the readers' attention, it has a rather jaundiced view of the leisure habits of its readers - who largely comprise financial executives in the United States.