Tycoon put up for top mainland law honour

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 October, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 October, 1995, 12:00am

THE trial put Mr Yeung's connections with senior mainland leaders under the spotlight.

Mr Yeung has been establishing links in China since the early 1990s.

The Yeung family-run Emperor Group, which started as a small watch shop in 1942, now sees more than 70 per cent of its overseas investments devoted to projects in China.

The most noteworthy manifestation of Mr Yeung's flair for cultivating contacts in Beijing took place in late 1992.

A lavish banquet was held in the Great Hall of the People to mark a deal with the Justice Department's investment arm to open a US$30 million (HK$231.6 million) duty-free shop in the capital.

Earlier this year, the group's subsidiary Emperor (China Concept) signed a contract with the Shanghai Government to develop a $1.1 billion entertainment and commercial complex Emperor Star City.

In 1993, Emperor (China Concept) secured a holiday resort in Xinhui, Guangdong, for 15 million yuan (HK$14 million) and redeveloped it into a five-star hotel.

Last year, former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke - who has extensive contacts in China and Vietnam - was appointed an Emperor non-executive director to help the group expand in the region.

At an early stage of the trial, the court heard that Mr Yeung had fixed a meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin last December which had to be cancelled because of his arrest.

The meeting was widely regarded as a blessing from the top leadership.

Mr Yeung's arrest apparently also damaged the career of Chinese Justice Minister Xiao Yang, who had nominated him for an honorary professorship at the China Politics and Law University in Beijing, the court heard.

Mr Xiao was to become the Public Security Minister but the appointment was postponed.

Mr Yeung does not hold a formal position in any of Emperor's listed vehicles but he chairs the Emperor Group, the holding company of Emperor International and Emperor (China Concept).

His troubles began last December when he was arrested by the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau for allegedly detaining and intimidating a former employee.