Helmut finds a hotel that fits

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 May, 1997, 12:00am

It's been a long trip for German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who popped into Hong Kong on Friday after visiting New Zealand, Australia and Brunei.

So he must have been glad to rest his head and feet simultaneously in the penthouse at the Regent Hotel.

Although the Regent was keeping Herr Kohl's sleeping arrangements under wraps, it is understood a special bed had to be assembled to accommodate his huge frame.

The secrecy at least helped keep the snappers away, a sensible precaution in the light of his fury over some very unflattering photographs of him lounging massively by an Australian hotel pool in his bathing trunks.

However, the Regent did confirm that no orders had been placed in advance for the gourmet's favourite dish, stuffed sow's stomach.

Still, after his 16-course lunch with the Governor, and the custard tarts he managed to squeeze down in Western afterwards, we suspect even Chancellor Kohl would have been most satisfied.

Following Friday's news that the Government was introducing a bill into the Legislative Council enabling the authorities to license Hong Kong activities in outer space, our antennae picked up signals of a police recruitment drive.

The job description for the new specialist traffic cops was agreed with China in the Joint Liaison Group's discussions on the new law for 'register of space-objects'.

Patrolmen will be required 'to boldly go between Hong Kong's permitted geostationary positions and deliver on-the-spot fines to any being found orbiting without a licence.' No experience necessary. Applicants are expected to be green.

A card arrived yesterday from one of Quarry Bay's relatives back in the UK, a perfect barometer of what the great British public picks up from the media about what is really happening in Hong Kong.

'Is Hong Kong really in the midst of advance take-over fever? . . . We only see the highlights, the RAH RAH up with China bits.' Somehow, we feel the bad news that Ted Thomas and the tycoons say the media is spreading about the handover hasn't been getting across.

India also has a vocal lobby demanding the country be presented to the world in a proper light or not at all. Indians, however, have more of a sense of humour about these things than we are used to over here. Such groups are universally known there as 'the Proper Light Brigade'.

There's no two ways about it for CNN newsman Mike Chinoy, author of an autobiographical book which puts into focus his feats in securing camera positions for the cable and satellite news network in the Middle and Hermit Kingdoms.

Asked, after a speech to the Freedom Forum, whether he believed restraints would be imposed on foreign journalists in Hong Kong, Chinoy was, ah, equivocal.

'When I can't think of a good close [to end a story] I say: 'There's a 50-50 chance, it could go either way'. ' The Proper Light Brigade should be happy with that. At least he doesn't say it's all going to go down the tubes.