Club's $3.5m riddle leads to dismissal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 August, 1998, 12:00am

Donations and funds totalling $3.5 million went missing from a prestigious club for Harvard graduates in a cash riddle that led to the dismissal of its president.

An executive from the university flew in from the United States to help sort out the crisis at the Harvard Club of Hong Kong, which holds social and fund-raising get-togethers for former students.

A donation of $3 million and a further $500,000 in funds that disappeared were intended to help pay for bright local students to attend Harvard.

Details of the extent of the club's financial problems were revealed after a South China Morning Post report last month into a dispute among members over how it should be run.

Former secretary Sabrina Fang Yun-tsai had appealed in an open letter to the 300 members for their help in demanding open and transparent leadership.

New president Aaron Tan Hee-hung has told how a $3 million donation from a club member to the university went missing after being sent to the club's then president, Steve Chik, late last year.

The university contacted the club when the donation had still not been received by late February, Mr Tan said.

A statement from the executive committee to members said that after the missing donation was discovered, Mr Chik 'suddenly became very difficult to reach'.

The committee then worked with Harvard University and 'immediately took steps to remove' Mr Chik from office.

Mr Tan said it was not known why the money had been missing for so long but said: 'When we finally got in touch with the former president, he just handed over the funds.' A further $500,000 in club funds remained unaccounted for.

A special committee comprising senior Harvard alumni is to decide whether to take legal action against the former president, Mr Tan said.

Mr Chik did not return the Post's calls.