Right from the source's mouth

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2002, 12:00am

Everyone in Hong Kong knows Nicholas Tse Ting-Fung has asthma. The pop star's barrister has often protested Tse's 'serious condition' means he is unfit to do time in a detention centre. And when the frail star was placed in custody after being found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, he spent his first night in Pik Uk Correctional Institution under observation in the sick bay after telling doctors he was suffering from asthma.

So yesterday, when reporters waiting for the appeal against his conviction to be heard followed a cloud of tobacco smoke to its source in the court-house stairwell, they were more than a bit surprised to see Tse - next to a 'no smoking sign' - with a cigarette dangling from his lips.

Not that it stayed there long. 'The minute he saw me he dropped the cigarette and crushed it with his shoe,' said a reporter.