Lai See

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 12:00am

Debt collectors find it a tough job appeasing HSBC's peter wong

Debt collectors, we all know, can be a breed apart: boxers gone to seed, wrestlers past their prime and tired old triads. Weigh-in and ugly-parade at the interview. No pretty boys need apply. With profound apologies, of course, to the exceptions.

Messrs Chung Chi-huen and Yip Hang-shan will no doubt count themselves among those exceptions, but may have some trouble persuading Peter Wong, HSBC group general manager and executive director for Hong Kong and the mainland, of their finer natures.

Mr Wong and his father obtained a temporary injunction against the two in February, restraining them from a campaign of harassment. Messrs Chung and Yip have been trying to get Mr Wong to pay up on debts owed by his sister, HSBC said in a statement. No details of their techniques were revealed, but these are believed to have included making loud and bad-tempered demands in the lift wells at No1 Queen's Road Central.

On Friday, Mr Wong and his father will go back to court to make the injunction permanent.

canada, oops!

When meeting someone for the first time and registering his or her accent, have you ever asked where in the United States they are from - only for them to reply they are Canadian? It happens to us all the time, and rarely goes over well, given the chip most Canadians have on their shoulder about being America's 51st state.

Writing about Melco managing director Lawrence Ho Yau-lung earlier this month, we made a passing reference to his 'American accent'. That earned us a sharpish e-mail from one reader who said Mr Ho 'was educated in Canada, so actually his accent is Canadian, eh?' Eh, that depends on how often he says 'eh', eh?

On a related matter, on Saturday we noted the inaugural meeting of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Macau (of which Mr Ho is the founding president) and congratulated our Canadian friends on finally discovering the enclave almost five centuries after Portuguese explorer Jorge Alvares first did in 1514.

In fact, this column's Canadian minders say they were only 273 years late to the party, with their trading ships first arriving in Macau in 1787 to swap furs for tea.

Ohhhh, Canada.

it's been a long way

How far Singapore has come. As the government there presses ahead with the tendering of its first-ever casinos, an intrepid colleague of ours has dredged up then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's reaction to a 1965 proposal that the city state open a casino, greyhound racetrack and 'Turkish bath and massage facilities'.

As reported by the Straits Times on October 25 of that year, Mr Lee was all for it - provided the facility was quarantined on outlying Pulau Sajahat.

Mr Lee said: 'We've got an island set aside for [gambling]. We don't want all this [in Singapore proper]. We don't want to go greyhound racing or to the casino - that's no good. But the Americans like it. And all the Malaysians can go there. Singaporeans will serve them. But, for Singaporeans, we will go to sleep early. We will wake up early. Tomorrow we work hard.

'If you go for a massage, and tomorrow your bones are weaker, we will never succeed. Let the other fellow have a good time ... We will give the full red-carpet treatment. But for Singaporeans I say: 'First thing in the morning, physical [training] - P.T.' Those who want a real massage, we can beat them up properly.'

In the end, Pulau Sajahat was deemed too small for the project and the plans were scrapped.

cyberplay changes name

One country, two systems is dead - in cyberspace, anyway. Today GEM-listed Corp, a China mobile applications, internet services and online game firm, announces its name change to Inc.