Give us nothing, or we'll turn you in

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 December, 1993, 12:00am

A LAWBREAKING reader rang yesterday after being caught committing a very serious offence.

They know they are a lawbreaker because the Autopass Co, which issues the electronic passes for the Cross Harbour Tunnel, wrote them a letter saying so.

Signed by general manager K.R. Andrews, it is surely one of the rudest letters ever written to a customer.

It starts: ''While we appreciate your continued custom'', but soon puts the boot in.

''We wish to caution you that you are currently in contravention of Cross Harbour Tunnel By-law 18, an offence which, upon conviction, provides for a maximum fine of $2,000.00.'' The letter states in no uncertain terms that the naughty customer's Autopass tag ''has reached the negative balance shown above''.

Look above, and you find the account balance is $0.00.

One way the customer can be redeemed in the eyes of the Autopass Co is to send a cheque, presumably for $0.00.

However, although expert in criminal law, the Autopass Co seems less expert on basic business sense. Nowhere does it give an address so customers know where to send the cheque.

Power broker TRYING to ring someone at Merrill Lynch yesterday afternoon proved a little tricky.

''Try the Captain's Bar in the Mandarin Hotel. We've got no electricity and only two of the phones are working,'' said the voice on the other end of the phone.

All the power went off at 3.28 pm, just two minutes before the market closed.

Other tenants in the St George's Building were also affected. Merrill, incidentally, is soon to move into Citibank Plaza.

Not only were their dealing terminals useless, there was a risk that staff could bump into freshly-painted walls in the dark.

The owner of this building is none other than the Kadoorie family, of China Light and Power fame, although the Kadoories' blushes are saved by the fact that supplying the block is of course the job of their friends over at Hongkong Electric.

Gas, end of MAYBE tenants of the St George's Building should contact Dr Leo Gasendo of PO Box 1031, Monterey Park, California 91754.

Dr Leo is an inventor, and he's written with details of his ''bamboo super windmill'', shown in the picture, which can be used to pump water and generate electricity.

A four metre high unit in a 56 kilometres-an-hour wind generates 10 kilowatts and costs US$1,666 to build, and Dr Leo reckons one unit of this size can supply seven households using air-cons and other appliances.

Put one inside Legco and we wouldn't need Daya Bay.

His other inventions include the Gasendo Dryer, a ''weight-propelled skateboard'', a storm-resistant fishtrap, a super golf driver and a ''scientific golf shot without backswing''.

Eastern promise FLICKING through The Standard yesterday, right at the back there was a formal advertisement from Far East Consortium International, saying the company had ''noted the press article published in the Lai See column of the South China Morning Post''.

They refer to the article in which we pointed out that the company management had handed out profit forecasts to analysts all the way through to 1997.

The statement, made at the request of the stock exchange, says the management ''confirm that no profit projection for next year and up to 1997 of our company has been released to the public including brokerage houses and the South China Morning Post.'' Strange. We have already reported on the confusion created by a man planning to take over Chesterfield Ltd who has a remarkable resemblance to Deacon Chiu, Far East Consortium's chairman.

Maybe there's another company called Far East Consortium too.

China expert RICHARD Graham, the man we featured yesterday representing Baring Securities in China, is not one of those Westerners who fly into China and think they know the place after staying in a selection of five-star hotels.

He was one of the people on the Joint British-Chinese Taklamakan Desert Crossing, the first successful crossing of one of the largest sand deserts in the world.

Among previous attempts was one where only one of the eight explorers came out, and even that survivor only made it by drinking the camels' blood.

Richard's party travelled by camel and the trip was in aid of a children's cancer charity.

The party left in late September and covered 1,250 km in 59 days. Richard didn't manage the whole trip though, having both amoebic dysentery and a stockbroker's office in Shanghai to contend with.

Re-union VISITING Australian politician Laurie Brereton made a once-in-a-lifetime offer yesterday when giving a speech on Australia's industrial relations: if Hong Kong wants to learn about this topic from Australia, he's happy to offer consultancy.

Australia is already giving advice to Indonesia. Frightening.

On industrial relations, ''there are a number of areas where we could co-operate with Hongkong'', he said.

If that doesn't knock 1,000 points off the Hang Seng Index, nothing will.

Wet ones ''WE'RE about to see some miracles here,'' was the promise from tycoon Peter Woo as he unveiled the Lane Crawford Express Christmas promotion.

He'd got one of those amazing snow machines, and was trying to cover a Christmas tree with snow for the first time in Hong Kong.

When the big switch was pulled, however, there was only a cold, wet dribble. There's plenty of them in Hong Kong, no argument.

See the light THE fuss about the Christmas illuminations having nothing to do with Christmas - as they use Garfield, the Great Wall of China and so on - is spot on.

Where, for instance, are the symbols of the true spirit of Christmas, such as a building with a giant Visa card or $500 note made from fairy lights?