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PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 January, 1994, 12:00am

PUBLISHER Chris Cheney is due to fly out of Kai Tak tomorrow with the remainder of his goods and chattels to start afresh in Singapore after the collapse of his Hong Kong publishing empire.

If it sounds like deja vu, it is. This will be the second time Cheney has relocated to the Lion City.

Readers may recall how his decision to move his operation there in 1990 started the downward spiral in his fortunes. After allegedly being defrauded by a business partner, Cheney moved back to the territory a year later.

His marriage began to fail, his publishing ventures started to stutter, staff complained of being paid with cheques that bounced, the repossession men began making frequent visits to his office, and finally The Peak was printed for the last time, two months after he insisted all was well.

Fate handed Cheney another blow last week. He called ex-wife Ruby to ask if she wanted to buy his car and take over the lease on his 1,000-square-foot flat in University Heights. Since she is living in a 3,000-sq-ft apartment in Tregunter with their two children, no prizes for guessing her response.

IT WAS a sight few ever expected to see - Action Man Simon Murray practically motionless. Mr Murray was to act as the auctioneer at last night's Cancer Fund Ball at the Regent Hotel - until the former French Legionnaire took a tumble during a skiing holiday.

Apparently the damage to one knee was so extensive he had to undergo a five-hour operation to repair the joint. The inexhaustible former Hutchison managing director and fitness fanatic pulled out of his ball duty; being confined to a wheelchair while he recovered, Mr Murray probably reasoned he would not be able to see over the top of the auctioneer's lectern.

HOTELIER Eric Waldberger has wasted no time in getting another job since leaving the post of general manager of the Ritz-Carlton last month. He has emerged as the man behind Hutchison Whampoa chairman Li Ka-shing's latest venture, a four-star hotel. The 13-storey hotel is being built in Hunghom, which may strike some as being as incongruous as a caged men's hostel on The Peak. HONG Kong Tatler's current publication Society includes ''an indispensable social register'' of what it describes as the territory's creme de la creme.

Preceding pen portraits of these demi-gods is the grand declaration that ''if the following 450 people were all in attendance at the same social occasion, there would not be another party, dinner or ball in the territory worth going to.'' Scattered among the list are ''Media Magante'' Dr Mahabir Mohinder, his wife (''Working Woman'') Lina Ross and ''Ball Boy'' Ong Chin Huat. By a remarkable coincidence, the three are also respectively the publisher, associate publisher and social editor of - you guessed it - the Hong Kong Tatler. Funny thing that. WHAT is worth more - an amah or a race horse? (Tregunter residents need not answer.) If the question was put to management of Metro Broadcasts they would probably opt for the latter, judging from the following tale.

Fans of The Philippines Saturday Night Show tuned into the Metro Plus channel for its regular slot eight days ago, only to find live coverage of a night meeting at the Macau Jockey Club. They also heard a tape by host Michael Vincent explaining it had been pre-empted for the horse-racing.

A bewildered Vincent was told of the change the previous Monday, giving him no chance to warn listeners of his Saturday and Sunday night radio programmes.

Metro executives appear to believe advertisers are more attracted to horse-flesh than they are to the 15,000 Filipinos who tune into each of the programmes on those nights when the programme clashes with a night meeting in the Portuguese enclave.

WHAT do cigar loving man-about-town David Tang and the Duchess of York have in common? We don't know either, but our mole in the Royal Household tells us that Fergie, who stayed in the best rooms the Mandarin Oriental has to offer, was ''brought to Hong Kong'' by Tango. Go figure that one.