Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2007, 12:00am

PR gurus trained in the art of putting an end to the affair

Former education chief Arthur Li Kwok-cheung was said to have commented: 'I'll remember this. You'll pay.'

The phrase may resonate with Radio Television Hong Kong chief Chu Pui-hing, who resigned yesterday after being photographed with a mainland companion.

Over the weekend, Hong Kong readers have learnt details about 'Must Cara', whose neat play with the words for eyelash-darkener (mascara) befits what is a Japanese-style karaoke centre in Causeway Bay where Mr Chu spent a happy evening before emerging to be caught by a gang of photographers (waiting for other prey). This prompted the radio boss to try to hide behind his lady friend.

The news swept through Central, particularly the corporate affairs departments of some blue-chip companies, some of whom were prepared to talk with Lai See off the record. We were particularly interested in how they would response if their top executive were pictured holding hands with a lady who was not his wife.

A head of corporate affairs at a bank said: 'I can offer different scenarios - maybe the lady was drunk and our man just gave her a help in a gentlemanly way. Maybe he was only covering up for his friend.

'Trust me, I can name half a dozen cases associated with local senior government officials and chief executives and not one needed a resignation or a divorce.'

A Cheung Kong Center public relations veteran had a more phlegmatic view: 'It won't happen to us. If it happened to my boss, I am sure he would pose for a smile. There's no need for us to worry.'

The reason for this lack of concern was soon made clear:

'As a policy, we don't usually advertise in a newspaper that writes negatively about us.'

From IFC, we heard: 'It is a private matter of a certain individual of a private company. But hey, my friend, your man needs to be careful. Your reputation can be gone in a day.'

Giving charity 24 hours

Try a little kindness, charity is in your neighbourhood.

Today 7-Eleven is to unveil a charity donation service with HSBC on the eve of the 26th birthday of the stores in Hong Kong.

People will be able to give through the stores' pay system to any of eight designated charities, similar to the way shoppers can pay their utility bills. The idea is believed to be the first of its kind in the region.

VTech executive gets his share

Former VTech Holdings deputy chairman Albert Lee Wai-kuen is heading for a happy retirement.

In his 23rd and final year with the company, Mr Lee was rewarded with a pay cheque of US$7.8 million, up 16.4 per cent on the year before.

His pay, which included a US$6.8 million bonus, is higher than that of chairman Allan Wong Chi-yun, who had a 15 per cent increase in total remuneration to US$3.8 million.

Mr Lee owned 4.04 million shares of which 1.75 million were exercised at HK$10.20 in September 2005. V-Tech shares closed yesterday at HK$72 and his shares, assuming he has not already cashed out, are worth HK$291 million.

Finger makes a point

How to make a simple clarification? Follow the example of Mengniu Dairy chairman Niu Gensheng, who in his blog ( set an example to other bloggers on how to put a finger on the right spot.

The recent conflict between Groupe Danone and Wahaha Group has put the Mengniu-Danone joint venture in the spotlight, with some discussion forums suggesting Danone owned 49 per cent of Mengniu (which in fact is a Mengniu-Danone joint venture).

'To make an analogy, it is 49 per cent of a small finger, not 49 per cent of a whole hand,' he wrote.

The Mengniu-Danone venture contributed about 3.1 per cent of Mengniu's production.

Gore to clear the air again

Al Gore is coming to town again. The world's best known campaigner on environmental issues will be dropping by in a month to meet 300 guests invited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.