Hot tea is cold comfort for press pack hungry for a scoop on Kwoks

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am

If nothing else, the city's leading tycoons know how to treat the press. They may despise the media with all their heart but they know how to kill them with kindness.

Take Sun Hung Kai Properties chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung. The hacks were out in force outside the developer's headquarters on a chilly Tuesday morning in Causeway Bay this week. This came hours after the blue-chip company unexpectedly announced, late at night that Mr Kwok would take a leave of absence.

The surprise move was, according to company insiders, the outcome of a simmering family dispute and linked to Mr Kwok's long-time friendship with a woman who was disapproved of by the rest of the family because of her growing ambition and influence over the property group.

The press had waited for hours in the freezing cold when finally the company's security honchos came out, followed by an army of guards. Everyone geared up for a fight as they thought they were about to be evicted.

But instead of batons, the guards were carrying trays with hot tea and coffee for the hacks to ward off the cold. How kind!

No company official ever came out to answer questions, of course, and the Kwok brothers never showed up. But this seems to be an emerging public relations strategy - feed them but make them wait.

At 'the wedding of the century' in October of former model Cathy Chui Chi-kei and Martin Lee Ka-shing, son of Henderson Land boss Lee Shau-kee, the paparazzi were each offered sushi and sashimi, roasted suckling pig and a HK$500 takeaway dinner pack with abalone and goose liver.

They know the way to a poor hack's heart is through his stomach.