Stock market crashes meeting with treasury boss

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 September, 2008, 12:00am

The Democrats may not be as powerful as they once were but as party chairman and newly re-elected lawmaker, Albert Ho Chun-yan still carries some cachet. So it just fed into the Democrats' insecurity when senior government officials stood them up.

This week, Ho was to pay a visit to Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung (below). But at the last minute, he was told the meeting had been cancelled. Not one to take a rejection lightly, the legislator reportedly complained the government would not dare do the same thing to his pro-Beijing rivals in the Legislative Council.

It turned out the timing was just unfortunate. The world's stock markets were falling like rocks, the Hang Seng had lost more than 1,000 points and frantic clients were crowding into AIA offices, the local subsidiary of US insurance giant AIG, which was in imminent danger of collapse. So all the top finance officials were called in to help devise plans to calm the panic. In the event, it was an understandable cancellation.

In any case, Chan has promised to brief lawmakers on this week's events very shortly.