Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am

Public Eye has bone to pick with tycoons

The Public Eye is mad as hell. We'll tell you why. But be warned, it'll make you mad as hell too. Our blood reached boiling point after hearing about the high-handed behaviour of one of our tycoons. A reader, who was at the receiving end of it, told us her story. It happened outside the Fook Lam Moon restaurant in Wan Chai, nicknamed the canteen of the rich. Just as she was about to walk past the entrance of the ludicrously pricey restaurant, tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung of China Estates Holdings swept up in his swanky car for lunch. His bodyguard leapt out and blocked her and all other pedestrians until Lau exited his car to enter the restaurant. We seethed on hearing the story. Even Bill Gates wouldn't dare do that. Actually, he wouldn't even think of doing it. But our tycoons dare do anything. They dare because they know the government wouldn't dare stop them. It's not just the likes of Lau that have finally driven people into becoming mad as hell. It's not just that the police look the other way when tycoons double-park outside Fook Lam Moon, clogging up a busy road. It's not just that the police will instead go after old men shining shoes in Central for a living. It's not just that our leaders daren't do anything when property developers needlessly increase the thickness of walls and then count it as usable space for the sole purpose of pushing up flat prices. It's not just that a shortage of university places means even qualified school-leavers are shut out from higher education yet senior bureaucrats can use public money to send their own kids to colleges overseas. It's not just that our bureaucrats are among the world's highest-paid, while ordinary families aren't even protected by a modest minimum wage law. It's all of these things. Our leaders can't figure out why Hong Kong people are suddenly rising up with such rage. They're aghast that 10,000 young protesters would go as far as to lay siege to the Legco building. As we said last week, the answer is everywhere. It reads: 'We're fed up.' But you can't see it from the inside of a chauffeured car.

Got a grievance? Police chief will take your call

If you're mad as hell who are you going to call? As we noted last week, pro-government legislator Ip Kwok-him called the police commissioner. He gave Tang King-shing an earful when the police failed to clear an escape path for him after young protesters surrounded the Legco building. Well, that made Public Eye mad as hell. If Ip has a direct line to the police commissioner, so should everyone else. So we called Tang's office. His secretary tried bouncing us to his PR people but we stood firm. She then said he wasn't in. We left our number. His PR people called but we insisted on speaking to the commissioner. Guess what? An hour later the commissioner called back. If you're mad as hell that we can get through, then you should try calling too. If you actually get through you might want to ask him why tycoons are allowed to double-park outside the Fook Lam Moon. Let us know what happens.

From heritage site to exclusive club

Do you know what else gets people mad as hell? It's when bureaucrats allow our few remaining heritage sites to become exclusive enclaves for the rich. The old pawnshop building in Wan Chai, now the upscale Pawn restaurant, is off-limits unless you're willing to pay its outrageous prices. The taxpayer-financed Urban Renewal Authority, which turned the site into a playground for the privileged, says regular folks are allowed limited access to the roof as an 'act of goodwill' by the authority. On behalf of all the regular folks in Hong Kong, Public Eye bows in deep gratitude to the URA for its act of goodwill.