The plots thicken

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2016, 5:26am

English teachers: when next you need to define 'conflict of interest' to local students, use just three short words: Lau Wong-fat.

As head of the Heung Yee Kuk, Lau (right) is the middle man between New Territories villagers and the government. While fighting for his people's rights, Lau has found time to lay his hands on a lot of his own terra firma. He has so many plots of land, in fact, that he keeps forgetting about dozens of them on the declarations he must make to the Executive and Legislative councils. He and his family are so focused on the property market that his son was able to conjure HK$800,000 out of a single deft property flip. At last count - and, remember, these counts have been found to be incomplete before - Lau and his family hold 724 plots of land and 40 commercial or residential properties.

'It is normal for people in a Chinese society like ours to hate the rich,' Lau has said. 'They are jealous of my good fortune.'

Might it not be the case, Mr Lau, that the animosity you are experiencing comes from people who cannot fathom how someone has been able to amass such a vast estate while supposedly working for the benefit of others?