Fugitive don receives HKU award in absentia

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 June, 2011, 12:00am

Famed Hong Kong economist and US fugitive Steven Cheung Ng-sheong did not show up to collect a teaching award from the University of Hong Kong last night.

The HKU Faculty of Business and Economics honoured Cheung for 'exemplary contribution to economic education in HKU'.

If the retired professor had appeared, he could have faced extradition to the United States, where there is an open warrant for his arrest.

He was seen as a contender for the Nobel Prize and is best known for his 1981 prediction that communist China would 'one day go capitalist'.

In 2003, US authorities indicted Cheung and his wife Linda on charges of tax evasion and fraud.

The prosecutors alleged the couple owned and profited from a multimillion-dollar car park business in Hong Kong, but hid their stakes to avoid US taxes. Cheung fled to mainland China and is believed to be living there.

Cheung led HKU's School of Economics and Finance from 1992 to 2000. His contract was not renewed because, he claimed, another professor made defamatory remarks about him.

Cheung received his award via video, an event organiser said. He shares the award with Edward Chen Kwan-yiu, former president of Lingnan University.