Lai See

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 July, 2011, 12:00am


Let justice prevail for a well-respected judge

What next for Admiralty judge Anselmo Reyes, and when? We hear the well-respected judge, who has presided over all things maritime since 2008, has delayed his departure from the bench until next year. After apparently being passed over this year for appointment to the appeal court, Mr Justice Reyes was due to leave soon to take up a university teaching post. But we are now told he will not be going for another year. Hopefully, the judiciary will realise he would be a sad loss for the Court of First Instance. Reyes, who was a member of the steering committee on civil justice reform and the working party on mediation, is known as a swift dispenser of justice, which is not to every lawyer's cup of tea. At one case management conference, when the judge dealt quickly with legal points on a case expected to last two weeks, a lawyer was heard to comment, with some regret, that the case was likely to be all over by lunchtime on the first day, with a written judgment from Reyes the same afternoon.

All the news of the world's a stage

The phone-hacking scandal that is consuming much of Britain has been described as Shakespearean for its many subplots and threads. This has given rise to a thread on Twitter - #shakespeare4murdoch - which has caused some mirth among tweeters. Here are a few examples:

- 'To BSkyB or not to BSkyB that is the question;

- 'Friends Romans countrymen, lend me your phones;

- 'Now is the printer of our discontent;

- 'A pair of star-crossed coppers;

- 'If we Murdochs have offended, think but this: News of the World is ended;

- 'When shall we three meet again? Lewisham police station in October;

- 'Come, let's away to prison; we two alone will sing like birds i' the cage;

- 'Remorse, remorse, my kingdom for remorse;

- 'Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this Sun on Sunda;

- 'All the news of the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely played;

- 'Something is rotten in the state of news corp;

- 'A plague upon all your papers.'

Las Vegas forever more

Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, used a conference call to let rip with another of his blasts at US President Barak Obama. 'I believe in Las Vegas ... its best days are ahead of it. But I'm afraid to do anything in the current political environment in the US,' Wynn declared. He laid the blame on Obama, calling his administration 'the greatest wet blanket to business, and progress and job creation in my lifetime'. The roots of his displeasure go back to shortly after the financial crisis began, when Obama criticised financial firms that took taxpayers' money and then organised events in Las Vegas. This led a number of firms to cancel their bookings, a setback to an already hurting Vegas.

Heavy cost of adventure

China Strategic Holdings remains in the financial doldrums. It issued a profit warning yesterday reporting gloomily that it would continue to report a loss for the period ending June 30. China Strategic, it will be recalled, was the vehicle that was taken over by financial wizards Raymond Orr Ching-fai, former vice-chairman and chief executive of Hang Seng Bank, and Frederick Ma Si-hang, also a former banker and government official, for the purpose of acquiring, together with private equity fund Primus Financial Services, AIG's Taiwan-based Nan Shan Life Insurance. Both men stood to get substantial bonuses if they could pull off the deal, which was perhaps why they persisted for so long despite a deafening 'no' from Taiwanese lawmakers and media. China Strategic noted a significant fall in administrative costs in the recent six months compared with 'substantial' expenses incurred by that project. But there is no indication as to what adventure they will subject their shareholders to next.

Disappearing decency

One of the gloomier aspects of the phone-hacking concerns revelations of payments to the police. We were therefore intrigued by the following observation, unearthed by Reuters, from Sir Robert Mark, former head of London's metropolitan police in the 1970s: 'The basic test of a decent police force is that it catches more criminals than it employs.'


In our piece yesterday, 'Rating agencies have uncanny knack for getting it right', we mentioned erroneously that Fitch withdrew its rating on Sino-Forest on July 18. Fitch has asked us to point out that it did this on July 14.