• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 7:51pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2012, 3:07am

Questions are being asked about David Perry QC

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

The news that the Prosecutions Department has briefed England's David Perry QC to prosecute the corruption trial of former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan and the Kwok brothers has raised eyebrows in legal circles, not because Perry is other than an excellent choice, but because it smacks of favouritism.

Perry prosecuted the Nancy Kissel murder trial, and is currently prosecuting the Tony Chan Chun-chuen case. Why, people are asking, should three such plum prosecution briefs all go to the same London silk? Good though Perry undoubtedly is, there are many excellent criminal silks in London, so why is Perry being singled out, time after time? People are curious.

 

Singapore strike

In order to preserve ethnic purity and expand a docile but infertile, population, Singapore in about 1990 embarked on an engineered immigration push that has seen its population almost double to 5.2 million.

The government doesn't release the ethnic origins of immigrants but many have clearly come from mainland China. However, the drawbacks of this policy have started to become evident in recent months with a number of incidents which have resulted in the emergence of strong anti-mainland sentiment - particularly on social media.

Recently events took a different turn when four bus drivers originally were arrested by the authorities, accused of instigating Singapore's first strikes since 1985. Observers have been struck by the irony that the newcomers like their fractious brethren across the mainland, turn out to be difficult, argumentative and unafraid of officialdom.

The Chinese embassy in Singapore has intervened to defend these people. All this from a government that once pursued, harried and persecuted local Chinese suspected of sympathising with Communist China. How the wheel turns. One cannot but feel that this will have a profound effect on the flavour of Singapore politics in the years to come.

 

Molyneux rises again

Alex Molyneux, former chief executive of coal miner SouthGobi Resources has resurfaced as executive chairman of Australian Securities Exchange-listed explorer Celsius Coal.

Celsius, with a market capitalisation of A$30 million (HK$243 million), is a good dealer smaller than SouthGobi at HK$2.8 billion.

However, he told The Australian he plans to turn the relative minnow and its basket of early stage coal resources in Kyrgyzstan into a significant player. Indeed, he believes it has the attributes to rival Hong Kong-listed Mongolian Mining Corp. Molyneux, it will be recalled, became caught up in Aluminum Corp of China's (Chalco) failed attempt to take over SouthGobi.

The timing of the deal was poor, coming in the middle of a Mongolian election. Since mainland China is unpopular in Mongolia, heated words were directed at the deal. Molyneux was fired by Rio Tinto, the new owners of SouthGobi, in an attempt to patch up its relations with Mongolia's government.

 

Flying high with KFC

Something for those travelling on Japan Airlines (JAL) to look forward to. From December 1 to February 28, those travelling in premium economy and economy class on JAL from Narita to New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, London, Paris and Frankfurt, will be served with what JAL appears to think is an unrivalled treat.

The airline will be serving that well-known food of the gods - Kentucky Fried Chicken. The airline assures in its celebratory press release that passengers will be getting the same "unique taste of KFC's trade secret recipe". As if flying wasn't bad enough.

 

Tweet twit

Social media pundits tell us it's been a great year for social media with more users, more innovative applications and so on. However, some people have become severely unstuck in their use of it.

Take the case of the CFO of Francesca's, a clothing retailer with stores in 44 states in the US. Gene Morphis stepped out of a board meeting and tweeted, "Board meeting. Good numbers=Happy Board". The only problem was that Francesca's is publicly listed. The stock rose 15 per cent over the next week until its earnings were announced. He was fired.

 

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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XYZ
Another Lai See column brought to you by Cathay Pacific Airways?
ianson
David Perry - When you're on a good thing stick to it; and he has built up considerable local knowledge. The choice makes sense.
 
 
 
 
 

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