New business alliance's members have most paid directorships

Seven members hold total of 63 paid board positions, but Michael Tien leads the pack with 42, while Liberal Party lawmakers have 41

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2012, 2:53pm

A new pro-business alliance has emerged as the Legislative Council group with the most paid company directorships.

The seven members of the alliance are directors of 63 companies, compared with 42 for the New People's Party - all held by deputy chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun - and 41 for the Liberal Party.

A political commentator said having so many directorships might reinforce the perception that it primarily served business interests. He said its members must be careful this was not an obstacle to its pledge "to bridge the gap between the business sector and the rest of Hong Kong".

The lawmakers' register of interests was published on Legco's website after Wednesday's deadline for legislators to submit their shareholdings, paid directorships, property and election donations.

Tien, chairman of the G2000 garment retailer, is also a director of numerous property investment companies.

His directorship tally is also the biggest of any individual lawmaker. Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee did not register any.

The new alliance has yet to announce an official English name, but its Chinese name translates as the Hong Kong economic and livelihood alliance.

Alliance member and real estate and construction sector lawmaker Abraham Razack came equal second on the individual chart with 28 paid director posts, including 11 listed companies, including the MTR Corporation and New World Development subsidiary NWS Holdings.

Alliance chairman Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who also chairs Legco's agenda-setting House Committee, is a paid director in 17 companies, including Dah Sing Bank and China Capital International.

Together with members Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung (9), Lau Wong-fat (3), Christopher Cheung Wah-fung (3), Priscilla Leung Mei-fun (2), and Lo Wai-kwok (1), the alliance holds about 30 per cent of 206 paid directorships taken up by legislators.

Political commentator Dr James Sung Lap-kung, of City University, said the large number of director posts might hinder the ability of lawmakers to deal with livelihood issues if the group was determined to keep in touch with the people.

"It might affect public impressions," Sung said. "They will have to be clear about their orientation if they want to engage with the lower class."

Independent pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun registered the most land and property interests - he has 26 in Hong Kong, on the mainland, Australia and the United States.

While the pan-democrats were outnumbered by their pro-establishment rivals in directorships and properties, they appeared to be better in securing campaign donations.

The Democratic Party's Sin Chung-kai, Emily Lau Wai-hing, James To Kun-sun and the Civic Party's Ronny Tong Ka-wah received HK$35,000 to HK$50,000 each from Lan Kwai Fong Holdings chairman Allan Zeman.