The people of Hong Kong deserve a democracy, says tycoon Bob Miller

DFS king Bob Miller also says that Hong Kong people deserve full democracy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 May, 2013, 9:48am

One of Hong Kong's most successful - and private - tycoons says the city's leadership needs to show vision and courage to ensure it prospers into the 21st century.

In a rare interview, Bob Miller, the reclusive billionaire behind the Duty Free Shoppers empire, also said Hong Kong people deserved a full democratic say in how the city is run.

Miller, who turns 80 today, was speaking exclusively to the South China Morning Post about his life over the past 50 years and his success in turning the fledgling Duty Free Shoppers from a small airport concession at the old Kai Tak Airport in 1960 into the global retail giant it is today.

Miller said the city has been at the heart of his success and is a place he cares about deeply.

He said whoever is chief executive should be able to stand up to Beijing when necessary. "I'm a great believer in Hong Kong and think it is always wrong to write this place off. So many times I have seen the city bounce back after it looked like circumstances were getting the better of it.

"A good administration and a good chief executive with vision and the courage to stand up to China and call a spade a spade when he thinks something is good for Hong Kong and push it through is the way Hong Kong can prosper.

"I have to think that with honest leadership and good vision a path can be developed for Hong Kong to continue to achieve a better life for its people … I think the people have to be more involved."

Asked if he was talking about full, one-person, one-vote democracy, Miller said: "Yes I am."