• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 12:52pm
NewsHong Kong
GOVERNMENT

Paul Chan, a man determined to rise above poverty

Born to a squatter family, Paul Chan's focus in his early life was to improve his living conditions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 5:00am
 

In the last political crisis he faced just days after his appointment as development minister last July, Paul Chan Mo-po sought to reassure Hongkongers that he was devoted to public service.

"Serving the society is the primary goal of the second half of my life," he told reporters then, as he rejected calls for his resignation over accusations he was involved in a venture that rented out subdivided flats.

A year on, Chan, 58, is embroiled in yet another controversy - this time over his family's investments in New Territories agricultural land included in government development plans.

Chan, the former head of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, probably never anticipated the bumpy road of public service when he won his seat in the legislature in 2008.

Born to a family living in the Shek Kip Mei squatter area, the first half of Chan's life was one of poverty. "Being from the bottom of the society, I was often looked down upon when I was young," he once said.

But material deprivation also gave him a clear direction in life: to rise above the poverty he was born into.

In the early 80s, he put himself on the fast track towards obtaining the qualifications to become an accountant. He also studied for a master's degree in business administration.

At work, he would switch jobs as long as his new employer offered him better pay.

Serving the society is the primary goal of the second half of my life

In a 2006 interview with Next Magazine, Chan said he worked very hard in his younger days, hoping to lift his family out of their poverty and to improve their living conditions.

But while his hard work did pay off and he became better off, his mother died of brain cancer in 1984 while his sister - who managed to obtain a law degree despite being ill - died of complications from an undisclosed hereditary disease in 1997. "Yes, I have come to the top, but what now?" he said.

Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, vicar-general of the Catholic diocese, who knew Chan through his charity work for Caritas before he became a lawmaker, yesterday described the development minister as "neither a bad guy nor a greedy man".

"Perhaps [Chan] has failed to handle [these controversies] wisely, but he is sincere," said Yeung. "I hope the matter can be resolved soon."

 

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This article is now closed to comments

daily
I think the most ridiculous statement he's made is that his wife's sale of the property to her brother should release him from conflict-of-interest issues..........WAKE UP PAUL!....... and don't treat HK citizents like idiots.........that's not an arms-length transaction and you will not be able to prove that the brother is not holding onto the property to gain the same monetary benefits as if the wife held onto it..........Any potential monetary gains on the property from the brother, benefits the "family" on the whole and stems from your involvement in the project. He is simply trying to play with the words to hide from the "obvious"conflict-of-interest he's involved in............If this guy still manages to stay on as the development minister, the HK government and the CE are all hideous crooks........CROOKS!
chuchu59
My view is that he is very greedy. Even assuming that he was an astute investor and bought the farmland in 1994 he should have sold it off to someone unrelated to him when he took of the development secretary's portfolio last year. He didnt and retained the asset within his 'family'. The price of the farmland must have increased greatly in value since he took charge and now his 'family' sells it at market value. Greed at its extreme. That said, however, I hope the press does not continue to stalk his children. He has integrity doubts but his children should be spared.
hard times !
he is neither greedy nor bad
but just insensitive
towards politics only
how can he not
distance himself and his
family from any lands
or flats tradings/ownership
before taking up the post
of development minister
as Carrie Lam did
of course he couldn't
know that one day
his plot of farmland
a wasteland indeed
could easily fetch
up to 17 millions
19 years later when
there is a development
plan headed by him
Chan Mo-po who came
from a poor family but
determined to raise
from the poverty and
serve the community
in his second half of life
though a successful lawmker
but a poor minister in an
unsuitable post since his
wife was too eager in
investments in flats and land
the last straw on this old
camel's back is nobody
but his dear wife, also
an alumni of Chinese Univ.
which anthem was partially
quoted by Paul Chan at
a wrong place and wrong time
so did his quote of the Holy
Bible which was tarnished
by him too.
Step down ! Paul
there is no other way out
Go !
Kailim
Maybe I am wrong. I do hope so.
It becomes from obvious to crystal clear that this scandal is in fact a well orchestrated political persecution and purge. The next target, Eddie Ng the Secretary for Education, is emerging.
Maybe Peter Woo is right. Someone out there want to prove that 'two systems within one country' is not viable.
For the sake of Hong Kong, I suggest those respectable politicians and pundits take a good look at the present dysfunction bipartisan government of the USA. And try to learn some lessons from them.
Give Hong Kong a chance, please. Good luck Hong Kong, my home.

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