Fragrance company DCHL used stars to boost image
DCHL claimed leading figures were customers or had backed its brand
Among local figures whose names were used by Digital Crown Holdings (HK) to boost the company's image are one of Hong Kong's highest-earning stars and a member of a leading charity.
But singer Kelly Chan Wai-lam says she has never been a customer of DCHL, while Salvation Army community relations director Simon Wong Kwok-ching says that when he was invited to speak at Christmas functions run by two companies he had no idea they were connected to DCHL.
A South China Morning Post reporter heard a DHCL staff member citing Chan and other celebrities including Taiwanese actress Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia as consumers while urging mainland visitors to sign up and become distributors.
Chan said through her assistant that she had only ever received free products from the company - the names of which she had forgotten - and was never a frequent or formal consumer of the brand.
Wong is listed in promotional material at the Causeway Bay sales centre as having made at least four speeches before thousands of new members to praise DCHL's "contribution" to Hong Kong society.
But he said he had no idea until he received inquiries from the Post that the two companies where he had made Christmas speeches since 2008 urging people to fight poverty were subsidiaries of DCHL.
"They cheated me and used me. I am so angry," Wong said. "None of them had mentioned their relations with DCHL."
The company lists former Miss Hong Kong Josephine Lam Kei-yan as its marketing figurehead, while singers such as Chan, Joey Yung Cho-yee and Leo Ku Kui-kei are described as consumers or party guests.
"If we were an illegal company, Hong Kong pop stars would not come," a senior female distributor was heard telling a group of mainlanders.
The distributor, showing the group a photo of her with Yung, said she and Ku had performed at DCHL parties for 10 years.
"Famous actresses like Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia and Kelly Chan Wai-lam are our products' consumers," she added.
In their claims to would-be distributors, staff were seen telling mainlanders that DCHL is a well-capitalised business as it has six sale centres in Causeway Bay, the world's second-most expensive shopping precinct.
It also hired Dr Terence Wong, an elocution and motivational speaking expert in Hong Kong, to train distributors to be persuasive sales staff.