Five scoop Hong Kong prize for achievement and inspiration

Prestigious gong given to smallest number of winners in 15 years, despite surge in nominations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 October, 2016, 9:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 2016, 10:18pm

Only five people received a prestigious city award for young people – the fewest winners in 15 years – despite a rise in the number of nominations, organisers said.

The Ten Outstanding Young Persons Selection awards, organised by non-profit group Junior Chamber International, are given to Hongkongers aged between 21 and 40 who have excelled professionally and made a notable contribution to the community.

The judging panel can choose up to 10 people to receive the award, and there have been at least five winners each year since the awards’ inaugural selection began in 1970.

Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, the chief judge on the panel, dismissed the idea that the shorter winners’ list meant that the qualities and contributions of the city’s young people had been deteriorating.

“Our judging principles are very clear. This year only five were able to fully qualify [for this award] in excelling in their work as well as being able to serve the community out of more than 20 candidates in the final round, but this does not mean that the quality of young people has gone down,” Wu said.

Organisers have also said that more people have been nominated in recent years and they have had an increasing pool of talent to choose from.

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There have been at least 8 recipients every year in the past decade, while this year is the sixth time only five people have been chosen.

Edward Choi Man-lik, a laboratory scientist based in Sierra Leone and Britain, scooped his award for his outstanding achievements working on the front lines during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Choi gave up his high-paying research job in the United States in 2013 to volunteer. Last year he did so, diagnosing and testing patients for the deadly virus, which killed more than 11,000 people and ­triggered a global health alert.

“The satisfaction you get from really being able to help people is priceless,” Choi said.

Choi, who now helps set up laboratories with modern diagnostic technology for local hospitals in Sierra Leone, is also trying to find partners in the city to help create free prosthetics for amputees with 3D printing technology.

Tenpin bowling world champion Wu Siu-hong, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer two years ago, won for his determination in battling cancer to become a world-class athlete on top of his work in educating and inspiring young people.

The other winners were investment manager Fonia Wong Yeung-fong, architect Tony Ip Chung-man and art director Comma Chan Hin-wang.