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Leung Chun-ying

Tycoons and political leaders pay tribute at funeral of Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu-tung

Philanthropist and developer praised for his generosity and patriotism

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 October, 2016, 1:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 October, 2016, 11:13pm

A who’s who of Hongkongers were among hundreds who paid tribute on Thursday at the funeral of late billionaire Cheng Yu-tung, the city’s third-richest man.

They praised Cheng for his generosity and patriotism, hailing his support for the younger generation in particular.

The city’s top political leaders and business tycoons were among eight pall-bearers for Cheng, who died on September 29 at the age of 91.

They included Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, property magnate Li Ka-shing, Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee, director of the central government’s liaison office Zhang Xiaoming and Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on.

Speaking at the funeral, Tung, now vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s top political advisory body, hailed Cheng as a “great philanthropist” who contributed to China’s modernisation and opening-up for decades.

“Cheng’s departure is a loss for us, and a loss for the country,” Tung said. “His love for the country, for Hong Kong ... deserves the respect of the generations to come.”

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Henry Cheng Kar-shun, Cheng’s eldest son who succeeded him at the helm of property group New World Development four years ago, said he would carry on with his father’s commitment to social responsibility.

Key beliefs Cheng espoused were printed on the back of a booklet distributed at the funeral.

“Abide by your words and be true to your promises; be hard working and cautious; be grateful for all our blessings and never forget our roots; don’t abandon your sense of morality and justice in pursuit of self-interest,” it read.“All these truths should be viewed as a complete set, and no single principle should ever be ignored.”

Among the mourners, former Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk told the Post he had known Cheng a long time and appreciated his benevolence.

“He was enthusiastic with charities and donated a lot of money to the Hospital Authority to help those in need,” he said.

University of Hong Kong president and vice chancellor Professor Peter Mathieson said: “I’m here today to pay tribute to a very significant figure in Hong Kong society who has demonstrated support for education, including to the University of Hong Kong.”

Since Wednesday, hundreds of wreaths have been laid in two parlour halls at the Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point and outside the building.

Among the senders were at least 13 current and former state leaders and Beijing officials, including National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang, CPPCC chairman Yu Zhengsheng and his predecessor Jia Qinglin.

Cheng’s body was cremated at Cape Collinson.