Politicians and leaders pay last respects to Hong Kong’s rural strongman Lau Wong-fat

Funeral of former Heung Yee Kuk chairman filled with wreaths from Chinese state leaders and Hong Kong’s business and political elites

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 10:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 3:48pm

Hong Kong rural leaders and politicians from various camps paid their last respects to the late “King of New Territories” Lau Wong-fat on Wednesday, at a funeral hall adorned with wreaths from Chinese state leaders and members of the city’s political and business elite.

The hall in the Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point was decorated in white and gold, with a portrait of Lau, who died last month, placed on the altar.

A huge banner with the words “of noble character and high eminence” was hung above it. Couplets were also placed on both sides of the altar – one was inscribed with “love the country, love Hong Kong, love the home village”, while the other read “complete loyalty, complete sincerity, complete obedience”.

Hong Kong’s ‘King of New Territories’ Lau Wong-fat dies at age 80

The former chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, a government-recognised advisory body on New Territories affairs, had maintained a wide political network which spanned both local and mainland circles, evident in the long list of powerful people who had sent wreaths.

This included vice-president Li Yuanchao, National People’s Congress head Zhang Dejiang, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya and Hong Kong’s first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, who is now a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also sent a wreath, as well as Lau’s tycoon friends Li Ka-shing and his son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, Charles Ho Tsu-kwok, and Peter Woo Kwong-ching.

The pavements outside the funeral home were also covered with floral tributes.

Lau’s wake was held around 5pm on Wednesday, and was attended by former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, former financial chief John Tsang Chun-wah, banker David Li Kwok-po, and pan-democrats Emily Lau Wai-hing, Albert Ho Chun-yan and Tsang Kin-shing, among others.

Lau, who was affectionately called Uncle Fat, died on July 23 at the age of 80 in his mansion in Tuen Mun. No cause of death has been announced by his family.

A Buddhist funeral service will be held on Thursday.

Lau will also be buried in an ancestral graveyard in his home village of Lung Kwu Tan.

Before the burial on Thursday, three public memorial ceremonies will be held – at the Heung Yee Kuk Building in Sha Tin at about 11am, at Tin Hau Temple Plaza in Tuen Mun at about 12.30pm, and at Lung Kwu Tan village in Tuen Mun at about 2.30pm.