No escape from student loans for Hong Kong magician

Government sues escape artist Louis Yan Chak-kuen over unpaid HK$330,520

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 9:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 11:45am

A local magician has pledged to immediately repay thousands of dollars in student loans after the government threatened legal action against the escape artist.

A District Court writ filed on Tuesday by the Department of Justice showed magician Louis Yan Chak-kuen borrowed HK$305,808 from the government-run Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency in the early 2000s to pursue tertiary studies.

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It said since 2015, Yan had only paid one instalment of HK$9,000 on the loan, which expires 10 years after graduation.

The public body, which provides financial assistance to students, claimed the 34-year-old magician owed a total of HK$330,520, including interest.

The magician’s manager, who preferred not to be named, yesterday said she had contacted the Department of Justice upon learning of the writ and informed the authority that Yan would be paying the loan off in one go.

The manager said: “It was a miscommunication.”

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She said Yan had discussed the loan repayment with the lender a year and a half ago. But communication between the two dropped off at one point, leaving Yan thinking he was awaiting a reply.

The loan was for Yan’s associate degree of Arts in Business at Hong Kong Baptist University’s College of International Education, and a bachelor of arts at the University of Wollongong, where he said he picked up magic.

Yan gained notoriety in 2010 after he won international magic contests in America and Hungary. He then became a household name after hosting Magic Battle on local broadcaster TVB, and in 2013 broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest escape from a straitjacket and chains underwater.