URBANE barrister Alan Hoo has hit out at 'gossip mongers' who claim he is getting twitchy at the idea of an 'anti-China' lawyer chairing the Bar Association.
The man who made the most of an education in Britain - Charterhouse public school followed by the august London School of Economics - is angry at rumours that he has launched a campaign against Gladys Li, who will be officially installed in the job on January 19.
Whispers coming our way suggested he has been scurrying around various legal chambers in the territory urging all and sundry to persuade the present incumbent of the post, Ronny Wong, to stay in the job.
They said Mr Wong's attitude to Beijing was far less strident than Ms Li's, whose own father, the first Chinese Justice in Hong Kong, espouses hardline pro-Beijing views in contradiction to those of his Cambridge-educated, British-born daughter.
'These rumours are absolutely not true,' said Mr Hoo. 'I don't think Gladys is anti-China. My only concern was that I thought Ronny should have stayed in the job for the full two-year term instead of stepping down after one so he could continue the work he had started.
'People have been stirring things. They can't understand why Ronny stepped down and so want to believe the Bar is divided.' So why did Mr Wong throw in the towel so suddenly? Mr Hoo wouldn't comment but others contacted by Keeping Posted suggested the poor chap acted rather hastily in a moment of stress 'when it all got a bit too much for him' - and now regrets his decision but feels unable to undo it.
Meanwhile, an unperturbed Ms Li commented: 'I don't think of myself as being anti-China. I think the chairman of the Bar has a number of very difficult tasks to perform. It really does not help if one is stuck with certain labels.' Quite so.