Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, doesn’t seem to be making friends with migrant workers in China.
According to a CCTV report aired this week, construction workers at a luxury residential project, developed by Li’s flagship company Hutchison Whampoa in China's northern Jilin province, claimed they were owed a year’s wages amounting to 20 million yuan (HK$24.91 million) in total.
More than 100 disgruntled workers took to the streets last week in a bid to get Li’s attention.
“I was told it was Li’s project, and I thought he couldn’t possibly lack money,” said Xu Dianjun, a construction worker demanding payment.
But Hutchison Whampoa said it was out of their hands. A spokesperson for the company told SCMP.com on Friday that they had made all the payments on time to a local contractor.
"The contractor delayed the project and caused us huge losses," said a Hutchison Whampoa official statement.
Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Hong Kong and Asia, owns amd controls a number of leading business concerns including Cheung Kong, Hutchison Whampoa, Cheung Kong Infrastructure, and Power Assets.
And it’s not just mainland migrant workers who feel bitter about powerful property developers.
An sarcastic article titled “Li’s city” claimed to have been written by a primary student in Hong Kong recently became an instant hit on the internet.
“Hong Kong is literally ‘Li’s City’,” read the article. “Li Ka-shing is our God. The Li family possesses super powers and protects ordinary wage earners from the rain and storms.”