RUNNING on the assumption the chief executive of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) could be someone we have never even heard of let alone expected, the best we can hope for is a dark horse we can put a face and a feedbag to. On that basis, I can come up with some very hot contenders. It is not only John Chan Cho-chuk who can retire from government and wait in the stable for the call. As he, meantime, runs Kowloon Motor Bus - one of the few examples where the internal combustion engine has proved a regression from the horse, which can stay upright when it goes round corners - this has proved apt. Former Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey has also suspiciously retired. Mr Asprey was never the most loved of senior officials because his job more or less preoccupied him with detaining people. Now his experience may come into its own. After 1997 we could all be detained where we stand. Another contender could be former police officer Ayub Khan. His tenacity over 20 years in loudly decrying his dismissal from the force and sending vituperative tracts against Governors to journalists and many others unfortunate enough to be in the telephone directory actually earned him a medal. Anyone who can hurl deletable expletives at government and get decorated for it will prove a valuable man in the top chair. A very strong dark horse pawing the ground as he waits is, of course, Dr Ronald Leung Ding-bong, chairman of the Urban Council. His flair for generating negative publicity has rapidly made him a public figure and should get him into Legco, quick sharp. His catalogue of achievements is well known. Never before has anyone been so preoccupied with public lavatories without being arrested. He is the man who signed the delivery note for the world's biggest maladjusted stadium. He is the only person in the Urban Council who can communicate with foreigners. Dr Leung is fascinated by the civic practices of other cities. For example, he recently studied street sweeping in Tokyo. It is rumoured that the report concludes that Japanese experience shows if you are sweeping in an east to west or north to south direction the brush action should be right to left and left to right. At the moment this is classified information because it would require a massive retraining scheme to bring Hong Kong sweepers up to standard. In the dimmer crevices of the administration I have been looking with new respect this week at Raphael Hui Si-yan, Commissioner for Transport. His plans to commission lots less transport put him into the twilight zone in the running for the top job. To use a bidding system to allocate an annual quota of 20,000 new car licences, Mr Hui has come up with an exquisite scheme for a society where corruption is as casual as morning coffee. And where, as the Bible oddly has it: 'Unto those that have shall be given and unto those that have not shall be taken away.' But when Hui mentioned the ultimate possibility of electronic road pricing, I thought why not go for broke and call Alan Scott back to the SAR? We could write letters of support for him to the highest places, but then again, recalling the mail that flooded the Queen before he left the Caymans, he could do that for himself. Further away from administration and politics, the world of meter racing lost its leading contender for chief executive with the death of one Andely Chan Yiu-hing whose androgynous first name should have won a day job in a fashion house or an art gallery. In fact, Chan was a prominent triad in Wan Chai. As is often the case with criminal characters who have minds like torture chambers, he was reputed to have a heart of gold, especially among some show business personalities. Since show business in this town has the same sort of synergy with hoods as policemen do with freemasonry and shampoo boys with grievous bodily harm, we must assume they knew what they were talking about. To be a brutal enforcer on the one hand and a cheerful benefactor on the other is the very essence of enlightened despotism and might prove a winning combination in the SAR after the democratic talking shops are shut down. From that point of view all is not lost. In recent weeks, the police have embarked on a lengthy series of interviews with Sun Yee On and other triad members, doubtless in the hope of finding a replacement candidate. The world of show business itself would seem too giddy and fatuous to provide a candidate for a CEO position. Yet a dark horse here too whinnies away on CD and TV. Leon Lai Ming is one of the most popular crooners and movie stars in Hong Kong. It is a view held as commonly as an ID card that Leon can neither act nor sing. Leon only has to pause for breath to come back at you with a whole new octave. To hold down a prominent job in the public eye without any of the skills required and yet still remain tremendously popular must be the fantasy of any politician. They should know that it can be arranged by TVB. For the SAR chief executive it would prove a particularly appropriate arrangement. Evidence of competence, particularly if it is at odds with the mainland Government, could prove disastrous for the fellow and lead to dismissal or hemlock. I have even thought of proposing myself for the post. I would become an instant favourite of China for not being able to understand a word of what's going on around me. But on the same topic, and talking of horses, there is always of course commentator and Ulsterman Robin Parke. Those around him would not be able to understand a word he was saying. However, I believe the hottest tip among the darkest horses running this week is Chan Tze-tan. His Daoist studies have led him to tie a silk band around his genitals and lift up to 150 pounds of weights with them. I can think of no one more suited to lead the SAR government than one who has been got by the balls and enjoys it.