Crisis specialists called in

Karen Winton

THE Lan Kwai Fong Association (LKFA) has appointed international public relations company Hill & Knowlton to handle all its crisis communications in the wake of the New Year's Eve tragedy.

Bentley DDB Needham was the association's public relations agency until recently, when the LKFA took all public relations work in-house.

The decision to appoint outside help was made purely on the basis of the tragedy's scale.

''On Friday, we decided that the accident was of such an immense proportion that it was advisable for us to utilise a public relations agency,'' said association spokesman Mr Tony Souza.

''We chose Hill & Knowlton because it has recent experience in working in crisis communications,'' he said.

While the agency's crisis communication work for the LKFA is in its early stages and consists of providing advice for working through the immediate situation, there are some definite steps being taken.

''We helped the LKFA draft and release a statement on Friday and held a press conference earlier this week at which the correct facts regarding the accident were reported,'' said Hill & Knowlton's deputy managing director Ms Shirley Dirkin, who is handling the business.

''Our strategy is to move the association forward after New Year's Eve. It is made up of legitimate businesses and they have to carry on operating,'' she said.