Fitz turns into unseasonal spat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 1995, 12:00am

REACTIONS to one of the more bizarre legal actions in Hong Kong newspaper history range from snickers of mirth to gnashing of teeth. We hear the new editor of the Eastern Express, Tony Tse, has shown symptoms of the latter. His newspaper and his wordy hack Liam Fitzpatrick, who writes the column Dystopia ('A place or condition in which everything is as bad as possible') are being sued.

Journalists and newspapers are, of course, regularly threatened with legal action. But in this instance, Fitzpatrick and the paper are not being taken on by a corporation or a corrupt government official.

They're being taken to task by Fitzpatrick's father, Tim, a former senior Hong Kong copper and one-time drinking buddy of broadcaster Ralph Pixton, for alleged defamation over something young Liam wrote. Backbites will not repeat the alleged libel, but suffice it to say that last November 14, and earlier on February 27, the boy wonder wrote an illuminating item about his Dad, Ralph, alcohol, a police vehicle, Ralph's brown safari suit and a Nazi salute he is said to have given for a full five minutes in Argyle Street or Waterloo Road.

When we called the Eastern Express' overworked legal guru Jeremy Bartlett, he refused to comment on the matter. Ralph, however, was more forthcoming: 'I can't remember it, I don't think it happened. I have never given a Nazi salute in Argyle Street.' Ralph won't sue, however.

'Why is his father suing him? I read the piece and I tossed it aside.' Conversation around the Fitzpatrick clan's dinner table may be a little stilted this Christmas.