A smartly-dressed businesswoman was in town last week promoting shares to eager fund managers. Nothing unusual in that, you may say. Except that the woman in question was Li Xiaolin , whose father just happens to be Premier Li Peng . Ms Li gave a 15-minute spiel on the wonders of Heilongjiang Electric stocks to a packed audience of potential investors in a conference room at the Mandarin Oriental. Afterwards, CID-lookalikes escorted her out to a waiting Mercedes with a GA licence plate. Such number plates are renowned on the mainland, since GA stands for Gong An, or public security. All of which is rather curious, as Premier Li has repeatedly denied that any of his family members are involved in business activities. He has even told the press that he doesn't own a single share in any company, and was nothing more than a simple engineer. But his only daughter evidently has rather fancier tastes. The fashion-conscious among Hong Kong's press pack estimated that Ms Li's outfit during last week's promotional trip was worth tens of thousands of dollars. Flaunting your contacts with mainland officials can cost you dearly, as local lawyer Helen Chung Yee-fong has just discovered. In 1994, Ms Chung won this newspaper's worst Christmas card award for her festive message; a photo of her shaking hands with Xinhua Deputy Director Zhang Junsheng . Now the card has won her censure and a $50,000 fine from the Law Society. The society's tribunal ruled that by sending out this Christmas card, accompanied by business cards, Ms Chung breached an internal code prohibiting any practice or promotion which is 'likely to mislead or deceive' or 'which may reasonably be considered to be in bad taste'. Quarry Bay couldn't have put it better. Local bureaucrats are no sloths when it comes to looking after their own interests. But, even by their standards, the Civil Service Branch has a particular reputation for caring for its own. So it was no surprise to see former Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service Chris Jackson land the plum post of Hong Kong's number two man in Washington. After all, his new boss in the US is a former Secretary for the Civil Service, Barrie Wiggham. And his predecessor in the Deputy Secretary slot, Stuart Harbinson, is now Hong Kong's chief representative in Geneva. The only prize foreign posting the Civil Service Branch mandarins have so far failed to get was Commissioner to London, where they were outranked by former Chief Secretary Sir David Ford. Sir David's retirement in December will offer a fresh chance to grab this position, too. That is, unless they are again outranked - by Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang. That may yet happen as her hopes for becoming Chief Executive-designate are looking increasing dim. Indeed, she has already privately expressed interest in the London posting on the last time it became vacant. Equally to the point, Mrs Chan is a former Secretary for the Civil Service.