CURRY master Liaquat Ali, who has been feeding the troops at his famed Shaffi's outlets for 12 years, has been banned from moving his operation to Britain. Mr Ali, whose fans include singer-actor Andy Lau Tak-wah and Indian film idol Anil Kapoor, had planned to follow the forces back to Britain following the garrison's withdrawal. Shaffi's has become an institution in Hong Kong since Mr Ali's uncle Mohammed Shaffi established the first restaurant at Sek Kong in 1974 after retiring from the Queen's Gurkha Signals. But Mr Ali said the Ministry of Defence had rejected his application to set up shop on a military base in Dorset, England. Mr Ali, 34, whose three restaurants produce 1,600 meals a week, believed the decision was political. 'I'm very, very disappointed because I had hoped to get a place there and suddenly I get this letter saying I can't. I'm very unhappy,' he said. 'I think they don't want anyone to come in there because army cooks already do the catering there. 'I'm going to Britain this month to see whether I can set up a joint venture with an old army friend from here, Ken Gray. I will be looking in Lincoln where there's a small RAF base.' Officers in Hong Kong pledged to take up Mr Ali's fight with the ministry. 'The curries are superb and produced at a good price. We never need to go anywhere else for Indian food,' said one officer. 'We are determined to get him to Britain.' The Ministry of Defence said any application to establish a restaurant would be carefully considered, but warned that in Britain it was usual for all meals to be served in official messes. 'I have never seen a curry house on an army base, and cannot imagine it happening,' a spokesman said. The original Shaffi's at Sek Kong closed in December. But Mr Ali still runs Shaffi's II and III for the Royal Logistic Corps and the Hong Kong Military Service Corps and he has just opened his first civilian restaurant in Yuen Long.