Colleen Lee Ka-ling may be just 16 years old but she is fast making a name for herself as a musician. The fifth-former from Heep Yunn School is one of nine outstanding music students from Hong Kong and China to win Guinness Flight Music Prizes. Local and mainland students of exceptional merit who attend the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA) are eligible for the prize. Winners receive about $10,000 each. The other eight winners are all full- time music students at the APA. Pianist Ka-ling won the South China Morning Post Student Musician Award in 1995 and has taken home more than 20 prizes in various competitions in Hong Kong, Macau, China and the United States. In 1994, she was the youngest Hong Kong student to win first prize in the Sixth Newport International Competition for Young Pianists in the United Kingdom. Ka-ling plans to use the Guinness Flight prize-money to study music full- time at the APA. She joined at the age of seven and soon won a scholarship after taking her entrance examination as a junior part-time student. 'Having the patience to practise is important for a musician to succeed, but most of all you must have passion for your instrument,' Ka-ling said. She practises an average of five hours a day. Her ambition is to become a professional pianist and a music teacher. As a prize-winner, Ka-ling is among fine company this year. Mainland oboe player Chen Qing, 26, earned his first music degree in Guangzhou before becoming a postgraduate student at the APA. Other winners are violinist Gallant Ho Ka-chun, 17; pianist Kam Wing-chong, 17; and Timmy Tsang Wah-sum, 24. Three singers - bass Albert Lim Chun, 21; tenor Alex Tam Tin-lok, 18; and soprano Belinda Liew Peng-yim, 31 - also got prizes. Equally gifted was the final winner, 23-year-old Chau Chin-tung, a bangu player noted for his talent with traditional Chinese music and percussion. The marketing manager of Guinness Flight Hambro Asia Limited, Mingnie Chung Lai-chun, said prizes had previously only been offered to Hong Kong students. The decision to extend the scheme to Chinese students reflected a closer relationship with the mainland. 'These young students have demonstrated their high standard of musical talent,' Ms Chung said. 'We are pleased to give them the chance to develop their potential and support their spirit of achievement.'