Our intrepid officers from the Provisional Regional Council have had their work cut out for them recently, with Hong Kong becoming a bacterial paradise. Perhaps they deserve a well-earned rest from making sure restaurants are fit to serve food - but they seem to be taking it literally, as a visit to their huge Sha Tin structure showed. A reporter there for a midday press conference scoured the seemingly deserted building, finally approaching the reception counter. Again, no one. Behind the counter, beneath the desk, however, three women were lying on the floor, cosily wrapped up in duvets. Not wishing to disturb the snug, slumbering trio, the reporter tiptoed away. She returned 45 minutes later to see them packing away their bedding and heading out for lunch. Talk about working hard for your money. Puff of hot air Time to reach for the sick bag: a biography of magician David Copperfield has landed on Backbites' desk. The master of illusions is in Hong Kong to rake in millions to add to his impressive bank balance with his Dreams And Nightmares show. The word 'nightmare' sprang to mind when we saw his bio. 'Certainly one of his greatest illusions is himself,' it reads. A bearable if slightly nauseating line. But we dispute the 'Heathcliff-handsome features', and who really cares if he has 'great hair'? Life beyond TV Yes, the concept of a TV-free home is alien to your average sharking sales rep. Take the Cable TV redcoat on the street: 'Do you want Cable TV? Look, all these films [flicks through several Category III photos], lots of sport [more photos but of footballers], dramas, quiz shows . . .' Listener: 'I don't have a TV.' The smile turns to horror: '[Gasp] No TV? But what do you do in the evenings?' (Aside to reader: If you do not get the joke, contact TV Addicts Anonymous. And the Cable TV sellers.) Narrow escape When socialite David Tang developed the skin disease psoriasis, he consulted some chi kung masters who promised to chase out the affliction by transferring their inner forces into the tycoon's body. It did not work. As Mr Tang quipped, he was probably just too thick-skinned. But his search for a cure also landed him on an acupuncturist's table in New Mexico. Noticing a Cockney accent, Mr Tang asked if she had practised in London. No, but she had been a croupier at a swanky West End casino. The alarmed tycoon told her to remove the needles and made a rapid exit. As far as we know he has yet to try the upmarket holistic healer who injects psoriasis patients with their own urine. A poetic line Mr Tang believes his psoriasis is stress-related and is trying to lead a less manic life. Indeed, he has ditched business lunches - because of the boring conversation - and says his idea of perfect luxury is a TV dinner. But his greatest relaxation is poetry, he told Britain's Telegraph newspaper. Mr Tang claims to memorise one a day, and whenever he is apart from fiancee Lucy Wastnage they read a poem over the phone to each other before they go to bed. Really. Truly amazing 1998 is tourism year in Thailand - as though the country does not have enough on its plate. The promotional slogan is 'Amazing Thailand', but workers laid off in the economic downturn are far from enchanted. They have been demonstrating outside City Hall in Bangkok with their own slogan: 'Amazing Hungry Thai People'.