The chairman of STAR TV's Phoenix channel, who has links with the PLA, won approval to purchase a stake in ATV yesterday. The Executive Council demanded an assurance from ATV that Phoenix chairman Liu Changle - who can now become a director of the terrestrial station - would not be involved in the station's daily running, or in programming and editorial decisions. Mr Liu is part of a consortium buying some of the shares of Lim Por-yen, on trial in Taiwan on corruption charges. He will directly control 13.79 per cent of the station as media cross-ownership restrictions limit his stake to less than 15 per cent. But Mr Liu has links to other new shareholders including Wang Wenhuan and Chan Wing-kee. Along with him, the pair are partners in the firm Dragon Viceroy, which will own 46 per cent of ATV. The biggest shareholder is mainland-born developer Feng Xiaopeng, whom Bruno Wu Ching, the 'mastermind' behind the deal, describes as a friend. Mr Wu, who will become chief operating officer, pledged editorial independence for the station. 'I'm a capitalist - I don't think I'm red,' he said. But Frontier legislator-designate Emily Lau Wai-hing said: 'It's distressing to see all these pro-China factions getting hold of our media,' adding that she feared a growing 'pro-red media'. Exco had decided Mr Liu's 'effective interest' was below the legal limit, said Information Technology and Broadcasting Secretary Kwong Ki-chi. 'It therefore should not lead to any risk of monopoly build-up, risk of conflict of interest or risk of reducing the diversity of media development.' Mr Liu, an ex-PLA officer who worked at China's central radio station, boasts links to the powerful Central Military Commission. He helped Rupert Murdoch gain a foothold in the mainland in 1996 when they set up the Phoenix channel to beam into China. The buying consortium refused to say how much it was paying for Lim's shareholding, which will be cut from 51 per cent to 16.1. New ATV chairman Wong Po-yan, who heads the Airport Authority and has close Beijing ties, is a partner with Mr Wu in Rankon Limited, which will have a five per cent stock share that could prove decisive in the boardroom. Mr Wu said financing was in place and the deal just needed finalising among consortium partners.