Hongkong Telecom chief executive Linus Cheung Wing-lam received bonuses worth $5 million just six months before he decided to cut staff wages by 10 per cent. That was on top of his $4.21 million salary and other perks which took his pay package to $14 million - or $1.2 million a month - for the previous financial year. Union chiefs and legislators battling the salary cuts forced on staff - 40 per cent of whom earn less than $10,000 a month - were amazed to learn of the size of Mr Cheung's pay packet. At his rate of pay and perks, it would take Mr Cheung just six hours to earn an average worker's monthly $10,000 salary. 'It's a great deal of money,' said Ip Kwok-fun, Hong Kong Telephone Co Ltd Staff Association chairman. Announcing the across-the-board cuts on Thursday, Mr Cheung said his pay had also been docked by 10 per cent from two months ago. 'The salary cut of 10 per cent doesn't matter [to Mr Cheung] with those allowances,' said Mr Ip. 'Most of the other staff don't have any special allowances or bonuses which are unaffected by the cut.' Much of Mr Cheung's $4.93 million in 'allowances and benefits' is accounted for by the mansion he lives in at 24 Middle Gap Road, near the Peak. However, his performance-related bonus was worth $2.38 million. Incentives, a 'long-term' payment made in May and composed of 32,683 shares, added up to $2.76 million. The payments are made according to the profitability and earnings per share growth - among other things - of Cable & Wireless, which relies to a large extent on its income from Hongkong Telecom. Mr Cheung denied the decision to cut staff pay was made under pressure from Cable & Wireless, after legislator Lee Cheuk-yan alleged he had told him the parent company wanted salaries cut to maintain profits. Mr Lee said last night workers had contacted him to complain about the chief executive's bonuses. 'Linus Cheung is going to get a pretty high bonus because he has cut salaries to get a profit,' said The Frontier legislator, referring to the $300 million in savings from the slashed wages. 'Cutting wages for top management, especially Linus Cheung, does not really matter to them because they receive so much in bonuses and other payments,' he said. Details of Mr Cheung's salary package were revealed in the annual report of Cable & Wireless, the British telecommunications company which is the largest shareholder in Hongkong Telecom and which has Mr Cheung as an executive director. He was not available for comment yesterday. 'I'm just a reasonably paid executive and not an excessively paid executive,' he said in 1996.