settled midfield star Leslie Santos. The 27-year-old international, whose season has been plagued by injury, is wanted by First Division rivals Instant-Dict. But in a bid to scare them off, South China chairman Albert Hung Chao-hong said it would need a Hongkong record transfer fee to take him away from Caroline Hill Road. Hung said the Caroliners wanted Santos to see out the final year of his two-year contract and try to win back his first-team place. And they were not about to release him unless a club paid a ''huge'' transfer fee - believed to be around $500,000. Hung said: ''Santos will stay with us for another season. He's a skilful player and technically very good. He hasn't been commanding a first-team place this season because he's been out of form due to injury. ''Next season we will give him a chance to prove himself so he shouldn't worry about whether he's going to get a first-team place.'' The highest transfer fee paid in Hongkong is $150,000 - for central defender Wong Kwok-on, who moved from Eastern to Ernest Borel two years ago. Borel also paid $140,000 for the release of defender Tam Ah-fook from Happy Valley the same season. Instant-Dict team manager Ben Choi York-yee said the $500,000 price tag on Santos - comprising compensation for the final year of his contract, plus a transfer fee - had cooled his club's interest. ''It looks like we are not going to sign Santos,'' he said. ''We are not prepared to pay a huge transfer fee, especially if it's in the region of that sum. If that's the case we might as well use the money to sign foreign players.'' Instant-Dict, who are second in the league table behind runaway leaders Eastern, had seen Santos as a key figure in their attempts to build a championship-winning team. Choi and South China team manager Wong Man-wai held preliminary discussions earlier this week but South China chairman Hung made it clear the former Hongkong Footballer of the Year was not going to move. Meanwhile, Sing Tao chairman Ng Chung said Happy Valley would have priority in talks about signing the club's speedy left-winger Alan Chan Tsz-kong. Ng said Happy Valley were the first club to approach Sing Tao for the release of Chan, who has a year of his contract to run. South China, Instant-Dict and Ernest Borel have also expressed an interest in the 21-year-old former Martini winger. The same three clubs are also keen to sign Sing Tao's foreign goalkeeper, Peter Guthrie, who will complete his two-year deal with the Tigers at the end of the season. Sing Tao want to retain the former Tottenham player but Guthrie will have the option of signing for another club. Hongkong drew 2-2 in the first of their two friendly matches against Kuwait in Singapore last night. Eastern's Lee Kin-wo put the territory ahead in the 20th minute minute when he picked up Lo Kai-wah's deep cross before slamming home near the right post. Kuwait equalised five minutes later after Hongkong's defence suffered a lapse of concentration. And defensive error helped the Kuwaitis take a 2-1 lead five minutes into the second half. But Ernest Borel striker Au Wai-lun saved the day for the territory when he equalised eight minutes later, driving in a 20-yard shot after breaking through the Kuwait defence.