Where has the $25.3 million gone? That is the mystery after reports about the interior design of Hong Kong's newest outpost - our Beijing office. Last week, From The Corridors pointed out that the office had cost $25.3 million for interior decoration and furniture, and asked for eyewitness reports of the luxury. Reports received this week indicate that the Hong Kong officials must have gone to the most expensive furniture store in Beijing. The carpet and decor has been described by visitors as 'ordinary', and there isn't even a big sign saying who they are. However, they've got the all-important flags in place, with the national flag slightly higher than the Bauhinia, as per official regulations. The cost, incidentally, works out at $700,000 per employee. The other mystery about this palace is what it will do. Michael Suen Ming-yeung gave the impression this week that the row over the Court of Final Appeal was far too important for the Beijing office to offer assistance. There was an entertaining poke in the ribs for Kim Salkeld, deputy secretary for planning, environment and lands, when he ventured out to the University of Science and Technology this week. Mr Salkeld, an incurable letter-writer who is no doubt already booting up his word-processor to reply to this column, turned up to cheer on a study into marine pollution. He had the nerve to tell the assembled academics that thanks to the wonderful Hong Kong Government, their 'simple knowledge' could be turned into 'real action' - once more data was available. As the academics mused about the phrase 'simple knowledge' being used to describe a $25 million-plus Hong Kong/China/France collaboration using satellites etc, one decided to hit back. Professor Gary Heinke stood up and told the assembled crowd that the Government knew exactly what needed to be done on pollution and should stop waiting for more scientific surveys. As Mr Salkeld watched on, the professor described such remarks as 'absolutely silly'. Meanwhile, Kwong Ki-chi is showing he has got the hang of his new job, which includes media issues. Mr Kwong turned up to a Legco panel meeting on telecoms this week and only handed out the information papers after the meeting started. He explained that he didn't want to give it to Legco members beforehand as they would leak it to the media who wouldn't understand it because it was 'complicated'. Mr Kwong learned all about 'complicated' media issues when a reporter spotted him, his wife and friends shopping for fake Prada goods in Shenzhen. It has been suggested he wanted to join the 'handbag gang' on the cheap. Uncle Tung's new spin doctor, Stephen Lam Sui-lung, was dubbed 'Commissioner for Lunch' because the $180,000 salary seemed to have no proper job description. He's been in the job a month. How many lunches does he have? 'Two or three days out of five I end up having lunch in the office,' he says, thanks to the blizzard of crises that have hit over the past few weeks. 'I probably have fewer lunches than before. Even dinners these days are rather difficult.' In the Legco corridors on Wednesday, one prominent pro-Democracy figure was discussing the latest row with Beijing, and kept referring to Hong Kong's highest court as the 'CPA'. Had he mistaken the Court of Final Appeal's initials? Or had he discovered that it has a new name: the Court of Penultimate Appeal?