The chairman of the Jockey Club has emerged as one of the main benefactors behind a group trying to block government plans to ban fox-hunting in Britain. Larry Yung Chi-kin, the chairman of mainland-backed conglomerate Citic Pacific, has given his backing and gifts worth GBP650,000 (HK$8.4 million) to the Countryside Alliance, which has organised mass protests in Britain against the moves. Mr Yung is not believed to ride to hounds himself but is the owner of Birch Grove, a country estate in the south of England, which used to be owned by former British prime minister Harold Macmillan. Tom Lewis, regional director of the Countryside Alliance in southeast England, told the Sunday Times that Mr Yung was a loyal supporter and keen sportsman. 'Harold Macmillan had Birch Grove developed into a small sporting estate and Larry Yung has maintained that tradition,' Mr Lewis said. 'He is also on good terms with people who hunt with hounds.' Mr Yung bought the estate for an estimated GBP5 million in 1993 but is believed to spend only a few weeks a year at the luxurious country property, which includes a golf course and an area for shooting game. The Countryside Alliance is secretive about its funding and has refused to confirm Mr Yung's contribution. 'We are not a limited company or a charity so there is no requirement to publish accounts,' a spokesman said. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he will outlaw fox-hunting despite vociferous opposition from many rural groups. The Countryside Alliance rallied 280,000 supporters to a London protest last year in one of the largest such demonstrations in recent years. In the two years since it was set up, the Alliance has become one of Britain's most powerful pressure groups and its protests are credited with forcing the Government to stall its plans to outlaw fox-hunting.