Stone cold and right out of it

Red chip Stone Electronic Technology continues to irritate analysts, fund managers and journalists alike with its if-anyone-asks-a-question-HIDE approach to corporate communication.

Yesterday found reporters threatening higher ups with a boycott.

The occasion was Stone's annual meeting, and hacks had seized the rare opportunity to corner elusive top dogs.

After 45 minutes of waiting on the doorstep, a message was sent out to the press gang.

No-one was going to speak with them.

Why not, asked the hacks.

Because president and chief executive Duan Yongji and executive director Yang Hongru were out of town, and they were the only ones senior enough to speak.

What about chairman Shen Guojun, asked the hacks. No, no. He wasn't the proper person. And besides, he was far too busy sneaking out the back way.

Wrong answer.

'Analysts have already given up on your company,' a reporter informed senior company men. 'Do you want us to boycott your company as well?' But the threat didn't work.

The hacks remained Stone-walled.

Spooky: Reader Alan Cooper just received an offer of insurance from something called 'NET Services'.

With them, you can enjoy both 'instance protection' and 'instance quotations'.

One of their protection plans particularly impressed us.

The firm is offering 'free $1,000,000 Fright Insurance Protection'.

Lai See could have used some of that when she opened her last tax bill.

Orbsession: Lai See just received a desperate plea.

We have been called upon to use our journalistic powers to bring about positive social change.

The people of Discovery Bay want us to help them wage war against The Giant Balls.

Well, one DBer did anyway.

It seems protesters have explored every other avenue and are reaching the end of their rope.

Since last we wrote of the giant, fake-moss encased orbs 'decorating' the plaza, the anti-Ball boys have begun pressuring their mayor to take up the cause. They're also organising a petition.

Recently they've begun to suspect management of hiring Ball guards.

Hence this comment on the community's on-line message board: 'What's with all these new guards around the commercial centre? Are they guarding the HKR's precious Balls? 'How much more bad publicity does HKR need before these things are taken away? 'C'mon Lai See, use your influence!!!' Always a sucker for multiple exclamation marks, Lai See decided to get involved. So we called HKR to ask what they planned to do about the discontent gripping their community.

They told us to speak to the Commercial Centre.

The Commercial Centre advised us to call HKR and gave us a phone number.

No-one answered.

Still, it wasn't a total loss.

Someone at the Centre admitted to having received a string of complaints about the Balls.

'We have consolidated the opinions and passed it to HKR. They haven't replied yet,' a staffer said.

'HKR wanted to make the pier more beautiful but it did the reverse thing. The intention was good, but the result was not what they expected.' Meanwhile, the petitions continue to circle and the complaints keep flowing in.

Protesters are clearly determined to keep the Ball rolling.

Graphic: whee22gbz