The head of Hong Kong University told colleagues that an aide to Tung Chee-hwa had raised three main concerns about Robert Chung Ting-yiu's opinion polls. Professor Cheng Yiu-chung was speaking at a senior management meeting on January 21 last year, 15 days after his discussion with the aide, Andrew Lo Cheung-on, pro-vice-chancellor Professor Wong Siu-lun testified yesterday on the fifth day of the inquiry into the controversy. Professor Wong said: 'He summarised the main concerns of the visitor: namely, whether the polls were conducted in the name of the university or whether they were done by Robert Chung in his personal capacity; how the topics for the polls were selected, implying whether the university would monitor these polls; and then, thirdly, indicating a potential problem of conflict in roles, that Robert Chung, being a pollster at the same time, would act in public as a political commentator,' Professor Wong said. Professor Wong said Professor Cheng also said Dr Chung had sent a document to Mr Tung some time previously, commenting on political developments. Professor Wong said no action was suggested following Professor Cheng's comments. Panel chairman Mr Justice Noel Power expressed surprise Professor Cheng's comments had caused little reaction from his colleagues. The judge said he was puzzled about the suggestion of a conflict between the role of a pollster and the role of political commentator. 'I find it a little difficult. I would have thought that it is the reverse, that they are complementary roles, not conflicting roles.' Professor Wong said: 'I have no particular problem with that myself. As I said to Robert when I met him in the first instance, I was telling him that such a concern had been expressed by a number of people.' The pro-vice-chancellor said he had told Dr Chung eight days after the senior management meeting that doubts had been expressed on his conflicting roles as a pollster and a political commentator, his methodology and on whether he was completely neutral politically. Dr Chung has said he understood from the meeting that Mr Tung did not like his polls and that he should stop them. Professor Wong said he also mentioned concern that the name of the university was identified with the polls when they were published in the press. He asked whether polls on the performance of the Chief Executive and the Government were commissioned by sponsors or self-initiated. As Dr Chung told him they were self-initiated, Professor Wong said: 'I raised my concern: in my view, why were they so frequent? At that time, I only knew about roughly 29 surveys. Then . . . I was curious about how he could handle the financing of that.' While acknowledging the value of such polls, Professor Wong said: 'I remember that before we ended our discussion, I did give him a piece of advice, and I made it clear that it was my personal view and it was only for his own considering; I was not recommending any particular course of action. I did say to him in Chinese: 'Do not conduct so many of these polls [those related to ranking and ratings].' Asked by Mr Justice Power if it had occurred to him that mentioning the concerns of the Chief Executive's Office might have an effect on a relatively junior member of staff, Professor Wong said he did not think Dr Chung would be intimidated because he was an experienced pollster who mixed with government officials. Professor Wong, a long-time friend and mentor of Dr Chung, said he became aware in December 1998 that the polls on Mr Tung's declining popularity were creating headlines. 'Because in my capacity as the pro-vice-chancellor, perhaps I am particularly sensitive to the reputation of the university. Whenever Hong Kong U was mentioned in newspaper headlines, I paid great attention to that,' Professor Wong said. But Mr Justice Power said: 'I appreciate what you are saying, but a poll is a poll, is it not?' Professor Wong replied in the affirmative. Describing his meeting with Dr Chung as being conducted in a 'quite friendly manner', Professor Wong said: 'I did not feel Robert was particularly upset by the meeting. That is why, at the end of the meeting, I did not feel that there was any need to follow up, because my intention was to let him know that there are those concerns, and I gave him my advice. As always, . . . Whether he wants to act on it or not, that is his choice.'