A University of Hong Kong spin doctor, who ordered a reporter to leave a press conference during the Robert Chung polling controversy last July, is to transfer to the faculty of dentistry. The South China Morning Post understands that Rupert Chan Kwan-yun, the university's spokesman and director of the External Relations Office, will take up the post of secretary of the faculty of dentistry on Monday. Mr Chan told the Post the new post would involve less contact with the press. Herbert Huey, now the assistant registrar at the university, will take over his job in an acting capacity. At a press conference in July last year, Mr Chan told reporters then vice-chancellor Professor Cheng Yiu-chung would answer questions for only 15 minutes on the controversy, then outlined at length the rules to be followed when raising a question. Professor Cheng had been accused of exerting pressure on Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, director of the Public Opinion Programme under the university's journalism and media studies centre, to stop opinion polls that reflected criticism of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa and his Government. Mr Chan ordered a reporter to leave because he had tried to speak when another question was already being asked. The reporter did not comply with his order. Mr Chan's handling of the situation was sharply criticised by the media, which termed it a public relations disaster. The university subsequently appointed veteran media professional Christopher Chiu Loy-fat to co-ordinate press inquiries and information services concerning the independent inquiry set up by the university council. Henry Wai Wing-kun, deputy registrar of the University of Hong Kong, insisted Mr Chan's transfer was a normal reshuffle. 'It has nothing to do with the opinion poll controversy and is absolutely not a demotion,' Mr Wai said. 'If there was any connection with the episode, it would have happened earlier.' Mr Chan, an amateur playwright, has been the director of the External Relations Office since 1992. 'The job has always been tough and gets tougher and tougher,' he said. 'The Robert Chung incident was just one of many challenges, not especially tough. It gets tougher because the press gets tougher and is more interested in negative than positive news. We want to sell positive news, but the press is looking for negative news.' Mr Chan said reporters were aware the question time in the press conference would last only 15 minutes and had raised no objection.