Smooth Kwoks tell it as they see it

Hundreds of people packed into the Sun Hung Kai Centre penthouse yesterday for a feisty session with the Kwok brothers.

Or at least that was what the media was hoping for. The Sun Hung Kai Property shareholders were borderline comatose. Not a question in sight.

The hacks poured in. What about land premiums? The government's housing policy? Shanghai's projects? The Wan Chai reclamation? What about SmarTone? The Zhuhai bridge? There was even a question in there on Article 23.

The Kwoks took every question in their stride. Their answers were eerily comprehensive. Almost as if someone had prepared written responses to each and every one. The Kwoks seemed to have every answer down pat.

It was unnervingly smooth.

The Kwoks didn't twitch once. Except for the occasional flipping of papers on the table each time they provided an answer. And a sudden jerk of their wrists as they seemed to tick some kind of checklist. There were also a few nods of approval coming from their PR people.

A rare revelation of what the Kwoks really felt. So good to see their spontaneous side.


The problem with mortgaging properties to banks is that they get all fickle and demand possession when you don't pay them back.

Ananda Wing On Travel (Holdings) chairman Chan Yeuk-wai and his brother Chan Yeuk-pun have just found this out.

The Bank of China has just won vacant posession of Ananda Tower based on the Chan brothers' HK$972 million debt.

The listed Ananda Wing On was keen to distance itself from the litigation, stressing in August, when the lawsuit was filed, that neither the company nor its subsidiaries were a party to it.

Chan Yeuk-pun - who aggressively sold his stake in the listed company this summer - resigned as executive director, although his brother remained as chairman of the company.

In their defence, the pair argued that the bank had promised not to sue pending a debt restructuring.

This was news to the bank.

But surely it wasn't completely out of left field. It could have been an innocent misunderstanding on the Chans' part.

Banks - or 'those big softies' as they are also known - are just putty after all.


Accountants are not mean. They are not miserly. They are not just bean counters.

The Hong Kong Society of Accountants has a massive heart.

Not only has the society set up a trust fund for struggling accountants, but last December it established a charitable fund for people who really need the money.

To date, the charity fund has received just over HK$17,000. To be fair, the society does get involved in other worthwhile causes.

But it has so far not dipped into the fund. The society informs us it is waiting for some applications. And eventually, it will get proactive if no waifs come forward seeking charity.

In the meantime, the interest will grow. So far, all 32 HK cents of it. Shame that this is way outstripped by the bank charges. In effect, the fund has lost money.

A piggy bank is in the post. The mattress wouldn't fit.


Fa-la-la-la-la. Christmas parties are underway and Lai See would like to hear your mulled whines. Is it soggy sandwiches or foie gras? Or what about Christmas parties past - a slobbered kiss under the mistletoe or karaoke from hell?

A few elves have mentioned that investment bank Goldman Sachs has chosen the auspicious date of Friday 13th to host its festive bash.

Another submission mentioned a law firm, a trainee, a pair of socks and an unfortunate incident with the contents of his stomach.

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