Lai See feels it is our duty, nay, our calling, to remind investors of the dangers of over-inflated asset prices during runaway stock market bubbles. That's right, we are talking about the Internet boom. Back in the dim distant past, Hong Kong was riding high on the technology superhighway. Those with money made even more money using well thought-out business plans and solid fundamentals. Renaming your ballpoint pen manufacturing enterprise TeKnOwRite and claiming to have signed a contract with Microsoft's stationary department was enough to bump a share price up by 20 per cent. Perhaps even more crucial was the 'connected transaction' strategy. A favourite among many Hong Kong-listed companies, this involves selling your privately owned core assets (a desktop PC running Windows 97 and a spotty university drop-out) to a listed company of which you were a major shareholder for a truckload of cash. Which brings us to our point. Back in 2000, Jim Mellon, former non-executive chairman of Regent Pacific, sold his online retailing business to Regent for US$80 million. Yesterday we received a copy of the group's results for the year to March 31. Sales from Internet retailing totalled US$15,000. hasty and empty exit The quick departure of Antony Leung Kam-cheung meant the former financial secretary didn't even have time to clear his desk. According to government sources, Mr Leung sent his personal assistant back for his personal belongings. As Mr Leung had already resigned, it is our guess that he probably didn't have use of his government car to help him carry his back copies of Autotrader and Diane Kennedy's Loopholes of the Rich: How the Rich Legally Make More Money and Pay Less Tax. paperwork missing Battles of a lavatorial kind between the Hong Kong Ferry Company (HKF) and passengers on its Lamma Island service may have revealed a serious deficit in the company's bottom line. The bone of contention is the state of the toilets at Pier 4. An aggrieved customer described them as the sort of toilets likely to keep Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's Team Clean busy for the rest of the year. The customer is demanding wall hooks for bags, regular cleaning of floors, hand soap and paper towels. Not too much to ask in a city determined to present itself to the world as new and improved. 'What sort of a message does this send to visitors?' our customer asks. To date, HKF has only managed to affix some hooks. But they fell down when a thoughtless individual 'hung something on them'. According to the company's customer service representative, the lack of facilities could have something to do with a) lack of cash, or b) a complex restroom rejuvenating implementation procedure. 'We do not have a budget for paper towels but we do provide soap,' the representative said. 'We have to check whether there is a process to provide paper towels.' structural work The big question on everyone's lips today: 'What do you do if two of your senior ministers resign?' Hysan Development managing director Michael Lee Ting-cheng likened the situation to the departure of two senior board members. 'If the structure of your company is good, then if your managing director and chief financial officer go you shouldn't feel the loss too heavily,' he said. Unfortunately, this company has seen asset prices fall by up to 60 per cent, layoffs are running at record highs, the rest of the workforce is constantly complaining and the chief executive's popularity has hit new lows. belly laughs banned Perhaps someone can answer these intriguing questions posed by a former belly-flopper into the pool at the Discovery Bay Resident's Club. As a post-Sars precaution, the pool is closed between 12.15pm to 1.30pm for the staff to add more chemicals. As an added precaution, they have stopped people jumping or diving into the pool. The only way in is now via the ladder or sliding in on your belly like a walrus. Asks our high-board diver, would Sars multiply with the extra agitation of the water or is the fun police out to stop people enjoying themselves? Answers to the above e-mail address please.