Bauhinia honours for city's Sars heroes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 July, 2004, 12:00am

But whistle-blower who questioned handling of outbreak is not on the list

Forty-one Sars heroes have been given government awards in the biggest-ever honours list awarded by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa on the July 1 anniversary.

But Sydney Chung Sheung-chee, who was Chinese University's dean of faculty of medicine when he disputed claims by health chief Yeoh Eng-kiong that the disease had not spread to the community in the early weeks of the outbreak last March, was not on the list.

And for the second time, no one received Hong Kong's highest award - the Grand Bauhinia medal - among the 376 business leaders, civil servants, activists for the rights of the underprivileged and pro-Tung lawmakers honoured.

Topping the list of 15 recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star award is Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, legislator and president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong. He was honoured for his contribution in raising the status of sport in Hong Kong.

The vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, Ip Kwok-him, who headed the scrutiny of the Article 23 anti-subversion legislation and lost his district council seat last year, also earned himself the Gold Bauhinia Star medal.

Other recipients include Liberal party vice-chairman Miriam Lau Kin-yee, HSBC chairman David Eldon, Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman Allan Zeman and Hopewell Holdings chairman Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung.

Yuen Kwok-yung, chair professor in microbiology at the University of Hong Kong and Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, chairman of the department of medicine and therapeutics at Chinese University, each received a Silver Bauhinia Star award for their fight against Sars last year.

Professor Yuen was commended for his discovery of the coronavirus and a rapid diagnosis test for the virus, while Professor Sung was praised for his courage and professionalism in treating patients.

Professor Yuen believed the award was in recognition of the efforts by his team in the department in combating Sars, who did so 'in response to the needs and times'.

Professor Sung, who headed the Prince of Wales Hospital's Sars 'dirty team' in fighting the virus, said from the US: 'I have not had a chance to talk to Mr Tung yet. I believe that this honour should belong to all medical and nursing staff of the Prince of Wales Hospital instead of a personal award.'

John Tam Siu-lun, a microbiologist at Chinese University who is leaving for a job at an American pharmaceutical company at the end of the month, won a Bronze Bauhinia Star. 'This is in recognition of all those doing research work and for the development of research especially in infectious diseases,' he said.

The lone private doctor honoured, Paul Ko Yiu-shum, said: 'What I did was nothing, it was just the same as any of the medical professionals that worked against Sars at that stage.'

Dr Ko volunteered to work in the children's ward at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Deputy Director of Protocol Davis Hui Ying-yeung would not be drawn on whether the medal winners would face reprimand in a Legco Sars inquiry. He said political affiliations were not a factor.

Actress and singer Liza Wang Ming-chuen won a Silver Bauhinia Star, while film director John Woo received a bronze star.