Exchange do-gooder closes down attempt to loosen pccw staffer's lips There is nothing like a friendly regulator to save you from yourself. Terms for PCCW's mooted tie-up with China Netcom have been thoroughly leaked but efforts to extract more information yesterday fell victim to a do-gooding Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing. Perhaps sensing another PCCW disclosure debacle in the making, exchange boss Paul Chow Man-yiu yesterday quickly stepped in to stop the firm's deputy chairman, Jack So Chak-kwong, from saying something he may later regret at a function the two men were attending. Pre-empting any inquiries, he said: 'I don't think Mr So will give price-sensitive information in front of a regulator.' The two men go back to the glory days of Sun Hung Kai Securities but it seems Mr So does not need disclosure advice since he replied with only a slight air of condescension: 'I wouldn't answer even without a regulator being here.' Good to hear, but that makes him the first PCCW director in memory to have such restraint. Richard rides the rumour wave The past week produced a swirl of rumours that PCCW boss Richard Li Tzar-kai had got caught up in the tsunami catastrophe and, depending on the story, was either missing, injured or had taken the opportunity to mysteriously vanish. It did not help that his personal public relations handlers did not seem to know where he was despite the Netcom deal apparently going down to the wire. Yesterday, Mr So moved to scotch the rumours, saying Mr Li was alive and well, although he did not say where he was. Last night, a company spokesperson insisted that Mr Li had dodged the tragic events of December 26 and put rumours of reports down to mischief. four seasons fends off early birds From September, couples planning to tie the knot will have a lot more options than Hong Kong Park or a fancy bash at the Repulse Bay Hotel. A date with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland on Lantau is one option but you may also want to consider the grand ballroom of what is being billed as the final word in hotel luxury. The Four Seasons may still be a Central building site, not due to open for another eight months, but it is apparently already receiving bookings from status-conscious couples looking for the ultimate cachet venue. 'Even when I was alone in the office, people would ring and ask for rates and make bookings,' the hotel's soon-to-be general manager William Mackay tells us. The hotel is apparently not taking wedding bookings for its first two weeks of operation, presumably to iron out teething troubles. Still, with an eight-metre high ceiling and spectacular views of Victoria Harbour, it's drawing Hong Kong's ever impatient socialites, who just have to be the first to get a piece of the action. Tables turning for macau Having burned brightly, Macau concept stocks seem to be going quite literally to the dogs. Whether the correction proves anything more than a bump on the track will be closely watched by the army of professional advisers that has helped engineer the asset shuffles underlying the boom, especially since many of them probably have not yet been paid. You would hope that auditors know how to hedge risks, and indeed, a partner at a Big Four accounting firm last month identified gaming firms as 'high risk' clients when writing in an industry magazine. Lai See is betting that having jacked up their prices, the bean counters get their fees sharpish, while there are still chips on the table to count. November output a seasonal delight Ever wonder why so many birthdays fall in the autumn? According to Census and Statistics Department Commissioner Frederick Ho Wing-huen, October is the most popular month for giving birth, followed by November. These two months, respectively, see 14 per cent and 11 per cent more babies born than average. By contrast, the leanest month for new life is February while the first six months of the year see sprog production slip below the year's average. For a statistician, Mr Ho elected not to get too involved in cause-and-effect explanations but Lai See (as a Christmas Eve baby) has no such reservations. People clearly have too much time on their hands in the chilly months of January, February and even March.